It’s possible that you need to push back your business school applications a year or two. Here is a breakdown of the process to achieve your target GMAT score:
I found many parallels between the process of studying for the GMAT and surfing a wave, so I’ll use this analogy to help provide a visual image.
Find Your Motivation – Waking up at dawn, throwing on a stiff wetsuit, and jumping in chilly water is tough. Tougher still is doing it over and over again while you barely see improvement in your surfing skills. You need a burning motivation to get yourself out into the water day after day even when you don’t feel up to it.
The same goes for the GMAT. Unless you have a sound reason to attend business school and thereby attain a solid test score, you won’t have the undying motivation to continue studying day after day in the face of immense adversity.
Why do you want to go to business school?
How will it affect your life?
Is business school really necessary for you?
Find the answers to these questions before picking up your first GMAT book. You won’t see gratifying results immediately so you’ll need a bulletproof ethos to fuel your desire to progress each day.
Understanding the Motion of the Ocean – Learning how the waves work (how they form, peak, break, and end) is the preliminary skill in surfing, and it could take a year or so to fully understand. Once you understand the waves, you can optimally position yourself to ride them. But without knowing where to be and when, you’ve got no chance.
The GMAT is a formulaic test unlike any other you have taken before. It’s dynamic and adapts to your skill level so that you miss approximately 50% of the questions. Think about that – when have you ever taken a test in which you expected to get HALF the questions WRONG. Therefore, there is a strategy to beat the GMAT and you must learn it. You must learn the optimal technique to maximize your score. I did so with the help of a tutor from Manhattan Prep.
Your initial time studying should be dedicated to learning how the test works; I tried this with and without a personal tutor. It’s much easier to learn from a tutor.
See Your Goal – A surfer has to prepare for a wave as soon as he/she spots it off in the distance. The surfer has to calculate the time it will take to get into position and then situate himself/herself accordingly.
Fitting numerous hours of studying into your busy schedule will take advanced planning. As soon as you’re committed to taking the GMAT, you should come up with a timeline to take your first test so that you have an end goal to work towards. This will allow you to devise a schedule that will help maintain pace and motivation. Also, it will provide a checkpoint or benchmark in your GMAT process to ensure that you don’t get caught in a black hole of endless studying. Work towards a goal.