GMAT Strategies to Have High Score

  • Develop your own Plan
    Spend enough time preparing that you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You know you're going to face geometry questions in the Quantitative section; are you strong with triangles and quadrilaterals, but weak with circles? Having this kind of understanding can help you decide where to focus your energies. Why spend 8 minutes stressing out over a question when there's a good chance you'll get it wrong, no matter what? The only way you'll be able to use your time wisely on test day is to know your abilities beforehand.
  • Be well-rehearsed
    Practice makes permanence! If you set aside time in a quiet place to take some practice GMAT exams, you'll be ready for the rigors of sitting in a chair and focusing on test material for a few hours. Since this skill doesn't come naturally to most people, why not practice? You can also use this opportunity to assess where you need to spend more time studying.  

Section Specific

  • Reading Comprehension
    As you read each passage, look for its main ideas. Remember, everything the author writes is there for a reason, and these reasons are generally more important than the details in the passage. As you read, take notes about the main ideas and structure of the passage on scrap paper. Learn the most common types of wrong answers used by the test writers and how to avoid choosing them.
  • Sentence Corrections
    About one-fifth of the sentences will be correct as is. A good way to identify them is to read the sentences "aloud" in your mind. If you read one that sounds OK, it probably is. A tightly worded sentence is generally considered more effective, so, all things being equal, choose the shortest answer.
  • Critical Reasoning
    Learn to recognize the key elements of any argument - evidence, conclusion, and assumptions. Remember that when a statement makes the conclusion more likely to be true, then that statement strengthens the argument. When a statement makes the conclusion less likely to be true, the statement weakens the argument. Learn the types of fallacies that appear most often on the exam so you can recognize them when you see them. Forget what you know or think about a given topic; instead, respond to the question in terms of the argument presented.
  • Multiple-choice questions in the Quantitative section
    Break word problems into simple phrases that you can translate into numbers or symbols. Search geometry diagrams for answer clues, and sketch your own when necessary. On graph interpretation problems, spend 30 seconds examining the graphs before tackling the questions. Don't be afraid to "guesstimate" or look for shortcuts; many questions have them.
  • Data Sufficiency
    Learn the directions and answer choices backward and forward before the test date, since the answer choices are the same for every data sufficiency question. Tackle each item by examining the question, considering each numbered statement individually, and then combining the two statements. Don't make any assumptions not stated in the question or the numbered statements. Remember: you do not have to find solutions; you just need to determine if the situation presented in the question can be solved.
  • Analytical Writing
    Use the four-step process to manage your time and effort effectively - brainstorm, outline, write, and revise. Keep your essay simple and make sure your point of view comes through clearly. Be specific, vary sentence length, and avoid mechanical errors.  

Set a Goal Score

Setting a goal score is one of the most important things you can do as a test-taker. Setting a goal score helps you make sure you’re on track to be considered as a serious applicant at the MBA program of your choice. It also helps you focus in on and work towards a specific, concrete goal.

You can set your goal score by looking at the averages of applicants at the MBA programs you’re applying to. Set your goal score at the high end of those scores, so that you’ll definitely fall into the range of acceptable scores.

Create a Personalized Study Program

Every test-taker has different strengths and weaknesses. While there are benefits to following prescribed GMAT prep plans, you should also take into account your own strengths, weaknesses, and needs.

Not sure how or what to study? Confused by how to improve your score in the shortest time possible? We've created the only Online GMAT Prep Program that identifies your strengths and weaknesses, customizes a study plan, coaches you through lessons and quizzes, and adapts your study plan as you improve.

We believe PrepScholar GMAT is the best GMAT prep program available, especially if you find it hard to organize your study schedule and don't want to spend a ton of money on the other companies' one-size-fits-all study plans.

For instance, you want to make sure that your prep is focused strongly on the areas that you need the most help in. If you are excellent at geometry but struggle with algebra, you should focus your prep to make sure that you’re studying algebra more.

Just as you can select which content you want to focus on, you can also choose how and when you want to study. Only you know what your schedule is like. It doesn’t make sense to cram 30 hours of prep in every week if you’re also working two jobs and taking classes, but it might if you have a few months off (say over the summer). The key is to make your study program work for you.

Use High-Quality Prep Materials

One of the best things that you can do for yourself as you study for the GMAT is to exclusively use high-quality prep materials. High-quality prep materials realistically simulate test content and format and only cover content you might actually see on the GMAT.

The best option for practice materials is always official GMAT tests and questions from GMAC. Unfortunately, once you venture beyond official materials, you’ll find many low-quality materials that cover topics not tested on the GMAT or present questions or sections in inaccurate ways. Be skeptical of unfamiliar prep materials and make sure to read reviews of books and software before you spend money on them.

Understand the Format of the Test

Make sure that you spend time on building a deep understanding of the format of the GMAT. You should familiarize yourself with the sections, the number of questions in each section, and the length of time you’ll have to complete each one. Understanding the GMAT format will help you feel comfortable on test day.

You should also build your knowledge about the specifics of the test. For instance, you can use a calculator on the integrated reasoning section, but not on the quantitative section. You can’t go back to answers that you skip. Knowing what to expect will save you from unpleasant surprises on test day.

Don’t Make the Test a Bigger Deal Than It Really Is

Finally, keep some perspective as you study for the GMAT. The GMAT is important to your MBA admissions, certainly, but it’s not the only part of your application. Focus on building a well-rounded application that shows off your skills in many different areas. Ultimately, being a strong, well-rounded candidate with a medium GMAT score will likely take you farther than being a candidate with terrible grades and no experience, but a high GMAT score.