They say “A little progress everyday adds up to big results”. Most people start preparing for the GRE, GMAT or SAT just months before they have to actually take the exam. Most candidates give themselves a 3 month/6 month/12 month prep time to formally prepare for these exams. But it is a wise decision to equip yourself with the skills tested on these exams years before you face the actual test situation, just by making the certain skills a part of your everyday life, so that you can master the skills in small doses.
Wondering how? Skill Maestro lists some tips to equip yourself adequately with the skills tested on these exams much, much before you actually start preparing formally.
Habituate yourself to non-fiction reading daily
All the standardized tests throw at you dry non fiction, academic styled passages, often not from your area of study. It is often a struggle to tackle reading comprehension, since many of us are not habituated to read those serious and dry academic passages, and hence mastering such reading comprehension passages requires a lot of practice. Hence, the best way to equip yourself for cracking reading comprehension is to already have a sound and thorough practice of reading such material.
You should habituate yourself with reading heavy, analytical columns from magazines and newspapers to get your reading and assimilation speed fast. Get yourself daily to read a piece of reading from newspapers like the New York Times or magazines like the Scientific American. If you get accustomed to reading such pieces, you’ll take lesser time in dealing with the RC section when you actually plan to prepare for the test, thus giving you a competitive edge over others.
Maintain a vocabulary diary
Vocabulary is important to master for any competitive exam, and as such students preparing for these exams have to learn some 2000 odd words in any case to crack these exams. Those with an already good flair of vocabulary definitely get an edge over others. Hence, it is advisable to build your vocabulary way before you intend to start preparing for the tests. It will help you save your time which you would have otherwise devoted to learning words you didn’t know.
To be adept at vocabulary, you can maintain a diary and start writing words you come across with their meanings and usage. This also has a bearing with point number 1 – when you get yourself to read the academic styled pieces, you are sure to come across with new words, note those words in a diary along with meaning and usage.
Start using applications for word games or speed reading
With a deluge of smart phone apps, you should definitely get your hands on apps that help you in your language skills. There are plenty of apps available for word games, vocabulary building and speed reading. This will help you ‘learn by fun’! You will never come to know that you have actually acquired essential skills for your test through this!
Practice writing analytical pieces – like say movie/book reviews and critique!
Almost all standardized tests have an analytical writing component. Many students struggle with this section, since it is not just about writing flowery language or being a literary genius, but is more about developing strong arguments and expressing critical thought process. You could equip yourself with such skills by developing a blog of your own for commenting and writing reviews about the movies and books you have read! This will not only be fun, but will help you develop analytical style of writing, just what is required in your tests!
Audit your way through practice tests to know what exactly the tests require of you
It is a good idea to sift through full length GRE/GMAT/SAT practice tests to get a hang of what exactly these tests demand of you. Once you get a fair idea, you can tweak your daily habits in a way such that it revolves along the lines of acquiring the skills required in the test.
Start estimating calculations and validate them later
Estimation and ball-parking is an important skill required in competitive tests. Often you do not have the time to perform lengthy calculations, especially in the data interpretation section. The good news is that the test makers also do not expect you to perform those lengthy calculations! The answer choices in the tests, especially in the data interpretation section, are often such that if you can make a reasonable estimation, you are good to go!
Hence, make it a point to start estimating calculations in your daily routine – this will help you save your considerable time in the quant section, especially in the data interpretation part.
These were some ways you can equip yourself with the skills needed for the standardized tests much before you formally start your test prep. Adopting these ways can help you gain a competitive edge over others, for sure!
We hope that this post cleared the essential differences between the GRE and the GMAT when making a choice to study abroad. Skill Maestro wishes you all the best for whichever option you think is more suitable for you!
About Skill Maestro
At Skill Maestro, We guide prospective students about the entire application process as well as suitable universities as per their profile/test scores. We have consulted dozens of prospective students for MIS across the globe. We have a physical presence in Indore where we also help students prepare for GRE, GMAT & SAT