The GMAT test is one of the primary markers for how well equipped you are for taking on the hectic MBA curriculum! But, a lot of applicants find scoring high on the GMAT really difficult. And if you don’t have a good score, getting through an international B-school is going to be difficult!
For example, just take a look the average GMAT score required by the top B-schools –
|B-School||Average GMAT Score 2018|
|University of Chicago – Booth School of Business||730|
|Kellogg School of Management||732|
|Harvard Business School||730|
|University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School||732|
|Stanford University – Graduate School of Business||737|
|UCLA – UCLA Anderson School of Management||715|
|University of Virginia – Darden School of Business||713|
|Columbia Business School||725|
If you are thinking these scores are impossible for you to achieve, you are wrong! In this article we will be sharing a list of surefire tips that will increase your score but 100 points in 11 days!
But, before we tell you what to do, let’s figure out what not to do!
Mistakes to avoid before the test
As the test nears, it is normal to feel anxious. And this is also the most common time to make mistakes. So, let’s go over a few of them:
- Only practicing questions but not identifying the actual problem areas is a spiral that you can easily fall into. Remember, it’s not just about practice but rather effective practice.
- Thinking timing will be an issue will lead you to practice mock tests and you will actually lose time on the last minute prep that you need.
- Another common mistake is to sit with concepts at the last minute. While some concepts you are weak in can require a revision, this is only 50% of what you need.
GMAT is quite different from other tests, and it is the only test that is completely dedicated towards B-school admissions. Thinking that practicing a lot will make you excel on the test day is not going to work. Methodology and strategy is the only way to succeed in such a test.
Another aspect to keep in mind is identifying areas that you need working on. So, keeping all these pointers in mind, let’s build a strategy.
Analyzing your GMAT Score
The first step is always to understand where you stand. This is best done by analyzing your mock test score. We have divided the score into three segments, so make sure to read through each of them to know which analysis works for you.
GMAT Score less than 500 – Unable to understand concepts
If you are below the 500 mark then the best probability is that you are not doing so well in medium difficulty questions. Most candidates in the 450 – 500 score segment usually get their points from the easy questions. And if you are using an online system to take mock tests, the algorithm will keep feeding you easy questions to boost your confidence. This does not help.
The best thing to do if you fall in this category is revisit your core concepts. Check your section wise scores and this should tell you which section needs more work. For the next 3 – 4 days revise all the concepts and then come back to taking the mock tests or practice questions.
GMAT Score 500–600 – Unable to apply knowledge
If your accuracy is over 80% for the easy questions but for hard questions it’s around 50% it is difficult to cross the 600 mark. If this is the case then you probably understand the concepts (otherwise getting 50% of hard questions right is difficult), but you are unable to apply your knowledge to the maximum.
This is when you need to rethink your application strategy. Just practice will not help you, neither will only studying. You need to figure out the areas where you are unable to apply yourself and do some course correction.
GMAT Score 600-700 – Need to ace hard questions
If you are close to 700 you can stop worrying about easy and intermediate difficulty questions. Your core work needs to be on hard questions only, as this is what will push your score above 700. You will have to fine-tune your strategy and figure out the exact topics that you are unable to get right.
If you are targeting a 700+ on your GMAT you need to make sure that your understanding as well as execution is absolutely on point.
Building a Winning GMAT Strategy
By now you should have realized which segment you fall in and what that means for you. No matter when you are reading this blog, consider that you have about 10 days left for your GMAT. So, keeping that in mind let’s work on skill-building and acing one of the most important tests of your life!
Once again, the strategy creation will be divided into three segments. Read through each of them and you will be able to identify the key strategies that will work for you.
Part 1: Getting your verbal right
Start by dividing the verbal module into two halves, segments where your accuracy is above 70% and others where it is below 70%. You will be doing this because the final goal is to ensure you get above 70% for the entire verbal section. Take a module based test to know which parts of your verbal fall below the 70% mark.
Now further filter modules where you are scoring below 60%. This is going to be your primary target area because this is where you can actually make a good improvement. Go back to your core concepts and practice at least 15 questions for each of them. Make sure that you are actually improving your understanding of the concepts before attempting the questions.
For the tougher areas, it’s going to be much tougher to build your score to 80%. Practicing a lot is not going to help. Rather, this is where you need to build your application skills and ensure that you absolutely understand your approach.
Part 2: Getting your quant right
This is rather easier than bringing up your verbal score, primarily because if you lack in a certain segment of quant it means you have a problem understanding that concept. So, your first task once again is to identify the quant segments where your accuracy is below 60%. Take a quant only test to identify these areas.
Anything that comes below 60% requires revisiting the concepts. Immediately stop practicing it more as you are probably wasting time. Make sure you are 100% sure about a concept before sitting down with a test again. Application is most likely something that you will not have a problem with in quant if you get your concepts right. Your goal should be to bring up the segments below 60% to 85%. Sounds daunting? It’s not really so because application is something that you have to barely work on these segments.
Once again attempt 10 questions for each segment when you are sure, and you will notice a massive improvement in your quant score!
Part 3: Test day strategies & Mock tests
If you are able to do the previous two segments in 7-8 days that’s great, now it’s time to prepare for the actual test ahead of you. If you are thinking that you will be only taking mock tests now that is absolutely not the case.
For the 5 days or so you have left for your test you will be taking 3 mock tests at the most. Because at the end of each test you will still need to locate areas of revision and make sure that your revision is reflected in the next mock test, and if you do this for two rounds you should have a solid revision ready.
Once you have reached close to your target score, then two tests consecutively and this should tell you what your final score will be. Remember that if you have not completed the first two steps then you will not notice much change. So, concentrate on them first and take more time if you have to!
Improving your GMAT score right before the test day is very much possible! But, it requires a solid strategy and not just blind practice.
Follow the three step process – identify your weak areas, build a prep plan, and then achieve your target score. GMAT is quite different from your regular tests so give it the right kind of application it needs and you will ace it for sure!
Best of luck!