Earning a high score on your GMAT is a strong asset for anyone applying to a top business school.
Average GMAT scores at Stanford and Wharton are 733 and 722 respectively, showing that while a 700 GMAT score might not be a necessity, it’s certainly a big advantage.
Obtaining a 700 GMAT score or higher takes a lot of hard work and determination. Test takers should be prepared to spend hundreds of hours studying for the exam.
If you need a little extra help, here are five tips that will help you get the best GMAT score possible.
1. Be realistic about how long it will take to study
The GMAT is a difficult test, and preparing for it is very time intensive. If you are serious about getting a 700 GMAT score or higher, you will realistically need to study for more than 300 hours. This allotment of time means that you will need to begin preparing for your GMAT well in advance of the scheduled test date, and create a strict study schedule to maximize your study time.
Given such a time commitment, you should be prepared to give up the majority of your weekdays and weekends studying for the exam. A pre-set study schedule will help to block out and coordinate the necessary study time.
But make sure you include enough flexibility into the schedule to provide time for the necessities of your personal life. Like most people, you probably still have required activities outside of studying for the GMAT, so provide enough time for your other responsibilities to avoid feeling anxious or becoming overwhelmed leading up to test day.
2. Research the best GMAT prep course and study materials
One of the best ways to guarantee a score of 700 or above on your first GMAT attempt is to enroll in a prep course.
There are numerous GMAT prep courses that offer comprehensive study materials, video lessons, live classes, prep books, practice exam questions, complete timed practice exams, and other guided coursework that you can use to improve your score. Many offer a score guarantee, including scoring 700 GMAT score or higher.
Unfortunately, not all GMAT prep courses are equal in quantity, quality or methodology. The prep course that is best for you will probably depend on a variety of factors including the type of student you are, your budget, needs, and the learning style you prefer.
3. Start by mastering the fundamentals
When you first begin studying for the GMAT, you should take a diagnostic exam to get a baseline GMAT score and determine your strengths and weaknesses.
Don’t just jump in and spend your time solely answering GMAT practice problems. Instead, dive deep into the core coursework and develop a comprehensive understanding of the basic concepts that form the backbone of the exam. Develop your analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Only once mastering these should you begin to work on practice problems and questions. Without a thorough understanding of the basic core concepts and test taking strategies, you will undoubtedly find yourself getting stuck when having to work through new and unique problem sets, when your only point of reference is practice problems and questions.
4. Attack your weaknesses with intensity
As with any exam, to do well on the GMAT you need to identify your weaknesses and work hard to overcome them. The diagnostic exam mentioned previously will help you identify your problem areas, and most GMAT prep courses offer individualized tutoring to help turn those weaknesses into strengths.
By focusing on your weaknesses and developing strategies to overcome them, you will see quick and large jumps in your score.
While you should set aside extra time to focus on areas and subjects that give you problems, do not do so at the expense of subjects and test areas where you excel. Stay true to your study schedule so you are thoroughly prepared for every part of the GMAT.
5. Mimic GMAT test day conditions beforehand
The best way to reduce stress leading up to the day of your GMAT exam is to mimic test day conditions in your daily routine. For example, if the test is scheduled for early in the morning, wake up early and begin your day like you are heading to the exam, and use the exact testing period as devoted study time.
If you take the time to incorporate the GMAT test day schedule into your daily routine for a few days prior to the exam, you will be less stressed and nervous come exam day. The calmer and more relaxed you are on exam day, the sharper your recall and memory will be, which is crucial for obtaining the best score possible.
Studying and preparing to score a 700 GMAT score or higher is challenging and time consuming.
With the proper GMAT prep course, study schedule, course materials and test taking strategies, you can optimize your study time and give yourself the best opportunity to earn the highest score possible.
This is a guest post by John Ross, a GMAT expert at Test Prep Insight.