Practice Tests, Just Like the Real Thing

January 14, 2010

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Practice tests are an important part of any GMAT study plan. I've written before about the best practice tests you can use--realistic exams written by the makers of the GMAT itself.

Let's take this a step further. One major reason why practice tests are so valuable is that they prepare you for the endurance required to get through the real thing. Including breaks, the GMAT can take as much as four hours of sitting at a computer in a dull, windowless room. As if it weren't stressful enough already!

When you take practice tests, make the experience as realistic as possible.

Here are several ways to achieve this:

  1. Don't allow yourself to be interrupted. Tell your family or roommates that you can't be disturbed for the duration of the test.
  2. No background music.
  3. Limited scratch paper.
  4. No calculator!
  5. Write the essays. You may not need practice, but spending an hour writing essays prepares you for the difficult of handling the Verbal section at the end of a four-hour testing session.
  6. Limit your breaks to exactly five minutes. You won't get more time on test day, so don't give yourself extra time when you practice.
  7. Turn off your cell phone.
  8. Don't even think about pausing the test. (Some practice exams let you do this. I suppose it's helpful for some situations, but it's bad practice!)

The more realistic your practice exams, the less stressful your experience will be on the day of the GMAT.



About the author: Jeff Sackmann has written many GMAT preparation books, including the popular Total GMAT Math, Total GMAT Verbal, and GMAT 111. He has also created explanations for problems in The Official Guide, as well as 1,800 practice GMAT math questions.

Total GMAT Math

The comprehensive guide to the GMAT Quant section. It's "far and away the best study material available," including over 300 realistic practice questions and more than 500 exercises!
Click to read more.