Before beginning my GMAT studies, I did my research, read a variety of different B-School blogs and basically tried to decide what the best approach would be to this standardized exam. Now, after I have written the exam, I’ve come to realize that there is a very simple and straightforward way to ensure success. I am aware that I am probably preaching to the choir, but this is just my two cents of how to go about the exam.
Time management and discipline are CRUCIAL aspects for success. This may seem obvious, but after several conversations with others who have been through it, we have reached a conclusion that this is all easier said than done. The GMAT doesn’t exactly work like a school course in your undergraduate studies. Even if you prided yourself on your “cramming” abilities in the past – they may seriously let you down this time around. If there is one thing that I can attest to – it’s the fact that to get a good score, you need to put in the required hard work on a consistent basis.
The following steps, in order are my tips for the GMAT prep.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the GMAT structure and principles. You can start by visiting http://www.mba.com and poke around. While you are there - download the GMAT Prep, which are 2 practice tests from the official GMAT writers. These 2 tests contain real GMAT questions, follow real GMAT principles, and are the best at estimating your GMAT score at any point in time. So do not waste these tests.
Step 2: Start your prep by taking a practice test to find out where you stand, and how how far you are from your target score. Everyone has a different target, so not everyone's goal is an 800. Many believe it is a good use of one of the free GMAT Prep Tests from the mba website. The main reason it is a good use is that you can see your starting point (now) and then compare it against the ending (taking GMAT).
Step 3: Find out what GMAT score you actually need. Just to give you an idea, and based on my research, you need 700 for Top 10 schools, 680 for Top 20, and 650 for Top 50 to pass - meaning your score should not be an issue and you will need something 50 points higher to actually stand out. Most p
Step 4: Figure out your weaknesses. Do a basic mistake analysis and understand which question types are the most challenging for you. The options are Problem Solving, Data Sufficiency, Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction and potentially even more detailed such as probability, or assumption questions, etc. Use this information to build your study plan.
Step 5: Last by not least, design your study plan and always remember to chart your progress. It may seem tedious, but it is well worth it.
All in all, there isn’t much I can say that you haven’t heard before. That’s just my two cents of how to make the GMAT process smoother and (somewhat) more enjoyable!