So you did less than your best on the GMAT? Read on!
The GMAT can be brutal sometimes. After months of preparing week after week, day after day, sometimes the result comes out to be significantly below your expectation. This can mean not just frustration and disappointment at not being able to reach a target score, but also concern around being able to muster your strength for a second attempt and do better next time round. Retaking GMAT is not about being disappointed, but about analyzing what went wrong, and then fixing it.
1. First up, understand that retaking the GMAT is about smart planning
Rather than spend your time in disappointment and dismay, it is important for you to pick up the threads now, when the concepts that you studied are still fresh in your memory. Some GMAT-takers (especially Indian test-takers) make the mistake of packing up their books and taking a month’s break to get the disappointment of the previous attempt behind them before trying again. If you are to retake, you must begin preparing now.
Next, you need to take stock of what went wrong in your prior attempt. This may be related to time management, conceptual difficulties, or just getting stuck with one question type. If you are unsure about where your difficulties lie, you can contact us – we offer free GMAT diagnostic tests to help pinpoint your weaknesses.
Finally, once you have figured out the key reasons behind your underperformance, start preparing to take the test again. Know that the GMAT is an adaptive test and therefore it will test you across all test areas. Not addressing your weak areas hoping that you will not be tested too much on them is therefore hoping for the impossible. Instead, you must focus on shoring up your strengths in those areas. Plan smart to maintain your strengths and make up for your weaknesses. DO NOT go into the test again blind, hoping for a different outcome without implementing a different approach.
2. Weak on GMAT concepts? Address them first – before you practice!
Some test-takers jump headlong into retaking GMAT by starting to practice a huge number of questions. Practice makes perfect – but only after you have understood the concepts. Without that, the conceptual weaknesses you have will continue to exist, and will still harm you on your retake. Look to iron out those conceptual weaknesses first. If that means going over the concepts for some topics, do that. If it means taking a GMAT preparation course, do that. GyanOne offers topic-specific GMAT preparation (which means you can take classes only for the topics that you are weak at) as well as 1-to-1 GMAT preparation (one teacher-one student, to help focus specifically on YOUR learning needs, not that of a batch of students). We have helped hundreds of GMAT-takers to raise their score by around 50 points, and also helped others to move from scores of around 680-700 to scores of 750+. The difference between a great score and an ok score is often only about understanding the few concepts that can help push your performance to stratospheric levels!
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3. GMAT Practice tests – extremely important after you get the concepts
After you understand the concepts, do not underestimate the importance of practice. The GMAT is a hands-on test. It is not just about knowing how to answer questions but about knowing how to answer questions within a specific period of time. Conceptual clarity, time management, speed, and stamina are all important factors to have. Taking practice tests can help you to build each of these.
Ensure that the GMAT practice tests you take are representative of the real GMAT
While practising and taking tests are important, equally important is ensuring that you are practising with material that is representative of the kind of questions you will get on the GMAT. Unfortunately, there is a ton of material out there that is either too easy or too hard, taken from other tests (like the LSAT or the Indian CAT) and therefore not a good match for the kind of questions you will see on the actual GMAT. The Official Guide for GMAT Review, Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review, Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, and GMATPrep tests are the basic minimum that you would need. If you are looking for practice beyond these or have already covered them, get in touch with us. We provide questions that are designed to closely simulate the difficulty level of the GMAT, and practising them can help you prepare yourself well for retaking GMAT.
Don’t just take practice GMAT tests – analyze them
After taking a practice test, it is also very important to analyze it. Did you get tired? Was there a class of question that nagged you consistently? Did you fall short of expectation on a particular section? Analyzing this, more than just looking at the overall score you got after completing the test, will help you pinpoint your areas of improvement.
4. Keep an eye on the available testing slots at your GMAT testing center
In the heat of GMAT-taking season, GMAT slots fill up quickly. As all others applying to B-school are also taking the GMAT around the same time, periods around July-September and December can see available slots being quickly filled up. If you are retaking the test around a critical date (i.e. if a delay can affect your ability to apply to a school, although you should never cut it that close by a long shot), make sure that the slot and date you want is available by booking it a few weeks in advance. Also remember that you can take GMAT only once in a calendar month.
5. Go out there and give your GMAT retake your best
This may seem obvious, but here is a point worth repeating – when you retake, leave the bad memories of your past attempt firmly behind. This is not just a reattempt but a fresh attempt. Take it as such and do your best!