As many of you who are reading this blog are well aware - if you're looking to get into business school, most MBA programs require that you take the GMAT and each school has a target range that you want to hit to make sure that you don't reduce your chances of getting admitted which is why so many students look for a variety of ways to improve their choice. 

There are a lot of choices out there such as visiting various websites (like this one), purchasing GMAT prep books, using a private tutor, or taking a GMAT prep course among other options.  Depending on your study method, your budget and your overall knowledge of the topics covered on the GMAT will dictate what options are better for you. 

With that said, I'd like to discuss 800score.com which provides online prep material for both the GRE and GMAT and which in my opinion should be of your overall strategy for cracking the GMAT, regardless of what other avenues you decide to pursue in terms of study material. 

The reason why I'm such a big fan of 800score.com is because it's very affordable ($39.95) and yet even at such a low cost, it provides a comprehensive overview of the material that you'll be facing when you take the GMAT, strategies to use and that will help beginners as well as those that are more advanced as well as 5 CAT practice exams.

If you go to the 800 score website, you can even take a sample CAT exam (Quant portion) as well as take a few practice essays to see if the program is right for you. This all comes with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee where if you are unsatisfied, you can email them with your issues and receive credit back. 

If you do decide that you want to use the program, you can easily download all the material as well as the tests. On top of everything else that's provided, 800score provides 24-hour tutor support - you can email a tutor at any time and you'll typically receive a response within 24 hours.

Some other great features of 800score's GMAT review program:
  • Video (see below) and flash explanations 
  • Comprehensive explanations
  • Forum  where you can get support and discuss questions with other students
  • Unique strategies (some of which have been published by BusinessWeek)

The bottom line when it comes to 800score is that the content of the course and the questions for the exams are well-written. The course is extensive,  containing hundreds of pages of material that's suitable for beginners as well as those that are more advanced. With it's affordable price, it just makes sense to include as part of your overall GMAT strategy, especially since the program has been reviewed so highly ( just check out the following 800score review).  
There are several common publications available on the internet that contain business school rankings - two big names are Business Week and the Financial Times. The MBA rankings as portrayed by the Business Week publication is categorized into 6 divisions which are the undergraduate MBA, executive MBA, full time, part-time, online and executive education MBA. The business school rankings are comprised of U.S. based as well as non-U.S. based lists. The methodology of collecting data for the business school rankings is mainly comprised of collecting survey results from students, alumni and the respected recruiters. 

According to the MBA rankings as laid down by the Financial Times, they have five categories for readers to compare. They offer the MBA rankings for the MBA courses, executive MBA, executive education MBA and master degree programs in business management. Readers are able to evaluate the performance of any chosen universities based on the business school rankings provided by the Financial Times. For example you can evaluate the possibility of earnings obtained by alumni by referring to the table of business school rankings. 

Referring to MBA rankings provided both in Business Week and Financial Times helps you in choosing the best university to enroll in. With that said, don’t feel too frustrated if you are not accepted in the universities that are listed at the top of the business school rankings list.  You'll see that each list ranks schools slightly differently and additionally, the MBA program that's listed in the top might not be what's best for your career. 

If you are intent on getting into the top MBA program though, one step that you should definitely take is trying to crack a score of 700 on the GMAT. Getting a 700 or higher on the GMAT will ensure that you have one less thing to worry about when you actually do apply to the MBA program of your choice.

The key to your GMAT success starts with replacing habits with good ones and the best way to develop these good habits are through studying and practice. There are so many times when students jump to an incorrect strategy or one that's inefficient or sometimes will overlook key information in a rush to answer a question. These bad habits can prevent you from doing well on the GMAT. 

Most people who start out have some type of bad habit - I know that I certainly wasn't an exception. You can let out a sigh of relief though knowing that you aren't necessarily stuck with your poor habits as long as you're will to put in the time and effort to make a change. 

Success on the GMAT depends on developing skills and strategies, but it’s not enough just to memorize the strategies. You need to be able to use them in a high-pressure, timed situation. That means creating new, useful habits to replace the old.

A few tips to help you out:
  • You need to learn the right strategies to employ.
  • Use an online testing prep program (an example of a popular online GMAT program is 800score) that offers you a LOT of practice questions and actual CAT exams while providing and reinforcing useful strategies.
  • Practice, practice, practice... aside from using an online course, find any material that you can get your hands on until the new strategy becomes automatic.

These simple tips will get you on the right path. Stay tuned for more indepth tips on helping to modify your habits as well as helping you perform better on t

Listed below are several tips to help you with preparing yourself for the GMAT and making sure that you are able to achieve your best personal score.

Get Started Early

It's never a good idea to wait until the end and start cramming; you should begin your initial preparation at least two month's away from your exam and depending on just how much preparation you need, consider starting 3 - 4 months prior to your test date. 

Create a Study Schedule and Stick With It

Once you've gotten on track with your preparation plans and have an idea of what the GMAT consists of (what materials it covers, your knowledge gaps, etc.), you can then begin formulating a study plan, figuring out what means you'll use for studying and for how long. Some people will be able to study on their own, while others may want to take a class to help guide them. Still others may want to purchase preparation material (such as the Official Guide for GMAT Review books or materials from 800score which offers practice questions, tests and 24-hour tutor support) to help them with their GMAT preparation.

Regardless, the majority of people will want to have a minimum of two months for the practice phase. During this time, you'll want to create a schedule, whether it's for going to a prep class or blocking out a few hours for self study. You'll probably want to do three hours for one to two days during the week as well as a long session on the weekend.  How you come up with your schedule is up to you as everyone has different needs, however once you create a study schedule, make sure to follow through and have enough discipline to stick to it. 

When studying you should also make sure to simulate the environment as much as possible which means don't listen to music or have the TV on in the background while studying. Try to find a place that's quite and where you can concentrate so that you get the most out of the ours that you spend studying. 

Focus on Problem Areas

After you've studied for a bit, you'll now want to begin taking a couple of practice exams to get an idea of what score you could expect to get if you were to take the actual GMAT. You'll find out which areas you are weak on and will therefore want to focus on down the final home stretch. This is where a GMAT tutor or prep course like the ones from 800score can really help you. Don’t like data sufficiency? Using a tutor or prep course will help with tackling these specific problems if you don't feel up to the task yourself. 

Relax and Be Confident

Now you're getting down to the final stretch and with three to four weeks prior to your test date, you should be feeling pretty relaxed. At this point, you should have prepared yourself thoroughly, practicing thousands of problems and taking at least a few practice tests. At this point you should have a pretty good idea of where you stand; it's at this point that you really want to focus on any last areas that you might be struggling in. 

Make sure to get plenty of rest, eat healthy and do activities that let you burn off any extra stress so that when it's time for the exam you're not mentally exhausted.

Don’t Cram

Cramming works for a very select few (and let's face it, for those that it does work for, they aren't taking the months out to prepare for the exam). If you've studied diligently, then there's no need for you to cram the day before the test. In fact, you don't want to do anything test related. Just relax and get a good night's rest knowing that you've done everything you can. Staying up all night to cram will leave you feeling exhausted the day of the exam which will do more harm than any benefit you would get from that last minute cram session.  Just get to bed and think positive thoughts about you doing well the next day.