The preparation for the GMAT can be highly stressful and time-consuming. Before even preparing for the GMAT, it is wise to ask yourself the following questions:
(1) Why do you want to do an MBA? Why do you want to do it now?
(2) Which career path would you like to pursue after an MBA? Is there a particular function you wish to specialize in?
These questions are reflective, challenging to answer, and seemingly unrelated to the GMAT itself. However, they crucially determine whether you should pursue an MBA (and even study for the GMAT) and which schools and programs to target. Furthermore, the answers serve as a goal and a motivation for your GMAT preparation journey!
Like any other skill, practice makes perfect on the GMAT. Give a mock to see which area needs significant help and focus more on that area. The Official Guide is a great starting point but challenge yourself to more difficult questions using free resources on the GMAT Club and other books such as the Manhattan quant and verbal series. Keep a log of questions you got wrong that you can revisit later to see if you can solve them.
Devote equal time to reading the analysis of the solution. Read the explanations for questions you got wrong and those you got right! Solutions help break down the reasoning of the question and provide insight into the approach needed to solve a problem.
The GMAT preparation journey is arduous. Looking back, if there were a takeaway from my preparation, it would be consistency. Juggling the GMAT while working a full-time job is challenging, but consistently chipping away at it significantly increases progress. Devote a manageable amount of time every day and stick to it. Even an hour or half an hour every day will be much more beneficial than long sittings once or twice a week. On the weekend or holidays, try to devote more time to learning the theory of areas that give difficulty.
The last thing to stress would be to keep the end goal in mind. Have a rough date for when you would like to give the exam, and if you’re courageous, maybe even book a date in advance to keep you on track. The end date’s pressure adds stress but also adds focus and commitment.
On a final note, the exam day itself can be stressful. Believe in your preparation. Know that, while not ideal, you always have the opportunity to give it again. And after it all, on the horizon awaits your dream B-School!
Aditya Ranjan Yadav