From the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) offices in Reston, Virginia, Vineet Chhabra leads the global team that oversees the planning and delivery of the GMAT, the world’s premier business school admission test.
For business schools, the GMAT is a common benchmark with which to evaluate candidates. It tells schools if you’re prepared for the rigors of a graduate program.
The computer-adaptive test gets easier or harder as you answer the questions, depending on whether the answer is right or wrong.
Business schools never admit on GMAT score alone. But if you’re applying to business school, you’ll likely have to take the GMAT, or an alternative test, to get accepted. Schools are also increasingly looking at GMAT scores when awarding merit-based scholarships.
Hundreds of people are involved in the GMAT’s development. This includes work on expanding access to the test, enhancing the overall test taker experience, marketing, research, test security, liaising with business schools, and on the test questions themselves.
Vineet says proposed GMAT questions go through a year-long, rigorous review process before they are added to the test. Many don’t survive.
How should you approach the test? What GMAT myths are out there that you can ignore? Is the GMAT really harder than the GRE?
We spoke to Vineet to find out more.
View the full results in the GMAT scores article mentioned below.
What advice do you have for anyone taking the GMAT?
Number one is be prepared. Get to know the test, understand the content, do practice tests and questions.
Sometimes it’s everything else that’s happening around your exam that can impact how well you do in it. So, know what the test center looks like; what you can expect from it; how to get to it; what you need to take.
Also, have a good understanding of what kind of score you’re targeting. Talk to schools, look at the types of programs you’re interested in and what they’re looking for—not only from a GMAT perspective, but in their holistic approach to admissions—to know what kind of score will make you competitive. There’s a school for everyone and it’s just about finding the right fit.
What are the biggest myths around the GMAT exam?
All standardized tests, including the GMAT, carry this myth that you need a certain score to be considered for a certain type of school.
Schools are looking for a diverse group of candidates. Although it’s an important part of what you bring to the table, a particular score doesn’t necessarily close or open doors for you. Look at your GMAT score as part of the overall value proposition that you bring to a school.
There are also myths that you should do the test in a certain way. Trying to crack the code or beat the test is not an ideal approach. It’s an adaptive test which adapts to your style and level of ability, so the best way to showcase your true ability is to prepare and do your best.
© Gorodenkoff via Shutterstock
Is the GMAT harder than the GRE?
I think difficulty is relative. What’s difficult to one person is often contextualized by their own experiences, background, and skills.
The GMAT is consciously designed to assess skills that are most relevant for business school. It’s a test of applied reasoning. It’s not just about knowing stuff; it’s about what you can do with your knowledge and how you can apply that in a thoughtful way. It hits closer to what businesspeople do on a daily basis.
In my opinion, the GRE is a graduate test designed to assess skills across a broad variety of graduate programs. The GMAT and the GRE were designed for different things, so that can sometimes feed a perception of relative ease or difficulty.
Check out: GMAT Sample Questions & Answers
©JAL via iStock
What are the biggest changes to the GMAT that people should know about?
We’ve worked to make the GMAT test-taking experience more flexible and friendly.
We’ve shortened the test so people spend less time in the test center. We’ve made it flexible in terms of the section order you can choose to take the GMAT in. We’ve expanded our payment options; introducing new payment types and currencies in select markets.
We’ve made efforts to extend access to our GMAT test prep, making large parts of the GMAT Official Guide available online and mobile-friendly. We also now give you the choice to accept or cancel your score if you don’t want it to be reported, which you couldn’t do previously.