How to Crack GMAT With Only 1 Month in Hand?

    Updated on: 24 May 2022

    The Graduate Management Admission Test or GMAT is three-hours-thirty minutes standardized test. The GMAT score is used by business schools around the world to decide student admissions. In here, we’ll tackle the question of how to prepare for it with only thirty days in hand. Before beginning, we answer two often-asked queries: Is it better to take GMAT or GRE for MBA? and do business schools prefer GMAT over GRE?
    The answer is clear. Over “7,000 programs at 2,300 universities” all over the world accept GMAT scores. In comparison, GRE is accepted by only a few, but this number includes top colleges like Harvard, Stanford, London Business School, INSEAD, and more. If the MBA colleges you’re interested in accept GRE and GMAT scores, then you can take any one of them. If they don’t accept GRE, GMAT is the obvious answer.

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    Preparing for the GMAT in Just 30 Days: The What and The How

    What is a Good GMAT Score?

    For an MBA aspirant, GMAT is the single most significant factor to admission and it begins with setting a score goal. For that, you need to know what makes a good score.  
    GMAT has four sections, and each with a separate score. Average GMAT scores for all test takers for the period of 2015-2017

    • Verbal with a 0-60 scale score: 26.86
    • Quantitative with a 0-60 scale score: 39.4
    • Integrated Reasoning (IR) with a 1-8 scale score: 4.23
    • Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) with a 0-6 scale score: 4.44

    There is a fifth combined Quantitative/Verbal score on a 200-800 scale. It is these scores colleges utilize when judging students. 

    Anything above 700 is considered a good GMAT score. That said, the choice of an MBA college should determine what score you want to achieve.

    Let’s say your goal is Harvard Business School. Its median score of the Class of 2020 is 730. Therefore, your target GMAT score has to be over 730 because that’s what an average student at Harvard will have.
    The rule applies to most top B-schools. If you want admission to one of them, then you have to aim higher than a good GMAT score. 
    Here’s a glimpse of GMAT scores and the range of top MBA colleges of the world (Class of 2020)

    • Stanford University: 732
    • Harvard Business School: 730
    • Wharton School: 732
    • London Business School: 707
    • MIT Sloan:728
    • INSEAD: 670-750
    • HEC Paris: 690
    • Booth School of Business: 731
    • Columbia Business School: 732

    Ideal Score for Each Section of GMAT:

    Picking up the Harvard example again, the section-wise scores of the Class of 2020 are:

    • Median Verbal: 42
    • Median Quantitative: 49

    To be in the top 10% of all GMAT takers, aim for a 51+ sub score in Quant and 40+ sub score in Verbal. Otherwise, a good score is generally in the range of:

    • Quantitative: 48-50
    • Verbal: 35-39

    The IR and AWA sections do not factor in the overall score, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Ideal marks in these sections would be:

    • Integrated Reasoning: 7-8
    • Essay: 5.5- 6

    What’s the Need for a Good GMAT Score?

    Graduate business colleges give the GMAT score the most weight when considering applicants. A poor score severely harms your chances of getting into a top MBA school.

    Tips for Overall GMAT Preparation

    With basics out of the way, we move to GMAT prep strategy. When you have only four weeks in hand, here’s how you prepare for the standardized test.  Divide the month into three parts: 12 days, 12 days, and 6 days. 
    For professionals, two hours on working days and four hours otherwise are recommended study time. Put in an hour in the morning to revise concepts and an hour after work for solving real questions. Constant practice is the key to cracking GMAT. Solve as many mock tests as possible, online and on paper.

    Day 1-12: 

    • Revise the basic concepts covered in the GMAT exam syllabus. We’ve given the topics you’ll need to cover below. Spread them across 11 days.
    • Make notes, flashcards, and cheat sheets that include practical strategies for solving questions. 
    • Write down all the errors you make when answering questions. 
    • Take two practice AWA.
    • Take a complete, timed practice test on the 12th day.

    The Topics to Study in Quant:

    1. Algebra Basics, Integers
    2. Geometry Basics, Number Properties
    3. Fractions, Percent
    4. Interest, Ratios
    5. Powers & Roots, Expressions & Equations
    6. Triangles, Quadrilaterals

    The Topics to Study in Verbal:

    1. Vocabulary & Memorization
    2. Sentence Correction basics
    3. Reading Comprehension basics
    4. Critical Reasoning basics

    The Topics to Cover Under AWA and IR

    1. AWA basics, i.e., the structure of the essay (an introductory paragraph, three supporting arguments, and conclusion).
    2. The IR segment tests interpretation and data analysis. When you study the topics for verbal and quant sections, you gain the knowledge to do well in it too. Therefore, prep for IR only requires mastering the four types of question formats: two-part analysis, mutli-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, and table analysis.

     

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    Days 13-24:

    • You should move on to more advanced concepts in the syllabus. They’re given below. Again, spread them across 9 days.
    • Work on your integrated reasoning. 
    • Practice writing two AWA.
    • Start timing yourself when answering questions. Remember that during the actual test, you get an average of 2 minutes to answer one question in each section. 
    • Find ways to reduce mistakes and errors.
    • Take a complete, timed practice test on day 24th.

    The Topics to Study in Quant:

    1. Rate and Work, Positive & Negative numbers
    2. Circles, Polygons
    3. Counting Methods and Probability
    4. Sets, Coordinate Geometry
    5. Solids, Descriptive Statistics
    6. Any other topic remaining

    The Topics to Study in Verbal:

    1. Advanced Sentence Correction
    2. Advanced Reading Comprehension
    3. Advanced Critical Reasoning

    Final 6 Days or Last Week Preparation Tips 

    • Revise all the material with a particular focus on difficult concepts.
    • Make a general strategy for the entire test (more on it here).
    • Take two complete mock exams on two separate days. Time them and try to imitate the exact GMAT environment. 3.5 hours is a long time. It takes endurance so condition the mind and body to take the test at a stretch. With each mock test, you should be more comfortable with the format and time limit.
    • One day before the test, do not study. Take an off. 

    Section Wise Test Preparation Tips 

    • For the AWA, read through model essays to understand how they are written. Become familiar with the essay prompts. The official GMAT website has a list of prompts. Read through them and prepare small notes. In case one of them appears in the actual test, the notes will help. If not, then you will be well-prepared.
    • For the IR section, practice is the only trick. Remember that one question may have multiple parts. You have to answer each one correctly to get credit. GMAT doesn’t give marks for part right answers.
    • For Quant, do not use the eyes to measure angles or areas, especially in data sufficiency questions. They are not drawn to scale. Utilize the note board given. When you solve a problem in writing, it helps. Look at the answer choices before calculating the answer. It will help you solve the question faster.   
    • For the Verbal section, remember that you don’t require expert knowledge on topics. Only use the given passage to answer the questions, don’t apply any other insight you may have. Always be aware of precisely what the question is asking.

     

    Also, Read -

    What Are Some Recommended Books and Resources for GMAT Preparation?

    • GMAC’s The Official Guide
    • Kaplan GMAT Math and Verbal Workbook
    • Manhattan Prep, especially for Verbal
    • Use the official GMAT prep website to take the full-length tests.

    A Last Few GMAT Paper Attempting Strategies  

    The verbal section tends to have a correct answer and then a second-best response. Take your time to read through to which one is which, select the answer only after you are sure.
    The problem-solving questions tend to have choices that reflect computational mistakes, i.e., 2+2 =5. Always write down your calculation and then check it.
    Never leave a question unanswered. GMAT grades it as wrong. For every wrong answer, the test gives you an easier question that has fewer credits. Lower credit questions equal to a lower GMAT score.
    If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t take a random guess. Out of the given choices, try to eliminate at least two. From the remaining, make an educated guess. It will improve the probability of you selecting the right answer. 
    Once answered, you cannot go back and review a question. Therefore, be sure of your choice.
    Don't spend too much time on one question. If it’s been three minutes, then the best course is to make an educated guess and move on.    

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