How To Study For The GMAT Like An Ivy Leaguer

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is used to gauge your aptitude for business. Lots of business schools require GMAT scores in order to be considered for admission along with other factors such as transcripts, resumes, recommendations and personal statement. I found out about this exam while getting ready to look into graduate schools this fall. Unlike the SAT, the GMAT is not an exam that everyone is talking about and it can be difficult to understand what you need to do.

Studying for the GMAT can be challenging itself. It’s time-consuming and difficult, in general, to get back in the gear of study mode. But in order to successfully study for the exam, you must approach it with the right mentality. Below are some tips on how to study for the GMAT like an ivy leaguer.

Plan Months Ahead

A Harvard University graduate and admissions officer explains that a GMAT score of 680 and 720 will most likely help your chances at admission into the Harvard MBA program. This anonymous blogger explains that to study for the GMAT, a student should set aside time to take a 6 to 8-week course in order to consistently study. Having a classroom with some structure, peers, an instructor and organization, according to this blogger, is a lot more effective than studying on your own. This blogger also advises that you try taking the test a second time if you're unhappy with your first score. A better score will help you get admitted into a better school.

Make It A Priority

According to the site Talk College Confidential, commenters from ivy league schools discuss their study mode. One commenter mentions that s/he never goes out, and studies every weekend. School work consumes this person's life. This type of dedication can only lead to an excellent score on the GMAT. Although you don't have to go to this extreme, it is important to put time aside regularly to keep the material fresh in your mind and get enough studying completed before test day.

Prep With Practice Tests

Stanford MBA student Manish Gupta was accepted to both Stanford and Harvard for the MBA program, but he went to Stanford on a full scholarship. He mentions that prepping for the GMAT requires a minimum of two months. His strategy for cracking the GMAT was reading all the GMAT guidebooks and taking multiple practice exams. In every GMAT book you purchase, there is usually at least one or two GMAT practice exams. Gupta believes that the key to successfully taking the GMAT is keeping a cool, calm mental state during the exam, and preparing yourself by taking multiple practice exams till you're ready to face the final challenge. Gupta also reminds you that the exam itself is extremely long. To succeed, taking as many practice exams as one can will prep you in terms of endurance, types of questions, and build your confidence while also helping you keep track of your progress.

A few GMAT practice books I recommend are:
The Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016 with 6 practice exams and extra materials
The Kaplan GMAT 800 with advanced level questions
Pass Key to The GMAT which is a great book to start with and get an overview of the exam

Prepare To Do A Retake

Ivy-league business school student Kaneisha Grayson took a diagnostic GMAT and initially scored 620. She felt discouraged, but she didn't let that stop her. In Grayson's case, she was too close to the deadline to retake the test, but her advice to future MBA students is that if you have the time, study and retake the test. Grayson suggests that students give themselves approximately a month's time to study to retake the test. A way to improve one's score is to take quantitative course materials (if you are still an undergrad student) in order to get your brain in the numbers mode.

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