Friday, January 8, 2010

How to improve your GMAT score by 100 points

Recently I trained a student for GMAT. Let me share my experiences with you

He visited me, a month back. He had written GMAT and had got a score of 500. He had prepared for a month earlier. This was his preparation

1. He devoured the official guide twice. He practiced 25 sentence correction questions, 50 math(problem solving and data sufficiency questions) and 5 RC passages daily.
2. He had 3 GB of downloaded GMAT material, from which he practiced random questions daily.
3. He took up the GMAC test software twice, a week before the exam.

These were the observations I could make out.

His knowledge of mathematical formula was strong. He could remember the formula for area of the equilateral triangle, formulae in trigonometry and other conceptual formulae. He could also remember intricate details like the height of the equilateral triangle, the formula to arrive at the in-centre of the circle…. However when he saw tough problems he couldn’t proceed beyond the first stage in the problem solving process(identifying what formula to use). He knew which formula to apply but he didn’t know how to apply the formula.

In verbal he had a fairly strong vocabulary. He knew some grammar concepts like subject verb agreement, errors due to misplaced modifier, pronoun errors, ambiguous use of ‘which’ and ‘it’ and few more error types.

In critical reasoning he went by his gut feeling to get his answers. He could eliminate 3 options, but two options were very close. He guessed the answer.

He briefly dilly dallied by reading the local newspaper.

Here is a typical case of GMAT student who presume he/she can prepare for GMAT in less than a month.

I suggested the following things and I closely monitored his training.

I selected (edited obviously) GMAT like passages from various sources in the net, the topics covered business, philosophy, anthropology, science….

I exposed him to 25 different errors commonly asked in GMAT. I didn’t go back to high school grammar. I found that, the knowledge in high school grammar is too elementary to teach sophisticated error identification.

For critical reasoning, I took him through a course in logic. I taught him how to identify arguments, how to identify fallacies in the argument. I designed an algorithm(a step by step process )to arrive at an answer for critical reasoning questions. (Engineering knowledge was useful here:-)) There are 7 different types of CR questions. Hence 7 different algorithms.

For math I taught him how to critically analyze mathematical problem, how to determine the variables in a problem, how to define relationships in the variables, how to derive hidden relationships. How to diagram the problem.

Further I taught him faster means of solving equations, working backwards with the answer options and also how to effectively eliminate answers by using deductive reasoning.

I taught him for two weeks and then I gave him problems to practice on and told him to classify problems in the OG.

I told him to take 4 full tests. He was averaging around 620 in them.

He eventually got 650.
I wish he had met me earlier, he could have saved one GMAT attempt cost $250.

For further guidance mail me at Lets see who I interact with next. Ill post my experiences of mentoring him/her.

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  1. The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a standardized computer adaptive test (CAT), required as part of the application process to many MBA programs around the world.

  2. I found The GMAT Coach on Google and their program worked beautifully for me. I watched it on my big screen, in my lay-z-boy. They were cool as hell and helped me out when I needed it.

    GMAT Data Sufficiency