GMAT Preparation Strategy: 4 Proven Tips for GMAT Test Preparation

GMAT Preparation Strategy
GMAT Preparation Strategy

Have you finally decided to take up the GMAT test for your MBA? Do you want to learn the best way to prepare yourself?

The GMAT Test   

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) assesses a person’s writing, verbal, quantitative, reading skills and analytical aptitude. As such, students need to devote a lot of time in theoretical learning and practical implementation before attempting this exam.

It’s important to think of preparing for GMAT as a process. You can prepare for GMAT online and/or offline. There are a lot of coaching institutes available but the best preparation happens with self-study.

If you really want to ace GMAT exam, you should focus on online test practices. With so many test resources available, it is easy to overlook the importance of online tests. However, online practice tests are far superior because they simulate current testing models.

Real Time Simulation

Till 1997, the GMAT exam used to be carried out on paper. After 1997, the format was changed to a computer-oriented examination pattern. Since then, the formats have changed and new technological developments were incorporated in the system to gauge student performance in a better way.

Online GMAT practice is recommended because the mock tests simulate current exam patterns and they are time-bound. It’s like attempting the real exam. The real time simulation makes you aware of your shortcomings. You practice better because GMAT exam is all about information crunching and analysis within a fixed period of time.

Therefore, practice online GMAT mock tests to a great extent. The GMAT test is an important exam and you want to get the best score possible. It means you want to plan ahead.

Here is an overview of the most recommended 4 GMAT preparation strategies and an introduction to online preparation books.

Suggested: Read more about GMAT Prep

Your 4 GMAT Preparation Strategies

Here you go.

1. Prepare a Plan & Stick to It

When you decide you are ready to apply for a Master’s program, the worst thing you can do is rush through the process.

If you are returning to college after several years in the workforce, give yourself plenty of time to study for the GMAT.

Ideally, you should give yourself a year before the test date. If you’re a recent college graduate, at least 6 months is beneficial.

GMAT Preparation

Furthermore, it is recommended to take the GMAT periodically while in college and after even if you don’t have immediate plans for applying to a Masters program in the near future.

Every person has their own method of study. Only you can decide what best suits you. Prepare a study plan, which should include things like:

  • a detailed course structure broken down into manageable sections
  • a daily or weekly study goal, such as context to be completed within a week or so
  • a fixed time to practice online exams

…and so on! Create a study calendar and stick to it.

2. Online GMAT Preparation Tests

The best way to prepare for the GMAT is through online practice tests.

Most MBA programs have switched their GMAT tests to computer adaptive testing (CAT) so it is worthwhile for you to study and practice the tests online.

This will greatly benefit your scores because unlike conventional tests, the questions become more challenging after each answer, based on your previous answers.

As a result, many test guide publishers are adapting their online practice tests to simulate the real GMAT environment.

The online GMAT preparation tests are available for both free and paid options. We share some online GMAT preparation tests. 

If you’re enrolled with any GMAT coaching institute, they also offer custom online tests which you should definitely practice.

Students spend a lot of time trying to understand how the online test system work. Do not waste your time because test developers don’t reveal that. Focus on bettering your test attempts and getting the highest score possible.

3. Practice for Test Pacing

One of the more challenging aspects of the new computer test model is the pacing. Pacing is nothing but your ability to maintain an appropriate time schedule to complete the test. It’s called as the “time position” and is defined by the relationship between the current question number attempted by the test taker and the time that has passed in reaching the current question number.

Here’s the usually followed test pacing graph.

GMAT Test pacing graph

The more you practice for the GMAT, the better. Many MBA applicants coming out of the test have expressed test pacing being the biggest challenge for them.

Incomplete answers will significantly drop your score so it’s important to learn how to pace yourself within the allotted time. This makes online practice testing more relevant than the conventional book format.

4. The D-Day: Being Completely Prepared

Needless to say, the exam day is the most crucial day. On the test day, you must prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally.

One assumes that on the final exam day, you’re well aware of the standard exam questions, question patterns and how your answers to current questions determine the subsequent questions.

It can be an unnerving experience with strict security procedures on check-in and cameras set up at each test station for observation against cheating.

Ultimately, you want to know the material inside and out, assure yourself that you are comfortable with time pacing, feel confident with simulated online tests and take care of your physical needs.

Be completely cool. Don’t be under stress. Stress clouds our reasoning and analytical capability and in an exam which is tightly time-bound, you can’t afford to lose precious minutes.


Clearing GMAT is tough but follow preparation seriously as you would do with any other exam. These GMAT preparation strategies will give you a clear idea of what to do and what not to do.

Practice is the key to GMAT success. If you don’t clear the first time, don’t give up. Keep trying and devote a lot of time in its preparation. Sit for the exam only when you’re confident about attempting it.

Author Bio: Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance site dedicated to helping people master the art of money management, from planning an effective budget to understanding when to pay off debt and when to save.

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