3 GMAT Preparation Tips To Score 700-Plus

by Marquis Parker Steven Rao, James Hu, David Santos, Frank Tobler, Jeffrey Hu, Michael Medrano, and Brian Nguyen

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Top Ten MBA Admissions.

Preparing to take the GMAT? Keep these 3 tips in mind:

1. Be willing to put in a good 2-3 months to study.

2. Take a GMAT prep course if you can.

3. Be sure to take the GMAT early!

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Preparing to take the GMAT? Keep these 3 tips in mind:

1. Be willing to put in a good 2-3 months to study.

2. Take a GMAT prep course if you can.

3. Be sure to take the GMAT early!

I really didn’t give the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) a lot of thought at first. I understood how important it was, but when I took it I wasn't even applying to business school.

I took it to apply to a non-MBA graduate program at the University of Virginia (UVA). The average GMAT score to get in was about 630. I started the study process with a goal of 630.

I did self study because I didn’t have $1500 to take a class. I bought a book on Amazon: Kaplan’s Study Guide. I studied it cover-to-cover for three months, took the test and ended up getting a 710.

I decided to use that score to go to an Ivy League business school because the test results are good for five years.

I devoted 3 months to doing well on the GMAT!

I think this is necessary, particularly if you are an older applicant, as I was. I took the GMAT when I was already several years out of school.

It had been a long time since I had done high school math and English classes, writing classes, and so on. Preparing for the GMAT is difficult in any circumstances. It’s very hard if you are an older applicant.

If you have the money, take the course!

If you can afford to take a GMAT prep course, do. As I look back, I guess I didn’t need it, but it would have given me lots of structure about the way to think about the GMAT. It would have been very helpful.

Self study worked for me because I was disciplined enough to prevent myself from going out and having fun with my friends for three months. I spent 2-3 hours every day after work reading through my book and doing practice questions.

Every Saturday and Sunday, I spent at least 6 hours doing GMAT prep work. I read my book cover to cover three times.

My GMAT prep book came with a CD-ROM that had a bunch of practice questions and tests. I took the tests over and over, and I searched online for any information I could find.

Think Ahead!

I tell people now to take the GMAT a full 6 months to a year before applying to a Top 10-type MBA program. Do it ahead of the application season when you plan to apply.

I had many friends who planned to have Round 1 applications and then took the GMAT in September and bombed. When this happened, even though they had all their recommendations and had their application essays complete, they got pushed back to Round 2.

Even worse if you are planning for Round 2 and you bomb the GMAT, suddenly you are in Round 3. This may make it very hard for you to get in.

A lot of those people who had this situation ended up waiting a whole year to apply again because the GMAT blew up in their faces. So remember, when you are preparing to take the GMAT, take advantage of any resources you have available to you, discipline yourself to study hard, and give yourself plenty of time!
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