8 things you need to know before you start preparing for GMAT
Here are 8 important things you should keep in mind
GMAT is a test of skills
The most fundamental thing you need to know is that GMAT is not a test of the questions that appear on the test. GMAT is a test of skills that you need to succeed in your MBA and beyond. GMAT tests those skills through the MCQs.
Think about it! If you were asked to design an entrance test for the top B-schools, what would you want the test to assess candidates on?
Skills that are important for a candidate to succeed in their MBA. Right?
GMAT tests your comprehension, reasoning, and quantitative skills. If you have already built those skills over your schooling and college years, GMAT will not be a hard task for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to build those skills, and building skills takes time.
It’s a myth that everybody takes just three months to prepare for the GMAT
If we understand what’s been said before this, it’s easier to understand that people can take widely varying amounts of time preparing for the GMAT. While one person may score in the 90th percentile with just 15 days of preparation, another person may take a year to get to the 80th percentile.
The first one already had the skills; he/she just needed to get familiar with the format of the test and the questions. Within 15 days, he/she got enough familiarity to be able to use their skills.
The second person, on the other hand, needs to build the skills. While one can learn knowledge and concepts within a couple of months, building skills take months or even years.
So, start preparing as early as you can since nobody knows how much time they will need.
Prepare the right way, not the fastest way
Shortcuts and tricks are the norms of any test prep industry. However, a well-crafted test like GMAT cannot be aced through tricks and techniques.
Thus, don’t look for tricks to solve the questions the fastest way; try to ‘understand’ each question and approach it logically. Don’t accept what others, even GMAT teachers, say; question them till what they say makes sense to you.
Research about courses/study materials before you purchase them
Many people buy or download any book that they first come across or register for any course that first catches their eye. Don’t do that! You may end up wasting not just your money but precious time and energy.
GMATClub.com is a good public forum to do your research on various materials.
Rely the most on official material
One of the best things about GMAT is that GMAC, the organization that conducts GMAT, has released a lot of official material - mainly retired official questions that were once a part of the GMAT. These questions are the most representative of the questions that you can expect to see on your test.
Every year, GMAC releases new official guides containing more than a thousand questions. In addition, GMAC has released other resources, including mocks. You can check out these resources on mba.com.
You can compensate for a low GPA by scoring high on the GMAT
If you do not have good CGPA in your college, you can still show your academic ability by scoring high on the GMAT.
Of course, doing so may entail that you’ll spend much more time preparing for the test than many others.
Still, it’s better to invest yourself once (building your skills to get a good GMAT score is an investment in yourself) and do your masters from a good university than to settle for a mediocre university.
GMAT score helps not only in admissions but also in scholarships and job placements
The value of your GMAT score doesn’t end with admissions to b-schools. Many scholarships offered by the b-schools are also dependent on the GMAT score. Even companies, especially in the finance and consulting domain, prefer candidates with a higher GMAT score.
So, your GMAT score may have value even at the end of your MBA when you are looking for a job.
Remember, you fail only when you give up
For many people, the GMAT journey ends up being longer than they expect it to be. The point is to persist. If you do not succeed once, use other resources.
Change your approach. Take a different way. Meditate on the reasons you could have gone wrong. Then, try again. Don’t give up. Anybody can succeed. You too will succeed if you don’t give up.
Chiranjeev is a highly-skilled, driven GMAT coach who believes that anybody can achieve an excellent GMAT score with hard work, discipline, and the right guidance.