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Eight Steps to a Winning GMAT Exam Prep Plan

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You can succeed on the GMAT exam with the right prep approach. Read these eight steps for GMAT preparation to build your confidence and help you get a high score on the GMAT Exam.

Everyone has t a sure-fire way to ace the GMAT exam, or so it seems if you read the thousands of websites, articles, and blogs related to GMAT exam preparation. Instead of overwhelming yourself with all that information, use this 8-step GMAT study guide to test your best.

Step 1: Understand the GMAT Exam fundamentals

Before you decide how to prepare for the GMAT, learn all you can about the exam. Research the test structure, topics, and exam guidelines. Figure out how others have prepared so you can identify available resources and common test pitfalls.

Step 2: Set your GMAT Exam targets

Set personal goals to keep yourself motivated and focused. If a certain GMAT exam score is your aim, take a practice test to gauge whether your goal is realistic and what will be required to achieve it. You can also set time-based goals, such as testing by a specific date, or activity-based goals like completing a certain number of practice problems each week.

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Step 3: Imagine your ideal GMAT learning environment

Whether you study for the GMAT in eight weeks or take the full six months, determine what you need to succeed. Identify the characteristics of your ideal learning environment: Do you prefer a supportive and encouraging setting, or is a more demanding one better for you? Other characteristics include structured, flexible, competitive, collaborative, self-paced, directed, communal, and individual.

Step 4: Research GMAT preparation options

Once you review the best practices for GMAT preparation, know there are three primary exam prep methods: self-studying, taking a course, or working with a private tutor. Most candidates use more than one. For example, a candidate working with a tutor will still use self-study methods between sessions. While a candidate primarily studying on her own may use materials from a formal test prep course. As you learn more about each method, align that with the perfect learning environment you identified in the last step.

Step 5: Set a realistic GMAT study schedule

Preparing for the GMAT exam takes time and money —often two of your most limited resources. Think about the time you have to prepare for the GMAT in terms your finances, schedule, and commitment level. Determine the money you can spend and your ideal learning environment so you can find the combination of self-study, coursework, or private tutoring that works best for you.

Step 6: Evaluate your GMAT study guide options carefully

By now you’ve narrowed it down to two to three GMAT preparation options. Vet each one thoroughly. If you are considering tutoring or a course, evaluate the specific instructors for experience, empathy, and energy. Specifically, look for: significant teaching experience, empathy to support you when you’re struggling with a concept, and energy to keep you engaged after you’ve worked a full day. Even for the self-study method, investigate materials as closely as you would a course. Read reviews, particularly from previous test-takers who have a similar profile to yours.

Step 7: Develop your GMAT exam study plan

Regardless of how you study for the GMAT exam, create your own study plan that incorporates your course or tutoring syllabus and details about when you will study and when you will complete sample questions and full-length practice tests. Build in accountability measures to keep you on track, such as leveraging a study partner or setting regular intervals to assess your GMAT exam progress and adjust your plan.

Step 8: Resolve to succeed on the GMAT exam.

Is the GMAT hard? Like any endeavor you take on for several months, it certainly isn’t easy. But with the proper GMAT preparation plan and commitment, you will do your best on GMAT exam day. Embrace the challenge, use your mistakes as learning opportunities, and celebrate your small victories along the way.

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If you’re not sure where to start on your GMAT test prep journey, we’ve got you covered with expert advice to point you in the right direction.

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