Posted on
15
Jul 2021

10 things to consider before you begin your GMAT prep

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Simona Mkhitaryan
Date: July 16, 2021

Get Comfortable With The GMAT Structure

Before doing anything else, you need to familiarise yourself with the GMAT structure.

• Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA section): this section concentrates on critical analysis and idea communication. You will be presented with an argument where a strong analysis of the reasoning behind the given argument should be provided. (30 minutes, 1 question)
• Integrated Reasoning (IR section) – the second part of the exam evaluates the ability to assess information and interpret data displayed in different formats. (30 minutes, 12 questions)
• Next is the Quantitative Reasoning (Quant section), which measures the ability to solve mathematical and quantitative problems as well as the ability to interpret data. There are two types of questions in the Quantitative Section – Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency. Both types of questions require some knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and commonly known geometry concepts. Since there are 31 questions in Quantitative Reasoning, about 15 of them will be data sufficiency questions which are quite confusing and unique. (62 minutes, 31 questions)
• Verbal Reasoning (Verbal section) – this is the final section, which evaluates reading comprehension skills, editing abilities, and whether you can make sense of written arguments. (65 minutes, 36 questions)

GMAT Scores are Valid for Five Years

You will receive your official GMAT score within 20 days of taking the exam. Your GMAT test score is valid for five years. Before taking or preparing for the GMAT, it is essential to know when to take the exam. If you already have a particular school or program in mind then you have to schedule your test based on the deadlines the school has specified. Nevertheless, it is good to keep in mind how long GMAT scores are valid for if you are uncertain about when you will apply to schools.

Two Sections of the GMAT are Computer-Adaptive

The GMAT is a Computer Adaptive exam. Two sections of GMAT, the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections are Computer-adaptive. So, what does it mean? If you answered a hard level question correctly the next question will be more complex. If you answered a question wrong then the other question will be easier. In these sections, the difficulty of the questions take into consideration the number of questions that you previously answered correctly or incorrectly.

Take a Practice Test Before Starting Preparation for the GMAT Exam.

Before starting the preparation for the GMAT exam, take a GMAT practice test to find out your baseline, how well prepared you are, and how far off you are from your target score. In this way, you will get familiar with the question types and style and understand the time frame. Via this method, you can compare your starting point versus the ending when you take the actual GMAT exam.

Familiarize Yourself with the Style and Format of the Exam

The GMAT exam is different from other exams such as SAT, TOEFL, ACT. You need to become familiar with the format of the questions so that during the exam, you won’t allocate too much time to understanding the questions. Some GMAT sections have unique question types that might confuse the test-takers, such as the quantitative (data sufficiency) and integrated reasoning sections where some questions will require more than one response. You will save time and feel comfortable with the questions if you know them beforehand—especially the data sufficiency questions from the quantitative section.

Practice Without a Calculator

The GMAT exam doesn’t allow calculators on the quant section. This may sound tough, but in actuality, it is for the best since you need to train your mind and mental math to solve the problems. It may also indicate that the problems aren’t that complex and that you can solve them without using a calculator. However, working without a calculator is challenging since you need to carefully check your calculations after every step to ensure you don’t have errors. Therefore, to prepare yourself for this challenge, try practicing from the beginning without a calculator to become familiar with what it feels like and gain experience using the math problems by hand. Also, familiarizing yourself with the tips and tricks you can use while solving the GMAT questions. You  can find more information about the GMAT Calculator and mental math here.

This analysis will help you know what you are good at and what you need to improve. First of all, plan your strategy about how you are going to analyse your weaknesses and strengths. It can be by taking the GMAT practice exam once and then figuring out which areas you felt particularly weak or strong in. Another option is to maintain a notebook for a week and markdown the weaknesses and strengths you encounter during your initial studying. Via this analysis, you might get a sense of whether you are good at time management, what your speed is, and much more. During the analysis, try to identify which question types are the most challenging for you in each section. Figure out what soft skills you have that might help you during the exam and pinpoint the ones that need improvement. After that, conclude and start working on developing new skills and overcoming weaknesses. Always keep in mind having an achievable goal for the final target as a score. Scoring a 700 or higher on the GMAT isn’t always easy!

Design a Study Plan

After acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, design a personalized study plan to guide you throughout your preparation, decide what sources and courses you need, whether you are going to prepare only with tests, or go step by step through topics and sections. Schedule your learning format and decide which strategy fits the best with your prep level. You might also consider taking courses with a GMAT private tutor, with which you will get a lot of help and guidance in your GMAT preparation creed.

Keep Track of Time

When preparing for the GMAT exam try to keep track of your time to allocate it equally to each section. However, do this step after you have identified what concepts are complicated for you in order to allocate more time on those topics and train yourself to solve those problems. Practice pacing because GMAT time management is critical in order to complete the exam. The worst scenario in the GMAT exam is that sometimes the test takers run out of time towards the end. This is because some of the test takers do not stick with the time and fall behind. Thus, set and stick to certain time milestones to finish the exam on time.

Keep Going, Do Not Get Stuck on a Question

It is also essential to remember that you don’t need to answer every question correctly and that completing the exam is most important. This is because your score will decrease if you do not complete the sections of the GMAT. 2 minutes is more than enough for each question. So, if you are stuck, make an educated guess and move on to another question.

Conclusion

In conclusion, before preparing for the GMAT exam, first, know about the GMAT exam structure and familiarize yourself with the format and style, then take a practice test to find out your score as well as your weaknesses and strengths. After that, design your study plan and hit the green light! Of course, while practicing for the GMAT exam, try not to use a calculator, keep track of time and concentrate on learning rather than answering all the questions correctly.

Posted on
04
Feb 2021

GMAT 3-Month Study Plan

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Uerda Muca
Date: 4th February, 2021

When should you start GMAT preparation?

One of the most crucial decisions to make before you start preparing for the GMAT test is to decide when is the latest and/or earliest time to start preparing in order to do well on the exam. Giving an answer to this question is not as straightforward and easy as it might sound. There are various factors that need to be taken into account, such as your current skill set in English and Math, your target GMAT score, the amount of time per week you are planning to allot to studying, etc. However, with a sensible preparation strategy, one should be able to reach their target score on the GMAT in a 3 month timeframe.

University requirements

Most business schools consider the GMAT to be a crucial data point in the admissions process and your goal GMAT score depends on which universities you want to gain acceptance into. Every university has its own GMAT score requirement. So, begin your GMAT journey by researching the schools or programs that you are interested in applying to and note the average GMAT score for their recent admitted candidates. Following this, gather information regarding their application deadlines. This will give a better idea of when to schedule your exam and how to adjust your study plan accordingly.

GMAT Study PlanWeek 1: GMAT Basics

Become familiar with the GMAT format and content. Prepare yourself for what you are about to encounter during the next 3 months and on the day of your GMAT exam. All you need to know about the GMAT, its structure, sections, timing, scoring, and more can be found Here

Take a diagnostics test. You haven’t studied at all for the GMAT? That’s totally fine, you can still take the test. As the name itself suggests, the point of this test is to diagnose, based on your Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning scores, your strengths and weaknesses. Something to keep in mind; You should take the exam under the same exact conditions as the actual GMAT exam. This is an excellent representation of how the GMAT exam is conducted. To take the GMAT practice exam click Here

Analyze your results. As you are in the process of reviewing the results of your diagnostics test, it would be helpful to ask yourself some questions to better understand the difficulties you encountered. When analyzing the solutions of some questions you got wrong or maybe you weren’t totally confident about, take note of any patterns. What section/s did you find most challenging? Which types of questions within each section were you struggling most with? Also, don’t forget to ask yourself questions about the “bigger picture” like: Were you able to finish every section? Did you feel anxious? How did you feel at the end of the test?

Week 2: Quant Section

Familiarize yourself with the GMAT quant section. Read about which types of quantitative questions and content that you are most likely to come across during your 3 months of preparation, mock tests, and the GMAT test.

Review GMAT Math. Before diving deeper into preparing for this section, take some time to brush up on some of the formulas, definitions, and topics of the Maths section.

Learn the underlying concepts related to each topic (percents, ratios, exponents, statistics, etc). In this section, you will come across some specific wording that can be fundamental to finding the solution to the problems. In order to not get stuck during the exam and waste your precious time, learning about the most frequently used concepts is helpful.

Week 3: Verbal Section

Make yourself acquainted with the GMAT verbal section. A great way to start working with the verbal section is to become familiar with the overall structure of this section. To learn more about this section, how it is scored, and some insights about its subsections click Here.

Learn how to tackle each type of question. There are three types of questions in the verbal section and their purpose is to test certain skills. This means that for each of them you have to use particular strategies.

Tip. It’s more effective to concentrate on one area at a time. So, while preparing for this section, choose one subsection and stick with it for a couple of days.

Week 4: Monthly Progress Check

Take a mock test. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect.” The more you get yourself exposed to GMAT practice exams, the more likely you are to achieve your desired score.

Review your results. While looking at the answer explanations, pay attention to the solutions of the questions you got incorrectly.

Practice the type of questions you are having difficulties with. Identify the questions where you are spending more time than you should. Read some articles that recommend tips, strategies, and tactics that can assist in solving them faster.

Week 5: Quant Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of data sufficiency questions. Now that you are familiar with this term it’s a good time to start reading some strategies on how to tackle these types of questions. After doing that, practicing what you just learned by solving problems focused particularly on these types of questions is extremely beneficial to your progress.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of problem solving questions. These are other types of questions that you will need to do some research and then solve some problem sets on.

Week 6: Verbal Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Critical Reasoning questions. You can find articles about tips specifically about these types of questions and while practicing you be sure to make use of them. Another practical thing to do is read about articles related to common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Sentence Correction questions. Additionally, as was mentioned above, these types of questions concentrate on reviewing a few basic grammar concepts and skills.

Practice and enhance your knowledge of Reading Comprehension questions. Besides reading articles related to tips and common mistakes, reading Reading Comprehension-like writing is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the style and content of Reading Comprehension passages.

Week 7: Integrated Reasoning Section

Become familiar with the GMAT Integrated Reasoning Section. Get informed about how long this section lasts, what is its total number of questions, and what types of questions you will encounter. Then you can move on to learn more about its purpose and what makes this section different from the others.

Brush up on your graph reading skills. For the most part, this section depends on the same math, verbal, and critical reasoning skills that you need for the other sections of the GMAT. Keeping in mind that the inclusion of diverse graphs is what gives this section its uniqueness. You can spend some time getting comfortable with interpreting data from various sources.

Week 8: Monthly Progress Check

Take mock tests. After studying for almost every section, taking some mock tests will assist in keeping track of your progress.

Review your results. This time try to identify the topics you are still not comfortable with. Solely taking mock tests without analyzing the explanations to questions is not going to be much help.

Practice the type of questions you are struggling with. After analyzing these practice tests and understanding the patterns of your weaknesses, working more on the questions you find challenging leads to score improvements.

Week 9: Integrated Reasoning Review

Practice and enhance your knowledge of all four types of questions. As you might have noticed a pattern already, reading about tips, tricks, common mistakes, strategies, tactics, etc. for each type of question and putting them into practice is what you can do when reviewing every section of the GMAT exam.

Week 10: AWA Section

Make yourself acquainted with the GMAT AWA section. This is the step that, as you have seen so far, applies to every section. You can’t anticipate doing well on a task without knowing what is expected from you. An introductory article regarding the AWA section can be read Here

Review sample AWA templates. This is something that might come in handy when you need to format your essays. With some modifications, these templates can be used on test day.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Writing a couple of essays in a day will help you master your timing and get used to the structure you may use on your GMAT essay.

Week 11: Time and Stress Management

Some other significant factors to consider while working on preparing for the GMAT test are time and stress management. A good start is reading a handful of blogs and articles that suggest many tips and strategies that can help you improve your time and stress management skills. If you want to learn more about how to master stress, how a private GMAT Tutoring can assist you with that, and more click Here.

Week 12: Review and Relax.

During the last week don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, try to take care of your mind and body as much as you can. One last brief review focused primarily on the sections or type of questions you struggled most with is going to be enough.  Finally, the most important tip, don’t forget to enjoy your GMAT preparation journey.

We at the Apex team hope that you find this GMAT study plan helpful. If you want to discuss your progress and possibly having some one on one preparation sessions with us, we would be happy to help, set up a complimentary consultation call with a GMAT instructor here