Yes, this is easier said than done – even for
admissions consultants who have already taken the exam,
and even graduated from business school. Nonetheless, worrying
and stressing over the GMAT will do nothing to
boost your confidence or increase your ability to answer the questions
Keep in mind that the GMAT exam is only one component
of your total application package.
Admissions committees at the most selective business schools
normally give your academic
qualifications, including grades and other non-GMAT
components a weighting of between
30% and 40%. That means that you may still be a very competitive
applicant, even if your GMAT score
falls somewhat below the median of those applicants
historically accepted to your top-choice schools.
Get Adequate Sleep
the Night Before
If you have spent any significant amount of time preparing
for the GMAT CAT, then you will know that your score
will benefit more from some extra sleep
than it will be from a few last-minute cram preparations.
Dress in Layers
You can never be sure whether the test center
will be warm or cold, so it is always a good idea to wear
layers of clothes that you can easily add and remove.
The GMAT test site is not a fashion show, so dress
comfortably. If that means old jeans and sneakers for
you, then that, by all means, that is what you should wear!
Make Sure You
are Comfortable with the Computer Tutorial
The GMAT CAT will begin with a tutorial on using the
computer. We do not recommend rushing through it.
If you have adequately prepared yourself for the GMAT, you will
suffer no short-term memory loss in the few minutes
it takes to complete this tutorial. You do not want
to find that, having rushed through this tutorial, you panic when the timed
test begins and you're suddenly not sure how to scroll
through the long passages in the verbal section. Finally, this tutorial provides an excellent
way for most test-takers to calm their nerves before
delving into the actual GMAT test questions.
with the Testing Facility
Find out where the nearest bathroom and water fountain
are located before you begin the test. You are allotted
only two 5 minute breaks during the GMAT, and will want
to be able to locate those facilities when you need
them. It is also not a bad idea to figure out ahead of
time how to get to the test center and to arrive there well before
your scheduled time on test day.
Paper and Use it Freely
Scrap paper will come in handy for both the verbal
and the quantitative
sections of the test. There is no need to feel self conscious if
you happen to have a few more sheets of scrap
paper than other test takers do. After all, you
do not want to waste valuable test-taking time requesting
additional paper if you run out of it during the middle
of a section.
Speak Up if Your
Working Conditions are Less than Optimal
If your carrel is too small or if you are having difficulty
with your mouse, keyboard, or any other part of your
computer, do not hesitate to speak up. These
problems, on the rare occasions that they arise, are usually
quite easily remedied.
This advice probably seems self-evident, but we mention
it because we've had clients tell us how they wasted
time by revisiting
the help screen or requesting extra scrap paper after
they had already begun their test. These activities, if undertaken
once the section has begun, will only take valuable time away from
working on the questions.
You want to spend a judicious amount of time on
the first 5 questions of every section. (See the GMAT
Preparation Tips and Advice page for more information
on this strategy.) However, after completing these first 5 questions,
you may need to pick up the pace a bit in order to stay on track
and have the opportunity to answer each
question in the section. The GMAT CAT's software will
display the amount of test time you have left in each section.
If you prepared yourself by taking
some simulated practice tests in the computer-adaptive
format, you should have become proficient at managing your
time during the exam.
Think Very Carefully
Before Doing Any of These
Before you cancel your score or quit the exam,
ask yourself whether you are sure this is what you really want
to do. It has been our experience that most test takers
who cancel their scores or quit the exam do so irrationally.
You probably know from your previous test experiences that
you often turn out to have done better on an exam than you thought
you would while you were taking it.
It is human psychology to dwell more
heavily on the questions you believe
you answered incorrectly rather
than on the (hopefully) more numerous questions you
answered correctly. Try to keep this in mind
when the GMAT CAT asks if you want to cancel your scores
or see them immediately. It is our frank advice that,
unless you felt deathly ill during the exam, you should
not cancel your scores.
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