Far too many test-takers think that plowing through study materials starting with chapter 1 will be enough to get them a good score on the GMAT. However, strategy is generally preferable to brute force. By approaching your prep more strategically, you can streamline your test prep and avoid wasted time. If you want to optimize your test prep, there are some strategies you can apply from the start.
Before you get too deep into prep, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the types of subjects tested on the GMAT, as well as which of those subjects tend to appear most often. Know about the quirks of the test, and know what the test expects you to do.
Don’t just pick a GMAT prep book and start working from chapter 1. Divide the material in a way that makes sense to you (e.g., focus on two concepts per week). Once you’ve assessed your skills with a practice test, you’ll know how much time to spend on each of the five GMAT question types, and you’ll have a good idea of which concepts you need to be target.
If you’re not keeping track of where you’re making mistakes and why, it’s hard to improve. If you track your errors in an error log, you’ll be able to spot patterns and drill down on what’s holding you back.
Don’t overload on study hours just to get a certain score. If you’ve been studying for 3+ hours and can feel your brain turning to mush, you’ve probably reached a point of diminishing returns. And don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s a perfect correlation between hours studied and score earned.
Test prep is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has different needs and different styles of prep. Don’t be afraid to try something a bit unconventional, and don’t be afraid to switch things around halfway through. If one test prep resource doesn’t offer you as much value, it might be time to kick it to the curb. In addition, don’t be afraid to check out online resources. And of course, try out the Prep4GMAT app for iOS and Android.