A high GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score is something that every aspiring management professional covets. This is because it is the world’s most trusted management entrance examination. This makes GMAT scores a critical element in the admissions process of all of the world’s finest business schools. As the test is standardized, with just 25 hours of preparation per week and an efficient approach, a candidate should be able to prepare in 3-4 months.
Here are the 5 steps that will help you build an organized and efficient GMAT preparation approach.
Step1: Diagnostic Test:
Before you begin your preparation, you should take a diagnostic test. This will have the twin benefits of telling you what level you are starting from and familiarizing you with the test’s format, question types and the scope of the syllabus. Here is a rather useful free GMAT practice test that you can take. This one will also diagnose your five weakest areas, in both the quant and the verbal areas.
Step 2: Master the Concepts:
Many students make the mistake of taking up the official GMAT guide, as they begin their preparations. As it is prepared by the test makers, the guide is the best GMAT book that there is. However, it is not an appropriate resource to start your preparations with. It is focused on practice, while the first 4-6 weeks of your preparation need to be focused on mastering the GMAT concepts. Rather, refer to conceptual study material and fully understand all GMAT concepts, before you begin practicing questions.
Step 3: Practice Many Questions:
Once you fully understand all of the GMAT questions, start practicing questions. Start by focusing on accuracy and once you can answer more than 75% of the questions correctly, start timing yourself. For most students, it takes answering hundreds of questions to perfect the balance between accuracy and speed. This is why you must have patience, in your preparations.
Step 4: Take One Full-Length Test Every Week:
As you take up steps 2 and 3, do a weekly full-length practice test. This will keep you in touch with all the GMAT sections and concepts, help you develop the stamina needed to solve a 3.5-hour test at the peak of concentration and allow you to develop test taking and time management strategies.
Step 5: Learn from Your Mistakes:
The mistakes that you make will be great opportunities to understand your shortcomings. Since the scope of the GMAT is defined, understanding your mistakes and learning how to avoid them is a great way to improve your score. Think of your practice tests as something to “learn” from, rather than something to “score” on and you will see your scores rise on their own.
Additional Exam Taking Tips:
Be very attentive on the first few questions. The GMAT is an adaptive test, so the first few questions carry more weight. Even if you have to make random guesses for a few questions, complete the entire test. An incomplete test will incur a greater penalty than a few incorrect questions. Avoid getting stuck on any one question. Remember that it is still possible to get the 99th percentile, even if you get about 20% of the questions correct. Do not worry about how you are performing, during the test, only focus on the question that is at hand.