This post is part of a series on preparing to get an MBA. To see all the posts, click here.


The GMAT is a great exam. In today’s post, I’ll briefly review the two main sections: the quantitative section (commonly called “the math section”) and the verbal section (commonly called “English”). There are a lot of great resources out there for studying, so I’m not going to talk a lot about specifics. Instead, I’ll tell you what your general strategy should be.

First things first…

The first you’ll want to do for the GMAT is go to Take one of the free practice tests. Here’s a link to the specific page. Do this first to experience the test and understand what your starting point is. This will help you choose schools. Also, you’ll see where your weak points are and what you need to work on the most.

The Quantitative Section (Math)

The GMAT’s math section was made by geniuses. It does an excellent job of testing your quantitative skills. Here’s how it works. There are about 100 simple math concepts you need to learn. These are not hard. You probably learned them all before you were 16 years old. They include addition, fractions, basic algebra, and geometry. You might not remember everything, though. So your first step is to learn the concepts. Here’s a good site.

That’s not the smart part. The smart part is that now you need to apply these math concepts in creative ways. You’ll need to take practice tests and study a lot.

The Verbal Section (English)

The GMAT’s English section has three sections. Here’s the basic strategy for each.

Reading: Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph and skim the middle of each paragraph. Do this to get a general idea. Then, identify the question type. If the question type is easy for you, look carefully for the answer. If it’s a hard question type, decide if the question is also hard. If it is, just guess and move on.

Analyze an Argument: The key here is to identify the conclusion and the reasons for that conclusion. The questions are going to be about missing reasons or missing conclusions, so if you understand the argument, then you can decide what’s missing.

Analyze a Sentence: For these questions, you need to learn agreement between nouns and verbs. (When a verb should have an “s” and when it shouldn’t.) This idea will help you eliminate many choices. The next step is to understand the basic ways parts of speech (like adverbs and adjectives) work. After that, you need to study which prepositions go with with words.

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