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15 minute GMAT primer

Everything you wanted to know about GMAT but didnt know who to ask!

Why is GMAT so important? The GMAT test structure The GMAT scoring & algorithm GMAT preparation strategy About CrackVerbal The CrackVerbal approach

CrackVerbal the MBA experts

#306 HOUSE OF LORDS St. Marks Road Bangalore 560001


Why is GMAT so important?

If we were to go by what the people who set the GMAT test are to say then: The GMAT exam is a standardized assessment, delivered in English, that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management. (from
However the real reason why you need to take the test is because: 1. 2. 3. B-Schools need to have an objective measure/criteria which will make it uniform across all countries, universities and GPA systems. GMAT is an important factor in the B-School rankings so for the same reason you would prefer a school with a higher GMAT score - the schools want a higher GMAT score from you. It is a nice objective number that has a tangible quality to it. It is hard for me to compare work experience or quality of education. But a GMAT score gives a nice 3-digit number to compare 2 students. Most top Management Consulting companies look at your GMAT score for short-listing. They dont divulge the details but ask you to submit the scores during the initial screen process.


Having said all this remember this in the end:

So let us say we have 2 candidates: Candidate A Undergraduate: RVCE, Bangalore 69% Work experience: TCS 3.5 years GMAT: 750

A good GMAT score cannot guarantee you admission to a top MBA program, but a bad GMAT score can almost guarantee that you will be kept out!

Candidate B Undergraduate: Ramiah, Bangalore 73% Work experience: Infosys 4 years GMAT: 650

Now for someone sitting half way across the world there is little to differentiate between both these candidates on their ability to handle course work. GMAT serves as the best measure Candidate A is certainly a clear favorite.


The GMAT Test Structure

Analysis of an argument 30min Integrated Reasoning - 30 min

37 questions 75 mins

41 questions 75 mins



The GMAT is an adaptive test (more about adaptive testing later) that consists of 3 sections:
AWA a.k.a Analytical Writing Ability A quick piece of advice DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS SECTION. You are graded on a score between 0 and 6, and this doesnt go into calculating your final 3-digit GMAT score. Most schools dont bother about what you write so long as you are able to manage a decent 4.0 or above. The only thing you need to practice is writing the AWA essays as fast and as painlessly as possible. The last thing you want to do is get flustered and expend your mental energy before the real test starts. The New Integrated Reasoning Section

The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT exam will consist of 12 questions. A single graph/data-set may have multiple questions around it. All answer options for a given question will be shown on the same screen. As with the rest of the GMAT, even over here you cannot return to an earlier question you have to answer each question and move onto the next one. The last type i.e. the multi-source reasoning will not be of more than 300 words. So theres no need to read lengthy passages here. The answer options themselves will be independent of each other i.e. you cannot take information from one question onto another. You need to solve each question independently.

CrackVerbal Verbal a.k.a English The test is split into 3 areas:

CrackVerbal Success Recipe

Learn first hand form our students about how to get into a B-school

Sentence Correction: A sentence, which is either partly or fully underlined, is provided to you as the question. You will have the select the answer choice that removes the error (if any) in the original sentence. Critical Reasoning: An argument is given to you in the form of a paragraph, and you would be asked to analyze/critique it. Such as Which of the following would most weaken the argument given above? Reading Comprehension: A passage would be provided and about 3-4 questions will be asked based on it. This passage can be on any topic (usually dry ones like social science) and will be between 1 and 3 paragraphs long.

You will be given two 7-minute breaks on the test one each after the AWA and the Quant section. Remember to utilize the breaks wisely. Use the 1st break as a bio-break. Also hydrate yourself by drinking some water. Use the 2nd break to eat or drink something. The usual favorites for the break are a bar of chocolate, a banana and/or Red Bull!

CrackVerbal Scratchpad
To help you simulate your preparations as close to the GMAT Test


The GMAT Scoring Algorithm

The GMAT is scored on a scale from 200 to 800, based on only the Quant and Verbal sections. Along with this you will also get your AWA score, which is scored out of 6.0. Since scores are distributed along a bell curve there are very few on either end of the spectrum usual scores are in the 400-700 score range. The global average GMAT score is 540 and a good GMAT score for top schools is considered above 700. As mentioned earlier, you dont need to worry on the AWA score. You will be given separate "raw scores" for the Quant and Verbal sections. You will be given a 2-digit score out of 51 (though theoretically it is 60). A raw score above 50 in quant and a score above 40 in verbal is considered exceptional. Here is how a typical GMAT score will look like: 700 Q49 V36 AWA - 5.5. This means the person got a scaled score of 700 which consisted of a Quant score of 49 (out of 51) and a Verbal score of 36 (out of 51). There is also additional information that he got an AWA rating of 5.5 (out of 6.0). Here are a few of scores with their split (note: these are *actual* student scores at CrackVerbal!)

Neeraj 770 Raviraj 750 Rahul 740 Neha 730 Sanat 700 Jyoti 710 Shardul 710 Prashant 700 Ganesh 690 Apratim 680

(Q50, V44) (Q50 V42) (Q50 V40) (Q49 V40) (Q49 V38) (Q48 V40) (Q46 V42) (Q51 V34) (Q48 V38) (Q49 V34)

Please understand that scores depend on how well you are doing *relative* to others on the test, and also the nature of the adaptive algorithm (more on that in the next page). What this means is that these scores don't directly correspond to getting a certain number of questions right or wrong. So it is impossible to say how much to score if you get (say) 5 questions wrong, or (say) 10 questions wrong. Let us now try to understand how the GMAT CAT (Computer Adaptive Test) works. Not so much for beating the system but to better appreciate how the scoring works. Theoretically, you won't get the same set of questions as the guy sitting next to you (albeit a few overlapping questions). After the first few questions that are selected at random, each subsequent question will be based on how you did on the earlier questions. If you're getting more questions right, the algorithm gives you harder problems. If you're not, the test will start throwing easier questions at you.


(1) For given RAW scores what would be the corresponding scores? Here is a nice little table to compute your scaled scores, given that you have Q and V raw scores:
Q+V Raw Score | Scaled Score 48-50 400 49-51 420 51-53 430 52-54 440 54-56 450 55-57 460 56-58 470 59-60 480 61-62 490 62-63 500 62-63 510 62-64 520 63-64 530 65-66 540 66-67 550 67-69 560 68-71 570 69-72 580 70-72 590 71-73 600 72-75 610 Q+V Raw Score | Scaled Score 73-76 620 74-77 630 75-78 640 76-79 650 78-81 660 79-81 670 81-83 680 81-83 690 82-86 700 84-86 710 85-87 720 87-90 730 89-90 740 90-91 750 92-93 760 94-96 770 96-98 780 97-100 790 100-101 800

Frequency of the mistakes: If you get questions wrong one after the other; you are in greater risk than if you distribute your mistakes over a range. For example, lets say, from questions 21 to 30 there are 2 candidates X and Y and their frequency of mistakes is: X marks the wrong answers for questions 22, 26 and 29, while Y marks the wrong ones for 23,24,25. Then Y would be penalized heavier than X.

Failing to answer questions: If there is anything more terrible than getting a question wrong, it is leaving a question unanswered. You can roughly take 10 points away from your GMAT score for each question you leave unanswered! You rather mark blindly than not answer at all.

Experimental Questions: Roughly 1/3rd of all questions you will solve on the GMAT (9 in Quant and 10 in Verbal) will not go towards your final GMAT score. What GMAT is doing by asking you these question is simply build a database for itself to ask future test takers. Now if luck is on your side and you make mistakes *only* on the experimental questions then you can even expect a full score despite making mistakes!


However, it is possible for very high scores (read as very few mistakes) to show with a fair degree of accuracy what the association between mistakes and RAW scores. The following data are fairly representative:

Verbal # mistakes 0-1 2-4 5-7 8-13 score 51 47 42 37

Quant # mistakes 0-2 3-5 6-10 11-14 score 51 50 49 48

It might look as if it is easier to score higher on Quant than on Verbal since typically Indians score above 45 in Quant while they struggle to hit the 40 mark in Verbal. However remember that the algorithm works different for these 2 sections! For each question you get wrong on Verbal you are more severely penalized than quant. An optimistic way of looking at it is Verbal is also the area where you can improve the most (and fastest!) You will have to understand that the test algorithm is trying to determine your ability level, so it is almost certain that you'll see questions that are too hard for you. That's perfectly okay! Remember that it's possible to get a 700 (92nd percentile score) and answer more than a quarter of the questions on the entire test wrong. Of course, this means you'll be answering difficult questions right and missing only the even more difficult questions. It is a myth that you need to have a very high accuracy to do well on the GMAT! Remember the following: You cannot beat the system but knowing it better will help you optimize your approach. This is especially true when you are taking practice tests and want to know why you got a particular score. Remember that there are only 4 ways in which you can score well (or poorly): Number of mistakes you made in the overall test Number of experimental questions you got right/wrong Position of mistakes i.e. towards the start or towards the end Frequency of mistakes in a row Questions left un-attempted in the end

Questions are not easy or hard by themselves but easy or hard for the test-taker at a given level. So a 750-level test-taker will find even the most difficult question that a 450-scorer faces as easy. Similarly the 450-scorer will find even the easiest question that a 750-scorer faces as difficult. Questions cannot get progressively harder till you end up making a mistake. Infact GMAT will try to put you on the 40-60 zone i.e. there is a 40% to 60% probability that you make a mistake on that question.


GMAT Preparation Strategy

Avoid the following 4 cardinal sins:

Rule 1: Brute Force Approach people throw and one that we a.k.a RS Agarwal approach absolutely hate is % of questions correct! All this means precious This is when students start blindly little until you are able to build your ssolving questions without either mental stamina to endure a 4-hour aanalyzing them properly OR taking battle (that is the duration of the arain check to see the difficulty level test end to end). It is like sprinting q of questions. short distances in order to prepare for a marathon it wont work! The particular book in question is a Ensure your study plan has c classic example of this approach. enough tests starting from right If you are learning a concept such NOW! as Area of rectangle then you will be given a question Length = 5, We encourage students to come Breadth = 7, Area =?. After that you to our center to take simulated will have another question Length = tests at our lab, which is equipped 3, Area = 12, Breadth =?. And with more than 30+ computeranother one that will ask Length = based tests. We even you a ?, Area = 10, Breadth =2. And so ScratchPad similar to the one you on. Get the drift? get on the real test. The point here is it is an absolute waste of time to solve 10,000 questions of this sort as you end up learning NOTHING. GMAT claimed once that it spends about $2000 PER QUESTION. Considering the tons of questions they make that is a pretty huge spend. A major area where it goes is in the quality of the questions getting it vetted by expert pscyhometricians. Rule 3: Consistency and not Contingency relying only on weekends.

Ensure you get your customized study plan from us. The plan dovetails with what we teach in the class so we will ensure you stay focused on the plan till the date of your test. Rule 4: Trusting online advice and solving questions other than the official source It has been shown that if you study for more than the optimal preparation time, your scores will actually start going down! This is because unlike tests such as IAS, IIT-JEE etc this is not a test of memory but a test of how intelligently you can apply your knowledge. The most important key is to not pick the wrong books, wrong questions, and still worse the wrong advice. At CrackVerbal we understand that you are taking the test after making some personal and professional sacrifices. We will ensure we will keep you on the straight and narrow throughout the preparation so you are never lost.

This is not a battle that can be fought on 14-hour weekends and 0-hour weekdays. If you think your day job is just too demanding for you to focus during the week then reconsider shifting your decision to take the GMAT (and ultimately pushing your decision to do an Our approach at CrackVerbal is MBA). This is a test match and not based on solving only high quality a 20-20 game! questions which correctly reflect the GMAT standards. We have heard enough software engineers crib about how they Rule 2: Not taking enough tests never get time. At the same time early on wasting GMATPrep we have seen our own students questions. who have studied diligently for 2-3 months, putting in about 2 hours GMAT is more a test of your mental on weekdays and about 10 hours stamina than anything else. Dont on weekends, and who scored lull yourself into complacency by very high on the GMAT. It is all a looking at incorrect measures. For 9example one metric that most question of will-power.


This is the reason we dont claim to have our own questions. It is impossible for any test prep company to even come close to the GMAT standards of question making. However we do provide (and solve) almost all known official questions in our class and homework.
Which books to refer? You have probably realized by now. Only the official sources! Official Guide ed. 10, 11, 12,13 (if you have already done 1 version of the OG and are looking at fresh meat from the other version then read our blog here:
Official Guide Verbal Workbook ed.1,2 CrackVerbal GMATPrep Advance questions Document which we (all have

The Official Guide to GMAT Review

The closest thing to the actual GMAT exam, prescribed by the GMAC

Beyond the MBA hype

A must read bestseller for those planning to do an MBA/ or even thinking about it! Given free to all our students.

created by taking the test multiple times) Practice on forums such as,,,, there) What are the rules to remember while you take the mock tests? A Total of 14 tests to be taken over 3 months. Always take it with the AWA Section. No mobile/No Internet while in the test-zone. Consider taking it at the CrackVerbal center. Take it at the same time as the actual test. Eat and Do exactly what you would on the test day. (please provide us your id so we can answer your queries


3 Step Study Plan




Phase 1: Foundation: This is the time you need to ensure right you understand to the enemy well and focus on the approach solving questions. If you end up having the wrong approach then practice will only make things worse. You will end up becoming better at being bad. This means if you have an accuracy of 40% you will just get better at solving questions at 40% accuracy (not 25% - not 50% - just precisely 40%!!).

Phase 2: Application: In this phase you take the game to the next level by trying to focus on the higher level of difficulty as well as the more difficult to grasp concepts. This is also a good time to up the tempo in quant. You should be able to accurately pinpoint the areas of weakness and work on them. For example you should be able to say I am weak in questions when there on is a Standard pronoun Deviation or I am not confident ambiguity in SC.

Phase 3: Practice: The Americans have a phrase for it. They call it the home run. This is when you make the final lunge towards getting that near-perfect GMAT score. Ensure that by this time you are working on the crossing your ts and dotting your is! And yes plenty of carbs before the final run in the form of full-length test!


About CrackVerbal
CrackVerbal was founded in We attract exceptional GMAT tutors (minimum eligibility 760) including MBA graduates from top programs such as ISB, Oxford, and IIM-A PGPX. All instructors undergo an intensive We are the undisputed experts in GMAT Verbal! We will leave no stone untouched covering all advanced topics in GMAT Verbal that need to be understand in order to score high on the test. Our total classroom instruction time *just* for Verbal is almost double that of any other institute! Our curriculum and teaching methodology are continuously revised, reflecting the changing pattern of the actual GMAT test each year. We do so by audition and training program before they actually teach in the classroom. understanding what works best for students who go on to score high on the GMAT the 750+ scores, and use the same techniques in our class. Our strategies are personalized so we get into the mind of the testtaker to see not only why the right answer is so, but also why the wrong answer isnt. Our powerful workshops shops can give you a score boost of upto 50 points in a single session! 2006 and since then has catered to hundreds of students aspiring for an MBA from top business schools around the world.

CrackVerbal 3 month study process Week 1 to 4

1. Take a diagnostic test 2. Create personal study plan. 3. Attend Verbal workshop 4. Solve from OG 5. Start Quant basics

Week 5 to 8
1. Attend Advanced verbal classes. 2. Attend Quant workshops. 3. Solve from our advance documents. 4. Take 4 to 6 tests

Week 9 to 12
1. Attend online doubt solving classes 2. Focus on work areas. 3. Take at least 1 to 2 tests per week





What to expect from the class? Delivery mechanism Teaching stuff you cannot learn from a book. Exceptional Faculty Quality MBAs and Professionals who teach out of passion. Support System that goes beyond the classroom, and keeps you on the straight and narrow.

What we expect from you? Taking the diagnostic test as soon as possible. This is a MUST to start the course. If possible take it at our center. Schedule a private counseling session so we can provide you your personalized GMAT plan. Solve all homework questions before coming for the next session. Ensure you get all the material, get added to our online group, and participate in all our online/offline sessions.

CrackVerbal Study Guides

A collection of 5 guides for Quants and Verbal to help you gain that extra edge on the GMAT!

From our Founder: Arun Jagannathan

Arun has coached and mentored over 4000 students, teaching at major test prep companies in India such as IMS, Career He has also been part of the technology various sector working such in as His highest score on the GMAT is 780 (Q51, V46). companies Launcher, Kaplan, and Princeton Review. Arun is active on forums such as (member since 2003, and one of the official MBA consultants), and

Wipro, Sapient, and CA. In the last role, he headed the delivery of the consulting division at a CRM product-based company.

Visit or call us on +9008166800 or +9008177800 today and learn how to improve your GMAT score.


#306 HOUSE OF LORDS St. Marks Road Bangalore 560001