About the GMAT
GMAT is an Aptitude Test. All aptitude tests are modified IQ (Intelligence Quotient) Tests, which check additional requirements of specific jobs and academic programs. So the GMAT checks your IQ plus all parameters which are essential to do well in the academically challenging MBA program.
The GMAT is not a knowledge-based test of Math and English. It tests intelligence by using the language of Math and English. So a candidate should develop not only an understanding of how tested concepts are applied in questions but also a sense of why getting a perfect score on GMAT is difficult despite knowing how to get individual questions correct.
Aptitude tests check for certain covert issues that most students miss upon as part of their preparation. Let’s develop an understanding of these :
- Mathematical Ability - Mathematical-Logical intelligence is one of the eight types of intelligences accepted by psychologists. The Mathematical-Logical intelligence is related to solving structured problems. These problems are not the same as the high-level Mathematics questions encountered in school exams, and do not check for formula- and calculation-based mathematical ability. These structured problems check for a certain sense of Mathematics which reflects intelligence. So the questions are seemingly easy, though cracking all of them under test constraints is a challenge.
- Verbal Ability – Verbal – Linguistic Intelligence is another type of intelligence. This is related with the ability to play with words and solving problems grounded in language and reasoning.
- Stamina – Ability to use your brain for longer stretches of time – Everyone can use their brain properly for short spurts of time, but we get tired eventually and then even an easy question can become challenging. But if a person can use his brain perfectly well for long stretches of time – this definitely is a Hallmark of Intelligence. So GMAT is a long exam that stretches over 3 hours and 50 minutes including the two breaks. If a student has not trained well to develop the stamina to use brain on challenging questions for 5 hour stretches, then by the end of the exam, the student’s brain is too exhausted and cannot effectively work even on easy questions.
- Concentration – We all have concentration spans of 15 minutes to 45 minutes. After these quick spurts of work, we need a well deserved break- once we are fresh; we are ready to work more and better. For a high score of the GMAT, you cannot have the luxury of a break whenever you need it. Breaks are present but they are not as frequent or as long as you would want them.
- Motivation – Apart from the hard work required during preparation for the GMAT, the actual exam also needs that you are filled up with fire and motivation to prove yourself from the first minute to last 230th minute. During the real GMAT, some students who have not taken the mandatory number of mock exams, even end up getting exasperated and feel like running out of the examination hall.
- Mental Toughness – Being a Computer Adaptive Test, the GMAT presents progressively difficult questions as you do well on the test. When you hit the seventh difficulty level, the highest, your brain will be bombarded with questions in the 99 percentile. These are questions which 99 percent of applicants have attempted wrongly. Now, during your preparation for the GMAT, you
would have become used to a mixed bag of questions. But the 99 percentile questions in a row can unsettle even a well prepared student.
Moreover, the exam has one fourth experimental questions which are not scored and have no effect on your ultimate scores. 9 out of 37 Quantitative Ability and 11 out of 41 Verbal Ability questions are experimental in nature. These questions can be super easy, medium difficulty and super difficult ones as well. So if you see a sequence of super easy questions, you may think-I have been performing so bad that easiest questions have started appearing on your screen. This can unsettle your performance on the scored questions, which follow later.
- Speed versus Accuracy – When you attempt questions at a comfortable speed, you will have the highest possible accuracy. Under time constraints, when you have to attempt questions at a faster pace, then probability of making silly mistakes rises astronomically. Going slow to maintain accuracy is not an option. You need to develop the ability to attempt questions faster and maintain the right balance between speed and accuracy.
- Mix of Question-Types – On the GMAT, questions appear in an assorted manner. Just developing the ability to answer each type of question is not enough as when different types of questions appear on your test screen, then you need to change your mode of attempting questions. This further strains your abilities.
- Previous Questions – Let’s look at your method of handling exams – you browse through the whole question paper and decide what is to be done first, later or not attempted at all. On the GMAT, all our learnt test taking strategies fail as only one question appears on the screen and unless you have attempted it, the next question will not appear on the screen. You cannot skip questions. You cannot go back to previous questions. You cannot change an answer, once you have marked it.
- Section Sequence – The GMAT starts with the easiest section, AWA, and sections get progressively difficult as the test proceeds. So you start the GMAT with a fresh mind and use that fresh mind on an easy AWA section. Towards the end comes the Verbal Ability section, which is the most difficult and needs a fresh mind to crack it. But by the time you reach the Verbal Ability section, you are already drained, tired and with no juices left to crack this mentally challenging section.