— Alyssa Lee (@AlyssaMLee) August 31, 2014
Follow Alyssa Lee as she examines the daily do’s and don’ts for working professionals preparing for the GMAT.
How to Improve
After finishing my GMAT class, I had all the tools I needed to tackle the GMAT, but I still needed a lot of PRACTICE. There’s quite a few things to cover on this exam.
After completing an online Veritas Prep GMAT course, I tried to find my areas of weakness. How to do this? Take practice exams, and take more than 1! I’ve taken 5 so far, and here’s my personal insight on the process:
Taking Practice Exams
But it takes 4 hours! Where am I going to the find the time?
The truth is sometimes you can’t find a 4 hour block in a busy work week. Depending on how much time I had, I would just do the quant and verbal sections, and if I had a little more time, I would add the IR.
This is my “Don’t” from personal experience: On two of my practice exams I couldn’t find a 3 hour block to do the just the quant and verbal so I split it up: did the Quant, some of the verbal, paused the exam, ran my errand (or went to bed), and then finished later.
I could tell that I wasn’t performing as well, the mental starting and stopping was taking a toll, and it showed in the scores. If I were to do it again, I would be sure to carve out that 3 hour time slot for quant and verbal, turn off my phone, and work on completing the practice exam in 1 siting to build test stamina.
Review Your Results
Well I got a 750 on my first practice exam so there wasn’t much to review! …I’m kidding. That did NOT happen…
I fall into the test taker type of stronger on verbal, and trying to make friends with the quant section.
In my first 1-2 practice exams, I wasn’t finishing either of the sections in the allotted time, especially on the quant side. I asked my instructor, Veritas Prep’s Travis Morgan, what are some things I can do to increase my speed on the quant section. He suggested reviewing the basic algebra & arithmetic principles in order to get those ingrained like muscle memory. So I spent the next week back on basic math: order of operations, exponent rules, number properties, 2x2 = 4 – all that fun stuff.
Sure enough, the next practice exam, I was able to save a few seconds on each problem because I had most of the basics down.
I also noticed a pattern in my verbal results, most the questions I missed were sentence correction problems. Can you guess what I did? Had an all day Saturday party with grammar rules and sentence correction review!!
Work does pay off, the next practice exam, my sentence correction improved and the verbal score ticked up.
I still have some fine tuning to do, but the 1 thing that’s helped is finding my weaknesses, knowing & acknowledging I can get better and carving out that time in the busy work week to practice! My recommendation for practice exams is the Official GMAT's, Veritas Prep also has great practice exams with great solutions to follow.
Fun Facts on GMAT scores
GMAT Total Score Means by World Region of Citizenship 2012-2013:
Australia and Asia Pacific: 591
East and South East Asia: 575
Central and South Asia: 570
Western Europe: 565
Eastern Europe: 553
United States: 532
Mexico, Caribbean, Latin America: 520
Middle East: 434