Preparing for GMAT

A step-by-step guide for preparing for GMAT

Preparing for GMAT requires diligence and planning. Now that you have decided to appear for the test, you need to plan carefully, starting from the number of hours you can spend to prepare for the test to other test taking strategies. This article aims to provide you with a step-by-step guide to preparing for GMAT.

  1. Identify the timeline: Check the number of days/weeks/ months you have to study. Identifying the timeline between now and the exam day will help you to pace yourself during this timeframe so that you can cover all the sections of the exam. You must allow yourself an adequate timeframe of at least three months for preparing for GMAT.
  2. Plan: Familiarise yourself with the pattern and format of GMAT. List all the sections that you need to cover and draw up a realistic schedule to study and stick to it. Estimate the amount of time you will need each day to focus on intensive individual study. For example, if you have been out of touch in maths, you will probably need to spend more time on it compared to other subjects. Therefore, you need to divide your time in such a manner that you cover all areas. Focus on all the other aspects that might consume your time. For example, attending classes. On an average, you can spend at least 10-20 hours per week exclusively for preparing for GMAT.
  3. Resources: This is important if you have no idea about where to begin. You might want to consider attending tutorials or prep classes. They are a great way to begin for several reasons: they help you stay motivated, they provide you with the latest information about the exam, you can have your doubts cleared instantly, you can form a group with others preparing for GMAT, and so on.
  4. Take a mock test: Taking a sample test will help you gauge your level so that you can judge your preparedness to appear for GMAT. It will highlight your strengths and weak points so that you can focus on those areas accordingly.
  5. Books, Software and Online resources: Invest in traditional reading material to grasp the fundamentals of the test. Make your concepts clear and strong enough to tackle any question. GMAT books will be the base for your preparation and you can supplement them with software and material found online. Books that are specific or written for one topic are helpful if you want to focus on a particular subject, for example, the verbal section. Software can be bought or are available as free downloads on many websites. These are helpful because they simulate the actual GMAT and provide accurate scores. This enables you to experience the actual test in addition to evaluating your preparedness for the test.
  6. Flash cards: Make flash cards at the outset of your preparation so that they form a regular part of your study. You can choose to make flashcards of your own or buy available ones and supplement them with your own notes.
  7. Practice: Not enough can be stressed about practicing timed tests. Practice tests are an integral part of preparing for GMAT. The more you practice, the more confidence you gain. You will also be aware of the varied types of questions and your time allocation for each section improves with practice.
  8. Review yourself: It is important to be honest about your scores and work towards improving them. After you have counted your scores, make sure that you read the explanations provided to avoid similar mistakes.
  9. Strategise: Devise strategies when preparing for GMAT in order to help you work efficiently during the exam. For example, when you are reading the passage in the reading comprehension section, you might want to jot down the topic name and the key words. You might want to read through the questions first so that you can highlight the key words in the passage. When writing essays, you can divide your time between creating a structure, writing the essay, and reviewing the essay.
  10. Remain focused and diligent: Nothing pays more than hard work when preparing for GMAT. Remain dedicated to your cause and avoid any distractions while studying. For example, avoid television when studying or attempting a mock test.

Preparing for GMAT is a time-bound activity. You need to allow yourself enough time to prepare adequately for the test. Since the syllabus is vast, the duration for preparation could range from 6 months to a year, on an average. It is essential that you spend equal amount of time on preparing for each section so that you can attempt the questions in all the sections. Time is a crucial factor, not only for preparation but also during the test. Practicing time-bound tests will propel you to maintain the rhythm during the exam as well. Therefore, it is important that you prepare holistically for the test.

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