1) Have a study game plan. As you probably know, cramming does not help you learn in the long term or the short term. Make a test prep schedule on your Outlook or Google calendar that carries you from now to test day. Block off specific times for studying, and include benchmarks to help you keep track of your progress. For example, if your start point is 530 and you’re aiming for a 680, how many hours of prep are you willing to put in to make this a reasonable goal? Preparing well in advance will not only help your score, it will help you feel relaxed and confident when you sit down to take the test.
2) Win the war, even if you have to lose a few battles. Going into the test with the goal of scoring an 800 is a surefire way to sabotage yourself. If you get stumped by the first question, you’ll spend too much time on it, and you’ll have no time or confidence for the rest of the test. The key to scoring high is accepting beforehand that you may get a few questions wrong. Brush off tough questions with a quick “oh well” and refocus on the next question with 100% confidence. Don’t let tiny setbacks ruin your chances for an excellent score.
3) Take a practice GMAT with the AWA. Really. Many people think they spent so much time honing their essay skills in college that they don’t need to worry about the AWA. They know that their AWA scores don’t directly affect their GMAT scores. But keep the stamina factor in mind. Writing an essay for a class is a far cry from writing an essay in a high-pressure test environment. We highly recommend taking GMATPrep CATs with the essays first. Jumping into Quant right off the bat is one thing; spending a full hour brainstorming and writing feverishly, then hitting Quant and Verbal is entirely another. Test day should not be the first day you do anything. Even Hemingway would have wanted to take at least one CAT with the AWA.
Knewton.com offers live online GMAT and LSAT prep courses. Visit their website for more information or for free practice tests and sample questions.