Posted on
01
Jun 2022

GMAT Success: How to Utilize Breaks During the GMAT

One of the most ignored parts when thinking about the GMAT is taking a break during the test itself. Most standardized tests from the SAT to the Multi-State Bar Exam offer the test-takers the option to take breaks. The GMAT does the same. Constantly we harp over GMAT testing strategies and different study methods for our GMAT Success and we put a massive amount of emphasis on the test day itself. But we never seem to mention the breaks that can be taken during the GMAT.

1. How Long is the GMAT?

You are probably well aware of the structure of the GMAT at this point, but here is a reminder anyway. The GMAT is a grueling 3 hours and 7 minutes and is divided into four sections, integrated, quantitative, and verbal reasoning, along with the analytical writing assessment. The verbal and quantitative sections are especially a pain, with both being over an hour and filled with highly demanding questions.

1.Integrated Reasoning: 30 mins, 12 questions 

2.Quantitative Reasoning: 62 mins, 31 questions 

3.Verbal Reasoning:  65 questions, 36 questions 

4.Analytical Writing Assignment: 30 mins, 1 question

During the GMAT exam, you are allowed two eight-minute breaks. The first is allowed after the first hour of the exam and the second is available after the quantitative reasoning portion. Both of these breaks are completely optional, but taking full advantage of these breaks can really help keep you sane during the GMAT. 

So why should you be taking these breaks and what should you do? Below are some of our favorite suggestions when utilizing the breaks during the GMAT.

2. Importance of Taking a Break 

The GMAT breaks are optional, and you may be someone who prefers not to do so. But just keep in mind that the GMAT is over 3 hours long so it is a marathon, not a sprint. These GMAT breaks can help maximize your scoring potential. However, when taking a break do not study during it, in fact, if you study during the break your score could actually be cancelled. That’s because studying during the test time is against the rules of the GMAT. Instead, actually use your break to take a break.

3. Reduce Stress

Stress while studying for and taking the GMAT is universal and it’s not unjustified – the GMAT is an exam that could help determine your future. So of course it makes sense that many can find themselves overwhelmed during the exam. Taking a break is a great way to reset and achieve GMAT success. Even if you don’t feel completely overwhelmed, stepping away from the test is a good way to gain clarity. Taking breaks help you to broth process and retain information, further maintaining your focus. It is easy to become exhausted during the exam and for your brain to be drained.  Hence, even if you may not feel you need a break your brain probably needs one. 

4. Refuel 

Of course when taking a break during the GMAT you have a chance to eat or drink something. Something that you can prepare for yourself are healthy snacks. Fruit, granola bars, or nuts can serve as great ways to power your brain through the rest of the exam. In fact, we would recommend that the night and morning before the exam to make sure to eat something healthy. Stay away from unhealthy snacks and food as you want both your body and brain to be in the best shape for the test. In terms of drinks, water, but also maybe a thermos filled with coffee and tea will suit you well. A cup of coffee may even give you that boost you need. Once again we suggest you stay away from unhealthy drinks such as sodas and energy drinks. 

In Review 

GMAT success is a monumental task. It is a very demanding test, both in prep and during the exam itself. It is important to try and take advantage of every opportunity you can get, such as breaks during the test. Here at Apex GMAT we offer a different edge on the GMAT, that being private one on one GMAT tutoring. Private GMAT tutoring give test takers some of the best opportunities in achieving GMAT success. Apex GMAT  offers both online and in-person tutoring. It can be the first step to your desired GMAT score.

 

Contributor: Lucas Duncan

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GMAT Soft Skills
Posted on
24
Feb 2022

GMAT Meets Soft Skills

It just got real, you booked a date to take your GMAT exam and now you are looking more into its sections and how to prepare for it. That means, during your preparations, some technical skills involving math, analytics and logic should be mastered. You have dissected the exam and its sections and now you are set and ready for your GMAT prep journey. But little do you know that these skills are not the only thing you will be gaining during your preparations. The GMAT is also about the soft skills that will make you stand out and thrive in your workplace.

When preparing for the GMAT, you are unconsciously acquiring these top five GMAT soft skills: 

1. Decision-Making Skills

Faced with a number of solutions and choices for a specific matter, you are expected to be quick and think critically. Sure, that may be the case during the GMAT, but it also applies to the real world. In your workplace problems are bound to happen. When confronted with workplace issues, what matters is how the problems were tackled and faced. The GMAT is a great introduction to problem-solving under pressure. You are limited, time-wise, and you have to rely on your own abilities to find the best solution. In order to do so, you most likely use your reasoning abilities where you eliminate solution paths until the best option is left over.  

2. Time Management Skills 

Having too many tasks and assignments makes your To-Do list look a little too cluttered. However, you somehow manage to divide your work and assign certain time frames for certain tasks. During your GMAT preparation journey, you are forced to prioritize tasks over the others and to divide your work throughout the course of your prep journey. Time management is one of the most important GMAT soft skills that you can master with practice. Even when taking the test, time management is vital to achieving your desired GMAT score goal. The ability to equally divide time and give everything its well-deserved attention is a very important asset for the prosperity of your performance and the progress of your productivity in general. 

3. Focusing Skills

The workplace is full of distractions and disturbances and staying focused and still being able to see what drives and motivates you can be challenging. Being able to concentrate for hours on end needs discipline and dedication. GMAT takers are no strangers to that. All the time put into studying and preparing is only sharpening their focusing skills.

4. Debating Skills

The GMAT is built around critical thinking and how reasonings and evidence are more than enough to make a point. Through the analytical writing assessment, GMAT exam takers are asked to analyze and evaluate an argument. Consequently, the AWA section requires test takers to communicate their thoughts in a critical and structured way. Your workplace may give you the chance to propose an idea and your reasons should be convincing enough for the team to adopt your proposal. The GMAT preparations help exam takers think outside the box when it comes to arguments.

5.  Positive Attitude Skills

Sometimes seeing the rainbow during the rain is difficult. Yet, at times all you need is that little sparkle of hope that will keep you pushing. Studying for the GMAT can be frustrating but the act of positive thinking during the preparation journey will just be a habit unconsciously adapted. Whether it is working on a challenging project or just a bad day at work, your positive attitude will not only lift you up but lift your surroundings and motivate the ones around you.

While all these GMAT soft skills will be gained during your GMAT studies, the usage of a GMAT private tutor will help you reinforce and expand on such skills. Finding the right kind of GMAT private tutor can be a difficult venture, however, an effective private tutor is able to work with your strengths while finding individualized solutions to bettering your weaknesses. 

Conclusion

The GMAT is not just an exam. The GMAT is the beginning of developing essential soft skills. It is the seed needed for you to grow and branch out. Yes, to others, it is just an exam, a pen and paper. However, the GMAT is the conscious adaptation of technical and important skills. But most importantly, it’s also the process of unconscious molding and strengthening of soft skills used in your workplace.

 

Contributor: Lilas Al-Sammak 

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taking the gmat prep journey. On our own or with peers?
Posted on
22
Apr 2021

Taking the GMAT Prep Journey: On your own or with peers?

By: Apex GMAT
Contributor: Arin Agich
Date: 22nd April 2021

 If you aim to apply for your dream MBA program or you want to reach the next level in your career, attending business school is a step that you should be considering. If so, you will need to take the GMAT exam. Before starting to prepare for your GMAT journey you have to decide which learning style suits you best. This depends on the amount of available time you have, your score goal, and your budget. In this article we are going to look at the two most common methods to prepare for the GMAT: One on one GMAT prep and Group prep.

What are the differences between one-on-one and group-based GMAT preparation?

Before deciding which one of these methods will work best for you it is important to review the main differences between them.

 Do you study best alone or with peers?

One of the biggest differences between these two learning styles is the presence or absence of others. Being surrounded with others going through the same journey might be encouraging, knowing that the others are sharing similar challenges on their GMAT journey will help you see that you are not alone.  Whereas, being on your own can lead to higher success rates since you can move forward with your own pace without waiting for your peers.

Time Management

A bulk of your GMAT preparation will include a vast majority of practice problems so you will need to manage your time successfully and make sure that you are using this time productively to avoid preparing for the test for extended periods of time. Apex tutors suggest spending between 3-4 months studying for the exam. Managing your preparation schedule and discipline is all up to you if you decide to prepare for the exam on your own. On the other hand, being under a one-on-one prep program will give you plenty of flexibility, but make sure that you keep up to your self-built schedule!

Individual Workload vs Group Projects/Home-works

Irrespective of any type of GMAT preparation method you will need to spend numerous hours doing homework or self prep at home to get comfortable using the skills that you have learnt. If you are part of a group-based prep program you will be able to ask for help and advice from your classmates and even work in groups. For some this sounds time-consuming, whereas for others it is a great socializing opportunity during GMAT prep time. However, as an individual student, your home works can be personalized and built according to your needs. This will help you to focus more on your weaknesses and move forward faster with the topics that you have already developed. 

 Efficiency

Regardless of which method you decide to go for, in the end it comes to efficiency. Keeping in mind that you have a limited period of time until the big GMAT test day, being efficient throughout your preparatory period is the key. To be able to answer this it is important to know the benefits of each method. In the following section we wrote down some of the benefits both for one on one and group based GMAT prep.

Benefits of One-on-one GMAT Preparation

 Personalized Sessions: Curriculum Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of one-on-one GMAT preparation is that the sessions are personalized according to your needs. After your first session with your tutor, where you can openly talk about your challenges that you want to work on and strengths you want to build on, you will be given a personalized curriculum that will help you tackle all your problems.

 Student-Tutor Bond

Preparing for your GMAT test can be overwhelming. This is where the student-tutor bond comes into play. Knowing that you have your tutor’s full attention and support will help you get over your anxiety and reduce your stress. Getting support during such long journeys is crucial. This will help you to refocus when required, rest when needed, and move forward faster when you are ready.

Alex who scored 730 on his GMAT test after working with Apex said this about his one on one GMAT prep experience:

“I felt like Apex was in my camp and in my corner, really making sure that I was putting my best foot forward and that I was going to get the best possible score that I could. The support system that was in place was great and the experience was seamless”.

 Two-way Feedback

For anyone going through GMAT preparation, having feedback on your work is highly important. This helps you to check in with how far you have come. However, it is also important to give feedback to your tutor, too. This will help her/him to understand your needs better. If you are part of a one-on-one tutoring program the feedback can go both ways, at any given time. Feedback can take different forms, some of the examples are: test taking strategies and advice, specific questions type strategies, habits for success, stress reducing advice, etc. 

 Progress at your own pace

Preparing with one-on-one tutoring for your GMAT means that you will have a personalized curriculum by your tutor. This means that, following this curriculum, you can also progress at your own pace. Working more on questions that you have a hard time with or going forward much faster with the ones that you have mastered, without having to wait for your peers. 

Benefits of group-based GMAT Preparation

 Sharing the Same GMAT Journey

Being part of a group-based GMAT prep program will give you the sense of belonging with fellow future GMAT takers. This will help you to share your struggles and anxieties, and also celebrate your success with your peers. Having a social group throughout GMAT’s many hours of practice questions and tests is supportive. Being surrounded with like minded people with similar goals will keep you motivated. 

Besides sharing your GMAT process during your preparation period, the weekly meetings during mutual classes will give you the opportunity to engage with your peers. Sharing tips, advice, and notes or simply: making new friends!

Study Dates 

Next to your individual tasks and homework, within your GMAT group you can also find study buddies and work on your questions together. This will help you to partner up with one of your peers who might have similar challenges and try to tackle the questions together or this person will be able to help you with the topics you have trouble going forward with. 

 Structured Schedule 

Group-based GMAT preparation courses are highly structured programs. If you are a person who functions easier and is more productive under a ready made structured schedule, working in a group is for you. It will have a routine that you can always count on. 

Developing additional skills

Next to developing your GMAT skills, being part of a group will help you develop additional skills, such as: social and communication skills which are highly acquired skills in MBA programs. Next to developing your personal and social skills, being part of a group will also give you the chance to be part of a team work. This will help you develop your leadership skills and the importance of cooperation with the others. 

Which GMAT prep strategy is the best for you?

Finding the most efficient way for reaching a high score on your GMAT test is important. After reviewing the benefits and differences of the two learning methods you can prioritize your needs, consult with previous GMAT takers and tutors and decide which method would work best for you!

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