You have signed up for the GMAT and you want to know: what GMAT materials should I use? What kind of prep does it take to get a good GMAT score? First of all, remember the Great Law of Mediocrity: if you do only what most people are willing to do, you will get only what most people get. If you want outstanding results, this requires outstanding preparation: not an attitude of “what’s the least I can do?” but rather “what else can I do?” The GMAT is hard — not impossible, but a good challenge, and with the proper preparation and enthusiasm, you bring your best to it.
Start with the best GMAT books and resources. That would no doubt include the Manhattan GMAT books, which are perhaps the finest GMAT prep source in print. I’ll also recommend a free GMAT ebook that summarizes the basics you need. In addition, it’s important to have a proper GMAT study plan, which will allow you to organize all this material and use it efficiently.
Play to your … weaknesses!
During your GMAT prep, you should give particular attention to those areas in which you have not traditionally shown strength. If you are a math whiz, then shore up you your Verbal. The best thing you can do for GMAT Verbal is simply read every day: the Wall Street Journal and the Economist magazine, periodicals with which you will have to be familiar when you are a manager, are obvious choices for anyone’s GMAT reading list. In everything you read, analyze grammar and sentence structure, and also analyze the structure of arguments.
If you are a verbal maven, then focus on math. As you probably know, you don’t get a calculator on the GMAT Quantitative section. Do mental math every day, ordinary arithmetic in your head. Practice estimation in real life situations. Study the graphs that accompany articles in the WSJ or Economist — you will need to understand graphs just like this on the GMAT Integrated Reasoning. Remember that the skills required on the GMAT are, in many ways, the skills a manager uses every day: look for the real world intellectual challenges that might be facing a good manager, and reflect on how you might puzzle through them.
The success mindset
Overall, preparing for a successful GMAT performance requires focus, dedication, and commitment — not unlike what brings success in many business undertaking. The sooner you can cultivate the managerial mindset in yourself, the more you will understand the GMAT not as an external obstacle but rather as part and parcel of the challenges you are embracing in pursuing this career. Best of luck to you!