The deliverance of GMAT training has changed over the years and understandably so considering the test too has changed significantly, if not in content then at least in its presentation of content and in what it expects from test takers.
The most important skill that today’s GMAT demand is proficiency with doing a test on the computer. Sadly many people preparing for the test ignore this demand till the very last minute and prefer to keep solving questions in the paper- pencil format for the sheer convenience of the exercise. Imprudent and definitely short- sighted. The preparation for this test must take care of the intangibles that can make or mar the effort. So when one starts preparing for the test one must put the good old paper and pencil method aside and diligently resort to material that is doable on the computer. Even practice questions must be attempted without the convenience of jotting points and underlining details. Rely instead on building recall. When the “physical” interface with the questions is reduced, one has to rely on assimilating and recalling information. Over time this builds memory and enables test takers to approach the test more “intellectually.” And that exactly is what the GMAT wants of its test takers.
Essay writing has not always been nor is a well- attended to aspect of education at school level and often even at college level. The task of typing out a response to an essay topic (AWA Section) and that too within stipulated time and with meticulous attention to “good “ grammar and language, and convincing analysis, is then a rather unattractive part of the GMAT and requires test takers to build on writing skills. Fortunately, the essay is an analysis of an argument and hence a more structured essay the skills for which can be inculcated in the students by regular practice. So when planning the test preparation, test takers should allocate time and regular practice schedules for AWA. Remember the best schools take a look at the entire score card and a poor AWA score may reflect badly about you.
Having done away with one of the essays, the Analysis of Issue, the GMAT has now incorporated the IR (Integrated Reasoning) Section and widened its arena of content as well as its demand for skills. The IR is primarily math based and so most test takers think there is nothing “extra” to be done while preparing. Wrong. The IR section is math based but its tasks are data laden and require ‘new’ skills that business schools think are imperative in the managers of the future. Graphics interpretation, two- part analysis, table analysis and multi- source reasoning – the four question types that make up the IR section present big problems in complex patterns and hence require test takers to correlate and analyze vast data quickly. So here the preparation trick is practice, practice and more practice.
As for the Math and Verbal Sections of the test, there is a lot written and said about them always. And the sum of it all is diligent and focused preparation that is qualitative rather than quantitative. Do not drown yourself in material and find it difficult to remain buoyant… literally and figuratively!!! Remember you have to survive first to write a good test, so do not torment yourself.