Scott Edinburgh
March 25, 2020

Personal MBA Coach’s Tips for GMAT/GRE Preparation During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic brings many day-to-day activities to a halt, MBA hopefuls have expressed concerns about canceled testing dates and the impact testing delays will have on their MBA application strategies.

The good news is that ETS just announced an online GRE offering, effective immediately. Similarly, GMAC has shared its plans to launch online GMAT testing mid-April. This online test will not include the AWA section, but otherwise will be comparable to standard GMAT exams. These tests will use online human proctors to ensure testing integrity.

Given these exciting announcements, Personal MBA Coach advises that MBA applicants not working on the frontlines use this unique time to their advantage to study for the GMAT/GRE.

Personal MBA Coach takes a unique approach to GMAT/GRE/EA preparation, conducting one-on-one remote tutoring sessions (though our in-person sessions will resume when it is safe to do so). These sessions are led by one of our 14 tutors who graduated from top schools including MIT, Harvard and Princeton and scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT/GRE. We help our average client increase her GMAT score by 90 points by teaching practical concepts and tips and tricks as opposed to hard-to-follow theory.

To help test takers maximize their scores, Personal MBA Coach asked our tutors to share their top tips for GMAT/GRE preparation:

1. Focus on timing earlier rather than later. Timing is probably the #1 issue I see and an early effort to learn what two minutes feels like and get comfortable with moving on from a question if you do not know the answer can pay huge dividends.

2. The GMAT is designed to work as a mind game with its adaptive questions and length. To best master the mental aspect of the test, do as many full-length practice exams as possible as if you were taking the test for real to get used to the timing and the stress.

3. The GMAT covers a wide variety of topics, and while knowing your basics can really help get you through 80% of the test, to score above 700 you will need to know some more obscure rules for Quant and Verbal.

4. Twice per week, take a section of the test at 1.25x the normal speed. On a different day, take the same sections again within the normally allotted time. This way, you can track your internalization of material in terms of intuition and critical thinking. Most of the time, these scores are not that different. 

5. Spend more time studying answer explanations than actually doing problems. Over time, this will help you build several different ways to approach problems and show you how to solve problems more efficiently.

6. Start earlier than you think! This may seem obvious, but with scores valid for up to 5 years and the ability to re-take the test, there is no reason to wait. In fact, the earlier in your career you take the test, the better. Most of the skills tested in the GMAT/GRE you mastered in undergrad (if not before), so the longer you wait, the less you will remember about reading comprehension and math fundamentals.

7. Set a schedule for yourself. Be realistic in terms of how many weeks you will set aside for studying and how many hours in each week you can carve out. Putting pencil to paper on a study plan will make it easier to stick to and less likely that you will need to cram last minute or short-change your prep time.

8. Read short articles in The Economist or Science every week. This is a great way to sharpen your reading comprehension skills and expand your vocabulary. Pick a few short articles every week and make your life easier come test time with very limited effort.

Need help? Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide. Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.

Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!