What’s the deal with the GMAT?

So let’s talk about the GMAT. If you are interested in the MIM program it’s an inevitable fact that you are going to have to go head to head with this test. Everyone in the MIM program has taken it, and each of us has our issues with it. For me it was definitely the math section formally known as the quantitative section. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; you my friend have to write two essays before you even get into the flow of answering a math question. The essays are straight forward; you will be given an argument and must decide what side you want to take, put your fingers to the keyboard and start typing. I would highly recommend watching your time; I had the pleasure of submitting an essay that ended mid sentence because I didn’t manage my time efficiently. It didn’t kill my score, but do your best to get it done.

With the writing section complete (hopefully with two fully written essays) it is now time to face the quantitative section. I’m pretty sure it’s been a long time since everyone has taken high school math, so get ready to give yourself a nice refresher course on the quadratic equation, the circumference of a circle or volume of a pyramid and all the wonderful aspects of algebra and geometry you have long forgotten. If it takes Jim 20 minutes to paint a room and Tom 1 hour how long does it take them to paint it together? You will know by test time because these are the kind of questions that you face in the GMAT. In terms of questions you have your straight forward multiple choice, but you also have the wonderfully challenging logic based questions where you are given a series of math problems or facts and you must decide if A is correct, B is correct, both are correct, or there is not enough information to answer the question. These were by far my favorite (sarcasm definitely implied here.) So that is the math section. My best recommendation is to STUDY!!! Practice makes perfect, or at least gets you back into that train of thought.

Once you finish the math section it is now time for verbal. If you are an international student you may need to spend much of your time here, as even for native speakers, figuring out the placement of a comma or if a sentence needs a semi colon can be difficult. Read as often as possible, and practice your vocabulary. Don’t worry if English isn’t your first language, if you can pass the TOEFL you can handle the GMAT. After answering several sentence structure questions there is the reading comprehension. Know how to read? Then you are already on the right track. Take your time read the passage carefully and go back to if you need to double check. Amidst these questions are critical reasoning questions, use logic and determine the correct answer. It is a lot of reading and by the end English sentence structure will seem as if it were created to torture you, but keep your nose in the books and you can earn that killer score you are hoping for.

Overall don’t be intimidated! The class average for the MIM program is 520. If you are slightly below don’t let it discourage you from applying. Remember it is an average so some of us scored higher and some scored lower. All of the MIMers have taken it and all succeeded! Study hard, stay focused, and before you know it the GMAT will be something you can complain about to your new cohort.

Good luck,


(Taken the GMAT? Share your thoughts/complaints/success. Leave me a comment and let me know how it went!)



Filed under Adam's Entries, Common Questions, Coursework

4 responses to “What’s the deal with the GMAT?

  1. Jane

    Hello Adam,
    I am a college student from Taiwan. I just took my Gmat test on last Friday and I didn’t perform well. I had been studying so hard on it but still feel really frustrated with the result.
    I think I really have difficulties on verbal part. I could not finish all the questions in 75 minutes. And I am wondering if I cannot finish them in time, should I guess the rest of questions? or just do as much as I can?
    Moreover, it is time for me to start the application for graduate school and my scores is slightly lower the average of the MIM program. Can you give me some ideas what should I do now? I know I need to retake it soon but what will be your suggestion for me to improve 50 points in one to two month?
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Jane

    Hi Austin!
    I am sorry for replying late. But it was so nice to get your advice! I really appreiciate it!!
    I am really interested in this program and going to apply it!
    I hope I can get chance to learn about this program more!

    Happy New Year!!!!!

    • Jane,

      We’ve all been very busy lately….

      I’m glad to hear you will apply to our program! I wish you the best of luck. If you have questions, you can get a student perspective by e-mailing askmim@pdx.edu One of the student ambassadors would be happy to give you information!

      Happy new year!

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