What are the Best GMAT&Reg; Strategies?

Marjorie McAtee

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)® strategies can be a crucial part of helping test-takers score well on the GMAT® exams. The GMAT® is a computerized test that analyzes test takers' strengths and weaknesses by increasing the difficulty of the questions each time a right answer is entered. The GMAT® typically penalizes test-takers for unanswered questions, so it's generally considered best to answer all of the questions, even if guessing is required. Most successful GMAT® strategies involve at least 100 hours and eight weeks of study and preparation. Experts in GMAT® test-taking typically recommend mastering the basic skills required for the test, using multiple practice tests improve mental stamina and pacing during the real exam, and practicing answering questions at speed to build confidence and save time during the real exam.

Test-taking strategies can be a crucial part of scoring well on the GMAT.
Test-taking strategies can be a crucial part of scoring well on the GMAT.

The GMAT® is necessary for admission into most post-graduate business management programs in the United States, as well as many other countries. The GMAT® is a computer-adaptive exam, meaning that the test is taken digitally. The software used to administer the GMAT® gives students questions that increase, or decrease, in difficulty based on whether the previous question was answered correctly. A question answered correctly, therefore, usually leads to a more difficult next question, while a question answered incorrectly typically leads to an easier next question. The software may also attach more significance to the questions answered early in the exam, so that test-takers are more likely to receive a high score if questions are answered correctly early on in the exam, even if questions near the end of the exam are answered incorrectly.

Most experts in GMAT® test preparation agree that hard work is essential to all successful GMAT® strategies. Test takers are generally advised to master the basic skills addressed on the test, which generally involve English grammar and fundamental mathematics. Mastering specific GMAT® questions until those questions can be answered easily and confidently is also considered a fundamental part of most successful GMAT® strategies.

People preparing to take the GMAT® are typically advised to incorporate timed practice tests into their GMAT® strategies. Computer-adaptive practice tests are generally preferred over paper practice tests, since they can most accurately simulate the environment of the real exam. A thorough analysis of the results of each practice test can help test-takers improve their skills by addressing the areas of weakness that can lower a total score. Practice tests can also help test-takers learn to pace themselves to finish the entire exam. Test-takers are generally advised to focus more on mastering basic questions at speed than on attempting to answer large numbers of questions, since this can help save time during the real exam.

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