Tips to success in MAT Exam

Tips to success in MAT Exam

1 . What is MAT

MAT is a paper-based as well as computer-based test. A candidate can take any one of the two testing formats.

2 . Start early

Preparing for the GMAT takes time and dedication. Most GMAT test takers start preparing about 3 to 6 months before the actual test date. Using data collected in 2011 from more than 8,000 GMAT test takers, we can see that 49% of test takers spend at least 51 hours prepping for the exam, and those who do better on the GMAT tend to spend more time studying for it.

3 . Take it early take it often

You saw most of the math covered in the GMAT in high school. Rather than waiting to take the GMAT after you ve graduated college or even well into your working life, it s best to take the test in your sophomore or junior year of college, says Shadna Wise, executive director of graduate programs for the Princeton Review. By taking it earlier, the concepts you learned in high school, which may or may not have been revisited in an intro math class in college, are fresher in your mind and should lead you to a better score than if you are forced to relearn the material. Taking it during your years as an undergraduate is not detrimental, even though many B schools require applicants to have a few years of work experience before applying. Your GMAT scores remain active for five years, so even if you take the test as a junior, you have a three year window after graduating to garner the work experience that schools value before your GMAT score expires. It s smart for someone, knowing the GMAT is going to cover those basic math principles algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics to actually take the GMAT while you re still in school, says Wise.

4 . Take economics and statistics in college

Some questions on the GMAT will test your knowledge of statistics, which isn t required in some high schools. It s best to take an intro statistics class early in college so that the content is fresh in your mind before taking the GMAT, testing experts say. Also, the GMAT doesn t directly test economics content, but a working familiarity of the subject s basic principles will help you better understand and interpret the business focused content of the test. [Taking an] economics [class] is good because it gives you real life scenarios that you might see in a reading passage, says Wise. Economics helps you take a business perspective when reading a problem, so it helps for [the] verbal [section].

5 . The verbal section matters more than you think

While there may be an emphasis on mathematics in many business school classes, precise communication skills are a necessity if you want to be a success in the business world. Not only that, they re much needed if you wish to score high marks on the GMAT. Because the quantitative and verbal scores are lumped together to create the final score, a poor showing on the verbal section can harm your overall score whether you re a math whiz or not. If the student has suffered abysmally in English, they re not going to be able to communicate well in the form of E mails, letters, press releases, says Wise. If you re low in the verbal, your score is going to be lower, period. So, you want to nail it all.

6 . Data sufficiency questions require sufficient practice

While much of the content covered on the GMAT is similar to that covered on the SAT, ACT, and GRE, and many of the questions are formatted in a similar manner, there is one exception data sufficiency questions. Testing experts say these questions don t exist on other standardized tests and require a significant amount of practice in order to acclimate to their unconventional format. The questions present you with a question and two statements and ask you to determine if either statement answers the question, neither statement answers the question, one statement provides an answer, they answer the question in concert, or they both answer the question independently. At first glance, and without practice, these questions require more time than most and for your mind to work in ways it may not be accustomed. For someone preparing for the GMAT, data sufficiency questions are usually the first enemy that they have, says Andrew Mitchell, director of graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. They re foreign, and they re tricky, and there are certain traps that people fall into again and again before they re familiar with the question type and before they practice it.

7 . Adapt to the computer

Like the GRE, the GMAT is a computer adaptive test, meaning that the test is performed entirely on a computer and the questions posed to you changed based on your answers to the previous questions. The better you perform, the harder the questions get. With every correct response, the lowest possible score you can receive increases. Oftentimes, there are also cameras placed on you to ensure that you re not cheating, and there s a timer in front of you, reminding you of how long you have before the section is complete. These factors can make taking the GMAT a harrowing experience, especially the first time. The computer adaptive test is very intimidating, says Ryan Johnston, who scored 700 on the test and will be attending the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business in the fall. They ve got cameras all over you. They re watching to make sure you re not cheating or even chewing gum. You re sitting there looking at the computer screen, and it s very high pressure, very difficult to keep your head focused.

8 . The first 10 questions are very important

The greatest fluctuations in your score depend on how you fare on the first 10 questions of a given section because of the GMAT s computer adaptive format. It s important to make sure that you take your time on these questions, because they carry the most weight on the test. That doesn t mean, however, that you should spend nearly all of your time perfecting these questions. Just because performing well on them raises your low score floor that doesn t necessarily mean you want to be sitting on that floor when the test is over. Leaving questions blank near the end of the test because you didn t have enough time to answer them can cost you valuable points that will drastically lower your percentile rank. It s best to pace yourself, ensuring that you have time to give each question a thorough look. You re harshly penalized for having questions unanswered, says Mitchell. Oftentimes, people will devote tons of time to the first questions, but then they really fall behind. You ve got to finish strong as well.

9 . Keep your eye on the time

Careful time management is critical to completing each section of the exam. Once you start the test, an onscreen clock display will count down the remaining time; check the clock periodically to track your progress. If you do not finish in the allotted time, you will still receive scores as long as you have worked on every section. However, your scores will reflect the number of questions answered, and your score will decrease significantly with each unanswered question.

10 . Read all test directions carefully

This may sound obvious, but you can only answer correctly if you read the directions, which explain exactly what is required to answer each type of question.