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GMAT Preparation: Tips for Success

March 22, 2024 | Read Time: 8.5 Minutes

By Alexandra Koktsidis

Deciding to pursue a graduate degree is a big decision. There are a lot of choices to make along the way such as where to apply, what to focus your studies on, and what tests you need to take before you’re accepted into your dream school. Whether you’re just starting your process, or you’ve already applied to schools, read on to find some tips and information for the best way to prepare for the GMAT.

What is the GMAT exam?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the exam most commonly used by top business schools. While many schools, Babson included, use a holistic approach to the application process, scoring well on the GMAT can help applicants showcase their quantitative aptitude and qualitative communication skills, both important characteristics for successful graduate students. How the GMAT is scored depends on four key areas of focus: Analytical Writing, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

GMAT Snapshot:

  • Test areas: Verbal, Quantitative, and Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing
  • Computer-adaptive test
  • $300 online; $275 at test center
  • Scores valid for 5 years
  • Scores range from 200-800
  • Test time: 3.5 hours (prepare for 4 hours with breaks)

GMAT Tips: Preparing for the GMAT

  • One of the first steps for how to start preparing for the GMAT is to familiarize yourself with the exam. When you’re preparing for the GMAT, you’ll want to know exactly what to expect going into it—the types of questions being asked and the structure of the exam—so you can tackle each section with confidence. There are four main sections of the GMAT exam:
  • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA section) – In this section, your critical thinking and effective communication skills are measured. This 30-minute writing test will have you look at a line of reasoning and evaluate your ability to decipher the information clearly and critically.
  • Integrated Reasoning (IR section) – In this section, your ability to analyze and interpret data in various formats is evaluated. It will be important to display your ability to take in large sets of data and make sound decisions as a result.
  • Quantitative Reasoning (Quant section) – This section looks at your ability to reason mathematically, solve quantitative problems, and interpret graphic data. Through two types of questions—problem solving and data sufficiency—you will display your ability to sort through relevant data and use logic to solve a problem.
  • Verbal Reasoning (Verbal section) – This section looks at your ability to read and comprehend written passages, your editing abilities, and if you can make sense of written arguments. Through three types of questions, Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction, you will display your verbal skills of comprehension and analysis.

GMAT Tips: Create a study schedule

GMAT test prep is going to take up a sizable portion of your time. For that reason, you’ll have to build it into your existing schedule. When preparing for the GMAT and creating your schedule, consider what time of day you will study. You might also break up your study periods into larger, or smaller periods, based on how you work best.

GMAT Tips: Complete practice questions

One of the top tips for the GMAT is to start studying for the GMAT as soon as possible. This will give you enough time to study at your own pace and reduce the amount of stress you’ll have on exam day. GMAT practice questions and exams are a great way to expose yourself to the exam format. Familiarizing yourself with the style of the questions asked in the GMAT will set you up for success.

GMAT Tips: Use a GMAT study guide

Following a GMAT study guide is one of the best ways to study for the GMAT. You may find several online resources for GMAT verbal prep, in addition to GMAT coaching that may be available in your city, state, or country. It could be worth making a visit to your local library, as there is often information, textbooks, GMAT study materials, and other resources for GMAT test prep.

A GMAT study guide should include a comprehensive range of content, addressing all sections of the exam. It should include practice tests that mirror the actual GMAT format, as well as progress tracking tools, study schedules, and additional online resources such as video lessons and practice forums. It’s also always beneficial to consider user reviews when choosing a GMAT study guide.

Pursuing an Online or Part Time MBA: No GMAT Required

Many graduate schools offer programs that don’t require a GMAT, GRE, or any other standardized test. This doesn’t mean the programs don’t require just as much rigor; rather, they are tailored for students with different educational and lifestyle needs.

If you’re looking to earn an advanced degree but don’t have the option to go back to school full time, many schools have flexible programs designed to work into your schedule, and many of these programs don’t require the GMAT. Babson offers several “No-GMAT-required” programs that are great examples of the many options available outside of the full-time business school model.

  • Babson’s Part-Time Flex MBA is ideal for students that are looking for an in-person experience with the flexibility to attend class virtually as needed. Connect with faculty and classmates both in person and synchronous online to accommodate your busy schedule.
  • The Part-Time Online MBA gives you access to the same great courses, faculty, and electives while completing your degree 100% online. Customize your degree with market aligned-electives to create an MBA experience catered to your personal goals.
  • The Blended Learning MBA in Miami, Florida, is a cohort-based MBA that combines real-time online classes, face-to-face sessions in Miami, and virtual collaboration with peers and professors.
  • Babson offers a Certificate in Advanced Management (CAM) in a variety of formats that match your interests, schedule, and learning preference. Certificate programs are another way to advance your career without committing to a full-time secondary degree.

GMAT Waiver for MBA Programs

Many graduate schools, Babson included, have temporarily moved to a test-optional policy. This means GMAT/GRE test scores will be waived for all full-time graduate applicants until further notice. All part-time MBA programs at Babson are test optional.

In Babson’s case, the admissions committee will continue to use a holistic review process that evaluates your quantitative readiness, past academic performance, and your written and verbal communication. This is done by looking at responses to short answer questions, interviews, and career potential and/or progress through each applicant’s resume and references. Learn more about the application process, and how to apply.

Students can elect to further demonstrate their individual qualifications for graduate school by submitting an optional essay. This not only shows the student’s interest in attending Babson, but also enables the student to share any additional information they find pertinent and gives the admissions team the opportunity to learn more about the applicant.

What else is considered in a holistic review? Babson students are leaders who understand the importance of collaboration and creativity. They are global-minded and bring with them experience, skill sets, and world views that enrich the learning environment for their peers.

Our students possess an entrepreneurial mindset and whether they are looking to build a startup from the ground up, advance a family business to the next level, or elevate their current corporate or non-profit organization, they come ready to take action and learn by rolling their sleeves up.

If you have any questions regarding the GMAT, GMAT test prep, admissions requirements, or other parts of your application, please don’t hesitate to contact the office of Admissions at Or, visit our most frequently asked questions page.

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