At-Home GMAT Prep: A Handy Guide
Posted on
02
Sep 2021

At-Home GMAT Prep: A Handy Guide

Ready to take the next step in your academic career and select an MBA program that will open new doors for you? Well first, you need to take one of the most important exams of your life – the GMAT. This is not something you can take easily as it can potentially score you some scholarships that will help fund your education and it’s one of those things that employers will want to take a look at. That’s why people spend months preparing for the GMAT. That being said, Apex tutors suggest a prep time period of 90 to 120 days.

So, to make the process easier for you, we came up with a guide full of the best tips and tricks that will help you prepare for the GMAT at home, along with some common mistakes to avoid when prepping.

The 2 Main Benefits of At-Home GMAT Prep

It essentially comes down to you to work hard and follow some best practices. Here’s how at-home self-prep will help you succeed:

  • You’ll be able to study in a familiar place. That will make you more comfortable and having a designated GMAT prep space will keep you more focused on your progress.
  • This is a good opportunity for you to study at your own pace and at a schedule that best suits you and your needs. This is definitely a much more convenient alternative than any GMAT prep class that you can take to help you prep.

Top 5 Tips To Follow for a Successful At-Home GMAT Prep

Here are the top 5 best practices to follow when preparing for the GMAT at home:

Find a Good Location

What you want to do is have a designated space where you sit down every day and work on the GMAT. You’d want to pick a place where there are no distractions and where you’ll be able to get work done without being bothered. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to get too comfortable as you actually want to get some work done and not just end up laying down and napping every time you decide to study for the GMAT.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Make sure to start early with your GMAT preparation as the more time you have to work on improving, the higher your chances of succeeding and getting a higher score. That’s why you’d want to give yourself a minimum of 3 months to prepare depending on your prior knowledge and the level of preparation that you’ll need to succeed.

Follow a Structured Schedule

As soon as you decide to start preparing for the GMAT, you’re going to have to come up with a personalized schedule that you have to follow until the exam day. Following a schedule where you have to practice a bit every day instead of cramming everything on the last week, will keep you more focused. It will also not overwork you and you’ll have just enough time to go through every section in detail and also some extra time to take some mock tests to practice your knowledge.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

You know what they say: practice makes perfect. Well, they’re not wrong! The more practice you get before taking the actual exam, the better, especially because mock tests help you point out the areas that you need to work harder on. Mock exams also help you get used to the exam’s format and scoring system so you won’t have trouble navigating the exam in the future.

To make things easier, here are a few alternatives where you can get practice tests and official materials to practice on:

Learn to Manage Your Time!

The test-takers’ #1 pitfall is not focusing on the time when preparing for the GMAT, being well-aware that GMAT is a timed exam. We suggest practicing without a time constraint at first, just so you can get used to the format and the concepts. After you get a better understanding of what to expect, you can start timing yourself. You’d want to practice with a timer in order to actually see how well you’d perform in the real GMAT exam. Time pressure is a real thing, and what you don’t want to do is show up and not be able to finish your test on time.

Top 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Preparing for the GMAT

Now that we went over some of the best tips, let’s talk about some common mistakes that students make that you definitely need to avoid:

Procrastinating

Deciding that you need to start prepping for the GMAT in advance is one thing, but what most people end up doing is doing a little bit in the beginning and then procrastinating until it’s too late to go back. You don’t want to cram everything in the last 2 weeks: that’s not time-efficient and it won’t help you master the exam. Instead, you’ll just get more stressed and overwhelmed. In other words, try to keep the same pace throughout the whole 3-4 month period of your at-home GMAT prep in order to get the score you’re aiming for.

Stressing Way Too Much On Exam Day

It’s normal to worry about your scores as this exam can very well determine your future. However, worrying way too much can affect your performance on exam day. Instead, take your time to prepare and do your best when the time comes for you to take the GMAT, and you’ll be just fine. One extra step that you can take to help you manage the stress is visiting the test center before the exam. That way, you’ll get used to the journey and the place and you’ll also feel more relaxed if you know what to expect.  

Studying Instead Of Practicing

Another mistake students make is studying study guides instead of practicing extensively. Study guides can help you so much, but practicing on real exams is what will essentially put all that textbook knowledge into practice. So make sure to spend most of your time on actual practice, rather than focusing on learning concepts by heart.

Pro tip: Another way to help you accelerate learning is by working with a one-on-one GMAT instructor. The help of an expert can be beneficial, especially when you find that you are not making any progress with your prep or if you find yourself falling victim to any of the at-home prep mistakes listed above. These instructors know their way around the exam and will bring some structure to your at-home GMAT prep as they work around your schedule and will keep you focused on what’s important.

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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. 

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