Folks, there is so much info out there about how to prepare for the GMAT.
Here at Admissionado, we like to keep it simple… because it is! Here are four commonsense tips for planning your GMAT preparation.
Get started early.
Diversify your study methods.
1. Get started early
This one is a no-brainer. If you are studying last minute, the chances that you will get the best GMAT score possible are low. It takes TIME to study. The human brain isn’t a computer – knowledge can’t be uploaded at the last minute. So if you know you will apply any time in the next year or two, just start NOW! Even if you are only doing three hours of prep a week, that foundation will pay dividends later on. The earlier you start the more time you have to study, and the quicker you get your results (which also gives you plenty of time if you decide you to retake the test).
It can be hard to get to work without an impending deadline, so motivate yourself by making GMAT prep part of your daily or weekly routine. Developing study habits will make the process less painful and is good practice for your return to student life. It’s also useful to keep your goal in mind – when you get a particularly good score on a GMAT practice test, do some research on schools with that average GMAT score. Thinking about your future as a student at Haas, Stern or Stanford GSB can be a good motivator when the sample questions begin to blur together.
Also a no-brainer. But folks, there is a DIRECT CORRELATION between the amount of time you study for the GMAT and the score you will get. I know, I know: It’s boring. It’s hard. You have better stuff to do. But folks: make the sacrifices here for this one test, and I guarantee you, you will thank us later. There are a lot of good practice books out there, from giants like Princeton Review or Kaplan to the GMAT’s own extensive software collection (also a good case study on monopolist business models!), and the awesome folks at Target Test Prep and Magoosh. Ultimately the goal is just to do as many GMAT sample questions as you possibly can.
To motivate yourself, keep in mind:
High score = Better school.
Better school = Higher Salary.
Therefore, High score = Higher Salary.
How are you going to spend your money? If studying for the GMAT ever gets tiresome, just think about what you’ll name your yacht.
3. Diversify your study methods
No study method is perfect, and everyone has a study method that is best for them. So diversify and find your perfect strategy. Start by self-studying. Work with a partner. Take a course. Try all the books and methods and programs. Exhaust the possibilities and then decide which combination is best for you. Again, I refer to number 2: the more you study, the higher your score. As simple as that.
If you are applying for Round 1 applications (October) you want to have (ideally) taken your GMAT by the beginning of June. Why? Because to start on your applications, you need to know where you are applying. And to know that, you need to come up with a school selection strategy, which you can ONLY do with a GMAT. The second reason is that also if you find out that you don’t end up getting the score you want, taking the test early gives you enough time to take the GMAT one more time before R1 deadlines, and even two more times if you push your application to R2.
That’s it. Easy as pie really: Start early. Study hard. Diversify. And test early. Make it happen, and it will!