Dr. Ajay Amar, founder of Austin GMAT Review, offers these three tips for students getting ready to take the GMAT, the standardized test required by most reputable business schools. These few simple tips will start you out on your GMAT preparation and help you avoid the most common pitfalls.
- Don’t go to unreliable sources. Rely on the official GMAT practice questions from the GMATPrep software offered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC, the makers of the GMAT). In your desire to get lots of practice, don’t turn to practice questions from other, unreliable sources.
The GMATPrep software can be downloaded free from www.mba.com. If you need more practice, you can purchase an additional 404 official practice questions sold as QuestionPack1 on www.mba.com. At under $25, the QuestionPack1 would be a smart investment.
- Assume nothing. Never assume that you are going to ace any part of the test. At the very start, take GMATPrep’s free practice test to help you figure out where your areas of weakness are. We often see people who initially assumed that they are going to ace GMAT verbal (because they communicate a lot for their profession) or GMAT quant (because they manage balance sheets). Their assumptions about their strengths were not unreasonable, but by failing to prepare adequately, they ended up with a worse score than they expected. Just take the practice test, and see.
- Practice not only the questions but taking the test. To really gauge how you will perform on the GMAT, try to recreate the conditions of the test center as closely as possible when you take your practice tests. This means scheduling the time, shutting yourself off from interruptions, going all the way through – and no calculator. Do this at the very beginning of your GMAT studies. You will not only have a better understanding of where you need to improve, but you will have a clearer idea of what you’re up against, and more motivation to study.
Usually (not always, but usually) the GMAT practice test is a good predictor of how you will do on the real thing. If you are not achieving the score that you need for the business school you are targeting, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t smart, or that you won’t do well in the MBA program. It usually means that you don’t know a concept or concepts. It’s as simple as that. Admit to yourself that you don’t know what you don’t know, and move on … to a GMAT class or tutor.
Edited by Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets