How to Prepare for an MBA Exam


Know how to prepare and practice for your MBA exam to attain entrance to the graduate school of your choice. The Masters of Business entrance exam in the United States is the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, and is recognized as one of the best predictors of success for graduate business programs. The GMAT MBA entrance exam assesses logic and reasoning topics that require systematic planning and preparation. Prepare for your MBA exam by knowing how to handle the verbal, mathematical and analytical writing questions on which you will be tested.

  • Study prep materials daily for three to six months leading up to the exam date. Consider study groups, taking a prep course, or using official MBA exam prep books. Do not attempt to cram all of the information in one night. Studying continuously over time will increase memorization skills and improve exam results.

  • Download the free test preparation software by creating an account on The material contains two full-length exams and review sections to test your knowledge.

  • Familiarize yourself with the GMAT test format. The exam is a computer adaptive test. Questions will be of average difficulty at first, then either easier if you get the answer wrong and harder if you answer correctly. Harder questions answered correctly are given more points. You will be asked questions in a random order, and will not be able to revise your answers after submission.

  • Simulate a test-taking environment. Take a full-length practice exam in a quiet location free of distractions, do not take food breaks and do not use your cell phone until you have completed the exam. Train yourself to work within the time limits of the exam. The exam takes 3 hours and 40 minutes, including an optional 5-minute break. There is a scoring penalty for failing to finish any section of the exam. It is better to answer incorrectly than not at all.

  • Practice basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra equations by using an official review guide or a free online preparation resource. Utilize practicing on scrap paper, which you will be able to use on the day of the test. Do not waste time doing lengthy calculations; the GMAT problem-solving questions are designed in a way that involve a short cut for answering. Review bar, circle and line graphs as these are the three most common graph types to appear on the exam. If you have trouble answering a problem, use a work-backwards technique by plugging in the answers given to the original equation.

  • Review the Analytical Writing Assessment questions by downloading a list of both the analysis of argument questions and analysis of issue questions from the official MBA website. It will be more efficient for you to review the list and think about how you would respond to a few selected questions rather than to practice writing out a response to every single question. The idea is to prepare yourself for the types of questions that may appear on the exam.

  • Review grammar concepts common to the GMAT, such as elliptical verb phrases, parallel sentences, pronoun-subject and subject-verb agreement, uses of adverbs and semi-colons, run-on sentences, misplaced modifiers, verb tenses, "among" versus "between," "who" versus "whom," and "fewer" versus "less" using a free online practice resource or GMAT preparation book.

  • Read statements at least twice before answering. Make sure you understand the question before attempting to answer.

  • Study the three most common types of reading comprehension questions seen on the exam: science, social science and business. These questions will mostly be factual, inference, main idea or tone questions where you will have to read a passage and answer the questions that follow. Consider using scrap paper to make brief notes as you read. Read the question before you read the passage so you already know what to look for.


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