Before you begin studying for the test, you probably wonder, how hard is the GMAT? Is it just like the SAT? I’m here to tell you that this test is a very doable test if you use the right methods. I wasn’t very good at taking standardized tests but I figured out a great study system, found a lot of great study materials, and then just worked really hard. For a variety of reasons, I think this test, while still being very difficult, is easier and more learnable than other standardized tests.
When assessing “how hard is the GMAT?” you must first consider how difficult the material that is being tested is. In math, the material is really just middle and high school math. However, the GMAC finds interesting ways to make what is essentially pretty basic math very complicated. I never thought that there could be a really complicated problem concerning 30-60-90 triangles, but the GMAC finds a way to make such a problem. Overall, the math materials are complicated but not complex. You should be able to have a pretty good grasp of the fundamentals if you study right and use solid study materials. Then you just need to do enough practice to get used to the way the questions work on the test. In verbal, the material can be difficult if your English skills are sub-par. Nothing is overly complex, but I totally understand thinking this section is pretty tough. The only way to improve on this section is through extensive practice. Overall, however, I would say the material on the GMAT in general isn’t overly complex. The material itself is not what makes the test difficult. The test can be difficult because of the timing, the pressure, and the unique ways that the GMAC creates questions.
Ultimately, doing well on the GMAT is a function of how much time you put into studying. Natural ability is obviously very helpful, but unlike many other tests, you can really improve just by doing practice problem after practice problem. I’m sorry to say that there is no magic secret to doing well on the test. The GMAC often repeats the manner in which it asks certain questions. Your goal is to practice so much that you start to see patterns in the way certain questions are asked. Especially with critical reasoning, if you know the different question types and practice enough, you should be able to start anticipating the answer choices before you even read them because the question is so similar to all those questions you practiced with earlier. So how hard is the GMAT? Well, that’s really up to you. You first need to make sure you select the best materials. From there, you just need to practice a lot and all of a sudden the GMAT is a very doable test.
I would suggest two approaches to studying for the test. The first option is if you have a decent amount of time and can study well on your own. If you can, then you should definitely follow the advice and the strategies I lay out throughout this site. If you need a more structured environment and you can’t study well by yourself, try GMAT Pill. It is a highly efficient series of online tutorial courses that cuts out all the fluff you don’t need to know. It is a very well organized and thought out series that is great for people who need a little direction and don’t have a ton of time time to study.