The MBA is one of the most sought-out business degrees ever. It makes way for multiple career paths and at the same time teaches you almost everything that is required both professionally and personally. A business education is a way to develop a range of people skills, analytical skills and experience first-hand what it takes to be a manager-leader. And in this post-pandemic world, manager-leaders are extremely important.
While we progress tentatively into a new (and dare we say) post-COVID world, what was previously the normal isn’t so anymore. There is, and will continue to be a dramatic shift in the way the world works. A recent study states that there is a growing demand for managerial individuals in the fields of innovation, strategy, technology and interpersonal skills (GMAC corporate recruiters survey 2020). The people who make the right career moves now will be the ones who clinch the best opportunities globally five years from now. Thanks to COVID-19, the GMAT is now available in a proctored online at-home format as well.
So if you are serious about going to the B-school, read on to find out everything about the GMAT, including what scores to target for your dream universities.
The GMAT is a computer-adaptive test that assesses the test takers quantitative, verbal, integrated reasoning and writing skills through a set of specially styled questions. Let us break this down and take it piece by piece.
To start off, what exactly is a computer-adaptive test and how does it work? These tests adapt to your ability and for this reason, they are also known as tailored tests. The GMAT adjusts its level of difficulty based on your answers and tries to match with your knowledge and aptitude. All test takers start at a median score and end up at the score suitable to them. Essentially meaning that if you answer a question right, the next one will be harder, and if you answer it wrong, the next question will be much easier. All the while, with your score, increasing or decreasing in progression. The first few questions cause the most dramatic drops or rises in the score as these questions help pinpoint what band your score lies within. As the test progresses, the difficulty level only slightly varies, the questions toward the end help identify your actual ability within the previously determined band.
Now off to the next part – assessing the test taker’s skills. The GMAT tests you in four distinct sections, namely the integrated reasoning section, the writing section, the quantitative section, and the verbal section. We will talk about each of these sections a little bit more.
The integrated reasoning section examines your ability in analyzing and interpreting data presented in a graphical or tabular format. This section comprises of four types of questions including table analysis, two-part analysis, multi-source reasoning and graphical interpretation.
The writing section, also known as the analytical writing assessment (AWA) requires you to write or answer questions related to a given passage. There are two types to this section, the argument essay in which you will have to analyze the given reasoning and present an argument. And, the Issue essay which involves writing a 500-600-word essay on a specified topic. Having a good structure is the key in both these types.
The quantitative section has two kinds of questions, the problems solving type and the data sufficiency type. The problem-solving questions assess your ability to use logic and reasoning to solve quantitative problems. The data sufficiency type is what makes GMAT different from regular tests. These questions test your ability to categorize given data and determine if you have enough data to solve the problem.
The verbal section has three kinds of questions – Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Sentence Correction. You will be assessed on the skills required to evaluate and make arguments, draw inferences, identify the main idea, and understand the style of the writer. You will also be tested on your language proficiency through fixing sentences, to make them clear, concise and grammatically correct.
Scoring and Exam pattern
We have already discussed the way GMAT scores students, it is only about right and wrong here, and more rights at the beginning of the test help get a higher score. The test taker is allowed to choose the order in which they want to take the test from three options – AWA-IR-Q-V, V-Q-IR-AWA, Q-V-IR-AWA.
The AWA section has one question that can be completed in 30 minutes. You will receive a score ranging between 0 to 6.
The integrated reasoning section consists of 12 questions that have to be answered in 30 minutes as well. The score for this part lies between 1 and 8.
The Quant section has 31 questions. You will have to answer them within 62 minutes, and the score ranges from 6 to 51 points.
Like the quant section, the verbal section score ranges from 6 to 51 points. You will get 65 minutes for 36 questions.
In total, there are 91 questions, and the exam runs for about 3 hours 30 minutes. After you finish the test, you get five scores and percentiles, for each of the sections and a total. The total score depends on the quant and verbal sections and ranges between 200 to 800. Now that we know how the score is calculated, what is a good GMAT score?
An average GMAT score stands at about 580, which is the 55th percentile. However, this average score can only help you get a mediocre business school. A good business program requires you to be way above average, or in this case way above the 55th percentile. The demand for MBAs has grown severely, and this means that the competition has gotten tougher. Previously, a top school that accepted students in the 75% percentile might now only pick students above the 80th percentile.
Generally, a good score in the GMAT is one that falls above the 90th percentile. A score ranging between 700 and 800 is recognized globally as one belonging to a promising student; fuse it with your other extracurriculars and achievements and you’ve got yourself a great B-school. However, if you do not have an impressive GPA or a killer resume, you might need to work a bit harder to break the 95th percentile and get a score above 730. Here are some of the best B-schools around the world and the range of GMAT scores they accept.
Although the world has been adversely affected by current circumstances, the demand for good managerial skills has only risen. Many things have indeed changed, face masks have become fashion and temperature checks have become security, but what hasn’t changed is the fact that there is always going to be a demand for quality business professionals. And where there are business programs, there’s GMAT and the need to get a good score in order to get a spot in your dream B-school.
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