Guest post by Chris Lele, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh.
Sweating your way through a convoluted Sentence Correction problem or a fiendishly subtle Data Sufficiency question seems to have very little bearing with what you actually do in business school. For this reason, many see the GMAT as little more than an unpleasant hurdle—and a giant one at that—that b-school aspirants have to contend with if they want a shot at the more coveted programs. Yet, many general skills that you fine tune on the GMAT will help you in business school, and even beyond.
Notice, I said “general skills”. In business school, you’ll never have to sweat your way through a GMAT reading comprehension passage on how isotope dating is connected to the Ice Age, but you’ll have to learn how to make sense of complex information in a short amount of time. Below are some other general skills relevant to business school that preparing for the GMAT will help you hone.
Both the GMAT Integrated Reasoning and AWA sections test your ability to reason with words. By fine-tuning these skills during GMAT preparation, you’ll be able to write with more confidence and flair when you arrive at your b-school campus. And these skills will help you far beyond the academia.
2. Your math brain
By math brain, I mean your ability to crunch numbers in a problem-solving context. Depending on the program you apply to, this skill can be anywhere from quite relevant to simply indispensable. And the fact that many of us let our math brain atrophy in between college and business school makes the GMAT–which is a great shock to math synapses–perfect preparation for the quantitative rigors that await.
3. Your reading brain
You might read an Economist article here and there, but only when you start prepping for the GMAT do you realize how long and convoluted sentences can be. Many GMAT test takers can attest that the first few weeks of prepping, when getting through an entire reading passage or set of critical reasoning questions feels like a Herculean task, is the worst part. But after a few months of GMAT prep, your ability to handle lots of dense, dry information is increased tenfold. As for the Economist magazine, the articles will start to seem like mere child’s play.
All of this helps for business school because you will be inundated with case studies and other such readings. And while not all the reading will be as technical and abstruse as what you find on the GMAT reading comprehension, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the reading load.
Even though business school isn’t known for having the workload of many undergraduate majors, still many are often surprised that b-school wasn’t as easy as they thought. The great thing about preparing for the GMAT is that it trains you to not only sit for hours prepping, but to also sit through an entire GMAT exam. That’s four plus hours of grueling intensity. Building up that level of mental endurance will make the copious amount of work you do in business school much more manageable.