This article deals with GMAT test Prep. GMAT test prep is not very easy. Since the introduction of the GMAT CAT in 1997 by the ETS, The test has become more challenging and demanding. The test has become more accurate and reliable way of measuring the skill levels of the students. Since the test is formatted in a way that the questions adapt themselves depending on the intellect of the student, complaints of the test being easy or hard is avoided. Disregarding the popular belief, Students can attain high GMAT score in the GMAT CAT. This can be achieved only through proper and complete preparation. Preparation for GMAT CAT can be classified into different phases. Let's go through these phases one by one in detail
The first and the foremost thing the student has to do in his GMAT test prep is to acquaint himself on the instructions and the layout of the GMAT CAT. Only if the student is familiar with these he can aim to go about the test with ease. Knowing the GMAT Test structure and GMAT test sections is another very important step in GMAT test prep. The most important of all is the understanding of the adaptive nature of the CAT format. Once the student familiarizes himself on these 50% of the GMAT test prep is complete. Time management will complete the rest of the GMAT test prep. To achieve this, the student will have to repeatedly practice the complete test on a computer. These practice tests have to be an exact replica of the original GMAT CAT test structure and the same time duration.
GMAT test prep - Position analysis & improvement
It is important to evaluate one's position prior to actual GMAT test prep. This can be achieved by taking a practice test and finding the areas of weakness by calculating where the student makes more number of mistakes. It is crucial that the student concentrates not on the score but only on the assessment the test results provide.
Once the strengths and the weaknesses of the student have been established, the student can concentrate on improving on his weakness and betterment of strengths.
The best way of achieving this is through reviewing the textbooks of the school level, without going too in-depth. Since grammar and math work on the foundation of a rather well-defined set of rules: it is advantages to become familiar with these rules. By working on the foundations for a couple of months the student stands to gain in getting the concepts right, clarification of all his doubts. It helps to work through solved and unsolved examples of mathematical problems & verbal questions.
The student stands to gain a lot by familiarizing himself with the types of GMAT Test questions that would be asked and the common misconception about them. The details of the GMAT sections and the question types with examples and explanations can be found in this web site. It is necessary for students to go through these details before attempting to practice the GMAT math and GMAT verbal skills
GMAT test prep - Time management
Time management is the most crucial point in GMAT test prep. The most important way of achieving this skill is through Practice. With each practice the students learn to answer more effectively and most importantly, learn how to complete the test on time. The student can manage to master this skill by practicing on sample GMAT CAT formats and in environment that's recreated as that of the original GMAT CAT. This means there should be not disturbances or diversion and the time limit should be strictly adhered to a in the examination hall. This means no telephone calls, or snack break etc.
GMAT test prep - First 5 questions
The student cannot afford to underestimate the importance of the first five questions of the GMAT CAT. Since the CAT format is designed to adapt itself to the test taker's ability, it is vital that the student gets the first few or at least the first 5 questions correctly. The score range for the difficult questions are higher that the easy ones. As the computer decides what set of questions to put forth to the student depending on how correct the answers to his first few questions, it becomes mandatory that the student gets at least the first 5 answers right. This is so because once the computer gets correct answers for the first few questions it puts forth to the student it would adapt to the higher level test questions as programmed. Since it's of high importance to get the first 5 questions right the students are advised to spend more time and energy on these questions.
GMAT test prep - Finish on time
It is of utmost importance that the students learn to finish the GMAT CAT on time. This is crucial because unanswered questions could lead to a lesser score than providing the questions with wrong answer. Even if the student is performing well in the GMAT, unanswered questions will lead to a decline in his score that could affect his overall score adversely. It is highly recommended that the student click on any one of the choices for the question that he does not know his answer.
GMAT test prep - Avoid time waste
Many students have regretted later for having wasted time during their GMAT CAT. Wasting time is not the same as not finishing on time. Many students do not realize how much time gets wasted every time they revisit the help screen or while requesting for extra paper, etc. This wastage when calculated adds up to make an immense difference when answering the test. Such wastage could be avoided by proper preparations like understanding the contents of the help page entirely on the first visit and requesting for extra paper before starting on the test.
You should start the preparation approach by determining, when you want to take the exam. In order to determine this, taking any of the practice tests will be very useful. Practice test score will help you gauge, where you stand. Once you know where you are at and where you want to be; you can frame a plan at the pace, which you can prepare! GMAT books have practice tests in the book and or in the CD-ROM. You can alternatively take the practice test online; you can review your score in individual area i.e. math and verbal. Note that analytical writing is something that you will not be able to gauge your score, as none of the current practice tests will rate your writing skills. So, you need to keep in mind that although you will not be rated for the analytical writing assessment, it would be a good idea if you can frame your opinions by breaking down your thoughts into points.
After the practice tests, analyze each area thoroughly; your time spent on analysis is as much important, as your time spent on the test itself. Understand the sections of weak performance and mark the areas of difficulty. If you can encounter all your mistakes in the beginning and can work on correcting the same, then you have a better chance at the end. Do some research on the schools that you would like to attend in order to figure out what score you want to make; find out what their average GMAT scores are and what other factors play a vital role in their admissions processes. In general, the schools do not guarantee admission for specific GMAT score; many schools have a baseline GMAT score that is required; but among the candidates, who have reached that score, the GMAT is not used further to determine admission.Preparation time can vary at one’s own pace; the best way to go about it would be a systematic approach. The following are some of the suggested books for preparation.
GMAT official guide.
The Princeton review – Cracking the GMAT.
Manhattan review sentence correction.
Manhattan GMAT math study guide.
Also look for the most recent edition, when buying books. You can also use online versions of the books.
Make sure to schedule your exam, when you have a clear plan and almost started the execution. Do not delay in scheduling the exam, as you don’t want to wait too long! This is because, you might not know, when it would demand you to change your plans; it might happen, when your local testing center doesn’t have an available test date that works for you! Once the exam date is confirmed, keep up your consistency in the preparation. Again, make sure you spend enough time after the test to analyze your performance; then take forward the analysis, by working on the areas that are weaker.
Another important aspect would be to keep entangled in online forums like GMAT club and others; this will help you with more updated information, as to what one can expect in the tests and also understand preparation strategies of others. All the very best for your GMAT preparation!