600 is a very respectable goal score for many business school applicants. The range of GMAT scores at many excellent MBA programs, such as Indiana (Kelley) and Michigan State (Broad), begin s round 600. A score of 600 or higher generally signifies solid critical reasoning ability, a skill that is valued in management positions.
If you plan to apply to business school in a few months, you should register for the GMAT immediately. (Although you can take the exam once a month every month of the year, desirable slots are quickly filled). If you intend to apply within 3 months to a year (or even a few years,) you can embark on a more comprehensive studying program. Since GMAT scores are valid for 5 years after your test date, it is never too early to begin your preparation
Review any GMAT material you can find online (link here)., and download the free practice test from the mba.com website. Assess your performance and decide whether or not it meets your standards. If you are already scoring a 650 or higher, you may not need to study much more, but you should still review material to maintain your score.If you are scoring below 550 or even 500, do not panic. With a bit of hard work, it is definitely possible to reach your goal score of 600.
Figure out what materials you will use for your preparation.To maximize your chance of scoring well, consider enrolling in Knewton GMAT, Knewton’s GMAT prep class adapts to your specific strengths and weaknesses, helping you improve your score efficiently. Knewton understands that many MBA applicants are busy with 60+ hour work-weeks, so classes are flexible. At $690, classes are also cost-effective, so you don’t have to spend anywhere close to $1400 (industry standard) to obtain world-class, cutting-edge test-prep.
Whichever study method you choose, begin targeting your weaknesses immediately. If you are scoring well in Reading Comprehension but having trouble with Data Sufficiency, focus primarily on Data Sufficiency (while periodically reviewing reading comprehension) If you are having trouble with Reading Comprehension because you perceive yourself to be a poor reader, do not assume that all hope is lost;. Study strategies that help you determine the main idea, purpose, attitude, and structure of whatever article you are given.
If you are getting almost every question wrong for a specific question type, try going back to the basics. Review underlying question patterns and trap answer choices, then clear your head and take a break. This way, you’ll return to the question type with new knowledge–and new energy. Be sure to take the time to read each question carefully; you may be surprised at the extent to which mistakes can be avoided by truly understanding what each question is asking.
The more specifically you target your weaknesses, the better. For instance, if you know that you can handle Data Sufficiency algebra problems but have difficulty with Data Sufficiency word problems, drill with those types of questions for awhile. The harder you concentrate on your weaknesses, the faster you will see tangible improvement. At the same time, remember to keep the big picture in mind: harness your strengths and maintain your mastery of areas in which you excel.
Create a study schedule you can follow for at least a few weeks. For every 10 points you lag behind with your GMAT score, try to study approximately one hour a week for a month (at least). For instance, if you are scoring a 520 and aiming for a 600, you should try to study about 8 hours a week for a month. (These projections are a rough estimate; study patterns vary greatly from person to person.) Depending on your personality, it may also help to make GMAT prep a social experience and pair up with a study partner.
Take another practice CAT if you haven’t already. Remember: take breaks only when allowed, and don’t consult outside sources. In order to get an accurate assessment of your skills, it is important to take the CAT under test-day conditions.
A week before the exam, consider taking a series of practice CATS to gain familiarity with the feeling of the exam. Get used to the level of mental and physical endurance required. Review test-day protocol, so you don’t inadvertently break test center rules.
Don’t cram for the exam at the last minute. It is unlikely that such preparations will raise your score. Instead, make sure that you eat and sleep properly. Remember that the exam is partially a stress and endurance test and that however much you prepare, you may still encounter something unexpected. Do your best!
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