April 29, 2011

GMAT - Gateway to MBA Abroad

The dream of abroad study and achieving an MBA degree is far reaching. For an Indian, it is not just confined within the Indian business schools but there is a huge chunk of MBA aspirants who want to study abroad from an international business school such as Harvard Business School, Stanford University or Wharton Business School for an international MBA degree. With the Foreign Education Provider’s Bill, the dream has been even more kindled. And the most sought after way to guarantee your admission in an international business school for international MBA is taking Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT). This article of MBAUniverse.com will be talking about the most popular entrance exam for the international MBA i.e. GMAT.

The GMAT :-
The Graduate Management Aptitude Test or GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test. The GMAT exam is owned and administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), an association of the leading graduate business schools around the world.
The basic trait of the Computer Adaptive Test is that, the difficulty level and marks of the questions will depend on your performance in the previous question. For e.g. if you answer the first question correctly, the next question will be of a higher difficulty level and the marks will be higher as well and it will continue in this way. But if you answer the questions incorrectly, the next question will be easier and the marks will be lower. “Each test taker sees a unique set of questions, and those questions are based on the response to the previous question. Once you answer a question, you can’t go back and change your answer,” says QS Network.
The score of GMAT is accepted for the MBA programs in the international business schools in USA and other English speaking countries. According to Wikipedia, the fee for GMAT exam as of December 2009 was USD 250 worldwide. In general the test takes four hours to complete. The maximum score that can be achieved from taking GMAT Exam is 800. The test score remains valid for five years from the time GMAT Exam has been taken.

The GMAT pattern:-
GMAT is structured in three sections, Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability and Analytical Writing Assessment which is separately presented. In GMAT, you don’t have the choice to attempt the questions according to your preference of sections. The first section that appears in the test is Analytical Writing Assessment. Quantitative Ability and Verbal Ability sections follow respectively.
QS Network mentions that, “The writing section is composed of two essays, one that asks the test taker to analyze an issue and the other to analyze an argument.  The Quantitative Ability section requires higher order math skills and includes data sufficiency and problem solving questions. The Verbal Ability section features questions involving reading comprehension and critical reasoning.”

The scoring system of GMAT:-
While calculating the score for your performance in the GMAT exam, only the scores of Quantitative Ability and Verbal Ability sections are considered. The score for the Analytical Writing Ability is exclusive. The scoring system maintains a complicated algorithm. “The examinee can make a silly mistake and answer incorrectly and the computer will recognize that item as an anomaly. If the examinee misses the first question his score will not necessarily fall in the bottom half of the range. Also, questions left blank (that is, those not reached) hurt the examinee more than questions answered incorrectly,” mentions Wikipedia.
QS Network mentions that the range of scores in GMAT is from 200 to 800. Verbal Ability and Quantitative Ability Section scores range from 0 to 60. Analytical Writing Assessment scores range from 0 to six and represent the average of the ratings from the two GMAT essays. The essays are scored differently from the Verbal Ability and Quantitative Ability sections and are not included in the total score.
Most of the international business schools do not mention any cut off GMAT score as such. According to information available in the media, the average score required for abroad study at the top international business schools range of upper 600s and lower 700s. “It may be possible to overcome a low test score with impressive real world accomplishments, good undergraduate performance, outstanding references and/or connections, particularly strong application essays, or coming from an under represented group,” Wikipedia says.

Registration for GMAT:-
According to QS Network, There are 468 test centres that offer the computer adaptive format GMAT exam in over 110 countries across the world. The GMAT exam is available at least 250 days a year and, in most locations, is offered six days a week.

Preparation and planning for GMAT Exam:-
Advance preparation is very necessary for taking GMAT successfully. “The amount of time needed varies among individuals and many students start 12 weeks in advance devoting several hours each week to exam preparation.  Students also find that reviewing and preparing one section of the test at a time works best,” QS Network suggests.
They also mention that for extensive preparation, you can buy the Official Guide for GMAT Review 12th Edition, The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review and the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review. “You can also access to an online tool called GMAT Focus Diagnostic Test; it is designed to help you get ready for the quantitative ability section of the exam, using real retired GMAT questions, testing your strengths and weaknesses to help you study more efficiently and effectively,” says QS Network.
You can practice essay writing with a web based essay writing tool called GMAT Write. “Each practice essay is scored in real time with the same automated essay-scoring engine used by the official GMAT exam.  After completing the essays feedback is immediate showing how you would most likely score on the writing exams and more importantly how you might improve,” QS Network adds.
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