Unlike the exams you had to take in school, you signed up for the GMAT exam of your own free will. Beginning your GMAT preparations with that distinction is crucial because understanding it can shape your attitude towards preparing for your ordeal.
Many people tend to see compulsory testing as a for-show exercise whose results will have little overall impact on students, administrators and society. Thus, little care is given to them, particularly when some exams can be retaken and some test takers receive exemptions and allowances.
The GMAT, while not government-mandated, is an admission criterion for thousands of business schools. Nobody will force you to sign up for this exam, but you must take it if you want to enrol in a graduate business course.
Much of the criticism directed at standardized testing in schools is because they are more a measure of the teachers’ abilities than students’ aptitude; there is some validity to those claims. However, your GMAT isn’t a test of knowledge but of ability. It gives you a platform to showcase your language sense, maths abilities and critical thinking skills.
Though your past teachers surely influenced those aspects of your intellect, how well they did their job is not currently in question. How well you do with what they’ve given you is.
These two ideas should drive your psychological preparation ahead of your GMAT. Then, with your mind right, you can formulate your preparation plans.
For this phase, the most crucial criterion is time. Even if you signed up months before the exam, putting off your preparation work is bad. Not only should you start preparing as soon as possible, but you should also dedicate a block of time to your prep work. A few hours spread throughout the week should be the bare minimum.
If you are looking for extra help preparing for the GMAT, you can always look up free online resources that will test your skills and score your performance. Another alternative is hiring a tutor on the subject you are struggling with, either online or one-on-one. You’d need to search for English tutors in the United States or be more state-specific, such as math tutoring in Phoenix.
What, exactly, should you prepare for?
As you likely know, the exam tests you in four areas: verbal reasoning, integrated as well as quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. You need to know how your aptitude in each of these areas will be measured as well as what’s expected of you and what an acceptable score consists of.
And then, you need to assess your abilities. Are you equally proficient in each of those four domains or does one skill, in particular, lag behind the others?
For instance, if you’re good at interpreting data but less adept at expressing your conclusions, you should spend more time working on your analytical writing than on data analysis. Conversely, if you’re about equal in all four domains, distributing their review evenly across your prep time should work well for you.
As you hone your skills, be sure to keep formats in mind. Some parts of the exam are multiple-choice and computer-adapted, while others present information in different formats for you to interpret. Keep in mind that your preparation exercises should hew as closely as possible to the actual exam format.
Finally, the night before your exam, it’s time for preparation of a different sort. Close the books, turn off the computer and give your mind a rest.
Lay out your clothes for the next day and prepare your kit: identification, writing implements and other accessories you deem vital. Enjoy a satisfying, balanced meal and maybe get light exercise – nothing too strenuous. The goal is to let go of stress, not incur more.
Follow your routine for a full night of restful sleep, confident that you have everything ready for the next day’s challenges.
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