Are you looking to get yourself admitted to one of the top business schools in the world? The GMAT or the Graduate Management Admission Test is your way forward to a high-value MBA degree. It is attempted by millions of students all over the world every year. Cracking this exam, however, may not be an easy task. It requires plenty of hard work, dedication and meticulous study planning.
Before you begin your preparation for the GMAT, you must know everything about what is the GMAT exam so that you know what to expect. After you acquaint yourself with all the details of the GMAT, begin with your preparations. Here are some great tips to get you started:
1. Consistent practice is everything
The first step would be to get hold of all the previous years’ questions, along with sample and model papers. Set questions for yourself based on these as well. Avail of every kind of question bank you can access. Especially for the Quantitative Section, daily practice is necessary to keep in touch and to shape the logic necessary to answer such questions. A five-hour study session on a Sunday is not going to help you out with this- shorter and more effective training sessions taken every day can increase your logical thinking capacity and hone your ability to make quick, accurate calculations in your head. Please head over to the GMAT official website when you feel confident enough and attempt the prep tests available with the prep software, keeping careful account of your scores on the same.
2. Keep a progress journal every step of the way
Regularly check back your progress with regard to the kind of study material that needs to be covered for GMAT. It is advised that you keep a notebook or a journal for this. Write down every concept or question that you find tricky or don’t know yet. You can also list them as per how frequently they have been asked, or how important they are. Gradually, you will learn to tackle your weak areas and systematically reduce the material that you are not familiar with. This kind of planning is absolutely crucial for anyone planning to crack the GMAT at the first try. Set deadlines for the portions that you want to complete and stick to them. This will also give you a greater sense of accomplishment and boost your sense of self-worth.
3. Get used to a laminated drawing board to make calculations
In most test centers, this laminated drawing board is provided for making calculations. It can be a source of distraction for those not acquainted with an erasable marker. There is a high chance of smearing the ink and losing one’s previous rough calculations and precious time.
4. Educated guessing
This is a skill that is also picked up through practice and is especially helpful for competitive exams that offer multiple-choice questions. Especially in the Verbal Section of the exam, it is advisable to rank the five possible answers by their suitability and exclude the answers one by one until you arrive at the answer you consider most likely. This method is extremely helpful in the event of a time constraint, although a proper, calculated arrival at the right answer is always preferable.
5. Outline your Essay
Your Analytical Writing Assessment Essay requires a good level of presentation skills and the ability to effectively organize content in the best way possible. Spend at least five minutes of your allotted thirty minutes to create a rough outline for your essay on your drawing board or text editor. This actually saves time and hassle by reducing a lot of confusion and overthinking in the middle of writing the essay. This results in a smooth, structured essay without draining you too much.
6. Plan out the Exam Time
There are four sections to the test: Analytical Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Section and Verbal Section. The time provided is a total of 210 minutes, which includes two optional ten-minute breaks in between. Ideally, the Analytical Section should take up thirty minutes, Integrated Section thirty minutes, Quantitative Section seventy-five minutes and the Verbal Section also seventy-five minutes. The practice sessions for the papers need to start with a careful allocation of time for each section, and this time limit should be strictly adhered to in order to prepare for the actual test.
Other Odds and Ends
It may seem silly, but it is extremely important to review your basic knowledge of mathematics and grammar. The simplest rules and conventions may mean the difference between getting into your dream business school and settling for second best. It is also crucial to set a goal at least fifty points ahead of your required score just to be safe. Aim high, so that you won’t be taking any chances.
Finally, GMAT is a long and time-consuming process. Train yourself to focus completely on the task at hand for such an amount of time, by not taking breaks during sample tests except for the allowed optional break periods. But most of all, keep healthy, don’t turn up sleep-deprived to the test and keep rejuvenated with enough water and snacks. Good Luck!