The Best GMAT Study Guide of 2016
If you want to go to business school in pursuit of an MBA, then chances are that you’ll need to take the GMAT exam. Thousands of business schools around the world consider applicants’ results on the test as they mull over who to accept into their programs in any given year. So it goes without saying that it’s a good idea to factor the test into our scholastic plans. While scoring well on the GMAT exam is no guarantee that you’ll get into the business school of your choice, it will definitely help your odds of getting the nod from the admissions committee. But in order to prepare properly for the four-section, three-and-a-half-hour exam, you need the right study approach. So read on to learn about the best GMAT study guide of 2016 — it’ll give you a competitive advantage for when you take the test this year.
FIRST: Test Structure
First things first — familiarize yourself with the structure. The GMAT exam includes four different sections that, as was mentioned above, you need to complete within three and a half hours. The specific sections include the following:
- Analytical Writing Assessment: 1 topic (30 minutes)
- Integrated Reasoning: 12 questions (30 minutes)
- Quantitative: 37 questions (75 minutes)
- Verbal: 41 questions (75 minutes)
Knowing the test structure is important because it will help you, as you actually get into studying and taking practice exams, to learn how to make the best use of the limited time you’ll have to do the real GMAT exam. Fortunately, there are realistic practice tests online that will include appropriate timing, which will give you a realistic feel for what the real GMAT exam will be like.
SECOND: Take Practice Test(s)
After familiarizing yourself with the test structure and the types of questions that will be asked, you need to take a practice GMAT exam to gauge where you’re at in terms of readiness. There are various GMAT preparation tests that you can take at no cost, so avail yourself of these valuable resources. It is vital that you don’t skip this step since how you fare will dictate how you proceed with preparation for the GMAT exam.
THIRD: Figure Out Target GMAT Score
If you’ve already figured out which business schools you want to apply to, it makes sense to investigate what GMAT score range they typically demand of applicants. That way, you’ll be able determine how close you are to your goal when you take the practice test. For your information, a score of at least 700 is usually required for schools that are ranked in the top 10.
FOURTH: Identify Shortcomings
After you take the practice test, you’ll be able to figure out which sections are giving you the most difficulties. Also check out the free GMAT diagnostic test for help in identifying areas to work on. When you figure out your weaknesses, you can spend the bulk of your study time on those areas. Perhaps you’ll want to retain the services of a tutor to really focus on one or more sections.
FIFTH: Build a Study Plan
Now it’s time to put together your study plan. This could include courses, books, online tests, practice apps, and tutors. MBA.com, the official website of the GMAT, recommends the following:
- Put together a study plan that you can work into your existing schedule of life, work, and school, and ensure that you get accustomed to the GMAT questions, time limits, and pace.
- Start your study plan using the Official Guide for GMAT Review.
- Take a simulated GMAT test that is as realistic as possible — in terms of questions and timing — so that you can get a feel for whether or not your study plan is working.
- Review your progress on an ongoing basis to see where you’re strong and where you’re weak — and continue to work on the areas you’re struggling with.
- Seek out other study materials as required to help you prepare. For instance, you can find specific materials that focus on certain sections of the GMAT exam.
- Practice up until exam day.
FINAL NOTE: Prepare to Succeed
If you follow the aforementioned steps, you’ll be ready for the GMAT exam come test day. With the right plan and work ethic, you’ll certainly get the sort of grade that’ll get you into business school. Again, many business schools require that applicants take the test, so it makes sense to assume that the GMAT exam will be a must if you want to earn an MBA in business school.