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.
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.
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 Princeton Review offers a GMAT mock test free (The Princeton Review).
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 the 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.
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 preparation time.
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.
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.
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.
During your practice, you will definitely have doubts. Seek expert help or support from friends as soon as possible (within one or two days).
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.
The expert trainers at Manya 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 Princeton Review trainer for any support with GMAT prep.
These tips will help you make the most effective and efficient use of the time that you have available for practice. Work smart and ace the GMAT!