4 ways to deal with a GMAT score plateau

score plateau

Students often reach out to me or post in forums, because they have found that despite a significant amount of studying, they are not making any improvements in their GMAT score.  This is quite common, so if it is happening to you, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

The best way to improve your GMAT score is to study smart.  Blindly going through practice problems or reading books without note-taking won’t do much for your GMAT score improvement.  That is why making sure you have effective study habits is so important.  If you have found that you have not made any improvements in your GMAT score or that you were making improvements, but now have seemed to reach a plateau, here are several things you can do to get you out of that rut.

1) Target your weaknesses

Because your GMAT score is based on not only how many questions you get right, but also what difficulty those questions are, having a gap in knowledge on a specific subject can hold your GMAT score back.  This is because getting easy questions wrong really hurts your score.  In order to prevent this, go through your last few practice tests and make note of what question types and topics you are getting the easiest questions wrong.  Then, review those topics.

2) Reassess your study habits

If you have found that after quite a bit of studying you are not making any improvement in your GMAT score, it may be because you are using ineffective study habits.  There are several common GMAT prep mistakes.  The first is not taking notes when studying.  There are way too many concepts to remember simply by reading or sitting in a course.  That is why taking notes and periodically reviewing those notes are essential.  Another common mistake is not taking enough time to go over answers when doing practice problems.  It is not enough to simply see if you got the answer right or wrong, you have to review explanations to see the best way to answer questions, so you can learn from your mistakes.  The final most common mistake is not building mental endurance.  You may not be seeing a GMAT score improvement, because you are getting too fatigued by the end of the exam.  You can combat this by completing full-length practice tests to build your stamina.

3) Get a tutor

Sometimes people need an outside perspective to help them improve their score.  Expert tutors can help you analyze your study habits, improve your specific content issues and work through problems with you to help you see the best way to complete them.  Unlike courses, tutors cater to your specific needs and give you one-on one attention, so they can quickly identify what is holding you back from your goal GMAT score.

4) Take a break

A lot of GMAT students are extremely dedicated, so they study tirelessly without taking breaks.  This isn’t always the best course of action.  Taking breaks can help you digest the information you are trying to learn.  Taking too much time off can be a detriment, because you might forget important concepts. However, taking a few days off or even a week can help you come back to the material with a fresh perspective.


Meet the Author

Eliza Chute

I was always just an average student, but with the right course prep I was able to score a 770 on my first try. I had to wade through a lot of material to find what was right for me, but luckily for you I've done all the research for you! See more on my GMAT courses page.

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