Find what works for you and stick with it. There is no need to struggle mentally trying to memorize certain techniques when a simpler solution path exists. That is why our tutors at Apex GMAT are professionals in helping our clients learn tips which suit their mental and cognitive abilities. We call this, Cognitive Empathy, and it works by not forcing clients into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ box of GMAT test-prep steps. Rather, we work with our clients by tailoring our approach to their personal needs and capabilities. Here are five GMAT memorization techniques we share with our clients. 

1. Memorize the answer layout

Some question types have the same responses. On the GMAT, answers to the  Data Sufficiency Questions are presented in the same way. These being: 

A) Statement (1) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (2) alone is not sufficient.
B) Statement (2) ALONE is sufficient, but statement (1) alone is not sufficient.
C) Both statements TOGETHER are sufficient, but NEITHER statement ALONE is sufficient.
D) EACH statement ALONE is sufficient.
E) Statements (1) and (2) TOGETHER are NOT sufficient.

As a test prepper, you can memorize these statements, given they remain the same throughout the entire GMAT. We suggest memorizing a more simple form of these answer types. For example: 

A) Only Statement 1
B) Only Statement 2
C) Only Both Statements together
D) Either statement
E) Neither statement 

By using this as a memorization technique it will cut down on the time you spend on the test. You won’t need to reread the answer types each time you come in contact with them.  

2. Practice the vocabulary in everyday life

This may sound simple, but trust, this GMAT memorization technique helps! The vocabulary section of the GMAT is tricky, and often people use flashcards to help them memorize terms and concepts. While this is useful, we found that to really engrain the meaning of these words it is best to use them in practice. Decide on a handful of words that you find difficult in their meanings and commit to using them throughout the day or week. This will help you structure the word within a sentence, and learn to use the word properly. Keep a notebook of the most difficult terms and revert back to it as your vocabulary grows! 

3. Use Acronyms and Mnemonics

Struggling with remembering math concepts and equations? The quantitative portion on the GMAT can seem daunting, especially if you are a couple of years out of school and don’t recall some basic math formulas. We understand this, which is why we avoid using math on the GMAT all together! But sometimes, the best path is the most direct. Remember some basic math equations and formulas using the following tricks: 

  • Simple Interest Formula
    • Interest = principal x rate x time 
    • I = prt 
    • Remember the equation as: I am Pretty! 
  • Distance Formula 
    • Distance = rate x time
    • D = rt
    • This equation can be remembered as the word: dirt
  • Linear Equation
    • Y = mx + b 
    • B for begin / M for move 
    • To graph a line, begin at the B-value and move according to the m-value (slope) 
  • Multiplying Binomials 
    • (x – a)(x + b) 
    • Remember FOIL for the order: 
      • First
      • Outside
      • Inside
      • Last 
  • Order of Operations
    • When answering an equation which looks something like this: 7 x (4 / 6) + 2 = remember: PEMDAS or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally 
    • Parentheses 
    • Exponents 
    • Multiplication
    • Division
    • Addition
    • Subtraction 

4. Apply a visual meaning to things 

While studying, look at what is around you and apply meaning to objects. If you are working on a particular math problem, stare at the radiator in your room. Then, during the exam (if you are taking the GMAT online), look at the radiator if you come in contact with a similar problem. This trick will help your brain in remembering what you learned while studying. If you are taking the GMAT onsite, consider pieces of clothes or jewelry which you will wear during your test. Perhaps fiddle with a ring on your finger while memorizing words, or wear a favorite sweater which you associate with certain mnemonic devices. This is a trick we give our clients, and it ends up helping them during the test! 

5. Apply the knowledge you are learning often

It is one thing to read things out of a textbook and take notes, it is a whole other thing to apply the information you are learning. Doing one or two practice questions won’t automatically make you a whiz at that particular type of problem (even if you got the answers right), but rather practicing in different situations (ie at a restaurant, while riding into work, while cooking dinner), which challenges your brain to think strategically in various situations. This prepares you for the dynamic environment of the testing facility. You can do this both with the quantitative and qualitative portions of the exam. Plus it would look extra cool if you are seen jotting math equations down on a napkin while waiting for your food at a restaurant. 

Final Thoughts

These GMAT memorization techniques may seem straightforward, but they require work. However, hard work does pay off in the long run! The amount of work you put into your studying can dictate where you end up attending school, and thus the job you receive after graduating. While you are not your GMAT, your GMAT score does play a large role in your overall application to your dream school! If you are looking for extra help in preparing for the GMAT, we offer extensive one-on-one GMAT tutoring for high-achieving students. You can schedule a complimentary, 30-minute consultation call with one of our tutors to learn more! 


Contributor: Dana Coggio

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