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Tips and strategies to prepare for GMAT

4 Mins read

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-based exam used to assess a candidate’s reading, verbal, writing, analytical and quantitative abilities. The GMAT score can help them stand out to the admissions committee when applying for a graduate management programme like an MBA. The candidates have the flexibility to take these exams both online and offline. To give the exam from the comfort of your home, candidates can schedule an online exam appointment 24 hours before an available testing slot.

The GMAT can be a particularly intimidating exam for most students as the type of questions asked is relatively challenging compared to the other competitive exams. The fact that you cannot move on to the next question before answering the one at hand makes it even more difficult for students to complete the test in the given period. Your GMAT score will be valid for five years, and it is advised that you take the exam as soon as you start looking at prospective colleges. It is crucial to have your score with you to stick to the application deadline, as many business schools have multiple rounds. The cost of taking the GMAT exam is $250, and you can send your score to five programs of your choice. You should give the exam only if you are well-prepared and try your best to score well in one attempt so that you can avoid retaking the exam and paying the fee twice. 

Tips to improve the overall score:

1. Early start of preparation

To achieve your GMAT target score, you must begin your prep at least 6-8 months before the exam. However, this depends on your familiarity with the exam pattern and your ability to learn concepts quickly. But if you think that you are entirely new to the different sections of the exam and will require significant time to get the basics right, you can start even before 6-8 months. 

2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Before delving deep and taking multiple practise tests in one go, it is crucial to identify the sections which are your strengths and the ones that are relatively more difficult to tackle. You need to devote sufficient time, in the beginning, to avoid being disappointed amidst your prep if you don’t score well. Begin with familiarizing yourself with each section and then divide the time accordingly based on your strong and weak points. 

3. Work on your fundamentals

All the students who receive a perfect GMAT score have one common suggestion to pay attention to your fundamentals and a basic understanding of complex concepts. Once you have assessed yourself, you can start brushing up on your fundamentals of mathematics, basic grammar, reading and writing skills accordingly. You are the best judge of your performance, and the more closely you analyze the minute details and gaps, the more efficiently you’ll be able to fill them. 

4. Consistency 

You must have heard this statement that “Consistency is the key” repeatedly, but it is undeniable that you will have to be consistent with the preparation if you need a perfect score. It is imperative to have a study routine to follow the schedule every day and subsequently work on your weak areas. Studying in one go will not be as efficient as evenly distributing your time between each section while keeping your final goal in mind. 

5. Time yourself

As soon as you think you are confident enough to score well in each section, you can begin to focus on the timing. Being efficient is extremely important as the exam lasts for about 3.5 hours, and you’ll have to distribute your energy between the sections evenly. It is best if you adhere to a certain pace while attempting the questions because if you’re too quick to jump to the next question, you might end up sacrificing your efficiency. On the other hand, if you read too much into one question, you might miss an entire section which will negatively impact your overall score. Therefore, in addition to a robust preparation routine, you need a lot of sufficient time for practice tests to time yourself and accordingly work on your pace if need be. 

6. Familiarity with the test conditions 

The importance of getting acquainted with the actual test conditions cannot be stressed enough. Once you have perfected the pace and taken plenty of practise tests, it is time that you level up your preparation. You can do this by making the practice test seem as authentic as possible, get rid of all the distractions so that you can get an idea of what the actual examination room would feel like. The pressure in the examination room will be more than what you experience from the comfort of your home, so try to make it as realistic as possible. In addition to this, it will also be an added benefit if you can get accustomed to the testing format. Try to make as many mental calculations as you can while attempting the quantitative and resist the urge to use a calculator instead. 

7. Plenty of practice tests 

Once you have successfully identified the areas that you need to work on, you can take practice tests for particular sections. This will help you work on your problem areas to aim for a high overall exam score. Once you are through with the section-wise preparation, you can move on to taking an entire test in one go. In this way, you can analyze your holistic performance and identify the problems you faced to avoid them when you’re taking the actual exam. You can also go for a more challenging practise test as you keep on progressing in your preparation and take up timed tests as well. 

All in all, make sure you don’t get bogged by the preparation, as it can be a little intimidating initially. Once you come up with a comfortable timeline for the preparation, you will successfully achieve your target score and get into your dream business school if you remain consistent throughout your exam preparation. 

 Author Bio 

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Abhyank Srinet is a passionate digital entrepreneur who holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe. He started his first company while he was still studying at ESCP and managed to scale it up by 400% in just 2 years. Being a B-School Alumni, he recognized the need for a one-stop solution for B-School to get in touch with schools and get their application queries resolved. This prompted him to create MiM-Essay, a one-of-a-kind portal with cutting edge profile evaluation and school selection algorithms, along with several avenues to stay informed about the latest B-School Updates.