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What does GMAT measure?

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What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 04:22
Folks,
I thought i will post some of my experiences dealing with the GMAT preparation.

To be honest, i had my GMAT exam scheduled on 29th of NOV. After preparation i took the GMAT Prep2 Test 1 and scored 410 ! The next thing immediately came to mind was cancel my exam. And i did cancel my exam !

I was prepared with most of the basics that GMAT tests but did not have enough practice. Also took the kaplan course.

2nd thing that was knocking my mind was am i fit for such exam as the GMAT?

I have a engineering deg from India. My math skills are good.

3rd thing i was researching was what does GMAT really test. Does GMAT requires high IQ? I noticed, GMAT only test basics Maths skills and Basic verbal skill. But yet scoring in the exam is so difficult. I have found a few factors that seems to me like key in GMAT exam.

1. Stamina of the mind. First they asks us to write two essays for about 60 minutes. To develop two good essays from two different diverse topic is cumbersome and drains considerable amount of thinking energy. I also feel this is the reason GMAC asks us to write the essays at the beginning rather than at the end of the exam (so we are given to solve quantitative problems after writing the essays - after tiring our minds!)

2. Then comes quantitative section. Each question is timed little more than 2 minutes. In the quant section data sufficiency generally takes close to two minute or even more some time. Problem solving question can be solved within two minutes but then they would make the question so much wordy that often times its confusing to extract the question stem.

3. Then comes the verbal section, relatively easy but presented at the end of exercising your mind for 60+75 minutes. Questions are also timed less than two minutes and mixed SC, RC and CR are presented at random. If they ask the Qs in serial order like SC first, RC second and CR third, examinees would have at least a flow and mind would not switch frequently. But they don't. What i found was some times it takes more than allotted time to complete a SC or CR question.

I feel if GMAC change the order of the exam to Verbal first, Quant second and Essay third many would score great.

Now how can people like me can improve on the GMAT exam? Am i capable of scoring high on this exam? Or i am not worth for exam such as GMAT and MBA is a distant dream for us ? From my instinct what i feel is i have the qualities it requires to be an MBA. Also have around 10 years of work experience in software industry and have been always in the top 10-15% performer in the team. Yet not able to clear the first hurdle. Score only 410 on a simulated GMAT exam. Would like to hear from people who scored in the 95 to 99th percentile and what was the key to their success? What strategy requires to succeed in GMAT exam? How much study time be allotted? What to do one week before exam?

Thanks much,
A poor soul in the hope of doing better.
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Re: What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 06:14
A score of 410, means to didn't train at all. I don't understand why you're already complaining about the GMAT format.
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Re: What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 06:55
There is basically no point in complaining about the GMAT format. It is a challenging test and is meant to be hard. It is actually hard for just about anyone thanks to its adaptive format. Also, just as top-class management position does, GMAT requires a lot of stamina and willpower, but stamina and focus can be improved significantly by practicing harder and longer.

I believe that a score of 410 is kind of strange for an engineer with decent verbal skills - I think that anyone can get 600+ with some preparation. Have you prepared at all? GMAT tests concepts you might have forgotten or never acquired (particularly in verbal section). Also, try taking more than one prep test before drawing conclusions.
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Re: What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 07:58
actually essay first probably easiest. requires almost no brain power at all compared to the other 2 sections where you will need to "dig deep" on some problems. People can argue the validity of gmat to mba success or iq or whatever but it is not gonna change the fact that you have to take it and do well on it to get into good schools.
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Re: What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 11:11
Expert's post
mbaboy wrote:
Folks,
I thought i will post some of my experiences dealing with the GMAT preparation.

To be honest, i had my GMAT exam scheduled on 29th of NOV. After preparation i took the GMAT Prep2 Test 1 and scored 410 ! The next thing immediately came to mind was cancel my exam. And i did cancel my exam !

I was prepared with most of the basics that GMAT tests but did not have enough practice. Also took the kaplan course.

2nd thing that was knocking my mind was am i fit for such exam as the GMAT?

I have a engineering deg from India. My math skills are good.

3rd thing i was researching was what does GMAT really test. Does GMAT requires high IQ? I noticed, GMAT only test basics Maths skills and Basic verbal skill. But yet scoring in the exam is so difficult. I have found a few factors that seems to me like key in GMAT exam.

1. Stamina of the mind. First they asks us to write two essays for about 60 minutes. To develop two good essays from two different diverse topic is cumbersome and drains considerable amount of thinking energy. I also feel this is the reason GMAC asks us to write the essays at the beginning rather than at the end of the exam (so we are given to solve quantitative problems after writing the essays - after tiring our minds!)

2. Then comes quantitative section. Each question is timed little more than 2 minutes. In the quant section data sufficiency generally takes close to two minute or even more some time. Problem solving question can be solved within two minutes but then they would make the question so much wordy that often times its confusing to extract the question stem.

3. Then comes the verbal section, relatively easy but presented at the end of exercising your mind for 60+75 minutes. Questions are also timed less than two minutes and mixed SC, RC and CR are presented at random. If they ask the Qs in serial order like SC first, RC second and CR third, examinees would have at least a flow and mind would not switch frequently. But they don't. What i found was some times it takes more than allotted time to complete a SC or CR question.

I feel if GMAC change the order of the exam to Verbal first, Quant second and Essay third many would score great.

Now how can people like me can improve on the GMAT exam? Am i capable of scoring high on this exam? Or i am not worth for exam such as GMAT and MBA is a distant dream for us ? From my instinct what i feel is i have the qualities it requires to be an MBA. Also have around 10 years of work experience in software industry and have been always in the top 10-15% performer in the team. Yet not able to clear the first hurdle. Score only 410 on a simulated GMAT exam. Would like to hear from people who scored in the 95 to 99th percentile and what was the key to their success? What strategy requires to succeed in GMAT exam? How much study time be allotted? What to do one week before exam?

Thanks much,
A poor soul in the hope of doing better.


GMAT is meant to be tough for all due to its adaptive format. Even 99%ilers sweat on it, no exaggeration. That said, it is also a very simple test since there are only a handful of concepts it tests (as compared to the crazy Math we have to go through to crack IIT, CET etc, the Math here is absolutely basic). But the fun part of GMAT is that it is adept at hiding the concept it is testing.. Plus, its DS and CR question formats are not run-of-the-mill. They take practice and strategy to work out. You could feel that the DS question you just got was very simple, but there might have been this tiny trick that you missed! Since you are an engineer, I am assuming your Math skills are not bad at all... Your Verbal seems fine too. But you have been out of touch for a long time. So forget about why the format is the way it is (since anyway we cannot do anything about it even if we wanted to), focus on what can you do to adapt yourself to this format.
Start working and get back when you get stuck somewhere.

I have discussed some of these things on my blog post: http://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2010/11/quarter-wit-quarter-wisdom-a-prelude/
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Re: What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 12:13
Thanks Everybody who has responded.

There was one assumption on my original post and the assumption seems to be creating a bit confusion among the readers. The assumption is "I don't intend to ask for a change or hoping to see a change in the GMAT exam. The tricky factors of the GMAT exam i outlined was to get the expert opinion about how to beat these key factors given as they are. In simple words given the format of the GMAT as it is, how can one beat it? Given the fact that there are many of us who did it by scoring 99th percentile!"

On my practice part i did cover all major topics that are covered in GMAT just did not master the overlapping sets. I took 6 days off from work including thanksgiving holidays to appear in the exam. I was of course stressed in the 6 days because of over studying. I took the exam in the 5th day and felt nervous with the outcome. The difficult part for me was employing the learned skill within given time frame during the exam. It seems like it requires lots and lots of practice and recognize the pattern immediately during the exam rather than peeling the beans in the exam.

Also i searched the net and some expert suggested not to practice 2-3 days before exam date to do well in the exam. Short term memory will retain the things we learn during practice session. Rescheduling my exam to mid JAN now. Hope it turns out good this time.

Sincerely,
N K Das
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Re: What does GMAT measure? [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2010, 22:59
Hello mbaboy,

Firstly, don't take the GMAT as your enemy. Take it as an exam which will help you grow. Isn't it good that in the processing of learning Sentence correction, you'll improve your grammar and you'll be able to write and speak better English. Similarly, post MBA ,one has to come across documents,dossiers,files which have formidable lengths and a person who has below average reading/comprehension skills will probably find it difficult to digest such an overwhelming amount of information in a short period of time. That's where RCs are able to help you. In the process of practising RCs, you'll be able to understand what is important and what is not and how to read fast.

As far as stamina is concerned, the GMAT just gives you a peep into the kind of stamina you'd need for Consulting/Finance jobs post MBA.
I think that having the right strategy for the GMAT is incredibly important .It'll help you keep a track of your improvement and you'll actually see yourself becoming better as you move forward with your preparation. All said and done, we have a great community here which you can utilize to help you out through the process. Just read through some inspirational posts of people who had 400-500 on their first GMAT attempts and you came out with flying colors on their second attempt.
So it's just a matter of perspiration and the right strategy . :)
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Re: What does GMAT measure?   [#permalink] 02 Dec 2010, 22:59
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