How to Improve Your GMAT Score the Second Time Around

Retaking the GMAT is a common practice for business school applicants. Not everyone achieves their target score the first time they take the exam, and many students take the GMAT more than once. You can improve your GMAT score the second time around with a little self-reflection and extra work.

Now that you know what to expect on the day of the test, how can you improve your performance the next time you take the GMAT? Here are four steps to help you improve your GMAT score the second time around:

1. Examine your first GMAT score

Start by reading your GMAT score report, and decide where you would like to improve. Do you need a higher Analytical Writing Assessment score to display your English abilities? Do you need a higher Quantitative score to bolster the mathematics portion of your application? Learn from your past mistakes to enhance your performance in the future.

Additionally, think about your overall testing experience during your previous exam day. Were you feeling sick during your first GMAT? Did you have personal distractions before you arrived at the test center? Were you stressed out from not feeling prepared? This time, avoid anything that agitated you before the previous exam. Give yourself time to prepare for your second GMAT. Also, consider how you can address the areas that are under your control so you can perform to the best of your abilities on your next exam day.

2. Prioritize your GMAT study areas

In the time that you have until your next GMAT test day, you should focus on the sections and questions that you can effectively improve upon—this will help you reach your target score. For instance, if you know you can write a better essay, but you want to increase your Quantitative score also, don’t spend all of your study sessions solely practicing the Analytical Writing Assessment. Instead, make sure to work through Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency questions as well so you can increase your Quantitative score, too. Then, allot a short period of time to briefly practice your essay.

Additionally, determine what question types you struggled with most within each section. For example, in the Verbal section, which questions were most challenging for you? Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, or Sentence Correction? In the Quantitative section, dig deeper than simply comparing Problem Solving questions or Data Sufficiency questions. Did you find probability more difficult than weighted averages? Algebra more challenging than geometry? Identify the issues you faced on the GMAT, and address them directly.

3. Create a detailed GMAT study schedule

Decide when, where, and what you will study in the days and weeks before your second GMAT. Plan your GMAT prep schedule using specific blocks of time to focus on certain areas. For example, your schedule could look something like this:

  • Mondays from 7:00pm to 9:00pm: Practice Reading Comprehension

  • Thursdays from 8:00am to 10:00am: Refine writing skills for the Analytical Writing Assessment

  • Saturdays from 1:00pm to 3:00pm: Review Problem Solving

Also, time yourself as you work on questions to improve your pacing. To boost your GMAT performance, you will need effective strategies for both tackling the material on the exam and for using your time wisely.

4. Refocus your approach to improve your GMAT score

Now that you have spent some time studying again, take an assessment of your updated skills. Sit for GMAT practice tests and examine your results. Have you improved your abilities in your desired areas of the GMAT? If you are not seeing the improvement that you hoped for, consider GMAT tutoring. You don’t have to prepare for the exam alone! A professional instructor can help you develop personalized strategies to maximize your GMAT score.

Taking the GMAT a second time can give you a better chance of achieving your target score. By using these four steps to prepare for sitting for the exam once again, you can make your GMAT study plan more personalized and focused on how to boost your score. Furthermore, your familiarity with the process can help relieve any stress you may have experienced during the first time around. You are now a seasoned GMAT taker. Stay confident, yet humble, as you enter the test center, and you can expect better results on your GMAT score the second time around.

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