If you are looking to be enrolled in a business school, you need to take a GMAT exam. This requires adequate preparation to get a good GMAT score that will get you admitted and also increase your chances of getting a scholarship.
That being said, you need to include GMAT practice tests as part of your study prep. Otherwise, it will be difficult to attain your goal if you take the GMAT exam without adequate preparation.
Here is everything you should know about GMAT practice tests and how to include them in your study plan.
Decide on the GMAT Practice Test to Take
An important GMAT study tip is to choose a source where you can do the GMAT tests. You can either take a third-party test or an official practice test from GMAC.
This body is responsible for developing every test that appears on GMAT and uses nearly $2000 to create a single question. Before the tests are used officially, the GMAT questions are tested by real-test takers.
These tests are more like the real GMAT, and taking them will give you a real experience of the test day. However, unlike third-party tests, an official GMAT practice test lacks sufficient data. Besides, their explanations may not be solid and it can be difficult for you to effectively analyze your strengths and weaknesses.
However, this does not mean that you should not incorporate the official tests in your study session. A good tip is to use the third-party practice tests as well as some official GMAT practice tests in your study plan.
By incorporating the official GMAT practice tests, you will be well aware and prepared for the real GMAT test.
Some sources for official GMAT practice tests include:
- The Official Guide to the GMAT- This study tool offers about 800 problems.
- The GMAT Official Practice Questions through mba.com- Here you will get about 90 questions for free, which are broken down into 6 categories in the Practice section. Besides, you can purchase 400 more.
- The Official Guide to Verbal Review and The Official Guide to Quantitative Review- Both of these study books feature a format similar to the Official Guide to the GMAT. Nonetheless, the practice questions are different.
- GMAT Focus- This is a Quant-only tool that contains 3 tests and about 72 practice problems.
Imitate GMAT Exam Conditions
When preparing for your GMAT practice test, it is recommendable to prepare the environment first. Basically, you want to mimic the exam conditions and routine of your test day to avoid test-day stress.
If you are taking the test in the comfort of your home, chances are you will have various comforts like snacks, comfy clothing, and more. It is important to remember that this will not be the case on your actual GMAT test day. Oftentimes, this change of environment can impact your score.
For this reason, it is a good idea to sit for the tests under realistic conditions to get the real test day experience. For instance, take the practice test at the same time that your real exam is scheduled.
Other than the real exam schedule, you also want to replicate the real test environment. Practice the test in a quiet room and sit at a desk or table as you would during the actual exam. If you will be taking the exam online, do the practice test in the exact location where you will be taking your GMAT exam.
Don’t eat or drink during the test and stay clear from checking your phone. Only keep the computer that you will use on that day at hand. Also, avoid taking excessive breaks. By replicating the real exam conditions, your mind and body will be well-prepared for the exam day.
For your scratch work, use a pad and a wet-erase marker like those offered at the GMAT test center. However, if you plan to take the exam online, you want to use the same whiteboard as you would on that day.
How to Take the GMAT Practice Test
Start with a Full-Length Practice Test
To start your prep, consider taking a full-length practice test to get a reasonable assessment for your knowledge and skills. An initial practice test will help you gain an accurate sense of the tests and what they involve. Once you have this understanding, you will be in a much better place to tackle the other practice tests during your study session.
Taking the entire test realistically will give you the best possible estimate for your GMAT score. You will get a baseline score that you can use to gauge how far you are from attaining your target GMAT score.
However, if your goal is not to gauge your score, then it may not be very helpful to take the entire practice test. For instance, if you have a weakness with Sentence Correction, consider studying it will be useful to you.
Take Weekly Practice Tests at the End of Your Study Session
As you near the actual GMAT test day, chances are you have adequately mastered the content, techniques, and strategies of the test. With a few weeks to go, it is important to do weekly practice tests under the right conditions.
Don’t forget to analyze your results, preferably between the GMAT practice tests. Usually, the GMAT practice tests give the score results for Verbal, Quantitative, and Integrated Reasoning. Use the results to pinpoint areas that you have not fully mastered and revisit the topics for further studies.
A good trick is to keep an error log that tells you why you made the mistake. An error log does not focus on the What but on the Why, which is crucial in helping you not repeat the same mistake.
While making your review of the results make sure that you are honest with yourself and don’t skimp on your weak areas. Ask yourself why you answered incorrectly. Is it because you didn’t understand the content? Was it a careless mistake? Is it because of inaccuracy? Are there mental blocks that you need to address?
Whatever the issue is, revisit your weak areas and you should see improvement over time. Also, don’t ask for help where necessary.
What Next After Taking the GMAT Practice Tests?
Well, if you are done with your GMAT practice tests, you probably need a rest. A practice test can be exhausting both mentally and physically. If you have done what you can, take a break and don’t be too hard on yourself if the practice test score is not what you anticipated.
Getting a low score on your test can be devastating to your morale. Therefore, you need to be focused no matter your GMAT practice test score so that you don’t digress from the prep work.
After all, the practice score test is not an indicator of your exact test day score. Instead, it is just a crucial tool that shows you where you stand and highlights your strengths and weaknesses. You can learn more here about why your GMAT score may be lower than your practice test score.
Also, you should know that your performance is likely to fluctuate with any given practice test. So, always stay positive after a practice test score and know that you can still learn and improve before the test day.
One week before the test day, take time to review what you have already learned in your practice and simulation tests.
Approach GMAT Test Day with Confidence
After you have done all you can to complete the GMAT practice test, it is now time to approach the test day with confidence. Of course, it is natural to feel anxious, nervous, and have doubtful thoughts on whether you have done your best.
However, it is important to calm down and remind yourself that you have done your best studying for the GMAT exam. Make sure that you are in the right mindset and do some light exercises that will activate your creative mode.
Also, don’t forget to eat well and have adequate sleep prior to the test day. On the day of the exam, arrive at the GMAT testing center early and read the rules carefully.
We hope that these techniques and detailed information about GMAT practice tests will make a difference when you are preparing for the real GMAT. Use the scores you get to track your trends and get a sense of whether you are close to your goal range. Don’t forget to test different approaches like taking the sections in different orders.
All the best as you prepare for the big day!