GMAT Preparation Strategy: How to Prepare for the GMAT Exam?

Top 10 GMAT Preparation Strategies You Need to Know

10 min read

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, can be a daunting hurdle on the path to your dream business school. But fear not, aspiring MBA warriors! With the right preparation strategies and persistent effort, you can crack the code and achieve a score that unlocks doors to top programs. The blog will explain how to prepare for the GMAT and every master tip that you should use when preparing for GMAT.

The GMAT looms like a mythical beast, guarding the gates of your dream business school. But fear not, brave warriors! With the right strategy and tactics, you can slay this score-hungry monster and unlock your B-school destiny. Here are 10 top tips to tame the GMAT and GMAT exam pattern that emerge victorious:

1. Don’t walk into the test blind. Master the format, sections, question types, and time constraints. Knowing the battlefield is half the battle won.

2. Take a diagnostic test. It’s not a judgement day, but a map of your strengths and weaknesses. Use it to focus your training and track your progress.

3. Invest in high-quality resources like official guides, reputable prep books, and online courses. Find ones that fit your learning style and budget.

4. Practice makes perfect, so drill tons of questions from diverse sources. Analyse your errors, learn from them, and refine your approach. Remember, sweat now to shine later.

5. Time management is your mantra. Develop strategies for pacing yourself in each section and question type. Practice under timed conditions, so you don’t panic on test day.

6. Don’t be a robot; embrace different learning styles. Use flashcards, games, study groups, or even a personal tutor. Find what ignites your learning spark and keeps you motivated.

7. The GMAT is a mental marathon. Build stamina with meditation, yoga, and good sleep. A healthy mind performs best under pressure.

8. Take full-length mock exams under timed conditions, in a quiet space. Analyse your performance, identify areas for improvement, and fine-tune your test-taking strategies.

9. Don’t let it define you. Embrace the challenges, learn from your mistakes, and never give up. Believe in your potential and approach the test with a positive attitude.

10. Don’t go it alone. Connect with other GMAT aspirants online or in person. Share tips, motivate each other, and learn from shared experiences. Community makes the journey less daunting and more rewarding.

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Bonus Tip: Remember, there’s no magic formula. Consistency, strategic planning, and a positive mindset are your strongest weapons. With these tips and persistent effort, you can conquer the GMAT and pave your path to B-school glory.

5 Common GMAT Exam Mistakes to Avoid

GMAT 2024 Study Material

Conquering the GMAT without a tutor? Fear not! A treasure trove of self-study resources awaits. GMAC, the test makers, offer their official guide with past questions, test-taking tips, and even free practice software.

Here’s your self-study arsenal according to the GMAT exam pattern-

  1. The Official Guide for GMAT Review (2023): Crammed with 900+ past questions, a diagnostic assessment, and invaluable strategies.
  2. Free GMATPrep Software: Ninety free practice questions with explanations, customizable test sets, and two full-length practice tests.
  3. Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guides: Dive deep into specific sections like fractions, critical reasoning, and sentence correction.
  4. Kaplan GMAT 800: For ambitious students aiming for a perfect score, with advanced strategies and targeted tips.
  5. Bonus Resources: Explore other tools from Veritas, Magoosh, and more.
  6. Connect with the Community: Join forums like GMAT Club and Beat the GMAT to share experiences and learn from others.
  7. GMAT club on YouTube: Soak up wisdom from GMAT experts.

Section-wise Preparation Tips for the GMAT 2024 Exam

The GMAT, with its diverse sections, can feel like a multi-headed beast. But fear not, aspiring business warriors! Here’s a breakdown of effective preparation strategies for each section according to the GMAT exam pattern:

1. Quantitative Reasoning (Quant):

  1. Brush up on algebra, geometry, data interpretation, and basic statistics. Practise basic number manipulation and mental maths skills.
  2. Use the Official Guide and other reputable sources for targeted quantitative practice. Analyse your errors and refine your approach.
  3. Develop time management strategies to tackle complex questions efficiently. Practice under timed conditions to build focus and avoid last-minute panic.
  4. Don’t get bogged down in calculations. Learn estimation techniques and utilise logic to quickly eliminate answer choices.
  5. Experiment with video lessons, online tools, and practice sets to find your ideal learning style.

2. Verbal Reasoning (Verbal):

  1. Expand your vocabulary with flashcards, apps, and reading diverse materials. Focus on high-frequency GMAT words and their nuances.
  2. Hone your reading skills by practising critical analysis of passages and identifying main ideas, supporting arguments, and the author’s tone.
  3. Master the mechanics: Understand grammar rules, sentence structure, and common errors tested on the GMAT. Practice identifying and correcting flaws in sentence construction.
  4. Develop your analytical lens: Learn to dissect arguments, identify logical fallacies, and evaluate evidence. Practise reasoning exercises and strengthen your critical thinking skills.
  5. Don’t just passively skim passages. Annotate, analyse and connect ideas to deepen your understanding of the material.

3. Integrated Reasoning (IR):

  1. This section is fast-paced. Practice under timed conditions to develop efficient reading and analysis skills.
  2. Learn to interpret and analyse information presented in graphs, tables, and charts. Practice identifying trends, relationships, and inconsistencies.
  3. Develop the ability to switch between different data formats and reasoning tasks effortlessly.
  4. Focus on understanding the question stems and answer choices specific to the IR section.
  5. While data analysis is crucial, remember to apply logical reasoning and critical thinking skills to interpret the information presented.

4. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA):

  1. Organise your essays with a clear thesis statement, strong supporting arguments, and logical transitions.
  2. Ensure flawless grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure for a professional impression.
  3. Practice writing essays within the 30-minute timeframe to avoid rushing and compromising quality.
  4. Familiarise yourself with various AWA prompt formats and learn to tailor your argument and evidence accordingly.
  5. Present your ideas with a clear, concise, and analytical tone.

5 Common GMAT Exam Mistakes to Avoid

GMAT Preparation Tips: Integrated Reasoning Section

Success in business boils down to analysing data from diverse sources, crafting strategies, and making informed decisions. The GMAT’s Integrated Reasoning (IR) section mirrors this real-world skill, assessing your ability to navigate information presented in charts, tables, and text. Let’s understand how we can ace the section by following the best GMAT preparation strategy.

30 Minutes, 12 Questions, Endless Opportunities:

In just 30 minutes, you’ll tackle 12 questions across four formats:

  1. Unravel the story behind graphs and charts to answer related questions.
  2. Decipher a scenario and choose two answers for each aspect to solve the problem.
  3. Organise and manipulate data in tables to determine if specific conditions hold.
  4. Juggle information from several sources (text, charts, etc.) to answer questions accurately.

Boost Your Score with Targeted Skills

The IR Section Tests Your Ability to:

  1. Numbers, graphs, and text – you’ll handle them all!
  2. Think detective; connect the dots across varied data.
  3. See relationships, solve problems, and make informed decisions.
  4. One piece of information isn’t enough; think holistically.

Know Before You Go:

  1. Questions can involve both quantitative and verbal reasoning skills, sometimes in the same question.
  2. Answer all parts of a question correctly for credit; partial credit isn’t awarded.
  3. Use the on-screen calculator strategically, but mental maths and estimation can save time.
  4. Download guides and practice materials to hone your skills before test day.

5 Common GMAT Exam Mistakes to Avoid

GMAT Preparation Tips: Quantitative Section

The Quantitative section of the GMAT exam evaluates fundamental mathematical skills, assessing a candidate’s comprehension of elementary mathematical concepts learned in school and their ability to reason quantitatively. This section involves solving quantitative problems, applying quantitative techniques, and interpreting graphical data.

While proficiency in mathematics is crucial for addressing Quantitative section questions, the required mathematical knowledge is typically covered in secondary school. This article provides GMAT Quantitative section preparation tips to enhance your readiness for this component.

Test Section Duration: 75 minutes

Score Predictor: Predict your English proficiency score by providing a few details.

Format: 37 questions

Tests: Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency

The Quantitative Section Encompasses Two Question Types

1. Involves standard 5-choice multiple-choice questions that test logical and analytical reasoning skills.

2. Requires assessing whether the information in two statements is adequate to answer a question, with less calculation involved than standard problem-solving.

Tips for Problem-Solving Questions:

  • Manage time effectively, avoiding excessive time on challenging problems.
  • Read each question thoroughly to understand the provided data and requirements.
  • Utilise the erasable board provided at the test centre for problem-solving, aiding in accurate answers.
  • Glance at answer choices before selecting an answer to avoid unnecessary time expenditure.
  • If a question is time-consuming, move on to the next one, eliminating incorrect choices.

Tips for Data Sufficiency Questions:

  • Determine if the problem allows a range of values or necessitates a specific value.
  • Avoid assumptions based on geometric figures, as they may not be drawn to scale.

GMAT Quantitative Tips:

  • Memorise essential maths formulas before the exam.
  • Use scrap paper to draw, work out formulas, and eliminate incorrect choices.
  • Familiarise yourself with school-level arithmetic, geometry, and algebra, as advanced topics are not tested.
  • Review diagrams, graphs, and tables efficiently.
  • Work backwards on challenging questions by selecting an answer and evaluating its coherence.
  • Avoid rushing through easy questions to prevent careless mistakes.
  • Eliminate answer choices that do not make sense.

GMAT Math Prep Sources:

  1. GMAT Official Guide
  2. Manhattan GMAT Guides
  3. Manhattan GMAT Advanced Quant
  4. CAT Formulae (for additional practice and formula reference)

GMAT Preparation Tips: Verbal Section

The GMAT Verbal Section throws 36 questions your way in just 65 minutes, testing your linguistic mettle across various realms. But fret not, future business scholar! Here’s a refined perspective on what awaits you:

1. English Language Ace: This section isn’t just about grammar drills (though they’re important). It evaluates your ability to comprehend complex texts, analyse arguments, and express yourself clearly. Think sophisticated editorials, not basic sentence constructions.

2. Beyond Grammar Walls: Sure, brushing up on grammar through books and guides is valuable. But don’t get bogged down! The section delves deeper, with reading comprehension passages, critical reasoning challenges, and even idiom and vocabulary assessments.

3. Sharpen Your Reasoning Edge: The Verbal Section isn’t just about identifying the right pronoun or verb agreement. It’s about deconstructing arguments, identifying assumptions, and spotting logical fallacies. So, hone your analytical skills alongside your grammar chops.

4. Guidebooks: A Diverse Buffet: Don’t limit yourself to a single prep book! Explore diverse resources, each offering unique insights and practice questions. This breadth will expose you to various question styles and strengthen your overall understanding.

Bonus Tip: Embrace Active Learning!  Reading newspapers and engaging in stimulating conversations won’t just expand your vocabulary; it’ll also sharpen your critical thinking and expose you to diverse viewpoints. Think of it as verbal training in disguise!

5 Common GMAT Exam Mistakes to Avoid

GMAT Preparation Tips: Analytical Writing Assessment

The GMAT’s Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) can feel like a daunting hurdle, but with the right preparation, you can smash it out of the park! Here are some key tips to ace this section, along with my insights:

Time Management Master:

  1. Aim to spend 25 minutes writing and 5 minutes revising. Don’t get bogged down in one section; remember, a complete essay is better than a perfect sentence.
  2. Set a timer and simulate real test conditions. This will help you stay focused and avoid time anxiety on the actual day.

Fuel Your Writing Engine:

  1. Read diverse material! Newspapers, articles, and even fiction can expose you to different writing styles and argumentative approaches.
  2. When reading, actively identify strong arguments, supporting evidence, and counterpoints. Make a mental note of how these elements are woven together.

Sharpen Your Sword:

  1. Regularly write essays on various topics, focusing on constructing strong arguments and using clear, concise language.
  2. Get your essays reviewed by teachers, tutors, or even friends. Constructive criticism will help you refine your writing skills.

Extra Tips: Familiarise yourself with the AWA scoring criteria. Understanding what the graders are looking for will help you tailor your writing accordingly.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Bold: While clarity and logic are crucial, don’t shy away from expressing your unique perspective. A well-reasoned, original argument can stand out from the crowd.
  2. Show, Don’t Tell: Instead of simply stating your points, use vivid examples and illustrations to bring your arguments to life. Think of it like painting a picture with words!

The GMAT may loom large, but conquer its mythical beastliness with our arsenal of proven strategies. Master the format, fuel your writing with diverse reading, and sharpen your logic through practice. Embrace time management and unique perspectives, and remember, your journey is paved with community and valuable resources. So strap on your B-school armour, wield these tips like your magic sword with the best preparation strategy, and slay the GMAT with confidence!

Dhruvin Jain

Dhruvin Jain

Dhruvin Jain is the co-founder of MastersBuddy, a tech-first platform that has helped over 2500 students find and apply to top master’s programs globally. He is a master’s graduate from IE Business School, and is passionate about education, technology, and entrepreneurship.

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