Here are a couple of things you need to do to land a 700+ on your GMAT.
You have to know the GMAT inside and out.
To get a 700+ score, aka above the 88th percentile, you’re going to have to know the GMAT backwards and forwards. It’s the rare student who can walk in off the street and sit down to see the GMAT for the first time and score above a 700. The majority of students who score above a 700 spend hours and hours studying for the GMAT. If you’re committed to getting a 700+ score, sit down right now and sketch out your intensive GMAT study plan. (Also, text your friends and let them know you’ll get back to them about weekend plans in a couple of months.)
Take some time right away to learn everything you can about the GMAT exam. Read through this complete GMAT guide to better understand the GMAT exam structure, the topics that are tested, and how to find the best study materials for you to use.
You have to do well on all the GMAT sections.
While some GMAT students hope that by scoring really well on just two sections they can get a high score overall, it’s just not possible if your goal is a 700+ score. To break into the 700s, you’re going to have to do well on Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, and the Essay. This means that you can’t ignore any of your weaknesses on any of the sections—you’ll have to work through all of your weak areas to get that 700+ score.
Keep in mind, however, that you can still miss a few GMAT questions on each section and get a score above a 700. You aren’t striving for perfection, so don’t feel defeated when you continue to miss questions while you study. That said, you do have to get some of the most challenging questions correct. On that note…
You have to get the hardest GMAT questions right.
Not only do you have to work efficiently and accurately through almost all of the GMAT questions to get a score of 700 or higher, you have to be able to answer the most difficult GMAT questions. And keep in mind that the Verbal and Quantitative Sections are done through Computer Adaptive testing, meaning that each question you get right leads to a more difficult question.
This means that for you to get a 700+ score, you’ll need to spend a good deal of your study time working on the most difficult questions from past GMAT exams to get an idea of the level of difficulty you’ll be facing on test day. While those students looking to get an average GMAT score can spend time completing any GMAT practice questions, you’ll need to make sure you are practicing on the most difficult questions.
You have to study a lot.
Unless you’re one of a lucky few who can sit down a score a 700+ on their first try, you should plan on studying for the GMAT a lot. However, this does not mean that you should plan to study for the GMAT for a long time. You shouldn’t plan on studying for any longer than six months total—after the six-month-mark you’ll stop seeing any benefits from your hours of studying. Instead, you should plan on finding a lot of time in the next 2-4 months to really buckle down and do a lot of GMAT studying, focusing on the most difficult content in each section.
A key part of your GMAT preparation when you’re striving for a 700+ score is taking a lot of GMAT practice tests. You can choose to use Free GMAT Practice Tests or purchase the GMAT Official Guide, which includes 900 real GMAT questions. Either way, be sure to incorporate at least 5 full-length GMAT practice tests into your GMAT study schedule.
Also, don’t forget to schedule time to thoroughly review your practice test results. Go through each question one at a time and make sure you understand what each right answer is the right one. By doing this methodical review, you’ll develop a comprehensive understanding of how GMAT questions are structured and learn the common wrong answer types that will trick other students.
To do better than 87% of GMAT test takers requires a lot of hard work, but it’s not impossible. If you spend a lot of time pushing yourself to answer the most difficult GMAT questions, and you can dedicate hours to taking practice problems and reviewing sample GMAT questions, you can join the top 10% of GMAT test takers. Get ready for a lot of hard work and to go to your top choice business school!