Determination – The Key to Success

Why do some bright students crash below 600, and how do math phobic students end up with a 96th percentile on the numerical part?

As we say in this article’s companion piece (see article: Discipline – A Key to Success), there are two characteristics that can make the smartest students fail and the most average ones succeed: Discipline and Determination.

Discipline can help you a huge amount.

If you make a plan and stick to it, you will undoubtedly be ten miles ahead of the last-minute crammers who think their cleverness alone will help them beat the GMAT.

While Discipline and Determination are two sides of the same coin, I have seen disciplined students fail. And I have seen determinate students fail.

The former make a plan and stick to it, but their plan often ends up not having been reaching enough, and where there is no pain there is often no gain.

The latter pull three all-nighters in a row fueled by ten cans of Red Bull–nevertheless, they lack structure and their preparation is incoherent.

To score in the 700+, you need both.

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In Hagakure – the Book of the Samurai, Yamamoto Tsunemoto writes:

“A warrior who is ready to go to any length to achieve his goal cannot be stopped by even a multitude of samurai. Glory never comes by taking the safe path. To achieve glory, one must become so desperate to achieve his end that he almost appears insane and sets about with single-minded determination. A overly cautious man is already behind others who are not afraid to stand by their decisions”.

Do you need 2 hours a day from now to the test? Then spend four on it.

Are you too busy to study that much every day?

Nonsense: wake up earlier, quit facebook, tell your friends not to ask you out and unplug the TV for the months being. You’ll have plenty of time to do all of these things once you’ll have the acceptance letter from the university of your dreams.

(Furthermore the brain is ridiculously adaptable: the more you study, the more you will enjoy studying. –Rowan)

Devote your life to the GMAT.

If you find it challenging, invest into preparation books and tutoring – you’ll earn back with interest all money spent on education once you’ll have the job that a top GMAT score can lead you to.

The only thing you need to focus on, is that if you set yourself to ace the GMAT you will ace it, no matter what your strengths or background is.

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About the author

Jawad Mastaki Your GMAT Coach Deputy Coach Jawad Mastaki is a Bocconi University and London Business School alumnus. Jawad has international education and work experience across the U.S., China, Italy, Russia and the UK. He has formally trained for both GMAT and NLP, and now works with the YGC team in teaching and product development.