All you need to know about GMAT / GRE Test

At the beginning of my hunt for the perfect Master’s program, I faced a massive pile of different requirements for each degree program.

Soon, it became apparent that I would have to provide a certificate of English skills (TOEFL test). Many universities also require a GMAT or GRE test score.

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) tests have a standardized format. In each case, an adaptive test procedure is used, which means that the difficulty level for the questions changes as the test progresses. Within the GMAT test, it is impossible to go back to the previous question, as the result of the last question determines the difficulty of the next question. In the GRE test, it is possible to skip between questions, meaning that the difficulty level is only adjusted after each section. Another difference between the two tests is that the GMAT test is designed exclusively for business degree programs, while the GRE test follows a more general approach.

Only some universities accept both tests. It is, therefore, essential to obtain detailed information in advance to prepare for the test that most universities accept.

The GMAT test consists of four categories: Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.

In the essay (Analytical Writing Assessment), a given topic must be analyzed, while in Integrated Reasoning, there are questions on various data sources, such as tables or diagrams. Verbal Reasoning tests linguistic and analytical skills, English grammar, and reading comprehension, while Quantitative Reasoning examines mathematical, logical, and quantitative skills and knowledge.

However, my experience with the GMAT test could be improved. Although I started preparing for the test, I never finished it because I changed my mind and took the GRE instead.

I started my preparation with the “GMAT Official Guide” series. Here, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) annually publishes new, real test questions that you can use to prepare for the exam. A preparation book also focuses specifically on the quantitative or verbal reasoning section. You can access an online database with additional preparation questions when you purchase the book.

The GRE test consists of Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning. The test always starts with the Analytical Writing section. Here, two essays are written. A well-argued position must be developed for a question in the Independent Writing Task. You are given a choice of two topics, so there is at least some flexibility in selecting content. In the second essay, the Argument Task, a specific line of argumentation must be analyzed and criticized. This is followed by a short break before continuing the remaining tasks randomly.

In the Verbal Reasoning Section, language comprehension is tested. It is similar to the TOEFL test as it also focuses on terminology. The questions are multiple-choice, and if you have any concerns about the vocabulary, you should look at one of the published vocabulary lists. Various test preparation books often publish these and vary in their comprehensiveness.

The third part of the test is the Quantitative Reasoning part. Basic mathematical concepts such as arithmetic, algebra, and geometry are tested here. However, this involves relatively basic mathematical knowledge.

It is characteristic of ETS (Educational Testing Service) tests that they contain a part that is removed from the overall evaluation. However, it is unclear to the candidate which section is taken from the review.

To prepare for the GRE test, I recommend the “GRE Prep Plus” book issued by Kaplan. In addition to the book, there are online explanatory videos and a database with additional test questions (QBank). You can also create a study plan after completing the initial assessment test. This indicates what should be practiced in which week up to the respective test date so that everything is covered in time.

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