Friday, March 25, 2011

The best list of tips and tricks for scoring high on the GMAT

This list is not finished yet. I'll add more points to it as they come to my mind.

It also appears that some/many of these tips are "portable", in the sense that they apply to other tests such as GRE, TOEFL, etc.

A month before the GMAT:
  1. Fall ill a month before the GMAT. I know it sounds weird, and is something that isn't exactly under one's control, but when I was down with common cold, fever and a sore throat about a month before my GMAT date, I was actually happy that I fell ill. August and September are the months in which it's easy to fall ill in the North India region. By falling ill a month before the GMAT, my body's resistance to common fevers got refreshed, virtually ensuring that I wouldn't fall ill again till my GMAT date. Of course, you can't afford to be ill close to the date your GMAT is scheduled.
  2. Every question is solvable, given enough time: It's not enough if you can correctly solve questions. Most people can, given enough time. Unfortunately, GMAT doesn't reward correct answers alone - you must get many, many correct answers in a short period of time. So throughout your preparation, focus on solving quickly and correctly.
  3. Adjust your sleep cycle to match the time slot chosen for GMAT: You don't want to wake up too early or too late on the GMAT day. Breaking the daily sleep cycle will cause tiredness, maybe headache, and it'll surely affect your performance. So choose GMAT time slot such that it matches your sleep cycle, so that at the time of the exam, your brain runs like a healthy and well-trained horse.
On the day of the GMAT:
  1. Carry some food stuff with you that's light, nutritious, and stimulating. Consume this during the break to both energize and stimulate yourself. An agile body and an agile mind can sail faster and more smoothly through difficult questions.
  2. Before going to your test center and starting the test, read some news stories to lubricate your brain's information processing systems [this is similar to warming your body before doing a hard workout at the gym]. Also do a few arithmetic calculations in your mind and solve a few easy questions so as to "grease" your mental engine and make it ready for action.
  3. Utilize the tutorial time (before the actual timed test starts, the GMAT software presents a brief tutorial) to make sure that your keyboard and mouse are working properly. Smoothly working keyboard and mouse save valuable seconds and also reduce conscious/subconscious anxiety.
Update [Feb'16]:
  • Does GMAC reveal the identity of an examinee to the readers of the examinee's AWA responses? [link]
  • Questioning the infallibility of solutions provided by GMAC for GMAT practice problems [link]
  • GMAC should convert GMAT Paper Tests into a new book, complete with detailed explanations [link]