So you’ve made that all important decision that you want to embark on a journey towards an MBA and now you need to ace the GMAT.  This can leave even the best and brightest feeling scared and nervous and the more you read up about it, the more overwhelming the GMAT can seem. So before you embark on your GMAT journey, here are 5 essential tips on how to study efficiently:

1. State of Mind: The GMAT Commands Respect

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”(Thomas Edison)

Achieving a high GMAT score will require different amounts of time and effort for different people. You need to accept the fact that for an undefined period (maybe a couple of months, maybe more) life will revolve around the test. Be calm and take things easy: the path to your desired score and b-school will be pathed with obstacles and pitfalls, that’s for sure…don’t think that everything depends on your next simulation or exam.

Get motivated, prioritize and remember, it’s temporary.

 

2.Get a Plan – Build a Study Strategy

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Whether studying by yourself or with a tutor, you should always begin by devising a comprehensive study plan. That plan should take into account relevant application deadlines, your work and personal life constraints and of course your target score. Draw a timeline and mark your prep milestones. Please note that your goals should be sufficiently demanding and motivating but at the same time realistic and achievable.

It’s best to break the study process into two main parts: during the first part, go over all the different question types, learn the best solving methods and practice those questions. During the second part of the study process you should take practice tests, applying what you’ve learned at the first part.

 

3.Practice Makes Perfect

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking”
(Henry Ford)

Practice, practice, practice. If you haven’t practiced at least 3000 GMAT questions, you are probably nowhere near realizing your potential. And, if you are aiming for a 700+ GMAT score, you must practice a lot of difficult-level questions, so don’t settle for easy or medium-level questions. It’s also important to make sure that each question comes with a clear and detailed explanation.

The GMAT Official Guides are a good place to start but they will not suffice, not only due to the amount of questions but also because they lack those top-end questions. Recent analysis carried out by a leading GMAT forum, showed that of the 900 OG GMAT questions, only 5 (!) were of a high difficulty level.

 

4.Review and document

“All things are ready, if our mind be so”
(William Shakespeare, Henry V)

As you implement your study plan, you should make sure your practice is efficient. There’s no point in taking a practice test just for the sake of taking it. Make a table in which you’ll write down all your mistakes and what you’ve learned from them. You see, mistakes are usually a great place to start your improvement – that is, if you debrief correctly. For each mistake note why it happened, meaning: “what have I done that made me get that question wrong?” Next, write down briefly one practical action that you should take so that sort of mistake will not re-appear.

Important notes:

1.       Try to learn from all your mistakes. Don’t dismiss mistakes by referring to them as “silly mistakes” or “concentration mistakes”.

2.       Remember to be as practical as possible. Don’t write down “I’ll try to be more focused at the test itself”. That’s not helpful and will probably result in that mistake re-appearing.

 

5. Seek Guidance

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well”
(Alexander the Great about his teacher, Aristotle)

 

Whether you are planning on taking a GMAT course, work with a tutor or study by yourself, it’s very important that you consult with an experienced teacher before beginning. Together, you’ll make sure your study plan is reasonable and suits you, and that you are indeed using the best possible study materials.

Of course, it’s best if this teacher actually teaches you, but even if you decide to study all by yourself – consulting with an expert will save you a lot of time, effort and probably money.

Although we’re a tad biased when it comes to this point, we’re convinced that consulting with a good teacher whom you trust, is the best way to boost your confidence and truly fulfill your potential.

Yes, studying for the GMAT can be a challenging period, but it can also be rewarding and fulfilling. There’s nothing like that moment when you finish the exam, take a deep breath, see that awe-inspiring 700+ GMAT score on the screen and know that it was all worth it. It’s something you’ll remember throughout your life.

Good luck!

Lauren Efrat is a test prep expert, specializing in the verbal section of the GMAT.

Doron Aaronsohn (MBA) is a test prep expert, specializing in the quantitative section of the GMAT.

They are both part of the world-famous Ofek Prep team (ofekprep.com).

Contact Lauren: Lauren@ofekprep.com

Contact Doron: doronson@ofekprep.com