What’s the difference between a real GMAT and a practice one? On the real GMAT, you’re finished after three and a half hours, give or take. But while you are preparing for the GMAT, finishing a practice test is much different than being finished with it. As I’ve written about before, practice tests are great assessment tools but not necessarily great learning tools. Practice tests tell you what you would likely score on the real GMAT if you answered 37 quant and 41 verbal questions with the same level of aptitude that you had on the questions you just saw. But if you want to see your GMAT score improve, you’re going to have to spend some time reviewing what you did, how you did it, and how you could do it better. To help you on that quest to get better, here are four kinds of questions that you can use to help improve your score.
1) Questions You Got Wrong
This one is the obvious one- if you want to get better at the GMAT, you need to find questions that you got wrong and learn how to get them right. But this isn’t as simple as finding an explanation online and memorizing it (although our forums are a great place to get many of your hardest questions answered). Studying for the GMAT is more than just trying to read and memorize a bunch of facts- it’s about changing the way that your brain thinks about how to manipulate an equation or dissect an argument. And what better way for your brain to learn how to tackle a challenge than to give your brain more time to do so. In the middle of a test, your brain is rushed. You might have had to give up on the question halfway through or guessed on it immediately to save yourself time. But when you give your brain more time to discover that A-HA! moment, your brain is much more likely to recognize what to do the next time you see a similar hurdle. After you spend some time trying to solve it on your own, feel free to search for an explanation or a better way of solving a problem. However, you have to make sure that the explanation you read is something that you can do in your own head or your own paper come test day.