Competition for seats at business school grows more competitive year-on-year, and average GMAT scores have continued to rise as a result. Of course, your GMAT score is but one part of your application admissions considers. In addition, there is no explicit GMAT score you need to achieve in order to gain admission to a particular business school.
…But don’t risk it. Get at least the average GMAT score from the previous year to put yourself in a good position. This post is a formalized version of what I have sent hundreds of friends and friends of friends over the past five years. I went from a 660 in January of 2015 to a 770 in May of 2015 by following this strategy – I hope it helps you achieve your target score as well!
Note: this was created five years ago, so the strategy does not account for the ~unlimited re-take of the GMAT that is available now.
One last note: if you find yourself struggling to get much farther beyond 700, I would definitely go through this list but try to really focus on advanced problems. How high you get above 700 is really dictated by your correct ratio on the advanced problems.
Items to purchase/get:
1) Magoosh with both verbal and math. Back in 2015, it was ~$99, but it is still quite affordable at ~$200 compared to other options
2) GMAT Official Guide (OG) book. Get the newest version, and do NOT just get the free PDF. It’s way better to have it in front of you
3) A way to take at least two practice tests in person at the testing centers. It’s important to get a sense of how it works and the process, and paying for this is well worth it. I had bought a Kaplan prep package so I was able to go in once, but I had already taken the GMAT once as well
4) Download the “Prep4GMAT” app
5) Have this handy for when you review the AWA
6) Buy two notebooks
Start ~50 days out after you have everything
1) Read an online synopsis of what the GMAT is, the different sections, etc.
2) Read through the mini GMAT booklet to get a sense of what to look for in the questions
3) Read on data sufficiency and do 10-20 problems of it online
4) Take a diagnostics GMAT (download the software from mba.com and take the free practice test they give you). Note: the score they give is unrealistic. I got a 740 on that test, and when I took the official GMAT for the first time, I got a 660
5) Go through the diagnostics exam, and understand what you got wrong
6) Download the Magoosh 30-day study guide here
– Now basically, you follow the study guide every day for 3-4 hours. You also need to set up Prep4GMAT so that it knows you want to accomplish everything in 30 days and set your ideal score to 790.
– Do 4 modules in Prep4GMAT every day, and make sure you fully read the notecards that they provide in each section, as they are extremely helpful. DO NOT USE ANY PAPER FOR THESE PROBLEMS. The purpose of using this app is to get used to using your estimation skills and predicting answers. It really builds your intuition for the GMAT, so don’t use a notebook.
– Read the Wall Street Journal and Scientific American every day
DON’T WRITE THIS SECTION OFF! I know – note-taking sucks. However, this is an undervalued yet critical part of the process. Have you ever felt like, despite having gone through the right way to answer a problem, you answered it wrong again? I’m willing to bet it’s because you are not practicing effective note-taking
– One of your notebooks should be for problems. All practice problems you do on Magoosh, or the diagnostics, or the practice exams, should all be done in there. Separate the problems with lines across the page to make it easier to review (trust me, you are going to be happy you did this)
– The other notebook should be used for notes. When I say notes, I mean: problems that you know you’re not good at, so write out the question and the answers and the process; information that you might need to know, e.g. the “not only…but also” sentence construction; math concepts, etc. Basically, when it’s the day before the exam, write down the material you want to be reviewing so you know you have covered all your bases
– After the first two practice tests, review every question, right and wrong. If you missed a concept or a problem, write it down in your notes
– You should take an online practice test after a week of studying
– You should take an in person test after two weeks of studying
– You should take another online practice test after 3 weeks
– You should take your second and last in-person test at least a week before your actual exam