5 Top Tips To Help You Prepare for GMAT

3 Mar

It had been one month into my GMAT preparations, and I was still scoring around 520, with a rather embarrassing quant score on almost all my mock tests. Although I was extremely disappointed, I really needed this wakeup call, since there was only one month left to prepare for the exam.


I started researching a number of blogs to get a wide perspective on how to approach the exam. It was then that I came across the GMAT club. It was a pleasant surprise to see that the best resources available to me were actually free. The forum also had a number of helpful articles and discussions amongst MBA aspirants, alumni as well as admissions directors from all over the world. These proved immensely useful when I started applying to universities both in the U.S. and UK. Also, within just 2 weeks of following and practicing questions from this forum, my scores went up to 650, and on the day of my exam, I ended up scoring a 680 (q46, v38).


Based on my experience, here are a few points that would be good to keep in mind while preparing for the GMAT –

1) The Official Guide – Your Strongest Foundation, the Best Way to Start

The most recent edition of the official guide is a mandatory material that every test taker should have practiced at least once if not more. Though I had started by practicing the official guide, the mistake I made was to move on as long as I got the sum right.

‘Knowing your guide inside out’, doesn’t just mean getting every sum in the guide right. It means getting every type of sum similar to the ones in the guide right as well. In order to achieve this, you need to pay attention to the concept behind every sum.

Always go through the solution in the guide even if you are right.

2) Understand and Assess your Own Needs – Don’t Waste Time on Low Value Resources

As cliché as it may sound, it is very important for you to understand your strengths and weaknesses and formulate your plan accordingly. I took classes because I knew it would be hard for me to focus and get into a study routine without them. Also, I needed help with math because I hadn’t done any math in my undergraduate degree in communications. And in my job as an advertising professional, I worked with numbers only superficially.

However, since my verbal instructor wasn’t very fluent in English, I didn’t waste time in attending verbal classes. Later on, when I had discovered the GMAT club, I figured that it had all the resources that I needed for every section, with various people discussing solutions. You could even get your doubts cleared by posting your query on the forum.

Focus on the resources you need, it will help you to manage time.

3) Don’t be Overconfident in the Verbal Section – Being Fluent Is Not Enough

Another mistake I had made in the beginning, was being overconfident about the verbal section.
The first time I worked out the verbal section of the guide, I had to deal with the shocking revelation that I got only 50% answers correct.

The verbal section can be tough because of various reasons: the difference between British and American English, intricate grammar rules, ridiculously long and dense passages. The best way to tackle the verbal section is to know your grammar well, and read passages on unfamiliar topics.

Tip: Start reading on a screen rather than on paper, and time yourself while reading an article.

4) Continue with Your Mock Test Practice – Build Good Test Habits

Many people had told me to not attempt more than 2 mocks a week, but that’s completely up to you. If speed and sitting through an entire exam for close to 4 hours continuously are your biggest problems, then you’d rather be spending time doing more mocks, than sitting in a class where a faculty is explaining some concept with which you are already familiar.

Never opt to skip a section in the mock test even if you have the choice. This will help build a good habit for your test.

5) Learn to Make Informed Guesses – Have a Good Exam Strategy

One of the issues I faced was to stay stuck on a sum until I cracked it. Now, unfortunately, you will not have that luxury in a test with a time bomb continuously ticking over your head!

Believe it or not, I had to specifically practice the art of making a wild guess and moving on, which can be very difficult psychologically. But you’d rather answer wrong than not answer at all, because not answering a question can impact your scores negatively.

The GMAT isn’t the easiest exam to approach, especially because it tests your patience more than your ability. So, no matter how stuck you feel through the exam, always remember that nothing is lost unless you lose your patience.

By: Mithila Vidyanath

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