Tips on Surviving the GMAT

A year ago, after the holiday hustle and bustle died down, I started studying for the GMAT – The Graduate Management Admissions Test.  For many graduate level business programs, the GMAT is required or suggested for acceptance.  Some programs require a certain score so be willing to devote many hours of studying to get a score that will allow you in the program you want.  It is a lengthy exam that covers your writing, quantitative, and verbal ability.

Here are a few tips I will share from my experience with the GMAT:

  • Click here for the official website.  Read over this site to learn everything about how the test is structured, what you can expect on test day, and any other questions you may have.  This is where you register for the exam.   When you register, you will get a couple of practice exams.
  • Determine when you should take the exam.  It takes a couple of weeks for your schools to receive your scores so factor that into when you take your exam.  Give yourself plenty of time to study.  Take the exam early to allow yourself the option of retaking it.
  • Set a date as a goal for when to take the exam, then plan how many hours per week you should study leading up to the exam.
  • Begin studying by taking a practice exam.  There are many books you can purchase or find a library or websites online that have practice exams.  Taking a practice exam at the beginning gives you some basis of what you will need to focus your studying on.  If you are better at math, focus on the verbal, or vice versa.  Taking a practice exam will also give you a feel for how long you will have to answer questions.
  • Set aside time each day/week to study.  Find a quiet place with no distractions to study.  This website was very helpful to me.
  • Stay positive.  Go into test day with a positive attitude.  Get a good breakfast, get there early, have all the required documents and identification, and be ready to beat the GMAT!

The GMAT is adding an integrated reasoning section in June 2012.  So read up on the changes and determine if you want to take the new version or not.  The main advice I have for those looking to take the GMAT in the near future is to know what to expect on test day.  Review how the exam is structured, how much time you have and what type of questions you will expect to see.  Good luck!

2 thoughts on “Tips on Surviving the GMAT”

  1. Good intro to the GMAT and tips too. B-school applicants should already know how important the GMAT is, but they often don’t realize the nuance interpretation that admissions committees may use when reviewing the application and considering the GMAT. The individual sections are frequently matched and compared with other parts of the application to show consistency or point out divergent qualifications. There is much more to it than the total score.

  2. Just to add to you suggestions, you really should plan for about 3 months of study time and 1 – 1.5 hours per day. It is a significant commitment, but can mean the difference of getting into the school you are targeting.

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