Random Reflections!

thoughts, views, news and plenty of rants

Few words on GMAT

Posted by nixbert on September 9, 2007

So here’s what i feel about GMAT. (penning these down lest I lose the flavour over time). I managed a decent score (I hope) not a brilliant one but I guess the experience is worth something

AWA is important
It is probably the most ignored part of the test, mostly because it does not count towards the rated score. However I think its worth spending at least some time preparing for it. There are two reasons why this is important. Firstly, it accounts for an hour on the exam and every hour drains your energy and focus. So it is best to practice at least 2-3 full-length tests which *include* AWA. No one wants to run into the sections which actually count and find themselves unable to focus or drained out. Best to build your stamina when you can. Secondly, since this is the first section, if you do reasonably well, it will give you that much more confidence going into the meat of the real test. Well….at least it did for me.

Practice a lot of Maths
There is only one way to get the quant section right and that is to practice it a lot. Lets face it, this is high-school maths and for engineers it is a real shame to do badly on this section. (and no I am not too pleased with myself on Quant). The core of almost every question is such that most people will nail it, 10 on 10, if asked in a straightforward manner. However, the questions though are worded very cleverly and set up so that you miss some trivial detail which will end up costing you. So practice each type of the problem (probability, ratios etc) to an extent that you don’t have to think twice while solving the meat of the problem. This because you want to spend as much time learning to skin the problem to get to the meat. Better you are at extracting the available vs required information (aka skinning) in shortest possible time, higher your score is going to be.

Practice on timed full length tests
There are plenty of good resources available. GMATPrep from mba.com is probably the most representative of the real thing (for obvious reasons). Other good resources for genuine adaptive tests can also be found online at following resources – Peterson’s and Princeton Review. They cost a bit, Peterson about 20$ and Princeton review are free if you get their GMAT book, however, the tests are good. One caveat about Peterson – there is a slight delay between you clicking one question and next question loading up fully, it is a bit annoying specially when you are crunched for time. However, they are good practice nonetheless as you learn to cope up with shortage of time. Pick up Kaplan tests to get kicked in your guts and jolt yourself into action if you’ve been feeling a little lazy in your prep. The miserable score is likely to get you worked up 😉

Learn to do verbal like Maths (for engineers and people good at maths)
No I am not joking. Learn to break up sentences like you would break up an equation. First, learn to identify principal and subordinate phrase of the sentence. Then learn to classify them as Noun, Adjective and adverbial phrases. These are numbers/variables in your equation. Then learn about pronouns, conjunctions etc, which bind one part of the sentence to other. These are like your modifiers in your equation (the pluses, minuses and equal-to sign). Once you’ve done that you will immediately notice how easy it is to identify when an equation – which is actually a sentence – is unbalanced and how to get it back in shape by correcting error in number, pronouns, relation, parallelism). After learning maths for a number of years, it is in your instincts to deal with and dismiss such problems. And this entire tactic is also based on a very familiar principle of maths – that of reducing an unfamiliar problem to one which is simpler in form and one you know how to solve!!

So there you go. That’s a load off my chest….

Wish you luck!


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