Some colleges and universities require you to take the GMAT exam before applying to graduate school. Your GMAT score can be a factor that is considered for acceptance to certain colleges and universities. There are other colleges and universities that do not require you to take the GMAT. If you do have to take the GMAT here are some helpful tips on conquering the GMAT.

First of all, it is important for you to know what will be on the test, so that you know what to expect and can properly prepare for the exam. The first part of the GMAT consists of an Analytical Writing Assessment where you will be given two essay questions and topics that must be completed. You will be given a total of 60 minutes to complete both essays. The second section of the GMAT is the quantitative section of the exam. You will be given 37 multiple-choice questions that deal with problem solving questions. You will have 75 minutes to complete this section. The final section covered on the GMAT is the verbal section. You will be given 75 minutes to complete 41 multiple-choice questions dealing with reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction.

Now that you have an idea of what is included on the exam, you will need to take the necessary steps to prepare for the exam. Since everyone prepares for major tests and exams differently, you will need to follow a course of action that will allow you to best prepare for the exam.

#1 Make a plan. Whether you need to take a GMAT preparation course or you can study on your own with a GMAT practice exam book, choose the way that you are going to go about studying for the exam.

#2 Create a schedule. You need to start preparing for the GMAT exam 1 or 2 months before you are scheduled to sit for the test. This means that you will need to set aside a certain amount of time each day to devote to studying for your exam. Allot yourself enough time in these study sessions to complete the areas that need to be covered in order to keep you on schedule.

#3 Practice, practice, and then practice some more. Set up simulated practice test sessions. Use practice tests from books or online. Set a kitchen timer or your watch to simulate the real test experience. Do not cheat. Take the test seriously. Pretend like you are taking the test for real and see how you do. Go through the questions and answers on the exam after you have self-graded it. This will help you to get a grasp on what areas you have mastered and what areas you still need to work on. Go back to the areas that you still need to work on and review, practice and study until you have mastered those areas as well.

So now you know the format of the test, what is going to be on the test, and how to study for the test. Now you need to know what to do while you are actually taking the test to totally conquer it.

#1 Read the questions carefully. Do not rush through the exam because you think that you know it like the back of your hand. Be sure to carefully read each question and make sure you know what the question is asking. Missing just one word can totally throw you off from the correct answer.

#2 Make an educated guess. If you do not know the answer to a question, then make an educated guess. An educated guess means narrowing down the choices given as much as possible. If you can narrow down the choices to two options, then you now have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer correct.

#3 Manage your time. Since the test is timed, you will need to be able to manage your time effectively so that you have enough time to complete each question on the exam. Don’t spend too much time on any one question that will cause you to not have enough time to answer the remaining questions.

#4 Check your work. When you have completed a section and you have time left before the end of that portion of the exam, go back and check your answers. First, make sure that you have answered all of the questions. Revisit the questions that you were having trouble with and recheck your answer choice now that you have a few more minutes to spend on it.

Relax, take a deep breath, and prepare for your GMAT exam. The GMAT covers material that you should already know or have some knowledge of. When you are studying, you are not really studying to learn new material. You are really refreshing yourself with material that you already know. By taking the necessary steps to prepare for the exam and preparing yourself for the test on the actual day of the exam, you will have everything you need to conquer the GMAT.