Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't Worry...Be Prepared

The GMAT is oftentimes the greatest hurdle to overcome in order to apply for business school. There is nothing to fear as long as you’re prepared. If you are a recent graduate or still in undergrad, now is a great time to take the GMAT if you plan on going back to get your MBA within the next five years. Test scores are valid for five years, and it’s typically a lot easier to study for the test while you are still in college.

Preparation is the key to the GMAT. Take time to familiarize yourself with the test and to speak with people who have already taken the GMAT. I’m sure they’ll be more than willing to share their insight. After you have familiarized yourself, it’s best to stick to a study schedule that fits your schedule. Some students start studying six months or even a year before the test; while others just spend two to three months in order to prevent burnout. Both Kaplan and Princeton Review offer review courses, which many students find helpful. Whether you should enroll in a GMAT prep course depends on what type of learner you are. If you benefit from the classroom environment, this is a great option. GMAT preparatory books and online resources are a great way to prepare for the exam. There are also practice exams available at, and it’s a good idea to practice the exams online before going into the test. This will give you a more realistic feel for the test as compared with the paper-based practice exams.

While you are practicing, really dive into why the answer is correct. If you take time studying the theory behind the answers it will pay off when you take the exam. Most importantly, remember to go into your GMAT preparation with a positive attitude. Make studying fun. Figuring out the answers to complex problems and reading comprehension can actually be interesting.

Remember you will have to make accommodations in your lifestyle in order to prepare adequately for the exam. This may mean giving up watching television or going out with friends, at times. If you are confident about your GMAT preparation, it will make taking the exam a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience. Good luck!

Kristi Martin, Assistant Director of Admissions, Illinois MBA

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