GMAT Preparation Strategy & Study Plan 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on April 23, 2021, 9:20 a.m.

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How to Prepare for GMAT

GMAC organises the GMAT, which is one of the most popular MBA entrance exams taken across the world. It is an examination known for its analytical selection criteria considering a number of parameters in mind. Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer adaptive test conducted at regular intervals throughout the year for aspirants of management studies across the globe.

Every management aspirant wants a good GMAT score that could help them in targeting some of the top MBA colleges abroad such as Harvard UniversityStanford University; Hofstra University; University of Dayton; University of Manchester, California State University, etc. Especially for students who are planning to apply for MBA, PGDM and other management-related programmes in universities outside India will have to score well in order to become eligible for selection and admission process in international institutions.

The level of competition in GMAT is very high therefore, it is considered to be one of the most difficult MBA entrance exams. In order to succeed in this examination and grab seats of top management institutions, candidates must score above 650 out of 800. Achieving a score above 650 is possible with the right planning and strategical approach towards exam preparation.

GMAT COVID-19 Update

This year, GMAT aspirants can take the exam online from their homes, a measure introduced in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. In order to appear for the examination, candidates need to follow the steps mentioned in the GMAT Application Procedure.

Also Read:

10 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making on Tests like GMAT and GRE 5 Best Countries for Indian Students to Study MBA
Top 100 MBA Programs With GMAT/GRE Waiver in 2021 Top Universities in Canada to Study MBA

General Preparation Tips for GMAT

Following are some of the tips that can help you clear GMAT in order to get admission in MBA courses in India and abroad.

Practice Consistently

The essential steps while you are preparing for MBA entrance exams is to practice consistently. Constant practice will help you in getting used to all the type of questions that are asked in the exam and raise your confidence while preparing.

Maintain a Study Journal

To keep a track of the topics that you have covered and the ones that are still pending, you can maintain a preparation journal or a diary. Keep a daily record of the topics, questions and GMAT practice tests that you are covering each day. This way, you can achieve your daily targets for GMAT.

Exponentially Increase your Study Time

Since GMAT is a computer-adaptive test, make sure that you practice questions of different difficulty levels to get used to the exam pattern. As the date of the GMAT exam draws near, increase your study time and cover the syllabus effectively.

Focus on Sectional Targets

Don’t stick to a single section while planning your daily targets. Make sure that you practice quantitative ability questions, as well as, verbal ability questions daily to achieve a balanced score in both the questions. It is essential to achieve good scores in both sections as universities consider sectional GMAT cut-offs.

Practice Educated Guessing

It is quite likely that you will come across questions in the GMAT exam that will have to be solved through educated guessing. In such questions, you will have to analyse the information provided and the options to eliminate the wrong answers and guess the right one. Practice such questions to improve your educated guessing.

Make Time Targets

Apart from targeting the number of questions that you should practice also make time targets. Try to complete 30 sets of questions in 20 to 25 minutes to improve your speed and accuracy. You can start with easy time targets them to move to difficult time challenges.

Take Preparation Tests

One of the most important parts of preparation is GMAT practice tests. Make sure that you take as many practice test as you can to get used to the proctored nature of the test in order to achieve a score above 700.

Analyse your Performance

After every GMAT practice test, make sure that you have analysed your score in the test. Look back at the questions that you were unsure about as well as the questions that you got wrong. Practice more of such questions to get a hang of them.

Preparing for the GMAT exam can be as exhaustive as preparing for any other preparation MBA entrance exam. Keep yourself motivated and select the colleges that you want to target. Talk to the counsellors and get extensive guidance about the exam. Keep your head in the game. Keep up with the daily targets, practice every day and you will achieve a score above 700. Balance your preparation with short breaks and proper sleep to keep your mind fresh.

Also Read: Tips for Indian Students to Deal With Competition for Graduate Programs in US in 2021

Subject-Wise Preparation for GMAT

For a subject-wise preparation, candidates are first advised to go through the GMAT syllabus. Candidates must also be aware of the exam pattern and structure so that they divide the preparation plan in a way that more marks are covered strategically.

Analytical Writing Assessment

  • Time allotted to solve this section is 30 minutes. An average student must complete the write-up within 25 minutes and keep 5 minutes for revising the content written.

  • This is a section that involves your thought process. Topics given for the write-up must be dealt analytically with arguments and examples.

  • To master this section, what you can do is read articles related to the field of management, business and global business trends.

  • Stick to the articles that not only arguments on a certain issue but also highlight with notable examples.

  • Reading newspapers will also help you to crack this portion of the test paper.

  • Collect all relevant information related to the topics that you have noted. Go through the information in detail and try to memorize the important pointers, so that, you may remember it while writing the article.

  • Once you are done collecting information, start writing on the topics keeping argumentative points in mind.

  • While writing the write-ups keep a stopwatch to calculate the time taken to complete the write-up. This will help you to manage your time and be speedy with the article.

Integrated Reasoning Section

  • A total of 30 minutes has been fixed for the Integrated Reasoning Section of GMAT.

  • An average student must complete the maximum number of questions in 25 minutes and must keep 5 minutes for the purpose revision and unsolved questions.

  • The questions of this category are framed out of topics like table analysis, graphics interpretation, multi-source reasoning and two-part analysis.

  • To conquer the chunk of questions of the integrated reasoning section, you must rigorously practice on the topics provided.

  • Take help from good books and study material related to integrated reasoning.

  • If stuck in a topic then take help from your seniors and mentors instead of wasting time to solve it all by yourself.

  • While practising this section note the time when you start the paper and when you end solving it. With regular practice of the time, you will be quick with the questions especially the tricky ones.

Quantitative Reasoning Section

  • 31 questions of Quantitative Section are to be solved in 62 minutes.

  • You must complete the questions in a span of 55-60 minutes and keep the rest of the time for revising the answers and solving the leftover questions.

  • By solving more number of questions in this section, you will get a good grip on the topic.

  • Try to understand and memorize the mathematical formulas related to the topics.

  • Different methods must be tried to crack tricky questions of the Quantitative Section.

  • You must practice questions of data sufficiency and problem-solving keeping in mind the allotted time.

  • At the time of practice session and main examination solve the easy questions first and then go on solving the tricky ones.

  • There are a number of GMAT coaching centres that can help you in the preparation. Enrol yourself in some good and reputed coaching centre that will not only help you with the entire GMAT syllabus but will also help you with a particular topic and tricky questions of the GMAT sections.

Verbal Reasoning Section

  • GMAC has allotted a total of 65 minutes to solve questions of this section.

  • There are 36 questions that you will have to solve within the given time period.

  • This section is all about the English language and its usage. You will solve questions from the topics like Sentence Correction, Rhetorical Construction of Sentences, Synonyms-Antonyms, Reading Unseen Passages, Subject-Verb Agreement, Critical Reasoning and Idioms.

  • To master this section read good English grammar books and read editorial pages of good English newspapers.

  • Practice questions based on testing grammatical skills and knowledge. This will cover all the important sub-sections of the Verbal section.

  • For Critical Reasoning questions take help from experts and guide books as this section will test both reasoning as well as analytical skills.

Also Read10 Mistakes You Should Avoid While Preparing for GMAT 

What is the Right Time to Start Preparing for GMAT?

Most of the times, GMAT candidates fret too much over an important question - what is the right time to start preparing for GMAT? To ensure that the GMAT 2021 aspirants do not face the same dilemma, StudyAbroad CollegeDekho spoke to some of the experts and previous year GMAT top scorers for an answer to the question - what is the right time to begin preparing for GMAT?

The perfect time to start preparing for a highly competitive examination like the GMAT is five months prior to the date of the exam. The previous year exam-takers say that for a normal mind to get used to a schedule takes around 90 days. Starting to prepare for GMAT five months before the exam date gives ample time to the brain to get used to a study schedule and the candidates can use the remaining days to provide an effective final touch to their GMAT exam preparation. Also, the experts and coaching centre teachers suggest that sometimes the test-takers put an undue burden on themselves by putting in long and strenuous hours to cram things up rather than focusing on strengthening the conceptual base. 10 hours a week from three months to the date of the GMAT exam, if done wisely, can be more than effective.

Also Read: What is a Good GMAT Score & How is it Calculated?

Exam Day Tips for GMAT Online Test

Here the last-minute tips for GMAT online test 2021:

Before the Exam

  • Practice and understand the online whiteboard tool.

  • Review the Policies and procedures and get ready with all the ID requirements.

  • Do a system test before registering for the test to ensure your computer is ready on test day.

During the Exam

  • Log in at least 15 minutes before your exam time.

  • Remove mobile phones, watches, notes, scratch paper, headphones, and any other devices.

  • Touchscreens, graphics tablets and use of a stylus will not be permitted.

After the Exam

  • Official scores will be posted in the account within 7 working days after taking the exam.

  • Complimentary unlimited score sending will be allowed.

  • GMAT score shall valid for five years.

  • Score cancellations and retakes will not be permitted with the exception of checked technical issues and authorized retakes.

Appearing for the GMAT this year? Register for StudyAbroad CollegeDekho's Test Prep program to get personalised attention from trained professionals.

FAQs about GMAT Exam Preparation

1. Can I prepare for GMAT in one month?    

Ideally three to four months are required for GMAT preparation, however with unfocused attention and a good strategy, you can certainly prepare well for GMAT in one month. 

2. Can I score well in GMAT without external help/coaching? 

One does not really need to join coaching classes to prepare for the GMAT. All you need is dedication, a good plan and the right preparation material.

3. How to prepare for GMAT? 

 Before beginning with the preparation, you must understand the structure of the test, types of questions, etc. After you have a clear idea of the same, you need to set your exam target, get the right preparation material and start preparing. Lastly, take a lot of GMAT practice tests.

4. Can I prepare for GMAT in two months?  

 One can certainly prepare for the GMAT in 8 weeks or 2 months. For that, all you need is a clear idea of the exam structure, the right preparation material, the right plan and understanding your strengths and weaknesses and working on them.

5. Where can I find the preparation material for GMAT?    

One can find all the study material for the GMAT on the official website of GMAC. It includes both online and offline prep material.

6. Is GMAT more difficult than GRE?  

 There is no objective answer to this question. While some may find GMAT tougher, some find GRE more difficult than GMAT.

7. What is the right time to start preparing for GMAT? 

 There is not really a right time to prepare for the GMAT. You must be mentally ready to take the test and prepare for it. Usually, it will take three-four months to complete the entire syllabus.

8. What type of questions will be asked in the GMAT?  

 Different types of questions under different sections in GMAT will be asked. Some of these are analysis of an argument, data sufficiency, reading comprehension, critical reasoning, sentence correction, and two-part analysis.

9. Which is the most difficult section in GMAT?    

The answer to this shall be subjective. Someone with a Quant background may find Quantitative Reasoning easier whereas someone might find the Verbal Reasoning section the toughest of all sections in GMAT.

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