Receiving a solid score on the GMAT exam is an important step on the way to a graduate business degree. It helps open the door to a strong MBA (Master of Business Administration) program at a good university. The right score also increases your chances of getting a scholarship or other award.
Unfortunately as most people applying to business school are already working, they struggle to find the time to study as much as they hoped in advance or develop a test prep strategy. People may find themselves with just a few weeks to prepare for the GMAT exam. There is so much to learn that it can feel quite overwhelming, especially as many test takers have been out of school for a few years. Some people advise budgeting 100 hours of study (or more depending on your prior quantitative background) if you want to score over a 700. While the test is obviously very important, it is hard to know the best plan forward for most test takers.
This article is here to help you succeed and develop a plan.
Use Test Prep Guides
People learn differently. Some want to read highly detailed step by step guides, others prefer to work through problems with pencil and paper on their own. Some can sit patiently and study for hours while others learn on their feet and need to be as physically engaged as possible (kinesthetic learning). It’s wise to look back at your greatest academic successes. Were they gained using textbooks or interactive computer sessions? How do you find you learn best? What worked for the ACT or SAT? Choose the best medium for you.
Test prep books for GMAT contain a lot of practical details, can be leafed through easily and are often filled with hundreds or thousands of practice questions. If you found studying off a physical book worked well for you on earlier tests, they are likely to work for this exam as well. Some GMAT students have even said the prep books were harder than the exam, which is comforting as it means the actual exam was less stressful for them.
Consider Online Courses
Many students are searching the internet for help with their studies. Fortunately, there are many online prep courses to choose from. For example, you can see this page to learn about the Magoosh GMAT review. There are countless others at a range of price points with different levels of functionality and individual support. Students may favor an online course that allows them up to a year to complete. Online courses have the benefit of being accessed from a person’s laptop, tablet, computer or smartphone. Practice exams are automatically scored and many can adjust questions based on your proficiency. There will be endless practice questions and the programs will track your progress. As noted, many offer email assistance and some also offer more in-depth tutoring (at higher price or for an additional charge). The programs will also typically give you predictions of where your ultimate score will fall.
Identify Your Weaknesses
If you can complete a complete diagnostic test right at the start of test prep, this can help significantly. It will identify quickly the areas where you need to improve. You may have to work on your math or dig deep into the verbal or quantitative sections. Taking a full test will show you what general parts of the exam are areas that need improvement as well as identify very specific quantitative problems you need to focus on.
Watch The Clock
The GMAT exam is all about time management and whether you can find solutions when under pressure. Allow a certain amount of time for each question. If you haven’t finished it, move on. Don’t delay yourself over one difficult answer. A good pre-exam test would be to set yourself ten example questions and give yourself twenty minutes to solve them. Don’t use a calculator for this exercise. Whether you study on your own or using online test prep software, make sure to track your time carefully. Once you are used to these time constraints, it will take one major aspect of the pressure off of you when you take the real exam.
Understand That The Exam Responds To You
If you keep getting answers wrong, the computer will keep offering you simpler questions. If you are suddenly battling with more complex questions, be encouraged. It’s a good indication that you passed the previous ones correctly and the program is adjusting accordingly.
Prepare For The Exam Day
Take mock tests beforehand. Do this without distractions. If the location is new to you, take a practice trip to the exam center to make sure you understand the route and the traffic so the drive is simple on test day. Get plenty of sleep on the night before the exam. On that day, eat a healthy breakfast with plenty of complex carbohydrates. This will provide a slow-release of energy. Keep yourself hydrated too.
If you’ve done everything you can for the exam, you will be well placed for success. The doors to your MBA and future life will open for you. Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a low stress plan to achieve the score you want.