How Hard is the GMAT?


The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is your pathway to a future in business management, finance, marketing and much more. The GMAT is a test of your ability to manage time, and maintain an adequate level of accuracy. Your GMAT score helps you stand out in the entire shortlisting process. Remember that your application is viewed as a holistic set and the GMAT is core element in it. Most North American business schools, and a few schools in Europe require the score. The exam tests your skills through four comprehensive sets: Quantitative, Verbal, Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning.

If you have spoken to any sample size of students who have taken the GMAT, you would have heard mixed reviews; a few students who say that the test is easy, others who find it difficult, and yet another few who say that the test has a medium level of difficulty. The range of opinions vary so much that taking opinions from too many students can be detrimental. An important thing to remember is that the GMAT’s actual difficulty level varies a lot from individual to individual. The questions that the GMAT wishes to address are the following:

  1. How good are you at managing time? Can you tackle the set of questions in the given 3.5 hours?
  2. What is your current proficiency level?
  3. Do you want to score a 630, a 700, or go for gold:750+?
  4. Are you mentally and physically fit enough? (By physically fit, we really aren’t asking you to be Virat Kohli or an Usain Bolt, just a basic level in which you can sustain pressure for the given amount of time)

Keeping all the above questions in mind, let us try and answer the million dollar question: How hard, really, is the GMAT?

  1. How good are you at time management?

    Time management is a key component of the GMAT. The test is about how accurate you can be within a set time period. Managerial scenarios are about handling stress in high-pressure situations; and the test is trying to mimic that factor through the questions, in different sections. Learn the subject, improve your weak points, and focus on effective management of time. Although this sounds like a ‘ very doable’ task, the questions on the GMAT have varied levels of complexity and only a student who is thorough with all the rules across the subject areas can effectively attempt them.

    Time is money, and that holds good on the exam!

  2. What is your current proficiency level?

    As a student, you must analyse where you stand; and diagnostic tests are the best way to do understand your probable efficacy level across sections. Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, prepare a comprehensive report and proceed with a plan to enhance yourself.

  3. Do you want to score a 630, a 700 or go for the gold, 750+?

    The average score of a GMAT test taker is under 600! This might be a hard-hitting fact, but the harder & the smarter you work, the greater your score. A lot of students are complacent about the difficulty level of the exam and take it way too lightly. Complacency can cost you dearly here! Please do not ignore the nuances and the varied layers of testing that are done.

    A 630 score: 630 is a score that requires a moderate level of preparation. It might be easy to score if you have a plan. Students are of different backgrounds and proficiency levels. Once you do a thorough self-analysis, you will understand whether a 630 is easy or not.

    For example, Let us take a student who is not that adroit with basic grammar and language. He or she might find it a very arduous task to grasp the intricacies associated with English initially; however, a consistent plan will start making it much easier.

    The question is: Are you willing to play the game?

    A 700 score: A score of 700 might require greater effort on the student’s part. You would require to be adept at a few more concepts, and be able to combine concepts to arrive at answers at a much quicker level. This demands that you be equally proficient at both English and Quants.

    A 750+ score: You can only imagine how much effort you would need to put into your daily schedule to achieve this target score. Not only do you have to be absolutely sharp, but you would also have to dedicate a lot of time preparing yourself for the challenge.

    Trust us when we say this, there is nothing more beautiful than seeing such numbers on your screen; and with the right kind of coaching, this is more than achievable!

  4. Are you mentally and physically fit enough?

    Keep yourself both mentally and physically fit throughout your preparation, with even more stress given to these aspects in the last two weeks. The GMAT is like a sport, 3.5 hours of a highly intensive sport. A few points to remember:

    1. Good sleep can add to your preparational intensity.
    2. Maintain a healthy diet throughout, and be conscious about what you eat leading up to the exam.
    3. Avoid excessive ‘partying’, ‘late-nights’ and higher alcohol-consumption levels.

Scoring well on the GMAT is a task that can be accomplished. With the right kind of approach and methods of learning; you can easily achieve your target scores. Choose wisely, score better!

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