With average GMAT scores for MBA applicants going steadily up, you’ll need to prepare well for the test. While it doesn’t measure your intelligence, and not even your future success as a business manager, the GMAT is one of the most important documents in your application file. Indeed, many business schools attribute merit-based scholarships to applicants with the highest GMAT scores.
Good GMAT preparation courses: the basic elements
Quality, up-to-date study materials: Look for GMAC-approved materials (GMAC is the company that runs the GMAT) that provide a good combination of review sections, exercises and mock tests. Take a free online test and look at the score report to get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and set a clear goal. This will help you understand the sort of materials that we’ll benefit you the most and look for courses that use them.
Qualified instructors: GMAT instructors should be certified and it’s interesting to know in which GMAT percentile they score. While this tells you their level of intellectual preparation, it doesn’t give you any information about their teaching methods, patience and availability. Talk to former students or contact online reviewers to guarantee that a certain instructor’s approach fits your needs.
One full mock test (at least): Taking a full mock test, preferably replicating the conditions you’ll find on the day of the actual exam, is an integral part of any good GMAT preparation course. Remember that you must test your emotional as well as your intellectual preparation before the big event.
Defining your GMAT student profile
If you wish to get a good preparation, you’ll need to start by defining your student profile. Look at the following set of questions and choose the one you most identify with.
- Do you prefer studying alone? Do you enjoy the possibility of repeating lessons that online options offer? Do you have the necessary discipline to attend a self-paced online course?
- Is your only goal to go through test contents and strategies? Will studying in a classroom help you by making you listen to your fellow students’ doubts? Are you more likely to study if you commit to an institution?
- Are you dealing with confidence issues as to how well you’ll be able to score? Do you need personal, face-to-face encouragement while you review materials and practice?
Choosing the right GMAT course for you
If you answered “YES” to the first set of questions, you should invest in an online course. Here are some of the best:
Highly recommended by students and very reasonably priced, it includes 6 strategy webinars; 300+ practice questions with detailed explanations; 25 online tutorials covering the entire contents of the test; and free study materials.
Customizable course that begins with a set of video lessons and moves on to review materials and exercises followed by video explanations of how well you fared. More expensive than eGMAT, but also more user-friendly (it even allows you to construct your own GMAT test).
Take a look at the blogpost about the best books to prepare for the GMAT and explore the brands’ online offers too.
If you answered “YES” to the second set of questions, enroll in an intensive course close to your home or office. If you’ve already chosen your MBA and have the option of attending its GMAT preparation course, take it: it’ll help you start adjusting to your future campus and get acquainted with the school’s services. Explore the course’s full potential by engaging with fellow students, creating study groups and exchanging materials and by establishing a personal relationship with the instructor. Above all, don’t neglect your study time at home!
Finally, if you answered “YES” to the third set of questions, simply follow the recommendations above regarding the importance of quality materials; qualified instructors; mock tests; and personal referrals and schedule introductory appointments with 2 or 3 instructors to understand the one whose personality and approach best suit yours.
Enjoy your study! And whichever option you choose, remember that you'll only be successful if you're disciplined and practice everyday.