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What are the best strategies for preparing for the GMAT?

For several students considering doing an MBA degree, online or on campus, having a high GMAT score can boost their profiles in several ways. A good GMAT score indicates good quantitative and verbal reasoning skills in a candidate and also sets aside a candidate from the rest of the pool. This helps universities distinguish students and decide which students suit their courses best.

Preparing for the GMAT can be quite a daunting task. There are several different approaches that can be taken and several prep companies offering a variety of courses. For example, you have the big companies like Manhattan, Veritas, and Kaplan who have been around for quite some time and you have other smaller outfits such as Magoosh who charge lesser and can be extremely effective. There is no real secret to cracking the GMAT. However, a minimum of 100 hours of study is required to ensure that you are at least giving somewhere close to your best effort.

What is a good GMAT score FOR YOU? Of course, this depends greatly on the schools you choose to apply to. The top 20 business schools in the United States look at scores above 680 and preferably over 700. It is true and you will find this stated everywhere on the Internet, your GMAT score is not the sole aspect of your application that will help you get into business school. There are other factors, such as the quality of your essays—which describe your goals, passions, and achievements—your letters of recommendation, work experience, achievements at work, and, of course, your undergraduate GPA.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand that achieving a high GMAT score is not an impossible task if you aren’t the math pundit or the verbal scholar. The GMAT is not a matter of quantity but a matter of quality. Your quality of study will add greatly to your total score. To start with, identify the areas you are familiar with and polish these areas by working on basic problems and then moving on to the more difficult problems. Second, identify the areas which are your weaknesses and examine if you can actually learn how to solve these kinds of problems. Work on the problems you realize you can actually learn and understand and don’t spend too much time on those which are extremely hard. Take practices tests and get an idea of how much you will actually score on the test. Remember, getting a score of 700+ on the GMAT does not necessarily mean that you solved a huge array of difficult problems or cracked several 55-line essays. Third, the GMAT is a test which requires great control over your moods. Your mood on test day can add or subtract points from your final score. Maintaining a calm mind can greatly help you boost your score by 20 or 30 points.

This might sound extremely weird, but trying meditation as you study for the GMAT wouldn’t be such a bad idea. It helps you keep an empty mind and that helps channeling all your energy toward the problems at hand instead of wasting energy on irrelevant thoughts that tend to flow by as you concentrate on questions.

It is true that signing up for a prep course can help you boost your score by 50 to 60 points. The experts know the strategies that will help you save a lot of time and they can teach you several shortcuts which will make problems in the 700-800 range seem sinfully easy.

Another question you will find floating around the Internet is, ‘Should I take the test again?’ This greatly depends on the universities you are applying to. If you’re looking at Harvard Business School or Stanford or Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and you’ve scored a 650 on the GMAT, it’s highly recommended that you take the test again. Don’t worry! Most schools and when I say most I mean MOST schools only look at your best GMAT score. Taking the test a second time also shows schools that you are determined and focused on your MBA goals.

Another important fact you should keep in mind is universities look at a balance between your quant and verbal section scores. Scoring really high on the verbal section while having a quant score in the lower percentile ranges can cause some harm. However, if there is to be a disparity between your scores on the two sections, it’s always better to have a higher quant score. Having quantitative reasoning skills is vital to your MBA course and universities want to be sure you will be able to handle their course matter.

So, we can say that there are four vital points to keep in the forefront of your thought process while you are studying for the GMAT. Remembering these points will help you greatly in getting the best score you can on the GMAT.

  • Concentrate on the areas that are your strengths.
  • Identify the weaknesses you can improve but don’t go crazy over questions you simply find impossible to solve.
  • A calm mind is vital to scoring high on the test! Try meditation—sounds weird, but it can do wonders!
  • Ensure you balance your study between the quant and verbal sections but concentrate more on what you find to be your strength.
  • Choose a good test prep course. There are several out there, look for one that suits your daily schedule and one which you feel will gel well with your methods of studying. Do not spend excessively on these prep courses! Again, it’s a matter of quality not quantity.
  • And finally, if you’re unhappy with your score. Go ahead, take that test again! There are several ways to improve your score!

Author: George

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