GMAT, the Graduate Management Admissions Test is the world’s most trusted management entrance examination. Securing a good GMAT score is a critical element in getting admission to the world’s most coveted business schools. GMAT is a standardized test, meaning that the test format and question pattern is predefined. It should take the typical candidate no more than 3-4 months to prepare for the GMAT, provided that they devote 25 hours a week to their preparation. It will also be important for them to approach their GMAT preparations in an organized manner, as described below.
Step 1: Take a Diagnostic Test
It is a good idea to begin your prep with a full-length diagnostic test. This will familiarize you with the scope of the syllabus, as well as the test format and question types. It will also give you a clear idea of what level you will be starting off from. You can find such free GMAT practice test here. This test is particularly useful, as it can also diagnose your five weakest areas in both quant as well as verbal.
Step 2: Build You Conceptual Understanding
Many students make the mistake of beginning their preparations by practicing from the official GMAT guide. They assume that this is the appropriate course of action, as this guide is the most prestigious GMAT preparation resource. While it is, no doubt, an excellent book it is not appropriate for the first step of your preparations. The first 4-6 weeks need to be focused on understanding the GMAT concepts. Taking up the official guide, at this point, will only exhaust a great pool of questions at an inopportune time.
Step 3: Practice a Lot of Problems
Once you have a solid grasp on the concepts, you need to practice on a lot of questions. Begin by focusing on accuracy and once you start getting more than 75% of the questions correct, start timing yourself. Stay patient, it will take hundreds of questions for you to learn how to balance speed and accuracy.
Step 4: Practice with Full-length Tests
Alongside steps 2 and 3, take a full-length test every week. This will help you to build the stamina needed to give a 3.5 hour long test and give you the opportunity to develop time management and test taking strategies. It will also help you keep in touch with the various GMAT concepts.
Step 5: Learn from Your Mistakes
Remember that the scope of the GMAT is predefined. If you pay close attention to your mistakes, understand them, and avoid repeating them your performance is sure to improve. Instead of tackling the practice material with the intention of scoring, do so with the intention of learning.
Bonus: Important Exam Tips
Make sure to complete the test, even you have to mark a few questions at random. The penalty on incomplete tests is higher than that on a few wrong questions. You can score in the 99th percentile, even if you get about 20% of the questions incorrect, so do not spend too long on any one questions. Remember to solve the first few questions, carefully, as the adaptive nature of the test means that they will carry more weight. Most importantly, do not get wrapped up in analyzing your performance- just focus on the questions at hand.
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