Tips From My GMAT Preparation
These are the tips from GMAT preparation experience submitted by a GMAT taker. You can read other tips from GMAT experience here.
I am a lawyer working on intellectual property policy. I wrote the GMAT because I wanted to prove that I could build Quant skills and I wanted to pursue an MBA at a good American B-school and get into business. I was able to score decently in the LSAT without much preparation. However, I knew that Math was my weakness, so I decided to focus on it while preparing for the GMAT.
I scored 770 (Q50 V45 IR 7 AWA 5). Here are my practice test scores:
- MGMAT 630 (Q39 V37)
- MGMAT 640 (Q40 V37)
- MGMAT 660 (Q40 V40)
- Veritas 700 (Q48 V38)
- GMAC 740 (Q48 V44)
- MGMAT 640 (Q40 V37)
- MGMAT 700 (Q45 V40)
- Kaplan 710 (Q50 V41)
- GMAC 740 (Q50 V41)
- GMAC 750 (Q48 V44)
- Official Guide for GMAT Review
- GMAT Quantitative Review, 2nd edition
- Manhattan GMAT (Foundations of GMAT Math, Quantitative Strategy Guide Set, Advanced Quant, Sentence Correction)
Before attempting practice tests, I studied Foundations of GMAT Math by Manhattan GMAT to brush on my quantitative skills for 1.5 weeks. If you are weak at Math, I recommend doing this before writing a practice test.
I worked on the Manhattan Quant Strategy guides for the next 1-2 weeks. I wrote another practice test after this. I think it is an effective strategy because you’re testing yourself after learning the concepts.
One month before my GMAT, I took many practice tests. I feel that the scores on practice tests are not indicative of your GMAT score. This could be because the Math questions are so tough that you lose confidence while attempting the Verbal section. Also, the questions are very different from the actual GMAT questions.
The GMAT questions I got could be solved in 2 minutes, whereas the practice test questions were not that simple. The practice tests are useful to help you learn time management and to build stamina.
I am a native English speaker and I had no difficulty with Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. However, Sentence Correction was still a challenge and I focused on this section in the last month before the test. I recommend the Veritas YouTube videos that provide strategies to solve problems.
I did not find keeping an error log an efficient strategy. What I did was look up the answer after attempting each question. In this way, I could identify my mistakes and avoid repeating them. If I waited until the end of a test/section to see the answers, I would not be able to remember the approach I had taken for each question.
If you think that looking up every answer is troublesome, you can check the answers after every 5-10 questions.
My test was scheduled at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Since I am not a morning person, I trained myself to be alert at that time by waking up at 6 a.m. every day for that week. I typically do not eat breakfast, so I just ate a granola bar before the test.
During the test, I took breaks to drink water, put in eye drops because the test center was very dry due to the central heating, and visit the washroom. I exceeded my 8-minute break time before the Verbal section, so be careful.
I found the test to be very similar to the GMAT practice tests. However, the essay section was harder. By following the essay template on PrepEZ, you can perform well. The questions in Integrated Reasoning were identical to the practice tests. The Quant section was easier than the practice tests and I found it unnerving to get such easy questions. The Verbal section was similar to the practice test questions but I did encounter some questions where I felt that either all the answer options were wrong or at least three answer options were correct.
ADVICE FOR QUANT:
Keep a track of time. After you have spent 2 minutes on a question, try to choose an answer by eliminating some options and attempt the next question. Usually, the time spent on questions to which you have got the answer wrong is more than the time spent on the right answers.
Manhattan Advanced Quant was not helpful for the GMAT because the questions were too tough and may cause you to get rattled during your preparation.
Buy an erasable notepad and practice solving questions on it.
ADVICE FOR VERBAL:
Firstly, read all the answer choices carefully. Most of the time, I arrived at the correct answer by elimination. Usually, you get two options that you need to analyze to locate the flaw in either of them. Many of the correct answers, especially for the Reading Comprehension section, are not the “best” answers but the least incorrect answers. For example, if the question asks, “What does this passage strongly suggest?” the answer will not be the sentence that summarizes the main idea of the passage. Instead, it will be a sentence that was given in the passage and is technically true, but is not relevant to the main idea of the passage.
Secondly, practice reading fast but closely. If you miss a word in the question, especially in the Verbal section, you could get the answer wrong. Reading the Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes is helpful. Practice reading up on topics that you don’t really like, especially complex scientific subjects.
GMAT can be the simplest step in your MBA application process if you devote sufficient time and effort.