You most likely navigated to this video after watching some other GMAT videos. If you’re self-prepping by watching a lot of GMAT videos I’ve got some bad news for you. It’s a very low-yield way to prep, especially if you’re doing it to the exclusion of other things.
1. Passive Learning
Now we have plenty of videos up here: some informational, many problems, testimonials, all kinds of stuff. It’s not that they don’t have a role in your GMAT preparation.
However, if you’re spending a lot of your prep time on a regular basis watching videos then what you’re engaging in is passive rather than active learning. Again, that’s a very low-yield way to learn. That’s the most generous explanation. A realistic explanation might be that you’re using these videos, going around YouTube, looking at different platforms, as a way to feel like you’re making progress. Especially if you’ve been prepping for a long time without a measurable result or if you’ve hit a plateau.
This idea of doing more, engaging more, watching more videos, doing more problems, seems like a really good idea because that’s worked for you in the past. But in fact, what you’re doing is self-medicating the psychological anxiety of either not improving or having to put forth meaningful effort and work to change the way you’re approaching the GMAT.
2. Change Your Approach to Watching GMAT Videos
The good news is there’s a solution for this and it doesn’t mean that you need to stop watching videos. When you’re watching GMAT videos you should be then taking a step back and practicing what you’ve learned. Changing what you’ve learned to see if it’s really sunk in or if you’re really just feeling forward momentum because you’re spending time exposed to the GMAT.
This is sort of akin to feeling smarter because you carry books around if you never read the books. You know the book, you know the title, and you know the author. If you don’t know what’s inside or you have the story memorized but you don’t know the meaning behind it, the symbolism, why the author wrote it, then you can’t really be said to know the book.
3. Problem Identification Is Only Half The Work
The GMAT is the same way. It’s very easy to convince ourselves that we’re making progress or that we’re proficient by saying “Oh yeah, that’s a work rate problem while that’s a data sufficiency problem which is a system of equations.” And use that anchor of identification as a way to say “I know this” when in fact it’s a very surface-level understanding.
In order to get to a deeper level, you need to not only recognize what you’re looking at but be able to respond to it in a new and interesting way.
What you need to be able to do is not just recognize the problem when you’re looking at those types of problems but recognize them within the general universe of other types of problems that you’re looking at. Just like when you’re sitting in the exam. A core skill is being able to not just recognize the problem but also have a good idea of what to do when you encounter that type of problem.
A work rate problem, to take this example further isn’t a particular problem, it’s a category of problems. The way they introduce this problem determines what solution paths, what avenues of approach are going to be the most useful, the most time-efficient, and depending on your learning style, the most intuitive for you. The skill that you really want to grow in watching GMAT videos is using them as a basis in order to have a better sense of what you ought to be doing. That is, develop the skill of decision-making in an unknown environment, not just identification.
4. Continue to Watch GMAT Videos
As you continue to watch videos keep this in mind but if you’re sitting there just watching video after video, frankly you’re wasting your time. Be sure to take a step back and ensure that you’re able to not just replicate what you’ve seen done in a video but to understand when it’s appropriate to use it and be prepared to do so in a less confined, less predetermined setting. I hope that is helpful and it’s not designed to make you feel bad about what you’re doing but to enhance what you’re doing.
If you enjoyed this video watch: How to Avoid Stupid Mistakes on the GMAT.