The Ideal Way to Prepare for GMAT
Joining an MBA program is a dream come true for many aspirants out there. And some of the most prestigious B-schools out there have their selection process based on GMAT. It is not only a high level entrance exam but also a tool designed by industry experts with the sole objective of testing aspirants on basic skills like quantitative analysis, writing skills and English. To prepare GMAT there are hundreds of suggestions available on the internet. This article presents them in very concise and easy to follow steps.
When you have taken up the decision of taking GMAT, you will obviously come across lots of tips and methodologies on what is the best way to prepare GMAT. There are three main fields that can be covered in this respect-books, internet and softwares.
Preparation through books:
As you know already, books are an indispensible resource in preparing for any competitive examinations. Even though you may do all the online practice, in the end you still have to come down to books to prepare GMAT. There are quite a few books available in the market but the official GMAT guides are undoubtedly the best GMAT books available out there. This is mainly because these are the only books available in the market that are written by the creators of the exam and therefore they are the standard ones. They contain a large number of examples as well as exercises in all three sections to give the user plenty of insight into the various aspects of these sections. They also include sample responses and various tips and techniques to maximize your score in the exam. There are also diagnostic sections that will help you in recognizing your weaknesses so that you can work more productively. They are a must for anyone who is aiming to score high and only after going through these books should one attempt others.
Another one that you should consider is the Kaplan’s GMAT book. It comes with a CD and email support so that you can continuously monitor your progress and ask for online guidance as well but the sheer variety that it provides makes it exhaustive. It also comes with mock exams that will rate you very critically so that your actual GMAT score will be much higher. It gives some invaluable strategies in some sections like data sufficiency and critical reasoning. Some of you may want to concentrate on particular sections of the test and for that you should refer to the following books-
Writing skills for GRE/GMAT:
This is an excellent book not only for people who want to ace GMAT but also for non-native English speakers who are not very familiar with writing skills. There are several high quality examples and tips on competitive writing and overall it is fun to read. This is the bible for the essay writing section and an indispensable resource. So those of you who find writing difficult should definitely have this one.
Verbal workout for GMAT:
This book would be advisable for those of you who are not strong with the basics in the verbal sections. It deals very well with the basics and therefore for beginners this book is a must have.
For the quantitative ability sections the official GMAT guide which also comes exclusively for quantitative section should a very useful resource.
As far as preparation on the internet goes there are 3 main aspects to it-
- Learning the concepts through e-books or tutorials.
- Practicing questions and through mock tests.
- Having constant interaction with experts.
The 1st aspect is definitely your stepping stone because without the conceptual knowledge you can’t hope to proceed any further to prepare GMAT. You can find the same books that were mentioned above online at www.amazon.com. However be careful only to buy/download the latest versions of these books as the earlier ones maybe outdated and not of much use.
There are also a lot of video tutorials that are available online on various websites. Not all these are of sufficient quality to help you to prepare GMAT. The most standard tutorials will be found at www.youtube.com and there are also a few good quality videos available on www.khanacademy.org , these however don’t cover the entire syllabus of GMAT. Some good quality tutorials are also available on the sites like www.crack-gmat.com and www.4gmat.com .
Practice is the key:
Once you are through with the concepts you should move on to the next aspect which is practice. Here also the downloadable books mentioned above will be your best resource because they are exhaustive and comprehensive. Apart from these you should register on the official GMAT site www.mba.com/the-gmat.aspx where you will find detailed explanations about the exam pattern, question types and preparation tips. On this site there is also a free downloadable test software that will give you mock tests and evaluate your results. Apart from this the official GRE guides and the Kaplan guide also come with DVDs which contain these tests and reviews. By sufficiently practicing them you should be able to make a lot of progress.
One more thing to remember is while attempting the tests or while solving the problems always keep a note of your timing because pacing yourself in the exam makes all the difference between a good score and a great score. So get used to the 4 hour environment while you attempt these tests. Analyze the results yourself so that you can avoid your mistakes the next time.
Get a tutor:
Now the last aspect of online preparation is also the one which people generally think they don’t need in their GMAT preparation, but that is the biggest misconception you can have. GMAT unlike CAT is not an exam where you can prepare intuitively. There are certain tricks and guidelines that only an instructor who has worked in the field can tell you and these tricks will make a huge difference to your score. So invest in a good teacher or online expert but be sure of his/her credentials because there are a lot of frauds in the market. Try to go standard names like The Princeton Review or The Manhattan Review even if they cost you higher because after you are done with the exam you will surely realize that the investment was worthwhile.
Finally the amount of hard work and time that you put into your preparation for GMAT will matter and the resources that you use are only a secondary aspect. So have a certain level of commitment before you sit down to prepare. All the best!!
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