How to approach practice tests

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How to approach practice tests

by beatthegmat » Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:10 pm
Practice tests are a critical component of any person's GMAT preparation. The surprising thing to me though is that most people do not approach practice tests effectively. Most people just take the practice test, look at the number, and then move on. This approach is all wrong. If you are methodical and have some patience, you can learn so much about yourself through your practice tests.

This is what I did during my prep:

I would first go through a practice test under realistic conditions. I would take these tests in a somewhat public area of a library, wear my earplugs, make sure I was being timed. This was the easy part.

The tedious part came after the test, where I would devote 2-3 hours analyzing my results. The first thing I did was mark off the questions where I made errors and then go through each of these questions one more time to see if I could figure out my mistake. After that, I went back and reviewed the official explanations for every question on the test, and made sure that I understood every concept and strategy completely.

Following this answer review, I would open up a spreadsheet I had created for myself and mark down statistics on number of questions I had gotten right vs. number of questions I had gotten wrong--on each question type (PS, DS, SC, RC, CR). I had this Excel spreadsheet calculate my percentage correct for each question type on a particular practice test, so I could easily see where I performed well and where I performed not-so-well that day.

I used these percentages from one practice test to keep running statistics on my overall "hit rate" for each question type on all my practice tests. Additionally, I would run some basic statistics on average, range, and standard deviation for each question type.

This strategy was very helpful for me to identify my strengths and weaknesses, and I designed my GMAT preparation around these statistics.

I know that this post may be somewhat unclear to you all. Probably the best way to understand what I'm talking about is to view my actual practice test analysis spreadsheet and see the statistics that I ran. I encourage you all to set up a similar spreadsheet for yourself.

Be methodical and patient, and you will Beat The GMAT!
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by oxygen008 » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:12 am
How did you score on the GMAT?

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by beatthegmat » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:27 pm
700+

Read the full details about my test in the "I Just Beat The GMAT" area.
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