Don’t be intimidated by the GMAT.

In my opinion it’s probably one of the easier standardized tests, because it doesn’t have a specific syllabus to study. You can theoretically crack it based on your understanding of English and relatively simple math, combined with some basic logic. Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips to help in your GMAT preparation.

The Official Guide for GMAT Review by GMAC is your bible, and no other resource will be as representative of the actual exam as this book. After all, it’s by the same group that conducts the test. Make sure you solve this book from cover to cover. It has the easiest questions in the beginning, and they become harder as you go forward. If you’re short on time, start solving from the last page and go backward.

In case you need a refresher on all the grammar rules, I found the Verbal Workout for the GMAT by Princeton Review to have summarized them nicely.

When practicing questions, spend twice as much time analyzing the solution as you devoted to solving it. Compare your methodology to the actual solution. If you got the answer right, make sure your thinking matched the solution. And if you got it wrong, analyze how your approach differed from the solution. Keep making a note of these separately. Later you’ll see a pattern to your mistakes and can prevent them from happening.

The GMAT is also a test of your stamina—it’s almost four hours long. Hence it is important to complete at least two mock tests every week, beginning with your first week of preparation. I recommend taking them on the weekends since it would be hard to find continuous four-hour slots on weekdays. And replicate the real test as closely as you can with the mock tests, including the breaks. You get two free mock tests from GMAC upon registering, but don’t waste those by taking them before you start preparation. Save these for later when you’re closer to being ready. Since the GMAT is a computer adaptive test, no other mock test can more accurately predict your GMAT score like these do.

A common question people ask is how much preparation is needed to score a 700-plus? The answer is, it depends. What is your current knowledge level of the things you’ll be tested on, and what is the quality of your preparation? Mock tests and analysis of your solutions are key.

Good luck!