Getting Ready for the GMAT

The GMAT is a standardized test that is designed to predict the academic performance of the test taker in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. GMAT scores are requested by graduate business schools and used to make admissions decisions.


Sometimes, the GMAT is referred to as the GMAT-CAT. In this case, the title refers to the Computer Adaptive Test (CAT). However, even in this case, only half of the exam’s four sections are computer-adaptive. This means that during the Quantitative and Verbal sections, the computer will adapt to your ability. When you answer a question correctly, the test generates a more difficult subsequent question. When you answer a question incorrectly, the test generates an easier subsequent question.

Today, the GMAT is only administered electronically. Only in certain extremely remote locations is it administered in its paper-based form. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the GMAT.   

GMAT Test Prep

The earlier you start to prepare for the GMAT, the better. You will have a better chance of scoring well—and gaining admission to the schools of your choice—if you prepare early and thoroughly. Start by creating a solid study plan, selecting your GMAT preparation materials and study guides, and knowing what to expect on test day.

The GMAT is a standardized test, similar to the SATs. If you haven’t studied particular subjects since high school—mathematics, for instance—you will need to ensure that you cover them thoroughly in your review. While some people devote themselves full-time to preparing for the GMAT for a period of several weeks or even months, you should be sure to allot yourself plenty of time to prepare if you’ve got a full-time occupation and/or other commitments. Set aside at least three months to study, and ensure that you’ll be able to devote ample time on the evenings and weekends if you’re working. Next, ensure that your study schedule is both reasonable and functional. Be realistic when it comes to the amount of time you’ll be able to devote to studying each day and the number of weeks you’ll need to cover all topics.  

GMAT Study Guides

Your study materials are crucial. Most sources recommend using the Official Guide for GMAT Review. You may be able to find other reliable unofficial GMAT study guides, but keep in mind that buying more study guides won’t guarantee you a higher score. Indeed, don’t waste too much time and money on excess materials, such as applications, video lectures, books, and practice tests. Keep it simple and choose the materials that work best with your learning style.

GMAT Exams

How can you prepare for test day? There are several things you can do. Firstly, make sure you understand the test format. The directions will not change on test day, so if you come prepared by knowing the directions, you can save yourself time. Pay close attention to test directions in the data sufficiency section of the test, as these questions may differ from those you’ve seen on other standardized tests.