Hello everyone, my name is Danielle and I’m an M.S. in Commerce (MSC) student with a unique career goal compared to the majority of students in the program. I have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Winthrop University, a small school in South Carolina, and I’m using the MSC program to my first step toward a career as a professor. Since this career goal will require further graduate school in a doctoral program (post-MSC), I retook the GMAT* this summer to position myself as more competitive in future applications. This makes me somewhat of a GMAT pro, and I’m here to provide some advice on tackling the intimidating test.
If you are reading this, you probably cringe hearing that I took the GMAT more than once. In the seconds following my first GMAT, I told myself I wasn’t going to go through it again and rebelled by throwing away my study materials. Unfortunately, I knew deep down that I could do better and that if I took it again and increased my score, I’d be more successful at getting to where I ultimately wanted to go after my master’s: a competitive doctoral program.
Through much encouragement from those around me, I managed to convince myself that I would take the GMAT another time and conquer it. While training my mind and body to tackle my worst enemy I needed to create an original study schedule. Previously, I bought “Cracking the GMAT,” taking a couple of practice tests throughout the studying process, but this strategy did not work for me. The first time around, I unknowingly focused on strengthening skills I already possessed rather than learning new concepts that would benefit my score.
Looking back to my test day, I remember the palm vein scanning and the endless clicking and typing of others in the testing room, which intimidated me and exacerbated my heightened anxiety level. However, these are things that you will expect going in for the second test, allowing you to focus solely on the task at hand: tackling the GMAT. Beyond the familiarity with the testing center, I can offer the study tactics I used to improve my score the second time around:
Take a practice test to analyze your particular strengths and weaknesses; tests that include the breakdown of the question type ( Ex. Princeton Review) are the most useful.
Read blogs and websites such as GMAT Hacks and Beat the GMAT to grasp many strategies and test taking tips that you can implement into your study plan. The most useful skill I gained from reading these sites was when and how to guess. The GMAT is not a test of intelligence, but rather of endurance.
Practice the concepts you often miss, relearn information you do not remember, and retest.
Take multiple timed practice tests throughout your study schedule, trimming 5-10 minutes off of each section. This eliminated my fear of the clock on the real test day.
Take multiple timed tests and study during the time of day when you will be taking the real GMAT.
The most important tip I would give to anyone in a similar situation is to have confidence in yourself. Tell yourself that you have studied all you can and that you will knock the GMAT out of the park!
Each of these tips can be accomplished without spending a penny of your money; you just have to be willing to commit the time. Eat, breathe, and live in the GMAT mindset and you will be as prepared as possible. Most importantly, with confidence in yourself, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, even the GMAT!