Test Strategies

November 24, 2006

I Know I haven't completed the section wise discussions as yet, but I thought may be I put in the test preparation section to help out guys who are already half way through their prepping. And honestly I couldn't resist myself from writing this section....simply cuz this is going to be the best post ever and I guarantee you guys that this is going to push your scores by at least 20-30 points if you really practice what I preach here.

So let's just start...I promise it's going to be exciting...

What all you need?

  1. Kaplan cds (4 tests which you get with the Kaplan GMAT Edition)
  2. GMAT powerprep (2 tests which is free to download from MBA.com)
  3. Any other test CDs (at least 4 tests)

In sum you should have 10 tests.

In addition to Kaplan and power prep, I had IMS test cds (having 12 tests!!) I must add here that these tests were not up to the GMAT mark, at least the verbal section. The CR was nothing like what you see in the actual GMAT. But this doesn't mean they didn't help me. Practicing those tests helped me build up my stamina to perform under test conditions....and that's very very important. In the actual test I hardly had any problem. I didn't even take the optional break after the essay section and just moved on to the Quant section. (You must have seen the invigilator's face :-D )


Kaplan and power prep will be the actual indicator and must be given seriously. They are like industry standards against which you can benchmark your performance.

Other tests should also be taken seriously, but keeping in mind that they may not be very consistent, one should not benchmark one's performance against that. I would recommend them for stamina building and spotting silly mistakes which you wouldn't want to make in the actual tests, or for that matter even in the Kaplan and power prep tests.

Rules for the Game:

  1. You are not allowed to take breaks which are not a part of the actual exam.
  2. You have to be totally aware of the actual examination rules and instructions.
  3. You can only use 6 scratch papers for rough work.
  4. Try to simulate actual exam conditions as much as possible. So you would want to avoid keeping a water bottle with you :-)

Read my post describing the actual exam (I will put up that soon)

How to schedule your tests?

I presume you have already taken the diagnostic test by now. There's no such thing as an ideal schedule. It's up to the individual's pace and stamina. But I feel the following is a great way to schedule tests:

Kaplan Diagnostic
GMAT power prep 1
Test 1
Test 2

Kaplan Test 1
Test 3
Test 4

Kaplan Test 2
Kaplan Test 3
Kaplan Test 4
GMAT power Prep 2

Break?? Yes Breaks!!

After the first Diagnostic, take a week going through all the concepts in Quant. Learn the Grammar rules. Familiarize yourself with the concepts, question stems, etc. (Read Chapter I)

Take the GMAT Power prep after 10 days. Prepare yourself for the test. Feel the importance of it and try to do your best.
My score was 710. I feel you can easily add 50 points to this to get an idea of your actual score. Obviously this applies only if you are taking this test at an early point of time. Learn from mistakes. See which type of questions you screwed up. Learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them. If you are able to do so, there's no stopping you.

Test 1 and Test 2...Learn from your mistakes...keep updating your grid...analyze your performance in every section. Remember you have to do all the practicing and solving problems from the study material side-by-side. Tests tell you which areas you screw up in the Exam.

TIP -- Always have a rough idea about the timings. As in after 10 mins you should be on the 5th question. After 30 mins you should be on 15th question....something like that. You would want to spend an extra effort and time on the first 10 questions...which will push you towards the high score region.

TIP -- I have observed that the first 9-10 questions are always SC or CR...not RC's. SO make sure you avoid silly mistakes in SC/CR.

Schedule all the tests in a manner that you get at least a one day break for each break mentioned there and you're still left with three days before the exam to take the 2nd Power prep Exam.

The 2nd Power prep will be the fairest approximation. I believe you will get 10-20 more on the actual exam. I got a 740 in that.


  1. Learn from your mistakes.
  2. Keep updating your analysis chart.
  3. Spot your weaknesses.
  4. Ascertain your test strategy after experimenting in 3-4 tests.

My Score chart looked something like this:

Kaplan Diag 680
Kaplan 1 630
Kaplan 1 680
Kaplan 1 650
Kaplan 1 630
Power prep 1 710
Power Prep 2 740
IMS Diag 1 680 (630)
IMS Diag 2 690 (650)
IMS 1 630 (610)
IMS 2 760 (710)
IMS 3 730 (680)
IMS 4 620 (600)
IMS 5 700 (650)
IMS 6 730 (680)
IMS 7 720 (670)
IMS 8 690 (640)

The figures in brackets are Kaplan(2004) conversion of the same score. Basically Kaplan calculates your score based on number of wrongs and rights. I prefer it that way. Even though Kaplan’s scores are highly skewed they are consistent. So if you are somewhere around the 650 mark you are doing well. I had the 2004 version, but I believe it’s not much different from the latest ones.

In addition to all this, what you must do is consider every exercise to be a mini test. Solve the exercises under a similar environment and with the same sincerity and vigour. ATB.

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  1. Anonymous6:29 AM

    Hi Mukul ,

    Congrats for the Acheivement . Thanks for all the informative messages and books in your blog spot . It will be really helpful for my GMAT preparation .I have book marked your blog spot for my ref and preparation .
    I want to know how did u apply for GMAT and how many months it took for you to prepare . Plz mail me at srinivasa.s.rao@gmail.com

  2. hey!!

    My apping hasn't started full steam yet...I hav a work ex of jus an yr...so i am not that hopeful... I prepared for two months...solidd tho'

    And hey...i feel its better to communicate on the blog...this way others will benefit from ur queries as well!!


  3. Anonymous7:54 PM

    Hi Mukul

    Congrats for ur score. This blog is indeed a gr8 help for people like me havin a same profile as urs ie. having 1 yr workex and preparing for Gmat. An enriching experience. Keep posting man as its really wonderful and very informative for starters like me.
    Lookin forward in gr8 anticipation.


  4. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Hi Mukul

    I wanted an info regarding blogs. Am new to this and am looking forward for joining ur blog site as its asking my Blogger account.
    Where can i get the same? Pls help me on this....

    Waiting for a quick response...

  5. Anonymous4:24 AM


    Just wanted to know whether the power prop tests should be given after one is through with the OG???

  6. Anonymous1:37 PM


    Could tell me where can i get the IMS
    test CD.

  7. Your page is really interesting and inspiring..Good going !!

    I am thinking of joining IMS for GMAT coaching.. are they good? or are there anyother decent classes arnd mumbai suburbs?

  8. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Hi Mukul,

    I am facinated by the amount of effort and enery that you put in this blog to help other people beat the GMAT. Great work brother and I must say, your blogs are very insipirational.
    Frankly speaking, I never thought of strategizing the whole GMAT prep to the extent that you did. I am about to take GMAT in few days, and while reading your blog I had just one thought "Why didnt I get to know about this guy before?" Nevertheless, my preps are going well. But still I thing I can implement lots of advices that you have posted.
    Thanks once again and keep blogging.

  9. Anonymous2:45 AM

    Dear Mukul,

    Many Thanks Pls. for Sharing your Wisdom with others.

    Surely God Will Bless you Always for such nice acts !!!

    My Profile in brief is as below :

    1) I am a working
    Executive, have 12 years of Work
    experience & now
    handling a lead role
    with high resp.

    2) had started my job
    at 19yrs. of age,
    after completing a
    diploma in Mech. eng

    3) Did DBM 2yrs)+ MMS
    (Distinction 75%
    Marks)by part
    time studies from
    Pune Univ.

    4) but now I want /
    dream to do MBA
    from a premium inst.

    5) My job takes around
    12 hrs/day, and I
    also have a family

    6) Last time I prepared
    for GMAT with 20
    days leave(5 hrs./
    day) and reached 550 score, but you may
    be aware that min.
    700 is req. to
    get into good
    institues, and i had
    found those 20 days
    of constant prep.
    very stressfull and
    this stress also had
    a big effect on my
    performance in
    actual Test

    Hence, I need your / other GMAT expert's kind comments / advice pls. on My Further Prep. Plan :

    1) Am planning to leave
    my job, take a break
    for 4-5 months,
    enabling me to lay
    a Strong Foundation
    for a good score

    2) Prepare 5hrs./ day
    (excl. sundays) for
    4 months:

    - join some prep.
    centre also to
    keep me focused,
    on track, in
    copetitive mode,
    right environment
    & prevent me from

    - During these 4
    months,I will be
    located at
    Chandigarh, and
    plan to join
    Jambooree GMAT

    - Give 2 tests/week
    (Total 24 tests),
    as in my last
    GMAT Attemp, I
    found my Speed &
    Stamina as my
    major lacks, as
    at slow speeds my
    accuracy had
    improved to >90%
    on most of

    - Cover Most of the
    Material, Books,
    as guided by you

    - and then give
    GMAT & score
    above 700 marks
    (i.e. increasing
    my score by 150

    Considering my background I request you to kindly give your comments / views on my brief plan of action Listing above.

    With Best Regards,

    Am Currently Working in Philippines

    1. Hello,

      I am in similar situation and would like to know how did it go for you? What steps did you take and what worked and what didn't?

      I will appreciate if you could share your experiences and the advice which you got here.

      Thank You,

  10. Dude I need to hav ur email id ...to send suggestions...

  11. Anonymous5:09 PM

    1. many thanks pls. for your kind, prompt response, time taken out to help me
    2. my email ID is
    munish19@hotmail.com, 3. Waiting for your kind suggestions / advice on my above stategy, with best wishes.

  12. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Dear Mukul,

    Am waiting for your kind suggestions on my e-mail ID :




  13. Hey.. Would love to know where you finally got admitted?

  14. Hi Mukul,

    Congrats on your High scores.
    must be feeling on top of the world when u received your score at first go.

    Well i am planning to give Gmat this Novemeber. i have almost got my books as well. also i currently have 3 yrs work experience in HR.

    i am going by your blog and there are some great ideas and greatpath to follow those steps..

    All the best.

  15. Hi
    Could u plz tell me where can I get these IMS tests? R they the tests by IMS institute?


  16. Anonymous7:14 PM

    i have my gmat xam in four days(9th november).. i followed ur prep schedule religiously..on the first gmat prep xam i scored 740....but on the second xam i got a 660...and now im really freakin out..i really need to do well....
    can u plz gimme some advice as 2 wot i shud do

    thanks alot

  17. hi mukul

    i scrwed up in the english section and i need that 700+ score ..quant as my strength i scored 50 but how shall improve on CR and RC ....i do not get time to note down anything ..and if I try to note down, it takes a lot of time ...can you suggest something to improve ????

  18. Hi Mukul,

    I've booked my GMAT test for the second time recently and I really want to do well. I need to be able to get above 85% for this test in order to pursue further studies. This blog has made me realise the amount of the effort, time and dedication that needs to go in order to be successful in this test. Thank you so much for spending time giving all of the useful advice.

  19. Anonymous4:47 AM

    Nice posting, thanks for sharing with us. Your blog is great and helped me feel better knowing about the GMAT practice test. Thanks again!

  20. I wanna give my GRE test and I am confused! Can someone help me to go about it?

  21. This post is old but containing still great content. That makes it old is gold. Great work. Keep it up.


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