How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GMAT
Posted on
Aug 2021

How To Keep Your Sanity While Preparing For The GMAT

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Nemrout Safarian
Date: 3rd August, 2021

The Hows:
– Taking a GMAT Preparation Course
– Creating an Effective Study Schedule
– Controlling Your Emotions
– Maintaining Connection to Your Support Team
– Resting and Getting Good Sleep
– Celebrating Your Big and Little Achievements


Experiencing too much anxiety over the GMAT Exam might cause a negative impact on your mental health and make it difficult for you to keep your sanity. Moreover, it might even make it more challenging to concentrate when studying and disrupt your sleep schedule. However, with the correct test stress and anxiety busting tactics, as well as an effective studying schedule, your GMAT exam preparation can become much less stressful.

Here are 6 tips that we recommend to make your GMAT exam preparation stress-free and effective.

  • Take a GMAT Preparation Course

Everyone’s GMAT story is different. Some people can get a 700 score based on everything they already know, without opening a GMAT book. But, for most students, a preparation course or one on one prep time with a personal GMAT  tutor is necessary for two reasons. First: it puts you in the right direction in terms of exam content, strategies, solution paths, and tactics to tackle problems, by helping you structure a concrete and designated studying plan.

Secondly: it makes you feel much more confident and emotionally calm, as you work with a trustworthy and an experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of the exam and preparation insights. Furthermore, a GMAT tutor can assist you with anything necessary throughout the preparation and testing process. Apex GMAT, for example, offers a complimentary consultation call for interested individuals, looking for structured personalized GMAT preparation. 


  • Create an Effective Study Schedule

Don’t wait for the perfect time to take the GMAT. This moment may never reveal itself! Life will always throw you curveballs and can end up curtailing your plans. Situations may arise which may interfere with your GMAT preparation as well. During your GMAT prep, you should take the extra effort to harmonize any unexpected situations with your study schedule.

One effective method you could try is to divide your studying schedule into multiple time frames throughout the day so that you can concentrate on preparing in smaller doses rather than studying for 5-7 hours straight and losing your ever so vital focus.

Study the materials during the weekdays and devote some time to practice tests where necessary. Practice test will help you to assess your progress and to understand your main strengths and weaknesses. Beware: don’t overuse practice tests. 

  • Control Your Emotions

At some point, the GMAT will stress you out, making you feel disappointed and frustrated. This is natural! Whether it is an unsatisfactory score on a practice test or the feeling of giving up, the GMAT can make it easy to have an emotional breakdown. However, it is important to be able to take control of your emotions, and have a “never a failure, always a lesson” attitude.

Every time you make a mistake, try to dive deep into that specific concept and figure out why you made that particular mistake. And learn from it. This is exactly how you make progress! Whenever you feel like you can’t go on anymore, remember your goals and aspirations, and that this test is a key to the completion of those. Also keep in mind that taking a break is a good thing, practicing in short timeframes will allow you to improve your skills without feeling overwhelmed.  With the proper frame of mind, you will find yourself studying again in no time.

  • Maintain a Connection to Your Support Team

The people you communicate with during your GMAT preparation process are very important and can hugely affect your frame of mind. Try not to isolate yourself too much from them. Spending your whole time in your room focusing on all that GMAT content can lead to burnouts.

Instead, spend time with the people whose presence is pleasing to you, who support and believe in you. This can be your family, your best friends, or the new acquaintance that has no idea what the GMAT even is. Constant communication with the people that you love will positively affect your overall mentality and help you stay engaged and happy when preparing for the test.

  • Get Some Rest and Good Sleep

Another essential thing to remember is paying attention to your sleep schedule. Add an extra half an hour to your sleep schedule so that you can give your brain time to wind down for the night. This extra half-hour is crucial, as we frequently overlook the time it takes to get ready for bed, set the alarm clock, and so on. Getting 8 hours of sleep a night while preparing for the GMAT is vital. 

Additionally, be cautious about what you are eating or drinking as an unhealthy diet can negatively affect your sleep schedule. Although the effects of caffeine may differ from person to person, try to avoid all sources of caffeine after 3 p.m. and modify accordingly. Aside from coffee, caffeine is found in a variety of foods and drinks, including tea, chocolate, and carbonated beverages. However, there are GMAT test prep benefits to caffeine products when consumed thoughtfully. 

  • Celebrate Your Big and Little Achievements

Your GMAT preparation process aims to help you reach your goals! Reward yourself a little – take a moment and celebrate little achievements. Whether it is progress in practice test scores or a complicated Math concept that you have finally mastered. It will help you feel more positive and confident about your overall knowledge and skills.

Be brave enough to challenge yourself with tougher concepts after. As you progress down your GMAT journey, be sure to celebrate  your short- and long-term accomplishments. These moments of celebration will undoubtedly assist you in keeping yourself at the top of your game and stress free.

Good luck studying and remember to believe in yourself! 


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Posted on
Jul 2021

Taking the GMAT Exam in Cape Town

Table of Contents:

  1. Who administers the GMAT test?
  2. What does the test center look like?
  3. Where are the test centers located?
  4. Test center holidays
  5. Top MBA programs in the area
  6. Tips
  7. Test Day FAQs

About ¾ of the way through your extensive GMAT prep you should begin to start planning your test day, including scheduling the test, preparing your trip to the test center, and even pre-visiting the test center so that you know exactly where it is. This guide is here to offer you all the required information related to taking the GMAT in Cape Town

Who administers the GMAT test?

The GMAT exam is administered in 2 different locations in Cape Town: in a university campus (IBTC Cape Town) and in an educational center in the city (CTU Training Solutions). 

What does the test center look like?

The location will include individual testing areas for each test taker with a separation screen between each test-taker.

Where are the test centers in Cape Town?

These are the top locations where test-takers generally had the best experience:

International Business Training Collegeinternational business college gmat exam location in cape town

3rd Floor
79 Roeland Street
Cape Town
South Africa


By car:

From City Center (13 minutes):

  • Head southeast on Wale St toward Queen Victoria St
  • Continue onto Adderley St
  • Turn right onto Bureau St
  • Slight right onto Spin St
  • Turn right onto Plein St
  • Turn left onto Roeland St
CTU Training Solutions Cape Townctu training solutions cape town gmat test location

Stadium On Main, Level 3
99 Main Road
Cape Town
South Africa



By car:

From City Center (14 minutes):

  • Get on N2 from Strand St and Newmarket St
  • Follow N2 and M3 to Princess Anne Ave/M146/M63 in Rondebosch. Take exit 8 from M3
  • Take Klipper Rd and Main Rd/M4 to Hawthorne Rd in Claremont

The most popular times for GMAT preparation and test-taking are during the holiday seasons. Be mindful of dates that you will not be able to take the GMAT or EA at any of the test centers mentioned above. Pearson test centers are closed during the following dates:

  • 1 Jan – New Year’s Day 
  • 21 Mar – Human Rights Day
  • 10 Apr – Good Friday   
  • 13 Apr – Family Day
  • 27 Apr – Freedom Day 
  • 1 May – Workers’ Day
  • 16 Jun – Youth Day
  • 9 Aug – National Women’s Day
  • 10 Aug – Public Holiday
  • 24 Sep – Heritage Day
  • 16 Dec – Day of Reconciliation
  • 25 Dec – Christmas Day
  • 26 Dec – Day of Goodwill

Top MBA programs in Cape Town

  • University of Cape Town- Graduate School of Business


  • During the test there will not be complete silence – you will be able to hear noise from other test takers so it is best to prepare for this by studying for the exam in similar scenarios. This can prepare you for any distractions (such as coughing, sneezing, or computer clicking sounds) that might occur while taking your exam.
  • Try to spend some time actually prepping in the lobby of the test center weeks/days in advance of your exam date. Since the place will be familiar to you come test day this can help curb test anxiety should you have any.
  • Here is a helpful test day planning guide: Link to guide
  • Find a test day checklist here: link to checklist

Test Day FAQs

Here are the top 5 questions that clients ask us about exam day information:

  • Are you allowed to listen to music while taking the GMAT exam?

You are not allowed to listen to music while taking the GMAT exam and you are not allowed to wear earphones as well.

  • What should I do if I fall sick on the exam day?

If you do not feel well come exam day you will have to make the decision as to whether or not you can take the test and perform at your best. Most people will not be able to do this so it will be best to cancel it. If you do so on the day of the exam you will incur a loss of your full $250 exam fee. If you cancel the exam 7 days in advance you will be charged a penalty of $50. If it is the first time that you will sit the exam and you are up for sitting through a 4 hour test, this may be a good opportunity to experience the test as you have the ability to cancel the score right afterwards if you are unhappy with it. Ultimately, it is best to take the GMAT when you are feeling your best as this will result in your optimum test performance.

  • What can I bring with me to the test center?

You are allowed in the test center with the following:

  • GMAT approved identification
  • Appointment confirmation letter or email you received from Pearson VUE
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Light sweater or light non-outerwear jacket
  • Comfort items only if they were pre-approved as an accommodation received in advance

Any additional personal belongings that you bring with you such as your cell phone, bag, snacks, and earphones will need to be stored in one of the provided lockers. You may eat your snack during the breaks. Any cell phone use throughout the test time (including breaks) is prohibited.

The test center will provide you with everything that you need in order to take the test including scratch paper and a pencil.

  • Should I wear a mask during the exam?

At the test centers above they strongly recommend that you wear a face mask or some type of face-covering in the test center and for the duration of your test to protect yourself and others. Test centers do not provide face masks for candidates.

Please note that if you have any flu-like symptoms upon arrival at the test center, you may be requested to reschedule your exam for another time when you are in full health.

  • What can I expect at the test center?

A usual test center is typically quite small. Once you arrive you will have to provide the administrator with the relevant documents and while these are being processed you will be asked to wait in the waiting area. In this area, you can still access all your personal belongings up until you are called into the testing room.

Once in the room, you will be allocated an individual exam station where you will find a computer.

For any questions or comments please reach out to us at
To speak to an Apex instructor about your GMAT prep, schedule a call HERE.

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GMAT Calculator & Mental Math - All You Need To Know
Posted on
Jul 2021

GMAT Calculator & Mental Math – All You Need To Know

Author: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ilia Dobrev
Date: 27 July, 2021

Are you allowed to use a calculator on the GMAT? While this may seem as a pretty straightforward question to answer, it does deserve a separate blog post as it hides details that are vital for achieving a top GMAT score not only on the quantitative section, but on the exam as a whole.

Well, the answer is both Yes and No. This article aims to examine the different scenarios where you are allowed to use such a device and how you can make full use of its potential. But, if you are used to doing math with a calculator, do not worry as we have compiled a list of some mental math techniques that you can use to your advantage and even save much important time while still being spot-on with your answers.

Calculator on the GMAT | Explained

  • You are not allowed to bring your own calculator to the GMAT exam.
    According to the GMAC, no personal items are allowed in the exam room of any of the certified test centers.
  • You cannot use a calculator on the Quantitative section of the GMAT.
    Despite the fact that we are so used to using calculators to help us with arithmetic operations, you should not feel intimidated that you are not allowed to use any type of calculator on the GMAT Quantitative section. However, you will be provided with a blank canvas by the proctor of the exam where you will have plenty of space to practice to manually compute any calculations, if needed.

You should not worry as the GMAT exam is not designed to test you on complicated mathematical operations or complex calculations. Instead, the quant section draws from secondary-level math skills like basic algebra and geometry, which are mastered in high school, to test other kinds of abilities like critical thinking, logical reasoning, and problem-solving. In fact, the majority of the Quant questions can (and should) be answered without any calculations beyond estimation. A typical example of how you can use mental math to get to the right answer while saving precious time on the GMAT is the Movie Night combinatorics problem. Another type of common GMAT quant questions are data sufficiency problems, which are also more about reasoning than  calculations. You’ll only need to do basic calculations and can rely on estimation for anything more complicated. If you have to do the math, the GMAC usually keeps the numbers simple and avoids decimals. When you see large numbers or complex fractions, then it’s a good bet that there’s an easier solution path to embark on other than calculating.

Surprisingly or not, a calculator will be provided for use during the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section of the test. This GMAT calculator has the standard basic functions, CE (clear entry) button, C (clear) button, an sqrt function, a % (percentage) button, and a 1/x button that calculates the reciprocal of the entry currently on the screen. Also, there is a row with the standard memory functions

  • MS (memory store) stores the current entry in the calculator’s memory for subsequent use.
  • MR (memory recall) displays the latest number stored in the calculator’s memory so that it can be used for the next calculations.
  • M+ (memory addition) adds the current entry to the value that is currently stored in the calculator’s memory. This button is helpful when you need to add a long series of numbers and don’t want to retype each one.
  • MC (memory clear) erases whatever is in the current memory. You should click this button before every new calculation scenario.

Improve your Mental Math and reduce your Calculator Dependency

Survival Tips & Tricks

Do not overuse the IR calculator.

While you are provided with a basic GMAT calculator during the Integrated Reasoning section, you might not want to use it too often as you’ll waste more time than you’ll save. You can also apply the solution paths you are using in the Quant section to some problems in the Integrated Reasoning section.

Constantly practice Mental Math operations.

A huge morale boost is that mental math operations are easy to learn with some practice. You can add, multiply, subtract, and divide when you pay bills, check out at the grocery store, calculate a tip, etc. without using a calculator.

Make accurate estimations

The key to saving a considerable amount of time on the GMAT exam is efficiency in estimations. Transform numbers to less unwieldy figures like 0 or 5 for the purpose of calculations. You can then browse the answer choices to see which is closest to your preliminary estimate.

Do not use a calculator when you are prepping for the GMAT quant section.

This is a great way to practice mental math operations outside the daily life operations. The test setting and quant context will let you get used to this environment so that you know what to expect on test day.

Familiarize yourself with a basic GMAT calculator and do use its Memory functions.

As this will be your only technical aid during the GMAT Integrated Reasoning section, you’d better spend some time making the most out of it. Especially when you are pressed by time, memorizing calculated values for further operations in the calculator’s memory can be crucial for staying on track with a healthy exam pace.

Guide yourself by looking at the answer choices.

Looking at the answer choices can immediately permit you to eliminate a couple of options. Even if you are pushed by time, you can easily make a more educated decision depending on your reasoning that will boost the chances of picking the correct answer.

Do not freak out if you see large numbers.

Remember that the people who stand behind the GMAT are aware that they are designing questions that are supposed to be answered without using a calculator. This also keeps the arithmetic from being too difficult and gives you the opportunity to apply a more straightforward approach.

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GMAT Quant Syllabus 2021-2022
Posted on
Jul 2021

GMAT Quant Syllabus 2021-2022

Author: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Altea Sollulari
Date: 22 July, 2021

We know what you’re thinking: math is a scary subject and not everyone can excel at it. And now with the GMAT the stakes are much higher, especially because there is a whole section dedicated to math that you need to prepare for in order to guarantee a good score. There is good news though, the GMAT is not actually testing your math skills, but rather your creative problem solving skills through math questions. Furthermore, the GMAT only requires that you have sound knowledge of high school level mathematics. So, you just need to practice your fundamentals and learn how to use them to solve specific GMAT problems and find solution paths that work to your advantage. 

The Quantitative Reasoning section on the GMAT contains a total of 31 questions, and you are given 62 minutes to complete all of them. This gives you just 2 minutes to solve each question, so in most cases, the regular way of solving math equations that you were taught in high school will not cut it. So finding the optimal problem solving process for each question type is going to be pivotal to your success in this section. This can seem a daunting start, so our expert Apex GMAT instructors recommend that you start your quant section prep with a review of the types of GMAT questions asked in the test and math fundamentals if you have not been using high school math in your day to day life. 

What types of questions will you find in the GMAT quant?

There are 2 main types of questions you should look out for when preparing to take the GMAT exam:

Data Sufficiency Questions

For this type of GMAT question, you don’t generally need to do calculations. However, you will have to determine whether the information that is provided to you is sufficient to answer the question. These questions aim to evaluate your critical thinking skills. 

They generally contain a question, 2 statements, and 5 answer choices that are the same in all GMAT data sufficiency questions.

Here’s an example of a number theory data sufficiency problem video, where Mike explains the best way to go about solving such a question.

Problem Solving Questions

This question type is pretty self-explanatory: you’ll have to solve the question and come up with a solution. However, you’ll be given 5 answer choices to choose from. Generally, the majority of questions in the quant section of the GMAT will be problem-solving questions as they clearly show your abilities to use mathematical concepts to solve problems.

Make sure to check out this video where Mike shows you how to solve a Probability question.

The main concepts you should focus on

The one thing that you need to keep in mind when starting your GMAT prep is the level of math you need to know before going in for the Quant section. All you’ll need to master is high-school level math. That being said, once you have revised and mastered these math fundamentals, your final step is learning how to apply this knowledge to actual GMAT problems and you should be good to go. This is the more challenging side of things but doing this helps you tackle all the other problem areas you may be facing such as time management, confidence levels, and test anxiety

Here are the 4 main groups of questions on the quant section of the GMAT and the concepts that you should focus on for each:


  • Algebraic expressions
  • Equations
  • Functions
  • Polynomials
  • Permutations and combinations
  • Inequalities
  • Exponents


  • Lines
  • Angles
  • Triangles
  • Circles
  • Polygons
  • Surface area
  • Volume
  • Coordinate geometry

Word problems

  • Profit
  • Sets
  • Rate
  • Interest
  • Percentage
  • Ratio
  • Mixtures

Check out this Profit and Loss question.


  • Number theory
  • Percentages
  • Basic statistics
  • Power and root
  • Integer properties
  • Decimals
  • Fractions
  • Probability
  • Real numbers

Make sure to try your hand at this GMAT probability problem.

5 tips to improve your GMAT quant skills?

  1. Master the fundamentals! This is your first step towards acing this section of the GMAT. As this section only contains math that you have already studied thoroughly in high-school, you’ll only need to revise what you have already learned and you’ll be ready to start practicing some real GMAT problems. 
  2. Practice time management! This is a crucial step as every single question is timed and you won’t get more than 2 minutes to spend on each question. That is why you should start timing yourself early on in your GMAT prep, so you get used to the time pressure. 
  3. Know the question types! This is something that you will learn once you get enough practice with some actual GMAT questions. That way, you’ll be able to easily recognize different question types and you’ll be able to use your preferred solution path without losing time.
  4. Memorize the answer choices for the data sufficiency questions! These answers are always the same and their order never changes. Memorizing them will help you save precious time that you can spend elsewhere. To help you better memorize them, we are sharing an easier and less wordy way to think of them:
  5. Make use of your scrap paper! There is a reason why you’re provided with scrap paper, so make sure to take advantage of it. You will definitely need it to take notes and make calculations, especially for the problem-solving questions that you will come across in this GMAT question.
  • Only statement 1
  • Only statement 2
  • Both statements together
  • Either statement
  • Neither statement
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Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
Jul 2021

GMAT 3D Geometry Problem – GMAT Math – Quant Section

GMAT 3D Geometry Problem 

In this problem we’re going to take a look at 3D objects and in particular a special problem type on the GMAT that measures the longest distance within a three-dimensional object. Typically, they give you rectangular solids, but they can also give you cylinders and other such objects. The key thing to remember about problems like this one is that effectively we’re stacking Pythagorean theorems to solve it – we’re finding triangles and then triangles within triangles that define the longest distance.

This type of problem is testing your spatial skills and a graphic or visual aid is often helpful though strictly not necessary. Let’s take a look at how to solve this problem and because it’s testing these skills the approach is generally mathematical that is there is some processing because it’s secondary to what they’re actually testing.

gmat 3d geometry question

GMAT 3D Geometry Problem Introduction

So, we have this rectangular solid and it doesn’t matter which way we turn it – the longest distance is going to be between any two opposite corners and you can take that to the bank as a rule: On a rectangular solid the opposite corners will always be the longest distance. Here we don’t have any way to process this central distance so, what we need to do is make a triangle out of it.

Notice that the distance that we’re looking for along with the height of 5 and the hypotenuse of the 10 by 10 base will give us a right triangle. We can apply Pythagoras here if we have the hypotenuse of the base. We’re working backwards from what we need to what we can make rather than building up. Once you’re comfortable with this you can do it in either direction.

Solving the Problem

In this case we’ve got a 10 by 10 base. It’s a 45-45-90 because any square cut in half is a 45-45-90 which means we can immediately engage the identity of times root two. So, 10, 10, 10 root 2. 10 root 2 and 5 makes the two sides. We apply Pythagoras again. Here it’s a little more complicated mathematically and because you’re going in and out of taking square roots and adding and multiplying, you want to be very careful not to make a processing error here.

Careless errors abound particularly when we’re distracted from the math and yet we need to do some processing. So, this is a point where you just want to say “Okay, I’ve got all the pieces, let me make sure I do this right.” 10 root 2 squared is 200 (10 times 10 is 100, root 2 times root 2 is 2, 2 times 100 is 200). 5 squared is 25. Add them together 225. And then take the square root and that’s going to give us our answer. The square root of 225 is one of those numbers we should know. It’s 15, answer choice A.

Okay guys for another 3D and Geometry problem check out GMAT 680 Level Geometry Problem – No Math Needed! We will see you next time.

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GMAT or GRE? Which Should You Take For An MBA Application?
Posted on
Jul 2021

GMAT or GRE? Which Test Should You Take If You Seek An MBA And Why

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Elizabeth Valcheva
Date: 20 July, 2021

If you are planning to advance your career with an MBA and have already started your research, you have probably encountered one of your first dilemmas: GMAT or GRE. While all business schools accept the GMAT, to encourage diversity and give aspiring MBAs more flexibility, more than 1200 business schools worldwide nowadays accept the GRE as well. The key to the dilemma then rests on two important considerations: admissions committee exam preference and personal thinking style.  

Talk to the admissions office

The most important factor to consider is which exam is accepted and preferred by your schools of choice. Once you have identified the business schools you plan to apply to, contact them to find out whether they accept both exams and if so, which one their admissions committees assign more value to. According to a 2016 survey among 224 business schools, 26% of admissions officers report giving advantage to applicants who have submitted a GMAT score, 2% consider GRE applicants with priority, while the vast majority assign equal weight to the two exams. If your school of choice does not express a clear preference, choose the test you are more likely to get a better score at.

Play to your strengths

Is math your forte? Do you impress everyone with your English vocabulary? Each exam uses specific question types to test different cognitive skills, so it is best to identify which question types are naturally easier for you and can therefore help you get a higher score. With its 62-min quantitative section focusing on Data Sufficiency, the GMAT is traditionally considered better suited for math lovers, while the GRE – whose two 35-min quantitative sections feature Quantitative Comparison questions and allow the use of a calculator – is preferred by more versatile thinkers. Meanwhile, the two exams’ respective verbal reasoning sections seem to divide applicants into two other categories: grammar police and vocabulary wizards. The GMAT focuses on Sentence Correction, while the GRE’s Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions require the skilled command of highly sophisticated vocabulary, which may be particularly challenging to non-native English speakers. 

If you are not sure which exam is better aligned with your brain’s wiring, it is worth giving each one a try with a practice test or two. Importantly, when comparing the results, have in mind that MBA admissions committees pay special attention to the quantitative section scores as they are generally considered a key predictor of academic success, given the quantitative focus of the program.

Preparation is key

While determining your brain’s natural predilection for one of the two exams is crucial to your success, it does not in itself guarantee a high score. Whether you choose the GMAT or GRE, being among the top scoring applicants requires rigorous test preparation. To make the best use of your prep time, develop a plan that builds on your strengths to help you achieve even better scores at the sections you are already good at, while also dedicating enough resources to improve your performance at the question types you find more challenging. 

If the solution to your test dilemma is the GMAT, we are here to help you prep for a 700+ score and get into your dream MBA program. Schedule your free consultation call and speak to an instructor today.

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5 minutes with the gmat test: everything that you need to know
Posted on
Jul 2021

5 Minutes with the GMAT: Everything You Need to Know (2021 Update)

About The GMAT Exam

The General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is considered the most trusted, proven, and well-understood predictor of academic success for MBA programs. The exam is crafted and administered by the General Management Admissions Council (GMAC) to measure a candidate’s verbal, mathematical, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing skills. You can also register for the GMAT through their official portal or browse through some practice questions here.

The GMAT test is a multiple-choice, computer adaptive test (CAT) – this means that an algorithm selects each following question based on the test taker’s ability level and performance on previous questions. If you are new to this concept, the most important feature to understand is that, when you answer a question correctly, the following question will be even more challenging. Conversely, if you answer a question incorrectly, it will give you an easier one next.

What Is The GMAT Used For?

The GMAT test is primarily used for admissions to more than 2,100 institutions, universities, and MBA programs worldwide which offer business and management disciplines. Keep in mind that many business schools screen applicants based on a range of criteria, but GMAT scores are among the most important screening metrics used. Others include undergraduate GPA, work and other relevant experience, application essays, recommendation letters, and personal interviews. Strong GMAT results are necessary, but certainly not sufficient to gain admission to the best MBA and business-oriented grad schools programs like Masters of Finance (MFin), Masters of Accounting (MAcct), Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Juris Doctor & Masters of Business Administration (JD-MBA) and PhDs in all these disciplines. Remember,  that while the GMAT is important, it’s certainly not a measure of who you are as a person and is one part of a many-faceted application. 

An investment of time and resources into the right GMAT preparation program or plan will result in a higher score on the test, which has a direct correlation with your admissions success and will have a positive impact on your business school experience and future professional career.

GMAT Test Review: Structure, Sections, Timing, & Scoring

The GMAT test consists of four sections with categorized problems aiming to assess a different skill set. Each part differs in terms of score range and the number and types of problems:

1. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) 1 task | 30 minutes | scored from 0 to 6 (0.5-point increments)
There is one type of question on the AWA section:
          a) Analysis of an argument

2. Integrated Reasoning (IR) 12 questions | 30 minutes | scored from 1 to 8 (1-point increments)
There are four types of questions on the Integrated Reasoning section:
          a) Multi-source reasoning
          b) Graphic interpretation
          c) Two-part analysis
          d) Table analysis

3. Quantitative 31 questions | 62 minutes | scored from 0 to 60 (1-point increments)
There are two types of problems on the Quantitative section:
          a) Data sufficiency
          b) Problem solving

4. Verbal 36 questions | 65 minutes | scored from 0 to 60 (1-point increments)
There are three types of questions on the Verbal section:
          a) Reading comprehension
          b) Critical reasoning
          c) Sentence correction

There are several other factors worth mentioning:

  • The total score of the GMAT ranges from 200 to 800 in increments of 10.
  • Despite the official scoring guides, the maximum you can score on the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections is 51.
  • The test taker can opt for two breaks totaling 16 minutes (8 minutes each).
  • The total time to take the GMAT test is 3 hours and 23 minutes including the two breaks.
  • GMAT test takers can choose the order of sections when taking the exam:

    • AWA » IR » first break » Quantitative » second break » Verbal
    • Verbal » first break » Quantitative » second break » IR » AWA
    • Quantitative » first break » Verbal » second break » IR » AWA

GMAT Scoring & Validity

You’ll get your unofficial score when you complete your exam (for all sections besides the AWA Writing). You and your designated schools will receive your official GMAT score within 20 calendar days of the exam, and it will be valid for the following five years. In order to determine what score will be good for you, you should consider both the average (mean) GMAT score and the range of scores of applicants admitted to your desired university.

If you find yourself lost in the translation of the GMAT scores into percentiles, this article explains it in a meticulous way. 

What is a Good Score?

What is a good GMAT score, and how can I get one? We are frequently asked this question, but the answer varies depending on who we speak with. Here at Apex, we want to help our clients obtain GMAT scores of 700 or above because this is where they can truly compete for top programs and be eligible for MBA scholarships. However a “good GMAT score” is determined by the applicant’s MBA program’s requirements; some programs demand a score above 650, while others require a score above 700. Selecting the programs you wish to attend and examining their MBA class profile will supply you with this knowledge and equip you with a solid foundation from which to begin your GMAT preparation.

In case you are wondering what a 700 GMAT score can do for you, here is all you need to know!

How, When, & Where Can I Take The GMAT?

Even though test takers are allowed to register up to six months in advance, it is recommended they register two to three months before their desired exam date. The scheduling can be done online (applicant needs to open a account) or through a phone call (applicant needs to call the GMAT Customer Service in their region). For more information visit   

You can take the GMAT at one of the 600+ physical test centers worldwide (official list available here). The test is administered on a computer, via a platform used worldwide: Pearson VUE. The GMAT is available only at designated Pearson VUE test centers, thus assuring each candidate the exact same experience as all other test takers around the world.

You can take the GMAT test almost anytime you want, depending on the availability of dates into the test center(s) you have chosen. However, there are some requirements regarding re-taking the exam. You can do so once every 16 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days), and up to eight total times.

GMAT Exam Day FAQs

Here are the top 3 questions that clients ask us about exam day information:

What should I do if I fall sick on the exam day?

If you do not feel well come exam day you will have to make the decision as to whether or not you can take the test and perform at your best. Most people will not be able to do this, so it will be best to cancel. If you do so on the day of the exam, you will incur a loss of your full $250 exam fee. If you cancel the exam 7 days in advance you will be charged a penalty of $50. If it is the first time that you will sit the exam and you are up for sitting through a 4 hour test, this may be a good opportunity to experience the test as you have the ability to cancel the score right afterwards if you are unhappy with it. Ultimately, it is best to take the GMAT when you are feeling your best as this will result in your optimum test performance.

What can I bring with me to the test center?

You are allowed in the test center with the following:

  • GMAT approved identification
  • Appointment confirmation letter or email you received from Pearson VUE
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Light sweater or light non-outerwear jacket
  • Comfort items only if they were pre-approved as an accommodation received in advance

Any additional personal belongings that you bring with you such as your cell phone, bag, snacks, and earphones will need to be stored in one of the provided lockers. You may eat your snack during the breaks. Any cell phone use throughout the test time (including breaks) is prohibited.
The test center will provide you with everything that you need in order to take the test including scratch paper and a pencil.

What can I expect at the test center?

A usual test center is typically quite small. Once you arrive you will have to provide the administrator with the relevant documents and while these are being processed you will be asked to wait in the waiting area. In this area, you can still access all your personal belongings up until you are called into the testing room.

Once in the room, you will be allocated an individual exam station where you will find a computer.

Here is the full list of the GMAT Exam Day FAQs.

How Much Does The GMAT Test Cost?

The cost to sit the GMAT exam is $250. This includes sending your results to up to five schools of your choice. All additional score reports past the first five schools require a $35 fee per institution.

Rescheduling & Cancellation of your GMAT appointment

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, at this article’s writing, the GMAC has temporarily waived all exam cancellation, reschedule & score reinstatement fees for GMAT test-center based appointments

Regular Rescheduling fees:

  • $50 if requested more than 60 days prior to appointment
  • $100 if requested 15 to 60 days prior to appointment
  • $150 if requested 1 to 14 days prior to appointment

Regular Cancellation fees:

  • $150 with a $100 refund if requested more than 60 days prior to the appointment
  • $175 with a $75 refund if requested 15 to 60 days prior to appointment
  • $200 with a $50 refund if requested 1 to 14 days prior to appointment

Additional Costs Worth Considering

Apart from the test fee, there are other costs that you may want to consider. GMAC advises people preparing for the exam to utilize the GMAT Official Guide (as do we) alongside other learning aids as additional materials. Please note that the Official Guide is a great resource for problems, but the explanations leave something to be desired, so using only the Official Guide is not recommended.

A large percentage of test takers who wish to score in the 90th percentile or higher (700+) on the GMAT invest in private GMAT preparation as a personalized means to achieving long-term career success. Our firm, Apex GMAT, specializes in offering private, customized GMAT preparation and admissions consulting. We focus on individual learning and a holistic coaching environment where we tackle not only the fundamentals but the underlying structure and complexity of the GMAT. We do this not just to get you a good score, but to prepare you for your Masters/MBA program and career beyond by focusing on universal critical thinking skills, cognitive heuristics, emotional and behavioral aspects of learning and high stakes performance, and other learning techniques that can be applied widely over the course of a lifetime. We take pride in exactly this personalized approach as a means for every candidate to utilize their strengths better, focus on their weaknesses, and overcome test anxiety through an exclusively designed GMAT curriculum.

A lot of people try to save money on the GMAT preparation process. When you consider that a top MBA can lead to millions of dollars of extra earnings over the course of a lifetime, it makes sense to invest in GMAT preparation. Learn more about this subject with our instructors Mike and Jaymes, here: Why is GMAT Prep so Expensive?

What Top Business Schools Require Score-Wise

In order to have a clearer idea of what top business schools are looking for in an application GMAT score-wise, here is the list of Financial Times top 10 Global MBA Rankings for 2021. Also, if you want to get a better understanding of how competitive your score is, you can look at these schools’ average GMAT scores.

Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2021  Average GMAT Score 
London School of Business 708
University of Chicago: Booth 730
Yale School of Management  720 (median)
Iese Business School  681
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management 727
Ceibs 667
HEC Paris 690
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business 713
Dartmouth College: Tuck  720

GMAT History & Background

Nowadays, it might be hard to imagine getting into an MBA or Master’s degree without submitting your GMAT scores. Before 1953, this was the reality for prospective business school applications.  After the creation of the GMAT in 1953, this standardized test continues to be used by nearly all business schools during the application process. 

It all began as an initiative, created by the deans of the top nine US Business Schools:

They met with Educational Testing Service (the company that develops and administers the SAT and GRE) to create a standardized admissions test that would help in predicting how a prospective  MBA student would perform in different management and business courses. As a result of this meeting, the Admission Test for Graduate Study in Business (ATGSB) was created. In 1976 the name was changed in what is now widely known as the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). 

In the first year it was offered, ATGBS was administered to ​​2,553 students and only 50 schools received the scores – just a fraction of the number of times the GMAT is taken now. Over 250,000 exams are now administered each year, and over 2,100 business schools include the test in their admissions process.

Fun Fact. The first MBA program was offered in 1908 by Harvard Business School. However, there was no entry exam until 1954. 

GMAT Changes Over Years 

Since its creation, the GMAT has always quizzed the test-takers’ verbal and quantitative skills. However, there used to be additional sections that we no longer see today. 

The original test included the Verbal Omnibus Section which had analogies and antonyms questions. However, due to its heavy reliance on the English language, and hence putting non-native English speakers at a disadvantage, this section got removed from the exam. Some other additions and changes to the GMAT exam format are:

  • The Inclusion of the AWA Section – In 1994, the AWA section (Analytical Writing Assessment) was added to provide business schools with an evaluation of the applicant’s writing skills.
  • CAT Format – To modernize the test, the CAT (computer-based) format was implemented in 1997. The GMAT’s uniqueness is ensured due to this format’s ability to select questions based on the test taker’s previous answers. 
  • The Inclusion of the IR Section – In 2012, the Integrated Reasoning (IR) section was added. In this section, test takers are asked to evaluate data from passages, charts, and graphs. 

Online GMAT Test in the face of COVID-19

Many things have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, including the GMAT exam. After the incorporation of online solutions over the last year and a half, the official Graduate Management Admissions Council has decided to make some of these modifications permanent. Since the GMAT is now permanently available online, the GMAC has chosen to undertake significant GMAT changes that will provide greater cohesion across online and live testing platforms. These updates include standardization of exam attempts, score sending policy, and exam fees.
For more information, here is an insightful article to read. 


That’s it! Thanks for sticking with us to the end of this GMAT test crash course! If you are looking for a more comprehensive version diving deeper into what the GMAT has in store for you, feel free to check out our GMAT 101 guide.

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10 things to consider before you begin your GMAT prep
Posted on
Jul 2021

10 things to consider before you begin your GMAT prep

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Simona Mkhitaryan
Date: July 16, 2021

Get Comfortable With The GMAT Structure

Before doing anything else, you need to familiarise yourself with the GMAT structure.

  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA section): this section concentrates on critical analysis and idea communication. You will be presented with an argument where a strong analysis of the reasoning behind the given argument should be provided. (30 minutes, 1 question)
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR section) – the second part of the exam evaluates the ability to assess information and interpret data displayed in different formats. (30 minutes, 12 questions) 
  • Next is the Quantitative Reasoning (Quant section), which measures the ability to solve mathematical and quantitative problems as well as the ability to interpret data. There are two types of questions in the Quantitative Section – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Both types of questions require some knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and commonly known geometry concepts. Since there are 31 questions in Quantitative Reasoning, about 15 of them will be data sufficiency questions which are quite confusing and unique. (62 minutes, 31 questions)
  • Verbal Reasoning (Verbal section) – this is the final section, which evaluates reading comprehension skills, editing abilities, and whether you can make sense of written arguments. (65 minutes, 36 questions)

 GMAT Scores are Valid for Five Years

You will receive your official GMAT score within 20 days of taking the exam. Your GMAT test score is valid for five years. Before taking or preparing for the GMAT, it is essential to know when to take the exam. If you already have a particular school or program in mind then you have to schedule your test based on the deadlines the school has specified. Nevertheless, it is good to keep in mind how long GMAT scores are valid for if you are uncertain about when you will apply to schools.

 Two Sections of the GMAT are Computer-Adaptive

The GMAT is a Computer Adaptive exam. Two sections of GMAT, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are Computer-adaptive. So, what does it mean? If you answered a hard level question correctly the next question will be more complex. If you answered a question wrong then the other question will be easier. In these sections, the difficulty of the questions take into consideration the number of questions that you previously answered correctly or incorrectly.  

Take a Practice Test Before Starting Preparation for the GMAT Exam.

Before starting the preparation for the GMAT exam, take a GMAT practice test to find out your baseline, how well prepared you are, and how far off you are from your target score. In this way, you will get familiar with the question types and style and understand the time frame. Via this method, you can compare your starting point versus the ending when you take the actual GMAT exam.  

Familiarize Yourself with the Style and Format of the Exam

The GMAT exam is different from other exams such as SAT, TOEFL, ACT. You need to become familiar with the format of the questions so that during the exam, you won’t allocate too much time to understanding the questions. Some GMAT sections have unique question types that might confuse the test-takers, such as the quantitative (data sufficiency) and integrated reasoning sections where some questions will require more than one response. You will save time and feel comfortable with the questions if you know them beforehand—especially the data sufficiency questions from the quantitative section. 

Practice Without a Calculator

The GMAT exam doesn’t allow calculators on the quant section. This may sound tough, but in actuality, it is for the best since you need to train your mind and mental math to solve the problems. It may also indicate that the problems aren’t that complex and that you can solve them without using a calculator. However, working without a calculator is challenging since you need to carefully check your calculations after every step to ensure you don’t have errors. Therefore, to prepare yourself for this challenge, try practicing from the beginning without a calculator to become familiar with what it feels like and gain experience using the math problems by hand. Also, familiarizing yourself with the tips and tricks you can use while solving the GMAT questions. You  can find more information about the GMAT Calculator and mental math here.

10 gmat tipsDefine your Strengths and Weaknesses

This analysis will help you know what you are good at and what you need to improve. First of all, plan your strategy about how you are going to analyse your weaknesses and strengths. It can be by taking the GMAT practice exam once and then figuring out which areas you felt particularly weak or strong in. Another option is to maintain a notebook for a week and markdown the weaknesses and strengths you encounter during your initial studying. Via this analysis, you might get a sense of whether you are good at time management, what your speed is, and much more. During the analysis, try to identify which question types are the most challenging for you in each section. Figure out what soft skills you have that might help you during the exam and pinpoint the ones that need improvement. After that, conclude and start working on developing new skills and overcoming weaknesses. Always keep in mind having an achievable goal for the final target as a score. Scoring a 700 or higher on the GMAT isn’t always easy! 

Design a Study Plan

After acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, design a personalized study plan to guide you throughout your preparation, decide what sources and courses you need, whether you are going to prepare only with tests, or go step by step through topics and sections. Schedule your learning format and decide which strategy fits the best with your prep level. You might also consider taking courses with a GMAT private tutor, with which you will get a lot of help and guidance in your GMAT preparation creed.

Keep Track of Time

When preparing for the GMAT exam try to keep track of your time to allocate it equally to each section. However, do this step after you have identified what concepts are complicated for you in order to allocate more time on those topics and train yourself to solve those problems. Practice pacing because GMAT time management is critical in order to complete the exam. The worst scenario in the GMAT exam is that sometimes the test takers run out of time towards the end. This is because some of the test takers do not stick with the time and fall behind. Thus, set and stick to certain time milestones to finish the exam on time.

Keep Going, Do Not Get Stuck on a Question

It is also essential to remember that you don’t need to answer every question correctly and that completing the exam is most important. This is because your score will decrease if you do not complete the sections of the GMAT. 2 minutes is more than enough for each question. So, if you are stuck, make an educated guess and move on to another question. 


In conclusion, before preparing for the GMAT exam, first, know about the GMAT exam structure and familiarize yourself with the format and style, then take a practice test to find out your score as well as your weaknesses and strengths. After that, design your study plan and hit the green light! Of course, while practicing for the GMAT exam, try not to use a calculator, keep track of time and concentrate on learning rather than answering all the questions correctly. 

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Posted on
Jul 2021

GMAT 680 Level Geometry Problem – No Math Needed!

GMAT Geometry Problem

Hey guys, top level geometry problems are characterized typically by stringing a whole bunch of different rules together and understanding how one thing relates to the next thing, to the next thing. Until you get from the piece of information you started with to the conclusion. We’re going to start out by taking a look at this problem using the z equals 50° and seeing how that information goes down the line.

top level geometry problem

But afterwards we’re going to see a super simple logical pathway utilizing a graphic scenario that makes the z equals 50° irrelevant. To begin with we’re being asked for the sum of x and y and this will come into play on the logical side. We need the sum not the individual amounts but let’s begin with the y. We have a quadrilateral and it has parallel sides which means the two angles z and y must equal 180°. That’s one of our geometric rules. If z is 50° that means y is 130° and we’re halfway there.

Next we need to figure out how x relates and there are several pathways to this. One way we can do it is drop. By visualizing or dropping a third parallel line down, intersecting x, so on the one hand we’ll have 90 degrees. We’ll have that right angle and on the other we’ll have that piece. Notice that the parallel line we dropped and the parallel line next to z are both being intersected by the diagonal line going through which means that that part of x equals z. So we have 50° plus 90° is 140°. 130° from the y, 140° from the x, gives us 270°.

Another way we can do this is by taking a look at the right triangle that’s already built in z is 50° so y is 1 30°. now the top angle in the triangle must then be 180° minus the 130° that is 50°. it must match the z again we have the parallel lines with the diagonal coming through then the other angle the one opposite x is the 180° degrees that are in the triangle minus the 90° from the right triangle brings us to 90° minus the 50° from the angle we just figured out means that it’s 40° which means angle x is 180° flat line supplementary angles minus the 40° gives us 140° plus the 130° we have from y again we get to 270°.

Graphic Solution Path

Now here’s where it gets really fun and really interesting. We can run a graphic scenario here by noticing that as long as we keep all the lines oriented in the same way we can actually shift the angle x up. We can take the line that extends from this big triangle and just shift it right up the line until it matches with the y. What’s going to happen there, is we’re going to see that we have 270° degrees in that combination of x and y and that it leaves a right triangle of 90°, that we can take away from 360° again to reach the 270°.

Here the 50° is irrelevant and watch these two graphic scenarios to understand why no matter how steep or how flat this picture becomes we can always move that x right up and get to the 270°. That is the x and y change in conjunction with one another as z changes. You can’t change one without the other while maintaining all these parallel lines and right angles. Seeing this is challenging to say the least, it requires a very deep understanding of the rules and this is one of those circumstances that really points to weaknesses in understanding most of what we learn in math class in middle school, in high school. Even when we’re prepping only scratches the surface of some of the more subtle things that we’re either allowed to do or the subtle characteristics of rules and how they work with one another and so a true understanding yields this very rapid graphic solution path.

Logical Solution Path

The logical solution path where immediately we say x and y has to be 270° no matter what z is and as you progress into the 80th, 90th percentile into the 700 level on the quant side this is what you want to look for during your self prep. You want to notice when there’s a clever solution path that you’ll overlook because of the rules. Understand why it works and then backtrack to understand how that new mechanism that you discovered fits into the framework of the rules that we all know and love. Maybe? I don’t know if we love them! But they’re there, we know them, we’re familiar with them, we want to become intimate. So get intimate with your geometry guys put on some al green light some candles and I’ll see you next time.

If you enjoyed this problem, try other geometry problems here: GMAT Geometry.

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The Advantages of Being a Non-native Speaker on the GMAT
Posted on
Jul 2021

The Advantages of Being a Non-native Speaker on the GMAT

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Svetozara Saykova
Date: 13th July 2020

GMAT Non Native Speaker Advantages:

The GMAT is a challenging exam to all, but it can be particularly difficult for non-native speakers. Since it is administered in English only, which is an additional obstacle one needs to consider when preparing for the GMAT exam. If you aren’t secure in your English language skills don’t hurry to get frustrated. Being aware that this is your weak spot is the first step towards improving and we advise you to not stop here. Be sure to research small habits that can immensely improve your English language skills. Watching tv series and movies in English with subtitles, reading English or American literature or listening to a podcast are all leisurely activities that can help you polish your English. If your English is already excellent, that is a win. This article will provide you with tips and insights on how to utilize your bilingual (or multilingual) background to excel in your GMAT preparation. 

Grammar is Your Best Friend 

The GMAT is specifically designed to test native English speakers. A majority of native speakers have not spent years memorizing grammar rules and enriching their vocabularies by writing down or repeating words and phrases. They have learned English through hearing people around them speak, just like you have learned your native language. Due to this lack of thorough grammatical knowledge, native speakers can get confused by the pitfalls intentionally placed throughout the GMAT exam, especially in the Verbal section. For them the hidden traps remain unnoticed but for non native speakers they can often be easily spotted since non-native speakers know the grammar rules. By contrast, most non-native speakers have learned English through repetition and mastering grammar rules. Such familiarity with English grammar prior to any GMAT preparation is an invaluable asset. It might cut short your prep time and allow you to concentrate and work on areas that are more difficult for you. 

You Know What Dedication Means

Learning a language is a demanding and long undertaking. Countless hours of studying words and collocations, memorizing grammar rules, reading, listening, writing, and doing practice exams are all more or less part of the journey to mastering any language. Your English proficiency did not appear overnight, but once you know your learning style, the journey accelerates. Learning a new skill is a process, which requires personalization and an approach that suits your character and studying style. Similarly, the GMAT requires one to develop techniques, approaches to problems, and most importantly a proper mindset over a period of time in order to achieve a great score. You might already be aware of what works for you and what definitely doesn’t in terms of learning and this will provide you with a vantage position for successfully kick starting your GMAT prep. 

You Have a Bilingual Brain 

Back in the days bilingualism was considered to be a drawback, which slowed down one’s cognitive development. Those beliefs were disproved long ago and to the contrary, it has been confirmed that being bilingual/multilingual is beneficial to one’s brain and to their cognitive abilities. For instance, the effort and attention needed to switch between languages triggers more activity in the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex. This part of the brain plays a main role in executive function, problem solving and focusing while filtering out irrelevant information. Those are some of the essential skills that the GMAT is testing: 

are some of the GMAT challenges that you should have an easier time tackling as a bilingual individual. 

These are some of the advantages a non-native English speaker could have when it comes to the GMAT. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses is a vital component to achieving a remarkable score on the GMAT. Here at Apex GMAT we have a team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals eager to provide excellent guidance to non native speakers. We take great pride in our personalized approach and this can be the exact strategy that will help you turn your background and previous experience into an invaluable advantage.

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