When it comes to preparing for the GMAT, sometimes, it’s the obvious things that get missed out. Stress, anxiety and deadlines can make us make us forget the simple, common sense elements of test taking. Whether you are referring to the Official Guide for GMAT Review (OG) (are you sure you have the 13th Edition?) or Kaplan or Manhattan or Princeton Review or Knewton, here’s a quick list of 7 GMAT preparation tips that you can use to save time on the test.

1) Prepare and practice:

Almost a no-brainer, this is the most evident one on the list. Most guys rush into the GMAT assuming it’s just another tick in the box. If you’ve read the stories of folks who’ve gone through the process, you’ll realize it much more than that.
Be dedicated, get familiar with the various concepts along with the various question format and practice as much as possible. Rather than taking up one section at a time, tackle the quantitative and verbal sections together, distributing time as per your strengths or weaknesses.

2) Remember the techniques:

The questions in some sections may not be straightforward but may need use of logical and analytical skills as well. Make a note of the various techniques for arriving at the answer. Condition and train yourself through sufficient practice so that you are familiar with a large variety of questions and their solving method. For data sufficiency, memorise the answer choices and their order. Learn how elimination strategy can be used to strike out the incorrect answers.

3) Be focussed:

Sections like data sufficiency do not require calculation of the answer rather you need to decide what data is required to derive the answer. So straightaway head towards what is being asked rather than spend time on unnecessary calculations or details.

A lot of questions contain unwanted data meant to confuse you. You should be able to segregate the important information from the irrelevant details. A step-by-step approach with the practice questions helps distinguish between the key points and the unwanted data.

5) Make the best use of time:

Solve a practice test and you realise that there isn’t too much time to devote to each question. For example, in the quantitative section there are 37 multiple choice questions with 75 minutes allotted for the same. This means that on an average you may spend around two minutes per question. In case you get stuck with a question, do not lose out too much time on it. Try striking out the wrong answers to narrow down your choices. Good, if it works otherwise move on to the next question.

The same concept of ‘not getting stuck’ applies while reading passages as well. In case you’re not able to understand a certain part of a passage and find it too complicated, there’s no point wasting time trying to understand it. Complete reading the entire passage. If a question involving that particular difficult section is asked, then go back and read through it again.

Speed is a very important aspect which can be improved by solving practice tests. This would also boost your confidence so that you are familiar with the GMAT format and hence well-prepared for the actual test.

In order to think better and give it your best, you need to be calm and relaxed. Keep the day before the GMAT as cool as possible, perhaps you can just go on with your regular office schedule or keep yourself busy with other activities so that you can pacify the butterflies going flutter-flutter in your stomach. Read others’ experience of their GMAT exam day to have an idea of what to expect, the do’s and dont’s. Also get a good night’s sleep so that you’re in good shape for the GMAT test.

That last one might be tougher than you think, as it’s not just about practice and knowing the test format. So maybe in one of the future posts, we cover this in a little more detail. Now where was that Pranayam book that I recently purchased?

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1. Arun says:

Great article! You are on the money on all the points mentioned. I would also add to practice as much as possible from “official” questions only.

2. vaibhav Shrivastava says:

Hi,

I am an IT professional with more than 3yrs of experience and i wish to pursue executive MBA. Taking GMAT is sufficient!!!
Please guide as what else is required from my side apart from work-ex.

3. Satya says:

Dear samir sir,
I am in big concussion and dilemma now. This year I am graduating , I basically belong to mechanical engineering background and I have got a job in business and operation domain in GENPACT, I want to pursue my MBA after having few years of experience, my graduation percentage is 93% and class 10 percentage is 82 and class 12 percentage is 84.25. Sir I want to do my mba in INDIA only since I don’t have a strong financial background. Sir for which exam should I prepare CAT or GMAT. Since I want to go for MBA with some good experience so shall I work in business or operation domain or go into the technical field to gain experience, but my ultimate aim is to do MBA, please suggest something sir.

Hello Sameer,
I have a 2 years work experience of tcs . i have resigned tcs on aug 11 2015 . i have given cat exams but didnt perform well . Now i am in a dilemma as to compromise with any bschools as i have left my job or i should give gmat or gre for a mba program. if i give gmat and score good in it what are my chances to get into a good bschool .whether my job quit will be a problem in future for selecting colleges after giving gmat . what appropriate step should i take ? Please advice me the necessary plan of action !!

5. Krish says:

Hello Sameer

I have gone through the discussion out of which i got a vague idea. Here is my story i have completed BE (EEE) in the year 2009 and i have joined the Private company 2010 February. I have an experience of 6 years now as an Electrical Engineer but my problem is the salary or the package whatever you call is just equivalent to Graduate who passed out recently. Here my problem was my health where i can’t reveal but i was on life support for 2 complete years and right after my graduation it was diagnosed with my health problem which made to stay here in the city where i am now and the work company supported me a lot. Now i’m out of the health issues, want to grow big in all terms but its been 6 years, now I want to attempt CAT or GMAT which suits me best but the thing here is financial matter. Compared to GMAT, CAT is on little cheaper to an extent upon the suggestion what i got is that true?.

What should i try for, CAT or GMAT?
If i get in B-School will i get a chance to grow big?

6. Sameer Kamat says:

@Vaibhav: Here’s what you need to apply to GMAT MBA programs abroad: http://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2015/07/27/mba-without-gmat/

@Satya: After you have got some experience, GMAT would be better than CAT.

@Srijan: You will have to explain the career break and explain the circumstances. Here’s how to handle gaps: http://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2016/04/01/how-to-handle-career-gaps-in-mba-applications/

@Krish: Sorry to hear what you had to go through. With 6 years of experience, GMAT would be a better route.