My Top 6 Tips and Tricks for the GMAT

  1. As I stated in my previous GMAT post, not all questions are scored, so why should you treat all questions the same? GMAC tests new questions on GMAT test takers. These unscored questions are likely to appear in the middle of the exam.  So if you are running behind or if you read a question that is going to take too much time (much more than 2 minutes during Quant or 1:40 minutes during verbal) guess and move on!  There is a decent chance the question might not be scored or you could get it right anyway.  This strategy will buy you time to focus on the questions that matter the most, the first 7-10 and the last 7-10 questions.
  2. Do some studying on your own to familiarize yourself to format, timing, and question types before taking your first practice exam. Diving into a 4-hour exam with no familiarity will be a waste of your time and possibly demoralizing.  If you are purchasing exam materials or courses, they might ask you to take the exam during the first week of studying to set a baseline for their score guarantee.  This is even more reason to begin your studies before testing, a 50 point guarantee on a 500 will do you no good if your goal is 700.
  3. Utilize the course reviews and free resources on prior to purchasing any materials beside the Official Guide.
  4. You should spend almost as much time reviewing your mistakes (wrong answers and taking too long) on practice exams as taking them.
  5. Plan to spend 100-130 hours on your prep (including practice exams).
  6. Sign-up for two exams 1 month apart once you think you will be ready for the exam. Most people end up taking the test twice anyway and knowing that you have that second opportunity will really relax you during the first test.  If you do end up testing well the first time, you can cancel the second and know that it was worth the investment to have that extra piece of mind.  If you do not do well on the first exam, you might not be able to sign up the next exam for a couple months and that is not ideal.  In general, it is worth retaking the exam if you feel you can do 20+ points better (unless you score 750+, please do not retake the test if you score in the 99th percentile!).


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