When it comes to preparing for the GMAT, sometimes, it’s the obvious things that get missed out. Stress, anxiety and deadlines can make us make us forget the simple, common sense elements of test taking. Whether you are referring to the Official Guide for GMAT Review (OG) (are you sure you have the 13th Edition?) or Kaplan or Manhattan or Princeton Review or Knewton, here’s a quick list of 7 GMAT preparation tips that you can use to save time on the test.
1) Prepare and practice:
Almost a no-brainer, this is the most evident one on the list. Most guys rush into the GMAT assuming it’s just another tick in the box. If you’ve read the stories of folks who’ve gone through the process, you’ll realize it much more than that.
Be dedicated, get familiar with the various concepts along with the various question format and practice as much as possible. Rather than taking up one section at a time, tackle the quantitative and verbal sections together, distributing time as per your strengths or weaknesses.
2) Remember the techniques:
The questions in some sections may not be straightforward but may need use of logical and analytical skills as well. Make a note of the various techniques for arriving at the answer. Condition and train yourself through sufficient practice so that you are familiar with a large variety of questions and their solving method. For data sufficiency, memorise the answer choices and their order. Learn how elimination strategy can be used to strike out the incorrect answers.
3) Be focussed:
Sections like data sufficiency do not require calculation of the answer rather you need to decide what data is required to derive the answer. So straightaway head towards what is being asked rather than spend time on unnecessary calculations or details.
4) Follow systematic approach:
A lot of questions contain unwanted data meant to confuse you. You should be able to segregate the important information from the irrelevant details. A step-by-step approach with the practice questions helps distinguish between the key points and the unwanted data.
5) Make the best use of time:
Solve a practice test and you realise that there isn’t too much time to devote to each question. For example, in the quantitative section there are 37 multiple choice questions with 75 minutes allotted for the same. This means that on an average you may spend around two minutes per question. In case you get stuck with a question, do not lose out too much time on it. Try striking out the wrong answers to narrow down your choices. Good, if it works otherwise move on to the next question.
6) Speed reading:
The same concept of ‘not getting stuck’ applies while reading passages as well. In case you’re not able to understand a certain part of a passage and find it too complicated, there’s no point wasting time trying to understand it. Complete reading the entire passage. If a question involving that particular difficult section is asked, then go back and read through it again.
Speed is a very important aspect which can be improved by solving practice tests. This would also boost your confidence so that you are familiar with the GMAT format and hence well-prepared for the actual test.
7) Control your nerves:
In order to think better and give it your best, you need to be calm and relaxed. Keep the day before the GMAT as cool as possible, perhaps you can just go on with your regular office schedule or keep yourself busy with other activities so that you can pacify the butterflies going flutter-flutter in your stomach. Read others’ experience of their GMAT exam day to have an idea of what to expect, the do’s and dont’s. Also get a good night’s sleep so that you’re in good shape for the GMAT test.
That last one might be tougher than you think, as it’s not just about practice and knowing the test format. So maybe in one of the future posts, we cover this in a little more detail. Now where was that Pranayam book that I recently purchased?