Things to Know Before Your GMAT Preparation


How much preparation is required for GMAT? The GMAT is required for admission to the vast majority of MBA programs. To give time for your scores to be reported to schools, prospective B-school students should take the exam at least two months ahead to your preferred schools’ application deadline.

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Important Points to Consider Before Your GMAT Preparation

Because your GMAT score will determine whether or not you are accepted, it is prudent to prepare for it. Here are some things to remember when you prepare for the GMAT exam:


1. Understand the GMAT Paper Pattern and Timings

The GMAC does not have many GMAT eligibility criteria. One of the few GMAT eligibility criteria mentioned by GMAC is the age requirement. Although there is no upper age limit for candidates, any candidate between the age of 13 and 17 years should have a written permission from a parent or a legal guardian. Also, a currently valid (not expired) passport is the only accepted ID proof in India.

The GMAT has three main sections – The Data Insight Section (DI), the Verbal section, and the Quantitative section. Let’s look at the details of each section.

GMAT Test Section No. of Questions Question Types Timing
Data Insight 20 Questions Multi-Source Reasoning

Graphics Interpretation

Two-Part Analysis

Table Analysis

Data Sufficiency

45 Minutes
Quantitative 21 Questions Problem Solving 45 Minutes
Verbal 23 Questions Reading Comprehension

Critical Reasoning

45 Minutes
Total Exam Time  




2 hours, 15 minutes


2. Two Computer Adaptive Sections

This means you’ll be taking the test on a computer, and the computer will adapt the questions to your skill and knowledge based on how well you answer each one. If you answer correctly on an intermediate topic, for example, the next question will be more difficult, and vice versa. The difficulty of the questions answered and the number of right responses will determine your score in these sections.

When you take the GMAT Exam, you have the option to choose the order in which you will attempt the sections. Some students feel their math abilities are strong, so they will start with the quantitative section to build their confidence.

Other students may want to tackle the verbal section when they are fresh and start with that section. Still, others may want to ease into the exam and will decide to begin with the Analytical Writing Assessment section. The default option is Order #1, so if you plan to choose any other order, you would need to do so quickly before the time runs out.

Order #1 Order #2 Order #3
Analytical Writing Assessment Verbal Quantitative
Integrated Reasoning
Optional 8-minute Break
Quantitative Quantitative Verbal
Optional 8-minute Break
Verbal Integrated Reasoning Integrated Reasoning
Analytical Writing Assessment Analytical Writing Assessment


3. Four Different Scores: Understand How the GMAT is Scored

For each section, you will be given a score. GMAT Analytical writing is scored on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 6 (highest) in half-point intervals. GMAT Integrated reasoning is graded on a scale of 1 to 8 in single digit intervals, while qualitative and verbal reasoning are graded on a scale of 0 to 60.

In the Analytical Writing Assessment section of the essay, you have to analyze an argument and identify the flaws in the argument. It is scored on a range of 0 to 6, with 0.5 point increments.

The Integrated Reasoning section tests both your math and verbal skills and can be thought of as a test of data interpretation and logical reasoning. The Integrated Reasoning section is scored on a scale of 1 to 8 in 1-point increments.
The quant and the verbal sections are computer adaptive. This means that test takers begin with a question of medium difficulty. The difficulty level of the questions then changes in real time, based on your performance. Let us understand how this works?

When you answer a question correctly, the next question will be of the same difficulty level or a higher difficulty level. On the other hand, if you answer a question incorrectly, the next question will be of the same difficulty level or a lower difficulty level. You cannot skip a question or move to any other question during the exam. This is because the computer uses your performance on the current question to determine the difficulty level of the next question.

For the verbal and quant sections, your final score depends on the number of questions you answer, the number of questions you get correct, and the difficulty level of the questions you answer. You will not be told about the difficulty level of each question. Approximately 25% of the questions in each section will be unscored as the test creator is just testing out those questions. These are called experimental questions and these are also not identifiable during the exam and can be of any difficulty. If you run out of time and are unable to complete all the questions in a section, there is a penalty for that on the GMAT.

GMAT scores have a percentile ranking associated with them and the percentile rankings keep changing over time. A score of 37 in verbal has a percentile ranking of 82% while a score of 44 in quant has a percentile ranking of only 48%.

The percentile rank refers to the percentage of people who have scored less than you. For example, if your score is in the 95th percentile – this means that you have scored more than 95% of the people taking the exam.


4. Final Score

The GMAT total score ranges from 200 to 800, with ten-point increments, and exclusively considers verbal and quantitative scores. Around two-thirds of all examinees receive a total score in the 400 to 600 range. A percentile rank is also included in score reports.

The GMAT is not a pass/fail exam. The score you’ll need is determined by the school and program to which you’re applying. Most business schools will state whether they accept a range of scores or a specific score.

Setting a goal for yourself with the required score in mind will aid you in preparing for the exam utilising various diagnostic and practice tests, as well as any other resources that work best for you.


5. Five Year Score Validity

Official scores will be sent to you within twenty days after the exam, and they will be valid for five years. This is important information when deciding when to take the GMAT. If you’ve already decided on a school and program, you’ll need to arrange your test around the deadlines set by the school. However, if you’re still undecided about when you’ll apply to schools, keep the validity period in mind.


6. Many Free Resources Online

You should take the GMAT practice test often, every week. Find out by taking a full-length GMAT practice test under realistic testing conditions. Try your hand at the types of questions you’ll see on the real test and get a personalized score report highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.

By doing more and more GMAT computer-adaptive practice tests you can understand the format clearly and reviewing one section at a time will help you to achieve the best GMAT score.


7. Make a GMAT Study Schedule

This will give you an estimate of how much time you’ll need to prepare for the GMAT exam. How to prepare for GMAT? It’s a good idea to make a study schedule that takes into consideration your other commitments (job, school, etc.) to figure out how many days or weeks you’ll need to completely prepare and review for all sections of the GMAT exam.


8. Preferred Language

The test is entirely conducted in English. This is important information for test takers who struggle with the language or are unsure of their ability to comprehend and speak in it. If you believe you will need to spend time improving your English before taking the exam, you should include this in your GMAT preparation. This is something you’ll need to accomplish before you start studying for the GMAT exam.


9. Regulations to Follow on the Test Day

Mobile phones, notes, scratch paper, pens, dictionaries, thesauri, watches, and other gadgets will not be permitted on test day; only identification, a list of programs to which your score must be sent, and your appointment letter will be allowed.

You will have three hours and thirty minutes to complete the test, with two optional breaks. There are also country test centre regulations, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the ones that apply to the country where you’ll be taking the test.


Mistakes to Avoid During GMAT Prep

The GMAT is designed in such a way that test takers have to be in a rush constantly and take a lot of pressure during the test. Hence most students, especially those who are taking the test for the first time, make many common mistakes that both takeaway time and lower your scores and accuracy. Thus, it is important to avoid these common GMAT prep mistakes to score higher in the test. Given below are a few of the mistakes that you must avoid:

Making mistakes on the GMAT Exam can be very disheartening. But there is indeed a workaround. Find out the 7 most common mistakes that students make on the GMAT Exam and how to avoid them in the future.


1. Don’t Underestimate GMAT

You aren’t the first person to underestimate the GMAT and the GMAT prep time.
GMAT test-takers often have a bachelor’s degree and are accustomed to performing at the highest level. They are accustomed to turning up and doing admirably. Unfortunately, the GMAT is a competitive exam that sets you against others (overachievers) from all over the world. Test takers are sorted into percentiles on the GMAT. The way you perform in comparison to your peers determines your score. And you can guarantee they’re working hard and smart in practice.

This also includes delaying preparation. A year is spent on average by a prospective MBA student in the application process. If you don’t think about the application timetable ahead of time, you can end up cramming for the GMAT. The first and second application rounds are when your chances of acceptance and scholarships are at their best. Make sure you give yourself enough time to earn the best GMAT score possible, even if that means taking the exam more than once.


2. Don’t Study for GMAT, Practice for It

The GMAT, for the most part, assesses your abilities rather than your knowledge. Spending too much time rote learning topics and too little time practising questions is a terrible idea. You’ll gain the majority of your knowledge through answering actual GMAT questions. The GMAT isn’t only a test of your current cognitive talents. These cognitive talents are being developed as a result of your practice.

You may compare it to marathon training. You’re gradually improving your ability to perform at your best on each given day. You want to maintain your practice regularly, much like you would when training for a marathon, to prevent losing momentum by stopping and resuming. You’ll also do better if you practise every day rather than trying to fit everything in over the weekend. For ease, you can also take the GMAT online course to prepare.


3. Don’t Use Spurious Material

The GMAT has a very distinct tone. You’ll go a long way if you understand the GMAT and its common pitfalls. You can use GMAT mock tests from manyagroup.com strategically. We recommend taking one of these exams before scheduling your GMAT exam to ensure that you are prepared. Don’t throw these tests away too soon in the procedure. Also, the diagnostic test included in your official handbook can help you figure out where to begin.

Make sure you’re getting something out of each question. It’s OK to get answers wrong; it’s all part of the GMAT preparation or learning process. Make certain you understand where you went wrong so you don’t repeat the mistakes. It’s a good idea to keep track of the questions you got wrong so you can review them later.


4. Don’t Neglect the Verbal Section

The quantitative component of the GMAT is understandably intimidating to many test-takers. However, don’t overlook the verbal component. The verbal section is really somewhat more weighted in your final score out of 800.
The verbal reasoning component is not about ‘good business English,’ as many people believe. Many native English speakers have discovered the hard way that knowing the language well is required but not sufficient for a decent grade. The verbal component of the GMAT assesses your ability to think verbally. We all have a tendency to exaggerate this. It also entails mastering a set of GMAT-specific norms that aren’t always intuitive.


5. Don’t Neglect Strategy

You should know what kinds of questions you generally get right or wrong before taking a test. You should be aware of the common errors you make and have measures in place to avoid them whenever possible. These may be questions you ask yourself before submitting or typical pitfalls you double-check for. And to score well you must take GMAT mock tests often.

All of this comes through self-awareness and practice. You should have already honed your time technique and built your mental stamina by taking many full-length GMAT sample papers by test day. You must utilise all of your resources in order to achieve the highest possible score. Michael Jordon, a retired professional basketball player, has given me the best advice I’ve ever received. ‘Practice as if you’ve never won before, and play as if you’ve never lost.’


6. Don’t Let Chaos Take Over

It was taught to you as part of your GMAT preparation. GMAT tips 101 given to you by your GMAT tutors. Plus, there’s more. You put them to use in your GMAT practice test. Exam anxiety, on the other hand, causes us to ignore planned procedures and allow chaos to reign — a recipe for disaster. So, remember to stay calm and answer questions in a systematic manner.


7. Not Taking a Break

The GMAT exam is a three-hour-plus examination. It is difficult to focus for a long time. The key is to recognise when you’ve lost concentration. It’s time to take a break if you notice you’re thinking about something other than the question in front of you. Short breaks of 2 to 5 seconds work like magic.

These breaks assist you in regaining your attention. It is exemplified nowhere more than in Reading Comprehension. Reading the same line in a section over and over again without understanding it will not get you anywhere.

As a result, begin practising it every time you take a GMAT mock test or while GMAT preparation. Note, you should try out such methods and strategies on the actual GMAT. So, when it comes to GMAT preparation, don’t cut any corners. Get assistance from your GMAT prep course if you don’t understand the concepts.
We hope this essay has helped you understand some basic mistakes to avoid during your GMAT preparation.


8. Putting Off Things Till the Last Moment

The brain takes a time to nail the concepts, and if you require a substantial amount of time-lapse since reviewing a subject, you may have to start again from the beginning when you open your books a few weeks later. So, once you start studying for the GMAT, adhere to a regular schedule. This could be only half an hour each evening, or an hour on Wednesdays and Saturdays, try to get into a cycle because irregular study simply helps nobody.

How much time does it take to prepare for GMAT? Most students require four to six months of preparation to reach their full potential; if they want their score to reflect their abilities! Students should not put off GMAT studies to the last minute, as this could negatively affect their admission decisions.


9. Not Planning Out a Study Program for GMAT Prep

The first and most important step towards GMAT Exam prep is to have a study plan. How and when are you going to study? How much to study for GMAT? How long per day? To make this study program work, you need to set a tentative test date/month. Without a plan, the focus is lost and haywire study schedules make way for nervousness and unnecessary tension.


10. Not Taking Mock Tests Intermittently to Monitor One’s Progress

All the hard work we put in towards any task should be put into the test for the results. And the only way to check this would be to take mock tests in between. In fact, your GMAT prep should commence with a diagnostic test taken to understand your current level of performance and knowledge of questions. The best test to evaluate this would be the GMAT online prep free test provided by GMAC. Tests ought to be taken once a fortnight at first and then gradually once a week. It is wrong to think that ‘once I perfect all concepts, I shall take mock tests continuously for a week before my actual exam”. DON’T do this.


11. Loading One’s Head with too Much Information

You cannot load too much on the head. The scratchpad has to be used. This assists clear thinking, organizes work and gets you the right way to do questions. Practice using the note board from the start of your GMAT Prep.


12. Losing Focus Because of Overconfidence

You should be confident but never surrender to overconfidence. That shatters all the good work done. You know the solution to the question, yet in the nick of the moment, a careless casual approach does the doom! You cannot afford to get a question wrong due to negligence and lack of focus. Keep your confidence strong and approach every question with calm composure.


13. Abandoning Strategies and Techniques Midway

The approaches and strategies are all tested and WILL work till the end. Don’t give them up halfway through a question. You tend to start selecting the correct answer because that looks or feels the best and forget that you are supposed to keep it accurate and error-free. Selecting does not work. Eliminating by identifying the reason to do so works.


14. Taking Tests without Analysing their Performance

It is surely a good idea to take tests to check performance progress, but analysis and review of each test will make way for perfection. An error log maintained will help understand the questions you do make frequent mistakes in and working on the errors by practicing will reduce the number of errors in the next test. Test analysis plays a significant role in your performance graph.


15. Guessing Answers

Since there is no negative marking in GMAT, you might be tempted to guess the answers without doing lengthy calculations. Rather than guessing, which might turn out wrong, it is wiser to answer questions after being sanguine. This is because GMAT is a computer adaptive test designed to guess your ability to answer questions of varying difficulty. Though you can use the process of elimination to arrive closer to the correct option in the exam, it is wiser to move on and attempt the maximum number of questions rather than guessing.


16. Not Taking Notes

The GMAT scratchpad is specifically provided so that students can make important notes related to the questions. Questions in GMAT can have more than one dimension to them which are designed in a way that can cause confusion. Therefore, not taking notes may make you miss out on a key aspect of the question and can actually make you spend more time solving it.

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7 Step Plan for GMAT Exam Preparation

When studying for the GMAT exam, having a GMAT prep strategy and study plan is essential. Too many people start their GMAT preparation by merely purchasing a book, enrolling in a prep class, or downloading an app. The better method is to first properly examine your specific situation: comprehend where you are and where you want to go, and then figure out the best way to get there.

Putting effort in upfront analysis and preparation can result in a substantially higher GMAT score and a far more efficient GMAT prep process. When it comes to GMAT preparation, I recommend starting with a “phase 0.” In phase 0, you just want to identify the optimal frame of reference for the nature of the test for which you are preparing.

The GMAT exam is not an IQ test, nor is it simply a test of English, verbal, and mathematical aptitude. While an English major is likely to perform well on the sentence correction section of the exam, your academic background is likely to be less beneficial (or less of a problem) than you may imagine.

The following 7 step plan is going to give you a smooth and discernible start towards your GMAT preparation:


Step 1: Target a Score

You have to explore quite a bit to know which university you need to apply to and that depends on the score you attain. A 700+ score can get you to the top 10 universities abroad, 20 less can still get you to top 20 B-schools, and if you are content with even a top 50 school but you need the exposure, a 650-670 would suffice. With whatever diagnostic score you have at hand after taking the mock test, you should easily be able to soar up 150-200 points with your preparation.
Related Blog Post: For how long is my GMAT score valid?


Step 2: Analysis of the Diagnostic Test

Before you actually begin your GMAT preparation in full flow, it is important that you give a GMAT diagnostic test, preferably a full-length GMAT online test. This effectively becomes your benchmark that you refer to whenever you evaluate your performance. Unless you know your initial preparation level, you will not be able to gauge how effective your current GMAT self-preparation methods are.

Preparation for GMAT should ideally begin with a diagnostic test which is a preparatory test designed to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Additionally, these tests also help you develop strategies to master your weaknesses. Next, you must devise the way in which you can improve yourself and create a study plan according to that. Lastly, you must ensure that you have got the basics covered in the subjects and taken ample GMAT practice tests before appearing for the exams.

So you must know where your strengths lie between Math and Verbal first. Additionally, what are your strengths and weaknesses on the individual components of Math and Verbal? Understanding this will pave the way to further enhance your GMAT preparation.

The Quantitative section tests you by way of two question types:

  • Problem Solving
  • Data Sufficiency

Whether it be Geometry, Algebra, Word problems, Statistics, or Arithmetic, all of these are tested broadly via Problem Solving or Data Sufficiency question format.

The Verbal components tested are:

  • Sentence Correction, which is to do with Grammar principles;
  • Critical Reasoning, which is all about arguments and logical reasoning.
  • Reading Comprehension, which is a test of your reading and comprehension skills.

Students usually find themselves lost in the world of grammar and find passages most dreadful too! Yet, some might be good at the same, hence the diagnostic score helps you assess yourself and plan your GMAT preparation.


Step 3: Choosing a Course to Guide You

Now that you have taken a GMAT mock test, you need to decide whether you are on a score that you can do self-preparation and improve on or you need tutoring. Know about GMAT Preparation that can be customized to your needs.

Courses are available both as online courses and offline ones. A dedicated study plan is what comes next in line to your starting your GMAT preparation with the course books and online material available. It will do good to recap all the necessary basic Math and Grammar before you delve into the nitty gritties of the questions. Courses are structured to give you a means to conquering this time-tested exam with strategies and techniques bound to help answer questions in the stipulated time.

Just learning concepts and strategies is not going to help. You need to implement these learnings via practice tests frequently to watch your progress. Your score graph has to be on an upward trend consistently. Do your practice in bite-sized pieces. You can’t swallow all the techniques in one go. You have to experiment, make mistakes, sharpen your performance, and gain more confidence.


Step 4: Organize Your Resources and Practice Well

Take a GMAT mock test to understand the GMAT exam and assess your current level of preparation. You can utilize the free GMAT sample paper provided by Manya-The Princeton Review for this. Based on the score and your preference you can decide if you want to join a class (you have a wide range of choices for face to face GMAT courses, or you can choose GMAT online courses. You can even go the self-prep route using online resources and books.

Whichever method you choose, make sure that it is reliable and standardized material, reflective of the actual GMAT. When you practice, ensure that you always time it – this will help you get over the time panic during exams and also help you reach your target time for each question type. Make sure you review any practice that you do and use an error log. An error log can help you analyze your weak areas and thus your practice will be more effective. Have a section wise targeted strategy to ensure score improvement. Avoid retaking your GMAT, but If you are retaking your GMAT, you can choose to buy the Enhanced Score Report (ESR).

Analyzing the ESR can help you identify issues you may have had with pacing and content knowledge during your previous attempt. Remember to practice for both content and technique to ace the GMAT.

Importance of Mock Tests

Taking properly timed, full length practice tests is an important part of GMAT preparation. You can even purchase GMAT test series for more practice. After taking the test, review it thoroughly to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Practice tests can help you develop strategies about when/how to guess and how to catch up when you are running short on time. Always time yourself while taking full length tests and attempt every section of the test. This can help you get a better understanding of your endurance and concentration levels. Start using your strategies in the practice tests and fine tune them as you go.


Step 5: Error Analysis

With maybe a month or two left till the exam date, there will be a volley of practice tests that you will have to take to keep tracking your progress. But make sure that you do not make test series your goal. An important part of test-taking is the Error Analysis. Check out your wrongs in every test both in Quant and Verbal.

Know that the GMAT is scored on how many questions you get right and the difficulty level of the questions answered correctly. So, to maximize your correct answers, you need to know where your mistakes happen on a regular basis. Errors can be categorized as-

Quant Score:

Number of incorrect answers, how many errors were concept errors, how many were careless errors, how many were serious blunders, and how many were incorrect due to time constraints.

How many errors in the first 10 questions, how many in the next 10 questions, and how many in the subsequent 11 questions. Time remaining on the last few questions and the number of questions guessed.

Verbal Score:

Number of incorrect answers, how many errors were concept errors, how many were careless errors, how many were serious blunders, and how many were incorrect due to time constraints.

How many errors in the first 10 questions, how many in the next 2 sets of 10 questions, and how many in the last 6 questions. Time remaining on the last few questions and the number of questions guessed.

Composite Score:

How was the composite score impacted due to the error? What is the impact on the percentile scores?

This Error Analysis sheet has to be a ready reckoner of your evaluation of your tests. Obviously, the whole point of taking as many practice tests as possible is to gradually reduce the number of errors and do a judicious assessment of questions you can get right versus questions you need to guess on if at all. Also, you must review your performance with your tutor to get those extra tips to crack questions faster and to help guide you with your pacing during the test.


Step 6: Seek A Way to Excel in Your Performance With Every Test

The test taking procedure should be such that it enables you to discern your mistakes and work on them to avoid repeating the mistakes. Hone the skills and approaches in each of the question types. If it is passages, are you able to skim a passage comfortably, be it any topic? Do you understand the different ways a question may be asked? If it is Sentence Correction, are you getting overwhelmed with too many grammar rules that you actually don’t need? If it is Critical Reasoning, are you able to understand the 8 question types correctly and are you able to distinguish the approach to one from the other? If it is Data sufficiency, are you able to segregate what is needed and what is sufficient?

An in-depth analysis of the concepts will get you to higher levels of difficulty and thus boost up your score.


Step 7: Exposure to A Variety of Full-Length Tests From Various Sources

Practice makes perfect. Yes, but let your practice be of different tests from varied sources. After all, you need consistency. So if you get tuned to just one type of test, you are restricting your performance. To believe in the strategies and approaches to questions, the more you put them to test in different scenarios, the more versatile you become in test taking. You should give shots at Princeton tests, Kaplan, Veritas, MGMAT, E GMAT, and of course, do not forget the 2 GMAT Official Practice tests in mba.com. Consistency in your performances will surely contribute to the confidence needed to go for the actual GMAT.


What Should You Do Before You Start Your GMAT Prep?

Importance of an Effective Test Strategy for GMAT

GMAT preparation is not a uni-dimensional challenge, and does not involve only studying; Rather it is a combination of skill, hard work, and effective test-taking strategies that helps optimize your test scores. Through this article, we explore some of the basic parameters of GMAT test-taking strategies that you should keep in mind while preparing for the exam.


Place Sufficient Focus on Area-wise and Topic-Wise Practice

An important point you must remember is that along with a focus on full-length GMAT online tests, you must also place sufficient emphasis on topic-wise and area-wise drills. These help you in understanding your strengths and weaknesses and pinpoint the areas you need to work on. Practicing topics individually will help you in improving the areas you are weak in. Focusing on your strengths is critical to a great GMAT score as these are questions and concepts that you can nail on the day of the test. So don’t leave these topics out of your-self preparation plan – you should give adequate time to these topics.


Pace Yourself Well

Do not get trapped in the vicious temptation of solving all questions correctly without keeping an eye on the timer. When you prepare for GMAT online, there will be occasions where you will not practice with the timer in place. Make sure this does not become a habit and you solve the majority of your tests and drills with the timer on.


Test Environment

Last but not the least, the test environment is also an important factor while giving GMAT tests. Ensure you replicate the actual test environment and do not engage in activities that take your focus away. Take GMAT online practice tests in the simulated environment, follow all instructions, strictly adhere to time schedule, don’t extend breaks beyond allowed parameters, and don’t take any liberties that you won’t get in the actual GMAT.

Most people are aware that they need to take the GMAT to apply for an MBA in the top B Schools around the world. But many underestimate the time and effort required to reach their score target. To make the most of the time available, it is essential to think strategically about your GMAT prep also.


Be Aware of Your Target Score and Application Deadlines

The time that you have available to prepare depends on the application deadlines. Application deadlines vary depending on the country or program or intake (the academic year for which you are applying) you are looking at also. Do some research and be aware of the application deadlines. Many universities have more than one round of applications but it is always better to apply early.

Also remember that GMAT score is only one part of the application- your application essays, academic background and scores, letters of recommendation, work experience, extracurricular interests, and interview performance are all important parts of your application. Work backward from your application deadlines to see how much time you have for GMAT preparation.

When you decide to write the GMAT test, spend some time researching the universities and programs in which you are interested. Look up the admission timelines and be clear about the various deadlines for those programs. This gives you an idea about the time you have available to prepare. You should also look up the average GMAT scores for those programs. From this, decide on a target GMAT score range (that has a maximum and a minimum score) rather than a single number.

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How to Prepare for the GMAT?

Select Your Test Prep Options

Many people prepare for the GMAT amid tight schedules, while juggling their work deadlines and the needs of their personal lives. The time, money and effort that you put in, to prepare for the GMAT should be effective and worth the while. So, it is essential that you use reliable and standardized GMAT prep material. Reliable prep material covers the topics in GMAT exam syllabus and the level of skills tested should be a reflection of what you would see on the actual GMAT. Select the prep material smartly to ace the GMAT.

If you are a person who is very self-motivated and can stay on task, a self-prep option may be good for you. If on the other hand, you need the support of a trainer, a class or 1 on 1 tutoring may be a good option for you. You can choose from the many online and offline options for both the self and supported prep options.

Self-Prep Options

Self-prep Online: Learn at your own pace using exclusive video lessons, lesson plans and practice tests.

Books: You can also prepare using books. Some of the best books for GMAT preparation include the GMAT official guides and the Princeton Review prep books.

Supported Prep Options

One-on-One tutoring (Offline or Online): If you feel the need for focused, individual attention then this format is the one for you. These sessions are taught by expert teachers who will work with you individually to increase your score. The class’s timings and GMAT preparation duration can be customized based on your needs.

Live classroom sessions (Offline or Online): These are interactive offline/online classes where you can learn from both the trainer and your peers. Manya – The Princeton Review instructors teach you techniques, strategies, tips, and tricks to ace the GMAT. The simplified teaching methodology is customized to help students maximize their GMAT scores. Our GMAT classroom course is an exclusive blend of techniques and content designed to meet the unique needs of GMAT test-takers.

Now that you have selected the best possible prep option for you, it is equally important to understand how to make the best use of your GMAT preparation time.


Take Practice Tests

Taking GMAT mock exams is an essential part of GMAT prep. Select a GMAT online test series with GMAT sample papers that match the actual GMAT paper pattern. After taking the test, review it thoroughly to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Practice tests can help you develop strategies about when/how to guess and how to catch up when you are running short on time. Always time yourself while taking full length tests and attempt every section of the test. This can help you get a better understanding of your endurance and concentration levels. Start using your strategies in the practice tests and fine tune them as you go.

Now that you know where you need to reach, let’s assess where you are now. The best way to assess this is to take a GMAT mock test. Take a strictly timed and full length test. Do not skip any section and attempt as many questions as possible in the available time. Taking a full length test will also help you get familiar with the GMAT paper pattern. Manya – The Princeton Review offers a GMAT mock test free (The Princeton Review).


Time Your Practice Sessions

Many students panic during the exam when they see the time running out. One way to avoid this is to time all your practice sessions also. Whenever you practice, time yourself and work to reduce the time that you take for each question. Time management on the GMAT is a critical factor that can affect your final score. The GMAT has 62 minutes for 31 quant questions, and 65 minutes for 36 verbal questions.

Hence, on an average, you can spend approximately 2 minutes on each quant question and 1 minute and 48 seconds on each verbal question. Obviously, some questions will need more time while others may need less. It is important to understand the topics and question types that are most and least time consuming for you. Know your strengths and weaknesses: this can help you understand which questions you can do faster to make up for taking more time on other questions.


Review Any Practice

Even if you can only practice a few questions at a time, make sure you review them thoroughly. Reviewing the answers to questions that you got incorrect or really struggled with can help you identify your knowledge gaps. You must also pay attention to any mistakes you made on questions that you could have gotten correct. Strategies and techniques can help you get to the correct answer quickly.

Check whether you were able to apply the techniques and strategies that you learnt. Identify reasons for any mistakes you made during practice and work to eliminate the mistakes.


Ensure You Give Simulated Online GMAT practice Tests Periodically

Testing is only effective when it follows a predefined schedule and agenda. Haphazard or sporadic testing is of no use, and you should ensure that you follow a predefined structure in terms of your test-taking schedule. This should have tangible goals and markers, and ensure you periodically evaluate your performance. Keep a target score in mind before you take a test and pace yourself accordingly. Remember that improvement will come in steps rather than leaps.


6 Must Have Resources for Your GMAT Prep

TLDR Checklist

  • Write down your goals: why do you want to write the GMAT? What do you want to do after GMAT?
  • Shortlist universities/ programs and look up target scores and application deadlines for those universities: How much time do you have for preparation? What is your target GMAT score?
  • Take a properly timed and complete GMAT practice test
  • Think about how you want to prepare- Decide which method will work best for you based on the amount of support you require
  • Prepare properly: set short term goals, always time your practice sessions to understand the time you take for each question, take full length tests at regular intervals and clarify doubts immediately.


Join a GMAT Course

With at least 2 to 3 months in hand, your next step should be to join a GMAT course for your GMAT preparation, be it a GMAT online prep course or a physical one. You are certainly recommended that the fundamentals of the GMAT Verbal Reasoning and GMAT Quant could be covered in no other prep course than in the Princeton Review’s GMAT Course’s study kit that comprises an In-Class Manual for the strategies, approaches, and techniques to master in order to beat the GMAT and a Verbal and Quantitative Review book to get the basics of Math and Verbal rules straight.

The step-by-step approach to each type of question in the Princeton Review Course Manual and Review books, be it in Math or Verbal, helps understand the strategies better and gives the base for GMAT preparation.

The Princeton Review GMAT Online course and Classroom programs give a detailed explanation of the variants according to student needs. Every student is also given a portal that has 10 full-length GMAT mock tests to practice on, over 400 drills for a better understanding of the strategies, and a separate collection of 10 Integrated Reasoning drills too.

Ask You Trainers

The expert trainers at Manya – The Princeton Review can also work with students to understand knowledge gaps, clarify doubts, identify incorrect test taking behaviours or help students in creating a study plan customized as per student’s preparation level and target GMAT score. So do reach out to your Manya – The Princeton Review trainer for any support with GMAT prep.

Can I Prepare for GMAT while Working?

GMAT studies require you to spend only 1-2 hours per weekday and nearly 4 hours per weekend for 4 to 6 months to effectively prepare for the GMAT. As a result, it is not necessary to quit your job because it will be difficult for you to find another.

  • Create an effective study plan in order to meet the deadline.
  • Divide the GMAT syllabus into smaller chunks and focus on one topic at a time.
  • Practice on material and you have to give GMAT mock tests regularly.
  • Give your exclusive time for test analysis.
  • You could download the study planner from the Official Website too for two months’ preparation.


Your GMAT Bible- the Official Guide and Official Prep Tests

It is the GMAT Official guide that contains questions most akin to the actual GMAT ones. That makes it a very essential resource for GMAT Online Preparation. The questions in the OG are divided according to easy, medium, and hard questions. Also, explanations provided at the end of each type of question are a huge help in understanding the concepts unknown to you. The passages of the Reading Comprehension each have around 7-8 questions giving you practice in the various types of questions that may be asked of passages.

There is a full-length GMAT mock test also available to check your pacing and understanding of the test.

The OG also has a list of AWA essay prompts along with a sample essay to assist in grasping the template to be followed and key points to keep in mind while writing out the essay.

An overview of the Integrated Reasoning section is also included in the content. All test-taking strategies of the different question types are explained.
Apart from the OG, you can have access to 2 free GMAT prep tests once you create an account with mba.com.

These tests are to be used as practice when you are close to the actual GMAT test date. Taking this test under the actual test-taking conditions will prepare you better for D-Day. Your performance on these tests will help determine the average score you can expect on the real test. This means that the laminated note board that you avail of in the real test should also be used while taking these tests. Using the note board for the first time on the real GMAT may slow things down as you are not used to either the surface of the marker.

Finally, remember that these GMAT mock tests should be taken only after a lot of practice mock tests have bettered your Quant and Verbal skills to a great extent already.

You also have 2 more sets of Prep Tests from the official website that can be bought to maximize your performance.


Benefit from GMAT Forums

We always tend to learn better with discussions. GMAT forums such as GMAT Club or Beat the GMAT enhance your grasp of concepts and techniques. The sharing of test-taking experiences and other subtle nuances of solving questions in different ways paves the way for expanding your knowledge in the content for Math and Verbal and also builds your confidence for the real test. You have to be interactive in the forum to gain immensely from it.

People who have already taken the GMAT or expert trainers provide active support through online discussion forums and chats. You can also utilize these for GMAT online preparation. The disadvantage is that not all online “experts” are reliable. It may be time consuming and tiring to evaluate the information and its source, every time.


Error Logs

Error logs can be a great resource to prepare for the GMAT. For each practice test that you take, your analysis should reveal the reasons for the errors made. This will automatically trigger your focus areas and hence improve your performance in the subsequent tests.

Make it a point to keep an error log with every mistake you have made till date and use it to understand mistakes that you might have repeated over the time and find out how you can keep them under control. The most effective way of doing things is to rotate concepts on a weekly basis, choosing three big weak areas to systematically address each week. With a month left, it’s the best time to prepare for GMAT to kick your study up a notch. You should take one complete practice test a week, using it to build stamina and work on your pacing.

The errors have to be categorized according to concept errors, careless errors, time pressure errors, application errors, and lastly errors due to miscomprehension. A ready reckoner, this error log becomes a great contributor to boost your scores.

Equipped and armed with all the above as resources, you can’t but attain a great GMAT score!


Manya – The Princeton Review Advantage

Manya – The Princeton Review offers end-to-end study abroad services encompassing admissions consulting services, test preparation, English language training, career assessment, and international internship opportunities to study abroad aspirants. Founded in 2002, Manya holds an impeccable track record of enabling more than 4 lac students to accomplish their study abroad dreams through its network of 47+ centers across India.

Manya has formed long-lasting global alliances with several market leaders in the education industry in order to maximize the benefits of its large service portfolio. Their list of esteemed partners and affiliations includes – The Princeton Review (TPR), Cambridge University Press (CUP), Cogito Hub, British Council, Tuding to name a few. Manya has also forged 600+ partnerships with international universities across top study abroad destinations.

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What are the best resources for GMAT preparation?

The Princeton Review GMAT Online and Classroom programmes provide a detailed explanation of the variants based on the needs of the student.

Every student is also given a portal with 10 full-length GMAT mock tests to practise on, over 400 drills to help with strategy understanding, and a separate collection of 10 Integrated Reasoning drills.

How should you prepare for the GMAT step by step?

Given below is the 7 step plan for your GMAT Preparation:

  • Step 1: Target a Score
  • Step 2: Analysis of the Diagnostic Test
  • Step 3: Choosing a Course to Guide You
  • Step 4: Organize Your Resources and Practice Well
  • Step 5: Error Analysis
  • Step 6: Seek A Way to Excel in Your Performance With Every Test
  • Step 7: Exposure to A Variety of Full-Length Tests From Various Sources

How to prepare for the GMAT without coaching?

  • Investigate the Exam Pattern.
  • Determine your target score.
  • Make use of GRE Preparation Books.
  • GMAT practise tests are available.
  • Make use of GMAT Preparation Apps.

How long should I study to prepare for the GMAT?

Ideally, a student should study for at least 3 to 4 hours every day for the GMAT preparation. However, if you are a working professional or a college student and do not have much time during the weekdays, you may start by giving 2 hours per day to the GMAT preparation during the weekdays and more time during the weekends when you are relatively free.

When should you take the GMAT?

You should keep in mind 2 things before you register for the test date. Firstly, your preparation and secondly, your admission deadlines. There is no point in taking the GMAT exam if you are not fully prepared. You will just end up wasting your time and money. Also, there is no point in taking it too slowly and not taking care of the deadlines. In short, plan your GMAT preparation well in advance. Generally, it takes 3-4 months.

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