GMAT Proctor Prepper


Anthony Bolling and Kimberly Hall

Instructional Objective

The learners will reinforce and practice their test taking strategies for the Critical Thinking questions on the Graduate Admissions Management Test. (GMAT).


The learners are post-baccaulereate students at San Diego State University's American Language Institute. They are from Asian, Middle Eastern, European and South American countries and English is their second language. They are at an advanced level of English and their goal is to gain admittance to an American MBA program (hence the necessity of success on the GMAT).

Object of Game

Answer the questions correctly in order to collect points and reach "Stop." The first player/team to reach "Stop" within a 50 minute time period wins. If no one reaches "Stop" within the time period, the player/team with the most points wins.

Game Materials

Time Required

The game is for 2-3 teams with 4-6 players or 2-3 individual players, depending on the skill level of participants. The teacher will allot a 50 minute time period during the GMAT class.


The Set-up

1. Place each of the 4 Categories of Cards face down in the appropriate sections on the board.
2. There are five types of spaces along the path of the board: Question Spaces (Q), Explanation Spaces
(E), Strategy Spaces (S), Bonus Point Question Spaces (BQ), and Penalty Spaces (P).

The Rules

1. Each player/team places their playing piece in the Start Box

2. Each player/team rolls the dice. The highest number takes the first turn.

3. On your turn, roll the dice and move your playing piece the number rolled.

4. Make sure to move only 1 space at a time along the HOME STRETCH (last 5 spaces). NO DICE !!

 If you land on a . . .

 Then . . .

 Question Space

Select a Q-card and choose an answer within 90 seconds.
Note: Opponent refers to answer key

 Explanation Space

Select an E-card and explain why given answer is the best choice within 90 seconds
Note: Opponent refers to answer key

 Strategy Space

Select an S-Card, read the card aloud and roll the dice again

 Bonus Point Question Space

Select a Q-Card and Choose an Answer within 90 seconds;
correct answer will earn you Double or Triple points
Note: Opponent refers to answer key

 Penalty Space

Follow the directions printed on that space

Game Situations

 If . . .

 Then . .

Player correctly answers a question

1. Keep the card and later add the number to their score.
2. Continue to roll the dice and proceed until they give an incorrect answer.
3. The next time the player lands on a "Question" they must choose a 15 pt. Q-Card.

Player incorrectly answers a question

1. Move playing piece back to the previous "Strategy" and wait for next turn to roll the dice.
2. The next time the player lands on a "Question" they must choose a 10 pt. Q-Card.

There is a dispute regarding accuracy of an answer.

The instructor will make the final judgment.

Player (A) lands on a Strategy Space that's already occupied by another player (B)

Player A may choose to :
1. Pick a Strategy Card and roll the dice again, or
2. Challenge Player B to answer a 10 pt. Question.
If Player B answers "Challenge" correctly . .
Note: Opponent refers to answer key
1. Player A remains on "Strategy" with no additional roll of the dice.
2. Player B gets 10 pts and waits for their next turn..
If Player B answers "Challenge" incorrectly . Note: Opponent refers to answer key
1. Player A rolls the dice again and proceeds.
2. Player B moves backward to previous "Strategy".

Design Process

Along with providing students with a game to practice their GMAT test-taking strategies on the Critical Thinking (CT) questions, this games exposes them to the context of the computerized conditions. Recently the Educational Testing Service abandoned the paper and pencil GMAT for a computerized GMAT. The American Language Institute does not yet have software and ample computers for these students to practice. Thus, students are not exposed to the differences between the paper and computer test in the classroom. The changes the computer test enforces are as follows:

A path format with a time limit is realistic for a GMAT game. Students begin at "Start," proceed methodically and earn points under timed conditions until they reach "Stop" or the time expires. There is a limit of 3 teams or 3 individual players to allow sufficient involvement of all players.

Although the actual test encompasses only questions, we felt this style would be monotonous as a game so we included variations to guide students in improving their skills. We intentionally placed more Strategy spaces at the beginning of the path which dwindle as the path proceeds; consequently, the Question spaces increase. This provides for ease in warm-up and increase in complexity.

After testing the game the students recommended more variations within the type of spaces. "Some Punishments" is what they encouraged us to include (as though the GMAT isn't punishment enough!). Along with Bonus Points, penalty spaces would add to the enthusiasm of competition, so we added
Another recommendation from the students was to change the graphics on the strategy cards to directly relate to the particular strategy. One student encouraged me, "we learn better with visuals," meaning visuals that are related to the text. So we redesigned the specific cards that needed change. Also, the students pointed out that the Explanation questions were the most difficult, so there should be a substantial reward for answering them correctly. Otherwise, as they informed me, they wouldn't be motivated to answer them. We changed the value of the Explanation questions from 0 to 15 points.
Aside from these changes, the students agreed that the the remaining elements of the game were appropriate to their needs. Particularly useful to them are the provided answer explanations and translations in simple English on the Answer Key. The Answer Key is designed for ease of use and restricted exposure of only one answer at a time; otherwise it would be tempting for the players to look at the other answers. The answers and explanations are in red, which stand out from the standard black print.
Overall, the students feel it is a fun and challenging game; it encourages critical thinking in a competitive way. Cooperation is also involved when students play in teams.


Educational Testing Service (1996). GMAT: Practicing to take the General Test; The Big Book. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

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