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Top 20 GMAT Tips by examPAL

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Top 20 GMAT Tips by examPAL  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2018, 20:41
GMAT Tip of the Week: Study plan, Online vs Offline Prep, and More...

This topic is a part of the GMAT Club Tip of the Week Series

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    1. The number one secret about how to be fast and correct - Learn how to know in advance what is going to be the fastest way to solve every question. We have found out that all solution tools can be categorized as either Precise, Alternative, or Logical. That's the PAL in examPAL. Precise means using a specific rule, such as a grammatical rule or a formula. Logical means using some general logic, such as that the diameter is the largest chord in a circle; and Alternative means using tools that can give us the correct answer indirectly, such as tools for eliminating the wrong answers or the use of symmetry in Geometry. When you practice questions, ask yourself how you could have known in advance which tool would give you the correct answer. If you're not sure, we can teach you how.

    2. The thing about grammar in Sentence Correction questions - Non-native English speakers think that their main problem is grammar, whereas native English speakers think that being a native speaker is an advantage. They are both wrong! The reason is this: usually, non-native English speakers stick to the rules, missing the fact that around a third of the questions can be solved logically, and another third by eliminating the obviously-wrong answers. Native speakers, on the other hand, tend not to memorize the rules at all. They try to FEEL, intuitively, what sounds right. This way, they miss the more complex questions, where the wrong answers sound right. The tip for all of you - improve the complete set of tools, not just the tools within your comfort zone.

    3. How to complete the verbal section on time? Don't read all the answers to all of the question. This is what most people do: they read the question, and then read the answers one after the other, waiting for the right answer to convince them. Not only do they waste a lot of time, they are easily convinced by wrong answers. About a third of the verbal questions can be solved using the Precise approach of just by using the information given in the question. Another third requires using some Logic that's not in the question. Only about a third actually require using the answers, such as ones where the question is 'which of the following weakens the given assumption?'

    4. Don't pay a lot. Don't go for free. Getting the right test prep solution shouldn't cost too much. Students pay outrageous amounts for courses in which their money goes to waste on brick and mortar classrooms, books and teachers' salary. Wake up! The GMAT is computer adaptive! On the other hand, using just the free material found on the net means that no one monitors what you do and gives you professional advice based on your individual performance. A few hundreds of dollars can get you a top of the line preparation which adapts to your own way of thinking. I know at least one place which can give you this. Online.

    5. GMAT or GRE? If you're planning on doing an MBA or a similar financial master's degree, the answer is most probably… GMAT. Here's why: First, although they usually won't admit it, most business schools trust the GMAT more than the GRE, because it is focused on MBA skills. Just look at the Reading Comprehension topics, the Integrated Reasoning section, Analytical Writing topics, and more. Second, the GMAT is better suited for Quantitative applicants - the Quant is harder in the GMAT than it is in the GRE (no calculator, no skipping between questions, Data Sufficiency is harder than the GRE's Quantitative Comparison, and more). And third, the GRE Verbal is crazy hard - extreme vocabulary, complicated logic, and complicated question formats. The GMAT's vocabulary is easy, and its Verbal sections' focus on grammar makes preparing for it similar to math: applying rules, rather than figuring out variety of meanings and depending on various faint nuances as if the word was not English but Chinese… Nonetheless, you may want to consult with an admission consultant, as I know some of them advise to take both tests in certain instances. My two cents - save your time and money and take the GMAT.

    6. The first step you should take Decided to take the GMAT? Great. Now put your money where your mouth is - register for the test. There's nothing that will keep you focused and fully engaged more than paying for the test and having a test date.

    7. When should you take a mock test? Some people will tell you to start your preparation by taking a mock test, to gauge your starting point, and get some kind of a benchmark. Well, here's the thing: taking a test before you are prepared for it will only show you that you are… not prepared. There are so many topics and subtopics in the GMAT, that nothing in the mock test can even be used to point you where to start your preparation or how to plan it. This is why each of our examPAL's practice sessions starts with a diagnostic phase: a focused measurement of very specific skills you can improve. So when should you take a mock tests? After you've completed all the individual topics and you feel ready to perfect you test strategies.

    8. Become obsessed with GMAT. Ob-ssessed. That's the key to any successful endeavour. Make GMAT part of your daily habits - brush your teeth thinking about the formulas you memorized yesterday night, eat breakfast while thinking of yesterday's Geometry lesson, talk with guys at work about this new thing you just figured out about the concept of averages, read the right magazines to help you with reading comprehension over lunch time, and most importantly - plan. A lot. Keep planning when to do each chore, so that nothing is left to chance. Yes, you'll end up with a great score and no friends, but hey - you'll have all the time in the world to make up for that -- AFTER the test.

    9. How to stay laser focused during preparation? Clear away any distraction, physical or mental. Physically - meaning clear your desk, put your cell phone on silent mode, prepare your notebook and anything else you might need. But more importantly, clear your mind. Don't run from your office straight to test prep, while making a phone call and sending two emails. Take a break. Relax. Breath. Clear your mind from any previous trauma you have from quadrilateral equations. Imagine you are an untouched trunk of a young tree. No ax ever hit you. No bird ever pooped on you. Your mind is clear and positive.

    10. Online, not offline. Have you ever seen how special forces train to operate behind enemy lines? They build a model of the town they are going into. Same houses. The exact same doors and windows. Same interior. The same goes for you: the GMAT is computer adaptive. If you want to perform your best in real time, you must prepare for the test in the same environment as the one you'll encounter. This means getting used to the clock, knowing where all the buttons are, thinking what to write down in your scratch pad and how, using the Integrated Reasoning calculator the right way, and more.

    11. Which books should you use for preparation? None. No books. Nada. The GMAT is computer adaptive. Books are neither a computer nor adaptive. Preparing for a computer adaptive test by using books is like preparing for a car race using a chair. Yeh, you get to sit, but… You may want to use the Official Guide to GMAT for its questions. That's okay for some extra practice, but that's not what you're preparing for. The GMAT tests a skill called 'Cognitive Flexibility', which is your ability to change your set of tools quickly according to the changing sets of data. You need an adaptive software for that. Coincidentally, I happen to have just what you need...

    12. How to learn from your previous mistakes? When you get a wrong answer, don't conclude your research by saying: 'I know exactly why I got it wrong. I'm an idiot'. I'm not saying that's not true, but this is very hard to overcome… Now seriously. There are three aspects you need to look for in every mistake. The first one is professional: did I forget a rule or a formula? Is there some logic that I missed? Maybe an Alternative tool I could have used? The second aspect is that of pedantry: did I mark the wrong answer because I answered the wrong question, such as looking for the area when I was asked about the perimeter? If so, the lesson should be writing down certain things on the scratch pad. Maybe writing down calculations instead of doing mental calculations. The third aspect, when it comes to mock tests, is strategy: did I have enough time to solve this question? Should I give myself more time the next time around, or should I have skipped this question in the first place?

    13. How should you memorize vocabulary? If you are a native English speaker, most chances are that you will not need to memorize any vocabulary for the GMAT. If you're not - the key is to diversify the methods, you use for memorization. Writing the words, you don't know over and over or just using flash cards will not get you very far. Try drawing the meaning of some of them. Breaking them down into separate words: sub-terran-ean. Write down sentences that associate them with similar words. Try using them in your everyday life. The more creative you are, the more engaged your brain becomes in the process and you will learn more, faster.

    14. How should you study grammar? Don't just memorize rules, try to figure out the logic behind them. What you should memorize is an example that illustrates the rule clearly. For example, if you want to remember that present perfect is used when an activity started in the past and continues into the present, memorize a sentence such as: 'Brett has lived here since he was eight.'

    15. How should you memorize formulas?The simple answer is 'don't'. There are not many formulas you need for the test, and most of them use some kind of logic. For example, the reason why the area of a kite is half the product of the kite's diagonals is that multiplying the diagonals will give us the area of a rectangle, and the kite is exactly half of that. Draw it and you'll see the logic. That's the best way to remember what the formula stands for. And if you really have to - just use it over and over again. Write down or search the web for basic questions - or just solve our introductions - until you get it.

    16. When can you trust the given figure and when should you not? Most figures in the test are accurate, but that's not always the case. You can definitely trust a figure that cannot be drawn differently, such as regular polygons. You must definitely not trust the figure in Data Sufficiency questions, as it is merely one example - but not necessarily the only one - of a drawing that can fit the scarce data in the question.

    17. How long should you prepare for the GMAT? Not too long, not too short. Allowing 6 months for preparation will only make you exhausted, and you'll most probably forget the things that you learned in the first months. Allowing just two weeks will not be enough to go over everything, let alone absorb new ideas. Using examPAL, you'll be able to prepare in 6-8 weeks, learning all that you need while focusing on just what you need.

    18. How to create a one-month study plan? Assuming that this is the first time you're taking the test - and making sure that this is the last time - it is possible, if necessary, to prepare in just one month - assuming that you can study for approximately 5-6 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. The total amount of preparation time, for a native English speaker using examPAL, should be around 100-120 hours. This is a bit intense, so, if possible, we recommend spreading it out over 6-8 weeks. However, if you're a Non-Native English speaker, it is advisable to extend your preparation period by an additional month. This way you will have enough time to improve your verbal skills by reading daily and going over the grammatical rules. In order to generate your personal plan, just go to our blog on

    19. How to create a two-month study plan? Two months of preparation is the ideal preparation period. On one hand, it is not too short, so that it allows you to absorb new ideas and practice them, while on the other hand it is not too long, so that it keeps you engaged and on top of everything. Open your calendar and strike out the days in which you cannot study - or don't want to! Having at least one day off a week is great. Now mark specific hours in the remaining days in which you CAN study, preferably at least 3 hours a day, to a total of 100-120 hours. Now go to our blog at to see the list of topics you should add to this plan and how to quickly generate your own study plan.

    20. How to create a three-month study plan? A three-month study plan is a bit too long, but if you are a non-native English speaker it can be the right period of time for you. Take one month to improve your vocabulary, grammar and reading pace, and in the next two months follow my tip on how to prepare in two months. If you have serious time constraints that prevent you from putting in 100-120 hours in two months, spread your preparation over three months, but leave more room for revisions of previous topics. Go to our blog at to generate your personal plan accordingly.

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User avatar
Joined: 11 May 2018
Posts: 125
Location: India
GMAT 1: 460 Q42 V14
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Re: Top 20 GMAT Tips by examPAL  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2018, 22:02
One can Learn a lot from this post,Great post,Thanks souvik101990.
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Top 20 GMAT Tips by examPAL   [#permalink] 01 Sep 2018, 22:02
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