How to Prepare for the GMAT: Best Tips for Success
Check out our guide on how to prepare for the GMAT — and how to ace the GMAT!
Understand the GMAT Format: Familiarize yourself with the current GMAT format, including the new changes, such as the removal of the Analytical Writing Assessment section and the addition of the Data Insights section. Knowing the structure will guide your study plan.
Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Taking a practice test will help you identify where you excel and where you need improvement. Focus on those areas as you study.
Create a Tailored Study Plan: Your study plan should be specific to your needs, breaking down the areas of focus into manageable chunks. Sticking to this plan is crucial for successful preparation.
Consider Group Study or Hiring a Tutor: Studying with others or hiring a tutor can provide motivation and personalized support.
Prepare for Test Day: Simulate the test environment with preparation tests to alleviate anxiety and prepare yourself mentally for the actual GMAT exam.
Conclude with Confidence: Remember, preparing for the GMAT is a journey that requires a thoughtful approach, dedication, and a strategic plan. Follow this guide, and success will be within reach.
Taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a crucial step in the admission process for many graduate business programs. The exam assesses your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in standard written English. If you are wondering about the best way to prepare for the GMAT, follow this guide to understand how to ace the GMAT and secure a spot in the school of your choice. It might feel overwhelming, but understanding how to prepare is crucial for achieving the desired score. This article will break down the steps involved in preparing to take the test, from learning the best way to study for the GMAT, to leveraging GMAT tips, and crafting a GMAT strategy for each section of the exam.
Understanding the GMAT format
The first thing you need to understand is that the GMAT format, which has recently changed, historically consisted of four sections:
- Analytical Writing Assessment (1 essay topic)
- Integrated Reasoning (12 questions)
- Quantitative Reasoning (31 questions)
- Verbal Reasoning (36 questions)
However, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the GMAT’s governing body, has announced plans to unveil a new format — the GMAT Focus Edition, which will replace the previous version of the GMAT on January 31, 2024. The most important difference is the elimination of the Analytical Writing Assessment, which will shorten the length of the test from three hours and seven minutes to two hours and 15 minutes. This new version of the GMAT is divided into three sections, with the Analytical Writing Assessment section being completely removed. The GMAT format will now consist of:
- Quantitative Reasoning (21 questions)
- Verbal Reasoning (23 questions)
- Data Insights (20 questions)
Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Before creating a study plan and diving deeper into each segment, it's a good idea to take a practice test to identify areas where you excel and where you need to focus your efforts. Various online platforms provide a free GMAT practice test. After taking the practice test, you’ll have a better idea of where you need to focus to prepare for the GMAT.
Create a Study Plan and Stick to it!
Establishing a study plan tailored to your needs is a vital step in studying for the GMAT. Break your study time into manageable chunks and be sure to review both the subjects you need to focus on as well as your areas of strength. Once you create a plan, sticking to it to ensure that you are on the right track is the best way to prepare for the GMAT.
Utilize Study Materials and Online Resources
There is a plethora of resources available, from books to online courses. Utilize these materials to enhance your study efforts, considering both paid and free options. If you are unsure where to find them, you can always review courses on sites such as Udemy (paid options) and check out the official GMAC website for GMAT tips.
Join a Study Group or Hire a Tutor
If you are having trouble motivating yourself to study alone, you should think about joining a study group. Sometimes, studying for the GMAT with others can provide a motivational boost. Hiring tutors can also be beneficial, since they will provide you with personalized support and create a detailed study plan to help you better prepare for the GMAT.
Review and Adjust
Make sure to take time to review your previous work as well as your answers on practice tests. Adjust your study plan so that it remains effective and aligned with your goals. If you hire a tutor, discuss your goals and determine whether you need to adjust your schedule. If you are studying with your peers, consult with them about the best way to study for the GMAT.
Prepare For Test Day
It is completely normal to feel anxious about taking the GMAT exam. After all, the stakes are high, and your GMAT score plays a huge role in your acceptance into a business school and future career trajectory. Just as you need to prepare for the exam itself, you should also prepare for the experience of taking the test. This will help relieve stress and calm your nerves so that you are not overwhelmed by anxiety on test day. For example, when taking preparation tests, try to put yourself in an environment similar to the one in which you will be taking the actual test.
Planning for GMAT Checklist
- Determine your target schools and their average GMAT scores
- Choose your GMAT test date
- Create a study schedule
- Gather study materials (books, online resources)
- Consider joining a study group or hiring a tutor
- Register for the GMAT
- Plan for the test day (transport, ID, etc.)
Learning how to prepare for the GMAT is not an overnight process, but with a thoughtful approach, dedication, and the right GMAT strategy, success is within reach. Whether you're wondering about the best way to study for the GMAT or how to ace the GMAT, the information and checklist provided above should guide you through this exciting and challenging journey.
The time required varies from person to person, so there is no simple answer on how it takes to prepare for the GMAT. The optimal amount of time is usually between three and six months of focused study.
The best way to prepare includes understanding the format, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, creating a tailored study plan, utilizing study materials, and seeking support from groups or tutors.
A one-month preparation will require an intense focus. Utilizing official GMAT materials, prioritizing your weakest areas, and taking full-length practice tests are vital components of a condensed study plan. By following this guide, you'll be on your way to achieving your GMAT goals and advancing your academic or professional career. Make data-driven decisions and use practice tests to assess your readiness before taking the test.