Before taking the GMAT, it is important to prepare adequately for each section of the test. There are a variety of preparatory courses available.
Test Prep Course Overview
GMAT prep programs may be provided through the continuing education department or student services at a college or university. These are often free, although students may be required to purchase the study materials used in the program. Some independent companies also offer prep courses, both in-person and online. Free online test preparation options are also available.
GMAT prep programs may be offered over the course of a couple months. However, others only consist of a few classes and may be finished within a matter of days. Most programs are taught by people who have taken and scored highly on the GMAT. Instructors may also be people who have worked on preparing official GMAT questions.
Programs usually involve various courses dedicated to the different test sections. Courses may cover one type of question asked on the GMAT exam, or they may cover specific skills that are needed to pass the exam. Most programs include sample tests that allow students to see what the actual test looks like and get a feel for the types of questions they will have to answer. Sample tests may also be used to assess students' skills and ensure they are fully prepared to pass the GMAT.
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GMAT Test Overview
GMAT test prep courses spend the most time covering the four main sections of this computer adaptive exam. These sections cover analytical writing, integrated reasoning, quantitative and verbal skills.
Analytical Writing Assessment
The analytical writing assessment portion of the test requires students to examine one topic and produce a written argument. Students will use their skills of reasoning and problem solving to tackle their stance on an issue. This section of the exam is used to determine an individual's critical-thinking skills and to determine how well they can communicate their ideas. Prep courses may help students learn how to analyze a problem and break it into manageable parts.
This section of the GMAT exam consists of 12 questions that test a student's reasoning skills using multiple sources of evidence in a variety of different formats. The test section requires individuals to interpret graphics and analyze tables. Test prep courses may address how to use logic when looking at a situation from multiple viewpoints.
The quantitative section of the course features 37 questions that cover problem solving and data sufficiency. Individuals will have to solve mathematical problems and interpret graphs. The questions are multiple-choice and test the individual's abilities in elementary mathematics, algebra and geometry. In a prep course, students may review different formulas, theories and mathematical procedures. Students will likely practice solving different types of problems.
The verbal section has 41 questions that test an individual's reading comprehension, critical reasoning and basic English skills. Questions may require an individual to correct sentences that are written with errors or that use improper structure or grammar. This section also includes questions that require the individual to read a passage and answer questions to prove comprehension. In prep courses, students will review English grammar and other rules. Typically, students practice reading several passages and answering questions on them to help sharpen their skills.
To get ready for the GMAT, individuals who are planning to apply to graduate school can find on-campus and online preparatory courses and materials that cover each section of the test.