How should students approach the GMAT Select Section Order?
How should students approach the GMAT Select Section Order?
Starting July 11, you will have the option to select the order of the sections in which they take the GMAT. You have to choose between the following three GMAT Select Section Order options:
Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative, Verbal (original order)
Verbal, Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning, Analytical Writing Assessment
So, which GMAT Select Section Order should you choose?
That’s the million dollar question! The GMAT Select Section Order poses an interesting challenge in front of the test takers. Which section order should you choose? Well, our guess is that the first (and the original order) will be the least popular bet this year. That’s simply because students spend an hour taking the analytical writing assessment and integrated reasoning sections, before you come to the more critical quantitative and verbal sections.
Essentially, there are three approaches to make this selection:
You want to get rid of your weakness first – Many students are unnerved with their weaker sections in the exam. For such students, attacking the weakest section when they are in the freshest mind-space might work well. So, if verbal is your weaker section, you might want to take the section first and then feel comfortable during the rest of the test. The flipside: If you do not end up doing well on this section, your entire GMAT performance might be affected! So, tread carefully with this one.
You want to optimise your strengths – This is perhaps the safest bet for most students. Having a go at your strongest section first and doing well on the section might set the tone for a good exam performance. This will give you a great shot at raising your GMAT score. The only problem with this approach is that you may be slightly fatigued by the time you get ready to take on your weaker section.
You prefer the status quo – We all prefer the known devil to the unknown, right? Even though the analytical writing assessment and integrated reasoning might not be the core sections, the hundreds of hours spend on taking practice questions and mock tests have perhaps primed you for this section order. Especially, if your exam date is approaching fast, it might serve some students better to stick to the original order. The comfort and familiarity of a known format might keep you more comfortable on the exam day. The question you have to ask yourself – Are you losing out on the benefits the new Select Section Order brings to the more flexible test takers among your peers?
The mock test conundrum
The big problem in front of the students who are taking the GMAT soon is that there is no official mock test available with the new Select Section Order feature. The official full-length practice exams will be available only by July 31, 2017. While students can build their confidence by designing their own test to reflect the new Select Section Order feature, we strongly recommend students to take a couple of official mock tests if you want to choose option 2 or 3. If you want to stick to the original order, then there is nothing to worry.
Should you reschedule the GMAT?
If you want to choose between option 2 or 3, it will make sense to reschedule the GMAT to familiarise yourself with the new Selection Section Order feature. This will help you leverage the feature to your advantage. Also, many students might consider retaking the GMAT, if you they feel that the new changes will make a positive impact on their scores.
The impact on average GMAT scores
It is highly likely that the GMAT Select Section order will result in higher average GMAT scores for most b-schools in the Fall 2018 admission season. That means the admissions will get more competitive at leading business school. To put your best put forward, you need to choose among the three approaches we mentioned earlier and then put yourself in the right bracket. That will be the key to improved performance on the GMAT exam.
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As a matter of fact, it depends on your personal preferences but still, there is a continual debate on this point. Interestingly, a lot of research has been conducted on this subject with mixed results. Many studies put forth the benefits of listening to a soothing music during the time of studying. On the other hand, there are some studies suggesting the harmful ways in which tunes can affect your concentration while preparing for tough exams ahead. Let us analyze this point on every count.
Benefits of Listening to Music:
Music helps to retain the knowledge in the depth of your brain. Remember your kindergarten days when your teachers recited poems in a rhythm making it easy to grasp for the little minds.
It improves attention and memory power. If you are stimulated by some good tune, you can master the complexities of mental math in a much lesser time. Call it the ‘Mozart effect’.
It helps to distract your mind away from disturbing thoughts. As such, it reduces anxiety and negativity.
Harms of Listening to Music:
When memorizing things in an order, music can adversely affect your cognitive powers. Notes and wordings can get you confused, leading in a disastrous study session.
Listening when studying means that your brain is engaged in two activities at a time. A part of your brain system is allocated to music and it may cause certain hindrances.
Science says that you can recall information easily in the scenario that simulates what it was during the time of learning. It is called context-dependent learning and it can be harsh on you if you tend to prefer loud sound during your preps and get a silent classroom during the exam.
What Should You Do Then?
As said earlier, it is a matter of personal choice and level of concentration. If you can train your brain to work with the pace of music, it is effective for your studies. Otherwise, it can be a big distraction. While engaged in subjects that you are already familiar with, music can surprisingly elevate your energy levels.
What Music Should You Listen To While Studying?
This is quite interesting to note that type of tune can have severe impact on your study schedules. Studies say that instrumental music works wonders during in-depth learning sessions while movie scores can keep up your morale. Music with lyrics can be fine while studying math but certainly not so while writing or reading some complex chapters. Avoid high-intensity and loud sound in all cases because it is nevertheless a distraction that you wouldn’t want in your study.
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As a working professional, it is exhaustive to prepare for GMAT. Most of the aspirants working in MNC s complain about the scarcity of time at their hand. Managing a full-time job with a meticulous study schedule is taxing and cumbersome. But, you can ace both with a proper management of your time and a well-planned strategy for preparation. Here are some tips for your help:
Make A Pragmatic Study Plan:
Your strategic planning for GMAT preparations should begin with a self-assessment. You must evaluate your skills, strengths, and weaknesses. It will help you to ascertain the time that you must allocate to your studies. At the same time, it is necessary to make realistic study goals and sticking to them. Make a daily schedule and follow it religiously.
Focus on Improving Your Weak Points:
After analyzing your core competencies, you can mark the areas of weaknesses that must be improvised with better studies. In this regard, you must plan your study hours diligently. Dedicate more time to the areas of weakness. Also, evaluate your progress periodically with practice tests. However, this doesn’t mean that you should completely deviate from your strengths. Maintain them and improve the areas that need attention.
Apply Your Studies To The Real Life Scenarios:
You will learn many new skills and lessons during GMAT preparations. Apply them to your work and you will experience a radical improvement in your knowledge. Being a working professional gives you an edge to use a practical approach for understanding complex concepts.
Find Comprehensive And Efficient Resources:
To excel in your GMAT scores, you must find appropriate study material and resources. There are many online forums and consultants to help you in this selection. Invest your money and time in the books that can really help. Online resources and study tools can be best suited for your preparations.
Stay Positive and Committed:
Working full time and studying hard is never a cake walk. Hence, you should be thoroughly prepared to take up this challenge with a positive frame of mind. It is better to concentrate on weak areas but at the same time, maintain your level of expertise. If your plan isn’t working out, you can also work upon variations in your strategy.
You need to develop a studying environment so that you can sincerely focus on your studies. Switch off your cell phone and sign out of your email. Keep all the distractions away and find a spot where you can study without any disturbances.
With these tips, you can complete your GMAT preparations within the time stipulated by you.
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“Ill-fitting grammar is like ill-fitting shoes; you can get used to them for a bit but one day your toes fall off,” said Jasper Fforde. And that’s the last thing you want when you are trying to put your best step forward for the GMAT.
You are going to encounter Grammar related questions in the verbal section of the test. Sentence correction requires you to focus on the grammar, choice of words and sentence structure. That’s why knowledge of basic concepts of grammar is crucial.
How to tackle the section
You will come across a sentence with a portion underlined. The underlined portion is then reproduced in five different ways and you are asked to choose the most grammatically correct option. The problem is that you may find more than one option that seems free of errors.
In such a scenario you need to look for answers that are concise, clear, without ambiguity and redundancy. Read, Dissect (while keeping an eye out for a few simple concepts), and Compare, should be your mantra to handle these questions.
GMAT Grammar concepts and tips you should follow
Most students are intimidated by grammar because it involves tedious terms like subjunctive, gerunds, appositive phrases etc. Firstly, get that fear out of our head because GMAT doesn’t ask you about these terms. You just have to recognize the correct form of the sentence.
Crucial concept to remember is difference between Clauses and Phrases. The former, divided into Independent and Dependant clause is like the building block of the sentence. Simply, any structure other than the clause is a Phrase.
Know the difference between Verbs and Verb forms. Verbs have different tenses and moods, which are easier to identify. Verb forms on the other hand can be found as participles (e.g. my singing bird). The key lies in identifying whether they act as verbs in the sentence.
Subject and the verb have to go hand in hand. It means singular subjects should go with singular verbs and likewise for plural subjects. This might seem like a simple rule to follow but GMAT sentences use constructions that can make your task tricky.
You also have to remember that collective nouns when used to represent a group are singular. However when different members of the group act individually, collective nouns are plural.
These are few basic grammar concepts that you need to pay attention to in order to be prepared for the crucial sentence correction section of your GMAT.
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The most common question surrounding any preparation is, “Where do I start?” And the annoying answer is, “From the beginning, or, in this case, from the basics.”
GMAT Maths was not crafted to punish you, just to test you. Basic areas include simple – arithmetic, algebra, geometry. The problem with most candidates is that they haven’t studied them since they passed out of school. With the past,the math concepts got forgotten.
Pay time and attention because these concepts will get you far with your preparation.
“Don’t be afraid to pull out those flashcards on the bus, in the grocery line, or whenever you have a few extra minutes”, says Maureen Spain is a professional GMAT tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors.
Take plenty of practise tests. They will help you get an idea of where you are starting and how much ground you need to cover before you are adept at the Quantitative section. Follow the timing honestly and don’t cheat on it. It is the worst possible self harm.
Go over your tests with a fine tooth comb. Make a note of questions that were answered and those that were unanswered. Check the concepts that trip you over and redo them till you can, with absolute certainty get through that topic mistake free. Spreadsheets of topics you lag in and are okay with will help you a great deal when you decide what to study.
Once you have identified the problem areas, attack it with vigour and work on it passionately. Between you and algebra, you should come out as a victor.
If you are having trouble with geometry or for that matter arithmetic, set it aside and work relentlessly. There is no other way. Find and work on as many questions like those and don’t give up till you can flawlessly do them.
Go back to your spreadsheet and take a look at the problem arenas once more and do them again. Practise never hurts. It only makes your math skills stronger and stronger.
Take tests till you tire off. Then, take more tests and analyse them.
The Quant section of the GMAT needs practice tests more than any other segment.
Half the battle in GMAT Maths is familiarity, so if you know your subject matter well, there’s nothing like it. The key is comprehension, familiarity and presence of mind. And, top it off with lots and lots of practise. Again and again, over and over.
*Inputs from : Maureen Spain, MBA, Duke University: The Fuqua School of Business.