There are plenty of ways to elevate your career. You can gain new skills or improve existing ones through training and specialization classes. You can also get a better perspective of your strengths, weaknesses, and boost overall performance through coaching.
For some people, enhancing their journey as a professional means taking their education to a whole new level. If you’re one of them, then you’ve probably thought of undergoing the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
The GMAT is an admission requirement for almost all MBA programs. Getting a good score in this exam also gives you a better chance to acquire scholarships or even a better post-MBA career.
Research About What Changed in the GMAT
Like other tests, the GMAT has evolved throughout the years. How else will it be able to cope with the never-ending changes in society?
One of the most significant changes the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) introduced was the Integrated Reasoning section of the test. In 2012, the Council decided to replace one of the two essays with a 30-minute section comprised of 12 questions that require examinees to analyze numbers, words, and charts.
Upon implementation, GMAT examinees found the IR section more challenging than the essay. Even so, the new section still goes beyond just testing how applicants can read business-like charts – it tests a higher-order of thinking.
What made this portion of the test quite difficult is its placement in the order of tests. You see, the IR comes right before the Quantitative Verbal section, which is neither short nor easy. This is why most applicants found themselves struggling and worn out even before they reach the main sections of the GMAT.
Looking back at how the GMAT was and what changed can help you discern what preparatory tasks are still applicable and which ones aren’t. In the case of the addition of the IR, the key is to model your practice tests based on actual and most recent test-day experiences.
This will help you build the stamina for the exam and allow you to use your time and effort more efficiently while still reaching your target score.
Take the Diagnostic Test Before Planning for the GMAT
One of the best practices recommended when preparing for the GMAT is to take the diagnostic test. This will help determine the starting point of your preparation. The result will also serve as the baseline scoring level for the forthcoming practice tests you will undergo (more on this later).
When taking the diagnostic test, you should not get your hopes up too high. In fact, it would be best to keep your expectations to a minimum – it’s just a practice test, after all.
Remember that this test is not about doing well. Rather, it is made to gauge your knowledge and set the starting point for your studies.
This test will also let you see where your strengths lie, as well as the sections and types of questions that you need to work on the most. This will help you spend your time more efficiently as you prepare for the GMAT.
Start Preparing 6 Months Before the Test
Examinees tend to review for the GMATs at different points in time. Most applicants believe that eight weeks should be enough to study, while top learning centers recommend beginning the preparation as early as six months before the date of the test.
Of course, you are still the best judge on how much time is necessary to fully prepare for the test. Just remember to consider your score on the diagnostic test and how much more you need to cover to achieve your target score.
Setting Your Target Score
Setting a target score for the GMATs would help you get motivated from the very beginning of your reviews until the day of the results. As you work on the areas that need improvement, you’ll gradually get closer to the scoring level you’re after as weeks pass.
Upon finishing the GMAT, you’ll be offered a chance to see your total score as well as your individual grade for each section of the test. At this point, the Council will give you the option to keep these numbers on your record or cancel it altogether.
This is why it is crucial that you have set a specific score range before the day of the test arrives. Knowing this will allow you to make an informed decision based on the MBA schools you plan to enroll in.
Plan Your Study Schedule
Now that you’ve set a target score, you should also create a study timeline that will allow you to reach your goal. Set a schedule that is conducive for learning and can work well with your current day-to-day routine.
Gather Review Materials
To carry out the plan you’ve come up with, you must first gather the review materials you need. There are a lot of good GMAT practice materials available, but you can determine which ones will help you best with the help of the result of your diagnostic test (see tip no. 2).
The GMAC offers full-length GMAT practice tests to determine which questions types and sections you’re having trouble with. Once you’ve determined your weak points, you should be able to choose specific texts and resources that could help you improve in those areas.
Sign Up for a GMAT Prep Course
Although you can choose to review on your own, signing up for a GMAT preparation course would increase your chances of achieving your target scores. For one, having a one-on-one tutorial session can help you stick to a review schedule more religiously. Plus, it also ensures that you’re focused on your studies.
Practice the Test-Day Experience
Last but not least of the crucial GMAT prep tasks you need to do is a test-day simulation. Essentially, this serves as your chance to practice what will happen on the day of the exam.
As mentioned earlier, you can practice taking the GMAT using the materials provided online. In fact, you can do this several times as you progress in your studies. But for your final practice test, you have to make it as close to the actual test-day experience as possible.
To do so, look for a quiet place with a computer where you can practice taking the exam. Remember to take the entire test in one seating to help you get a feel of what the actual test would be like.
Ensure Your Future With GMAT
The GMAT will serve as your ticket to the best MBA schools around the world. Make sure you prepare for it well with the help of the tips listed in this article.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.