How to prepare for GMAT

GMAT is one of the most sought after examination for anyone who aspires to join a prestigious business school in US, Europe, Asia and Australia & New Zealand. All the top ranking business schools rely on GMAT score to cull out talent that will be successful in the career of their choices. For students, a good score (it will depend on person to person) of 700+ is the key to the business school of their dreams.

The big question is how to ensure that you get 700+ or 750+ or 780 in GMAT? I will not say that scoring more than 750 in GMAT is easy in any sense. You have to be meticulous, planned and above all exhaustive in your approach, be it verbal ability or quantitative aptitude. One should be very clear about the kind of score he/she is looking for and based on that you should invest your resources accordingly. I come across students very regularly and many of them want to go for ivy league schools. However, their GMAT scores are not 750 plus. Actually it is difficult to reach to these schools if your profile along with your score is nothing but exceptional.

So, what should we do to reach to the school/college of your choice? A good score definitely helps you to reach there. The first step that I would suggest would be to set a very clear goal of the college that you want to go to. You should select 3-5 colleges which are ranked close to the school of your choice and plan to apply for all of them. Once you have clear cut goal in mind, you can go register yourself on the GMAT site for the test and download the free official GMAT software.  Third step would be to attempt one test completely from the software and evaluate your score. Whatever your score is, it is a very close reflection of what you would get in your current state of preparation.

Once you have a score or a benchmark score in hand you can plan your journey easily. I normally suggest tests takers to prepare for the exam for 6 months before we take the actual test. Let’s assume that in the first test you took, your score is 650 and you wanted a score of 750. Now what we have to do is to plan our journey in such a manner that we remove our problem/weakness. The score that we have in our hand will give us an analysis about how well we have performed in various sections and this will be the ground for preparation for the exam.

Let’s also assume that you have achieved say 47 in quantitative aptitude and say 30-31 in verbal ability. Now if we want to reach to a score of 750, we have to score 50-51 in quantitative aptitude and 40 in verbal ability. So we know that our work requires a lot of work on verbal ability (as we require an increase of 10 points). Moreover, we have to focus on the weak areas of quantitative aptitude. More often than not, those who score less in quantitative aptitude have problems in data sufficiency and topic like inequalities, coordinate geometry, statistics, probability, functions, quadratic equations and permutation and combination.

Those who have problem in verbal ability require fine tuning in sentence correction and critical reasoning. I haven’t mentioned reading comprehension separately as working on critical reasoning helps you considerably in reading comprehension as well.    

This takes us to resources that are available for the GMAT preparation. I consider Official GMAT guide is your best friend for the examination. You will get good questions of both the sections (and also of Integrated Reasoning) in the book. It will have detailed explanations which will give you best direction to think about the examination. Second resource that is very useful is 1000 Sentence Correction (SC) Questions, 1000 Critical Reasoning (CR) Questions and 1000 Reading Comprehension (RC) Questions. These resources are freely available on the internet and can be downloaded easily. Apart from these you would require Sentence Correction Guide from Manhattan (Latest Edition). You may also buy books for critical reasoning or reading comprehension and it depends entirely on your weak area(s).

You also have a lot of discussion platforms available online which have discussed the questions of OG Guide and also the 1000 questions of SC, CR and RC mentioned above. I should caution for one thing though, that whenever you search a solution for a problem, you should accept the solution of a GMAT trainer. Since, this is a problem encountered by many students, it is advisable to enroll for a good course either offline or online. In our following articles, we will be discussing more about the strategy and study plan for the exam.

All the best!!!

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