Monday, 15 August 2011


This test deserves its own section. Don’t be fooled into thinking because you were great at Maths or English in high school you will be able to remember it all now- for most of us that was a while ago! There are questions designed to challenge your problem solving skills, and abilities to work out data sufficiency. The reading passages can be quite convoluted, and are designed to make your mind wander as you read them. You need a score of at least 600 to get into Cranfield. No 600 score, no scholarship.

The bottom line- plan early.

Allow time to sit the exam twice if you need to- if you get through on the first attempt, that is great, if not, you have time for redemption. After attempting the exam, you must wait 31 days before you can attempt it again. Don’t let this rule you out of contention for the scholarship. Read the information available on the website, ( and know what you are in for- arriving early, providing identification, including a thermo-palm print, and other people coming in and out of the exam room, starting at different times. Ask for ear plugs, and if they offer you a choice of seating, make sure you are comfortable. Take your breaks during the exam, take these moments to recollect your thoughts and stop brain fatigue from setting in. For most of us, it has been a long time since we have sat a 3.5 hour exam!

Start studying.

Do not be fooled into thinking a few days refresher is enough to get you through this. Download the software available free from the GMAT website. This will assist you in getting to know the software you will be working with during the exam, and will certainly ease anxiety about what to expect. The software provides review sections and practice tests- initially, I thought I would be ok, but my first attempt on the practice software, I only managed to score 510!
I combated this in several ways- I contacted the daughter of a work colleague who had just finished year 12, and arranged a couple of tutoring sessions. It felt odd at first, but it just reminded me of some of the formulas.
I also went back to practicing my times tables- a must when you are completing the exam without a calculator.
I also looked online, and found there were several GMAT prep courses available. I enrolled in the Knewton Online GMAT prep course ( – which was a worthwhile investment- they have a 50 point increase or your money back guarantee. This course was perfect for me- although I had the opportunity to participate in interactive classes, they were generally not at convenient times, so I took the “on demand” classes. This meant I could work at my own pace, when I wanted, where I wanted, pausing wherever I needed to. There were practice exams, and good hints about if you needed to guess, how to do it, and when to do it. There were 13 classes and 6 practice exams in all, written by the people who designed the GMAT test. I would certainly recommend doing this class, allowing at least 6 weeks for completion. In the end, my score jumped from that initial 510 to 660- and a score of 6/6 for the essay component. I cannot speak highly enough about the Knewton course, the tech support, the teachers, and the benefit I gained from it.

Get organized

Don’t forget to check when the GMAT exams will be held in your area. They weren’t very frequent in Adelaide, yet in Melbourne and Sydney, there were daily sessions. This will need to be taken into consideration when planning your scholarship application.
Now that all of that is said and done- add it all up, if you are in an area where there are frequent exams, or are able to travel to one of these cities, then you need to allow at least two and a half months before the scholarship deadline to ensure that the GMAT wont close the door to your scholarship application. If you are in an area where the tests aren’t frequent, you will need to plan for more time. If you don’t need to re-sit, that is great- all the more time to prepare your applications- but it is nice to know you have the option if you need it.

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