Getting a score of 700-plus on the GMAT can throw open the doors of many a reputed educational institution across the world. While it’s true that the applicant’s profile and application content do influence the admission process, the GMAT score is often the first qualifier to screen out 90% of the applicants. Also, keep in mind that as an applicant, there’s not much you can do about your profile which has taken your entire life to create; however, your GMAT score is something that is right in your hands, and with the proper effort complemented by the right guidance, can be a differentiator that takes you to that top b-school you dream about.
As someone who had scored 750 on the GMAT with only two weeks of preparation, one of the important pieces of advice I can give an applicant is to replicate the test environment as closely as possible. In other words, go through the test-taking experience multiple times before the actual test. You must have often seen that a test-taker, in spite of stringent preparation and encouraging scores on practice tests, can fail to translate that into an excellent score. The complaint, often enough, is that it was just not his/her day.
By replicating the test experience, you can make the test day, “your day.” And by replicating, I don’t mean just taking multiple practice tests; while that is certainly important, these practice tests must be taken in a simulated environment that resembles the test center. In other words, follow strict timing, take breaks that are within allowed parameters and insulate yourself from all distractions.
The official GMAT site, http://www.mba.com, provides applicants you a valuable resource that helps you achieve just that, and for free! It is the GMATPrep software that allows you to take two free tests that closely resemble the actual GMAT. However, note that the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section is not timed; ensure that you do time yourself during your preparations. Also, and this is something not many know, you can take more than two tests with this software; just delete the cache (or failing that, uninstall and reinstall the software) to get completely different questions the next time you run the software.