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  • BLUECHIP Pursuit - Get Your GMAT Basics Right

    gmat for dummies!
    YOU CAN’T follow a one- size- fits- all approach when you prepare for the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), whose scores are now accepted by 5,000 management programmes in over 2,000 business schools around the world.

    Before you freeze your preparation strategy for GMAT, test your level of preparedness by taking mock tests offered by online preparation sites. “Once you have a clear idea of your strengths and the areas that need improvement, you can develop a study plan that requires you to devote more time to areas in need of improvement and reinforce your skills in your strong areas,” says Rajiv Mohan, Vice President (Marketing) at Savicca Inc, a Canadian company that owns a popular education social networking platform.

    Based on your mock test scores, he adds, you could devote between three and six months readying yourself for the exam. The best way to draw up a GMAT preparation plan is to explore some of the preparation communities where aspirants discuss and debate the pros and cons of different strategies and avail of worldwide admissions assistance.

    Figure out your areas of strength

    Says Mohan, “There is no ‘one size fits all’ plan for success because each aspirant has his or her own areas of strength and improvement.” Getting hold of the right preparation content is very important because GMAT is an extremely standardized test. There’s too much material floating around in the market, but pick them up carefully or you’ll be wasting valuable prep time. And yes, it may be a good idea to join a coaching class.

    Vineet Gupta, Director, Jamboree Education, explains how coaching centres help you set your preparation plan on the right track. “They help you master your concepts and offer 10 - 12 full length tests. Most students aren’t used to the computer exam format so they can’t manage time. Only practice helps you master time management. The GMAT penalizes more for leaving the test incomplete than for wrong answers,” says Gupta. Candidates get three hours and a half to complete the three- section test.

    Prepare right!

    Getting hold of the right prep material is important because GMAT is a highly standardized test and there are many guide books floating around in the market. The place to start, naturally, is the GMAT website,, where you can download practice tests with real questions and order The Official Guide for GMAT series.

    Finally, a cautionary note on scoring. You may score well in online tests, but how they measure up to the actual GMAT is still a moot point. And it’s a computer adaptive test, so if you answer a question right, the computer automatically raises the difficulty level of the question to follow.

    But, says Gupta, “the test format, which hasn’t changed in the last 20 years, is very predictable and the questions you’ll be asked follow a set pattern. So, get your focus right and remember it’s still the most sought- after ticket to open doors to management programmes.

    As Ashish Bhardwaj, Regional Director (South Asia) of the Graduate Management Admission Council, the body that administers the test, points out, “The GMAT is backed by several validity studies, establishing clearly that the scores are predictive of a candidate's performance in a management programme, which is why business schools across the world use GMAT as one of the criteria to assess potential students.” You can’t dream of becoming a successful executive and not get your GMAT basics right.