Once you have your initial diagnostic test out of the way and have devised a long-term plan for your preparation, you’re ready to get started. Your preparation should always involve three principle components: Learning, Practice and Review. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when progressing through your preparation.

  • 1. Learn

    The fundamental underpinning of any GMAT preparation must be learning the specific content and knowledge you need for the test. There is no substitute for knowledge. The GMAT tests a large, but finite, set of knowledge that you must have in order to do well. For the Quantitative section you must know all the mathematical rules, formulas, concepts, equations, and properties for the topics mentioned above in the section titled “What Does the GMAT Test?” The same goes for the Verbal section, where you must have a solid grounding in the grammatical rules tested in Sentence Correction questions and the logical and argumentative structures tested in Critical Reasoning questions, as well as language and comprehension skills for Reading Comprehension.

    However, simply “learning” the above concepts is not enough. Here are a few more considerations to guide you as you acquire the necessary knowledge tested on the GMAT:

    • Learning content means being able to recall it upon demand without hesitation (like you know your name). You must have the specific knowledge down enough so that it is available at immediate recall when you need it.

    • Learning content includes both knowing the content AND learning how to apply it. Knowledge without the ability to apply it is little better than knowing nothing.

    • Learning content means also learning specific tools, strategies and approaches that will better enable you to apply your knowledge to GMAT-style questions.

    • Learning content also means being able to recognize when that content is being tested, and recognizing what information you have at your disposal to work a given question.

    • Leaning content includes finding specific strategies for different content areas or topics. Content strategies are based on the subject area and define the approach to that area. This approach should be flexible enough to encompass all major variations of questions in this area. Here is an example:

      Content Strategy: Work and Rates

      Use the Work/Rate T’.


      - Use a different ‘T’ for each different thing or person.

      - When things are working together add their individual rates.

      - When things are working against each other subtract their individual rates.

      - Consider substituting real values for unknowns in Problem Solving Qs.

    • Learn different approaches for different types of questions. Approaches should provide you a methodological access point for any given problem of that type.

    For every piece of GMAT knowledge you learn, you want to be sure you’re learning the content itself, ways to recognize when that content is being tested in questions, and methods to apply your knowledge to different manifestations of the content.


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