How to Ace the GMAT

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Taking the GMAT is an important step on your path to business school. Read on to learn what you need to know in order to ace this exam and lay the groundwork for a career in business.

Prepare Yourself to Succeed

If you want to ace your GMAT, you must have a solid understanding of the skills and knowledge measured by the exam. You'll also need to:

  • Manage your time. Budget your time well, both the time needed to prepare for the GMAT and the time you spend answering questions on test day.
  • Know what to expect on test day. Avoid encountering any surprises - from test center rules to how the test is administered.
  • Use the Right Study Resources. A quick online search for GMAT prep reveals an overwhelming amount of information. Don't worry about what else may be out there, just focus on the most effective resources and get on your way to studying.

Study Smart

As you begin to prep for the GMAT, your first stop should be the test's official website (mba.com), where you'll find descriptions of each test section, sample questions, and a handbook that details registration, scoring and testing rules. Once you register, you'll also be able to access two full-length practice tests.

To delve into the skills and knowledge you'll need to master to ace the GMAT, a comprehensive prep course is a convenient way to manage your studies. Study.com's online GMAT Help and Review course has 24 chapters covering all the topics contained within the four sections of the GMAT. Each chapter is broken down into video lessons that average 8 minutes in length. The course includes practice quizzes to help you gauge your progress and identify the topics on which you need to spend additional time. Because it's self-paced and delivered online, you can study whenever is most convenient for you.

Use Your Time Wisely

Make sure time is on your side, both in the months leading up to the exam and on test day itself.

Plan Your Prep Time

When you decide to take the GMAT, carefully consider how much time you will be able to allocate to studying before you determine when you'll take the test. Research shows that students who achieve higher scores typically spend more time preparing for the test. The majority of students who took the test in 2014 spent a minimum of 51 hours studying, but test-takers who earned a score of 700 or higher spent an average of 121 hours preparing. However much time you allocate to studying, create a study plan in advance and pace yourself accordingly. If managing your time isn't one of your strengths, check out this short Time Management: Doing More in Less Time lesson.

Manage Time on Test Day

When you take the GMAT, you will have a set amount of time to complete each section so, while you want to do your best on each question, keep in mind how many questions you have left compared to the time remaining for that section. If you are stumped on one question, it may be best to cut your losses and move on. During the test, there will be a timer on your screen to help you keep track. To practice pacing yourself, make sure you take practice tests within the time constraints of the actual test.

Avoid Test Day Surprises

  • Be familiar with the technology used to administer the test so you aren't seeing it for the first time when you sit down at the test center. The GMAT website offers a free software download that introduces you to the technology you'll encounter on test day.
  • Be prepared to have a camera recording you during the GMAT.
  • Review the test center video tour available on the GMAT website so you know what to expect when you arrive.
  • The only things you need to bring on test day are your registration ticket (also known as a confirmation letter), identification, and a list of the schools to which you want your GMAT scores sent.
  • If you suffer from test anxiety, check out this quick lesson that reviews the best strategies for overcoming test anxiety.

Earning College Credit

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