If you clicked through to this article, you’re already aware, by now, that you need to take multiple practice tests to get prepared for the test day. Keep reading if you’d like to know:
- When should I take the GMAT practice tests?
- Why should I take them?
- What tests should I take?
- Where should I take them?
GMAT mock tests are not created equal, so we’ll also be busting a couple of GMAT myths.
Your first GMAT Practice Test
Before you begin studying. Yes, that’s right!
- Understand your existing skills level and build a realistic study plan to reach your score goal.
Need more convincing?
GMAT exam is based on basic theory from high school and measures skills you have developed over a long period of time through education and work.
If you’re considering an MBA program, you must have graduated from high school, and you’ve likely developed at least some skills required for the GMAT!
Taking a test before you delve into the preparation will help you assess your existing skills and save time in the long run.
What test should I take?
Before we answer this question, let’s bust the first GMAT myth:
GMAT Myth #1: The Official GMAT Practice Tests are the best out there, therefore I should only take these tests.
Fact: It is true that the Official GMAT Practice Tests resemble the real test most closely. However, there are 2 big downsides to taking the “official” tests early in your studies:
- The Official GMAT Tests don’t include question explanations. Wouldn’t you want to know how you did and what to improve? Unlike many simulated tests, the Official Tests provide very limited analytics.
- There are only 2 free Official GMAT Tests. While 4 more tests could be purchased for approximately US$100, the Official Tests are best taken when you’ve already studied extensively and are getting close to your test day. They’re good for simulating the real test environment, but they’re not very helpful for studying.
Most simulated tests developed by reputable test prep companies include detailed analytics that help you understand what areas specifically you need to improve. Moreover, these tests let you review and read an explanation for each question you’ve seen on the test.
When you’re only beginning to study, taking a simulated GMAT test with analytics and explanations is a much better idea.
Where should I take the first “diagnostic” GMAT test?
Wherever a reputable simulated test is offered (not the “Official GMAT Test”, you already know why)!
Admit Master offers monthly GMAT mock tests based on the industry leading software. Not only will you get an accurate assessment of your score, but also – exclusive to Admit Master – you’ll be able to access your full exam results from home, including a report of your strengths & weaknesses and all question explanations!
Your second (third, fourth, etc.) GMAT Practice Tests
After you’ve learned strategies to tackle every type of GMAT questions.
- Evaluate your study progress
- Get used to the adaptive test algorithm
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses at the new score level
- Train for the rigor of the test day
- Understand when you’re ready to face the real test
As you could see, you will take your second (and third, and fourth, etc.) tests for very different reasons than your first test. However, simply taking multiple tests is not enough – with every test you should be analyzing your performance and learning from your own mistakes.
What tests should I take?
As you continue studying, you should still focus on “unofficial” tests that provide good analytics and question explanations – after all, your main goal is to learn from your mistakes, and you need a report to see your mistakes!
As you’re starting to reach practice test scores closer to your “target score”, take both “Official GMAT Practice Tests” to get used to the exact software interface that will be used on the real test.
Where should I take these tests?
Most prep companies offer a pack of simulated tests when you take an online or a classroom program. Admit Master’s GMAT Mastery or GMAT Online students receive 9 simulated online tests included with each prep course.
If you’re studying on your own, you could get a pack of 5 simulated tests for only $39.99 here.
Bonus: How many tests should I take?
Practice GMAT tests will not only help you prepare for the test day, but also will help you understand when you’re ready to face the real test. Statistically, your real test score will be within +/- 50 points of the average of your last 3 practice test scores.
While an average student will take 6-8 tests, you could end up taking fewer (or more) tests depending on your own progress. This is why you need to have access to 6-8 (or more) different practice tests.
GMAT Myth #2: Each practice test could be taken multiple times, so there is really no limit to how many tests I could take. One test prep center in Toronto even goes as far as to claim to offer “unlimited free mock GMAT exams”.
Fact: Each practice test has a pre-selected pool of questions. If you take the same test the second time, you’ll see many of the same questions. This will not only skew your results, but also is counterproductive! Take each test only once.