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GMAT Tips: 4 Things to Do Now to Succeed on the GMAT

Today’s GMAT tip comes to us from Veritas Prep.  In this article, they explain habits you can develop that will pay off when taking the GMAT. Read on to see what they have to say!

Rest assured that you can still enjoy most of your summer even if you do not plan on taking the GMAT until later in the fall.  But even without dedicating much of the summer to studying, there are at least five habits you can add to your day-to-day lifestyle that will get you ready to hit the ground running when you do begin your GMAT preparation in earnest sometime soon:

1) Do Math

With computers and calculators all around us, we tend not to do very much math once we’ve completed our college quantitative requirements, but the GMAT will require you to be able to do math without a calculator so you will need to retrain your mind.  Fortunately, day-to-day life provides countless opportunities to perform simple math by hand or in your head, and the more you can do so the easier a time you’ll have when you do sit down to do GMAT math.  Practice calculating tips when you eat out; estimate how long it will take you to reach your driving destination at two different average speeds; notice prime numbers and multiples of 3 when you are writing down phone numbers; do quick calculations on paper before you plug the numbers into Microsoft Excel.  Simply thinking mathematically can help you to retrain those atrophied portions of your brain, and that will allow you to eventually focus more of your study time and energy on GMAT-specific question types and strategies.

2) Read

The GMAT verbal section is a test of focus and concentration, assessing your ability to process written information on a variety of topics and to do so while tired and distracted.  There are certainly techniques to help you navigate the GMAT-specific passage formats and question types, and you will learn those when you are ready to buckle down on GMAT study.  But in the meantime, you can improve your ability to process that information simply by reading more, and by reading articles and books on topics that aren’t as natural of choices for you.  Traveling this summer?  Bring The Economist on the airplane with you and practice some GMAT-style reading while you make other passengers think you’re smart and worldly.  Ordering some beach reading from Amazon?  Pick up an extra nonfiction book and give yourself a denser read.  Read some academic topics that don’t necessarily come easy to you and you’ll be much more ready to do the same on the GMAT.

3) Question Conclusions

One important GMAT skill, particularly on Critical Reasoning and Data Sufficiency questions, is that of exercising skepticism.  So as you are bombarded with advertisements and news stories that ask you to buy into conclusions, look at them skeptically to train yourself to analyze the logic between fact and conclusion the way you’ll have to on the GMAT.  “Save up to 75% at our summer sale”?  Doesn’t “up to” include everything down to “save nothing”?  As you consume media this summer you’ll be faced with plenty of less-than-airtight arguments; start questioning those and you’ll be able to carry that mindset into your fall GMAT preparation.

4) Notice Grammar

As tihs snetnce suggsets, we are pertty good at readnig poolry wirtten writing.  You knew exactly what that said, right?  But on Sentence Correction problems you’ll need to recognize problems like Subject-Verb Agreement and Misplaced Modifiers.  So as you pore through emails and text messages this summer, make quick notes of grammatical flaws that you see.  Simply being aware of such mistakes will train your mental ear to reject poorly-written material so that you have a heightened awareness of it when you’re ready to dig into the GMAT this fall.

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