How to Get in Shape for a Computer-Based Test
It’s really weird taking a test on a computer. Processing the ones and zeros on the screen requires extra mental effort on your part. Many people now taking the GMAT go in having only experienced paper-based standardized tests. Additionally, the GMAT may well be your first experience working on a computer under strict time constraints.
Reading off a computer screen takes longer than does reading out of a book. That’s why you need to practice. When Michael Jordan was drafted by the Bulls the experts said he couldn’t shoot—then he practiced and developed the most lethal fade-away jumper of all-times (did I just date myself? Ok, Kobe practices a lot too). This is a long-winded way of saying: You’re not going to be at your peak performance on the GMAT if you don’t spend extra hours in the gym. Overcome the eye strains and the headaches by getting used to reading computer screens for long periods of time. Take practice tests online. We have a whole long list of things you can do to get ready for a CAT.
Imagine two students, named “A” and “B,” who are taking the GMAT. Student A and Student B have identical levels of intelligence and both have logged the same number of hours of preparation. The only difference between them is that Student A took timed practice tests on the computer, and Student B took them out of a book. Student A will probably have an advantage on test day, since the physical action of manipulating the mouse will be well-practiced and effortless. Student B might find the mouse to be a clumsy hindrance.
The best way to prepare for a test given on computers is to practice on computers. By giving your eyes practice with the screen and your hands practice with the mouse, you’ll be removing obstacles between you and your optimum performance.