Scoring High on the GMAT – 8 Tips to Help You Get A High Score

by Maximilian Claessens
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Scoring High on the GMAT – 8 Tips to Help You Get A High Score

The Graduate Management Admission Test, or the GMAT, is a test designed for aspiring business school students. Thanks to its challenging mix of grammatical and quantitative questions, a good GMAT score is one of the most important metrics that graduate schools consider when deciding who to admit onto their courses.
But what does success in the GMAT actually look like, and how can you achieve it? What should you do for scoring high on the GMAT?

If you’re a student studying for the GMAT, this gruelling test can seem daunting, but don’t worry – in this article, we’ll be bringing you our top tips for acing the GMAT with a super high score.

How Does The GMAT Work?

Before diving into ways for scoring high on the GMAT, let’s cover some basics. The GMAT is an effective way of testing an aspiring student’s ability and aptitude for further study. Over 2400 top schools and institutions worldwide use it to assess whether candidates might be suitable for Graduate level management programs.

Some of the key skills assessed by the test include analytical and problem solving capability, as well as logic, critical reasoning and data processing awareness – tailoring the required skills in this way makes it a reliable indicator of a student’s future success in the world of global business management.  

Why Is A High GMAT Score Important?

While you might not think that a high GMAT score is crucial to your studies, scoring high on the GMAT could play a bigger role than you think in your career progression, especially if you’re aiming to apply to top schools in the United States. Scored out of 800, the results of this test can provide an accurate picture of an applicant’s natural ability.

We’ve compiled the recent score requirements for some of the top business schools across the US, to give you an idea of the typical range you should be aiming for.

PROGRAM2021 GMAT SCORE2020 GMAT SCORE2019 GMAT SCORE
Colombia Business School – MBA729726727
Harvard Business School – MBA730730730
Dartmouth Tuck – MBA724720723
Stanford Graduate School of Business – MBA738733734
UC Berkeley Haas – MBA726727725
Yale School of Management – MBA730720720

As you can see, if you’re aiming for one of the most prestigious graduate schools in the country, your GMAT score will be a key part of your application. So scoring high on the GMAT is an absolute must! Remember – these scores are the average for each school, meaning that a large percentage of the students admitted in each year will have scored higher than the displayed total. But they are a good reference for figuring out what score you should aim for.

It’s not just school acceptance that drives the need for a high GMAT score, either. One of the biggest reasons you should push yourself to reach the best score you can is because a large number of scholarships and financial aid packages are handed out to students who ace the test – even if you’re only slightly above average, you’re setting yourself in good stead for funding opportunities. So let’s dive straight into the best tips for scoring high on the GMAT!

8 Tips For Scoring High On The GMAT

Opting to sit the GMAT should not be a decision that you take lightly, as you’ll need to spend a lot of time, energy and even money preparing for the test. However, if you’re confident that this is the right career move for you, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to start getting ready.

Here are our best GMAT prep tips, designed to help you get your highest score yet.

Prioritize Consistency

If you’re trying to ace the GMAT, consistency is key. Not only will you need to develop good study habits for at least a few months, but you’ll also need to ensure that the study time you’re putting in is based on a regular schedule that allows for adequate rest. Consistency can come in many forms, but for the GMAT, your schedule should include:

  • Enough Sleep

Sleep research over the past two decades has shown that not only does getting enough sleep help you perform better on tests, but it can also help you memorize, retain and recall new information. As you prepare for the GMAT, sleep will become an invaluable resource that you should prioritize consistently. 

  • Regular Study Breaks

Another area of your schedule that you should prioritize for scoring high on the GMAT is regular study breaks, and you should ensure that these are introduced consistently, to give your body and mind time to rest between long study sessions.

  • Staying Hydrated

Drinking more water brings a whole host of benefits, including improved blood pressure, digestion support and improved body temperature regulation. However, another plus to staying hydrated is that water can significantly affect your brain function, and drinking more allows you to work at an optimal capability throughout your long study sessions.

  • No Cramming!

Although it can be tempting to cram all of your study into a short time period, especially if this is an approach that you’re used to for other tests, cramming will not work for the GMAT. This test is very demanding, and you’ll need to stick to a consistent study plan for at least three to four months.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

When it comes to GMAT prep, a lot of students turn to the help of example or practice questions, and set out on a noble quest to solve as many of them as possible.

While this approach is admirable, it isn’t optimal for studying high on the GMAT.

The GMAT tests more than grammatical concepts or quantitative theory – it builds on your mindset and natural aptitude for management practices, not all of which can be taught by the pages of a book. Understanding the nuances of the test and working smarter, not harder, will allow you to develop your own approach to getting a high score.

Part of this will involve setting clear goals, that identify the areas you aren’t doing so well in as a springboard for improvement. You might choose a specific topic within the GMAT, or work on your wider analytical skills, but either way, slow progress is still progress, that will go a long way when you sit your final exam.

Log Your Mistakes

It’s easy to shy away from our mistakes, especially when we’re passionate about what we’re doing. Still, if you’re trying your best to improve your score, but keep struggling with similar topics or questions, then you should know you’re not alone.

Understanding where you’re going wrong in your practice sessions is a great step towards knowing what to work on. For instance, if there is a specific section consistently pulling your score down, completing a Sectional Test that focuses on this individual area will help you to brush up on your skills without having to sit through numerous full tests.

To get the most out of your study, and make mistakes feel less overwhelming, try to create a Mistake Log, in which you note down all of the mistakes you make in practice sessions. This can give you an overview of any patterns or consistencies that appear, so that you can learn from them and effectively implement changes.

Use Practice Materials Wisely

Whether you’re self-taught, using an online course or taking lessons with a dedicated GMAT coach, there are a number of things you can do to boost your score, and they involve finding the practice materials to support your journey. When using practice materials, try to vary your choices to give you as much exposure to different question styles and sources. You can include:

  • Mock Tests

One of the most commonly used resources in the world of the GMAT are mock tests. If you’ve never completed one before, this is good news – it means you won’t waste an opportunity to see the test for the first time with a clear perspective. Simply taking mock tests one after another without getting feedback or working out where you can improve isn’t the best use of your time, so try to optimize the effects of a mock test by taking them only when needed.  

  • Study Guides

Whether you’re self-taught, or you have professional guidance, there are some great study guides out there that can help you prepare for the GMAT. Finding the right material is an important first step before you dive into study, so don’t leave it to chance.

By optimizing your use of practice materials, you can ensure that the work you’ve done is worthwhile – and you’ll have no regrets about the effort you’re putting in either!

Replicate The Test Environment

At roughly a three and a half hours duration, and with its own unique rules, the GMAT is notorious for testing your mental stamina as well as academic capabilities. Because of this, it’s important that you prepare under typical test conditions, and practice sitting your mock tests to the standard timing. Elements of the test hall that you can introduce to your prep include:

  • Timing Work

Although the GMAT is a very long test, you’re only granted two optional eight minute breaks across its entire duration. This means that throughout the exam, you’ll be expected to manage your time effectively. By practicing at home, you can accustom your mind and body to working long hours sat at a desk, so that the final exam doesn’t come as a surprise.

  • Plan Your Breaks

When sitting your mock tests, you should also take breaks only as you would expect to in the exam, which will help you to acclimatize to the GMAT environment.

  • Use Test Style Equipment

Only use in your mock tests what you will be allowed to use in the official sitting. Exam invigilators will enforce the GMATs own rules on notepads and pens, which means you might get caught off guard if you aren’t prepared for this change. Don’t let your chance go to waste simply because you weren’t used to a specific notepad or pencil! And of course, don’t even think about using a calculator.

Invest In Your Health

While you’re studying for the GMAT, it’s easy to let yourself fall into some bad habits, particularly around your activity levels and diet. If you’re sat working at your desk all day, you might find it difficult to get out into the open and exercise, or eat nutritious, healthy food. However, these are incredibly important for scoring high on the GMAT.

Investing in your health is actually one of the best things you can do while studying for the GMAT. Not only does it improve your general brain function, but it can also leave you with more energy with which you can keep pushing forward. One particular study even shows a direct correlation between a healthy lifestyle and strong academic performance!

Push Yourself Harder

The GMAT is complex, but not impossible. A lot of students around the world achieve very high results on the test each year, so it’s completely feasible to assume that you might, too. One of the biggest ways to do this is to push yourself harder, leaving your current comfort zone and attempting questions that you might usually shy away from.

Having clear goals does help you to push yourself to reach them, so maybe if you’re new to GMAT goal setting, set a small relevant task to complete as soon as you can. This way, you can get up to speed with the GMAT processes.

This is also a great way to establish your potential for the test – if you never try the tough questions, then how can you be sure whether you can answer them correctly?

Seek Out Help If Needed

If you’re studying for the GMAT alone, it can be a lonely road, and one that can be difficult when you run into problems or get stuck on a specific question. As part of your prep, ensure that if you ever hit a barrier, you seek out professional help where needed. This score can dictate your future, so ensure you give yourself a fighting chance wherever possible.

Closing Words For Scoring High On The GMAT

The GMAT is a demanding test that isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you want to get into some of the United States’ top schools, it’s an absolute must that you do as well as you can in order to achieve a high score. By following these top tips, you can slowly change your daily lifestyle to have more study time and a consistent routine. Before you know it, you’ll be scoring high on the GMAT and accepting an offer to the study at the school of your dreams!

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