Unlocking The GMAT: Outscoring Rivals

Outwork your peers

Many of your peers will be seduced by misguided messages touting that the GMAT can be gamed with tricks and testmanship; they can study less, yet score higher. Your opportunity and challenge are to outwork your competition by learning and practicing more and being better prepared. Dedication and perseverance – not tricks – drive competitive GMAT scores.

According to one GMAC report, students who scored 700 or higher studied, on average, for 121 hours. However, many students will likely discover that 300 study hours or more are required to earn such a score. At the top, hard work is the rule, rather than the exception.

In fact, much information on GMAT preparation can be learned from Asia-Pacific students. These students have been known to fully engross themselves in GMAT prep for six months or longer, outscoring students from other regions on key GMAT sections, such as the quantitative section. Study with the goal of being more prepared than your peers. If you follow only this one tip, you’ll be ahead of much of the competition.

At this point, you have a strategic study plan in place and are hard at work. You’ll next want to work smart by studying with the best resources.

Work Smart: Leverage advances in GMAT preparation methods 

Your peers believe they can outscore the competition by preparing with exactly the same commonly known resources used by everyone else. Your opportunity is to find innovative study technology that affords you a competitive advantage. Major advances in GMAT preparation and next-generation study options can do wonders for your score. We’re at a major inflection point in test prep, so consider jettisoning traditional study options for online self-study platforms. These programs can offer a powerful array of features to help you efficiently improve. Read online reviews to determine which products the most successful students use, and then follow their lead.

Deciding if a course is right for you should be simple: It should feel like one of the best educational experiences you’ve had. The instruction should be exceptional, and the questions should be realistic. Robust analytics should be available to help you discover and eliminate your weaknesses, as should practice tests with a large bank of questions. Above all, learning should be enjoyable! If you don’t love the instruction you’re receiving or don’t feel you’re progressing quickly, switch to another course right away. Don’t waste valuable time. You don’t have to settle.

Oh, and by the way, here’s a systematic solution to the bat-and-ball problem, in case you were wondering:

Let B = the cost of the bat                        Let L = the cost of the ball

Equation 1: B + L = $1.10                         Equation 2: B = L + $1.00

L + L + $1.00 = $1.10   ->    2L = $0.10       ->  L = $0.05

We see that the ball costs $0.05 dollars, or 5 cents.


Scott Woodbury-Stewart

Scott Woodbury-Stewart

Scott Woodbury-Stewart is Founder and CEO of Target Test Prep, one of the fastest growing GMAT test prep firms on the market. Scott is writing a special four-part series for Poets&Quants with advice for the GMAT. He and his team can be contacted for a personal consultation.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.