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  The GMAT Exam: A test of Endurance.

Posted by michael on Sun 21 Sep 08 at 7:50pm

Taking the GMAT exam is a demanding activity. The GMAT exam can challenge a test takers intellect, requiring him or her to demonstrate knowledge of number theory for the quantitative section, the rules of grammar for the sentence correction section, and the rules of logic for the critical reasoning section. However, the GMAT exam can also challenge a test takers endurance, requiring the test taker to focus for three hours and thirty minutes on exam questions picked to be the most difficult for the test takerís ability. Test takers often prepare for the intellectual demands of the GMAT exam but overlook preparation that would increase endurance. By preparing for the test in a disciplined way, students may significantly increase their final GMAT score.

People anticipate change. Ancient humans anticipated changing season and as a result stored food from summer harvests for winter meals. Humanís anticipation of change led to the species survival. Today we do not gather food for our survival. Instead, we multitask, moving from task to task with seldom more than ten minutes to focus before something needs our attention. If interruptions normally occur every ten minutes, we begin expecting a phone to ring or an email to arrive every ten minutes. We anticipate. We break our concentration, notice that the phone is not ringing and no new email is arriving, and go back to work. If we break concentration every 10 minutes, seeking stimulus, while taking the GMAT exam, we loose focus on seven questions. Potentially losing points. Staying focused is a skill. It needs practice.

If we train ourselves to work steadily for 75 minute intervals while preparing for the GMAT Exam, we are learning how not to break focus on seven GMAT questions. I encourage my students to begin their GMAT preparation by working for 75 minutes on questions from the Official Guide. At first, the number of questions completed in 75 minutes is not important. What is important is getting your mind use to staying focused. After a week of this, I suggest students attempt to complete 50 questions in 75 minutes, allowing 1 and Ĺ minutes for each question. While on the GMAT exam test takers will have more than 1 and Ĺ minutes for each question, preparing in this way provides a cushion of time on the actual GMAT exam. So if a test taker gets stuck on a difficult question, he or she can spend a little extra time on that question without the risk of failing to finish the exam. I suggest students study in the way prescribed above six days a week and take one full-length exam every weekend. Most students prepare this way for six weeks. When there are only two weeks left to prepare, I suggest students work for three-hour blocks with a five or ten minute break every hour. Finally, with three days left before the exam, I suggest students practice on full exams. By studying in this way students build the endurance necessary to stay focus on a the GMAT exam and achieve the GMAT score they deserve.



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