The GMAT can be an MBA student’s least favorable aspect of the admissions process, and is often full of many highs and lows. Here are a few commonly asked questions that may help guide you through the process towards successful completion of the exam!
Is a different approach required towards the GMAT for those who have been out of school for a while?
Generally, yes. It takes time to regain the test-taking mentality and reacquire the academic grit and endurance it takes to be successful on the exam. Not only is it important to recreate effective study habits, but you will need to acknowledge your familiarity with certain skills and have an honest look about whether you’re getting questions wrong because your algebra skills are weak, or if it’s something else. No matter the amount of time you’ve been out of school, recommendations on approaching the GMAT remain the same:
- Don’t expect to conquer the GMAT in a short amount of time as you are likely familiarizing yourself with material you haven’t seen in awhile
- Start with short study sessions and work your way up
- Be as efficient and high yield as possible with GMAT preparation
- Structure and consistency in practicing for the GMAT is ideal
- Plan the GMAT exam 2 to 3 months from today and check-in with yourself every few weeks with whether you’re on the right track or not
Should I take the GMAT preparation training online or in-person?
This really depends on your learning style and life circumstances. You may need to assess how much you value the experience of learning side-by-side other students, opposed to individualized self-study. Accountability, commitment and structure also play a role; if you need a solid study plan in place, an in-person GMAT prep course may work best for you. Finally, it also comes down to how much bandwidth you have for this study period and whether you may need a coach or navigator to support you through this journey.
What should my overall approach be to each section?
The GMAT is a test on math and communication skills; however, in a certain way, the test is about your decision-making and critical reasoning abilities. You need to be able to organize information, draw in the information you need and prioritize what’s important, all in an efficient manner. You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses as you approach the test in order to best gauge how long it will take to solve each problem, and in what manner to do so. Find the questions that have the lowest return on time investment for you, and move on from there. Although tempting, don’t listen to others who tell you how to solve a problem; you need to build the connections and learn how to connect the dots yourself. To do so, you need significant practice experience so you are best able to execute your strategy for each problem type. Remember that the questions are designed to look tricky, but be familiar!
How can I best approach idioms throughout the test?
Look into your own performance with idioms – are there particular idioms that are consistently tripping you up? If so, focus on and memorize the idioms your mind doesn’t recognize and commit to learning them. Always update your skill set as you are studying!
How many times should I plan to write the GMAT?
Many experts suggest planning to take the exam twice. For some, having a safety net allows people to perform to their highest potential and acts as a de-stressor. The amount of resources invested in the form of time and money is large and adds a lot of stress to your work and personal life, so make sure you’re ready to meet your goals come test day no matter how many times you plan to write it!
However, if you plan to re-write the GMAT more than once, recent GMAC cancellation policy changes have provided you with more decision-making abilities! You can now cancel any of your GMAT tests and the “C” that previously represented a candidate’s cancelled scores won’t show up on your official test scores any longer. This will certainly help candidates gain more control and confidence over their GMAT experience.