Strategies, Sample Questions, and Random Ramblings.
July 10, 2015
There is no GMAT study plan that is exactly right for everyone. Each individual is different. Different goals, different abilities, different amounts of study time, and the list goes on. What is important for any GMAT hopeful is to make sure that you cover all of the material that is on the exam. Sounds simple, but without an organized study guide this can be quite difficult. You also, need to be flexible. In the years I have spent preparing people for the exam, I have seen just about everything “get in the way” of people’s studies. Sometimes it is external factors such as work or personal issues, and other times the material is difficult for people to grasp. Either way, those who stay consistent with their preparation tend to preform the best. While impossible to keep you on task from a blog post and a list of materials (hint: look at our product) here is a link to a set of comprehensive posts that cover the basics of everything you need to know about the exam.
This section, while the first one on the exam, is the least important. In fact, 60% of schools say that IR doesn’t matter that much in the application process. That said, you don’t really want to throw a terrible number on your application if you can avoid it. Follow this post to get some tips on how to properly prepare for the IR section.
The AWA score is another number that is pretty low on importance for the exam. Again, that doesn’t mean you want to tank the section. With just a little bit of practice and a solid plan you can easily ensure that you get a top score. Check out our AWA study plan.
All things considered, this is the section that gives people the biggest headache on the exam. Obviously, there are people who excel here and struggle with the quant, but for the most part, we all use language on a daily basis, we don’t all use math skills. When preparing for the exam, it is imperative that you have a solid foundation - there are no short cuts to understanding how to do certain operations. This comes with practice, but at least we can show you what to do here.
This is a section that most GMAT programs put at the end of the course. Personally, I think this is a huge mistake. Sure, some of the questions are quite difficult and more conceptual, but the properties of numbers are at the foundation of how math, and in particular the quantitative section, works. Get cracking with number properties
This is a massive section. The toughest part for most is to understand all of the different notations and keeping all of the rules straight. Again, this takes practice. We have broken down all the things you need to master the algebra section of the GMAT.
Averages, Weighted Averages, Overlapping Sets, and Statistics are at the core of this section. While most have some experience with some of these sections, there are still a few things that you want to become aware of when preparing for this section. Have you ever heard of the transposition method? If not, check out this section.
This section overlaps with a few others, but worth singling out because so many people struggle with word translations. In general, slow and steady wins the race. On a high level, this section is simply applies more analytical thinking to the basic disciplines that you will have covered up to this point in your program.
People either love or hate geometry. My honest opinion is that it is probably the easiest section of the quantitative portion of the exam, because it is mostly rules based. If you have all the right pieces of content memorized, you can do very well on this section.
Undoubtedly, almost every reader of this page focuses on reading this section first. Everyone wants to be advanced! Sorry, but that is actually the completely wrong way to approach this exam and we will get into why that is as you move through the program. Furthermore, this is only called the advanced section because it parallels with more advanced maths. Some of the problems here can actually be quite easy.
All told, there is significantly less material on the verbal side when compared with the quantitative section. For some this is a walk in the park, but for others, especially non-native speakers (I could never imagine taking a graduate level exam in my second language), it can be quite challenging. The key with this section is to know what to look for, not to master the English language. Sure there are some foundational skills that are required, but once those are down, simply recognizing what the GMAT likes to test for different question types.
I can’t over emphasize enough how important pattern recognition is for this section. When I first took the exam, I honestly had no idea what to call of the variety of grammatical rules. I just studied what was done on practice questions and that was good enough for a 99th percentile on the section! Now, I wouldn’t recommend the same approach, if you can learn the basic definitions and how they are applied on the GMAT, sentence correction will be a breeze.
Structure, Structure, Structure. Learn how to identify different parts of the argument and, most importantly, the focus of the argument. Here we will talk about all of the different things that you need to look for when approaching the various critical reasoning questions. Plus, we will answer the most common question, “how do I pick between the last 2 answer options that both sound right?”
Last but not least is reading comprehension. There are really only 3 basic question types for this section. Your task is simple, learn where to find the answers for each of the different question types. Sounds easy, right? Well, that is until you have to read a passage about the legal reform in the medical industry - there is enough jargon in the first sentence to put you to sleep. Get your Reading Comp Tips here.
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