I bought the foundation books in November and started working methodically through them but I found that I wasn’t making progress quickly enough – I had a lot of other commitments at the time so it kept falling to the bottom of the list (but to be honest I was procrastinating!) So I signed myself up to a 10 week course with Manhattan Prep in February.
Ryan was honestly a fantastic teacher and the structure really kept me on track – I had to turn up for a three hour lesson each week so I knew I had to do the homework! I took the test in May, a month after my course ended – I had managed to keep up with the reading but I needed more prep on the questions. It went so well I was accepted into the course and I was lucky enough to be awarded the Brilliant Minds Scholarship.
What did you find the most challenging element of the test and how did you tackle this in your preparation?
It’s just the fact that it’s adaptive, you feel like they are trying to catch you out. This made it completely different to any other type of test I’ve taken. I found the strategy advice given in the books and classes are really useful. It made me feel more confident that I knew what I was doing and I was ready for the ‘trick’ questions. I think half of doing well at the GMAT is just staying calm enough to give it your best shot.
What advice would you give to prospective students about preparing for the GMAT?
If you are having trouble motivating yourself to study, book yourself onto the course. It is a significant investment but it’s minimal compared to the amount you are going to spend on the MBA. Don’t let the GMAT hold you back from getting on the course.
The other thing I would say is to start taking practice exams as soon as possible. Just take loads of timed tests and if you don’t have three hours to spare, then do timed sections. No matter what you are struggling with, this will help you. A lot of it is about time management, stamina and getting used to the types of questions they ask, so don’t put it off, just do it.
What advice would you give to prospective students about coping on the day of the test?
I hated that waiting room. I imagined everyone sitting there was so much more prepared than me, they looked so confident. But they weren’t – no one enjoys it. Everyone feels anxious so just try to stay as calm as possible. Bring snacks and energy drinks. Our GMAT teacher told us to take breaks between each section and I did that. I actually left the room, had a sip of red bull and mentally prepped for the next stage. I think that helped me keep calm and a little more refreshed as it gave me a routine to focus on. Just make sure you’re back in the room on time!