GMAT Test Prep Strategies That Lead to Top Scores
Average GMAT scores vary widely by school, but one thing everyone agrees on is that higher tends to be better. A top GMAT score can give you the freedom to choose the program you want, when you want. Here are some of the tricks that top scorers have used to prepare for the test:
Prioritize which section of the test you need to study for
The verbal section of the GMAT test, on a point-for-point basis, increases your overall score more than the quantitative section. If you’re not sure which of the two sections to emphasize studying, then study the verbal portion first.
It also helps to understand the nature of each part of the test. We could describe that at length here, but the truth is that the best way to truly understand how the questions work is to take a practice exam and internalize how the questions are written and designed. Some people take several mock exams and carefully study the results of each one to see where they erred. Taking a practice exam after every 40 hours of studying can help you get a good sense for how you’re progressing and whether or not your current study plans are actually making a difference.
Figure out your goal
Not everyone will be accepted to the top business schools in the nation. Start by taking a look at where you’re currently at with your GMAT test score and how this would compare to the schools you want to attend. If your score is significantly lower than the average, you may need to look at attending a different school instead. On the other hand, if your scores are much better than your chosen schools, you might have a realistic chance of getting into a great program.
Note that the average results for each school are just that: averages. Many students can get in with lower scores, especially if the rest of their application is strong. You don’t need to hit the score for your chosen school(s) exactly, you just need to be reasonably close. If your GMAT scores are already close enough to your goal, spend some time on the rest of your application instead of studying even more than you already have.
In short, having a high score for your chosen school is more important than having a high score in general.
Network with people who passed the GMAT
Some of the best insights can come from people who have already passed the exam. Talk to people in your network and ask them for advice, especially on methods like study techniques and how they managed to fit their studies into their schedule. The Graduate Management Admissions Council has reported that top-scoring students spend over 120 hours preparing for the exam, and fitting more studying into your day will almost certainly boost your final score.
Consider taking the GRE
That’s right – one of the best ways to succeed is to not rely on the GMAT at all. Many popular business schools accept the GRE revised General Test in lieu of GMAT scores, and if you take both tests, you can submit the higher of the two scores to your school. The tests work in different ways, so you may be able to achieve a significantly higher score on one of them, and the schools you apply to will never even know you took the other.
For more information on studying and getting into a top business school, check out the MBA Insight Blog.