If you are planning on applying to business school, you will probably have heard of the GMAT exam. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer-adaptive standardized test in mathematics and English that is used by admissions teams at MBA programs.
The exam is intended to measure verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that an applicant has developed, and the test takes about four hours to complete.
In this article we’ve compiled 5 GMAT principles to help you in your test prep studies:
- Go To The Source
- Build Up, Not Down
- Turn Enemies Into Friends
- Mix It Up
- Know What You Know
Go To The Source
Just as many religions have holy books, the Official Guides from the GMAC are the holy books of the GMAT. Every other book, as good as it may be, is secondary to this. Because of this, your efforts must be centered on the Official Guides.
- Official Guide for GMAT Review
- Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review
- Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review
The other “holy” source is GMAT Prep, the free practice-test software that you should download from MBA.com.
This software has its drawbacks, but it also has two unique benefits
- Uses the real GMAT algorithm
- Contains retired GMAT problems
We absolute recommend both of these resources.
Build Up, Not Down
How you do on the GMAT is determined by the type of problem that you can get right every time, without hesitation or anxiety.
You should spend more time truly mastering the easier problems before advancing to harder questions.
Once you have built this knowledge and skill, then progress upwards.
Turn Enemies Into Friends
Should you play to your strengths or attack your weaknesses?
Ideally, you’ll do both. But if you have to choose, especially early on – pick the weaknesses.
As an example, if you’re a genius on Critical Reasoning, but you’re terrible at Sentence Correction, we recommend you work on the Sentence Correction. The reason is because the test is adaptive. If SC is weighing your performance down, you’ll never get the really hard CR problems.
Mix It Up
You should not limit yourself to topic-based work and practice tests.
Topic-based drills are indispensable, but they give you a crutch – you already know what kind of problem you’re facing.
In contrast, the exam throws you problems in random order by content area. So you need to develop your eye: your ability to recognize patterns, perceive key traits, classify problems and bring relevant strategies to bear.
What should you do? Short drills of mixed-topic problems from the Official Guides. The GMAC has already done the prep work for you – they’ve jumbled up the problems by topic but arranged them in order of difficulty. So do 5-10 problems in a row. Don’t skip any.
Know What You Know
If you are scheduled to take the exam shortly, start reviewing and redoing problems.
At this point, it’s much less important to cram new stuff into your brain than it is to organize and strengthen what’s already in there.
Don’t worry about trying to cover everything under the sun. Instead, go for depth over breadth.
Force yourself to revisit problems you “think” you know.
When studying for the GMAT, remember that nothing will replace hard work – statistics from GMAC show that the amount of time spent studying, both in terms of hours and weeks, correlates positively to performance on the test (100+ hours and 8+ weeks for the best average results, if you’re curious).
For more robust guidance on your MBA application essays, check out the Stacy Blackman Consulting Essay Guide Series – school specific guides with essay tips, sample essays, information on what your target schools value and more.
Visit Stacy Blackman MBA Admissions Consulting to learn more.
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