Free downloaded GMAT prep material: Best avoided

I’ve got 50 MB of the best GMAT test preparation material with me, good GMAT verbal and quant questions, full-length exam software…downloaded for free from the internet. Plus my friends gave me another 25 MB of practice questions. I think that is more than enough for anyone to crack the GMAT, hai na sir?’ The 24-year-old candidate from Delhi on the phone who spoke at 60 words a minute asked me. And he was definitely not the first one to come up with that question.

Apart from copyright and IPR infringement issues which he was completely ignorant (?) about, he was also missing another bigger point. Several inter-related ones actually.

Accuracy and credibility issues
Free content does not necessarily translate to accurate content. People download GMAT verbal questions, quant questions, complete courses, free full-length GMAT tests and all other variations that you can imagine. Many are shocked to see mistakes in the answers and at times in the questions too.

Quantity vs quality
Brute force will not help you score high on the GMAT. A few hundred well-chosen GMAT questions can improve your score more than a random collection of thousands. Check out the blogs of folks who have got high GMAT scores. Their ‘How I scored a 750+ post’ will invariably include a diligently created study plan that they customised according to their personal needs.

Inconsistent levels of difficulty
The set of questions created by one GMAT test prep team (free or otherwise) can be dramatically different from another team’s content. No wonder then that they get a 740 in one test, 630 in another and then 760 in the third one.
Training the brain to tackle GMAT questions is more a matter of getting the fundamentals sorted out and then digging into practice questions with gradually increasing levels of difficulty.
That’s how sports training also works – if you want to build muscle mass you don’t jump from 5 pound dumbbells to 25 pounds ones and then back to 15 pounds.

Quite a few of the guys who sign up for the online GMAT preparation courses listed on our site are those who have already taken the GMAT once and failed to reach their target scores despite the huge amount of free exam resources that they’ve collected by legit and dubious means. The reasons for their bad performance have a lot to do with the reasons listed above.

Of course, you don’t need to sign up for any course if you can manage it on your own. But do follow one ‘system’ with dedication, structure and discipline. And if you can, please avoid confusing the Gmathalamus (that’s the GMAT cracking section of your brain) to save a few thousand bucks.

As a bonus for your patience, and considering you probably came to this post looking for free material, try this short Free GMAT practice test now and get help on the Free GMAT Preparation helpdesk.

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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin


  1. NITIN says:

    hiii sir i am in final year of engg (ece) from DTU which is one of top 10 engg college in india and luckily i have also got a good job in hp(hewlett packard) r&d with good salary . now i am in great dilemma whether to purshoe MS or continue with job..
    and also what would be better GMAT vs GRE

  2. Prabhas says:

    Dear Sir,

    I am B.E Mechanical & have experience of 1.5 years of supply chain in a Manufacturing MNC. I am planning to do my MBA in Operations from SIBM, Pune.
    I am interested in Operations & specifically SIBM Pune or SCHMRD Pune due to my family constraints.

    What are future prospects of MBA Operations in India, specifically in manufacturing Industry?

    I have to be in Pune for Maharashtra for some constraints. Please guide for any other options I can choose apart from job.

  3. Keerthana R says:

    I am studying B.E electrical and electronic engineering. After completing b.e MS or MBA which one is good, really i messed up. Pls guide me
    Thank you

  4. Chandra Mouli K says:

    Hi Sameer

    I graduated in Apr 2015(B.Tech – Electronics and Communications). I would have an experience of 15 months(in IT sector but working in a Telecom domain) by the start of the 2016 fall term. I like to pursue my masters in operations and also would like to continue my career in the Telecom Industry but with the functions of an Operations Manager . Is it better to do a masters (M.S.) in operations or wait for another year and apply for an M.B.A with a specialization in Operations? Thanks in advance.

  5. TANAY KUMAR says:

    Hi sir,
    It is time to me to switch the company & join an elite institute like IIM Ahmadabad in Executive MBA. I am an Engineer in Defense Public sector with 10 years work experience in Operation Management. I have done by 10th & 12 with first division. After completed diploma in electronics with honors. In continuation, completed my Engineering with 73%. Recently i have dine my MTech with honors.

    With a vast experience as Project planner, i am interested in executive MBA from IIMA,IIMB OR IIMK. There is a chance & how much GMAT score will work for the admission in IIMA. Plz suggest.

  6. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Nitin and Keerthana: Taking up a job would be better, I think. Read this:

    @Prabhas: We don’t focus on traditional Indian MBA programs. So I can’t comment on the prospects of those courses.

    @Chandra: Waiting for a year or two more will get you closer to the typical MBA applicant profile.

    @Tanay: A lot of engineers applying to these courses score above 700. Higher is obviously better.

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