Any major time investment cuts into your life and can be a nuisance. The GMAT is no exception. Indeed, prepping for the GMAT is not like taking a class on pottery making or Spanish—you have the desire to learn those skills, and you seek to enrich yourself. In contrast, taking the GMAT is not a matter of choice. And on the face of it, there doesn’t look to be anything enriching about it. But below are a few ways to make this unavoidable trial seem far less like painful and (dare I say it!) ultimately enriching.
1. Prep with engaging material
The GMAT Official Guide is the Bible of GMAT prep. Yet many people make the unfortunate mistake of treating its explanations as gospel. Sure, the explanations are correct, but they are anything but user friendly. In other words, they are intended to be correct but not necessarily clear. Students often spend a lot of time trying to decode the explanations, but they ultimately fail learn from those explanations; they aren’t able to learn why they answered the question incorrectly in the first place, and they can only (somewhat) approximate GMAT’s answer. Instead, publishers such as Manhattan GMAT have come up with supplemental books that provide clear and generally helpful explanations. Ultimately, you will want to spend time trying to understand why you missed a problem. So when you are in a jam, remember not to rely on the Official Guide for anything more than the questions.
2. A little bit goes a long way
One reason people dread studying for the GMAT is that they reserve prep for one day each week. Understandably, people are busy throughout the week. But by finding ways to thread prep into your schedule throughout the week, you’ll not only stop dreading that one “GMAT day,” but you’ll also improve more over time. See, once-a-week prep just doesn’t allow your brain to grow as much as it could with small little sessions throughout the week. And that’s the key: a little goes a long way. You could do three quant questions every time you wake up, instead of checking the latest news reports (though, by tackling only a few questions at at a time, you would leave a little time for that too!).
3. Don’t go at it alone
Whether you are from a Midwest town with a population of 83 or from a province so remote that Google Earth couldn’t even find you, you still have plenty of study company. The internet is a treasure trove of GMAT communities, where aspirants share study tips and commiserate over their GMAT scores, and where experts answer practice questions and offer sage advice. There is also a wealth of blogs, such as the Magoosh GMAT blog, in which you can get expert advice, answer a question or two, or just share anything GMAT related. By not cloistering yourself in a room or feeling marooned from the rest of the planet, you will have a lot more pleasant time prepping for the GMAT.
4. You actually may not have to take the GMAT
If all of the above simply doesn’t do the trick, remember: you have a choice—at least when it comes to which test you decide take. Most b-schools now accept GRE scores. By using a GRE to GMAT score conversion table, you’ll able to determine which test you are better suited for and could score higher on. Like the GMAT, the GRE also offers free official practice tests online, so try out both and see if you have an inclination towards one of them. This post was written by Chris Lele, resident GMAT and GRE expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.