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GMAT – One small step, but it is a start

Please notice this was first posted in the period 2012-2014 and can be outdated

After doing some of my first research on the internet it becomes clear to me that no matter which MBA you want to apply for, you need to do the GMAT. I have never heard of this test before, but apparently GMAT stands for “Graduate Management Admission Test”. That sounds interesting; maybe a test to see how much you still know from what you have learned at previous courses in university or a test to see how much you know of management theory.

Think again!

The GMAT tests basic high school mathematics, English grammar, reading comprehension, and analytical skills. There will be a test which you can schedule on almost every day you would like, where you have to answer a bunch of questions on a computer in a test center. Everything has to be done within time limits and the outcome of the test is a score of 800 points or lower.

The thing the GMAT makers are proud of is the fact that the difficulty of your next question in the test will depend on how well you answered the former question. So if you answer the first question right, the second question will be a bit harder. This continues till you make a mistake. The question after a mistake is a little easier than the former question. They claim this will result in the most accurate scoring possible, and who am I to argue?

After you finish the test you have the option if you want it to be graded or not. To me that sounds pretty strange. Why would somebody do a test (and pay 250 dollars to take the test) and choose not to have it graded? Well, when the test is graded and you screwed up it will be part of your record. You can redo the test later, and score a lot better, but when you let GMAC (the GMAT test institute) send your scores to your university of choice it will show also your historical test results.

Since I know better things to do with 250 dollars than taking computerized tests on a weekday, and since I don’t want a test history looking like my toilet bowl, I rather prepare well before taking this step.

Based on customer reviews on Amazon and recommendations on www.beatthegmat.com I compiled my reading material for the coming weeks:

Overview of all the reading material for the GMAT

That doesn’t look too bad right?

At the top two books with test strategies; Kaplan GMAT Premier 2011 and The Princeton Review 2012. These two books should teach me how to tackle the GMAT and which rules I should memorize to score well. I would rather have bought the Kaplan GMAT Premier 2012 version, but I didn’t have a lot of patience when selecting the books and overlooked the newer version.

And below the test strategy books you can see the three official books from GMAC. If someone is speaking about the GMAT and mentions “the red, blue, and green book” he is talking about these books. All three of them filled with questions in the exact same format as you can expect on the exam.

Peace to the pile of GMAT books

My strategy will be as follows:

In the coming weeks I will start reading The Princeton Review 2012 and doing all sample questions in the book. This should give me a good indication how well I can grasp the concepts. Second will be the Kaplan GMAT Premier 2011. This will probably repeat the first book, so it will be a good way to read the same in a different way and see if I really understand the concepts.

After finishing those two books it will be time to take practice tests. My goal will be to do all questions from the red, blue, and green book. By the time I finished that I will be the GMAT expert.

The Princeton Review 2012 – my starting point

On most sites it is recommended to study for like 2-3 months for this test, with an average time of around 12 hours a week.

I am aiming for a test score of around 700 and will monitor and post my progress in the coming weeks.