How to prepare for GMAT ?

13 mins

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) administers the GMAT, which uses fundamental underlying skills and knowledge, algebra, geometry, statistics, grammar, logic, and reading competency to assess a sequence of different talents associated with higher cognition and effectively forecast how you will perform in business school.

Examining these five talents makes the test difficult, and during self-study, students frequently do not enhance these critical skills and instead focus solely on information.

Finally, expert instruction is quite beneficial for this purpose: an experienced instructor can understand exactly why you are missing questions, but you will most probably struggle to make the required modifications on your own. In other words, your GMAT preparation strategy is important!

How to prepare for GMAT: An Overview

GMAT preparation falls largely under the same scope as CAT preparation. However, GMAT preparation ought to be moderate and steady, in contrast to how students dive directly into the preparation inferno, making it their first focus.

The key to success is consistency and effective effort.

  • Be well-versed in GMAT preparation: GMAT preparation should be concise, with a limited GMAT curriculum and GMAT Exam Pattern. If you misinterpret it as "nothing but an English Proficiency Paper," you risk focusing too much on grammar and neglecting other portions that are equally essential. This will significantly impact your overall GMAT preparation and may make you feel unconfident on the examination day. Avoid this practice and concentrate on GMAT syllabus-based subjects.
  • Be cautious of college deadlines: Most top international business schools have set deadlines. It would be best to plan your GMAT strategy around 120 days before application deadlines for your top b-schools. Take into account that the GMAT is not a toy. Along with GMAT preparation, one must correctly codify the most recent notifications from b-schools engaged in one's target outline and guarantee to work on university applications in an ordered method.
  • Scrub the prep stone: It is best to kill two birds with one arrow, i.e. alternate between GMAT parts. On average, 45 minutes to an hour of prep time may be easily committed to each portion of the GMAT, allowing for long-term knowledge recall.

GMAT Preparation in 3-Steps

Step 1: Refresh

It would help if you addressed any content inadequacies before you can focus on developing the basic abilities for the GMAT exam. This initial step for GMAT preparation will help you achieve your goal and is one area where self-study fails.

It would help if you had well-designed GMAT-specific exercises that focus on only the abilities necessary for the exam. Because formal resources do not give these sorts of planned drills, you must employ a good quality GMAT program that assists you in swiftly filling knowledge gaps.

After you finish this initial refresher, you will keep improving your fluency in the following phases.

If you do not have perfect command of the underlying information, you set a hard limit for the grade you can get. You will be competing against persons whose grasp of the underlying topic on this test is relatively rudimentary; ensure that your knowledge and proficiency are not hindering you.

If you realise that you have a tough subject, you may need more time to tackle these concerns at the start of your GMAT preparation session.

Step 2: Learn and Apply

The exciting phase begins when you've renewed all of your fundamental material knowledge. There are specific kinds of questions that are regularly utilised and include key patterns for each subject category.

Preparing for the GMAT is about applying the material to solve tough issues. Most of the difficulty resides in deconstructing the question to understand the maths you need to use.

To do this, you should use a well-organised syllabus that entails completing similar types of questions at the same time.

People fail on exam day when they've studied independently because they randomly perform problems of all categories in the Official Guide. You should check online forums where instructors have given free classification for question-solving.

Quality instruction will greatly accelerate this essential piece of the GMAT preparation: you will learn common "cons" and "set-ups" used for specific types of questions; you will then learn smart exemption and content techniques that most applicants neglect; you will gain knowledge what types of problem-solving strategies to use in specific scenarios, and you will soon realise what makes questions tough and how to see through that difficulty quickly.

While you may ultimately create similar tactics for studying for GMAT and recognising crucial trends on your own, it will most likely take far longer, and you may still miss some critical exam parts.

This stage allows you to correctly dissect and learn from every practice problem that you fail or solve inefficiently. If you don't perform this correctly throughout your self-study, you won't improve much, even if you do 1000 questions.

Why? Because you don't completely grasp why you got that bit wrong. Therefore, you don't make the essential changes to your strategy, approach, and mentality. If you want to self-study, spend most of your time acquiring the right insights from each question.

Step 3: Practice

Now, you have reviewed and mastered the majority of the fundamental material. You know how to analyse GMAT practice tests properly and immediately identify where the underlying difficulty resides in most problems. But are you prepared for the test? No.

You cannot focus on pace and test-taking abilities while updating materials and learning where to apply that knowledge. Pacing and test-taking, on the other hand, are critical to achieving a high GMAT grade on test day.

After covering the topic, you must conduct a lot of structured sample sets with official test problems and then properly assess your performance.

During this period, you may study by yourself pretty effectively because you are merely performing scheduled sets and practice exams to improve your test-taking abilities and pace.

A coach, however, can help you better examine your performance, but if you take the time to dissect each timed round and practice test thoroughly, you ought to be able to make the necessary improvements.

During this process, you should see where you have weaknesses, and then you will ace the process of completing a set number of questions in a set amount of time, particularly by running through a comprehensive practice test.

You'll get better than most participants at guessing when it's the best option to be a little persistent when you know you'll get a question right.

The third round of GMAT preparation concludes with a set of official practice exams that precisely reflect where you rank and where you still need to improve.

Remember that taking a practice exam earlier in your preparation is counterproductive. The only way to improve your test speed and performance is to enhance your topic understanding and strategic approach to difficulties.

Section Wise Practice

GMAT Preparation: Quantitative Ability

GMAT quantitative ability is primarily concerned with the aspirant's calculating speed. Proficiency in this section requires a lot of practice. It would help if you prepared for QA the same way as you would for GMAT Verbal.

Because the QA problems are also computer adaptive, it is best to know which set you can answer successfully ahead of time. Your work is done even if you get a few of them correctly. This may take a little time, but with practice, you will improve.

Here's how to prepare for the GMAT Quantitative Ability section.

  • Correctly practice 8th-10th grade arithmetic concepts.
  • Concentrate on the fundamentals of each quantitative discipline, particularly algebra, arithmetic, and measurement.
  • Prepare a cheat sheet containing significant identities and corollaries connected to major themes.
  • Use the rough sheet to construct diagrams, do computations, and write down pertinent formulas.
  • Remove the keyboard from this part because it is not used for manual computations.
  • Make careful to answer the "concept review" questions before moving on to the real activities.
  • Never assume what isn't explicitly stated in a question concerning geometry. If two lines cross at a right angle, this will not imply that the figure formed by them is necessarily a square.
  • Learn to remove meaningless response choices.
  • Concentrate on improving accuracy. Do not rush.
  • Examine the diagrams, graphs, and table-based issues when graphical representations sufficiently address a problem.
  • Now would be the time to conduct a mock screening. Begin by taking one mock exam every week to track your progress.

GMAT Preparation: Integrated Reasoning

This portion is the main examination of overall data interpretation abilities. A bulk of prestigious business institutions across the world want candidates with enhanced analytical and strategic development skills.

This can ensure that the applicant can handle complicated business challenges, including vast volumes of data and follow an effective decision-making procedure.

It also assesses your ability to deconstruct graphical, mathematical, and verbal data and extract significant elements from many sources for more modification and problem-solving.

Here's how to ace the IR part of the GMAT:

  • Give your time to each given scenario and concentrate on correctness.
  • Concentrate on the fundamentals of reasoning principles.
  • Play crossword puzzles or puzzle games like sudoku, boatload, and others to improve your critical and calculation skills.
  • Note essential points from each page and collect them to address questions in the multiple reasoning part.
  • Before answering a question, list the key data points.
  • For table interpretation questions, immediately refer to the table presented. It contains exactly the level of data you want.
  • While answering questions, try to instil the habit of reading.
  • Correctly interpret the statements in the question.
  • When answering graphic interpretation questions, read the answer possibilities first.
  • Examine the x- and y-axis values before attempting to incorporate them into your computation.
  • To reduce time and improve accuracy, use the on-screen calculator.

GMAT Preparation: Analytical Writing Exam

Follow these tips to ace the GMAT AWA section -


  • Improve your writing abilities. Take a similar topic from the internet and reinvent it with your own words.
  • Then, make a note of the passage's primary theme as well as a title for every paragraph.
  • Include an introduction, body of the essay, and concluding paragraph.
  • Be precise in your assertions that support your point of view.
  • While structuring your essay, express your viewpoint.
  • In the end, look for contextual problems and correct them when possible.
  • Refer to GMAC's example AWA templates.
  • Once comfortable with the principles, look up frequently asked AWA questions and prepare your responses.
  • Look up AWA examples on the internet. Expand your thinking by using an analytical approach to structuring your arguments.
  • Revisit what you've learned and create a list of "common do's" based on your experience. This will assist you in developing your own AWA response model.
  • Begin writing about themes with the newly developed argumentation technique in mind.

Tips To Study

With these top ten study strategies, you may make real progress towards your business school ambitions.

1. Create a GMAT study schedule.

Early MBA and business master's applications involve several components, such as essays, letters of recommendation, resumes, etc. The last thing you want to do is juggle everything while simultaneously studying for the GMAT on a tight deadline. Set a GMAT study strategy earlier in your business school path to prevent this problem.

2. Recognise the test elements and incorporate them into your exam preparation.

It's a good idea to become familiar with the GMAT exam layout before creating a study plan. There are four sections of the test:

  • The Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) evaluates your ability to think critically and explain your point of view.
  • The Integrated Reasoning (IR) component of the test evaluates your capacity for data analysis and comprehension of the information in various formats.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning (Quant part) section evaluates your capacity for quantitative thought, problem-solving, and graph comprehension.
  • The Verbal Reasoning (Verbal Part) evaluates your reading comprehension, editing abilities, and ability to comprehend written arguments.

3. Choose your GMAT preparation materials intelligently.

Several exam preparation options are accessible, but pick wisely—not each tool is made equal. You should use GMAT Official study resources to prepare effectively (and mimic the real test-taking experience).

They employ almost the same GMAT scoring mechanism as the original test and feature authentic questions from previous tests because the GMAT's creators prepared them.

4. Recognise your GMAT shortcomings (and work on them).

Identifying which abilities require the greatest attention is crucial to your entire preparation approach. First, use the GMAT Official Guide to assess your skills and identify your weak points.

Then, analyse your findings, and develop a personalised, targeted study schedule to polish the sections where you need to improve your abilities to meet your objectives.

5. Time yourself as part of your GMAT preparation.

Pacing oneself is essential for GMAT success since time is limited. If you know the Verbal component will be difficult, work on improving your verbal abilities while ensuring you can execute them swiftly.

Once you've had enough experience and grasped the ideas, learn to keep track of time to teach yourself to solve problems effectively. Then, pace yourself as you work your way through the four timed sections of practice exams.

6. Don't get bogged down on a GMAT question.

Remember that there is a penalty for failing to complete each exam phase, and your score may drop with each unanswered question. Don't get caught up wondering if you're answering every question correctly.

Of course, do your best, but stick to a schedule. Spend no more than two-and-a-half minutes on each question. If you're at a loss for words, make a calculated guess.

7. On the GMAT exam, use the process of elimination.

Don't spend time when you stumble across questions you are unsure of the solution to. When in doubt, eliminate the incorrect responses to move closer to the right one. Proceed to the next question by selecting the best choice from the remaining possibilities.

Plan a "guessing strategy" to prevent unwarranted GMAT score reductions if you run out of time.

8. Develop your visual literacy skills while studying for the GMAT.

This sort of visual information is frequently used on the GMAT. Therefore, understanding how to evaluate it quickly is essential. You may also see semi-mathematical abbreviations (or symbols related to a problem) on the GMAT Quant portion of the exam, so it's critical that you're acquainted with visuals and can stay calm.

9. As a study strategy, focus on improving your mental maths.

Mental mathematics is a time-saving technique you'll want to have in your arsenal whenever it gets to the quantitative part.

Try to avoid using your calculator at every opportunity when practising. Instead, practice conducting mental calculations as you will not have a calculator during the GMAT's actual Quant part; you must practice your cognitive maths abilities.

10. Push your boundaries with Advanced Questions.

Are your eyes fixed on gaining a spot in one of the world's premier MBA or management master's programs? You can greatly increase your chances by obtaining a high GMAT exam score. There is no greater tool than the GMAT to push the boundaries of your capabilities.

Why is it important to attempt all the GMAT questions?

Candidates that do not finish a part of the GMAT Exam are penalised. As a result, GMAT Preparation must account for this issue to guarantee that this occurrence is prevented.

GMAT preparation must also involve timed mock tests. And it's never a smart idea to jump into a problem without gathering information about it.

This fundamental notion also pertains to the GMAT Exam. Therefore, practising mocks is an important aspect of GMAT Preparation since it ensures that the knowledge learned throughout it is properly used in the GMAT Exam.

How is the GMAT score calculated?

Only the scores from the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning parts are used to compute the overall GMAT score. Although there is no agreed weightage for the other two portions, many universities solely assess the last two sections' scores.

Following this rationale, the latter two parts should be the major emphasis of your GMAT exam preparation. However, many colleges examine the combined score of all four components, so don't overlook the AWA and IR portions.

One of the key things to consider while studying business school admissions standards and planning your application strategy is looking for the GMAT exam. With a high GMAT score, you'll stand out from others in the admissions process and be eligible for scholarships that will help you fund your education.

GMAT prep may appear intimidating at first, but with a good study plan, an efficient test prep technique, and our professional GMAT study advice, anyone can set themselves up for success and get their highest score.

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