7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success - GMAT Guide
Posted on
08
Jul 2021

7 Daily Practices For GMAT Success

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Ruzanna Mirzoyan
Date: 8th July 2021

7 Things You Need To Do Daily When Preparing For The GMAT (GMAT Guide)

  1. Visualize success and the value you will get in the end
  2. Review a the GMAT sections
  3. Set a time limit for each day
  4. Do not forget to reward yourself
  5. Forget about the target score only focus on improvement
  6. Give yourself a pep talk 
  7. Evaluate Yourself Honestly

     Achieving a great score on the GMAT exam is not an easy task. The overall preparation process is daunting for a majority of test takers, especially for non-native English speakers. It requires diligent work and a daily checklist that you need to follow. So how do you come up with a plan that works? This article covers seven tips for successful GMAT prep which will guide you throughout the entire process. Even though every individual taking the exam has different expectations, experiences and may be approaching the test in a different way, sticking to a daily routine is an integral part of test success; the most difficult thing is adhering to it, avoiding procrastination and maintaining motivation. Therefore, after learning all the exam basics, such as the timing, the sections, and the preparation materials, it is worth creating a checklist to help keep you on track.

Visualize success and the value you will get in the end

The thought of success can create happiness! Once we attain something that seemed difficult initially, the suspense wears off, and the excitement rapidly grows. By taking time every day to imagine achieving your goal you can stay motivated and on the right path. When we experience happiness our brain releases serotonin, the hormone responsible for happiness. By keeping the picture of accomplishment in our mind, this happiness never fades. Hence, if every day contains even a tiny bit of happiness, even the most complex struggles seem simpler to overcome. Whether the GMAT exam is a struggle or not, happiness and motivation are something that one undoubtedly always lacks. Do your best to look at the bigger picture and think of the steps that will expedite reaching the top.

Review the GMAT exam sections

Whether you have a private GMAT tutor or are studying on your own, be sure to review difficult parts of the overall format of the exam every day before going through your study materials, for example the data sufficiency answer choices. You may do a short quiz on quantitative, verbal, or integrated reasoning to keep pace with timing and question types. You can consider this form of revision as stretching your brain muscles before the main exercise. Doing a simple GMAT quiz each time will make you more cautious about time management and remind you about the type of questions that you may have already mastered in previous study sessions.

Set a study time limit for each day

As it is said, time is the only non-redeemable commodity, so proper allocation is a fundamental key to success. We recommend you have a specific time allocation for GMAT prep each day. That can be some time for weekday preparation and extension on the weekends. Ensure the limit you set for yourself is reasonable because procrastinating one day and doubling the hours the next day does not work out. It does not matter how many months you have on your hands; the significant thing is precise allocation. If you want to get a decent score, you must spend approximately 100-120 hours reviewing the materials and practicing. However, top scorers usually  spend 120+ hours studying. Whether you belong to the former or the latter category, remember that time is the most expensive investment you are making. At the same time keep in mind that your study-life balance should be of utmost importance. 

Do not forget to reward yourself

It is not a secret that the GMAT is burdensome and overwhelming, and preparing for it can be stressful and oftentimes disheartening. Not having small rewards to look forward to can lead to demotivation. Rewards are things that rejuvenate your broken concentration. Try something like the Pomodoro Technique. This technique helps break down time into intervals with short breaks. Instead of breaks, you can think of something ‘non-GMAT related’ that will make you regain focus. For example, by grabbing a quick snack, meditating, or walking around the house or even watching a short YouTube video. Whichever works best for you, make use of it; even brief respites retain your stamina. Finally, never forget about the bigger reward; your final score. 

Forget about the target score, only focus on improvement

GMAT preparation practices do generate plight both in physical and mental states. It is crucial to remind oneself of the improvement phases. We agree that everything you are going through is for the final score. But focusing on the final score too much can frustrate you if you are not making big leaps towards it, which in turn can be counter productive. All successful practices dictate that you should focus on one thing at a time, which improves every day until the exam day. When the exam day comes, you will utilize all the knowledge and effort to get the highest GMAT score possible. Keeping daily track of your improvements relieves some of the burden on your shoulders. Even the tiniest advantage acquired can be a game changer. For instance, finishing each section a minute earlier than before will eventually contribute to achieving more significant results on the exam day, or perfecting a solution path which has you approaching a host of GMAT problems in a more efficient manner. These small wins can be the fuel to keep you going. 

Give yourself a pep talk 

I am sure you receive a lot of support from the people surrounding you. However, self-encouragement is of the utmost importance. Look around, see what others are doing at your age and inspire yourself. Choose wisely between the tradeoffs. Such as choosing to study instead of partying. Giving yourself a daily pep talk will make you more enthusiastic about reaching your objectives. A recent scientific study has shown that talking to yourself dwindles anxiety and stress while boosting performance. This is no less true for GMAT test preparation. Give yourself motivational and instructional pep talks. This method promotes positivity as motivational talks cheer you up and keep up the eagerness to study and strive for more, while a self-instructional talk directs detail-orientation and accentuates what exactly you need to do for that particular day. For example, start every day by loudly stating what should be done for the day. It helps with thinking about the mechanisms of every individual task and visualizing methods to complete them correspondingly. 

Evaluate Yourself Honestly

Of course, you need all the encouragement and self-support to reach your goals, but especially during GMAT exam preparation, you need to be hard on yourself if required. If you need a 650+ GMAT score, you should be aware that it will not be a piece of cake. Give yourself credit for what you are doing right, but also consider aspects of the GMAT problems that you need to elaborate on and master additional skills. The dominant thing is separating the action from the person because you are evaluating your actions and not you as a person; you should not upset yourself but rather detect the triggers of low performance and challenges and make yourself accountable for such actions with a plan to move forward from them successfully. Ultimately, the ability to discern your flaws and work on personal evolution is an inherent quality for capacitating your abilities and aptitudes and pulling it off in life. 

We hope that adding these practical and mindful aspects to your daily preparation will be helpful as when you are preparing for an exam like the GMAT, being in the right mind frame can be as important as doing the quant or verbal practice. Whether you have a GMAT private tutor or not, it is on you to maintain motivation during the entire process. We suggest you develop a GMAT test strategy along with these seven tips to attain greater productivity and manifest superb performance. Make studying for the GMAT a daily habit and success will follow. 

Read more
Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
17
Feb 2021

Data Sufficiency: Area of a Triangle Problem

Hey guys! Today we’re checking out a geometry Data Sufficiency problem asking for the area of a triangle, and while the ask might seem straightforward, it’s very easy to get caught up in the introduced information on this problem. And this is a great example of a way that the GMAT can really dictate your thought processes via suggestion if you’re not really really clear on what it is you’re looking for on DS. So here we’re looking for area but area specifically is a discrete measurement; that is we’re going to need some sort of number to anchor this down: whether it’s the length of sides, or the area of a smaller piece, we need some value!

Begin with Statement #2

Jumping into the introduced information, if we look at number 2, because it seems simpler, we have x = 45 degrees. Now you might be jumping in and saying, well, if x = 45 and we got the 90 degree then we have 45, STOP. Because if you’re doing that you missed what I just said. We need a discrete anchor point. The number of degrees is both relative in the sense that the triangle could be really huge or really small, and doesn’t give us what we need. So immediately we want to say: number 2 is insufficient. Rather than dive in deeply and try and figure out how we can use it, let’s begin just by recognizing its insufficiency. Know that we can go deeper if we need to but not get ourselves worked up and not invest the time until it’s appropriate, until number 1 isn’t sufficient and we need to look at them together.

Consider Statement #1

Number 1 gives us this product BD x AC = 20. Well here, we’re given a discrete value, which is a step in the right direction. Now, what do we need for area? You might say we need a base and a height but that’s not entirely accurate. Our equation, area is 1/2 x base x height, means that we don’t need to know the base and the height individually but rather their product. The key to this problem is noticing in number 1 that they give us this B x H product of 20, which means if we want to plug it into our equation, 1/2 x 20 is 10. Area is 10. Number 1 alone is sufficient. Answer choice A.

Don’t Get Caught Up With “X”

If we don’t recognize this then we get caught up with taking a look at x and what that means and trying to slice and dice this, which is complicated to say the least. And I want you to observe that if we get ourselves worked up about x, then immediately when we look at this BD x AC product, our minds are already in the framework of how to incorporate these two together. Whereas, if we dismiss the x is insufficient and look at this solo, the BD times AC, then we’re much more likely to strike upon that identity. Ideally though, of course, before we jump into the introduced information, we want to say, well, the area of a triangle is 1/2 x base x height. So, if I have not B and H individually, although that will be useful, B x H is enough. And then it’s a question of just saying, well, one’s got what we need – check. One is sufficient. Two doesn’t have what we need – isn’t sufficient, and we’re there. So,

I hope this helped. Look for links to other geometry and fun DS problems below and I’ll see you guys soon. Read this article about Data sufficiency problems and triangles next to get more familiar with this type of GMAT question.

Read more
Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency title
Posted on
26
Jan 2021

Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency

By: Rich Zwelling, Apex GMAT Instructor
Date: 21st January, 2021

Although we’ve already discussed isosceles triangles a bit during our discussion of 45-45-90 (i.e. isosceles right) triangles, it’s worth discussing some other contexts in which you may see isosceles triangles on the GMAT, specifically on Data Sufficiency problems. 

As we discussed before, an isosceles triangle is any triangle that features two equal sides and thus two equal opposite angles:

Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency picture 1

That’s an easy enough definition to remember, but how does the GMAT turn this into more challenging problems? For that, let’s take a look at the following Official Guide problem. Try to solve before reading the explanation below the problem:

Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency picture 2

In the figure above, what is the value of x + y ?
(1) x = 70
(2) ABC and ADC are both isosceles triangles

Explanation

In this case, it’s straightforward enough to determine that each statement alone will be insufficient. Statement (1) gives us a definitive value for x, but no information about y, thus we cannot answer the question (the value of x+y). And although Statement (2) labels each triangle in the diagram as isosceles, we have no way of knowing the specific angles involved nor their relationships. 

However, as with many Data Sufficiency problems, especially those involving Geometry, things can get thorny when we have to combine the statements. The two statements look very complimentary, and that could lead us to prematurely conclude the answer is C (i.e. the two statements are sufficient when combined). But we must do a thorough check. 

Reframing the question

Remember that at any point during a Data Sufficiency problem — beginning, middle, or end — you can reframe the question for simplicity. The question asks for the value of x+y. But now that we are combining the statements, we already know that x=70. In terms of sufficiency, then, what information do we need? The only thing missing is a definitive value of y. The question now might as well be “What is the value of y?”

Now, here’s where the GMAT thinking really comes into play. It’s one thing to understand what an isosceles triangle is. It’s quite another to judge what a diagram of an isosceles triangle does or does not tell you and what you can or cannot extrapolate from it. 

One of my personal favorite things about Geometry Data Sufficiency problems is that they tend to be very intuitive visually. You can often answer them by manipulating figures. 

We know that triangle ADC is isosceles, but is that enough to give us definitive measurements? Visually, which of these does it look like?  

Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency picture 3

Without any numerical evaluations, we can see that we can’t get a definitive measure for the angle at D, which in this case is our y. So even when we combine the statements, we cannot get an answer to our question. The correct answer is E

Here’s another case of a tricky Data Sufficiency problem involving isosceles triangles:

In isosceles triangle RST, what is the measure of angle R?

  • The measure of angle T is 100 degrees
  • The measure of angle S is 40 degrees

Again, give the problem a shot before reading the answer and explanation.

Explanation

This is one for which you can draw a diagram, but it’s not necessary. The trick here is to remember another key property of triangles, namely that all angles in the triangle must sum to 180 degrees.

Since the triangle is isosceles, and since each statement gives you only one angle of three, the temptation can be to say that each statement is insufficient on its own. This is certainly the case for Statement (2), because the 40-degree angle could be one of a pair (in which case we would have a 40-40-100 triangle) or the 40-degree angle could be the odd angle out (in which case we would have a 40-70-70 triangle). 

Because the problem asks for the value of R, and since R could be 40, 70, or 100 depending on the situations outlined above, Statement (2) is INSUFFICIENT.

However, there’s a catch when evaluating Statement (1). Notice that angle T is an obtuse angle, meaning it is greater than 90 degrees. Is it possible that there are two 100-degree angles in a triangle? This would produce a total of 200 degrees, which would exceed the 180-degree total for any triangle. As such, the only possibility is that the 100 degree angle is the odd angle out, and the other two angles are equal acute angles (specifically, we have a 40-40-100 triangle). 

Now we know R must be 40 degrees. Statement (1) is sufficient, and the correct answer is A.

But notice how the GMAT sets the statements up to bait you into thinking that you must combine the two statements to figure out the value of angle R. 

Now that we’ve finished talking about the basic triangle types, we can move on to talking about what happens when triangles are used within different shapes. In the meantime, here are links to our other triangle articles:

A Short Meditation on Triangles
The 30-60-90 Right Triangle
The 45-45-90 Right Triangle
The Area of an Equilateral Triangle
Triangles with Other Shapes
Isosceles Triangles and Data Sufficiency
Similar Triangles
3-4-5 Right Triangle
5-12-13 and 7-24-25 Right Triangles

Read more
Featured Video Play Icon
Posted on
16
Jul 2020

When To Study For The GMAT?

If you are reading this at any time other than the morning, you’re probably not getting your optimal yield out of your self-prep time. Let’s talk about how the time that you spend preparing and the relative yield you get from that time can change. 

Time of Day

Most of us have good times and bad times of the day, and that’s tied in very deeply to our biology and our circadian rhythm. Most people are at their sharpest mid-morning. However, if you’re constantly sleep-deprived this might change. In fact, it might never be optimal. 

In order to get the best out of your self-prep time, you need to be capitalizing on the best times of the day to study. This also means to not overdo it. Don’t force yourself into studying when you’re not up for it. If you’ve worked a 10-hour day, whether on a desk, on the street, or doing big projects and traveling to a client as a consultant, your study time is very limited and studying when you’re exhausted is not only going to be low-yield but it’s also going to take a lot out of you so that you’re not able to capture those high-yield times.

Small Increments of Study Time

Instead, try self-prepping in smaller units throughout the day. Particularly in those times when your sharpest. If you can grab 15 minutes at 10 o’clock in the morning, even if it’s a bathroom break or 20 minutes on your commute, do so. Those are really good times to prep. Doing little increments throughout the day increases your contact density but also decreases the burden from your daily schedule. 

Many of you out are working crazy jobs, balancing a social life, family obligations, and the GMAT can take over. Particularly if you’re spending 10, 20, 30 hours a week self-prepping. If you are, you’re spending too much time. You’re better off getting stronger results out of smaller increments of high-yield time rather than killing yourself and studying 3-6 hours at a time on the weekends or in the evenings. 

Quality Over Quantity

When you prepare and how you prepare is much more important than how much time you prepare. Be mindful of when you’re sharpest during the day and to take at least a portion of that time and devote it to your GMAT prep, because what you’re ultimately doing is personal development. 

As much as you might be devoted to a job, it’s not going to be there forever. Your personal growth, a high GMAT score, and also getting into the next step of your career or the next step of your education. That should be your priority and you need to make sure you balance that with your other obligations. 

When To Study For The GMAT?

So remember: incremental short study breaks, or in other words, breaks from everything else you’re doing to study, increasing your contact density. If you’re tired, and this is probably the biggest takeaway, don’t force yourself to study because you’re just spinning your wheels. You are not going to get a good yield out of it. You’re better off putting on Netflix, taking a nap, spending time with loved ones, going out with friends, and getting yourself on an even keel. So that the 60 to 90 minutes a day that you can devote to GMAT is the best 60 and 90 minutes you can give it. Try to get some rest cause I know 90% of you are reading this while tired. Best of luck on your GMAT Prep Journey! 

Did you enjoyed When To Study For The GMAT? Watch some of our other videos including: How to select a GMAT tutor.

Read more