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Achieving a Top GMAT Score
Preparing for the GMAT
By reviewing and studying this book and the accompanying GMAT TestWare® software, you can achieve a top score on the Graduate Management Admission Test. You may find that the GMAT is different from any exam you have taken in college. First, it is administered only on computer, whereas the tests you have taken in your collegiate life may have been of the paper-and-pencil variety. Second, it does not test prior knowledge of facts specific to any subject or field of study, but rather quantitative and verbal skills. Perhaps the tests most like the GMAT were your general college entrance exams, which also tested verbal and quantitative skills rather than prior knowledge of facts specific to any subject or field of study.
This book is designed to prepare you sufficiently for the GMAT by providing full-length computer-adaptive tests that accurately depict the GMAT tests in both degree of difficulty and types of questions. Our practice tests and drills are based on the most recently administered GMATs and include every type of question that you can expect to encounter. Accompanying each drill and computer-adaptive test is an answer key, complete with detailed explanations and solutions designed to clarify the material. We not only provide the answers, but also explain why each correct response is more acceptable than the other possible choices. By completing all the drills and practice exams, and studying the explanations that follow, you can discover your strengths and weaknesses and be free to concentrate on those sections of the exam that you find most difficult.
About the Test Experts
To meet our objective of providing exams that reflect the GMAT in both accuracy and degree of difficulty, every exam section has been carefully prepared by test experts in the various subject fields. Our authors have spent quality time examining and researching the mechanics of the actual GMAT to see what types of practice questions will accurately depict the exam and offer you a challenge. Having studied at the masters and doctoral levels and taught in their respective fields at competitive colleges and universities throughout the United States, our experts are highly regarded in the educational community.
About the Test
Who Takes the Test and What is its Purpose?
Nearly 2,000 graduate management programs around the world use GMAT scores as one of the criteria for admission. Applicants for graduate business schools submit GMAT test results together with undergraduate records, references, and work experience as part of the highly competitive admission process into a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. The exam tests verbal, quantitative, writing, and critical reasoning skills and abilities that have been found to contribute to successful achievement in a graduate program. It does not test prior knowledge of data or facts specific to any field of study. Approximately 200,000 students take the GMAT each year.
Who Needs an MBA?
Many people dismiss attempting an MBA because they feel that only business majors can benefit from the program. However, those with non-business backgrounds often need management training as much as business majors. Engineers find that they require increased management skills more than technical training as they become more successful, and liberal arts majors enter a graduate management program to make up for a lack of practical, on-the-job skills. In fact, almost half the GMAT test-takers worldwide majored in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
In addition to careers in business and industry, students with an MBA are in demand in the fields of government, education, health care, arts, and non-profit management. Students with the vision to see where management skills will be needed can make their own opportunities in almost any business.
With an increase in competition for fewer jobs, graduates with the ability to manage resources, time, and people will have an advantage over those with only technical training. Those already employed may wish to consider earning an MBA to advance beyond their current level.
Who Administers the Test?
The GMAT is developed and administered under the direction of the Graduate Management Admission Council. Comprising the GMAC are representatives from 110 graduate schools of management.
When and Where Is the Test Given?
Every state has at least one test center. Each center operates on its own schedule and can accommodate varying numbers of test takers throughout the day. For a list of test centers, check out www.mba.com.
How Can I Apply?
You can receive an application or information about the application process, including test dates, locations, fees, and registration at GMAC’s website or by calling: (800) 717-GMAT (4628),
toll-free within the U.S. & Canada only, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time
What is a Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT)?
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, which means that the software will present you with questions based on your performance on the previous questions. In this way, the test will customize itself to your level of ability. A correct response will be followed by a more difficult question; an incorrect response will be followed by an easier question. You get more points for correctly answering difficult questions than you do for correctly answering medium or easier questions.
In the traditional paper-and-pencil test, every examinee sees the same questions. Because of the adaptive nature of the GMAT, and the large pool of questions that are available, different examinees will be asked different questions. Nonetheless, the questions have been designed to meet content and difficulty specifications that allow for an equitable comparison of scores.
Pros and Cons of Computer-Adaptive Testing
There are several advantages to computer-adaptive testing. First, you will receive your unofficial scores for the multiple-choice sections on the day you take your test, rather than several weeks later. Second, the computer-adaptive test is offered much more frequently than the paper-and-pencil version, and you may register just a few days in advance. Third, you may choose to take the test in the morning or afternoon. In addition, the testing venue is quieter and more orderly than traditional testing locations. Finally, there are generally fewer questions on the GMAT CAT than on traditional paper-and-pencil tests.
Unfortunately, there are also some important disadvantages to an adaptive test. People who are unfamiliar with computers may find the testing environment intimidating. While no computer skills are required, an unusual environment may have a psychological impact on your preparedness. In addition, you must answer the questions in the order in which they are presented. You cannot skip a question and return to it later-or return to an earlier question to change your answer, as you could with a paper-and-pencil test. This is significant because it eliminates the important test-taking strategy of answering the easier questions first and returning to the more difficult questions if you have time. Finally, because of the nature of adaptive testing, the majority of the questions you encounter will be challenging to you.
Taking the Test
The computer-adaptive testing environment is based on a point-and-click interface. You will be presented with a question, and you will use a mouse to choose your answer. When you have chosen your answer, you will click on the on-screen "Answer Confirm" button to verify your choice. When you have confirmed your answer, the computer will select the next question. The first question asked in each multiple-choice section will be of medium difficulty. Subsequent questions will be more or less difficult depending on your answer to the preceding question. The GMAT software will continue to adjust throughout the test until it reaches your ability level.
At any time during the test, you may choose to quit an individual section, or the entire test. You may wish to exercise this option if you feel that you are ill-prepared for the exam. However, you must not take this decision lightly. Once you quit a section or the entire test and confirm your desire to do so, you will be unable to reverse your decision. Note that you will not be able to take the GMAT again for 30 days, even if you do not complete the exam.
When you complete the exam, you will receive your unofficial scores for the multiple-choice sections, as well as a total score for those sections. Your official score report, which will include your score on the Analytical Writing Assessment, will be mailed to you within ten days of the test date.
When Should I Start Studying?
It is never too early for you to start studying for the GMAT. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not effective since it does not allow you the time needed to learn the material.
Format of the GMAT
The GMAT contains three distinct sections with various types of questions:
1. Quantitative: one section of 37 mathematical Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency questions.
2. Verbal: one section of 41 Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension questions.
3. Analytical Writing Assessment: one section of two essay questions.
The Graduate Management Admission Test consists of multiple-choice questions contained in two timed sections and one timed essay writing section. The total testing time is three and one-half hours, including time for preliminary instructions. Each multiple-choice question presents five answer choices. On the actual exam, one of the sections is a trial section which is not identified or counted towards your score. The purpose of the trial section is to try out new questions for future exams. For practical purposes, this test preparation book has omitted the trial section and has presented the counted and scored sample sections for each practice exam.
TYPES OF GMAT QUESTIONS
The GMAT Problem Solving questions are designed to test basic mathematical skills, the comprehension of elementary mathematical concepts, and the ability to reason quantitatively.
Each Data Sufficiency question is usually accompanied by initial information, as well as statements (1) and (2), which contain more information. To answer the question, you must decide whether there is sufficient information in either (1), (2), or both.
You will be asked interpretive, applicative, and inferential questions regarding reading passages. The passages may be as long as 350 words; they discuss the social sciences, the physical or biological sciences, and/or business-related fields. The questions measure your ability to analyze, understand, and apply information that is presented in written form.
These questions test the reasoning skills involved in formulating and evaluating arguments and in a plan of action. Questions are based on an argument or set of arguments. The arguments come from a variety of sources and cover a multitude of topics.
Sentence Correction questions present you with five choices, and you must determine which choice best expresses an idea or relationship. Knowledge of stylistic conventions, grammatical rules of standard written English, and the ability to improve incorrect or ineffective expressions will be tested. An effective sentence expresses both a relationship and an idea in a grammatically and structurally sound manner.
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)
The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT tests your ability to communicate ideas and to write effectively. The two essay questions in this section test your ability to analyze an issue and an argument. Scoring is based upon organization, critical reasoning, and proper use of the English language and its conventions. A variety of general subjects, in addition to business-related topics, appear as test questions. Previous knowledge of the essay topics is not assumed.
About the Review Sections
The Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing Assessment Reviews are written to help you understand the concepts behind GMAT test questions. They will help prepare you for the test by teaching you what you need to know. By using the reviews in conjunction with taking the practice tests, you will be able to sharpen your test-taking skills.
This review includes strategies for the two quantitative ability question types: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. To help you cover these sections thoroughly, the review is split into three parts:
1) The first portion of the review consists of refresher courses in basic math, algebra, and geometry.
2) Mastering Problem Solving and Mastering Data Sufficiency, the second part of this review, contains strategies for solving the most commonly found problems on the GMAT.
3) The last section of the review is designed to help you evaluate your performance after your practice exams and drill groups.
Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning are the three question types covered in this review. The review summarizes each of these in detail, focusing on the specific skills you need to practice. Strategies for improving your performance are provided; test-taking strategies for each are given and explained in detail.
Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) Review
This review includes strategies for the two types of essay questions that appear in the GMAT exam: Analysis of an Issue and Analysis of an Argument. The strategies cover the general pre-writing and organizational skills necessary to perform well on this section. It also includes sample scored essays and evaluations of the essays for both types of questions.
There are three sample essays given for each essay topic; each sample exemplifies a top-scoring essay in the 5-6 range. On the actual GMAT, only one score is given per essay, from 0 to 6 in half-point intervals.
Studying for the GMAT
It is very important for you to choose the time and place for studying that works best for you. Some students may set aside a certain number of hours every morning to study, while others may choose to study at night before going to sleep. Other students may study during the day, while waiting on a line or even while eating lunch. Only you can determine when and where your study time will be most effective. But, be consistent and use your time wisely. Work out a study routine and stick to it!
When you take the practice drills or exams, try to make your testing conditions as much like the actual test as possible. Turn your television and radio off, and sit down at a quiet table free from distraction. Make sure to time yourself.
As you complete each practice drill group or exam, thoroughly review the explanations to the questions you answered incorrectly; however, do not review too much at any one time. Concentrate on one problem area at a time by reviewing the question and explanation, and by studying the review until you are confident that you completely understand the material.
Use scratch paper for working out problems, practicing drills, and taking computer-adaptive tests, since scratch paper will be provided when you take the actual exam.
Keep track of your practice GMAT scores. By doing so, you will be able to gauge your progress and discover general weaknesses in particular sections. You should carefully study the reviews that cover your areas of difficulty, as this will build your skills in those areas.