GMAT Preparation: Make your plan to score 750; set your goals months in advance

MBAUniverse.com News Desk |
May 2, 2015
High score in GMAT is the gateway to MBA programmes in top B schools abroad like Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD among others
If you begin your GMAT preparation now, you should plan to take GMAT in the month of September/October 2015 to get a very good score

High score in GMAT is the gateway to MBA programmes in top B schools abroad like Harvard, Wharton, INSEAD among others. GMAT scores are accepted by more than 6,000 business and management programs worldwide. MBA aspirants planning to pursue MBA from top B schools in the world know well that they have to score more than 700 out of 800 in GMAT to get the desired B school.

According to experts and mentors on GMAT preparation, it takes 3-5 months of concerted study schedule to crack GMAT with high score. Since GMAT is a progressive pattern exam and as such is somewhat different from other MBA entrance exams like CMAT/XAT/CAT, please remember that GMAT preparation is about proper planning. If you can enjoy the preparation journey, scoring high in GMAT may not be difficult.

Most of the top B schools abroad have opened their admission application process for MBA 2016 class or are going to open the same shortly. Scores of GMAT, the mandatory exam for admission to these B schools remain valid for 3-4 years according to the admission policy of the respective management colleges. Since you can appear in more than 1 GMAT in a year, your best scores in one of the GMAT exams taken during 2-3 years are considered for admission in the B school.

Experts share below how to begin your preparation journey to score high in GMAT. Experts are of the view if you begin your GMAT preparation now, you should plan to take GMAT in the month of September/October 2015 to get a very good score. Besides your preparation would get a boost as other MBA entrance exams like CAT, IIFT, NMAT by GMAC, CMAT, XAT will also be round the corner.

Step 1
Buy books and resources for the GMAT. Test prep centers generally provide the necessary resources. The official website of GMAT also contains required resources for the preparation.  Schedule a test date 3-4 months away, if you wish to crack the first GMAT with high score.

Step 2
Begin taking the GMAT Diagnostic tests. You can take the diagnostic tests as per the Official GMAT Prep Software. Many test prep centers offers diagnostic tests before the beginning of the course. Taking the GMAT diagnostic test without a revision may get you an unusually low score since you may be out of academics for a while and may not remember anything. Therefore, practice problems from each section of GMAT, do revision and take GMAT diagnostic tests.

Once you take the test you know where you stand in GMAT. You come to know of your weak areas which you are supposed to improve.

Step 3
Now, set up a study schedule for targeted GMAT and follow it meticulously. In the first month, start attempting GMAT practice tests from each section one by one and monitor your performance in each area. Identify weak and strong areas in each of the GMAT section and keep on allocating time and resources accordingly. Try to attempt upto 100 GMAT practice questions in each of your practice sessions.

Step 4
After following basics and fundamentals in the first month move to higher level of difficulty on Verbal and Quant in the second month as per the GMAT exam pattern.  This will help you identify where you are getting your GMAT answers wrong. Simultaneously, devote an hour to practice questions from all the GMAT sections everyday.

Step 5
The third month should focus on improving the GMAT exam taking timings, learning shortcuts to solve the GMAT Quant problems, getting familiar with taking tricks and other time saving methods. Some GMAT test prep centers will teach you short cuts from day one. It is however advised to get the basics right before trying to attempt any short cuts.

It depends on you whether you could cover GMAT preparation in 3 months of would need 5-6 months for the preparation. Under such situation allocate your timings accordingly to ace GMAT.

The D-Day
Finally comes your GMAT test day. Make sure you rest well before the exams. Manage your time effectively during the actual GMAT exam. Overconfident and nervousness are common amongst best prepared students which results in poor performance in GMAT. 

Important advice
1.Do not be overawed by too much of GMAT study material. Understand the concepts rather than using 100 ways to solve a GMAT problem. Join GMAT online forums and discussions for students who prefer to study for GMAT in a group. For individualized studies, use the online tools for GMAT preparation besides the text books.

2. Schedule the GMAT test date 3-4 months from the first day of your preparation. Without a deadline, you will not be motivated to perform well in GMAT and plan your study schedule accordingly. Many students postpone their GMAT date which leads to loss of interest and ultimately a bad performance.

3. Believe in yourself and a have a realistic approach. Know what lies ahead (e.g. staying up late or waking up early, less outing etc.) Students who have already visualized what it takes to succeed in the GMAT and the MBA application will not quit and will eventually do well.

A good GMAT score
GMAT scores are of three types: sectional scores, total score and percentile. Any GMAT sectional score above 45 in quantitative and 40 in the verbal section is good enough.  Average AWA scores in GMAT should be around 5-6 and good IR scores are 7-8.

To know what a good total score is, check the GMAT scores of the middle 80% of the class of the particular B-School. This is the score you are supposed to achieve. Generally any score above 700 in GMAT will give you a chance of getting into a top B-school. The lowest GMAT score or minimum score to get into any top B-school is around 650.  There are exceptional cases of applicants getting admitted to Ivy Leagues with a GMAT score as low as 500 but they are exceptional cases. The admission committee looks into every aspect of the applicant’s profile holistically.

The percentile rank of your GMAT score shows you the percentage of tests taken with scores lower than you for the most recent 3 year period. Every year, each GMAT taker’s score is updated with the most recent year’s percentiles.

Hence a 75% in GMAT will mean you have scored 75% more than the rest of the GMAT test takers over the past three years.  A GMAT percentile of 95-9 ranking is considered competitive for top B-schools.

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