Preparing to Retake the GMAT

Many people choose to retake the GMAT in order to improve on their original scores. You are allowed to retake the test once every 31 days and no more than five times in a one year period. As all test scores for the past five years (including cancellations) show on your student report, if you are planning on retaking the exam, we suggest taking it no more than three times. Beyond that, schools may not look at multiple attempts in a positive light. The good new though, is having taken the GMAT once before, you will be able to draw on your past experience and use these scores to help tailor your study plan for future tries.

Tailor Your GMAT Test Prep

Your GMAT test prep for the second time around can focus more heavily on the areas you struggled with on the first test, be it quantitative, verbal, or the writing assessment. You may feel that you just need to review some sections before test day and spend significant amounts of time on areas that were a challenge on your first GMAT. Immediately after taking the test, you may be able to look up questions that threw you off the first time you took the test, having these challenges in mind for your studying will give you a good starting point.

Online GMAT test prep will help you to cater your plan to meet your needs — even more important now that you have a better grasp on which areas will be a challenge. Taking practice tests along the way will help you to gauge how your scores are improving on the way to your second test.

Draw on Your Knowledge of the Test

Having already taken the GMAT once will also help you to relax and do your best on test day. You’ve been in the exact situation before and may have an even better idea of how they test will go than you did from your practice tests before the first attempt. You can focus on the content and feel comfortable with the computer and the format of the test.

The GMAT can be very different from any other test you have taken in the past, especially in that you cannot go back and change your answers in the verbal and quantitative sections. Having experienced this in a real test setting can help you the second time around, especially if you were anxious about the test format the first time you took the GMAT.

Even when you’re taking the test for the second or third time, it is important to maintain a solid study schedule and continue to review material and take online GMAT practice tests. Doing so will help prevent your scores from decreasing, help you to improve your test taking abilities, and keep the material fresh for the next test.

GMAT prep: No calculator? No problem!

One big difference between the GMAT and other standardized tests is that calculators are not allowed on test day. For many test takers, it can be intimidating to go into the GMAT without a calculator. It is important to put away your calculator from the beginning and get comfortable doing all of the necessary math for the GMAT on your own. With a comprehensive GMAT test prep plan, including plenty of time spent brushing up on basic math skills; it is possible to do well on the GMAT math section.
One of the best things you can do early on is to review basic math skills during your GMAT test prep. This is particularly critical if it has been a few years since you have taken a math course and even longer since you have worked without a calculator. Being able to manipulate fractions and decimals will be helpful on test day. You should also be sure that you are comfortable performing long division and other tasks that are typically done with a calculator. Reviewing the basics can make a big difference on the GMAT.

Once you have gotten familiar with your basic math skills again, you should work through online test prep and GMAT prep books. Take as many GMAT practice exams as possible and go over sample math questions until you can quickly decide how to attack a problem and move through the necessary steps. The more comfortable you are with the questions, the quicker you will be able to move through each problem on test day. It is important to work quickly, but carefully, as you are not able to go back and check your work or change answers on the GMAT.

It is also important to remember that the GMAT is designed to be completed without a calculator. You can use this to your advantage when completing math problems and always consider the simplest way to do your work. If you cannot complete a problem or come out with numbers that are difficult to work with, you may want to go back and check your work again. You should always look for the simplest and smartest way to complete the problem. With some critical thinking, there will not be any math problem on the GMAT that cannot be completed without a calculator.

GMAT Critical Reasoning Section Broken Down

About 11 questions in the verbal section of the GMAT fall into the “critical reasoning” category, and they will require the candidate to read short passages ranging from 20 to 200 words. Usually, a passage presents an argument and tries to persuade the reader that the point it makes is valid. To accomplish this, evidence is presented, followed by some assumptions and the resulting conclusion.

This section is meant to assess the students’ skill in constructing an argument and evaluating one that is presented to them, but they will not need any previous knowledge of the topics being covered. Instead, they must weigh the answer choices presented to them carefully, so that they can detect even the slightest error in reasoning. One of the incorrect choices will suggest something that is totally opposed to the argument maintained in the passage, a choice that is really not covered in the passage, and a choice that completely distorts the facts.

To complete the section successfully, candidates should:

● Read the question before reading the passage. This is called “working in reverse order,” and doing so will help them in finding the correct response.
● Look for the evidence and assumptions presented in the passage, and the conclusion that is at the heart of the question.
● Become familiar with the basic concepts being covered in this section. If a question seems particularly difficult, they should try translating it into simpler language and work from there, remembering that some of the questions are hypothetical and that they should only deal with the facts presented in the passage.

The various types of critical reasoning questions contained in the GMAT include:

● Numbers and statistics – Students focus on ratios and numbers because they have to distinguish between them and take the data at face value as well.
● Studies and surveys – Experiments may also be included here, and candidates are asked determine if the results have been misinterpreted in some way.
● Scope-shift – Here they will detect a slight change in emphasis. (For example, “first-time home buyers may be changed to “recent homebuyers” later on, and this is a sign of faulty argumentation.)
● Causation – In this case, the “result” is mistakenly presented as the “cause.” The passage may state that a problem arose because of a particular factor when its development was actually far more complicated than that.
● Alternative explanation – Here, the argument presented in the passage is incomplete and another solution is needed.
● Explain-a-paradox – In this case, they have to choose the response that fails to meet certain standards, and words indicating a contrast of some kind (however, but) are especially important.

Preparing for the GMAT

For online test preparation, students can visit:, and choose from one of the three unique programs this company offers to suit their specific needs and circumstances. Also, as part of their overall test preparation, candidates should develop their personal studying strategy and sharpen their professional writing skills at the same time. Taking classes to prepare for the GMAT may involve some expense, but they also provide the motivation and support that many candidates need. Many often find that by signing up for an online test prep class fits into their schedule and provides a good foundation before you take the test.

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