Tuesday, January 5, 2010

An Analytical focus to GMAT

IIM CAT gets lots of space in discussion forums(thanks to the Prometric goof up), while its international cousin, GMAT, though revered for its reliability, is hardly discussed. Now that GMAT is used by a good number of B. Schools in India, IIMA( PGPX), ISB Hyderabad, IIMB( PGSEM), GLIM Chennai, to name a few, let’s give it its due and take a closer look at it.

GMAT tests verbal( sentence correction, critical reasoning and reading comprehension), math(problem solving and data sufficiency), and analytical writing skills.

The test assesses diverse competencies the prerequisites of which are strong fundamentals, the ability to think laterally and an analytical approach to sentence formation( grammar), critical reasoning, reading comprehension and quantitative problem solving.

Retake ,retake
GMAT is arguably the most repeated test. Twice, thrice. At times four attempts. Given that B.chools require 670+/800 thorough preparation is indispensable. The preparation cannot be confined to taking computer based tests or solving questions from the official guide. An overload of practice material in the internet has also mostly caused confusion among test takers- how much of it is adequate and if all relevant topics are covered.

Miracles do not happen
A reading comprehension section requires one to analyse and evaluate varied topics from economics, literature, philosophy, science, history. One who is planning to do GMAT should start early by extensive reading of such texts( The Hindu, Tuesday open page, Thursday Science and Technology and Sunday literary magazine are excellent sources. )this can be followed by reading comprehension(RC) tests of good quality. Always analyse the passages after the test. To score well in the Reading Comprehension a good diction is a must. For instance you must know the fine difference between explain, argue, propose, analyse, evaluate(words that summarise the primary purpose of the passage). And disinterested(not uninterested), biased, apprehensive - to cite a few terms depicting the author’s attitude toward the issue under discussion.
For the critical reasoning section there is a lot to learn about argument formation, argument types, argument evaluation and fallacies in arguments. One should know all the terminology that comprise the philosophy of argument( inductive generalization, argument by analogy, flaws in reasoning, post hoc fallacy to mention a few) from a whole spectrum of logic.
Sentence correction needs a lot of preparation. Requirements of standard written English, syntactical formats( eg. hardly…when, as much …as, so…that ), effective expressions( placing modifiers at the right place, avoiding unnecessary repetitions , ambiguity, choosing appropriate words).

The problem solving section of the GMAT is not as challenging as that of CAT. However, since most GMATers have a gap in academics, a thorough review of basics of math is a good start. This can be followed by strategy building- analyzing numerical problems, diagramming problems, substitution of suitable values, forming equations, forming hypothesis and testing , assessing the adequacy of data and the like.
The essays need attention- brainstorming on topics, learning the intricacies of argument analysis and adequate practice on timed organized writing.

In sum, to a reasonable degree, GMAT tests a candidate’s preparedness for the rigours of business education and business careers thereafter. Those competencies involve quantitative analysis, critical thinking, decision making, divergent thinking, Interpreting and evaluating complex data, and expressing ideas coherently and persuasively. These skills are reflected in the GMAT. Study well and crack it the first attempt itself.

For guidance email urmentor@semanticslearning.com

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