What are the Different Types of GMAT&Reg; Practice?

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  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2019
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Practice tests, study guides and aids, and live and online prep courses are all types of Graduate Management Admission Test®, or GMAT®, practice, along with private tutoring. Most candidates create a study plan that includes a combination of types of GMAT® practice depending on time and budget. Practice exams, study guides, and online prep courses are widely available. Live prep courses and private tutoring are generally offered only in certain areas. A candidate can register for the test online or at one of the testing centers.

Most examinees begin their GMAT® practice by taking a practice exam under conditions that mimic those of the testing center as strictly as possible. Practice exams are widely available online or in paperback study guides. Some practice tests can even be downloaded onto portable reading devices. The score provides the examinee with a baseline for measuring progress.

Examinees can also choose from a wide variety of study guides for GMAT® practice. Most guides include an overview of the test, practice exams, and tips for improving the score. Some offer a customizable study plan. Many study guides also include a disc with tutorial videos and online access to seminars and practice quizzes.


Rather than purchase several paperback books, many companies offer their guides in electronic format. Test-prep software includes the same content as a physical study guide but offers additional tools like a timer, flashcards, and instant access to online features. As the GMAT® is a computer-adaptive exam, using software rather than working problems on paper may help prepare some examinees for real testing conditions.

Those with the time and budget may consider enrolling in a live or online prep course. Live courses generally meet weekly and assign homework to participants, making this an effective option for examinees who need help with time management. Online courses offer more flexibility than a live classroom experience, but the examinee will have to be disciplined enough to stay on track without the presence of classmates or an instructor.

A private tutor can be hired locally or through a test prep company. This type of GMAT® practice offers flexibility as well as instruction tailored to the individual. It is likely to be the most expensive option, however.

The Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®) developed the GMAT® in the 1950s. It offers examinees complimentary test-taking software for registering online at its website. Additional studying resources for purchase include three retired exams and an online tool that aids in practicing the analytical writing assessment.

The GMAT® is a standardized exam that tests mathematics and verbal and analytical writing skills. The exam consists of three sections and two breaks over a total of four hours. The maximum score is 800, and a score is valid for five years from the date of the exam. Business schools use the exam when selecting candidates for admission to graduate programs in business study. It is generally required in the United States as well as some other English-speaking countries.



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