3 GMAT Strategies You Learned While in College

For many prospective business school students, the GMAT is a fearsome enemy. If you lie awake in bed worrying about how you will prepare for this exam, fret no further. Instead, look to your college days – the strategies you relied on to succeed in your college courses can now help you do your best on the GMAT. These are a few daily activities that can omprove your GMAT skills. Here are three examples: 

Strategy #1: Review your schedule and develop a plan

Just as you reviewed each class syllabus at the beginning of the semester, determine what you must accomplish before your GMAT test date. How long do you have to study? A week? A month? Consider taking a diagnostic test to better gauge how far you are from your goal score. If your results are not as strong as you expected them to be, you may want to increase your allotted prep time.

You should also be specific about when you plan to study, as “sometime during the week” is unlikely to lead to success. Block off a recurring time in your calendar to ensure your prep is consistent. (One- or two-hour sessions work especially well for retention.) When you reach the end of your block, stop. Let the material sink in so that you can build on it the next day. Like that French class you enrolled in during your sophomore year, you cannot review dozens of terms in one evening and expect to be fluent the following morning. Similarly, each GMAT study session should build on the previous one. Pace yourself. Take notes. Build on your knowledge over an adequate period of time. These tips can also help you reach your target GMAT score

Last, where will you prep for the GMAT? When you were living in the dorm, your room might have been satisfactory when it was quiet, but a more likely study option was the library. If you can, find a public or university library near you, and check out a study room if one is available.

Strategy #2: Study – truly

Whether you would like to strengthen your grammar skills for the Sentence Correction section or practice basic arithmetic for Problem Solving, you are now ready to begin your prep. Aim to use your time wisely. Just like in college, there will be distractions that encourage your mind to wander, including friends, family, athletic events, etc. Do not allow these obstacles to hamper your progress.

You can also draw on the methods you learned in your foundational courses. For example, if you need to hone your proficiency in the Quantitative portion of the GMAT, apply the skills that you sharpened in your algebra or statistics classes. Work through practice questions and check your answers, even if your responses were correct. Determine which approaches work best for you within the context of the GMAT. For example, if you are having trouble with Reading Comprehension questions, you might choose to utilize some of the techniques that saw you through your literature course. These are great free GMAT resources you can use to help you study.

Try to remember that just as your sociology midterm was only one part of college, the GMAT is only one step on your road to an MBA. You will not have to prep for it forever. Make it a short-term priority now so that you can achieve your long-term goals later. 

Strategy #3: Ask for help when you need it

The GMAT is a difficult exam. If you are struggling with its content or your timing, do not be discouraged. When your classes were difficult in college, you may have spoken with your chemistry professor or formed a study group for your anthropology class. These same strategies – for example, working with GMAT tutors – are still effective now. A mentor or a tutor can help you develop your personal strengths and address your particular weaknesses, and they can often speak to the MBA experience as a whole. 

By applying these three college strategies, you can simplify your GMAT prep. These techniques will not only benefit you on the GMAT, they will also serve you well during the application process and throughout business school. You ultimately persevered with your undergraduate years. Let this one exam show you how preparation, persistence, and commitment can lead you to your future success.