5 Steps to Building GMAT Practice Sets

Jun 22, 2017
Tags: GMAT Prep, Prepare for the GMAT, Study Tips for the GMAT

Athletes and musicians know it pays to practice, and so do GMAT® test takers. The GMAT exam is timed and contains question formats specific to the test. Because there’s a penalty for not finishing, understanding the question formats and pacing yourself well is very important. Practicing your pacing should be a key aspect of any GMAT study plan.

To help you practice pacing, the GMAT Official Guide series, available in the mba.com store, includes an online component with a question set tool. This tool allows users to create practice sets using questions from the GMAT Official Guide series based on question type and level of difficulty. More importantly, it provides information on how much time was spent on each question.

Building your own sets for timed practice is a great way to familiarize yourself with the question formats and work on your pacing. Here are some tips to building and using your own practice sets:

  1. Take the Official Guide diagnostic test and analyze the results to figure out what you need to focus on most. The results will let you know where you stand in each basic question category.
  2. It may be tempting to start with difficult questions, but that’s like starting your marathon training with a 20-miler. Instead, start with small question sets of four to five easy questions to get comfortable with the question types. As you go through the sets, you can add more, harder questions.
  3. As you monitor your results, you’ll see how much time you’ve taken to answer each question, but it’s still worth putting yourself on a timer as you work through a practice set. You’ll want to allow 2 minutes for each Quantitative question and 1 minute, 45 seconds for each Verbal question.
  4. As you add harder questions, mix up the difficulty levels. The question set tool isn’t computer adaptive, but it does have the option to click on all difficulty levels so you’ll get questions of varying difficulty.  
  5. Include a mix of question types. Question formats will be interspersed when you get the actual exam, so it’s a good idea to tackle different formats in the same practice set.

Questions in the GMAT Official Guide series are available as customized, online practice sets, as illustrated below.

GMAT OG Online

You’ll want to get to the point where you only have to read a question once by the time you take the actual GMAT exam. Building your own question sets can go a long way to helping you toward that goal.

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