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How to improve your GMAT score

Across the admissions offices of the top international MBA programs in the world, the expectations on getting a good GMAT score from Indian applicants has almost become an unwritten rule. And it isn’t always easy to meet those expectations.

While best GMAT forums are filled with stories on how to Beat The GMAT and join the esteemed GMAT Club of 700+ scorers, our modest little forum has had its share of success stories (‘GMAT topper interviews‘ as some refer to them) where top scorers have shared tips on how to improve GMAT scores.

In fact, just today someone who signed up with us for application consulting work mentioned that he followed some of the tips exactly as the original candidate (who got a 770 score) had suggested and ended up with a 740.

Inspired by that story, we felt it might be helpful to write an introductory post that provides a quick overview of a select few popular posts. It’ll help you choose and pick the ones that might be more relevant to your situation. If you have the patience, head over to the forum to read the details.
Read How to overcome a low GMAT score and get into a top MBA program?

Tips on how to improve your GMAT score

Basic GMAT exam preparation

Ruchir, an IITian who was disappointed with his CAT percentile, got his vengeance by cracking the GMAT. He lists down the specific GMAT study material and the GMAT practice tests he used.

There are specific tips on how to improve GMAT verbal scores – tackling hard CR questions, AWA. He also introduces the simple and powerful concept of creating a Practice Grid.

If you are looking for an introductory post, read Ruchir’s GMAT prep experience here – My journey to a 770 in GMAT

How to start preparing for GMAT

40-Day GMAT Study Schedule

For folks running on a tight study schedule, Abinesh shares his GMAT study plan on our forum. He broke up his study schedule into 2 phases.

In the first phase, he focused on the basic GMAT study material to improve his verbal and maths concepts. In phase 2, he devoted time on solving Computer Adaptive Tests (CAT) to test out his knowledge and pacing. (Read GMAT adaptive algorithm – Sample ESR Analysis)

His key message is that the volume of study material is not important. Quality and smart planning matters more. Abinesh Nimalan’s full MBA scholarship success story on our blog got mentioned by Poets & Quants.

Read his 40 day GMAT study plan.

Improving a low GMAT score by almost 200 points

Not everyone strikes gold in the first attempt like Ruchir did. Our next friend (going by the name – MFreak) got a very low GMAT score (540) in his first attempt.

In an elaborate post (which includes a description of how he lost $250 because the registered name for the exam didn’t match his passport name!), he explains how he improved his test score over 4 attempts from 540 to 660 to 640…and finally a 710.

He has some familiar tips (like persistence, pacing and maintaining an error log) and some unusual ones as well (like not over-thinking and not over-focussing on the weak areas). He briefly touches upon what to eat / drink and how to time the test.

Read his GMAT study plan here: My Arduous GMAT Journey – 540 to 710

Ritwik Verma also shares his GMAT re-attempt experience that enabled him to improve his GMAT score by 70 points. Read more here – How I got a 70-point jump in my GMAT re-attempt (680 to 750)

How to get your GMAT score above 750

If you are among those who think getting a 700+ score is child’s play, let’s raise the bar a little more and aim for 750 or higher.

Despite a very hectic work schedule (struggling with 2 hours of sleep on weekdays, and a generous 4-5 hrs on weekends), Kaashi was crossing 700 with 2 weeks of preparation. There was clearly the potential to go higher. His big challenge was to improve the GMAT verbal score. And he did. Here’s his full story: How I got a 760 GMAT score.

Here are a couple of other folks who got obscenely high exam scores:
How I Beat the GMAT : My score 770 (Q50, V44)
My advice for GMAT preparation, score 760(Q50, V44,AWA 6)
GMAT Scaled Score Table – Score Calculator

Also read
Why Americans score low on GMAT
Why Chinese students score high on GMAT
5 most common GMAT mistakes and how to avoid them
How to score 700+ on the GMAT
On our forum, you’ll find several other GMAT success stories from Indian applicants.

A word of caution. As always, keep in mind the fact that GMAT study plans that worked for others may not work for you. Read the stories, create your own study plan and fine-tune it as you go along.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

24 thoughts on “How to improve your GMAT score”

  1. Dear Sammer,
    Before asking you my query ,I would like to give you my brief introduction.
    I am graduate (B.Tech in Mechanical from Kurukshetra University ) with 76.5 % (Honours) in 2011. I got 74% in 10th and 76% in 12th.
    I started my Job in mid of 2013 (2 years of irrelevant experience from 2011-2013)and Currently doing job in marketing profile.
    I was thinking to prepare for GMAT while persuing my current job .My main point is that I want to have GMAT score card so that I have an option to persue MBA (2 years or 1 year ) in next 5 years.

    Please advise for following :
    1) Should I prepare for GMAT while persuing job.
    2) Which is better course (2 years or 1 year )
    3) Should I prepare for both GMAT and CAT.
    4) What would be your master plan if you are in my position.
    5) Any tips…


  2. @Dev: No point in getting a GMAT score if you are planning for an MBA abroad after 5 years.

    The score would be too old (probably expired) by then. Focus on just one – either CAT or GMAT.

  3. Hi Sameer. Just wanted to ask whether preparing for cat might also help in preparing for gmat. What i mean is that do cat courses have something similar to gmat courses?

  4. @Revant: There surely will be overlaps across the two as the basic maths and verbal concepts are universal. However, it would be a bad idea to use CAT material to prepare for GMAT (and vice versa).

    For the same reason that you wouldn’t prepare for backstroke if you are competing in the butterfly event.

    Justifying it by saying, ‘At the end of the day, it’s just swimming‘ wouldn’t be logical, right?

  5. Hi Sameer
    I am a 2012 (Information technology ) graduate , after graduating I didnt look for a job in I.T as I did not want to do techincal I.T stuff instead I started preparing for CAT wholeheartedly but I was not able to get a good percentile .Then I realised ,,that instead of sitting at home and keep on preparing for CAT for one more year ,I should look out for job .
    So ,I started looking for job and got a job on 4 nov.2013 , then I switched my job on 3 march and since then I am working in an I.T organization .Now after working for nearly 16 months ,, I am realizing that a technical I.T job (Java Coding) is becoming a burden for me ,as I was never interested in technical stuff and doing this job was just a compromise and I constantly feel the urge to do an MBA .

    Now hurdles in doing an MBA :-

    1.)I need a substantial amount of time to prepare for MBA entrance exams like GMAT / CAT, as I am extremely weak in maths .

    2.) For such an extensive practice ,, will it be wise to leave my job after 24 months of experience ?

    please advice ,really need help . I am going thru a highly uncertain phase of life .

  6. Hi Sameer,

    I don’t know whether its a right forum to put forward such queries but I’m quite anxious regarding my future plans and really need a expert advice. I have done BSc Nursing from Madhya Pradesh, India and currently working as nurse in Delhi. I’m seeking to work in Health care administration for which I want to pursue MBA in Healthcare Management from UK but I have no idea in regards to the future job prospects in UK. I’m trying to outweigh the financial input I will give in and the outcome which I might get after completing my MBA. I’m trying to get information regarding the Post MBA job in UK but sadly, I couldn’t get hold of any information about the job opportunities after MBA in Healthcare sector in UK. I would really appreciate if you can throw some light onto my problem and guide me through to decide whether I should go for MBA program in UK or not, considering the future job security in UK.

    Many thanks.

  7. @Karan: It will not be a good idea to leave your job for GMAT preparation.

    @Siddhartha: I am not aware of anyone who’s managed that transition. You could check online recruitment sites in the UK for relevant jobs and see if an MBA is a pre-requisite.

  8. Hello Sameer,

    I am an IT Professional with over 12 years of experience.
    I am interested to do MBA to move to more senior Management roles.
    I was contacted by Northwest edu center regarding their UCLA PGPX and Berkeley EPM program.
    These are one year executive programs and we can do them while working . I am just concerned about the value of these programs in the market after completion.Are these programs comparable to regular one year Executive MBA programs from IIM/ISB and other top B schools.
    Please provide your comments.


  9. Dear Sameer,

    heads-off ! As I red most of blog question & answer given by you, really amazing & helpful.

    I am a Health Professional having over 8 years of experience however I left my job last year due to personal/professional issues. As I am off from job thought to do MBA & enhance my technical skills to get a good start after a break hence interested to do Executive one year full time MBA from IIM/ISB and other top B schools to move to more senior Management roles.

    Kindly do suggest whether I need to prepare for GMAT or is there any other exam through which I could join the top B school.

    If only GMAT then how I could start the preparation from the scratch (as I do not know anything about the GMAT) for the good score above 600.
    Do I need to join some classroom /coaching or should I do it from myself.

    Kindly do suggest which all books I need to buy (online or any other way) & for GMAT preparation.

    Please do suggest regarding the same as I really need your advice on that to get start the preparation asap.

    Thanks in advance,

    Please provide your comments.

  10. @Anurag: If you don’t like the GMAT format for some reason, you could take the GRE. Many MBA colleges have started accepting GRE scores as well.

    You don’t need to join a class. Many applicants manage it with self-study by buying the popular GMAT books.

    Ensure that you have a good study plan, as some guys have shared in the links above (in the main article).

  11. Hi,
    I am an engineering graduate in Electronics & Telecommunication and have a 25 month work experience in the IT sector. I am preparing for GMAT and would like to pursue MBA from US. could you please tell me if with this profile an MBA degree from a decent university is possible or not or should i try aiming for the MiM courses. If so then what are the opportunities with the MiM courses. I wish to get a degree in Human Resources management.


  12. hi,

    I am planning to go for GMAT, and i am pretty sure about getting approx 700+ but the thing is, my grads score of 6.5 and gaps of 3.5 years over all.
    i am very serious about going for it, just wanted to consult this concern with some one who is best in the field.
    so i can’t think of another name, its you who can guide me through this pain and sickness of the gaps and scores. i am 2009 pas out and having 5 years of experience. willing to go for a gmat and need your expertise to help myself to start.
    passed out 2009 mech. eng.
    currently working as a DBA with an IT firm.
    My age is 31 and total work ex is 5 years.
    I hope to get some thoughts from your end.
    Please let me know if anything else is needed from my side.
    Having said all the things, what are my chances of getting into some very good B-Schools.
    What should i do to overcome the weakness that are there in my resume.
    Will the high score help me in any case..?
    Thanks a lot in advance, please do reply.
    thanks again.

  13. @Sneha: If you can wait for a year more, you can target regular MBA programs rather than variations such as MiM.

    @Jitendra: You haven’t shared the reason for that big gap, so I can’t share anything specific. Except, that you could use the optional essay to explain what happened.

  14. Hi Sameer,

    I just gave GMAT today. Scored 640 (Q45, V33). I want to join Executive MBA 2016 program and am willing to get it done from top
    B-schools. I am M.Sc. Biotechnology passed out in 2008. I am working in research and development since then in bio pharmaceuticals adding up to total 6 years of experience so far. Please suggest whether I should go ahead with this score or give another try. My academics are not strong. Its just about average.


  15. Hi Sameer,

    I never been able to be good in studies during my school days (10th – 59%, 12th – 58% & BCA – 59%). Considering the fact
    that I was from poor family and had to work – study at same time during my graduation time period. Also, I did it from IGNOU
    which was just distance learning.

    Now, the work experience include almost 15+ yrs (2yrs during my graduation with IT firm) and have worked with organizations
    like Wipro, Cisco Systems etc where I was leading teams. Apart from these, have 16 industry leading certification from Cisco,
    ISC2 etc. Also, have training candidates on weekends for technical courses.

    Based on the above info, do you think I stand a scope to get into top B-Schools? If yes then how to approach considering a strong
    GMAT score 780. If not then which B-schools one should focus where a balance of both learning & ROI is great.

    Waiting for your suggestion.

    Sandy D

  16. Hello Sameer,

    My name is Yogesh. I am currently working as a software engineer in an IT firm. I plan to give my gmat in the 2nd week of Feb’16. Right now, I have good hold over GMAT quant as i’m able to solve maximum questions within the stipulated time. My only concern remains the verbal section where i don’t fare well especially the RC passages. As of Nov’15, please go through my study plan :
    1 ) Complete thoroughly The official guide for gmat quant and verbal by december’15.
    2) Give at least 5-6 mock test to overcome my shortcomings and improvise on them.
    3) After each mock test, i plan to review the questions , thereby, not committing the same mistakes again.

    So, the total months of preparation stand out to be 3 months for me ( 2 months — preparation ) & 1 month ( mock tests).

    I request you to advise me with a full length study plan in case my preparation schedule misses out on some parts. I also welcome the opportunity to have my schedule changed accordingly as per your expertise,but the only time constraint for me is the time-only 3 months. I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest.

    Thank You

  17. @Sameer
    this is my first time that i am preparing for gmat exam. Please suggest me some study material/Author/Publisher books which one should i use in my study.

  18. Hi Sameer,

    This is Rajendra, I am MBA full time graduate in Marketing from pune university & working from last 5 years in sales & Marketing at Junior Mgmt level. In order to lift my career I want to Join EDP from IIM is it possible & How wise it is?

    Please advise.


  19. @Sameer
    I am a serving Indian Air Force officer and planning to quit in 2 years after completing a 22 years stint with IAF. Will it be wise for me at this late age and stage in life and career to go for a GMAT/ MBA? I have grown up children ready to enter college. I have a strong urge to get myself evaluated and then endorsed by a 1 year Executive program for getting a strong platform to launch. Do you think I am thinking right? Kindly advise. I look forward to the expert and valuable advise from you.

  20. @Rajendra: Since you already have an MBA, an EDP isn’t likely to give you much leverage. If you are doing this for some specific skill, then it may be ok.

    @Siddharth: You’ll face two main issues. Fitting into the class will be a challenge. Getting the interest of recruiters will be another. Consider getting in touch with headhunters to see if they can get you a foot in the door of some companies directly.

  21. Hi Sameer,

    I am an engineering graduate in Information Science and have graduated in 2010 with 62% (No Gaps in Education).
    I am working for an IT firm(Deloitte Consulting) now having 4years of experience and want to pursue an Regular one year Executive Program in a good B-School like IIM or ISB.
    However after graduation I have a gap of two years before getting into a job will this hinder my chances of getting into a good B-School or Placements later ?

  22. Dear Sammer,
    Before asking you my query ,I would like to give you my brief introduction.
    I am graduate (B.Tech in Computer Science from Rajastham University ) with 65% in 2015. I got 68% in 10th and 58% in 12th.
    I started my Job in mid of 2015 Currently doing job in Android Developer.
    I was thinking to MBA from abroad.

    Please advise for following :
    1) how to prepare for GMAT.
    2) Which is better course from MBA.
    3) What would be your master plan if you are in my position.
    4) Any tips…



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