The GMAT: Why Taking the Test Doesn’t Have to be Terrifying

As application deadlines grow near, many applicants find themselves rushing to get everything together. There’s collecting your transcript, finding letters of recommendation, upgrading classes, putting the final touches on your resume, and of course, taking the GMAT. Often the most intimidating part of applying to post-graduate studies, the Graduate Management Admission Test is no walk in the park. That being said, there is no need to fear! The Lazaridis MBA office, alongside Quantum Test Prep, has tons of materials to ensure that you succeed on your test!

People sitting at the table while doing homework in college libr

What is the GMAT?
The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a 3.5 hour standardized test required by the majority of business schools, including Laurier. It is used to measure the academic ability of interested candidates, testing each potential student on analytical writing, quantitative skills, and verbal skills.

How important is it?
The GMAT is very important to your application, as it is often the only even comparison between candidates. Although work experience and undergraduate institutions are similar, they are not 100% equal. The GMAT score acts as the only completely comparable aspect of your application, because it is administered the same to everyone. This being said, a strong score will not guarantee admission, and a weaker score won’t necessarily preclude you from it. A GMAT score is only one piece of the puzzle, along with strong recommendations, well written essays, a solid postgraduate work record (if any) and a decent GPA. A higher score can, however, help round out weaker grades.

Every school and program will have different requirements for the test and its accompanying scores. Make sure to do your research and know what score you need to attain before taking the test. For Wilfrid Laurier, the requirements are as follows: Waterloo Full-Time and Part-Time (550 or higher), Waterloo Full-Time Co-op (600 or higher), Toronto MBA with CPA, MBA with MFin, Accelerated Alternate Weekends MBA and MBA for CMAs (550 or higher), and Toronto Alternate Weekend MBA with MFin (620 or higher).

When should I write the GMAT?
The GMAT is available to write any day of the month, all year-long. You can attempt the test up to five times a year, but you are limited to writing only once per 31 calendar days. Your results are valid for five years after writing, so the time you write your test in relation to when you intend on applying is very important. It is also important to note that schools consider GMAT scores differently. Some only take the highest score, whereas others may average sections of the test, or overall scores on attempts.

At Laurier, we want you to succeed. We understand the difficulty of this test, and give you the opportunity to achieve the highest score possible. Our admissions committee will only review your highest scoring attempt when reviewing your application.

How should I prepare?
There are plenty of resources available to help you succeed in taking your GMAT. Wilfrid Laurier University and Quantum Test Prep, the premier provider of test preparation services, have partnered together to offer a comprehensive 75-hr Complete GMAT Math Course or 100-hr Ultimate GMAT Course to be held over 3 or 4 consecutive weekends in Downtown Toronto. The Quantum Test Prep website has a great deal of useful information and resources to help you take on the GMAT. Check it out here!

Lazaridis MBA also hosts free GMAT information sessions to help give potential students a well-rounded idea of what the test is all about. These sessions discuss the general content of the GMAT, what to study, how to study, how to improve your score, as well as the overall format and scoring scale of the GMAT itself. The next session will be held on February 18th at 12:00 pm at our downtown Toronto location. For more information, or to register, click here.

As for personal preparation, every candidate will get ready differently. Creating a study plan is recommended to ensure that you have adequate time for all of the material. Budget your time accordingly, set goals and take advantage of the resources that are available to you, such as books and practice exams, preparation courses, information sessions and GMAT study groups.

I’m ready to write!
When you feel that you have prepared enough and you’re ready to write, simply schedule an appointment at a location near you. For the day of the exam, make sure that you’ve had enough sleep and preparation time, you have eaten a good meal for brainpower, and have adequate writing tools and a focused state of mind!

You didn’t do as well as you hoped on the test, now what?
As you already know, you can take the GMAT more than once. In fact, if you have taken the test and submitted your application, but you would like to improve your score, you have the ability to retake the test and send in your new GMAT scores after the application deadline to replace the old scores.

Good luck & happy studying!