How To Get the Most Out of Your GMAT Practice

January 10, 2014
Gina Allison

GMAT study tips

Try teaching a GMAT practice problem to another “student.”
Photo Credit: Wonderlane via Compfight cc

We regularly share GMAT practice problems for you to try on your own, and then follow up with complete answer explanations. In my experience as a Kaplan teacher, I’ve found that many students read through the explanations quickly and then move on, often missing out on the wealth of learning that can be had from thorough engagement with answer explanations. It’s my mission to help you “suck the marrow”, so to speak, out of these explanations.

Here’s how to get the most out of our most recent (and every) GMAT practice problem and answer explanation. I’ll use the GMAT Data Sufficiency Geometry problem that we posted earlier this week (you might want to pause now and give it a try before reading further.)

  • Work through the problem using the answer explanation as your guide. Take as long as you need to understand the explanation fully. Ask us any questions you have in the comments. If there are Geometry rules or Data Sufficiency strategies that you aren’t yet familiar with, make a note to learn those.
  • Once you’ve grasped the problem and explanation fully, note the takeaways, including any math content and test taking strategies you need to study further. Make a plan for how to master those – via flash cards, additional math drills, etc.
  • Set this problem aside for a week or more. Later, go back to the original practice problem when you’ve had sufficient time away from it, and try it again on your own. Can you recall the math concepts you need to know for similar GMAT Test Day problems? Are you approaching GMAT Data Sufficiency problems efficiently?
  • Advanced Level: Try teaching this problem to someone else. If you’re really grasping the concepts, you’ll be able to teach them to a willing victim…er, student. Teach them to a fellow GMAT prepper. This is a great way to solidify the methods, strategies, and content in your mind.

This won’t be a full drill, since you have seen this problem before, but will allow you to test yourself to see if you have fully absorbed the lessons that you needed to learn from this practice problem. That’s the point of each and every Kaplan practice problem you complete – to take them as examples of the types of problems you will see on GMAT Test Day, and to learn the content and strategy lessons you must master in order to excel on the real thing. Every practice question acts as a model, or archetype, so that you can call up your previous experiences of practice when you are testing in the Pearson center. You shouldn’t encounter surprises on Test Day.

Questions? Topics you’d like to see covered in future blog entries? Ask me in the comments – I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, happy studying!

Gina Allison Gina Allison has been a Kaplan instructor for over six years and was named Teacher of the Year in 2008. She has an MBA and would like to further her studies in Education or Botany. Gina loves working with students to help them develop study schedules and to motivate them to achieve success on test day and beyond. She likes to read, see movies, and work in her garden.

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