Building A GMAT Preparation Plan

by Grace Dickins

Studying for any major test is difficult, but the GMAT poses an especially difficult challenge. Rather than the fact-and-rote approach taken by most high school and early college testing, the GMAT tests an appropriate graduate-level set of skills - that of problem solving and contextual analysis. How can you study for a test that employs concepts rather than straight answers? Here are some tips for building a GMAT preparation plan:

Be able to 'show your work'

For some students, subjects like maths can be frustrating because of the demand to "show work" - the idea that even if the right answers are found, it isn't enough. When studying for the GMAT, understanding the way you arrive at answers is actually more important than the answers themselves. To put it succinctly, if you can't clearly explain your methods to another student in a tutoring sense, you will likely need to head back to the proverbial drawing board. You should be able to derive the question from the answer as easily as you do the converse; responding not only with a method but the reason it was developed and a real-life application or two.

Step out of your comfort zone

Sticking with the methodologies and questions you can answer easily during study sessions may help further hone existing skills, but you'll also leave yourself holding the bag on test day. Tackle the questions you don't understand first, and work your way backwards in terms of difficulty. You'll need to give yourself the time and "head space" to really let your weakest points get some backbone before testing, and that just won't happen if you stick with the "slow pitches."

Correct from a place of authority

Hire yourself out as a free editor for fellow classmates for a few months prior to your test date. The requirements for editing, fluency and cohesion in the verbal section of the GMAT can be a big obstacle for students that tend to seize on the predictability of math skills during studying. Seeking out a variety of "raw" writing pieces from several writers can present the prospective GMAT taker with the ability to flex their critical eye. The most effective application of this method will be for individuals willing to discuss their later grades and educator corrections with you after your own editing is completed. This may help you target any grammatical or continuity issues that you tend to skip over or incorrectly pass.

Don't go it alone

The GMAT's format makes it an especially good place to work in study teams or groups, as other human beings can devise unexpected problems that put you on the spot and demand creative method application - exactly what the test is designed to do. Tutors can be an excellent way to add the human element to your study sessions, or you might want to create regular study appointments with classmates or even other GMAT-takers over the internet. However you decide to get ready for the GMAT, recruiting help is a smart way to help cement lessons in your mind.

Tags: GMAT preparation
Categories: GMAT