Entrance test: Have a structured plan

Entrance test: Have a structured plan

It is imperative for students to prepare for entrance tests at least nine months in advance. Istock image

July and August are months when foreign institutions prepare to begin a new academic calendar while incoming students finish visa formalities. As travel restrictions ease up, in-classroom coaching will be a reality once again. Come September, a new set of prospective students begin their admissions rounds. With the advancements in this process, it is now imperative for students to prepare for entrance tests at least nine months in advance. Students can thus have room for re-appearance if they seek to improve their scores, more so because most top colleges have a highly competitive cut-off limit for these tests.

Here are a few pointers that might help students prepare well for their GMAT/GREs:

Level of preparation: It is best to test oneself through a mock test before beginning the preparation for exams like GMAT/GRE. Appearing for a mock test early on not only ascertains the gravity of preparation one requires but also maps one’s strong areas. Alternatively, the less motivated get filtered out for the lack of commitment. However, it makes one aware of the challenges.

Study routine: Whether one is a working professional or a student, following a non-negotiable study routine will help climb the mountain one day at a time. Though students are well-versed in creating and following such a timetable, professionals are fighting office work spillovers and mental fatigue to stick to the routine. It is better to prepare a timetable that is manageable even on the busiest of days. 

Be consistent: These test preparations cover a lot many topics. It is normal to score well in one’s strong areas. This ensures optimum usage of one’s exam time. A detailed analysis of one's strong sections and different types of questions asked is necessary.

Test-prep class: Though not a prerequisite, coaching at test prep classes helps revise topics that one learned at least three years back. However, this requires a significant investment of time as well as money. Actively attending coaching classes keeps students up to date with upcoming challenges and makes them aware of the latest test formats. 

Test early: Many times, students in an attempt to score higher, lose sight of important application & scholarship deadlines.

Try not to turn the test appearances into an ego battle. Except for university admission, these test scores will not be required elsewhere. Ascertain the application deadlines of your dream colleges and have your test scores ready at least a couple of months in advance. Selecting an early test date also puts all speculations to rest. Preparations can enter into the next phase now. Nevertheless, in case you are not happy with your scores, you still have enough time for an improvement test before the admissions deadline.

As the tests get competitive year after year, students are practicing harder. A few months into preparations, it is common to experience burnout. Even though this is a one-time test, only adequate revision of topics & practice can prepare oneself mentally. Keep away from complacency and practice daily, even if you are scoring well in the mock tests.

Time management: Entrance tests are all about time management. For, they judge one’s ability to perform under pressure and strict time limits. Quick thinking, analytical mindset, and clarity in the thought process are some of the aspects tested. One has to not only deduce the correct answer but also get it at the earliest. One can allocate time depending on their comfort levels in approaching the different sections.

All said and done, do not forget that the entrance test is just a stepping stone in the process. There are other criteria to be satisfied. One should prepare for upcoming interviews and submit an impressive application file simultaneously.

(The author is the country manager at a business school)

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