12/4/17

Have you all taken the GMAT? Is it hard to study for it? I'm thinking about applying to business school but I really am stressed out about taking the GMAT.

Comments (18)

12/6/17

depending on your cold score and goal, I'd budget around 200-400 hours of studying

edit: thanks for the MS? i went from 620 cold to 740 on my first attempt with around 200-250 hours of studying over 10 weeks so this is from experience.

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12/2/17

Give yourself at least a year's lead time before your applications. The vast majority of GMAT success stories come from people who sit more than once. 1-2 months of studying for your first attempt at ~10-20 hours a week (depending on your test taking capabilities) is probably good. That's enough time to get through all of the Manhattan or Veritas course materials and have a few weeks of extra prep. That score can serve as a benchmark for how far off you might be on a second attempt.

It's hard but not hard in the way you think. Lot of topic breadth, not a lot of depth. Middle school/high school math and english concepts.

The reason the GMAT is hard in the 700+ score range is you start seeing a lot of questions that require very creative problem solving and logic/reasoning. You can't get by on this test through memorization and calculation. You need to become good at shortcut math and very strong at using frameworks to organize your thoughts and creatively work your way to a solution. It will be different than any test you've ever taken.

That being said, don't stress too much until you've taken it once. You can now retake without any penalty from admissions (because you can just cancel a score once you see it).

12/5/17
BreakingOutOfPWM:

Give yourself at least a year's lead time before your applications. The vast majority of GMAT success stories come from people who sit more than once. 1-2 months of studying for your first attempt at ~10-20 hours a week (depending on your test taking capabilities) is probably good. That's enough time to get through all of the Manhattan or Veritas course materials and have a few weeks of extra prep. That score can serve as a benchmark for how far off you might be on a second attempt.

It's hard but not hard in the way you think. Lot of topic breadth, not a lot of depth. Middle school/high school math and english concepts.

The reason the GMAT is hard in the 700+ score range is you start seeing a lot of questions that require very creative problem solving and logic/reasoning. You can't get by on this test through memorization and calculation. You need to become good at shortcut math and very strong at using frameworks to organize your thoughts and creatively work your way to a solution. It will be different than any test you've ever taken.

That being said, don't stress too much until you've taken it once. You can now retake without any penalty from admissions (because you can just cancel a score once you see it).

Can the schools see that you cancelled a score or they don't even see that? Thanks.

12/5/17

I'm not 100% sure but it doesn't matter either way. They don't care about past attempts anymore. I tutored the GMAT for years and have seen people with 5 attempts finally hit their target score and pop - in to business school

12/5/17

It's crazy to think that there is a lifetime limit of eight attempts.

12/5/17

They don't see it.

See: https://mba.com/us/frequently-asked-questions/cancelled-score-policy-update.aspx#question4
"To ensure that test takers have an accurate record of their GMAT exam history, you will still see all your GMAT exams on your record, including cancelled scores. However, cancelled scores will not be displayed on the version of score reports sent to schools."

Nothing short of everything will really do.

12/3/17

Agree with the above. I think 100 hours is the number of hours to budget to reach 700+ (assuming you aren't deficient in any topics). Could be more or less depending on your starting point.

As BreakingOutOfPWM said, to earn a high score, you need to truly "understand" how things are working vs. just memorizing, as the GMAC is very good at creating questions that can differentiate between the people who truly understand and those who have memorized.

12/3/17

The GMAT was a beast for me. I had always done well on standardized tests, but the GMAT kicked my ass for the better part of a year. 8 months, 4 attempts, and 1,000's of hours later, I broke 700. My good buddy studied for a month and got a 750 on his first try.

Best advice is to not compare yourself with others. You may crush it first try, or it may take you 2-5 tries. Stay persistent, find out what study method and materials work with you, take the official practice tests like they're the real exams, and you'll be set.

Good luck.

12/4/17

I second this. I have always done reasonably well in school, especially my quant/finance courses, but somehow that did not transfer smoothly / reflect well when I first started studying for the GMAT. It took me 4 attempts and a year to get to a respectable score relative to my peers (I'm in the unfortunate "over represented minority" bucket); in essence a 700 GMAT (~90 percentile) would be considered a weak score for me. Definitely start early and once you get into a groove with studying cadence, it becomes second nature.

I also had a buddy (who was in the same FLDP I was in) who got a 750 on his first try with only 2.5 months of studying. He then went on to pass CFA level I and II on his first try. Completed all of this in 15 months.

Some people just come out of the womb pre-wired for success on standardized tests. I had to do a lot of the rewiring myself post-birth.

12/4/17

as an MD you shouldn't have a problem

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

12/6/17

I've sat the GMAT once this year and bombed. I did well throughout my undergrad and chartered accounting but this is a whole different game. Personally I've clocked in well over 300 hours prepping (my diagnostic was really weak, a 430) and i'm now hovering in the 600 bracket.

Even if you have a year to prepare for it, I strongly recommend focusing on it for a short period of time (3 months) and sticking to one primary preparation resource e.g. manhattan. My downfall was using multiple resources, which just burnt a heap of time, and not doing consistent practice tests.

Wish you well.

12/6/17
tehoriginal:

I've sat the GMAT once this year and bombed. I did well throughout my undergrad and chartered accounting but this is a whole different game. Personally I've clocked in well over 300 hours prepping (my diagnostic was really weak, a 430) and i'm now hovering in the 600 bracket.

Even if you have a year to prepare for it, I strongly recommend focusing on it for a short period of time (3 months) and sticking to one primary preparation resource e.g. manhattan. My downfall was using multiple resources, which just burnt a heap of time, and not doing consistent practice tests.

Wish you well.

Can you give a quick rundown on how one should prepare on your experience? If I bought all the Manhattan guides - Basics Math and Verbal, Strategy Guides and Advanced Quant - do I need to study the official guides as well?

12/6/17

i used MGMAT guides + OGs + GMATQuantum.com (course + free OG video answers) + extra CATs from GMAC. I would highly recommend the OGs for practice problems.

12/6/17
Gibbs:
tehoriginal:

I've sat the GMAT once this year and bombed. I did well throughout my undergrad and chartered accounting but this is a whole different game. Personally I've clocked in well over 300 hours prepping (my diagnostic was really weak, a 430) and i'm now hovering in the 600 bracket.

Even if you have a year to prepare for it, I strongly recommend focusing on it for a short period of time (3 months) and sticking to one primary preparation resource e.g. manhattan. My downfall was using multiple resources, which just burnt a heap of time, and not doing consistent practice tests.

Wish you well.

Can you give a quick rundown on how one should prepare on your experience? If I bought all the Manhattan guides - Basics Math and Verbal, Strategy Guides and Advanced Quant - do I need to study the official guides as well?

Stick to official material and gmatclub.com. That forum is pure gold, you can find the hardest question bank and the most similar to the actual GMAT. The OG + gmatclub.com has no rivals.
In 2 weeks I went from 610 to 740.

Manhattan is sooooo overrated, the contents are very different from the actual GMAT and their CATs are awful. Veritas, way better, but again, if I had to takethe GMAT again I'd buy OG and some extra tests on gmatclub.com.

Best Response
12/7/17

@Gibbs

The truth is people will suggest whatever worked for them. The revered companies, such as Manhattan and Veritas, will typically be a good place to start. I used the Economist + Manhattan books (i found the foundation math vital to brushing up on high-school math).

I found Manhattan's Quant + SC books good, but didn't like their CR/RC books. I havent' been through the Advanced Quant book as most people rate it 'overkill'.

After my first attempt I used EmpowerGMAT, which I find to be more to the point and better for people who have a working knowledge of the GMAT content.

At a high-level, you essentially need to do the following:
1. Understand where you are
2. Understand the content and retain it
3. Complete OG Questions (Official Guide and Official Reviews for Verbal and Quant)
4. Undertake CATs at regular, appropriate intervals
5. Maintain an error-log or some form of structured review of your incorrect answers, so you may go back and understand the subject areas you are weakest in and improve them. An error log will also allow you to understand the types of errors you may be making.

The key to this is consistency. People who take breaks after their first GMAT attempt report that they suffer from 'GMAT Amnesia' - where they essentially forget things. This comes back to the fact the GMAT is more skills based.

A good analogy is the act of bodybuilding. Think of practice questions as repetitions, topic areas as body parts and the content as your knowledge. To build muscle you need to know what you are doing in the gym (content), but you learn a lot as you go (skill component). Bodybuilders train with volume (repetitions) through which the body part adapts to stress. But the bodybuilder only recovers and improves between training sessions if he has the right nutrition (diet + exercise + sleep). The GMAT is much the same and the proof will be in the quality of your study and variance between CAT scores.

12/6/17

I used VeritasPrep Full live online course and the official study materials (Official Guide, GMATPrep) and ManhattanPrep practice tests. Started in May and averaged 720 on practice tests by July. Took my first real test and bombed the quant section and got 620. I didn't sleep well night before, took redbull when I never drink caffeine, started with verbal section first when I practiced with quant first, and was a nervous wreck. Schedule second test 3 weeks out in August, and just hammered out a bunch of ManhattanPrep tests, same test scores of around 720. Bombed the quant section again because I didn't finish and scored a 660. Scheduled test for September, changed quant strategy by incorporating up to 4 punts (skipping 800 level questions when I couldn't see the shortcut) and was able to walk away with a 720. So the entire process took me about 5 months. I think learning the concepts only took a 3 months, and it took 2 months to get over anxiety and creating/executing a strategy. Btw, I was working full time so definitely do-able. And I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but if I can do it so can you.

12/7/17

Thank you to everyone for your inputs.

OP, I feel like my mind has become so dull after leaving college and working in a not very quant role for the past few years. I think I might even enjoy this GMAT process and feel sharp again. Can't even calculate a tip on restaurant bill without a calculator.

12/7/17

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