Want to Earn a Top GMAT Score? Here's How...

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-I submitted the following advice to Forbes writer Matt Symonds when he asked me about the secrets of earning a top GMAT score. I thought it would be helpful for all of you who are preparing for the GMAT.-

As difficult as it may be to believe, succeeding on the GMAT doesn’t come down to how many AP math and English courses you took in high school, where you went to college, or what your IQ is. Mastering the GMAT is a game of perseverance and confidence. Or, as I like to think of it, the Two Gs: grit and growth mindset. The Two Gs are an indispensable aspect of success for any GMAT student, regardless of his or her background, talents, and current level of knowledge. Of all of the strategies I’ve shared with GMAT students in my almost 15 years of teaching, cultivating the Two Gs has been at the top of the list.

Grit, a term popularized by math teacher turned psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, is the motivation to stick to your goals no matter what. It’s viewing success as a marathon, not a sprint. Too often, test-takers fail to reach their full potential on the GMAT because they give up too soon in the study process. In fact, over the years, I’ve seen grit be the number one predictor of which students will earn top scores on the GMAT and which students will settle for scores far lower than what they had the potential to earn. Even the smartest students may be unwilling to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again when they don’t perform as well as they hoped they would. Invariably, the students who eventually reach and even surpass their goals are those who continue studying hard and smart while their competition is throwing in the towel.

A big part of why many MBA hopefuls fall short of their GMAT goals is that they think that they’ve hit the “ceiling” of their abilities and that no amount of further time and effort will crack it. What these test-takers actually lack is what Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck termed a “growth mindset.” The truth is, everyone can learn GMAT concepts, provided that they work hard enough and long enough. However, if you don’t believe that your skills and knowledge can be developed past a certain point -- in other words, if you believe that your abilities are innate rather than acquired -- you’re unlikely to put in the time and effort you truly need to reach your goal. With a growth mindset, every hurdle is another rung up the ladder of GMAT success, and you’re no less able to climb the first rung than you are to climb the hundredth. If anything, you get stronger as you go.

So, how do you succeed on the GMAT? By believing you can and sticking with it until you do. You’ll need both grit and a growth mindset to get you to your GMAT goal -- the two go hand in hand. Without these Two Gs, failure will always be an alternate route on your GMAT journey.

For two remarkable examples of GRIT and a GROWTH MINDSET:

530-point-gmat-improvement-250-to-780-w ... 23920.html


Scott Woodbury-Stewart
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