Standardized exams like the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and various others follow the process of elimination rather than selection. This is due to the fact that out of all the candidates appearing for any standardized exam only 4-5% are finally admitted during the admission process in the top colleges or universities. The basic aim of the standardized tests is to assess your existing knowledge and its application. The questions on the test under strict time constraints are designed to highlight common stumbling points in the way you think. More than often, the answer choices for the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) will represent the common mistakes a student makes. The three basic pillars that needs to be built to perform exceptionally well on the standardized tests involves content knowledge, test-taking strategies, and time management. Lacking any of the pillars stated will jeopardize your chances of scoring above 95 percentile on any standardized test. This article discusses the three essential pillars mandatorily required to excel on any standardized test.
The content knowledge is the base for any standardized test. The test-taking strategies and time management can only be applied once you are aware of the domain knowledge to solve the different types of questions that appear on the test. The prep method you choose for any standardized test is the highest leverage choice you can make when it comes to bettering your score. If you make the right decision, you might never have to worry about improving your score. Heading in the right direction can save you weeks of agony later on. We at GMAT Gladiator personally recommend and advocate one-on-one tutoring (online or in-person) to be the best method for preparation when it comes to any standardized test. This is because improvement on a standardized test score requires a significant paradigm shift in the way you think and approach questions within a stipulate time frame, which is way different from the methods or techniques you might have followed during your schooling or university. Significant improvement in score definitely requires individual attention to understand the gaps an individual has which is not possible in a group class. For any standardized exam, no one strategy fits all. The strategy to rise up the ladder for every individual is unique. Acing the standardized can be compared to “Enlightenment”. One might have all the necessary ingredients (Content Knowledge, Test Strategy, and Time Management) in place but still, the end result (great score) is not achievable. What is actually required is to fine-tune all the three ingredients to the correct frequency simultaneously. It may sound impossible but can be accomplished under the guidance of an expert tutor.
Time management is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Failing to manage the time destroys your effectiveness and induces stress, finally leading to much lower scores one had targeted. As a thumb rule, one should not get stuck on a particular question during the entire duration of the test. These types of questions are intentionally put in the test to break your momentum and identify your decision making capability whether to get stuck on solving that question or move on. Always every standardized test requires you to pace yourself on all the individual sections. This makes it more difficult for the candidates as you need to be equally comfortable on all the sections of the exam.
Test Taking Strategies:
- Eye for Detail:
Many students commit the mistake, especially in the Math section by not reading the whole question, thereby answering a question incorrectly. The best way to eliminate this issue is by circling or underlining as to what is actually asked. For example, the question asks you the perimeter, and you select the answer as area of the figure.
- Quality rather than Quantity:
A common perception amongst candidates appearing for the standardized tests is that the harder you practice the better score you will achieve. Sadly, very few see a marginal improvement in their score. The focus should be to practice good quality questions rather than just practice mundane sets of questions which will land you nowhere. Moreover, the emphasis should not be on the final solution, your approach should be to critically think as to what the test makers expect out of that question. You need to think from the perspective of examiner as to why the particular question appeared on the exam. With guided practice, the same can be accomplished. The moment you start thinking and understanding the examiners point of view, you will really start to enjoy your prep phase with dramatic improvement in your scores. We have seen our past candidates improving their scores from 300 levels to 720 levels on the GMAT.
- Focusing on your Weakness:
Contrary to the popular notion of playing on strengths, scoring well on a standardized test specifically requires a thorough analysis of identifying your weak areas and converting them into your strengths. This is the single most factor that marks the difference among the candidates who see a great jump in their scores. To identify your weakness either you should work with a great tutor who has years of experience behind his back teaching students of varying aptitude levels. Your tutor can use his or her expertise and can prove to be a great sailor in helping you pass the exam with flying colors.
- Avoiding Mistakes:
You should avoid mistakes, if you really want to excel in any standardized exam. Though it may seem very easy in saying to avoid the common mistakes, it’s easier said than done. The key to avoiding mistakes is preparation, and knowing the common mistakes students make on the exam is the best way to prevent them.
We at GMAT gladiator have been pioneers in providing world-class online as well as one-on-one classes for the GMAT exam. It gives us great contentment to see our students realize their aspirations and potential through our guidance. We have catered to almost all parts of the globe as far as our students are concerned. Our students have got admitted to the most prestigious schools a child aspires to study. We have years of experience behind our back, which only increases our drive and confidence with each passing year to provide the best education for the GMAT exam. We have always believed that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Since every person is unique, we at GMAT Gladiator also believe that every person has the potential though it just needs to be identified, nurtured, and polished. Each individual has unique strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing for a tutor or guide is to identify the gaps a candidate has and to work upon them slowly and steadily because both the gaps and the grasping power of each child is different, which cannot be identified in group classes. This is by far the most important thing required for a GMAT prep and that’s the reason we don’t do group classes, as we want to be sincere to our profession and one approach does not fits all. For us, money is not the only criterion, but imparting and imbibing valuable education to each person is our prime focus.
We at GMAT Gladiator advocate the assimilation of knowledge in a phased manner without rushing through, giving prime focus on the understanding and application of concepts. Once a concept is taught, we ask the student to practice a couple of questions in ascending order of difficulty on the same idea to further strengthen his understanding. We ask the child to follow his independent thought process as to how will he approach the question? Many times, though, the problem is answered correctly, but it lacks the correct approach. We narrate the child a more efficient way to solve the same question, thereby further expanding his horizon. In this way, the student begins to enjoy the conceptual approach seeing its benefits both in terms of reducing problem complexity and significant reduction of the time spent in answering the problem. This approach, with time, paves the way for a child to focus on problem-solving rather than to cram. This step-by-step approach lays the foundation for a dramatic increase in his scores and overall approach to questions.
Our Alumni students all over the prestigious colleges around the world tell us how the change in their approach towards problem-solving is also helping them flare excellently in their respective courses too irrespective of the stream they chose. So, we highly recommend that you do provide us a chance to help us nurture your talent and maximize your potential.
Our point of view – standardized tests can be aced, but that surely requires the guidance of top instructors, which can effectively make a difference in your test prep.