We hear from MBA Prep Fellows that the GMAT is one of the most difficult aspects of the application process. That’s why MLT offers GMAT coaching for those who are interested in MBA Prep and would like to strengthen their test score. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
We’ve also compiled top tips and resources below to help you conquer the GMAT!
Foundational math: If you have been away from a math class for a long time, or if you are seeing a low Quant percentile (i.e 50% and below), take some time to make sure you are fluent in foundational math.
- fractions, ratios, decimals and percents
- basic algebra
- basic geometry
For verbal, build your reading strength: Start by reading a high reading-level publication, such as New York Times editorials or The Economist for at least 20 minutes each day. Work up your reading stamina until you can read 40-60 minutes in one sitting. Be an active reader, asking yourself test-like questions while you read such as, “What information, if true, would weaken the author’s argument? What position would this author most likely agree with?”
Building a Study Plan: Create a study schedule that lays out “I will study these days, at these times, and these topics.” This breaks down possible feelings of being overwhelmed by breaking up the material into pieces.
- Your study schedule should have 60-90 minutes for four nights, and a double session on Saturday or Sunday (three to four- hours), for up to 6 months. You could shorten the time to three to – four months but have a plan for the longest possible duration.
- Take 10 minutes at the end of their study session each day to write down your reflections – two positives and one negative. This helps you stay accountable (i.e. are you keeping your schedule?) and forces you to find positives to keep you motivated.
As far as study materials (for GMAT), the instructor should have materials but test prep experts also recommend you have the GMAC official guide, 2 free GMAC practice tests, GMAC prep question study pack ($30) for more practice questions, and GMAC prep exam pack 1 ($50 – includes 2 more full-length practice tests).
You can divide the questions in each section into thirds:
- The first third are easy questions – aim for 80% accuracy.
- The second third are medium difficulty – aim for 65% accuracy.
- The final third are difficult questions – aim for 50% accuracy.
Every two-three weeks, do an analysis of areas where you are weak and also areas of strength, based on average time and average accuracy.
When signing up for a course, our coaches recommend choosing one that meets once a week versus one that meets two or three times a week. The latter may go at an intense pace and realistically, too challenging to keep up with.
Keep an Error Log: (Example Template) Keeping a detailed error log is a best practice – your study plan will only be as good as the analysis you do of questions missed. You can tweak the “reasons” section to capture the things that are most frequent for you.
- Log all questions that you get incorrect, as well as any you get correct but take longer than two and a half mins to answer.
- Be detailed and honest with yourself in your analysis. Review and re-study the concepts you missed, create some flashcards and quiz yourself with them, write out some notes… and then go back to do the next quiz or question set.
Selecting a tutor: When you get to the point that you can identify two-four areas of weakness where you aren’t improving with self-study, working with a tutor can help you break through.
- If you took a class with a particular provider and liked the teaching method, then using a tutor from the same company might make sense – the tutor will likely approach the content in a way that is familiar. Usually you will have an initial meeting as well, to make sure it is a good fit.
- Finding a tutor who got a very high score is great, but knowledge, experience and flexibility are key. Can he or she:
- Compare, contrast and evaluate different methods?
- Customize for your strengths and weaknesses?
- Explain multiple ways to answer a question?
- Modify strategies along the way?
- Questions to ask before officially signing up:
- Does the tutor provide content? What materials do they provide/use?
- How much time do they spend reviewing practice problems/sets/CATS before designated tutoring session?
- Also be sure to ask for references!
It’s also crucial to have a set meeting schedule and not meet “as needed”.
Create a study schedule: “Create, maintain, and stick to a study schedule. It helps to know each day what your to-do list includes. This allowed me to remain steadfast in my study prep. On any given day, I would know which topics I had to study and the associated time needed to complete them.”
Simulate test day: “I took six practice CAT exams from MBA.com. Each exam was taken under strict, test-like conditions (no pauses, two 8-minute breaks, etc.) I took the exams at 8 am on Saturdays (same time of day as my official exam). I even packed the same snacks that I would use on test day.”
Have fun with new vocabulary words!: “In addition to just searching for definitions on Google, I would also look up new words on YouTube or Instagram, and sometimes I would even Snapchat them to friends so that I could later recall them more easily. Go social media!”
Get in the habit of reading: “Not only did I start reading more news articles from Scientific American and The Economist, but I would also try to read a nonfiction book on a topic that I was interested in for at least 20 minutes a day. This helped improve my focus for the longer reading comprehension passages.”
Master the basics: “The more fluent you are in the math basics, the faster you’re able to work on the easy and medium difficulty problems so that you free up more time for the most difficult quant questions.”
Additional tip: As stated above, simulate test day as much as possible. We suggest you take practice tests in a slightly uncomfortable/ unfamiliar place, like a study room in a public library, to mirror the experience on test day. Don’t take practice tests at home or in a place that’s comfortable for you.
- Jay Rosner, Test Prep Expert, Princeton Review Foundation presents a video on building your study plan:
- Blog post: How to Identify GMAT Strengths & Weaknesses
Test Prep Companies
Target Test Prep
Target Test Prep offers a Quant Course. This self-study, online GMAT math course has helped many students earn 700+ GMAT scores, many with 47-51 quant scores. To help you earn the highest GMAT scores possible, TTP will share your course data with MLT and coordinate together with the goal of helping you efficiently and effectively achieve your target GMAT score.
Bell Curves will build a custom course for groups of 8 or more students. Customization options include duration of course, schedule, subject matter focus, location and more.
Students provide the location, Bell Curves provides the expertise, materials, and instruction. Prices vary, but a typical 8-person course with 20 hours of instruction costs about $750/person – highly effective courses at a price that’s hard to match.
Manhattan Review’s GMAT prep offerings can be taken either in classroom format (on-site and online) or as one-on-one private tutoring. Manhattan Review’s GMAT prep services include well-planned course syllabi and student-centered instructional methodologies, implemented by dedicated and experienced GMAT educators.
Magoosh is an affordable and accessible test prep organization. Their mission is to create products that give students everywhere access to enjoyable, affordable, and effective test prep.
Veritas Prep is the largest privately-owned provider of test prep and admissions consulting services in the world. Veritas Prep offers a live GMAT prep course in dozens of cities worldwide and also as an interactive online course. The Veritas Prep GMAT course is 36-hours long and is offered on a variety of different schedules. A comprehensive GMAT self-study program and private tutoring services are also offered. Private tutoring services for the GRE are also offered.
Manhattan Prep help students accomplish their goals by providing an outstanding curriculum and the highest-quality instructors in the industry.
The Princeton Review
TPR offers tutoring, small group and classroom format study programs and live online instruction. All GMAT options offer 4400+ online questions and 10 adaptive practice tests.