Once you have decided that MBA is your ultimate career goal, the next step for you is to prepare for the GMAT. Most good B-schools shortlist an applicant basis two aspects – a. The student’s overall profile and b. their GMAT score. Therefore, GMAT clearly gets a high weightage in the MBA admission process and it is, thus, important to score well on GMAT. However, there are certain mistakes that students make when they begin preparing for GMAT. These mistakes, if not taken care of, can significantly impact your GMAT score –
3 Common Mistakes Beginners Make
Students who jump right into prep-mode without proper planning tend to make certain mistakes that lead them to a lower score. Here are the 3 most common mistakes they make and why you should avoid them –
1. Preparing from too many resources
This does not mean that you cannot refer to more than one resource during preparation. In fact, a lot of students do their research which involves going through multiple resources to find one that suits their needs the most. However, it is important to ensure that you are not learning one concept from multiple resources. Not only will it leave you confused because different resources follow different methods to solve the same question, chances are that you may end up learning not even a single method to solve the problems correctly. Thus, getting a low score on GMAT. Another mistake that students most commonly make is relying only on OG in the beginning. While it is important that you refer to OG, because not only do you get to practice real GMAT questions, you also get a good insight into how your GMAT exam is going to look like. However, relying on OG alone may not be enough for you, because OG is more of a practice question bank. So, if you have just begun with your prep and you are not so confident about your basics yet, you first need to work on strengthening your foundation skills. Once that is done, you will be able to utilize OG better.
2. Not following a strategy/study plan
There are several reasons why following a study plan is important for students preparing for GMAT. While you may have 3 – 4 months to prepare for the exam, you may quickly run out of time if you study inconsistently or without a strategy. With a carefully constructed study plan, you will know what to study when, which topics to revise on which day, whether you need to speed up, and how to track progress at regular intervals.
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A Good Study Plan Needs A Target Score:
Target score usually depends on your target school. For instance, if your chosen school’s average GMAT score from the previous year is 680, your target score should ideally be a 680+. Therefore, your study plan will be incomplete if you do not have a target score. Also, having a set goal will keep you motivated throughout preparation, will make progress monitoring more useful, and your study plan will be built accordingly.
Suggested Read: How to create a good study plan?
3. Not tracking progress
Progress monitoring from time to time is important because it helps you to understand whether your current strategy is working or if you need to focus on certain topics more than the others. There are two main reasons why you should track improvement –
For Working Professionals Who Study on/off –
Most working professionals have a lot of commitments, because of which their GMAT preparation often tends to slow down and preparation becomes ineffective. Suppose you have a 4-month preparation window. Now, when one month passes, you are unaffected because you feel you still have a lot of time to prepare. But, when 3 months pass and you are still nowhere, you realise that your GMAT preparation is delayed. The solution to this is to define timeslots for each day and ensure that you study for at least 30 minutes even on your busy days to build a habit.
Tracking improvement –
Since most of the topics on GMAT are inter-related, you must ensure that you are well-versed with one topic before moving on to the next one. Preparing the various topics in the right order reduces your chances of committing mistakes, enhances confidence, saves time, and improves your chances of scoring a 700+ on GMAT. Want to know the correct order? Click here
Other Helpful Tips
Apart from avoiding the 3 most common mistakes, here are some helpful tips that you must keep in mind when starting your prep for GMAT –
Tip 1 – Do Not Put Off Doubts for The Last Minute
One mistake that a lot of students tend to commit during preparation is leaving their doubts for the end. As already mentioned, most of the topics on GMAT are inter-related and inter-dependent. For example, to get a question based on CR correct you need to master your inference skill and then move to RC. But, if your inference skills are weak, your chances of making mistakes increase in RC. This means when you postpone your doubts for the last minute, you increase your chances of getting a low score on GMAT.
Tip 2 – Focus on Quality rather than Quantity
The fact that Quality matter more than Quantity can be applied in two different scenarios –
One, many students believe that practising more questions is the best way to score well on GMAT. What they do not understand is that practising more questions alone does not help. If you are making the same mistakes and getting similar questions wrong every time without looking into the reason why you got them wrong, you are not making any progress. Therefore, practising more questions does not help unless you are spending enough time on analysis.
Two, studying for several hours at a stretch. If you are comfortable with studying for several hours at a stretch, that is okay! But, if you think it wears you out or your productivity is best when you study in the morning or later at night, 3-4 hours every day during these productive hours is enough.
At the end of the day, consistency is key! Following the right steps, such as
- finding the right resource
- following a study plan
- revisiting weaker sections at regular intervals, and
- taking mock tests to track progress
will help you sail through your GMAT preparation with ease! Also, remember to stay calm, both physically and mentally, and decrease the intensity of preparation in the final week.