The GMAT test can be extremely challenging if you are not prepared for it. Understanding what to study and how to prepare can be the difference between achieving an average Total score versus an exceptional Total score. Many students taking the GMAT have had difficulty with the test in the past (or with other standardized tests). To improve your GMAT scores, you often need to change the way you study for the test. Follow these top study tips to improve your score on the GMAT Test.
Study Smart Not Hard
GMAT Test preparation requires you to study smart – not hard! To study smart, you need to:
- Study when you are the most alert
- Understand what’s on the test
- Focus on the material that you don’t know
- Develop a flexible study schedule
Practice Makes Perfect
It is vital that you practice for the GMAT test as much as possible if you want the most confidence. To make the most out of our GMAT practice tests, try some of the following approaches:
- Fully understand all the questions you got wrong by carefully reading the explanations on your score report
- Take exams with self-imposed time constraints – this will help you insure that you know the material
- Try to tackle one section of the exam at a time
For the best practice, try our recommended GMAT prep courses.
Carefully Read the Full Question – Twice
Read each question twice before you look at the answers. Read each answer twice before you answer. People often read questions too fast and fall into traps. The same goes for answers. Don’t miss the question because you misread some of the terms. You should also be careful not to read too much into the question. Questions are typically straight forward and don’t require a “leap of faith” to answer correctly. In other words, don’t over-read the question and look for a “theoretical” answer versus a “common sense” answer.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Some questions on your GMAT Test require careful analysis. Some of the wrong answers may appear to be the right answer at a casual glance. Don’t fall into the trap that many test writers use - putting misleading answers first to tempt you to choose them. Also, there may even appear to be more than one right answer! If this is the case, make sure to choose the best answer based on what is in the question (not based on your assumptions).
Trust Your First Answer – it’s Usually Right
Trust yourself! Select your best answer only after you have read the question carefully twice and all of the answers carefully twice. Because the GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, you are not allowed to go back and review or change your answers. This actually helps you, because your first answer is usually the right answer.
Keep Time on Your Side
Although the time limits on the GMAT Test should allow you to finish your exam, it is still important to keep a correct pace going. Determine how much time to “budget” for each question. For example, if you have 30 minutes to answer 15 questions, then you have about two minutes per question. After every few questions, check the time to see if you are still on schedule. Don’t dwell on questions that you don’t know – just eliminate some answer choices and make an intelligent guess. Conversely, don’t rush questions that you think you know – read them twice and pick the best answer. Careless mistakes are often what separate a superior score from an average score.
Concentrate on the First Questions
Because the GMAT Test is a computer adaptive test, the first questions in each section take on more importance. If you correctly answer the first few questions in a section, the following questions will become harder – and allow you to achieve a higher score. Your approach should be to concentrate and take more time on the initial questions to insure that you answer them correctly. If you make a careless mistake on the initial questions, you will end up answering several easier questions that will not help your score.
Have an Answer for Everything – but Guess Intelligently
The GMAT Test does not penalize you for guessing. You should make sure that you answer every question, even if you are unsure of the answer or have to guess. If you have to guess, you can probably eliminate 1 or 2 answer choices immediately. Of the remaining choices pick the answer that you feel the best about – and move on.
Know the Tricks
If you understand the following “tricks” about questions, you’ll increase your score:
- Absolute No No’s – Answers with absolutes such as always, never, greatest, must are generally not the correct answers
- Beware the “except” – Questions with “except” (or “which of the following is NOT true”) are often read too fast and missed. A good way to answer these questions is to cover the word except or not and then choose the answer that does not belong.
- Valid information – All of the information in the question is probably there for a reason. Don’t ignore anything in the question – you will need it to correctly answer the question.
It’s All in the Attitude
Your attitude when it comes to preparing and acing your GMAT Test is the most important factor that you can control. You need to be positive and have confidence. You need to believe that you will score high on your exam. While you are taking your exam, you need to have confidence and relax. If you come across an answer that frustrates you – just skip it and come back to it later. DO NOT PANIC! If you have studied with the resources on this website – YOU WILL SCORE HIGH!
To get started preparing for the GMAT Test, try our Free GMAT Practice Tests.