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How Practice Tests Can Help You Study For the GMAT

How Practice Tests Can Help You Study For the GMAT

When you sit down to study the GMAT, you may not exactly know how you should approach the test.  Reading the textbook and making flash cards are all tried and true methods, but taking practice GMATs prove to be very advantageous for the studier for a variety of reasons.  Practice GMAT tests can help you retain information, can help you set expectations for questions, help you manage your time, and identify weak areas.

Help Retain Information

With all the studying, you may think that the best way to retain information is to hit the books hard until everything is drilled into your head.  However, according to a recent study, taking a test can help you retain as much as 50% more information than other methods of studying, including repeatedly studying the material and drawing detailed diagrams based on what they know.

Set Expectations For Questions

GMAT tests tend to have the same sorts of questions, so understanding what kind of questions will appear on the real test will help you focus your studying.  Thoroughly focusing on the types of questions you will see will allow you to hone in on the strategies you will find.  For example, taking practice tests will help you realize that the verbal section will have questions involving sentence correction, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning.  Knowing this will help you break down the skills that you will need to sharpen before the exam.

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Can Help You Manage Your Time

There are advantages and disadvantages to all forms of studying, but one thing that you can gain from taking practice tests rather than standard studying is time management.  When you take practice tests you can understand how long it will take you to complete each section.  A major part of taking the actual GMAT is to manage your time so that you can allow yourself to take the exam and check your work.  The more practice tests you take, the better youll be able to identify how long you should be spending on each question before you move on.

Focus on Weak Areas

One of the things you can glean from your practice test score is the ability to understand the mistakes that you are making in an effort to hone your skills in your problem areas.  Once you find out what you got wrong, determine why you got it wrong.  Was it a careless error or is it due to a misunderstanding of a concept? If it is the latter, go back to your study materials and focus on those concepts that you dont understand as well as the others in order to bring up your scores.  Conversely, taking a practice test will allow you to assess which concepts you have already mastered, which will allow you to spend more time on the concepts that you having quite figured out.

Reduce the Mystique of Test-Taking

Its not uncommon for some students to master the coursework but get completely overwhelmed when it comes to test time.  Psychologists have labeled this as test anxiety and can cause physical and emotional symptoms, including dizziness and feelings of helplessness.  One of the best ways to combat this anxiety is to get familiar with the test scenario ahead of time.  Taking practice tests will help the test taker anticipate what to expect once it comes time for the real GMAT.

Practice tests are an important part of a full plan to study the GMAT.  When combined with studying the material and other methods of practice, the tests can help reinforce information and prepare for the final test.

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