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How to Ace the GMAT

Updated: Jan 4

GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test. The GMAT is currently being used in more than 82 countries to adjudicate admissions to business schools. Excelling in the test requires more than knowledge: it requires discipline, planning, time management, and a competitive spirit.


If you’re scoring lower than your target school’s average range, you won’t necessarily be denied admission. However, with the general competitiveness of MBA programs, the higher your score, the higher your chances of acceptance are. Here, we’re sharing the best tips from GMAT experts on how to ace the test. Let’s get started:


1. Be the Elephant

A sharp memory will be handy if you’re planning to ace the GMAT. Take practice tests. Make flashcards. You can cater your study habits to however you learn best, but you need to make sure you’re taking practice tests at least once a month leading up to the exam.


When you begin, try to make time to study every topic in depth. When you take your practice exams, go through the questions you’ve gotten wrong, and redo them until you understand how to get the correct answer. If you don’t review your mistakes, your score will not improve. And the more you can commit to memory, the better you will perform on the exam. Be the Elephant.


2. Get to Know the Format

No matter how clear they are on the concepts, some test takers get thrown off by the test format. It’s a very strict structure, and the more familiar you are with the patterns, the more comfortable you’ll be taking the test. This will lead to stronger scores. Here’s the format:


The test consists of four sections, with an 8-minute break (optional) between each round.


Section & Time Allotment

Questions & Type

Analytical Writing - 30''

1 Topic: Argument Analysis

Quantitative - 75''

37 Questions: Data Sufficiency, Problem Solving

Integrated Reasoning - 30''

12 Questions: Multi-source Reasoning, Graphics Interpretation, Two-Two Part Analysis, Table Analysis

Verbal - 75''

41 Questions: Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction


The quantitative and verbal sections will be in a computer-adaptive format that adjudicates your ability level as you progress. If you answer a question correctly, your next question will be more complex. But if you answer it incorrectly, your next question will be easier than the previous one.


You must work harder on the initial first 10 questions than the rest of the test, because those responses will determine your general scoring range. Based on those responses, you will proceed into the high-scoring category questions.


3. Keep a Steady Pace

This GMAT test is not something that you’re going to perfect in a single day. You need practice, and a realistic timeframe to ace your goal. You need to ensure that you’re using effective learning strategies, and that you’re allocating enough time for study and practice. The more you practice, the more even your pace will be. This exam isn’t short. It takes endurance and focus. These are skills you can improve with practice.


4. Pick Up Your Mental Math Skills

If you’re picking up your calculator every time you need a simple calculation, you’re going to be wasting precious time. Resist the urge to rely on your calculator, and refresh your mental math skills to prepare for the exam.


5. If You Must, Make an Educated Guess

If you are given a question that you don’t feel confident you can answer, you might have to guess. But wait, before you do that, make an educated decision to eliminate at least one, hopefully two options. The GMAT test will penalize you a quarter of a point every time you select an incorrect answer. And once you’ve answered, you cannot go back. Thus, eliminating one or two wrong answers will increase your chances of guessing the right one.


6. Find your Zen

Finding your zen will eliminate the stress. You need to figure out how you can stay calm, and then begin a consistent practice of existing in your zen, just like you practice with verbal questions or with math. The options are endless: try meditation, take a walk in nature, practice deep belly breathing, or watch TV. Find something that gives you peace of mind. Test taking can be extremely stressful, and you need to take care of your health so that you can focus on the exam.


With these skills, you’ll ace the GMAT. Good luck!




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