One of the reasons people struggle with GMAT prep so much is because the GMAT is very different than any of the tests they have taken before. Because of this, you can’t study for the GMAT the same way that you would study for any regular test in school. Studying this way, won’t be as efficient or get you as high of a score as studying strategically for the GMAT. Here are some key differences between the GMAT and regular tests and how you should adapt your studying to suit them.
Its Computer Adaptive
Unlike tests you took in high school or even college, the GMAT is computer adaptive. This means that the better you do on the test, the more difficult it becomes. Thus doing well on the GMAT is not purely about how many questions you get right, but also how difficult those questions are. Because of this fact, you need different study strategies depending on your goal score. For example, if you are aiming for a 700 or more, you need to not only practice with basic materials, but you also need to master the complicated and most difficult materials through books caters specifically to 700 scorers . The MGMAT Advanced Quant book and Kaplan 800 book are both good resources for this. If you only need a 600, however, you probably won’t see many 700 level questions on your test and don’t need to work with them as much.
More about strategy than content
Most of the tests you took in school tested your understanding and memory of key concepts that you were taught in the class. While this is also important for the GMAT, it is more important to strategically answer questions in quick and creative ways. For example, most math tests you took in high school and college required you to solve the problems in the way you were taught in class. For the GMAT, it doesn’t matter how you solve the problem, just that you find the correct answer quickly. Thus, you can use other strategies such as back-solving, estimation or picking numbers. Usually, completing the problems in a straightforward way isn’t the best way to do it. Because of this, you will need to do a lot more practice problems to master the GMAT and help you get in the habit of finding creative and quick solutions to the problems.