How often should I take practice tests?
When it comes to taking practice tests, many GMAT testtakers fall into one of two categories. The first type is made up of students that think of practice tests as THE way to prep. These students will take practice test after practice test, sometimes taking up to four or more a week. The second group is made up of students that are afraid to take any practice tests. These students will exclaim, “I have not studied everything and will do terribly if I take a practice test.” With this mindset, these students will fail to take practice tests until perhaps the week or two before their actual exam.
So, which approach is correct? Not surprisingly, both of these mindsets are problematic. Testtakers in the former group miss opportunities to focus their practice on their problem areas. This focused practice is essential to improving one’s GMAT score and simply taking additional tests will not help students improve their understanding of content.
On the other side, testtakers who fail to take any practice tests until the last minute will not be prepared for the pressure of test day. Additionally, these students will not be used to the endurance needed to take a three and half hour exam.
This means, in order to successfully prepare for test day, students must find a happy medium between these two extremes. In order to gain both test taking experience and content specific review, those prepping for the GMAT should aim to take about one practice test per week. After taking each test, preppers should review all of the problems and then make sure to work in areas in which they missed questions over the course of the week. By following this system, you will be maximizing the effectiveness of your studies and on your way to a top GMAT score.