I have never taken or studied for the GMAT before. I recently graduated from college and, sadly, I have been working in the business world for the last year and a half. I want to go to b-school so that when this economy is rectified, I can be marketable in the business world.
What is the singular, most important, thing that I need to know before I begin? I want to do this the right way.
Firstly, I would like to thank you for your topic submission. I think that this is a good question. Both GMAT "newbies" and students who have taken the GMAT previously can benefit from this advice.
The most important thing that you need to understand about the GMAT is that it is not like other standardized tests. It is more of an IQ test than anything else. Unlike an IQ test, however, student can learn how to take the exam and how to master it. Although it isn't exactly a math or verbal test, students must learn certain fundamentals of mathematics and language so that they can reasonably employ them in a creative manner in taking the exam.
In other words, its not how much math you know or how much English you know, its how well you use what you know. However, before getting to that level of comfort, the student must become extremely comfortable with some basic knowledge. Mastering that knowledge requires, repetitive problem solving, balancing your GMAT pursuits with the rest of your life, and a clear view of your objectives (both in the specific and general sense).
In distilling my response, Goldie, the most important thing you must know before you embark on your endeavour is that The GMAT is a test of your ability to creatively employ basic fundamental knowledge. It is not a math, nor is it an English exam. It tests your ability to think quickly,efficiently, and systematically invoke basic knowledge to simplify situations.
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