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10 Ways To Improve Your GMAT Score

18 Mar
The word GMAT spelled out on individual keys of a keyword

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a computer adaptive test developed by the Graduate Management Admission Council in 1953. It is used by thousands of business schools worldwide to assess the compatibility of prospective MBA students. The GMAT tests critical skills necessary in the business world, including reading, writing, verbal, and analytical competency.1

Although there are several other factors that make up a successful MBA candidate, your GMAT score is considered an important metric that can help boost your chances considerably. If you plan to apply for an MBA program, you should find out how to improve your GMAT score beforehand.

Create a Study Plan

You should start improving your GMAT score with a detailed study plan and ensure that you stick to it. This involves several steps which are discussed below in more detail. Write down each step and create a schedule based on the time available to you. Be realistic about your time - make sure not to overschedule yourself or cram too much into the day.2

Learn the GMAT Format

Completing a GMAT diagnostic practice test is one of the most important parts of your preparation, but first, you should familiarize yourself with the format. You'll find you can navigate the GMAT practice test much more efficiently if you have a clear understanding of the format beforehand.3

Complete a Diagnostic Practice Test

Before you take the diagnostic practice test, you should set yourself a target score to have a realistic idea of how much work you need to do. You can do an initial practice test at the Official GMATPrep Software site to get an idea of your current skill level. You should also research business schools and find out the GMAT scores required for various MBA programs. This way, you can best utilize your time to achieve the required score without overshooting the mark.4

Analyze Your Mistakes

To improve your score, you need to carefully analyze any mistakes you make before taking another test. Simply doing test after test will not help you learn from your mistakes. It will just reinforce the knowledge you already have.

By analyzing your mistakes, you will begin to reveal your weak spots and know where to focus your studies. You should also pinpoint the reasons for the mistakes - were you rushing? Was it a calculation error? Did you miss an important grammar concept?5

Learn GMAT Grammar Rules

Grammar makes up a large part of the GMAT test in the verbal section, where you'll be expected to rewrite sentences with the grammar corrected. Unlike a typical grammar test, GMAT grammar questions are limited to a small group of specific errors, so make sure you familiarize yourself with these. As you go through practice tests, you will begin to see where the grammar questions are focused.6

Read Complex Texts

The reading comprehension section of the GMAT requires you to analyze complex texts ranging from around 200 to 400 words. The texts cover a broad range of topics, so rather than prepare for the type of content, you'll need to develop a general understanding of academic writing.

To best prepare for this section, you should spend time reading articles related to humanities, law, business, and social sciences. Learn how to quickly summarize these articles and highlight their key points in a set time frame.4

Ensure Adequate Timing

Practicing your timing is vital for a good score GMAT. You'll need to train yourself to spend the correct amount of time on each question and move on if you can't reach an answer. Try to figure out the average amount of time you have for each question, and then practice your pacing until you can finish the test with all your time used efficiently.3

Brush up On Math Concepts

For many students, the quant section can be the trickiest part of the GMAT test. If this is a sticking point for you, you'll need to spend a significant amount of time brushing up on your math skills, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, statistics, and probability.

Although the questions are presented in a complex way, you only need a decent understanding of basic math concepts to answer them correctly. Use practice tests to get a feel for how the GMAT questions are presented.4

Write Out All Your Math Work

You won't have access to a calculator during the test, so you must know how to perform written calculations. Unless you are one of the few people who can accurately do all their calculations in their head, you should write out your work to avoid mistakes. Some people see this as a waste of time, but it can often reveal mistakes you would have otherwise missed.7

Practice Essay Outlining

When writing an essay, it's important to first create a simple outline defining each work section. This will save you time in the long run because you'll do less editing, and your finished work will be more coherent.

Practice outlining essays until you can get it down to five minutes - this the perfect amount of time to allocate in order to save time in the long run. The length of time you have for the essay is 30 minutes, so you should also practice writing complete essays in this time frame.8

Earn Your MBA Today

Santa Clara University makes a well-rounded assessment of each prospective MBA student, taking into consideration all aspects of an application, including a candidate's GMAT score.

If you're looking to progress your career and increase the scope of jobs available to you, consider earning an Online MBA from SCU’s top-ranked Leavey School of Business.