GMAT Prep Best Practices
Posted on
26
Aug 2021

How Top Scorers Study for The GMAT

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Narek Petrosyan
Date: 26 August 2021

GMAT Prep Best Practices 

Whether you are still preparing to take your first GMAT exam or aiming to get a higher score than on your previous one, you need a certain routine or a study plan and a determination to invest your full capacity into diligent and dedicated hard work. The top MBA programs usually require a GMAT score of 650 or above. Spending your time and energy inefficiently or not investing in proper preparation, may significantly, if not completely, reduce the chances of pursuing your MBA aspirations. In this article, we will explore some of the effective methods you can integrate into your prep to get a GMAT 650 score or above.

The Fundamentals

Firstly, let’s settle the most fundamental requirements that you need to make sure are inherently engraved into your approach. Those are unshakable dedication, efficient time management, wise prioritization, hard work, and diligence. While some of these can be considered common sense, in the long run, many students usually get distracted and forget about those. More commonly, the accumulated stress from the GMAT prep can shatter the pillars that these students have once so proudly built to hold the weight. 

Figure Out Your Learning Style and Find a Fitting Resource

After you’ve set your MBA goals and feel determined to start preparing for the GMAT, it’s now time to figure out your learning style and find a resource that fits. Nowadays, there are far more resources available than ever before. As such, it can be quite overwhelming to make a detailed choice. One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is what is your current or potential score? If you haven’t taken a GMAT test yet, maybe you should first find resources that start with the basics. Alternatively, if you’re aiming to get your current score to the top, you may also consider taking a one on one GMAT tutoring course. There are a myriad of companies that offer private GMAT tutoring services both online and in-person. ApexGMAT, for example, is more focused on increasing your current score to a 700+. Once you’ve set your current level you can then start working on that and find the best method for your preparation, given the abundance of resources available.

Manage Your Time Efficiently

Another, not less of an important aspect you should consider is time management. How much time can you dedicate to your prep daily? Many Top MBA schools prefer a 700+ GMAT score, which, in turn, requires a minimum of 100 hours of productive study in total. The word productive is essential here, as it is sometimes rather easy to mistake your activity for achievement. It’s not the matter of how many hours you can sit in front of your desk with an open book, but how much of it you can absorb, understand, and actually prepare for during that time. Too little time devoted will never be enough, while too much study can cause severe stress, and in fact, the next day you may not remember half of what you’ve learned. So, be realistic and honest with yourself, find that sweet daily time slot when you can prepare for the GMAT having enough energy and no external distractions, be consistent, strategic, and habitual, and, overall, manage your time efficiently during the day, prioritizing your studies.

Focus on Weak Areas and Improving Your Strengths

Start with a diagnostic test to figure out areas that need improvement first. It would be especially helpful if you’re just starting, as it may let you understand your weaknesses and strengths, and therefore what route you should take further. It will also give you a picture of how the actual exam will look like quite early in your preparation creed. After you’ve identified your weak points, it’s time to address those. If you seem weak, for example, in the quantitative section, then it’s a good indicator that you should put much more focus on that. That being said, you should not neglect the sections and types of problems that you do well on. One of the reasons the GMAT is challenging is its time pressure. The more you can nourish your strengths, the better you’ll be able to deal with the time pressure. Not only that, the GMAT test is adaptive, so the further you go with the streak, the harder the questions will get.

Get Plenty of Sleep and Try to Reduce Stress

Lack of sufficient and healthy sleep is probably the number one obstacle standing in most students’ way of effective GMAT preparations and, consequently, top GMAT performance. Your sleep hygiene plays a key role in allowing the brain to absorb what’s been learned during the day, as well as preparing it for the prep of the arriving day. As such, one of the best practices the top scorers integrate into their preparation is a good 8 hours of sleep every night. In turn, not only will this benefit your GMAT prep, but also your overall and mental health. Even if it will take you away from GMAT exam studies, it’s still worth it. You can learn more about how sleep helps you improve your GMAT prep time in this youtube video.

Start and Plan Early

As for the final tips, there are a few things you can do to eliminate a huge portion of stress from your test preparation studies and, in fact, significantly contribute to your preparations. Firstly, make sure you start as early as possible. Just as soon as you decide on your MBA goals, if possible, start figuring out your study plan immediately. Even if it may seem that there’s no need to rush just yet, in the long run, it will prove worthy and will increasingly boost your confidence before your exam day. Secondly, plan on the date early. Test centers may just have very limited spaces, and if you won’t be able to reserve your desired date, it may become a heavy burden. And lastly, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself the day before your GMAT exam. Grant yourself a good resting day in a calm, positive, and stressless environment.

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Posted on
22
Jan 2021

GMAT Test Day FAQs

Should I Arrive Early at the Test Center on Test Day?

Yes, you should arrive early at the test center as there is a check-in procedure that you have to go through before taking the exam. Make sure to be there at least 30 minutes early. If you are 15 minutes late on test day, the administrators may not allow you to take the exam. 

What is the Check-in Procedure? 

Once you show up at the test center, you have to present a valid GMAT approved photo ID to the administrators. Then, they will take your picture, signature, and fingerprints and they will ask you to sign the GMAT Examination Testing Rules & Agreement as part of the check-in procedure.

What documents should I bring to the test center?

There are 2 things you’ll definitely need with you on exam day. Firstly, make sure to bring your GMAT approved photo ID which contains your name, your date of birth, a recent photograph, and your signature (a passport, a national ID card, or a driving’s license). You will not be allowed to take the GMAT if you don’t present that document. Another thing to definitely bring with you on test day would be your appointment confirmation letter or email. It is not necessary that you bring that with you, however, it is good to have it on you in case of a misunderstanding or mistake in the system.

Pro tip: It is also a good idea to bring a list of up to 5 MBA programs that you want your scores sent to. You don’t want to have to decide that on exam day.

What am I Allowed to Bring Into the Exam Room?

You are not allowed to bring anything with you into the exam room, as everything will be provided for you. Electronic devices like phones, tablets, smart watches, etc. are also not allowed. Even though you can bring snacks and water with you to the test center, you will not be allowed to take them with you into the exam room, as you’ll be asked to put them in a storage room or locker. However, you will be able to access those during your breaks. 

Am I Allowed to Bring a Calculator?

Calculators are not allowed when taking the GMAT exam, so it is best to leave it at home. In fact, it is a good idea to leave any electronic device that you will not need at home. 

Is there a Dress Code that I Should Follow?

There is no specific dress code for the test day, however, you should make sure that you dress comfortably and that you bring extra clothes in case it is cold in the exam room.

What Do I Do if My Computer Stops Working While Taking the GMAT?

If that is the case, one thing that you should not do is try to fix the computer by yourself. The best way to handle that situation is to raise your hand and ask for the administrator’s help.

What is the Best Way to Handle Disruptions While Taking the GMAT?

According to the policies, any disruptive situation that deviates from normal testing procedures will be thoroughly examined and the decision will be made on a case-to-case basis. In that case, you might be allowed to retake the exam with no additional charge or you can ask for a refund of the initial test fee. Nevertheless, there will be noises such as coughing, shifting and other small sounds that can distract you during the exam. In order to avoid this affecting your concentration drastically, spend some time practicing for the exam in an uncontrolled environment, such as a coffee shop to get yourself used to movement and sounds of others while practice focusing on your prep.

Will I be Given Something to Write on During the Exam?

You will be provided with pens and scratch paper by the test administrators once you are seated. If you are taking the online GMAT there is a on screen scratch pad and recently introduced a pre approved scratch paper option.

Do I Get to Choose the Order in Which I Take the GMAT Sections?

It is now an option for the test-takers to choose the order in which they take each section of the GMAT exam. Our instructors advise clients to take their best performing section first as they can really give it their all. You do not want to get to the section that you know you can do well at tired, after enduring the other 3 sections. 

Do We Get Breaks During the Exam?

As the GMAT exam takes a lot of time to complete, you will be allowed to go on a 5-minute break twice at scheduled intervals during that 4-hour time period. Our instructors advise you to take advantage of this time for what it is meant for, a break. Clear your mind from exam activities and try to focus on relaxing. Eating a snack is always encouraged as this will give you an energy boost, just make sure that it is the right type of snack. 

What Do I Do If I Am Not Feeling Well on Test Day?

Generally, it is not a good idea to take the GMAT exam if you’re not feeling too well on test day, as the GMAT is long and your health can potentially affect your progress and final score. If you decide to reschedule the exam 7 calendar days before your test date, you’ll only have to pay an extra $50 USD rescheduling fee and if you do so on test day, you will lose the entire test fee.

How Many Times Can I Take the GMAT Exam?

There is no limit on the number of times you can take the GMAT exam (you can take the GMAT exam up to 5 times in a 12-month period). However, it is not advised that you take it more than 3 times as it may give the wrong impression to b-schools and it’s unlikely that your scores will improve that drastically in between exams.

How Do I Send My GMAT Scores to The Schools I am Applying to?

You will get a few options regarding when to send the GMAT scores to the schools of your choice. Firstly, you can bring a list of up to 5 MBA programs on test day and your scores will be sent to those programs free of charge. Another option would be waiting to get your official score and then sending them to the schools of your choice. In this case, you’ll have to pay $28 USD for each school that your scores are sent to.

Let us know if you have any additional questions regarding your GMAT test day and one of our 770+ scoring instructors will be happy to answer them.

Taking the test in London, New York, Hong Kong or another top city? Find information about GMAT and EA test center in over 50 cities here.

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Posted on
15
Jan 2021

Counting Primes Exponent Inequality – GMAT Problem

Today, we are looking at counting a primes exponent inequality problem. Despite all those scary terms, this one is actually fairly straightforward once you master the ability to count prime factors.

Counting primes is all about understanding how many versions of each prime are necessary to construct the entire prime factorization of an integer. In this problem, we are comparing 25s and 5s and we are being asked how many 25s versus how many 5s there are.

Notice how we are not diving into the math immediately. We are first putting this in terms of counting only. 5 to the 12th means that we are actually multiplying 5 by itself 12 times. Like this: 5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5x5. We can now say we have 12 fives. The question then becomes: how many 25s is this equivalent to?

We are now looking for inequality by forming a baseline of equivalents. We now understand how much too many or too few would be. The key question here is how many 5s make up 25? The answer is not 5: we are not dividing or multiplying. 2 prime factors of 5 make 25. 5×5. That is 25=5 square. We wouldn’t know how many 25 it takes to hate more than 12 5s. Where each 25 is the equivalent of 2 5s, 6 25s is the same as 12 5s. So, we need now a 7th 25 in order to have more 5s than the 12 5s on the other side.

And that is our answer: 7. Answer choice B.

For additional problems like this, especially counting primes and number theory problems, check out these videos. 

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Posted on
14
Jan 2021

Averages Problem No.1 : Test Averages

Hey guys, today we’re going to take a look at the test averages problem. This is a very straightforward mathematically oriented average problem or at least it can be. But there are very strong graphic solution paths here and there’s also a really strong sort of intuitive running tally counting solution path here. We’re going to start out with the math though, just because that’s how a lot of people are familiar with this problem. Before we jump into the heavier duty quicker sort of stuff. 

Doing the Math

So to solve this problem we want to take an average. But one of the components of our average is missing. So we have four things with an average of 78, and a fifth unknown. That means we can assume that each of the first four exams were 78. So we’ve got 4 times 78 plus X over 5. The total number of exams is going to give us our average of 80. Then through algebra, algebraic manipulation we multiply the 5 over, we get 400 equals 4 times 78 plus x. The 4 times 78 is 312. We subtract that off the 4 and that brings you to 88. Answer choice E.

Graphic Solution Path: Poker Chips

Let’s take a look at this a little differently. One of the ways I like looking at averages is imagining stacks of poker chips and you can have stacks of anything. I like poker chips because they fit together and you can make two stacks equal very easily so what we’re being told here is we have four stacks of 78 a fifth unknown stack but if we equalize them all that is if we take chips off of the unknown stack and distribute them all the stacks will be 80. That means that the fifth stack needs to be 80 and then it needs two poker chips for each of the other four stacks to bring those 78’s up. We can also envision this as just a rectangle our goal is 80 but we have 78, and our goal is five tests but we have four so we have 78 by four here. And then 80 by 5 here what’s missing is the full 80 and then 2 on each of four stacks of 48.

Running Tally Method: Intuitive Approach

The most powerful way to handle this problem though is probably by doing a running tally. Don’t even worry about the visualization but rather notice that, I’ve got 47 8s each of those are too short so I’m two, four, six. eight points short on the last test. I need to get the 80 that I want plus those eight points that I’m short bringing us to 88. And anybody who’s sweated like A+, B+, A- or a C+, B- has done this math. So if you characterize it like that a lot of times it becomes much more intuitive and once again allows you to cultivate confidence for a deeper treatment and more complex averages problems and mean problems check out the snack shop problem, check out the company production problem and there’s a great ds problem that we do the trade show problem you’ll find links to all of them just below and I hope this helped. 

 

Enjoyed this Averages Problem ? Try another type of GMAT problem to get familiar with all question types on the exam: Remainder Number Theory Problem.

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