Tuesday, June 20, 2006

GMAT Woes

It's been great seeing the Class of 2009 bloggers beginning to post! I've also received a handful of e-mails and thought I'd share some Q&A's. (Note: My answers may be biased towards my own experiences.)

Q: I have just started my GMAT prep and am confused about how to proceed.

To begin tackling the GMAT:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the test format. Two essays, the verbal and math sections - how much time each, how many questions each, what types of questions are given, etc.
  2. Then take a practice test. Take a free test.
  3. See how you score. Where are your trouble areas? Now you know where to focus most of your study time.
  4. The best book to use is the Official Guide. It contains real questions from past GMAT exams. Any question that you miss, take your time to really understand the correct answers. There are common "types" of questions that will appear repetitively on the test.
  5. Register for the test: http://www.mba.com and use the test date to motivate you to study.
Q: I am going through a strange phase of the GMAT prep, kind of loosing steam. How can I overcome this?

We get restless because: 1) you just want the test to be over with, 2) you are becoming more scared and excited of the actual outcome, and 3) you can't wait to be knee-deep in the actual applications. :-)

Everyone has different study methods that work for her, but a couple things that may help are:
  1. Pace yourself. Don't try to cram so much studying in one sitting! This becomes overwhelming. Some people frantically do practice tests one after another. I gave myself 3 months of study time and tackled one practice test per week. The rest of the week I would do practice problems, slowing down to carefully pick through my trouble areas.
  2. Set goals. To get through the entire Official Guide book aim to finish 30 problems every day or whatever number you choose. For the problems you miss, make sure you understand WHY the solutions are correct.
  3. Do you get nervous taking tests? If you're anything like me, I may sing beautifully during a rehearsal, but my voice croaks and my knees shake during the actual performance. Often they tell performers to pretend the audience is naked so the funny image helps them relax. If you're nervous on tests, tell yourself, "There's nothing to worry about. I can do this! I will ace this test!" Repeat this to yourself aloud. If you freak out over each wrong answer, you'll just worry and stress out more until you can't focus (and then careless mistakes are made). Find a way that helps you relax before each practice test. I think more clearly when I'm calmer.
  4. Breathe. If you're mind is racing and your palms start to sweat - take one deep breath in and let it out slowly. Take a couple more if you need to. Those 10 seconds you spend calming yourself down is nothing compared to the 75 minutes you have to do all the problems.
  5. If you still can't focus when you're studying. Put it down. Take a break. Go out and watch a movie, and then come back later with a clear mind ready to study.
Q: Does it makes sense for me to look into schools now and start their essays or should I think about it after my GMAT score is out?

Yes, start researching schools now. On GMAT test day, you can select 5 schools to send your score reports to for free. Take advantage of this by walking into the test knowing which schools you're *hoping* to apply to.

For now, put most of your time into studying for the GMAT. I aimed to take the test once and score above 700. (Fortunately, this happened.) In the meantime, do keep an eye out for when schools post: 1) 2006-2007 deadlines and 2) next year's application. (Some essays questions may change year to year.) Also, start brainstorming on the common essay questions:

  1. Why an MBA? Why now?
  2. Long-term & short-term career goals?
  3. Why school X? -- For each school you apply to.
  4. Leadership experience and something you learned from it.
  5. Teamwork experience and something you learned from it.
Remember: Time is limited. From now until your application due dates you should map out a timeline for your: 1) GMAT study, 2) essays, 3) recommendations, and 4) filling out the applications.

I leave you with some GMAT links:

GMAT Forums
GMAT Prep Help

35 Comments:

Blogger Forrest Gump said...

fabulous writeup. although i dont intend to give another shot at that beast, i still enjoyed your post. i am hoping that you will follow up with a post on the more subjective parts of the application.

June 21, 2006 6:59 AM  
Blogger FooBarMe said...

So what happened to your Haas PT app?

June 21, 2006 4:31 PM  
Blogger brownoski said...

good educational post, maybe you can be an MBA admissions consultant during the summer

June 23, 2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger 889 said...

great post! a must-read for gmat test-takers!

June 24, 2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger Anuj said...

Hey I guess the waitlist results must be around the corner .. Good luck

June 24, 2006 8:52 PM  
Blogger AceNomad said...

Good post.. answers all the Qs one can face during the gmat cat test prep.. keep up the good work!!

June 24, 2006 9:13 PM  
Blogger UniQpath said...

Awesome post! How are you doing nowadays? All set for Chicago? Or still hoping for a sign from Stanford?

I am back to the essay board, might send you a question or two
:-)

June 26, 2006 9:22 PM  
Blogger MGalBlue said...

Wow I wish you had put this up a year earlier. I would have much better GMAT score :)

June 29, 2006 2:21 PM  
Blogger guymba said...

i'm impressed!!! Very detailed blog. Just great! just great!

July 04, 2006 7:34 AM  
Blogger MGalBlue said...

Congratulations and celebrations! (talking about the comment you left). I am so happy for you. If you were in my city, I would have taken you out for a drink gal :) So when is the big day?

July 05, 2006 4:54 PM  
Blogger Anuj said...

You might be interested in the review on Under COver Economist. Its on my blog.. Hope all is well and u r having fun

July 09, 2006 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Abbie said...

This is a great post! Have you heard anything about any prep courses? I live an hour north of NYC so if you know of good online courses, or something, I'd like to hear about it.

July 20, 2006 6:23 PM  
Blogger Redwolf056 said...

So, is it definitely Chicago GSB now? :) I have to say I'm glad because then we could actually meet up in Chi-town at some point... Bloggers unite!

July 22, 2006 2:38 AM  
Blogger Spanky said...

Any word from the big S?

July 22, 2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger westcoastgirl said...

Very detailed. Thank you.

July 30, 2006 7:44 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

I notice that you said you were from Missin San Jose Highschool. I graduated from MSJ as well in 1999. I am planning to take the GMAT soon and was hoping if I can speak to you. Maybe through email/aim/etc? Thanks!

-Kelly
kellyc319@gmail.com

August 03, 2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

hola! how's it going? did you decide to stop updating your blog too?! anyway, just wanted to say hi and see how the move to chicago was coming along.

August 06, 2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger Forrest Gump said...

hey miss k - wassup? where are you?

August 11, 2006 8:40 PM  
Blogger UniQpath said...

Are you off to Chicago?

August 18, 2006 7:12 PM  
Blogger FooBarMe said...

Hope you are having fun at Chicago!!

August 30, 2006 9:52 AM  
Blogger prepfortests said...

Well done sounds like you did fantastically on the GMAT.

Thanks for sharing a great set of tips on preparing for the test.

I hope you don't mind that I have added you to our page of Tips from successful GMAT takers.

September 10, 2006 2:09 AM  
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July 22, 2008 8:29 PM  
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January 01, 2009 7:21 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Congradulations on your amazing jouenry. For those who are still making the journey, let me suggest a few resources from someone who just completed the journey himself.

1.) Official Guide GMAT

2.) Free GMAT Prep resources like GMAT Practice Questions

3.) Beat the GMAT

February 04, 2009 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you checked TotalGadha GMAT? They are coming up big way in GMAT.

April 08, 2009 11:47 PM  
Blogger preeti said...

Congrats for this achievement. Those preparing for GMAT exam then they should give extra time in the preparation. Because mostly B-School school only consider those students who have passed the GMAT exam with good score.

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