The GMAT is not easy. Nor is it meant to be. But rather than being complicated, it is deceptively simple. It is not, as most people believe, a two-and-a-half-hour test of your quantitative and verbal skills. Instead, it measures your ability to apply logic and critical reasoning to a problem whilst under pressure: a crucial competency needed throughout the MBA and beyond.
During my time at Smurfit, I have learnt that critical reasoning is something that has been expected of me in every lecture of every module. That expectation has been upheld not only by my lecturers, but also by my fellow MBA candidates. Setting a high GMAT score as a benchmark ensures a greater standard of debate and discussion in the classroom.
The best advice anyone can give comes straight from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “don’t panic”! Here are some tips, from myself and others, on the best way to go about studying for the GMAT.
Never mistake activity with achievement, a 700 plus GMAT score requires more than 100 hours of productive study. You must know your core arithmetic and formulae through and through and constantly consider, when it comes to improving your score, what’s the most effective use of your time. I’d recommend using only one broad preparation course (Veritas Prep is just one such example) in addition to the questions in the Official Guide: using multiple courses only leads to mixed messages. Limit your study period to six intense weeks, any longer and your preparation will become stale. Pick a test date, you will make it work!
As for the exam itself, the GMAT is all about time management. If you go over the two-minute mark, make sure you know how to answer the question. Never spend over four minutes on one question for any reason: guess strategically and move on.
Time management is a crucial skill, and one you should refine by sitting practice tests beforehand. With that in mind, be sure to make use of the two official (and, crucially, complimentary) practice tests that become available upon registering for the exam, as these will best reflect your actual experience on the day.
Finally, don’t be afraid to question your intuitions. Remember, there is not one right and four ‘sort of right’ answers, but instead one right and four wrong answers. With the GMAT, logic is king!
Robert Patrick Brennan MBA FT 2017/18