Whether you’re a full-time employee trying to balance between your job and GMAT preparation or a student trying to ace the GMAT to get into a business school, the GMAT has its challenges for either case. While a full-time student would be under pressure to score extremely high on the GMAT, a working professional, on the other hand, would find it challenging to balance between work and GMAT preparation. All in all, the GMAT is quite lengthy and needs proper planning and persistence to successfully overcome the test’s challenges. If you’ve been wondering how to start GMAT preparation then this article will answer your question by providing clear instructions on things you must know before starting your GMAT preparation. 

Before we begin, let us understand the GMAT briefly.

What is GMAT?

The GMAT exam is one of the essential requirements for admissions to MBA programmes taught at top global business schools. As a computer-adaptive test, the GMAT is used to gauge an individual’s logical reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving skills and is divided into four sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning. Timed at 3 hours and 47 minutes, the GMAT tests an individual’s ability to solve complex problems using limited information and within a short period – an essential trait amongst successful managers. 

To answer your question – how to prepare for the GMAT – there are many strategies that you can formulate and rely on; however, the basic aspects of preparing for the GMAT includes practising sufficient questions, taking mock tests and reviewing. Hence, we’ve mentioned below a few essential points on some important factors you should take into consideration before you begin preparing for the GMAT.

Here are the Important Factors to Consider Before Starting Your GMAT Preparation:

  1. Registering for the GMAT, Registration Fees and Scheduling Exam Date 

The first step to starting your GMAT preparation is getting yourself registered and scheduling your examination dates. To schedule your GMAT dates, you have to register and create an account with GMAC. You will have to provide all relevant information such as first name, last name, email address, date of birth and contact details. It is essential to note that you will need your passport to register for the GMAT. Once you have entered all personal information, selected the date and testing centre, you will complete your registration by paying the GMAT registration fee of $250. It is essential to begin your GMAT registration because you will now be aware of the date of your exam and can anticipate how much time you have left for preparation. GMAC also provides you with the option to cancel, reschedule your exam and also to manage your test scores. You will be able to search for the schools you are interested in and add them to your calendar. It also gives you access to free exam preparation tools such as an online mock test that helps you simulate the actual exam-taking experience.

  1. Understanding GMAT Syllabus and the scoring ranges

After finalising the date of your exam, you will then have to get familiar with the GMAT syllabus. The best way to get familiar with the GMAT is to take a mock test on the official website. As mentioned earlier in the article, the GMAT has four sections. While the GMAT has a total time duration of 187 minutes and is scored on a scale of 200-800, each section of the GMAT has its time limit and scoring range. Both the quant and verbal sections comprise the most important aspect of the test; therefore, both sections are scored on a scale of 6-51 with a single point increment system and are timed at 60 minutes each. It is the scores of the quant and verbal sections that are converted on the scale of 200-800. However, the GMAT analytical writing assessment and integrated reasoning sections are scored separately. While AWA is scored on a scale of 0-6 points with a 0.5 increment, the IR section is scored on a scale of 1-8 with a 1-point increment. Both the AWA and IR sections are timed at 30 minutes each. 

  1. Formulating an Effective GMAT Study Plan

The next most critical step is to formulate a GMAT study plan which will assist you in your preparation. Having a plan is even more important when you are a working professional. If you’re wondering how many hours for GMAT preparation are needed then it depends on your study plan which should revolve around the time you need to allot and your level of familiarity with the GMAT syllabus. Having a GMAT schedule is very important particularly when you plan self-study and not rely on coaching since it helps to create a routine and avoid procrastination. Moreover, it helps you track your progress made without missing out on any important topics during your preparation. Your study plan can be customized as per your needs and requirements so that you can complete studying the syllabus on time before your actual test.

  1. Good study materials for the GMAT exam 

GMAT study material is the most important part of preparing for the GMAT. The quality of material you rely on for your GMAT preparation has a direct impact on your prep progress since study material helps you understand topics and give your depth into the GMAT syllabus. Hence, it is very important to rely on authentic study material. Thanks to the age of the internet, various modes of study and publication of guides are easily available online; however, you must filter and use only those which are credible and have the exact exam-like questions and topics.  Hence, your best option is to go for the official guides offered by GMAT that covers all the sections of the GMAT – GMAT Official Guide 2022. Moreover, if you’re looking for a guide on a quant or verbal section specifically, you can choose between the GMAT Official Guide Quantitative Review 2022 and the GMAT Official Guide Verbal Review 2022, respectively. Although there are other guides available online, we strongly recommend relying on the official guides to help you familiarise yourself with the GMAT topics since these are comprehensive and cover everything you need to know.

  1. Profile building is mandatory to boost your application during admissions time

Getting your GMAT score is not the last stop on the route to your higher education goals. In fact, getting a GMAT score is only the beginning. In addition to your GMAT score, business schools gauge your overall profile. Hence, the next step during your GMAT preparation is to build your profile by writing a clear statement of purpose, acquiring strong recommendations from your professors or managers, gaining strong work experience through internships or full-time jobs and acquiring skills through online certifications or chartered bodies such as the CFA.

All in all, a good profile is sure to increase your chances of getting admission into the business schools of your choice. The admissions committee will prefer to admit individuals who have a strong overall profile rather than only academic intelligence or GMAT score. As a matter of fact, if you have stronger work experience and chartered designations, it can be used to offset a low GMAT score. Hence, you should carry out a strong analysis of yourself and decide what you can strengthen or build on your profile.

There you go, we’ve provided you with all the essential things you should remember to focus on before you start preparing for your GMAT and embarking on your higher education goals. You’re now better aware to start planning your higher education and working towards a successful career.

All the best!


Talk to an expert?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.