Tag Archives: GMAT Prep

The Best GMAT Reading Comprehension Strategy

Learn the Approach On a GMAT Verbal Section, you will typically have four Reading Comprehension passages, each with associated questions.  The danger of Reading Comprehension is that it becomes a major time-sink, stealing valuable time away …

Learn the Approach

On a GMAT Verbal Section, you will typically have four Reading Comprehension passages, each with associated questions.  The danger of Reading Comprehension is that it becomes a major time-sink, stealing valuable time away from Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning.

First of all, I will point out: no one strategy will be perfect for everyone.  You will need to tweak these suggestions to find what works best for you and your own study plan.  This post will give you a clear starting point for that process of exploration.

Read, Don’t Skim

First of all, the point of this question is to read.  Some GMAT prep sources will recommend skimming the passage, or reading only the first paragraph, then skimming the rest.  In my view, this is a mistaken approach.  Read carefully, so that you only have to read once.

What does it mean to read carefully?  First of all, it means to take notes, summarizing each paragraph briefly on scrap paper or on your notepad (on the real GMAT).  Students resist the process of taking written notes, but if you practice it and become good at it, it will always be a time-saver.  Even if you never again look at your notes, just the fact that you invested the mental effort in deciding how to summarize means that you thereby were understanding that part of the passage.

Reading carefully means summarizing paragraphs and identifying the main idea of the passage.  It DOES NOT mean reading every single stinking word.  For example, if an author makes a point and then follows it with a detailed example (“for instance”), you can skim that example.

This careful reading should take about 3.5 minutes for a short passage and about 4.5 for a long passage.  Then, spend about 1 minute per question, and that will leave you ample time for SC and CR questions.  You should time yourself, to verify to yourself that you can keep this pace.

Understand, Don’t Memorize

Your goal in reading the passage should be to understand.  It will help to feign interest in the material, to generate a genuine sense of curiosity about what’s being discussed.  If you are a visual person, it will help considerably to form a mental picture of what the author is describing.

Your goal is not to memorize obscure details: dates, complicated scientific terms, names of theories or processes.  It’s enough to note where that detail is in the passage, so if a detail question addresses it, you can find it quickly.

Remember: GMAT Reading Comprehension is not a speed-reading test.   It is not a memory test.  GMAT Reading Comprehension is about developing your own understanding of a passage in order to identify the correct answers in the questions that follow.

***

This post was written by Mike McGarry, GMAT expert and writer for the Magoosh GMAT Blog.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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Guest Post: GMAT Time Management Strategies

Should I Budget more Time at the beginning? Despite what you may have heard, do not spend a majority of time at the beginning of the test. Many people subscribe to this belief in hopes …

Should I Budget more Time at the beginning?

Despite what you may have heard, do not spend a majority of time at the beginning of the test. Many people subscribe to this belief in hopes that they can game the system. The misconception is that the first few questions weighted more heavily then the subsequent question, with the last few questions having almost no impact on score. The algorithm, however, doesn’t fall asleep once it’s got you “figured” out. You can “bomb” the first part of the test, but as long as you do well on the rest of the test, your score should be no different from a student who misses the same amount, but misses most of them at the end.

Skipping a Question

First off, you must answer each question on GMAT before you are able to move on. By skipping a question, you are essentially randomly guessing because you have absolutely no idea.

As to how many questions you should skip, and how long you should spend on a question before skipping, there is no perfect answer. But if you have spent more than a minute on a question without being able to devise a solution path, then you may want to skip this question. However, if your first attempt did not yield you one of the answer choices, do not simply give up. Check your work. Figure out if there is another way to approach the problem. If at this point you are stuck and the clock is ticking inexorably to zero, then you may want to make an intelligent guess and move on.

How many questions should you skip?

Again, there is no perfect answer to this question. Factors to consider include your target score and your score on practice tests. For the latter point, know how many questions you’ve skipped on practice tests and how that affected your score. For instance, if you skipped two questions on a practice test and still scored close to 700, then you should be able to do the same on the real test (of course the practice test you use should not be a Manhattan GMAT or GMAC test ”“ the algorithms on other tests are less trustworthy.

Use Practice Tests to Work on Time Management

Beyond determining how many questions to skip, you can use practice tests to get a feel for how you should manage your time. Reading about time management and theorizing on the best approach is moot if you do not actually take practice tests to determine what works for you. For instance, you may find that you are making careless mistakes at the beginning of the test, and finishing with time to spare. You clearly need to slow down. Missing many questions toward the end because you are short on time will require you to speed up at the beginning.

Takeaway

Time management can play an important factor in your score. While there is no one magic mantra, keep the points above in mind as you fashion your own approach using practice tests.

This post was written by Chris Lele, GRE and GMAT Expert at Magoosh Test Prep. Magoosh offers hundreds of practice questions and video lessons, as well as free resources and tips on how to master the GMAT and GRE.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

 

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GMAT Hacks: Choosing Effective GMAT Practice Questions

Guest post provided by Jeff Sackmann of GMAT Hacks One of my main goals with this site is to help guide you through the quagmire that is the commercial GMAT prep marketplace. There are some good …

Guest post provided by Jeff Sackmann of GMAT Hacks

One of my main goals with this site is to help guide you through the quagmire that is the commercial GMAT prep marketplace. There are some good resources out there, and there’s a lot of garbage. Unfortunately, even if you find the best resources, you still may not use your time as effectively as you could.

Here are the two things that will help you use your time the most effectively when doing practice questions: (1) Choose realistic questions. Start with the Official Guides.  (2) Choose questions at the appropriate difficulty level.

The second one is much harder than the first. How do you know how difficult each question is? After all, you’d have to do it to know how challenging it is, right?

Yes and no.

If you want a more precise measurement of difficulty, consult my Guides to the Official Guides. (I hope I don’t sound like an infomercial here: I’ve specifically created these resources because the need for them is so glaring.) In each one, I organize every single question into one of five tiers of difficulty.

I do the same in each one of my problem sets, as well. When I work with students one-on-one, I often start them out at the lowest level, only moving up when they reach a certain degree of competence and comfort…

This is an excerpt from a longer article by Jeff Sackmann, originally published at GMAT Hacks.  Jeff has created several valuable GMAT-preparation resources, including Total GMAT Math and Total GMAT Verbal.

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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Magoosh Launches New and Improved GMAT Product

Our friends at Magoosh are launching a new and improved GMAT product today and want to offer my blog readers a special discount—but you have to act fast! Magoosh GMAT Features: More than 200 video …

Our friends at Magoosh are launching a new and improved GMAT product today and want to offer my blog readers a special discount—but you have to act fast!

Magoosh GMAT Features:
  • More than 200 video lessons that cover all the topics you’ll find on the actual GMAT
  • 700 practice questions, each with a video and text explanation
  • All content created by GMAT experts that typically charge over $100/hour for personal tutoring
  • Detailed results summary, where you can compare your performance and pace to the tens of thousands of other students using Magoosh
  • Custom practice by section, subject, and difficulty level
  • Practice and quiz modes that let you prepare and experience a GMAT-like test
  • Unlimited access and 24×7 support
  • Access via the web from any internet-enabled device (laptop, iPad, iPhone, Android); no download needed

Magoosh GMAT Dashboard

Magoosh GMAT Video Explanation

Magoosh GMAT Sentence Correction

For the first 20 customers who come from StacyBlackman.com, Magoosh will offer a 30% discount off their list price of $199. All you have to do is use is the following code at checkout: stacyblackman30fall2011

A big thanks to Magoosh for sharing this sneak peek and discount with the followers of my blog!

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SBC Scoop: Handling GMAT Test Anxiety

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client. Stacy Blackman Consulting helps clients gain admission to every MBA program globally, but one thing …

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

Stacy Blackman Consulting helps clients gain admission to every MBA program globally, but one thing that is NOT in our scope is GMAT prep. However, every year we work with clients who struggle with the MBA admissions test. This week I wanted to provide a few tips from one of our clients who struggled with GMAT test anxiety before he gained admission to a strong program.

Sandeep had a technical background both in his home country of India and in the United States. He spent several years in IT management at Tata consultancy, and then moved to the United States to work in various start-ups on the technical team. Sandeep had management experience working directly for CTOs at several start-ups and was able to show his leadership potential through his work experience. His strong academic experience at IIT in Delhi was another asset to his application. However, the GMAT test continued to frustrate him.

When Sandeep first started working with us he was convinced that his GMAT score would tap out at 650 and he could not improve it further. Unfortunately, a 650 GMAT was not going to help his achieve his goal of admission to Michigan, MIT and Duke. Though we are not GMAT test prep coaches, we suggested a few test prep firms who focus on addressing GMAT test anxiety. I also spent time talking to Sandeep about his test anxiety and helping him think about the test a bit more objectively.

Specifically, I told Sandeep to use this anxiety to help him to focus. Anxiety naturally forces your brain to address the immediate threat ”“ the GMAT test ”“ and focus all of your mental energy there. With breathing exercises and a solid plan you can make your anxiety work for you. Practice tests will show you that focusing on the first few questions of the GMAT is most important because the test adapts to your perceived skill level. While it may seem stressful, it’s great if the questions start to feel more and more difficult. When you find yourself in “over your head” on a GMAT question you are likely in high scoring territory!!

Many candidates spend a lot of time trying to figure out a “target score.” Rather than stressing about the score you need to get for any particular program, focus on getting the best score you are capable of in this sitting. Remember, you can always take the GMAT again.

Sandeep went back for his fourth GMAT test attempt three weeks before the 2nd round deadlines for his target schools. He was nervous but prepared, and was able to take deep breaths before each question to center his focus. He relaxed, did what he could, and ended up with a 690 score. This was good enough (along with his other credentials) to gain admission to Michigan.

**Read more SBC case studies

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

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How to Overcome Test Anxiety, GMAT and Otherwise

Tests: dreaded by most, feared by some and enjoyed by very few. It’s understandable that anxiety can easily set in, since our performance over the course of a few hours, hunched over, surrounded by strangers, …

Tests: dreaded by most, feared by some and enjoyed by very few. It’s understandable that anxiety can easily set in, since our performance over the course of a few hours, hunched over, surrounded by strangers, clutching a dry erase marker or a pencil, staring into a computer screen or paper booklet, and mentally scrambling to correctly answer the questions can have serious consequences. How well we do is a major determinant of what school we’ll go to, who we’ll meet, what kind of job we’ll get, and other vital matters. It’s enough to make anyone anxious.

Test anxiety is a worry and dread about test performance, which can be triggered by “the big day.” Anxiety could indicate that you know you aren’t ready for the test””but it can also indicate that something about the test is scaring you.  Is it a fear of being judged? A fear of not performing to your potential? Fear of repeating a lousy performance you had in the past? Or is it your mind confusing anxiety for excitement, mistaking anxiety for a good thing. Test anxiety is real and measurable and there are many ways to understand its main causes. For example, anxiety can be learned from a prior negative experience. If you have done poorly on tests in the past, you may be hesitant about taking a test in the future and you might even resist tests at all costs. Anxiety may also result from the conflict between your unconscious desires and the expectations others place on you””for example, anxiety could be felt by someone who doesn’t fully want to go to law or medical school, but feels the pressure and expectation to do so, by family, peers or colleagues.

At Test Prep New York (TPNY), we’ve seen our clients with test anxiety improve their scores up to thirty percent when they addressed their anxiety issues. This mirrors  research which shows that a student’s score can be compromised anywhere from twelve to thirty five percent as a result of test anxiety””the difference between a high score and a disappointing one. How do we help students overcome this adversity? The answer is through de-stressing, holistic solutions that give our clients the ability to achieve a true sense of confidence””Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, Sound Therapy, Reiki, guided visualization, and a host of other methods, depending on the client’s needs. We coach our clients to transform any level of dread, regret, low self-esteem, worry, nervousness or feeling of diminished performance, into the best emotive mindsets, such as feelings of being optimistic, focused, and ready to tackle the test. This is in lieu of drugs and medications, which can cause a host of problems, including slowing down the recall process, a critical detriment to test taking.

One of our most effective methods of coaching test-takers is Visualization, which is used in conjunction with an NLP technique called Anchoring. An anchor is a triggering experience that reminds us of something. It happens in normal life all the time — for example, a tune might remind you of a place, person or event; a touch or smell can bring back a memory or a past state of being. These sensual experiences occur and you momentarily feel physiologically ”˜right back there.’  These anchors work automatically and you might not even be aware of their triggers. With a client, we create an anchor by accessing and producing a stimulus that calls forth a desired state of mind, through thoughts, memory and emotions. For example, the client can remember a time when they felt calm and confident control. We can then imprint this feeling to a new anchor which will ”˜fire off’ by a deliberate physical sensation, such as by touching of the middle finger to the thumb. Each time the client touches these fingers together, he or she elicit a feeling of calm and confdent control.  Once this anchor is established, the client can activate the anchor so that the resourceful state occurs again and again.

Serious students who don’t suffer from anxiety come to TPNY to learn our methods and gain a competitive edge when taking their tests. Our expert tutors are trained to promote positive reinforcement and identify unhelpful and debilitating symptoms in students who need to work on their mindset beyond mastery of content and strategy. In the end, we are the only test prep company to fuse academic and test preparation training with mental enhancement techniques to optimize test-taking potential. We have an impressive track record of students exceeding their target scores because of our revolutionary, effective combination of techniques and resources.

 

Test Prep New York is the only educational company to fuse academic and test preparation training with mental enhancement techniques to optimize test-taking potential. TPNY’s potent and innovative products and programs ensure students score their best when taking high-stakes tests, yielding significant results even after students have taken big, commercial courses. Students primarily work one-on-one with GMAT experts, and receive a robust action plan customized to their needs. Among TPNY’s offerings are The Full Potential Audio series: a 5 hour audio GMAT prep accessory to help students enter the best mindset. For more information: testprepny.com

Interested in reading more? Click HERE to see more test prep advice.

 

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