GMAT Tips

Since my first post last week, a few of you have contacted me and asked for advice on the GMAT test. I was fortunate enough to get a score of 750 on the exam but don’t let that fool you into thinking I have a magic bullet that will help you get to the heady heights of 700+. Sadly the secret is nothing more than practice, practice and practice again.My method was to pick up the latest version of a text book (Kaplan since you ask) and drill it into the ground, making sure I understood all the types of problems that crop up regularly on the GMAT. I then spent the rest of my time doing all the sample exams I could get my hands on – the Kaplan CD, the official ones at MBA.com, anything I could scrounge off the internet. This allowed me to recognise the basic forms that appear constantly on the test. When I sat the ‘big one’ I could then identify what they were really asking and which answer options they were likely to drop in there to fool me.

For me, the biggest difficulty with the GMAT was the average time per question. Most of the problems are relatively easy to work out if you just had time to pull out your pen and paper and eliminate all the incorrect options. Unfortunately, as we know, the test isn’t like that. Instead it becomes a heart-pumping, hands-trembling ordeal with constant calculations needed as to whether you should spend a little more time on this question or jack it in with your best guess and move on. The only real antidote to this is to have practiced so much that you recognise all the little metagames the GMAT examiners like to play. It’s like a penalty shoot-out; you may not be able to replicate eighty thousand people howling at you to miss but the fact that you have scored tens of thousands of times in practice gives you the confidence that your body has the necessary skill to do what you need it to do.

The whole process from starting preparation to exam itself took me 2 ½ months (juggled around family commitments and a full time job). I, however, am fortunate in the fact that English is my native language. As much as GMAC say it is not an advantage because native speakers have to unlearn incorrect usage, I simply do not buy it. The fact that I could instinctively pick up on nuances of language in the verbal section bought me a whole lot more time than a non-native speaker, time that could be used to pick up on the traps that had been set for me.

So, no magic bullet as I have said but whatever you do, make sure you dedicate enough time and resource to preparation, practice and you will no doubt perform.

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