Conquering the GMAT!

This post is especially dedicated to a great friend and mentor of mine who I admire and very much appreciate. He helped me to see my potential and inspired me to try again.

The GMAT: A standardized test required by most business schools. It provides a measure of an applicant’s academic ability.

This is the test I am studying to take. Let me clarify, re-studying to re-take. I tried my chances at studying and taking this test last year to apply for the Fall 2015 graduate program at the graduate school of my choice. I chose the “do-it-yourself” approach at studying, because I was self-motivated and had much practice studying on my own during undergrad. However, my approach to studying was not the most efficient. I had a “practice-practice-practice” mentality, working problems left and right, but I did not master the technique of analyzing the problem stems and working efficiently to solve the problems. A technique I seemingly forgot after I graduated. I did not take the “work-smarter” approach, instead I was working harder but not working smarter.

So when it came time for me to finally take the GMAT, after months of intense studying and problem solving, I didn’t do as well as I had planned on doing. My goal score was not even almost reached, and the seemingly grim defeat left me very disappointed.

I took this as a major loss and put off retaking the test out of fear that I would perform badly again.

This year however, I was encouraged to retake the test. My friend and mentor, Kel Jackson, inspired and motivated me to get back in the saddle and try it again. His encouragement and consideration for my success motivated me to re-study, this time the right way, and to retake my GMAT. The tools and techniques he helped me to research and look into have really helped motivate me to study better and more efficiently. I have my confidence back and I hope that my story will help someone out there who may have failed at conquering the GMAT the first, second, or even third time. I want to tell you to try again. You can succeed the next go around if you believe it’s possible and you try again.

I hope these tips and techniques help you:

  1. Research the school you plan to apply for and the admission deadlines. This will serve as a timeline for your studying time and give you the goal score you need to reach. Poets & Quants offers great insight on top universities and graduate programs.
  2. Take a practice test to gauge your level of performance. GMAT Club has great practice problems and insight on great practice tests to take, as well as GMAT Prep (the one I use!). Kaplan also has a great practice test more similar to the real test you will take on test day.
  3. Examine your results! One of the tools and techniques Kel told me to use was to make an error log. This helped me so much! It allowed me to really examine and analyze the type of problems I was getting wrong, and why I was getting them wrong. This technique will help in the efficiency part of your studying regimen.
  4. Make a Study Plan. Once you are able to analyze what type of problems trip you up, you will be able to know exactly what to study. Make a monthly/weekly plan on what techniques and types of problems to study. (I made a 3-month study plan. Each month I study a different part of the test i.e. Quant, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning). The application deadline dates you looked up in Step 1. will aid you in planning out your study plan schedule.
  5. Follow-through and stay Committed! Studying on your own can be difficult. If signing up for a GMAT class will help you, try it! Whether you choose to study on your own, or take a class, or hire a tutor, choose what will work best for you. Stay focused on the goal and keep at it.
  6. Practice what you Learned. Now that you’ve examined your areas of weakness, made an error log, made a study plan, and followed through on your studying, the time has come to take another practice test to see your improvements.
  7. Re-examine your Results. Re-examine how you did this time compared to the first time you took the mock test. Determine if you are ready to take the real deal, or if you need to study some more to reach your goal.
  8. When you’re ready, Conquer the GMAT! Now that you’ve taken the time to perfect your skill take the test and conquer it.

You can do it. You will succeed.

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