How to Maximize Your GMAT Prep This Summer

Are you sitting for the GMAT this fall? Fantastic! Summer is an excellent time to prepare, as it enables you to concern yourself with one fewer item come application time. Does the GMAT overwhelm you? There is no need to worry. With an action plan, you can begin your journey to business school on the right foot. Here are three tips to help you maximize your summer GMAT prep:

1. Complete a diagnostic test as soon as possible

A GMAT practice test provides you with a baseline score, which is necessary to determine how far you are from your target result.

This initial diagnosis will also assist you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Different individuals will have different areas to focus on. For example, nonnative speakers of American English may need to study verbal questions more than they do quantitative ones. Test-takers who have difficulty with Integrated Reasoning problems may wish to enhance their problem-solving abilities. 

Diagnostic exams also build stamina. Your testing experience will require a minimum of four hours: you must arrive at the exam center at least 30 minutes before your test, which is three hours and 30 minutes in length, not including optional breaks (which you should take). Why not build your energy well in advance?

2. Create a long-term study plan

As you develop a GMAT study plan, work backward. Start with the enrollment date for your prospective business school. If you wish to enter an MBA program that begins in August of the following year, when should you ideally apply? 

Then, determine when you can and should sit for the exam. What is the latest GMAT test you can complete without missing your application deadline? This will be your last resort in case you must retake the exam to achieve a higher score. Here are some great tips on how to reach your target GMAT score. In addition, decide upon the earliest date that you can feasibly sit for the GMAT. Based on your practice test, how much time do you need to properly prepare?

3. Determine your ideal review method

If you can teach yourself concepts and remain on task without guidance, studying independently is a valid option. Remember, however, that this is only an effective way to prepare for the exam if you have the self-discipline to stay committed to your GMAT plan. Remember to prioritize your study sessions and to stay honest about your abilities.

If you require individual attention from a GMAT expert who can provide you with lessons tailored to your specific abilities, consider working with a tutor. Not all tutors are right for all students, so choose someone who can help you develop your personal strengths and address your particular weaknesses. GMAT tutors have often walked the same road to business school as you, and they can provide perspective on both the exam and the process of earning an MBA.

A third option is to study with other prospective business school students. You can teach one another about the areas you understand best. Share your skills! You will also benefit from a support system of fellow business school applicants who know what you are going through.

Whichever method you use, ensure there is an emphasis on material from GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council). Their guides contain actual questions from past GMAT exams, which, of course, serve as excellent practice material. You may also want to consider these 3 GMAT strategies you learned while in college.

Have a great summer, and good luck!