A7. How did you prepare to take the GMAT?

A few MBAs put in less than a month of studying; these are the natural test-takers.

Most people put in 1-3 months of studying. If they were self-disciplined, they studied on their own. Some chose to take a class. Note that there are classes for people targeting scores above 700, which is widely considered the minimum score to get into a top 20 school.

Note that it's generally believed that the practice tests are significantly harder than the actual test. Also see Benjamin Olds' comment below about canceling scores.

Books recommended by our MBAs:

  1. Veritas Prep Complete GMAT Course Set - 12 Books
  2. GMAT 2016 Official Guide Bundle
  3. Kaplan GMAT Premier 2016 with 6 Practice Tests: Book + Online + DVD + Mobile
  4. Manhattan Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set, 6th Edition

Course, in person

Saritha Peruri

Took the GMAT during college to prepare far in advance

Ezra Englebardt

Did several thousand questions before I took the test; learning timing was crucial

Christina Chang

Class was helpful in focusing study habits

Benjamin Olds

Took the class, but didn't find it helpful; don't cancel your scores!

> 1 month of books, practice tests

Sharon Liszanckie

Changed my test-taking style, 100 point difference

Wendy Lu

Practice was the best method; famliarity with format is key

Eric Dittmar

The GMAT was the only metric that is universal to every applicant, therefore it is the most important single metric; those 4 hours changed my life forever

Colleen Duke

Got one of those big ass books and brought it to bed every night

Anjali Saraf

2 months of books and practice tests; pay attention to the percentiles on both math and verbal

< 1 month of books, practice tests

Ashish Kasturia

Be aware of your demographic (e.g., male, engineer, from India)

Jon Kornik

Less about practicing content; more about practicing process (how to answer the questions)

Jason Liu

Took a diagnostic, got a 690, which was close to my target score of 700; focused on verbal

Murali Krishnan

Did only self-study due to military; would have preferred to take a class

Individual tutor + course

Daniel Siegman

Did an online course and got individual tutoring on math; try to stay calm during the test

Course targeted at 700+ scores

Elizabeth De Montigny

If you're trying to get into a top school, take a course with people shooting for top scores

Course, online only

Amber Turley

Would have taken personal classes to raise score; online wasn't ambitious enough