A great GMAT score is achievable by anyone with good organization and solid Test Prep commitment. These are the best GMAT prep tips to get your started on your path to an MBA!
Start with the official materials. The most successful test-takers use a variety of GMAT prep materials, but the best place to start is with the official materials created by the makers of the GMAT: GMAC. You’ll need to pick up a copy of the Official Guide to the GMAT, then download the two free CATs from mba.com. You’ll likely also need 1-2 other workbooks from reputable companies like Manhattan, Kaplan, and PowerScore. To make things easier we have compiled a list of the best GMAT Study Guides. These are the highest-rated books with the best online reviews.
Take advantage of online resources. As you work on your GMAT test prep, keep in mind that some of the best free GMAT resources are now online. Many GMAT prep sites offer free GMAT practice tests, free GMAT strategy guides, and a large amount of free GMAT test questions. Start with our site, GMAT Practice Questions.
Also be sure to check out Mba.com – The official website for GMAT. Download the free GMAT Prep software and take the two adaptable free GMAT practice tests. You’ll want to go over these GMAT questions with a fine tooth comb. For $29, you can download three additional GMAT tests with “retired” test questions. There are also some other excellent free GMAT resources, such as two large PDF files containing all of the Topics for the AWA section, which is excellent GMAT practice for the Issue and Argument essays.
Schedule your study time methodically. Buy a white-erase wall calendar and write your test date in big letters at the top, then begin to schedule study time for yourself by working backwards. Aim to study at least 1 hour a day, 5-6 days a week. Don’t try to cram 20 hours of studying in one week and then do nothing the next. Slow and steady wins the race. Focus, but don’t burn out.
Register early. Choose a GMAT test date that gives you a comfortable window in case you want to re-take. It’s important to set your test date first. If you wait until you feel “ready” to take it, you never will.
Build basic content knowledge first. Don’t try to do everything at once. First familiarize yourself with the tested subject-matter. The OG is the best place to start. You may want to buy supplementary algebra, geometry or English grammar books to fill gaps in your knowledge.
Creating a strategy for each question type. As you begin to feel more confident with your foundation in content, practice different strategies for each question type (practice with these 150 GMAT questions to start). You may need to try several methods to see what works best for you – make sure you are using your scratch pad, especially for CR and RC. Write down your strategy for each question type as a numbered process. If you can’t do this, chances are you don’t have a strategy in place.
Use a tutor your weak areas if needed. Consider working with a tutor for a couple hours to hone your technique. Strategy is the most important step in your preparation because it dictates how you are actually taking the test, so if you are struggling with a certain area or question type, you’re not alone! Reach out to an expert for supplemental help.
Work on pacing. Don’t worry about your pacing until you’ve reviewed the content and you have excellent strategies with high accuracy. If you try to move too quickly too soon you will likely never move beyond a limited accuracy. Once your strategies are good, try to set an “ideal” time for yourself and practice with different sets of questions.
Take full-length tests. You’ll want to take at least 6 over the course of your studies – save the two official CATs for the last quarter of your study-time. Use the tests in your GMAT Study Guides to practice your pacing and for extra question review but do NOT put much faith in the “scores” they give you. No private publisher will accurately mimic the official GMAT’s scoring algorithm, and too often students are disappointed when they score much lower on the actual GMAT. Don’t let these CATs lull you into a false sense of panic or security. Use them only to build your stamina.
Don’t neglect the AWA. Write practice essays each time you take a practice CAT. Send them to friends to review, post them on an online forum, or schedule a session with a tutor online, or an in-person tutor, to review them and ask for suggestions. Make sure you are developing a template for your Argument essay that can easily be completed in the allotted time.