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5 Important Factors in Planning Out Your GMAT Studies

By Max Peterson On Sep 18, 2015 In  Study Plans General GMAT 

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September is the time of year when many people decide that an MBA is a degree that they would like to have. Unfortunately, they often rush head-first into the overall process of applying for that coveted MBA (including rushing into their GMAT studies) without properly researching, and planning out, the overall process. With impending application deadlines, those future applicants don’t quite realize the amount of work that will be required to score at a high level on the GMAT. That lack of forethought often keeps those Test Takers from achieving their short-term goals – however, with just a bit of planning, you can avoid those same pitfalls.

1 - Know your timeline, deadlines and requirements

Schools publish their application deadlines, so make sure that you know exactly what they are. You’ll need to put in a lot of effort to properly assemble each application that you send out – so you have to account for all of that time and effort – in addition to the MASSIVE amount of time and effort that you’ll spend studying for the GMAT (and conducting the rest of your day-to-day life).

2 - Studying for the GMAT will probably take longer than you want it to

Many Test Takers spend 3 months (or more) to hit their respective “peak” scores. Assuming that you want to score at a high level, you’re likely going to need that amount of time too. To perform at the 700+ level, you really cannot ‘cut corners.’ The GMAT is remarkably good at giving you the score that you earn, so you have to put in the necessary time and effort to build the necessary skills and EARN that high score. 

3 - Your GMAT studies will likely require more than just a few books

The Official GMAC books are great sources for practice questions and the main OG is arguably a ‘must have’ during your studies. However, those books are not built to teach you Tactics, pattern-matching skills or any of the ‘secrets’ to the Test. In general, books tend to be limited in what they can teach you – they’re often written in an overly technical way, and with a ‘bias’ that might not necessarily match your personality or skills. A GMAT Course (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led) will probably be required. Online Forums also provide a great resource to ask questions, learn new ways of ‘seeing’ GMAT questions and receive advice.

4 – Full-length CATs, taken at regular intervals, are an essential part of the study process.

There is NO substitute for taking FULL CATs (including all sections) under realistic and test-like conditions. It’s important to take a CAT early on in your studies – doing so helps to define your personal strengths and weaknesses and provides a basis for comparison (for when you take future CATs). Taking CATs at regular intervals (1 CAT every 1-2 weeks) is also something that you should plan for (as opposed to 'cramming' lots of CATs into a short period of time - which is almost never beneficial).

5 – You will almost certainly get ‘stuck’ at a particular point in your studies. Do NOT wait too long to ask for help.

When it comes to improving your scores, there is no ‘fast’ way to do it. Skills take time to develop. Bad habits take time to be ‘fixed.’ Both skill development and the 'fixing' of bad habits can be made easier if you're using the proper study resources, but you will still need to invest the proper amount of time. If you want to raise your score 100+ points, then it’s going to take more than 1 week (probably a lot more), so waiting until the last days before your Official GMAT to ask for help is a bad choice.

The GMAT is a predictable, standardized Test, so you CAN train to score at a high level. To that end, we’re here to help.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,

Rich

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