GMAT EXAM 2020-21


1. What is the GMAT

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) began as an effort by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in 1953 to create a multiple-choice standardized testing for business master’s around the globe.

What started as a standardized admissions test for merely 54 schools in its initial stages is now a test accepted by over 6000 courses at over 2100 institutions across 114+ countries.

The GMAT is used to measure an applicant's analytical writing, and problem-solving abilities along with data sufficiency, logic, and critical reasoning skills, through the Quant, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment sections.

A GMAT test-taker receives two score reports from GMAC; unofficial score report, and an official score report. The unofficial score report contains the composite scores of the Verbal and Quant sections out of 800 and is available to the test-taker right after the test. While the official score report contains the scores of all four sections and is available within 20 days post-testing.

The test has undergone several changes during the years to make a more accurate prediction of an applicant’s chances of performing well, academically, at an MBA program.

The most recent change to GMAT's exam structure was made in 2016 when the total time of the test was cut down by 30 minutes (from 4 hours to 3.5 hours) and the rarely available paper-based GMAT was scrapped. The most significant change, however, was the introduction of the Integrated Reasoning section in 2012.

Despite the constant updating, the most unique feature of the test remains its Computer Adaptative Testing (CAT) format.

2. What is a CAT test?

From the perspective of the test-taker Computer Adaptative Testing can be a very unpredictable and difficult format of testing. However, it is used to optimize the accuracy of the exam in determining the test taker's knowledge of the subject.

In fewer words, the level of difficulty of a question is determined by the test taker's response to the question before it. Thus, if you answer a question wrong, the next question presented to you will be of a lower difficulty level.

Let’s break it down to understand it better.

  1. Step 1: A question of intermediate level of difficulty is posed.
  2. Step 2: The test-taker answers it.
  3. Step 3: The algorithm estimates the ability of the test-taker from all the answers they have given to previous questions. Correct responses to the hardest question posed by the exam so far generate a higher relative score.
  4. Step 4: Considering the current score, the algorithm combs through the question pool to find a question of higher difficulty.

In case the test taker's score in Step 3 is low, the next question posed by the algorithm will be of lower difficulty. However, seeing an easier question on your GMAT exam doesn't necessarily indicate a lower score.

The effect that CAT has on GMAT scores can be truly seen through the Enhanced Score Report, that GMAC provides, which we will discuss in detail in a later section.


3. GMAT exam structure

Understanding the GMAT exam structure is one of the first steps towards a high score on the GMAT. The exam is three and a half-hour long and consists of two optional 8-minute long breaks. The test also includes some experimental questions scattered throughout.

The GMAT is made up of four sections; Verbal, Quant, Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), and Integrated Reasoning (IR). In 2017, the GMAC started allowing test-takers, to choose the order in which they wished to attempt these sections to make the exam experience more user-friendly. Before we talk about the choice of section order, let’s get familiar with the various sections of the GMAT.

SECTIONS TIME (in minutes) TYPES OF QUESTIONS NUMBER OF QUESTIONS SCORE RANGE
QUANT 62 Data Sufficiency
Problem Solving
31 6-51 (increments of 1)
VERBAL 65 Reading Comprehension
Critical Reasoning
Sentence Correction
36 6-51 (increments of 1)
IR 30 Graphics Interpretation
Data Analysis
Multi-source Reasoning
Two-part Analysis
12 1-8 (increments of 1)
AWA 30 Analysis of an Argument (Essay) 1 0-6 (increments of 0.5)


4. GMAT Verbal

The GMAT Verbal is one of the two most important sections on the GMAT as its score is added to the composite score of 200-800 on the test. It is also one of the two sections on the GMAT that is Computer Adaptative.

This section either follows or precedes one of the two optional 8-minute breaks during the test.

The Verbal section comprises of 36 questions divided into three main categories:

I. Reading Comprehension:

Test takers are required to answer questions regarding the conclusion and arguments from a passage provided in the test.

II. Critical reasoning:

Very similar to the reading comprehension questions, Critical Reasoning contains shorter passages and requires test takers to use the data provided in the passage.

III. Sentence Correction:

In laymen terms, Sentence Correction can be called the grammar section of GMAT Verbal. It requires the test taker to follow certain grammar rules to find the errors in a sentence and rectify them by picking the grammatically correct option choice.

5. GMAT Quant

The second section that makes up the composites score of 200-800 on the GMAT is the Quant section. it is also Computer Adaptative like the Verbal section on the GMAT. The 31 questions on GMAT Quant are divided into two categories and tests the analytical skills of the test-taker more than their knowledge of the concept.

I. Problem-solving:

These are pretty straightforward questions asking a test taker to solve a Math problem and selecting the correct answer from the answer choices available.

II. Data sufficiency:

Data sufficiency is where the Quant section gets a little trickier. These questions provide a part of a question, two possible conditions that may or may not help in solving the question and then 5 answer choices. The answer choices ask the test taker whether one or both or none of the two possible conditions can help in solving the previously placed incomplete question.

6. GMAT AWA

The GMAT AWA question providesthe student with an author’s statement and asks them to elaborate on the same but not by presenting their own opinion. Instead, they are asked to understand the statement that the author made and do an analysis of the same. Students need to poke holes in the author's opinion by pointing out the weak arguments or facts and provide options for improvement on the same.

This section of the GMAT only consists of one question and is allotted 30 minutes for the same. The essays are then scored individually by two checkers and then allotted a score out of 6 in 0.5 increments by both. If the difference between the two individual scores is more than 0.5, an expert reader is brought in to allot a final score.

7. GMAT IR

The Integrated Reasoning section was added to the format of the GMAT in 2012. It was added to decipher the data analyzing capabilities of each candidate and have a standard to measure them against one another.

The section is 30 minutes long, consists of 12 questions and is scored out of 8 points.

The four type of questions in this section are:

I. Graphics interpretation

These questions ask you to study the information presented in form of scatter plot, x/y graph, bar chart, pie chart, or statistical curve distribution, etc. and then provide solutions based on your interpretation.

II. Table analysis

These questions require the candidate to analyze a table or a spreadsheet and then interpret the given data into relevant information.

III. Multi-source reasoning

This is the type of question which will provide you with multiple sources of information and then require you to analyze the different sources for meaningful data and provide conclusions or answer if the data is relevant.

IV. 2-part analysis

These questions your ability to solve complicated problems and simultaneous equations to finally figure the relationship between the different parts of the problem.

8. How to choose the GMAT section order?

A recent change in the format for the GMAT exam has given students the power to decide their section order. While the choice isn't completely subjective yet, there are three options that the applicant must choose from.

Order 1 Order 2 Order 3
AWA Verbal Quant
IR Optional Break Optional Break
Optional Break Quant Verbal
Quant Optional Break Optional Break
Optional Break IR IR
Verbal AWA AWA

Order 1

This is the original order in which the GMAT has always been available. The placement of the two 8-minute optional breaks in this order is after the IR and the Quant sections respectively.

The problem that students face with this section is that even though they have been giving the GMAT for almost an hour, they haven’t solved any question on the Quant or the Verbal section whose composite scores matter the most.

The benefit that this section provides is that a student can have a warm-up and get mentally prepared before actually getting to the Quant and Verbal sections.

Order 2

This is one of the two new section options provided by the GMAC. The two 8-minute breaks on this order are placed after the Verbal and the Quant sections.

The problem with this section could be the fact that Verbal is the first section. Thus, you cannot attempt Quant with a completely fresh mind. Also, by the time you reach the AWA, you could already be very tired.

The benefit, however, is for students who have a weaker verbal aptitude. They can finish off Verbal quickly, and then focus only on the sections they are good at, like Quant, and IR.

Order 3

The second new choice provided by the GMAC is the Quant, Verbal, IR, and AWA order. Similar to Order 2, the optional 8-minute breaks are provided after both Quant and Verbal sections.

The con for this option is that a student trying to avoid Quant would have to face it first. Thus, a bad performance might affect their performance throughout the rest of the sections.

The pro is also for a student who is better at Verbal. Once you have Quant out of the way, you can easily focus on the sections that are much easier according to you. Also, students who wish to attempt Quant with a fresh mind, to avoid any mistakes, can choose this option.

9. Registering for the GMAT

Registering for the GMAT should be one of the initial steps of your GMAT prep.

Once you have paid the fee for the test, you will automatically stop making excuses to post-pone your prep. For working individuals, coming home from a long work-day can leave you de-motivated. You probably would not want to pick up a book and bury yourself in the studies. Knowing exactly when your GMAT test would help you focus on the prep and avoid any procrastination.

I. Eligibility criteria

The GMAT exam only has one eligibility criteria that the candidate must be over 18 years of age.

In case the candidate does not meet this criterion ( I. e. they are between 13-17 years of age), they can still take the test by providing written proof of consent by a legal guardian.

II. How to register

You can register for the GMAT at mba.com (the official GMAT website).

Step 1: Create an account on mba.com

Step 2: Click on “Register for the GMAT” under “The GMAT Exam” on the main page

Step 3: Select your testing date, time, and location.

Step 4: pay the GMAC fee to finish registering for your GMAT appointment.

III. Registration fee and other charges

The GMAC charges a registration fee of $250 to register for the GMAT exam. This fee includes sending free official score reports to 4 business schools.

The schools need to selected before taking the examination. Once the exam is over, an applicant cannot send any more free score reports regardless of whether they used their free score reports or not.

To send any additional official score reports, the applicant is required to pay a fee of $28 per report.

If you reschedule your appointment at least 7 full days before your original appointment, then you will need to pay a reschedule fee of US$50. If you reschedule less than 7 full days before your original appointment, then you will be charged the full GMAT registration fee.

10. GMAT exam 2020 (Delhi NCR)

The GMAT exam can be scheduled anywhere from 6 months to 24 hours before your desired GMAT slot. There are three GMAT time slots available for applicants; morning, afternoon, and evening.

However, in Delhi NCR, the time slots and dates are limited as opposed to globally. Here is a calendar of the GMAT dates available at centers in Delhi NCR for the first six months of 2020.

Month (in the year 2020) Pearson Professional Centers- Gurugram Pearson Professional Centers- New Delhi Ansal University Golf Course Road, Sector - 55 Gurugram Pearson Professional Centers- Noida
January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 2, 9, 11, 16, 17, 23, 30, 31
February 6, 13, 19, 27 1, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15, 18, 22, 24, 29 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 6, 7, 13, 14, 17, 19, 27, 29
March 5, 12, 19, 26 7, 14, 17, 21, 28, 31 2, 3, 4,5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31 5, 11, 18, 24
April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 4, 7, 11, 18, 22, 25 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30 2, 7, 9, 30
May 7, 14, 21, 28 2, 9, 16, 21, 23, 30 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 7, 14, 21, 28
June 4 6 1, 2,3 ,4, 5, 8 4

How to Pick your GMAT appointment?

Few criteria to keep in mind while booking a GMAT appointment:

  • Set apart at-least 2-3 months for preparation.
  • Book a date at least 2 months before the business school application deadline you wish to apply in.
  • Book an appointment at least a month in advance as Indian GMAT test centers have limited time slots and dates available.

11. GMAT scores

I. GMAT Score validity

GMAT scores are valid for a rolling period of 5 years.

However, an applicant can request to send a score report, up to 10 years old. This request can only be made by contacting the regional GMAT customer service of the applicant. Such a score, when sent to business schools, carry a disclaimer that they should be interpreted with caution.

Any scores older than 10 years, are permanently removed from the record and cannot be accessed.

II. Canceling and re-instating GMAT scores

If you feel you have not done well on the GMAT, you may cancel your score, but you can only do this immediately after completing the test. You will be able to see your unofficial score before you decide to accept or cancel them. Only you will be able to see if you've canceled your score. If you decided to cancel your scores at the test center, you will have the option to reinstate their scores within 60 days from the date of their exam for a fee of USD$100.

12. GMAT Score report

The GMAT provides two types of score reports to every test-taker. The unofficial score report, and the official score report.

While the test-taker can see the unofficial score report right after finishing the test, the unofficial score report is available within 20 days of taking the test.

I. Unofficial score report

The unofficial score report shows the composite score of the Quant and Verbal sections and the score of the Integrated Reasoning section as well.

In case you have an MBA application deadline approaching, you can use the score on this report to fill your MBA applications (check school policy), and provide the official score report as and when it arrives.

II. Official score report

As soon as the official score report is available for the test-taker (within 20 days of the test), a mail detailing the steps to be taken to access the report is sent by Pearson VUE to the registered email id.

The official score report contains the scores for all the four sections of the GMAT and your percentile ranking. This report also contains all the GMAT scores that the test-taker has accepted in the rolling period of the past five years.

This is also the report that business schools demand for MBA applications.

III. Enhanced score report

The GMAC also allows test-takers to purchase a separate Enhanced Score Report for a fee of $30. This report can be found for sale on the mba.com store and gives a detailed analysis of the test.

The report is available within 24 hours of purchase and a confirmation mail with an activation code can be used to access the report.

This report is solely for the test-taker and is very helpful in case of preparation for GMAT re-takes.

13. Decoding GMAT percentiles

GMAT percentiles are simply measures that a student and a business school can use to check a student’s performance on the GMAT, in relation to all the test-takers. For example, if your GMAT score is in the 68th percentile, it suggests that 32% of test-takers have performed better on the test than you.

Your GMAT percentile is mentioned in your official score report as well as various charts, like the one below, are available to check the same.

GMAT Score Percentile
800 99%
750 98%
700 88%
650 73%
600 55%
550 38%
500 26%
450 16%
400 10%
350 5%
300 3%
250 1%
200 0%

14. How much should you score on the GMAT

GMAT is a very relative test. Some applicants spend years trying to score a ‘high score’ and never cross the 650-score mark. Others are able to achieve a 770 GMAT score in their first attempt.

Thus, trying to score a ‘high score’ might not be the best approach. The highest one can score on the GMAT is 800. The score that we’re talking about is not the overall GMAT score, rather the composite score for the Quantitative and Verbal sections of the test. In a test where only 8% of test-takers score more than 700, a score above 750 is already considered exceptional.

The problem with getting a perfect 800 GMAT score, however, is not simply about your GMAT prep. It also could be a fluke. The difference between 800 and 780 can be as simple as a decimal point mistaken by you.

This is why the pursuit of a ‘high score’ on the GMAT needs to be changed to the pursuit of your custom goal GMAT score. A goal GMAT score is the competitive score for the business schools one wants to target post-GMAT.

I. How to select a goal GMAT score?

Selecting a goal GMAT score is very simple. The most important step is to have the list of your target schools ready. Write down the average GMAT scores of all the schools in your target schools list. The highest GMAT score present before you should be your goal GMAT score.

AVERAGE GMAT SCORES US TOP 25 B-Schools

Rank & School 2018 GMAT Average
1. Penn (Wharton) 732
1. Harvard Business School 730*
3. Stanford GSB 732
4. Chicago (Booth) 731
5. Northwestern (Kellogg) 732
6. MIT (Sloan) 728
7. Columbia 732
8. UC-Berkeley (Haas) 726
9. Dartmouth (Tuck) 722
10. Michigan (Ross) 720
11. Yale SOM 724
12. Virginia (Darden) 718
13. Cornell (Johnson) 699
14. Duke (Fuqua) 704
15. UCLA (Anderson) 719
16. NYU (Stern) 716
17. CMU (Tepper) 690
18. Texas-Austin (McCombs) 703
19. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 703
20. Emory (Goizueta) 685
21. Washington (Foster) 696
22. USC (Marshall) 705
23. Georgetown (McDonough) 693
24. Rice (Jones) 706
25. Indiana (Kelley) 674

AVERAGE GMAT EUROPEAN MBA PROGRAMS

Rank & School 2018 GMAT Average
INSEAD 711
London Business School 707
Cambridge (Judge) 693
HEC Paris 691
IESE Business School 686
Oxford (Saïd) 681
IMD 680
IE Business School 680
Mannheim 678
SDA Bocconi 665
ESADE 665
Warwick Business School 654
Manchester Business School 650
Imperial 642*
ESMT Berlin 640
Cranfield 640
Erasmus 640*
City (Cass) 638*
St. Gallen 634
Lancaster 600*

Indian applicants with an engineering background, however, are suggested to aim for a GMAT score at least 20 points over the average GMAT score of their target schools due to the oversaturated applicant pool with the same background.

15. GMAT scores and MBA admissions

GMAT scores are one of the first factors that a business school considers while evaluating an applicant’s profile, along with the GPA. Thus, a higher GMAT score does positively affect your chances at admissions and related scholarships.

However, the GMAT score is more of an elimination-criteria rather than an acceptance-criteria. In simpler words, a bad GMAT score can get you kicked off a business school’s shortlist, but a good GMAT score cannot guarantee you a spot in their MBA program.

A competitive score, however, is a score equal to or greater than the average GMAT score of your target school.

Your GMAT score, although a big part of your MBA application, might not be the most significant part of it. People with similar GMAT scores, also end in very differently ranked business schools with very different amounts of financial aids.

16. Alternative to the GMAT

Since GMAT is used as a standardized test for admission to masters' programs to business schools, it has a few alternatives. Some business schools also conduct their tests as an alternative to GMAT. However, one major competitor for the GMAT is the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). The GRE is a standardized test that has long been used for admissions to masters or Ph.D. programs by top universities in UK, USA, and Canada.

While previously a lot of business schools were prejudiced against the use of GRE scores, in the past decade, the GRE has gained acceptance by many top global business schools to make MBA a more accessible master's program.

So, what is the difference between GRE and the GMAT, and which one should you choose?

I. Difference between GMAT and the GRE

Look at the table below.

Criteria GMAT GRE
Test duration 3 hours 30 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes
Sections & Questions Quant: 31
Verbal: 36
IR: 12
AWA: 1
Quant: 20
Verbal: 20
AWA: 2
Unscored or Research: 20
Composite score 800 340
Scoring algorithm Adaptative per question Adaptative per section
Validity 5 years 5 years
Fee $250 $205
Mode of conduction Computer Computer

Deceptively, when looking at the format, the GRE and the GMAT look like very similar exams.

One of the biggest differences between the GRE and the GMAT, that would affect your decision of which test to take is the difficulty of the Quant and the Verbal sections. The GRE is known to be a vocabulary heavy test while GMAT has a more challenging Quant section.

The Quant section of GMAT is trickily worded, and tests the students on critical thinking and analyzing the problems, especially in the Data Sufficiency segment. Thus, a lot of applicants take the GMAT to show their Quant prowess during business school admissions, and it is a foundation of the curriculum for an MBA program.

While the GRE is known for highly challenging vocabulary and grammar, making GMAT the safer choice for a non-native English speaker.

II. Should you take the GRE

This is a simple answer. If you wish to apply to master’s courses that do not accept a GMAT score, go for GRE. The GRE will let you keep your options for a master’s education open in case the MBA dream doesn’t work out.

However, if you’re sure about going to a business school the GMAT should be the test you take. I have a few reasons for this:

  • Some business schools still do not accept the GRE.
  • Many business schools that do accept the GRE, still convert the scores into a GMAT equivalent value.
  • Top Consultancies and Hegde funds that recruit MBA graduates from top schools use GMAT scores as an evaluation criterion during job interviews.

17. GMAT prep

Once you have decided to take the GMAT, prepping for the test is the next natural course of action. But with the avalanche of information that Google provides, where do you start?

The first decision you need to make in regards to your GMAT prep is whether you wish to do it on your own, or join a coaching institute. Prepping for the GMAT and scoring well on the test by yourself, is not an impossible task.

However, the GMAT is a test of strategies. For example, the GMAT is a test where even a few unanswered questions could affect you much were than a few wrong questions.

The GMAT levies heavy penalty for any un-attempted questions, even if the part you attempted was completely correct. On GMAT Verbal, 5 un-attempted questions can bring your score from a 91st percentile, down to 71st percentile score.

In such a situation, you can depend on a GMAT coach to provide you the best strategies to score well on the test.

Whether you decide to study by yourself or join a coaching institute, here are some things that will surely help you.

I. GMAT study material

GMAT Study Material is provided by the GMAC and many other publications and is mainly divided into two forms; online, and offline.

The online study material is available in bundles and almost always consists of a free mock test, and is available in bundles of mock tests and practice question sets. The biggest advantage of having an online bundle or the free mock tests is that you get to experience the CAT algorithm first hand during practice.

That being said, knowing which of the many online or offline resources to use is very important.

Here are a few online bundles to check out:

  • Official GMAT study guides
  • Manhattan Prep
  • Kaplan
  • Veritas Prep

A few books to complete your GMAT prep offline are:

For overall GMAT prep

  • Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guides (10 Books)
  • Kaplan GMAT Premier

For GMAT Quantitative prep

  • Kaplan GMAT Math Workbook

For GMAT Verbal prep

  • Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction Strategy Guide
  • Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook

II. GMAT strategies

As mentioned earlier, GMAT is a test that rewards strategies. But these strategies aren't ones that can be learned a week before the exam and practiced for a couple of days. GMAT test strategies that will help you optimize your time during the exam and score high need to practiced throughout a student's test prep. These strategies need to become second nature to you, and only then will you be able to properly utilize them during the GMAT exam.

Just like your approach to the test, your approach to practicing for the GMAT also needs to be methodological. Here’s how to begin:

1. Set a goal GMAT score:

We have already discussed what a goal GMAT score is and how you can find out your goal score, let’s talk about why having a goal score is necessary.

When you begin your GMAT prep, it is a short-term goal for you. Unless you have planned for it, you wouldn’t like to spend a whole year prepping for the test.

What we wish to do by setting a goal score is to figure out the time we need to allocate to prepping for the test. You can do this by taking a mock and then finding the difference between your current score on the mock and the score you wish to have.

Take a look at the table below. The x-axis shows the difference between your current mock score and your goal score and the y-axis shows the approximate number of hours you need to study to make up for it.

2. Practice mock tests

Don't go crazy with the mocks, but practice at least once a week. The idea is not to finish every mock test ever created but to get incremental value out of each test you take. Each mock test you sit for should be as close a representation of the real test as possible. When you take your mocks in conditions very similar to ones you would face on the actual day of the test, you will come across various roadblocks as well.

For example, if you have booked a morning slot for your GMAT (8 A.M), and feel sleepy when you take your mocks on the same time, you will have the opportunity to deal with this roadblock and figure out a morning routine that would make you fresh to take the test.

3. Reading the question first

Different sections and question types on the GMAT would require you to approach them differently. For some, reading the additional given information first would be the right move while others will require you to read the question first.

On GMAT Quant problem-solving questions, Verbal Sentence Correction questions, and Verbal Critical Reasoning questions, reading the question first is advised.

For all these question types, knowing exactly what the question requires you to solve for can help you tune out all unnecessary information and focus singularly on the parts of a graph or excerpt that you will find the solution in.

For the GMAT Quant Data Analysis questions and Verbal Reading comprehension questions, skimming through the additional information or the passage will help you answer the questions ahead more efficiently.

The Verbal Reading Comprehension will consist of multiple questions related to a single passage. Reading each question first and coming back to the passage for answers will eat away at the time you have to solve these. Having skimmed through the passage first, you will have a rough idea of the paragraph to comb through for the correct answer.

4. Set a blueprint for the AWA

Essay writing is a skill that requires a lot of polishing. If you aren’t a great writer, you won’t suddenly start writing like T. S. Elliot or Samuel Becket. However, the GMAT isn’t vetting you for the Pulitzer.

The AWA section of the test aims to see if a potential MBA student can formulate an easy to understand and neatly combined written piece.

In business world communication is key. But what is even more important is to get your point across. A random cluster of words holds no value if you cannot convey your point of view. This is exactly what a good AWA essay needs to do.

The way to achieve this is to make a blueprint for your essay before you start. The biggest setback that a student faces in the AWA is not creating a flow of thought and thus making the reading experience very jagged.

A blueprint will help you streamline your train of thought and in effect score well on the AWA section.

5. Analyze errors

Every mistake you make, whether in practice questions or mock tests, should be analyzed. And by analyzed we don’t mean looked and at pondered upon. Every error should be analyzed by following these steps.

Step 1: Identify the concept you got wrong.

Step 2: Without looking at the answer explanation, try to solve the question again.

Step 3: If you’re able to solve the question without a time restraint, make practice sets and time them as you solve them.

Or

If you’re not able to solve the question without a time restraint, refer to your books and learn the concept again.

6. Quality study time instead of quantity

This strategy is more concerned with when you study rather than how you study.

Take time out to study for your GMAT. Do not try to squeeze in your GMAT study hours during Lunch at work, or your commute to and from your workplace. Even if you spend merely an hour on your GMAT prep every day, make sure the only task you’re doing during that one-hour is studying for your GMAT.

You do not have to finish the syllabus for the test. This is not school and passing is not enough. GMAT is an ambitious test and you need to score as high as possible to get a competitive advantage.

18. Retaking the GMAT

While you have to pay the registration fee all-over again, the rules of re-taking the GMAT do differ from the first test.

  1. You can only take a GMAT 16 days after your previous GMAT exam.
  2. You can only take GMAT exams five times in a rolling year.
  3. You can only take the GMAT exam 8 times in your lifetime.

Every GMAT test-taker has wondered at least once if they should re-take their GMAT exam. So, if you're wondering the same after reading your score, there is nothing wrong with it. However, not everyone is able to increase their score by retaking the GMAT.

How do you decide whether re-taking the GMAT would do you any good? Here is a list of situations when you should definitely retake the GMAT exam, or when re-taking the GMAT is just not worth it.

If you... Definitely, re-take the GMAT Do not re-take the GMAT
Have scored above 720
Were underprepared
Are applying to a school with a deadline within 1.5 months
Did not finish a section
Scored more than 30 points higher on your mock tests
Received a GMAT waiver the first time
Have taken the GMAT 3+ times

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