1. It’s harder than the GRE
One of the most common GMAT myths is that it is presumably more difficult than the GRE.
In their essence, the two exams are different when it comes to their test design, structure, and scoring system. Therefore, their level of difficulty would vary depending on a person’s individual traits. It is only natural that different people will find different things easy. The important question you can ask yourself is which exam would be easier and more suitable for you.
The GRE contains three sections – Analytical Writing, Quantitative, and Verbal section. The GMAT, on the other hand, contains four sections – Analytical Writing Assessment, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and an Integrated Reasoning section.
GMAT Verbal vs GRE Verbal
While the GMAT mostly tests people’s grammar and reasoning, the GRE focuses on vocabulary. If you are knowledgeable of complex words, you’ll find the GRE easier. Once again, the level of difficulty is a rather subjective issue. The GMAT Verbal section is 65 minutes while the GRE Verbal section comprises two 30-minute sections.
GMAT Quantitative vs GRE Quantitative
The two tests contain the same math content: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, ‘Real-life’ problems. The difference comes from the way the math is tested.
The GMAT is not designed to examine your ability to calculate complex mathematical operations but rather your critical thinking and logical approach to problems. To compare, the GRE tests your basic mathematical skills and understanding of concepts. Keep in mind that the GMAT is MBA-program specific. Given the MBA’s quantitative focus, there is more emphasis on that portion of the exam. The GRE, on the other hand, is meant for a plethora of graduate programs, from art history to engineering
2. Expertise in math and English is necessary
Being a proficient English speaker and having great mathematical skills will surely help you score high on the GMAT. Nevertheless, the latter are not requirements. Don’t forget that the GMAT is not designed to test your mastery in these fields but to examine your critical thinking skills.
Since the exam is entirely in English, you need to have a good understanding of how the grammar of this language works. You should also be fluent enough not to be hindered when trying to understand what you are being asked or what a certain paragraph means. You need to be able to express yourself well when presenting an argument. Other than that, English language proficiency is not required when taking the GMAT.
When it comes to math, it is advisable to have an understanding of basic mathematical concepts like probability, combinatorics, equations, basic statistics, and manipulations with powers and roots. Still, many of the problems are high-school-level math and don’t require expertise. If you have the right approach, you can solve problems with ease.
3. You need to spend a year to prepare
Dedicating a whole year to prepare for an exam seems like a daunting task for many. Luckily, it is also not necessary. This is just another misconception related to GMAT preparation. While the time one will need to master their skills is strongly individual, many candidates have achieved good results for a relatively short period of time.
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), for example, offers an 8-week study timeline for successful performance. According to the GMAC, people who performed well on the exam spent on average 3-6 months to prepare. The results of their 2016 self-reported Prospective Student Survey state that, in general, people who study more, get better results. Candidates who spent 80 hours or more preparing said they scored 600 or higher.
Spending a long time studying won’t necessarily guarantee you a high score. Numerous factors can affect your performance. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, being productive, and effectively managing your time are some of them.
4. Drilling problems is the best way to prepare
Taking a diagnostic test to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and set a baseline for measuring your progress is crucial if you are a beginner. Continuously solving practice test after practice test though, won’t do you any good and is just one of the many GMAT myths for successful preparation among test-solvers.
By drilling on GMAT problems you will lose hours of your spare time that you can otherwise use more constructively. Attempting problem after problem, without shaking things up, will most likely lead to very little improvement in the long run.
Instead, spending time identifying strengths and weaknesses should be a part of your study plan. It is a good idea to take a look at answer explanations and eliminate unhelpful or time-consuming approaches and solution pathways. An excellent GMAT preparation also includes establishing a time management strategy and finding the right work-rest balance.
5. A 700 score is required for a top program
Debunking one of the most well-known GMAT myths is crucial for reducing anxiety among applicants. According to the official GMAC Benchmarking Tool, the mean GMAT score is 568.21, and only about 10% of the test-takers score above 700 each year.
Truth to be told, although a 700 score may be helpful for being accepted to top programs worldwide, it is not necessary. Business schools consider a variety of factors when evaluating applicants.
While the GMAT score is an important part of the admissions procedures for graduate schools, as it allows an objective comparison between individuals, it is certainly not the only important factor to be considered. A strong application can still be reviewed even if the candidate doesn’t have a 700+ GMAT score.
Another aspect of examining GMAT results that should be taken into account is that a given score might be suitable for one business school but unsuitable for another. Thus, depending on your goals, you might need to take a look at the average GMAT scores your dream school accepts.
Naturally, this whole process can be much easier if you have someone who can guide you along the way, like a one on one GMAT tutor. Here at Apex, we give every potential client the opportunity of a 30-minute complimentary consultation call with a 770+ scoring instructor.
Contributor: Reneta Georgieva