The following is an excerpt from the GMAT chapter of our insider's guide
When I took the GMAT, the first thing I did was pick up a book called The Official Guide to the GMAT, or the official practice guide. I went through it cover to cover. The organization that runs the test actually puts that out, it’s a book full of practice questions from previous texts. The flavor is very different from a Kaplan or Princeton Review book. I spent about five weeks right after undergraduate going about ten hours a week at work and practicing and repeating questions.
There are classes for preparing where you pay a lot of money, and it depends on who you are as a person, but for me classes force a person to study more than anything else, and if you can force yourself to study then you don’t need the class. My approach was to avoid the class and to just do a lot of repetition and practice questions.
What About Online Resources?
Generally I found online resources to be unhelpful. There are two things online that I did. The first thing is that the the GMAT website has two online practice tests that you can take. That’s a good mock version of the actual test. The second thing I did online was I went to all the forums where people shared their test scores, and I actually read about people’s test day experiences, and about the combination of a math and verbal score that adds up to your overall score out of 800. It’s kind of a strange way of learning, but it did actually help me understand the test experience more thoroughly.
Should I Time Myself?
The two online tests were timed. In general, when I practiced questions, I would calculate the number of minutes per question I would have on the actual test, and then I would limit myself to that amount of time for the practice questions. If I practiced 15 questions I would make sure that I didn’t go over thirty minutes. Timing yourself is really important.
If I Already Took the GMAT, How Can I Improve My Scores?
Improving your score is mostly a question of what your issue was. Was it that you didn’t prepare enough or practice enough questions, or is it your actual test taking technique that needs work? If your technique is the problem, how you approach the questions, then you might want to consider taking a class, or even hiring a tutor. The technique is very similar to the SAT back in the pre-college days. I would recommend repetition above all else. And of course you should practice the parts of the test you didn’t do well on more than those you were fine with.