A Famous American Christian Televangelist pastor, motivational speaker and an author named Robert Harold Schuller said, “Spectacular Achievement is always preceded by an unspectacular preparation”. Preparation is the key to every success and achievement.
If you want to get into a top business school, then a Good score on Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is necessary. Clearing this exam can give you a chance to go long way. It is not the only factor in the admission process, achieving a high score can make your application package stronger.
In this article, we bring you the best tips and tricks and strategies for clearing your GMAT Exam with a remarkable score. These tips and tricks will help you guide to prepare for your GMAT in a systematic way.
Understanding the GMAT Format and Exam Pattern
The first step to do before you start preparing for the exam is to understand the Exam Format and Pattern. This will help you to grab a basic structure of the GMAT Exam in your mind. You need to understand the basic structure of the exam, their sections, time duration, number of questions and scoring techniques etc.
Go for Consistency over Intensity:
Preparing for a GMAT is so much similar to that of the learning to play chess. It is not really necessary to learn all the concepts, tips and tricks; it is also essential to be confident and quick in using them. You must practice doing quick calculations for the Quant section. To improve this skill it is necessary to have shorter and daily training sections rather over hovering during the weekend.
Create a Learning Diary or Journal:
The GMAT questions include a number of concepts and formulas. Therefore a good method to improve and exercise your mind and concepts is to keep a learning diary or journal. Here you can write down every unknown prep question and formulas (which took you a long time to answer or memorize) and try to understand the correct answer and concept behind them. If you do this at the time of preparation then you can gradually see that your list of weaknesses will become shorter and shorter.
Create a GMAT Prep Time Table:
Making a time table and following the timetable will make you more systematic and punctual. Similarly, while preparing for GMAT, you need to have enough time and should plan effectively. Therefore, for that case, it is recommended that you take an exponential approach to prep-time planning. The closer you get to the test date, the more time you should plan for GMAT Preparation. Therefore, it is wise to choose a test date that is nearer to the end of the period of holiday, so that you have more than a week to focus on GMAT.
Practice on Computer for Accuracy:
The GMAT is a complete online test that goes for 3 hours and 30 minutes, which means that you are facing a mental stress, eye strain, neck pain and back pain as well. So make sure that you prepare as much as possible on the computer.
Take online practice sets, this will help you to build your speed and accuracy while attempting the questions.
Go for Real-Time Prep Tests:
The prep tests are available at the Official GMAT website. These online prep tests are a good way to train yourself in real-time conditions. You need to keep one thing in mind that, you should not overestimate the results that you get from these prep tests since they are not adapted to real empirical and standardized test results. You can use them, but do not consider yourself ready when you have reached the target score in these tests.
Redo the GMAT Prep Tests:
The GMAT prep tests are available from many sources and websites. The good thing about these tests is they have an adaptive question algorithm as the rest test does. Therefore, it is a good method to use the use the same prep tests multiple numbers of times, because as you improve, the questions you face will be different. So re-doing the prep tests exposes you to get a greater volume of questions.
Use Process of Elimination:
It is easier to eliminate the wrong answers than to pick a correct one. So if you are having a doubt about the answer choices given in the question, it is easier to eliminate the wrong ones first. Make a question to yourself that “why the answer is wrong”. Even if you don’t believe, it’s wrong, go ahead and argue yourself. The choice that is hardest to approve is likely to be the right answer.
Invest 2.5 min max per Question:
When you are attempting the Quant questions, some of the questions are quite challenging and might require complete 2 minutes and change to execute. But many of them might take less than a minute and can be answered more quickly. So while taking online tests, if you are stuck on one question then it can cause you in a lot of trouble. This can leave you with a lot less time and mental energy for the rest of the questions.
Therefore, rather than investing more than 2.5 minutes on one question, use the elimination process to make a strategic guess. If you are working on practice tests, then make sure that you go back and check and review the answer explanation for that particular question when you are done. This will help you to improve your tricks and accuracy to answer fast.
Practice Educated Guessing:
A good method to deal with the GMAT Questions (especially the verbal section) is to go for the “Educated Guessing”. This means that you quickly rank first five possible answers in order of their suitability and exclude the wrong answers. Once can save the time by quickly eliminating two or three wrong answers and then guess from the rest remaining.
Focus on your Weaknesses. Stay balanced:
Always consider your weak areas first, while preparing. Make them your priority. But that does not mean that you focus only on them only for a longer period of time. Try to measure and balance each section, since the GMAT Knowledge can be forgotten easily and quickly. Therefore a good technique is to set a certain base level of the prep questions in each category and do it each day. The categories where you want to polish up your knowledge, additional questions and time must be given the first priority. In this way, you can improve your weaknesses without taking any risks of losing focus on other areas of the section.
Try to Overshoot your Target GMAT Score:
It is not necessarily to score 700+ GMAT Score for your MBA Application- maybe a 500 or 600 score is even enough to overshoot during preparation in order to more or safely reach your required score. Your preparation should target a GMAT Score of at least 50 higher than you need.
Set a Time Milestones During the GMAT Test:
One of the worst scenarios, while taking the GMAT Test is running out of time towards the end. This has been one of the most basic issues that each candidate face during the exam. A simple tool to avoid this scenario is to set and stick to certain milestones. Like for an example, if you are attempting the Quant section, it is necessary to keep in mind that with this number of questions you must have this much of time remaining with you. Doing this can help you to schedule and react to enough remaining questions.
Major GMAT Tips and Tricks for Each Section
For Verbal Section:
- Sentence correction tip:
You need to keep an eye on the concision and clarity of the sentence correction questions. Often, it has been seen that the most concise answer will be the correct one. Therefore, when in doubt, choose for the shortest of the answer choices for errors and then pick if you can’t find any.
- Reading Comprehension Tip: Read the Passage First
Whenever you are attempting the comprehension part or a passage type question, read the passage first. Understand the topic of the passage. Note, that the topic lays in the first two-three sentences. Look for logical keywords, which indicate the author’s argument. Then draw the inferences and then point out the flaws in the assumptions and then filter out the least fitted options and this will lead you to get the correct answer or option.
For Reasoning Section:
For answering the critical reasoning questions, it is better to read the question stem before reading an argument. Doing this will give you a clear idea and you can determine what type of question you need to answer and read the argument looking for what you need.
For Quant Section:
- Simplify calculations with multiples of 10:
Practice simplifying calculations with 10, this will help to improve the calculations and accuracy.
- Using the Scratch Pad:
While appearing for the GMAT Exam, you will be given a scratch pad to take notes. These scratch pads come in a laminated scratch pad with five yellow grid double-sided pages and a non-permanent erase marker. The pages are similar to the size of the pad and look like a dry erase board and a flip pad or a sketch book.
Therefore, while doing the test prep, practice with a scratch pad to get used to the feel and space confinements.
- Plug-in Numbers:
It is not always necessary to solve each and every question in details. Sometimes picking a simple number and substituting it for the unknown variable works better. This makes the problem simple and easier than solving a complex algebraic equation.
For Integrated Reasoning Section:
- Brush on up with the Graphs and Data Representation:
Try to interpret the data from the types of graphs, charts, and simple spreadsheets. This will help you to understand each graphic that comes in your way.
- Don’t Use Every Piece of Information:
While attempting an IR Section, don’t use the complete information provided. In fact, look for the data that is important and then read the question.
Then look out for the relevant information and pick it up from the table or chart or graph.
- Read all the labels including the units:
It can be a little time-consuming, but make sure that you read all the little pieces of writing of the data, including the titles of the charts, graphs, data, labels for the x and y-axes etc. column names etc.
Reading these data will help you answer the questions correctly.
Analytical Writing Assessment:
- Spend the first five minutes to plan for your essay:
Before you start writing it is necessary to scratch up ideas and plan and create an outline for your essay. These include identifying your flaws and avoid rewriting or recognize your essay half-way through.
Other GMAT Study Life Hacks
- Try to concretize a passage by actively imagining what the words are referring to.
- Rewrite the problems and try them after a week.
- Read questions at a speed that allows you to absorb all the relevant information.
- Don’t skip the essay during the practice exams.
- Devote at least 10 to 15 Hours per week to study
- Do timed sets. They will develop your flexibility and time management skills.
- You play how you practice. Take practice tests under real timed conditions.
- Make flash cards, this will help you to memorize some content or techniques that you didn’t know or messed up.
- Eat healthily and take adequate amount of sleep.
- Take small breaks and naps during the study. This will help you to become active and fresh.