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The GMAT Prep Crunch

Myths About the GMAT Debunked


These days, the GMAT has almost taken on a mythical aura. It is the test that separates CEOs from clerks and Stanford from Samford grads. Experts claim the GMAT evaluates high school level skills. If so, that high school must have catered to the gifted and talented. And if the GMAT really predicts success in business school, maybe an MBA isn’t the extended vacation that some claim.

In reality, the GMAT tests how you apply knowledge, such as drawing inferences, interpreting visuals and readings, identifying logical patterns, and solving problems. There’s no place to hide during those grueling three-and-a-half hours. It’s a high stakes evaluation, where admissions, scholarship money (and even bragging rights) are on the line.

As a result, you’ll hear conflicting sentiments about the GMAT. My score won’t matter once I’m admitted. I don’t need to study since I aced my SAT. I must be stupid if I score low. Actually, all of these observations are false. And they likely stem from test-takers looking to save face.

Recently, Miriam Schwartz, a Graduate Programs Manager at Kaplan Test, challenged ten myths surrounding the GMAT. Here is a sample of some common perceptions that Schwartz found that are actually counterintuitive:

“I did well on the SAT so I don’t need to study for the GMAT: This is a big whopper. While you shouldn’t let the GMAT intimidate you, it’s also not a good idea to underestimate it. Even if you’re a natural born test-taker, a few months of solid prep can take you from a decent GMAT score into the stratosphere.”

I need a 750 to get into a top-10 MBA program: Close, but no cigar. You know that a low GMAT score can be an application killer, but when it comes to gaining admission to elite business schools, don’t be blinded by averages. Mathematically, half of students admitted will fall below the average GMAT score.

Not only that, but once you’ve crossed that 700 threshold, it’s no longer about your GMAT score but about the rest of your outstanding credentials. The strength of your GPA, personal statement, and extracurricular activities should all point toward a complete picture of you as a great candidate.”

“Once I’m in school, the GMAT won’t matter: Quite the contrary. Your GMAT score will come in handy when you’re applying for internships, and you can also put it on your resume when applying for jobs—especially those in consulting. These positions are likely to be particularly interested in your performance on the integrated reasoning section.”

“I can always pull out my trusty calculator: Sorry, but you can’t. Other than on the Integrated Reasoning section, there are no calculators allowed on the GMAT. The bad news: if you’re uncomfortable with mental arithmetic, you will struggle. The good news: no calculator means that the GMAT will only include questions that could reasonably be solved without a calculator, so you will be expected to think—rather than compute—through the problem.”

“Since the GMAT is adaptive, I should spend most of my time on the first 10 questions: Fallacy. This myth assumes a few things: that spending more time on questions equals more correct answers—which is not necessarily the case—or that you can answer the first 10 questions correctly without sacrificing answers at the end.

Trust us: Don’t do it. The algorithm is pretty solid, and you’re not likely to outsmart it no matter how much you practice—unless you’re someone like Good Will Hunting, in which case you probably don’t have too much to worry about anyway.”

To read how Schwartz busts five other myths, click on the Beat the GMAT link below.


Source: Beat the GMAT

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