There is so much that 2018 has to offer. You can video conference nearly anyone with a camera and Internet connection, you can order nearly any product or food possible at the mere touch of your fingertips—you also have a plethora of options from which to choose when it comes to getting ready for the GMAT. Have you thought about all of the selections available to you when it comes to preparing for this vital exam? Have you made a list of avenues and routes you can take to attain that high score?

Perhaps many of you are determining and scheduling test dates for the end of 2018 and well into 2019. No doubt you are thinking about how best to prepare for the GMAT, as admittance to the school of your dreams partly rests in how well you do on exam day. As with anything, there are a diversity of falsehoods and rumors on how to get ready for this test, but we want to focus on the truly effective means of preparation. Thankfully, there really are a variability of routes and ways you can go to attain your intended high score—all it takes is determination, concentration, as well as hard work. Let’s break down and examine how best to approach GMAT prep in 2018 and beyond.

  1. Utilize mock practice exams.
    How can we highlight the value of mock exams? Diagnostic practice tests are the finest means attainable to track your progress and keep record of your ever-improving score. Not only do they allow you to see the exam as a whole and not divvied up into practice exercises and question type-specific drills, but they also provide a sense of “the test day experience,” which is truly invaluable.

If possible, try utilizing practice tests that are computer-adaptive so as to simulate exactly what you will confront on test day. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, “computer-adaptive” is the means by which many of the sections on the GMAT are tested; for instance, how well you do on one particular section may find out how easy or difficult the questions in the following section will be. Naturally, taking a paper-based practice test is better than not taking one at all; however, if possible, find mock tests on the computer and that are adaptive. You might as well make every effort possible to facilitate the test day experience in your practice—this consists of finding exams that are replicas of authentic GMAT tests that are computer-based.

  1. Choose an optimal course of study.
    The most important 2018 GMAT preparation tip out there is to determine a course of study that is optimal for you and your objectives. Thankfully, with the technology possible in 2018, there are a plethora of test prep choices that are sure to accommodate your busy schedule and chosen means of learning. As well as the more traditional “brick and mortar” in-person GMAT prep courses, the online/digital ones are just as viable, allowing you to study in the convenience of your own office or home. Private tutoring is also available online, as well, which may be a better fit for students who work better one-on-one as opposed to in groups.

Regardless of the format or layout of your means of study, make sure you find one that fits your needs and will accommodate your score aspirations. Choosing one that is rigorous but also flexible is a common goal amongst many prospective test-takers. Also, allowing yourself the luxury of 3-4 months to practice is ideal, as well. No one ever scored well on the GMAT by cramming last-minute without adequate hours.

  1. Go to the source.
    When you’re in doubt—go to the source. When we talk about “the source” in this instance, we are referencing specifically GMAC—otherwise known as the Graduate Management Administration Council. This organization is the creator and innovator behind the GMAT and they have a diversity of offerings on their website, as well as MBA.com, that afford continued insight into the test-taking process as a whole. GMAC offers a plethora of practice exercises, as well as answers to frequently asked questions that can shed some light on anxieties, concerns, and areas of misunderstanding. Furthermore, GMAC offers a free mock exam, which can be of great value in your GMAT course of study. In the end, no one knows this test finer than the people behind it, so bookmark GMAC’s website and online materials. Don’t be a stranger to “the source”, especially this one—it could mean the difference of a good score to a great one!
  2. Keep an error log.
    “What on earth is an error log?” you might be asking yourself. Well, it’s not a phrase that is thrown around often, but one that is valuable for GMAT preparation. Who wants to fret over one’s errors, anyway? Aren’t we all here to enhance our score and highlight our strengths? Unfortunately, to raise our scores, we have to also focus on our shortcomings. How else are we to see improvement on problem sections or areas or questions types that cause us consternation? Any great instructor, whether from reputable top tier exam prep companies like Manhattan Review or Manhattan GMAT Prep, will tell you to keep a log or journal of all of your GMAT-related slip-ups.

Doing so zeroes in on your problem spots and facilitates you to fine tune your course of study to cater to your needs and weaknesses. We can’t only emphasize what’s going well in our GMAT preparation, we also have to center around our blunders to see impressively elite scores. Naturally, if you focus on these errors over time, you are sure to see improvement with the correct tactics, strategies, and techniques. Try doing so with a notebook and pencil and make sure to include dates on each entry; not only does this help in overall organization, but it also makes your mistakes accessible, clear and understandable.

  1. Register Early.
    By having the foresight to register early for the GMAT, you are giving yourself sufficient time to study. This means you can circumvent cramming last-minute strategies and information into your head the week prior to exam day and you approach the test as a whole with reduced anxiety and trepidation. Sitting for the exam a few weeks before your application due date is usually not giving yourself enough time. Not to harp on “worst case scenarios,” but many high scorers don’t attain their intended score the first time they take the GMAT.

According to GMAC, you cannot retake the test more than five times in a calendar year, and retakes must be no less than 16 days apart. In other words, thinking you can turn around and schedule a retake a week after your first isn’t possible. Hence, it’s important to allow some leeway. Remember—retaking the GMAT doesn’t mean you have failed in any way and leaving room in your preparation schedule for a possible retake isn’t planning for catastrophe. In the end, give yourself the luxury of time when sitting down and planning for a lot of these vital dates, as it can come in handy down the line.

In the end, only you can conclude which pieces of advice, tips, and test-related guidance are of real value to you—but hopefully, these five have guided you as you approach the remainder of 2018 and beyond with GMAT-related aspirations. Above all, it’s important you stay confident and self-assured, knowing you have it in you to conquer your problem areas and come out of the testing center feeling truly at ease.

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