Don't Mind the GMAT



The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a Computer Adaptive Test which is used to determine an applicant’s analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal and reading skills. It is a major component of the assessment for admission into graduate programs such as the MBA and PhD.

Preparing for the GMAT​

Preparing for the GMAT can be a stressful experience. For most candidates, it’s akin to pulling teeth: mathematical concepts you thought you were done with after secondary school resurface, comprehension passages on a vast array of topics ‘question’ your intelligence and you discover that the grammar you’ve used all your life needs correction. Along with an overload of information and advice, preparing for the GMAT is oftentimes a daunting task.

I wish I could tell you that performing well on the GMAT is easy, but acing the GMAT takes discipline, commitment and all the help you can get. The process will stretch you but at the end of the day you’ll be better for it, if you do it right.

Steps to  success

The first step to success on the GMAT is having the right frame of mind. It helps to appreciate that the GMAT is a means to an end, and a very desirable end at that. The GMAT is the primary basis for evaluating your ability to cope with the first year MBA curriculum and is a strong predictor of potential success in business school. Over 50% of admissions decision-makers list GMAT scores as the most important factor in their evaluation of applicants.

A good GMAT score also puts you in the driving seat for your MBA and consequently, your professional and personal aspirations. There is a correlation between GMAT scores and school rankings – higher GMAT scores open up opportunities for admission to higher-rated MBA programs. Business schools are also more likely to offer scholarships and financial aid to attract ‘proven talent’ based on GMAT scores.

Keys to  a great GMAT score

The two keys to a great GMAT score are discipline and structure. First, you must put in the time – daily diligence over a sustained period. The more work you put in, the more familiar you become with the structure, concepts and strategies to apply. In addition, a well-structured study plan with the right mix of studying material, practicing questions and analyzing performance is critical. Start with understanding what the GMAT syllabus covers and how well you know the material before determining where to focus your efforts to improve performance. It’s hard work, but well worth it in the end.

To get a sense of your level of readiness and the amount of work required to adequately prepare for success on the GMAT, good diagnostic questions come in handy. The GMAC Official Guide is a useful resource, or you can try Total Ascent’s Quant Question of The Day at  

Thomas Oluwatosin Okojie, MBA

Tosin has an MBA from Yale University and is the CEO of Total Ascent (, a Test Preparation (GMAT/GRE/LBS Exam) and MBA Admissions Consulting company. Direct comments to