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The basics of GMAT prep

Many students who are applying to online MBA programs will need to take the GMAT. The GMAT is a four-hour computer adaptive test that is offered at various test centers around the world all year round. Regardless of their target score, students will also need to invest some time and money into their GMAT prep.

Students have the option of taking a course, getting a tutor, or studying on their own. Regardless of their choice, there are five basic elements of effective GMAT prep. The first and foremost is assessing GMAT needs, which can be done by taking a GMAT practice test. This will show students what their biggest weaknesses are and how far they are from their goal score.

Learning the GMAT content

The next basic step of GMAT prep is to learn the content. This can be done either through a course, tutor or book. Since there is so much to learn, including strategies, grammar rules and math formulas, it is important for students to take notes when they do this. According to a recent study, students who took notes by hand, rather than on a laptop, both remembered and understood concepts better.

During GMAT prep, finding the best timing is important. The time it takes students to go through questions should balance both speed and accuracy. In order to figure out the optimal timing, students need to complete many series of practice questions. Students should first work on answering the questions correctly, and then work to increase their speed.

Another step to a GMAT study plan should include lots of full-length practice tests. Taking only the scored sections is an example of how not to study, because it does not adequately prepare students for the rigor of the four-hour test. In order for students to make the most out of the practice tests, they should take the Integrated Reasoning (IR) and Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) sections and use only the allotted eight-minute breaks.

Take breaks

The final key element for online MBA program aspirants to be successful with their GMAT prep is to take breaks. GMAT studying requires lots of practice and absorbing difficult concepts, which is why cramming is an ineffective form of studying. Students need to take time to recoup from long study days during their prep in order to be successful. The day before the test should also be a rest day. This way, students will show up to the test refreshed and ready to go.

While taking the GMAT can be intimidating, understanding the basics of GMAT prep can help ease the stress of test-taking. Students who familiarize themselves with study tips and what to expect during the test will likely have more success on test day.

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