The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is an assessment test taken by students who want to study management at one of the world’s business schools. Almost every business school has a similar application process in which students submit an application form along with their GMAT score.
THIS BLOG INCLUDES:
1.What is the Right Time to Take the GMAT?
2.How to Start Preparing for the GMAT?
3.GMAT Preparation Tips for Working Professionals
4.GMAT Tips for Self Preparation
5.Study Plan for Your GMAT Preparation
6.Best Strategy for GMAT Preparation
Unlike the CAT, the GMAT can be taken at any time during the year. All you need to do is to select the date and time convenient for you. Earlier the availability of the time slots in a test center might have been a limiting factor, but now you can even take the test online and at home. So, what is a good time to take the GMAT?
Is it Advisable to take the GMAT at Earliest, if you are a Student?
The time that you get for yourself as a student is usually more than the time that you have for yourself when you start working. Also, as a student, you are more likely to be used to taking long exams. Remember that the GMAT takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete. Also, you may be more in touch with basic math and verbal skills that are tested on the GMAT. You can choose to study in a relaxed manner and take the exam when you are still a student.
The GMAT score is valid for five years. You can even choose to work for a few years and then apply for MBA programs.
Another advantage of writing the GMAT when you are still in university is that you can apply for programs such as the ISB YLP, Harvard 2+2 program, Yale Silver Scholars program, or the Booth Scholars Program. Though you have the luxury of time, working backwards from application deadlines is important.
What if you’re a Full-Time Working Professional?
Many top international MBA programs require at least 3 years of work experience. But as a working professional, the demands on your time will be many. You may have to juggle your work and life commitments to find time to study for the GMAT. So, you may require more days to reach your target score, as you may be able to spare only a few hours in a week to prepare for the GMAT. If you are a working professional, the application deadlines become even more important.
Whether you are currently a student or a working professional, here’s how you can decide what is the right time for taking the GMAT test.
Many students miss out on this important and crucial step in their GMAT prep. Write down on a piece of paper the reason why you want to prepare for the GMAT. Also, write down the next steps after your GMAT exam. For example, some students may want to apply for an MBA abroad and then work for some time in a particular country. Others may want to get international exposure to broaden their horizons before they join their family business. Some students may even want to specialize in a specific management area (such as marketing or HR) and may actually be more interested in research and teaching. So, be honest and clear with yourself about your goals.
It is equally important to be aware of the limitations of your situation and the compromises that you find acceptable. For example, some students want to start their program at the earliest while others are limited by location or cost factors. Many students lose focus because they lack a clear goal or the perseverance to achieve the same. So, writing all these down before you start on your GMAT journey can help you stay on track.
As part of the initial goal setting, you should have written down the cost range that is acceptable for you, the locations that you are interested in (countries or universities), your final goals post GMAT and post MBA/study. The duration of the study also varies by country/ program and this may be important for some students. Do some research to select and shortlisted universities and programs that you wish to apply to based on your needs and profile.
For the amount that you pay to take the GMAT, you can send your scores to five programs. This means that even for the same university, a full-time MBA and part time MBA counts as two different programs. Every additional score report that you wish to send would cost an additional USD 35. You can look up target/average GMAT scores for the programs to which you wish to apply.
After selecting programs, it is important to look up the application deadlines for the programs. University application deadlines and even the academic years vary from country to country. Many universities have multiple rounds of applications, but it is always better to apply early.
Once you are aware of the application deadlines and necessary GMAT scores, take a full length GMAT mock test. This can help you get familiar with the GMAT paper pattern and get an understanding of the GMAT syllabus. Manya – The Princeton Review offers a GMAT mock test free.
Taking a full length GMAT practice test can also help you set realistic expectations about the time and effort required to reach your target score. So, if your current score is low, you would need more time and practice to reach your target score.
Next step: the actual preparation for GMAT. You have a wide range of options ranging from best books for GMAT preparation, GMAT mock exam series, and coaching classes (in person or online). Whichever method you choose for your prep, remember to take GMAT sample tests at regular intervals to judge your current level of prep and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes, in spite of the best preparation, students may not be able to do their best on the day of the exam. You can retake the GMAT once every 16 days up to 5 times in a rolling year (365 days). There is a lifetime limit though – you can only take the GMAT eight times in a lifetime. So, factor in the time for at least two attempts before your application deadlines.
It is important to understand that the GMAT score is only part of your application. There are many other parts to your application. These include getting good letters of recommendation and having a good resume. Having unique work experiences and extracurricular interests will always add value to your profile. If you do not have much work experience, good grades and extracurricular activities during university can help set your application apart.
If you have the luxury of time and have started your GMAT prep early, you can also spend some time improving your resume. Most MBA applications require you to answer essay-type questions which can ask about your leadership abilities and ambitions. Answering these essay type questions can require more than one draft and hence will require time and effort.
Many English-speaking countries require you to take the IELTS or TOEFL exams also. You may need to share these scores with the university and these scores can also be a requirement for the visa. Though these exams only test basic English language skills (such as Reading, Speaking, Writing, and Listening) they have unique testing formats. It is important to actually spend time and effort to understand the exam requirements and practice well in order to do well in these tests.
So, the right time to take the GMAT depends greatly on the application deadlines for the program/country/intake for which you wish to apply. If you have the luxury of time, you can take the GMAT when you have prepared well and can reach your target GMAT scores in at least 3 consecutive tests.
Most of the students are clueless about how and from where to start when it comes to preparing for GMAT online or regular classroom. In order to crack GMAT and receive a good score, you need to have a proper prep plan and should start studying at least five months before the test. It is recommended that you keep a considerable gap between your GMAT and your MBA application deadlines and also strategise your study plan accordingly.
Before appearing for the test, you should definitely understand its pattern and manoeuvre your study plan in the correct fashion. Gear up your preparation and start early. During this initial period, you should try to be familiar with the test format. This will help you avoid any uninvited shocks on the test day and make you feel comfortable. You will find yourself more relaxed and not wonder about the format and the pattern of questions.
Noticing your error pattern is very essential. Once you are thorough with it, you will understand your strengths and weaknesses. Hence, attempting practice tests is very important as they help you to know your weaknesses and improve your score. You should work upon your weaknesses and therefore try to score better in those areas where you are likely to lose marks.
Once you have analysed your weaknesses, the next step is to brush up your fundamental skills. For example, if you have forgotten the basics of Mathematics, then you should go back to chapters like algebraic equations, statistics, or probability (anything that requires more attention) and start your revisions.
If you are weak in the reading and comprehension tasks, you should start reading newspaper articles from reputed ones like the New York Times and the Economist, regularly. This is the time you can actually go back to your high school grammar book and study chapters such as parts of speeches and sentence structures. These will help you do well in sections related to sentence corrections and common grammar errors. These are important criteria for clearing the GMAT with confidence.
Most students feel that they are already through with these since they have been studying the same right from their schooling. On the contrary, the fact that English is not your native language emphasises the aspect that you should study the basic grammar rules again and again. Preparing the flashcard method of study can also help you improve your vocabulary.
Apart from solving mock test papers, you should also delve deeper into every aspect of it. You should also do a lot of general reading. While preparing, if you find anything difficult, you must go back to the chapters and re-attempt the exercises. There are no shortcuts here and therefore you are required to reinforce your basic knowledge in Mathematics and English thoroughly before taking the test.
Thinking of quitting the job for GMAT preparation? Don’t quit your job to study and prepare for GMAT while working! Remember that top B schools look at your experience and that gaps in experience need reasonable explanations. If for some reason, you have already quit your job and are looking to study for the GMAT, don’t fret. Just be prepared to show B schools that you spent your time productively, improving your professional profile.
Now, if you are working full time preparing for the GMAT– you are in the right place! How to prepare for GMAT while working full time? GMAT for working professionals may require more days to reach the target score. GMAT working professionals study plan can make the schedule simpler and more time feasible.
Every person you manage will be different. Similarly, you are a unique individual, so be aware of what works for you. Can you learn better by yourself or do you study better in a group? Do you learn better in the mornings or evenings? Take a practice test to understand if the verbal section is harder for you or the quant section? Understand your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
A good manager considers many perspectives and plans for things. You can decide your test date and target score based on your application deadlines and the time available to you. Plan your GMAT prep based on your target test date. Now decide on smaller tasks that will help you reach your dream score. Have deadlines for each goal. Don’t be afraid to review your progress and update your plans and schedules.
Choose study material that is accurate, accessible and effective. Manya – The Princeton Review has standardized content, supportive trainers and online content that are at par with the best in the world.
Tell your friends and family about your goals. Talk with them to stay motivated. Learn to say no to people and events that will eat up your time in the short time you have to prepare for the GMAT.
Make time saving changes to your lifestyle. Decide what you can give up completely, what you can postpone till after your GMAT and what you can ask someone else to do. Having routines may also help save time. Find time for your GMAT prep-you can even do quick reviews during your commute, lunch breaks and before/after work. Get up earlier or stay up later to have time for practice. Don’t be afraid to take time off from work if you need focused time to improve your score.
In all the rush to get a great GMAT score – do not forget to take care of yourself. Nothing would be possible without good health. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and spend time with loved ones. Celebrate your successes in achieving your smaller goals.
GMAT, the test is considered as a standardized test that rewards you on smart shortcuts and analytical thinking. The questions asked on the GMAT are a simulation of decisions taken in a business environment incentivizing approximations and eliminations. GMAT is an examination that you can easily conquer by adopting an effective preparation strategy.
The central tenets of the GMAT self-preparation revolve around the usual aspects in terms of preparation. As been already discussed, making mistakes is a step forward to learning, therefore; here are few GMAT preparation tips for beginners:
The best way to understand how the GMAT works is to take the GMAT Prep test or “Princeton Review’s Online Simulated GMAT Practice Test”. Take the test and analyze the exam content and question types. Your analysis of the test will go a long way in establishing the strategy you adopt for the exam. You must also get a clear understanding of pattern, question types, formats etc. by exploring authentic resources like the GMAC website or The Official GMAT Guide.
The GMAT score (Math & Verbal Sections) depends on 3 main parameters – the number of questions you get right or wrong, the difficulty level of the questions that you get right or wrong, and the number of questions that you answer.
The exam starts with questions of medium difficulty. If you get most of these correct, you will get more difficult questions: your final score will be average or above average, depending on how you answer those difficult questions.
However, if you make too many mistakes while answering the early, medium-difficulty questions, you will then get easier questions. And your final score will be below average.
The next step of the process involves developing a GMAT Self Preparation Plan that works best for you. You should divide your overall plan into the following:
You can only fine-tune your preparation once you have fully acquainted yourself with the basic fundamentals tested in the exam. With the help of the diagnostic test, you will be able to establish your subject knowledge and you will be able to identify whether you are comfortable with core topics tested on the GMAT.
In case your scores and attempts show particular weaknesses, you can always opt for GMAT Test Preparation Program to ensure you are able to prepare the basics. Remember, without a good grasp of the concepts, you would struggle to move further.
Take as many complete GMAT Practice tests online as possible. Tests are the best tools to establish an objective benchmark for your preparation. Also, ensure you take a sufficient number of topic tests for all the GMAT topics to understand how well you have grasped these topics. Do make sure you analyze your tests well so that you achieve improvements in subsequent tests.
GMAT is an exam that tests your basics and you need to make sure your basic skills are up to the mark. Do not get lost in preparing too many abstruse concepts; always keep your focus on basic skill development such as comprehension and basic mathematical skills.
It is not that difficult to study in short bursts, but it is hard to maintain the same energy for a sustained period of time. Make sure you take GMAT Online tests regularly, follow your GMAT Self Preparation Plan and most importantly, be honest with yourself. Do not give yourself excuses to shirk work. As a small tip for motivation, always keep your targets in mind. They help you focus.
The above form the three core essentials of the approach you should adopt for GMAT Preparation. Keep these in mind while preparing for the test and you will surely do well in the examination.
It’s very important that you choose authentic test prep material. You cannot do without the practice material from the makers of the GMAT – the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). Supplement it with good material from other sources. GMAT questions follow certain conventions. If you find that a set of practice material does not follow such conventions, that set may not be very dependable.
Even at the risk of beating our own drum, I would say that Princeton Review’s practice material is a very close simulation of the retired questions released by GMAC.
Pace your preparation and use the practice material over the entire period of your preparation. Go slower in the early stage of your preparation and focus more on understanding the concepts. Pick up pace as you approach your test date.
It’s a bad idea to exhaust all the practice material too early during your preparation period; it’s also a bad idea to keep everything for practice just before your actual GMAT exam. Pace the practice material over the entire period of your preparation. Go a bit slow in the early stage of your preparation and focus more on understanding the concepts. Pick up pace as you approach the test date.
It is important to learn how to pace yourself throughout the test. One should manage the time well throughout the section because of the adaptive nature of the test. Get into the habit of spending more time on earlier questions, in order to get most of them right. At the same time, you cannot afford to spend too much time on any particular question.
Timed practice is most important, but it’s equally important to learn how you should pace yourself throughout the test. Because of the adaptive nature of the test, it’s not just the number of questions you get right or wrong that determines your score. The difficulty levels of the questions that you get right or wrong and the number of questions that you answer determine your score. Learn to pace yourself wisely.
The GMAT is an online test so; you cannot underline, add to, or annotate the questions and answers in any way. All such work will have to be done on your note board. So practice under exam conditions, and do your work on paper.
Last but not least, avoid unrealistic expectations. Avoid being overconfident while preparing for the test and at the time of taking the test. While taking the test, you may have to guess on a few questions; that’s part of the game. Do not take it to heart. Focus on one question and one section at the time of taking the test.
If you want to develop the skill of eliminating options then it is suggested to spend as much time developing the tangential skills. In using the process of elimination you might be able to eliminate all odd or even options and for some, you may strike out everything that is not an integer.
Always estimate your answer and try to find out the ballpark in which your answer should land. Having the skill of approximation is good as it saves your time and helps to avoid making mistakes to get a solution. You need to do some mental math exercises to reach the answer in less time.
Reading with speed on the GMAT is necessary but it has to be done with accuracy. Understanding should not be compromised in the slightest. The best technique to increase speed on the test is to increase your speed in every small step which you take to solve the questions asked on the GMAT.
The GMAT tests you more on your logical skills, therefore, it is vital to keep track of the information and should use information maps and flow charts to get the correct answer.
While preparing for the GMAT and at the time of taking the test, do your scratch work on paper. Accuracy is more important than speed; practice under exam conditions.
The exam duration is 3 hours 7 minutes excluding two 8 minute breaks, which are optional. This section of the article provides a study plan for the GMAT preparation, which will solve most of your doubts and provide you with useful tips.
Planning and Preparation are the keys to a top GMAT score. If you are a student preparing for the test then your success on the GMAT preparation is all about how much time, effort and dedication you put into ace the test. No formulas, no tricks, no shortcuts. The only way to win the test is to stick to your goals and prepare a right study plan to achieve the score you aim for.
Understanding the GMAT fundamentals is the right way to approach the test. It is important to take out time to understand the exam details, review topics, and question types and know what the computer adaptive testing is. Therefore, before starting preparing for the test, you must know the exam guidelines and requirements of taking the test.
The best way to motivate is to set a target score. It will help you to stay focused throughout the GMAT Preparation. Go for a diagnostic test to find out how much effort you need to put in to achieve your target score. Taking a diagnostic test will help you to know your strengths and weaknesses.
Introspecting your personal learning style, it is very important. You need to find out what is the learning style that can help you achieve the target score. If you are a kind of a person who can put in the long hours required and believes in self-preparation then you can go for an online course, however, if you prefer structured classes or in-person sessions you can choose a GMAT Classroom prep.
If you think you can prepare for the GMAT in a month it’s not that easy! Preparing for the test takes time. Plan a schedule and choose your own time to study. GMAT Preparation is not about how much time you set aside to prepare, it is about how much time you dedicatedly put into your study.
Once the practice and preparation is done; all you need to do is to have a positive approach to take the exam. Remember the GMAT is not an indication of your ability rather it’s a reflection of how well you took the test!
If a student is preparing for the GMAT, then he/she should start preparing by taking a diagnostic test. By taking a diagnostic test they will come to know the key areas where they need to focus while preparing for the GMAT. Further, they must use authentic study material, learn the best GMAT prep strategy , and have enough practice, taking full-length tests periodically.
While preparing for GMAT, the most important thing is to know how the test is scored. A student must know the implications of the test being a “computer adaptive test”. There are three very important points relating to it:
Coming back to the option to choose the sectional order on the Test, find out which option works best and go for it.
Since the GMAT exam performs an assessment of a wide variety of skills, one needs to have a clearly chalked out plan. There is immense power in planning, and proper planning can lead to desired results.
GMAC offers an official GMAT Prep Software and candidates are advised to take a diagnostic test on it. You can try out the practice material available online, and it is important to identify and rectify errors identified in these practice tests.
Some Other Important Tips :
The GMAT exam has four sections:
The best way to crack any exam is to understand the way the questions are prepared and presented. GMAT has adopted the computer adaptive test pattern, which was introduced in 1997 and GMAT exam uses the computer’s processing power to analyse your responses during the test.
By having the computer calculate a final score estimate after each question, the system estimates which subsequent questions to select.
The computerized system estimates the examinee’s final score after each response. Subsequent questions are selected depending on the difficulty of the previously administered questions and the examinee’s responses.
Books are great preparation materials for GMAT. Various publishers make it a point to keep their books as updated and as close to the current version of the GMAT as possible.
Every year, GMAC releases a new set of the three official GMAT books: The Official Guide for GMAT Review, The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, and The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review. You can check out sample papers and e-books in PDF Format for better GMAT preparation.
Now that you have an idea of the complexity and depth of the exam, it is important to focus on how best to prepare for the exam. Though the GMAT online preparation strategy or regular classes depends largely on one’s personal choices, it is important to compare among the two available strategies, computer or paper-based.
When a candidate combines the best of both methods, they are set on the path to achieving good scores in the final exam. Online material and tips on mobile applications are greatly helpful in providing pointers for the exam.
Computer-based preparation involves giving regular practice tests over the internet. Such tests provide an exam experience similar to the original exam. Candidates can test their time management skills and aim to complete their desired questions within the time limit.
Most students are in the habit of solving mathematical problems on pen and paper, due to the pattern being used during schooling. Algebraic and analytical questions also can be attempted by you on paper.
You can customize your own study plan and give priority to those sections where you have scored less. Time Management is the most important requirement for your study plan. You should set your own goals and finish the preparation of a particular section within a particular date. Besides, you should also practice your mock test and finish it within a given time. You can keep on practicing and with each day, you should try decreasing the time taken, thereby expediting your speed.
This day is very important as you are required to stay calm and organised. You should reach the center before time and confidently give answers to the questions. The Mathematics sections on Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency should be attended with great care and you should read the questions very carefully. The same method should be followed for all the sections. Guessing can be strategically planned by eliminating the wrong answers; however, wild guesses are not recommended.
If you organise your study and prepare yourself for that very day, then you can confidently face the questions. You should train your brain to be focussed for those few hours and avoid committing any silly mistake. Having prepared for six months, you will surely come out satisfied with a good score.
The GMAT exam will help shape your career by giving you entry in top-notch business schools. Critical reasoning is an important factor in solving the exam. You should practice the exam on computer-based sample tests, and also attempt to solve analytics questions on paper.
As with any exam, in GMAT too, “Practice makes a man perfect”. Do share this blog with your friends. Manya Group provides a host of resources for GMAT preparation and guidance. You are advised to check out their website for the best guidance.
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