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Two minutes is not a huge amount of time. Yet if you want to finish the entire GMAT Quant section in 75 minutes, two minutes is about all you have to solve each problem. Don’t interpret that to mean you just have to go quickly or skip important steps like checking your work. Instead, seek out a more efficient process for dealing with GMAT problems.
Better yet, read along as I detail an efficient process for dealing with your two minutes. Read more
I ran across the GMAT problem below when I was reviewing a GMATPrep® test that I took a while back, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to share it with you. There are some really intriguing aspects to this one. Read more
You know the first step of GMAT Sentence Correction is the first glance. (If you don’t, check out chapter 1 of our SC Strategy Guide.) So, dutifully, you start every SC problem with a quick look at the answers. There are some differences. Then you power through the reading and look for issues in the sentence as written.
This is a first glance flop. You do it, but it’s not helpful. Let’s add a bit more purpose to what can be the most important step of the sentence correction process. I’ll show you some answer choices to practice on in a moment, but let’s remind ourselves of some of the basics. Read more
When you first look at the resources available to get you through the GMAT, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Should you read through all the strategy guides? Complete every Official Guide problem you can find? Sign up for every workshop? Let’s breakdown your options and take this step by step. Read more
How many GMAT practice tests should you take while studying for the test? GMAT expert Jonathan Schneider weighs in. Read more
Can you learn everything you need to know in order to ace the GMAT on your own? Read more
Have you ever worked with someone who inevitably managed to come up with things to do that were a complete waste of time? Maybe it was an insecure boss who was never confident about what he was doing, so he went for the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to generating deliverables in the last few days before the deadline. Or maybe it was a fellow student on a group project, someone so diligent (cough, cough) that she wanted to turn in a 20-page report when the teacher suggested 10 pages (and actually specified a 12-page limit).
You know who I’m talking about, right? We’ve all run across these situations in our academic or working lives. You want to be polite…but you also want to get your work done and not waste time on activities that don’t really help you reach the overall goal.
The GMAT is trying to waste your time
Okay, the test writers are not literally sitting there cackling and saying, “How can we get them to waste their lives?!?” But the overall sentiment still holds because of the way that the GMAT is constructed. You already know the classic “If you get something right, they give you something harder” pattern, right?
Well, at some point, that “something harder” is going to be something that isn’t worth your time. You’re probably not going to get it right no matter what you do. Even if you do, you’re going to use up valuable time that you could be using on other problems.
Most important of all, you’re going to be using up your finite brain energy on something that probably isn’t going to pay off. How many times in your life have you crashed towards the end of a test or a long day at work because your brain just couldn’t keep going any longer? The GMAT is a “where you end is what you get” test: if you crash before the end of the section, your score will suffer greatly.
This is basically no different than that co-worker who’s trying to get you to build a marketing presentation when the client has specifically requested that you analyze the pros and cons of acquiring a competitor. Tomorrow at the client meeting, it won’t matter how good your intentions were. Your client is going to be mad that you wasted time on something that doesn’t actually help them.
Last time, we talked about how to decide whether to study on your own, take a class, or work with a tutor. If you choose either of the latter two options, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re picking the best program and instructor for you—GMAT prep is too expensive to suffer through a bad program.
How to choose a particular class (including instructor!)
Most companies offer some kind of free event designed to allow you to check out their program before you commit. Take advantage of anything free to help you make your decision.
First, do your homework before you show up for that free event. Take a practice test and try to diagnose your own strengths and weaknesses. Most companies offer a free practice test. (Don’t use up one of your two free GMATPrep tests—the official practice test made by the test makers. Save those for later in your study.)
Research some business school programs and determine what you think your goal score needs to be. Talk to friends who took a course or worked with a tutor and ask whether they would recommend that course or tutor and why. (The “and why” is critically important—it may be that your friend liked a particular class for some reason that doesn’t matter at all to you!) Develop a list of questions that you would like to ask of any teacher an program you consider.
Next, develop a “short list” of companies or even specific teachers and then take advantage of whatever free offerings you can. Many companies will host free information sessions. Some (such as Manhattan GMAT) will allow students to attend one class of a course for free. Ideally, you want to see your instructor in action, so look for any free live or taped event that features the instructor in the class that you’d potentially attend.
One caveat: if the class sells out, you won’t be able to get a seat. Before the first class, call up the company to ask how many seats are still left; if it’s close to selling out, they’ll tell you! Alternatively, get ahead of the game by observing potential instructors a couple of months before you want to start. Then, you can sign up for a later course with the same instructor at your leisure.
Arrive for class early and, if the teacher is free, chat a bit to get a feel for his or her personality and approachability. (Don’t be offended if she or he needs to get ready for class and asks you to wait until after class to talk.) Feel free to ask about his or her credentials, teaching style, and so forth. Give the teacher a short summary of your situation (current scoring level, goal, any deadlines) and see what the teacher has to say.
Then take some notes. Was the instructor approachable? Did you feel comfortable asking questions and was the instructor happy to answer your questions? Did the instructor answer thoughtfully and even ask you some additional questions in order to clarify your situation? Did the instructor’s teaching style work for you? Do you feel you could learn well from this person for the duration of the course? Would you look forward to this teacher’s class?