Everyone appearing for the GMAT exam aims to get a great score. However, many candidates appearing for the exam set an unrealistic goal considering the scores they have been getting in their mock or practice tests. For example, a candidate consistently getting 620-660 scores in his mocks cannot achieve a score of 750 on the actual GMAT. So, first of all the expectations need to be realistic for each individual as to what his target score should be on the GMAT exam. Out of all the candidates appearing for the GMAT, only 8% score above 700 and only 1 in 15000 people appearing for the exam score a perfect 800 on the GMAT.
This is not meant to scare you but to make you realize that you need to stand out to achieve an exceptional score on the GMAT. The GMAT is a wonderful exam that basically tests your critical reading, writing, and reasoning skills. Your critical thinking and reasoning skills will be required throughout the four sections of the test, as these are essentially required throughout your business school or MBA. We call the GMAT wonderful, as it tests almost every skill you have developed over time. Secondly, any amount of cramming won’t work on the GMAT as there is not even a single straight forward question the GMAT which does not require the application of concepts.
The beauty of GMAT lies in the preparation phase, which when pursued in an effective and efficient manner changes your mindset altogether, not only for the GMAT but also your overall approach towards life as you start to take responsibility of every decision you make (no matter how small or big). This can be attributed to the clear thought process developed over time during your GMAT prep phase.
The term critical thinking involves the ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize, analyze, question and evaluate ideas and beliefs. Critical reasoning is the opposite of dogma. Dogma is unquestioned information — information that is embraced without the intervention of active thought or criticism. To reason critically is to question the ideas and beliefs of others and oneself and to challenge dogma and authority. The terms “critical reasoning”, “critical thinking” and “clear thinking” all mean the same.
The following factors can majorly contribute in achieving a great GMAT score:
- GMAT Prep Method:
The GMAT prep method you choose is the highest leverage choice you can make when it comes to bettering your score. If you make the right decision, you might never have to worry about improving your GMAT score. Heading in the right direction can save you weeks of agony later on. We at GMAT Gladiator personally recommend and advocate one-on-one tutoring (online or in-person) to be the best method for preparation when it comes to GMAT. This is because improvement in GMAT score requires a significant paradigm shift in the way you think and approach questions within a stipulate time frame, which is way different from the methods or techniques you might have followed during you schooling, university or in fact any standardized exam taken so far. Significant improvement in GMAT score definitely requires individual attention to understand the gaps an individual has which is not possible in a group class.
- Quality rather than Quantity:
A common perception amongst candidates appearing for the GMAT is that the harder you practice for the GMAT the better score you will achieve. Sadly, very few see a marginal improvement in their score. The focus should be to practice good quality questions rather than just practice mundane sets of questions which will land you nowhere. Moreover, the emphasis should not be on the final solution, your approach should be to critically think as to what GMAT expects out of that question. You need to think from the perspective of examiner as to why the particular question appeared on the GMAT. With guided practice, the same can be accomplished. The moment you start thinking and understanding the examiners point of view, the dreaded GMAT will unveil its beauty and you will really start to enjoy your GMAT prep phase with dramatic improvement in your scores. We have seen our past candidates improving their scores from 300 levels to 720 levels.
- Focusing on your Weakness:
Contrary to the popular notion of playing on strengths, scoring well on GMAT specifically requires a thorough analysis of identifying your weak areas and converting them into your strengths. This is the single most factor that marks the difference among the candidates who see a great jump in their scores on the final GMAT exam. To identify your weakness either you should work with a great GMAT tutor who has years of experience behind his back teaching students of varying aptitude levels. Your tutor can use his or her expertise and can prove to be a great sailor in helping you pass the GMAT with flying colors.
- Maintaining Error Log:
Another aspect which a candidate needs to be disciplined about is maintaining an exhaustive error log. As GMAT mainly tests your critical skills, the error log needs to be exhaustive. It should maintain which options were straight away ruled out, which options created confusion, which questions were answered with confidence. A good amount of time should be spent on writing and analyzing the error log, as that will slowly and steadily develop your critical skills essentially required on the GMAT. The error log work wonders in improving your scores when prepared diligently.
- Taking Mock Tests:
The mock tests should be practiced in realistic test conditions as if you were giving a real GMAT exam. Try to feel the pressure and the uneasiness which creeps in when you are not able to answer questions or lagging behind in time. This will not only prepare you for a 203 minutes long marathon on the actual GMAT, but also develop your skills of pacing the GMAT test correctly which are definitely required for every section on the GMAT. The GMAT penalizes you heavily on leaving questions unanswered during the exam. Also, after taking the mock spend at least double the time of your test attempt in self-analysis and identifying the gaps. Make sure to discuss your mock in detail with your GMAT tutor as to what could have been done better and what were the shortcomings which needs to be improved. This will fine tune the self analysis which you did by yourself for the mock.
- Studying as per GMAT:
One should develop a habit of giving the same amount of time to quant and verbal each day. This way your brain adapts gradually not to feel fatigued on the test day and feeling equally active solving both quant and verbal sections. On the GMAT, you will be devoting equal amount of time for both sections.
- Ordering the Sections:
GMAT gives you the flexibility of choosing the order in which the exam can be attempted. The three orders in which the exam can be attempted are as follows
- Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning (IR), Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).
- Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning (IR), Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA).
- Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), Integrated Reasoning (IR), Quantitative, Verbal.
One should try attempting the mocks in different orders, and with time become comfortable with the strategy that is most conducive to you. It differs from individual to individual, so you are the best judge in this respect. Stick to the same strategy on the final test day.
- Different approach to the same problem:
This approach works specifically for quant section. Any problem you attempt can have numerous way of getting to the same end result. One should look at the different ways possible to solve the same question as that will really expand your horizon and broaden your mindset which is a key to get a great score on the GMAT.
We at GMAT Gladiator have been pioneers in providing world-class online as well as one-on-one classes for the GMAT exam. It gives us great contentment to see our students realize their aspirations and potential through our guidance. We have catered to almost all parts of the globe as far as our students are concerned. Our students have got admitted to the most prestigious schools a child aspires to study. We have years of experience behind our back, which only increases our drive and confidence with each passing year to provide the best education for the GMAT exam. We have always believed that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Since every person is unique, we at GMAT Gladiator also believe that every person has the potential though it just needs to be identified, nurtured, and polished. Each individual has unique strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing for a tutor or guide is to identify the gaps a candidate has and to work upon them slowly and steadily because both the gaps and the grasping power of each child is different, which cannot be identified in group classes. This is by far the most important thing required for a GMAT prep and that’s the reason we don’t do group classes, as we want to be sincere to our profession and one approach does not fits all. For us, money is not the only criterion, but imparting and imbibing valuable education to each person is our prime focus.
Also, the time for preparation for every individual varies, depending on the present scores level and your target score. We have even tutored candidates which saw a rise from 300 levels to 740 levels. We don’t boast that it was only because of us but also because of the sincere effort and determined focus of the candidate.
Our point of view – GMAT can be aced, but that surely requires the guidance of top GMAT instructors, which can effectively make a difference in your GMAT prep.