So you have decided that an MBA is for you. Following advice from friends and professors, you have researched schools and found a few that are a fit for your plans. Then you find out that the GMAT is required for entry to your dream graduate program.
The GMAT—Graduate Management Admission Test—is a standardized test that nearly all MBA programs require of applicants. The test doesn’t measure the applicant’s knowledge of business administration, but instead their overall academic abilities. The test is taken online at a designated location, timed, and the scores are immediately available after the time is up.
How do you prepare? Will you be able to score high enough for acceptance? Just what do you need to do to make your graduate school dreams a reality? Follow this advice to make studying for your GMAT effective, your test-taking successful, and—hopefully—your application accepted.
Narrow your graduate school choices down to between five and ten schools. Find out deadlines for the application and required scores for acceptance. Make a chart that demonstrates your requirements for application. Your chart should include deadlines, GMAT score requirements, personal statement guidelines and any other requirements for application.
Many schools require 600 or above on the GMAT, while some prestigious schools require 700 or higher. Determining the scores needed is the first step in the actual preparation for the exam.
Study guides and GMAT preparatory programs are readily available online, so be sure to choose one from a trusted source, such as MBA.com, which is where you will have to register for the test. However, an instructor or tutor who scored high on the GMAT can greatly benefit your study. They can help you gain a familiarity with the test, knowledge and skills to score high, and a confidence going into it on test day.
Take the GMATPrep simulated test right away. This gives you a baseline score. Your initial score will also allow you to see in what areas you will need to concentrate. Maybe your math skills are high, but your reading comprehension needs practice. Based on these scores, start studying. Research has shown that the more hours a student studies for the GMAT, the higher the potential final score. It is recommended that students study daily for one to three months to prepare. Frequent and short bursts of studying (daily for an hour) seem to be most beneficial to students.
Make studying for the GMAT a priority in your life. If study is built in your daily schedule, you are much more likely to make studying a habit. If you feel your skills are a bit rusty, allow yourself at least three months to prepare.
After studying for a few weeks, take another practice test. This will allow you to compare with your baseline score. Are you improving? In which areas do you still need additional help? Maybe solo studying is not working for you. If you see that your score is not improving, consider other options like hiring a GMAT instructor or tutor.
Many companies offer GMAT preparation courses in-person and online. If you haven’t scored well on your practice tests, maybe you should consider a course. If you are considering taking a course, do so early in your preparation schedule so that you do not miss application deadlines.
When taking practice tests, always time yourself. It’s good to get in the habit of timing yourself now, so that you have an idea how long you can spend on test questions when the test day finally arrives. By understanding the test format and the topics, you will be able to spend time on the questions themselves.
Some undergraduate colleges offer free preparation courses. Take advantage of these opportunities! You might find some helpful tricks and tips for successful studying.
Studying for any test is time consuming. Some students may be able to study successfully in just a month or two, while others might need to prepare for up to six months. Only you know how well you study. Graduate school exams are difficult for a reason, just as graduate school can be difficult as well. But with proper preparation, you can be successful.
Preparing for the GMAT takes times and effort. Research and studying are the keys to a successful test experience. Use your resources and materials to confidently register for and ace this exam. If you are serious about obtaining an MBA, successfully mastering the GMAT is your first step. Good luck!
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