“For some people, the GMAT can become a months-, even years-long obsession. It shouldn’t be that way. That certainly isn’t what business schools, or the makers of the test, intend for it to be”, writes Jeff Sackmann. He should know, he has written many GMAT preparation books like “Total GMAT Math” or “GMAT 111”.
GMAT preparation drags out for people not because the test is too hard, or that it takes so long to prepare for it. The most common cause is insufficient commitment, says Sackmann. Therefore he recommends a study period of three months max, since “if you limit your number of weeks, you need to maximize your commitment”.
Here is what the experts say on how to tackle the prep:
Go for it every day, if possible. Commit to getting the GMAT over with. Most importantly, commit to several weeks of consistent work, even if it means temporarily sacrificing other parts of your life.
Make a plan
Implement a study schedule, it helps to focus your efforts and give you relevant directions. Make a time plan: time devoted per week/day for each section.
Take the diagnostic test
Taking the diagnostic test should be the first practical step while preparing for GMAT to find out where your knowledge has gaps. Familiarize yourself with the test-taking procedures. The results of the diagnostic test will expose strengths and weaknesses and give you an idea of where efforts need to be focused most and least.
Focus on building your vocabulary; incorporate extra reading from a variety of sources in your daily routine and practice ample test questions.
The math sequence of the GMAT tests on elementary math skills and data sufficiency problems. Try and brush up on basic math that is tested and master basic calculations.
Professional test providers
Many turn to professional test-prep providers. To find out providers’ “Beat the GMAT” rating (one to five stars), have a look at the website http://www.beatthegmat.com.
For a more personal evaluation of each provider, visit the “BusinessWeek” forum. Based on user ratings it will tell you how test-takers benefited from some of the more popular test-prep offerings, as well as the results of an ongoing poll rating each one.
“BusinessWeek” also provides an overview over the major providers such as
> 800Score, 40 US dollars, self-study, online program. 600 pages and videos online have prepared already 150,000 students. Very convenient, but without instructor, guide or advice.
> GMATPill, 347 US dollars for complete package, recorded classes online via video. Students work through videos and the official GMAT guidebook, practice exams, and questions provided by MBA.com. Students can ask questions online, but the MBA.com practice tests are available to everyone for free anyway.
> Kaplan, 1,549 US dollars for an on-site course; 649 US dollars for an online course; 449 US dollars for GMAT On Demand. Kaplan is a huge test prep factory and has experience teaching students how to win points on a variety of exams, not just the GMAT. Students can take one computer adaptive practice test in an actual GMAT testing centre without generating an official score, but Kaplan is pricey.
> Manhattan Review, 1,550 US dollars for an intensive course; 1,099 US dollars for a long course; 899 US dollars for an online course; 675 US dollars for a self-study program; 850 US dollars for a weekend crash course. Classroom-based test prep in the U.S., Western Europe and Asia. Students can take evening or weekend courses, but compared with the competition the online material looks a bit old-fashioned.
> Veritas Prep, 1,650 US dollars for a 42-hour classroom course, 1,800 US dollars for a one week 42-hour immersion course; 950 US dollars for a full course live online. Longer course than most in14 lessons, but that makes it costly, too.