Free GMAT Preparation
With such high average GMAT scores required by top business schools and so many GMAT prep companies offering their services, it's easy to convince yourself that free GMAT preparation is barely possible. Indeed, free GMAT preparation, or self-preparation, is much harder and for many prospective applicants may not be the best choice, BUT harder does not mean impossible. This post will discuss when free GMAT preparation may be an acceptable option and will list several free GMAT prep resources that will ease the lives of those who choose the somewhat harder path of self-preparation.
Should I pay for my GMAT prep?
The only person who can answer this question is you. Where do you stand right now? What is your target GMAT score? How much time do you have left before test day? Do you have time and the desire to do all necessary research? Answering these questions should help you determine whether free GMAT preparation is a viable option for you.
If you have not yet invested much time in GMAT prep, if your score on diagnostic tests is close to your target, and if you have quite a bit of time before your GMAT appointment, then you can choose free GMAT preparation.
If your current score leaves much to be desired, if you do not understand the explanations in sample tests, and if you have hardly any time to research and learn relevant information, then a GMAT prep company will be a more suitable option.
Free GMAT preparation resources and tips
If you think free GMAT preparation will work well for you, here are some resources that will make your self-preparation more effective.
- Simple plan at GoGMAT. We offer all our community members free access to a limited version of our GMAT prep platform. Of course, it lacks a lot of key features and materials that are available in the full course, but it has 6 free video lessons, and it allows you to create 10 custom practice tests, which is a good thing to add to your other resources. You can register for a free plan here.
- Free GMAT Prep software. You can download a free GMAT Prep application from mba.com. This program offers two full-length practice tests and some additional practice questions. The questions in those tests are real GMAT questions that have been used before but were replaced by newer items.
- Visit popular blogs and forums. There are many GMAT and MBA communities online that have plenty of relevant information and experts willing to answer your questions free.
- Buy The Official Guide for GMAT Review. This does not really fit into the notion of a free GMAT preparation resource, but it's not very expensive and it supports self-preparation. It has hundreds of practice questions that were previously used on the GMAT; while there is some overlap with the questions from the free GMAT Prep software, there are many additional questions as well.
Obviously, self-preparation requires careful planning and significant motivation. One of the main reasons people choose GMAT prep courses is to share responsibility. It's not that you can't learn to solve absolute value inequalities or any other math topic without third party assistance; of course, you can. What makes GMAT prep companies attractive is the presence of someone who plans your study and offers guidance along the way. It's nice to have a well-organized syllabus, an analytical system that points out how well you have mastered a certain topic, and a list of materials you have to review to improve further. Of course, you can plan your own study, analyze your own mistakes, come up with your own list of topics to review, and find all the relevant information yourself. That kind of work takes a lot of time, however, and many who choose free GMAT preparation simply skip it and study somewhat randomly, which is not a very effective approach.
The bottom line
If you choose a free GMAT prep path:
- Use various free GMAT prep resources.
- Make a study plan and follow it.
- Analyze your mistakes and fill the gaps.