Why is the GMAT so stressful? – Because MBAs, management and leadership are!
Many MBA students have shared with me that the quant preparation for GMAT is something they use practically every day in their studies. But GMAT preparation actually develops skills which go beyond the MBA classroom. Here are some fringe benefits of GMAT preparation:
Time management is clearly a skill transferable to both your personal and professional life. Working under tight time limitations is something we do every day. Preparing for the GMAT requires improving this skill, so that you can distribute your time to cover all questions and have more of it for the more difficult questions. The workload during MBA studies is as tight as on the GMAT. You will have to read long articles, prepare multiple essays, be active in team projects, deliver presentations, attend business networking events, work with the career centre, etc. One of the immediate post MBA rewards reported by graduates is that after finishing their MBA they suddenly have so much free time. This is especially true for those who studied in an executive or a part-time MBA and had to combine studies with both professional and personal responsibilities.
MBA students aim at higher managerial positions and levels of responsibility or at entrepreneurial ventures. The higher the responsibility, the higher the stress. The MBA studies put you in a whirlpool very similar to the actual managerial routine. You have to handle all tasks under strict time limitations and perform them to the best of your ability in order to impress not only the professors, but also your peers who are your future business partners or competitors.
How the GMAT trains your stamina
It is a long test requiring high concentration for several hours. The computer adaptive format (CAT) of the test keeps you alert all the time by changing the difficulty level of the questions (depending on whether you answered correctly or incorrectly to the previous question). The Integrated Reasoning section gives you tasks which consist of smaller tasks and if one is not correct you lose the rest of it. The data sufficiency is highly challenging for most test takers because it is not part of the training they have received in school or university.
Perhaps the best practice for decision making developed through GMAT is the data sufficiency analysis. These are types of questions which require that you decide whether the information provided or which parts of it will be sufficient for you to make a conclusion or take a decision. This part is one of the most challenging and most valuable for many GMAT test takers.
Another challenging decision is on the day when you take the GMAT test. You have to decide whether to report your score to business schools or not. The difficulty is that you have to do it before you actually know your score. If you do not list schools during the test, then the score will be reported to you only. Then you can take an informed decision whether to report or not, but reporting will cost you an additional fee.
Overall, the GMAT is a great management aptitude trial that helps you build skills which will serve you beyond your studies.