Strategize Your GMAT Prep – An Essential Guide to GMAT Prep Success


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.

What should you do before you start your prep?


Research application deadlines and target scores


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.


Take a GMAT practice test


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).


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 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.

a. 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.

b. 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 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.


How should you prepare?

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.


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.


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.


Seek expert help


During your practice, you will definitely have doubts. Seek expert help or support from friends as soon as possible (within one or two days).


Forums and chats

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.


Ask you trainers

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.


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.

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!

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