Don’t be the guy in the middle. Be the guy on the right.
I have worked as a private GMAT tutor in Boston for years now, and many of my students have asked for the secret path to success on the exam. I tell them it’s like the reverse of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – All GMAT successes are successful in their own way, but all failures are alike. Below are five common approaches to studying that typically lead to unsatisfactory results.
1. Striving for quantity over quality
Practice, practice, practice. That’s a great motto when it comes to many of life’s skills – piano and football to name two. For the GMAT, on the other hand, a better motto would be “Practice, review, analyze.” While it is certainly important to practice many GMAT questions, practicing is not enough. It is much better to do two questions, review them thoroughly, and analyze what mistakes you made or what you could do quicker than to do ten and move on. Always look for patterns in questions you are getting wrong (and right), and emphasize create goals based on the quality of your studying instead of sheer quantity of questions covered.
2. Studying on test day
We’ve all done it. You wake up at 8am before a History final and cram the last few dates into your head as you bump into your classmate on your way through the classroom door. While this might have worked for you in History (though it didn’t for me), this is completely the wrong approach for the GMAT. Studying for the GMAT is about internalizing a way of thinking, and that is not something that can be done the morning of the exam. Instead, spend the morning relaxing over a warm cup of coffee and daydreaming about what life will be like after the exam is over.
3. Using poor resources
There are lots of great resources out there to study for the GMAT, but there are also lots of bad ones. Anything written by the creators of the exam is particularly helpful, but when you are venturing outside of GMAC material, make sure to do your research.
4. Taking the test too soon
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There is plenty of time to take the GMAT, go to business school, and to change the trajectory of your career. It is not something to rush into. Many studiers make the unfortunate mistake of taking the test “cold” as a warm-up. However, this is both expensive and can often reflect poorly on business school applications. Instead of using a real test as a warm-up, use the many resources out there that are available to you.
So next time you’re thinking about your approach GMAT studying, think about how to make yourself successful and avoid these common errors. And if you’re looking for help, consider giving Cambridge Coaching a call! Our expert tutors offer all manner of GMAT coaching, from data reasoning tutoring in Manhattan, to verbal section guidance in Boston. See what we can do for you today!