I am completely terrified of an acronym. G.M.A.T.
Before joining the writing team at OnlineMBA.com I covered sports for 10 years, and the thought of being inadvertently tackled on the sideline or entering a hostile locker room never unnerved me as much thinking about sitting down to the four-hour graduate business admisisons test and completely floundering.
To steal an adage from the sports world, “practice does not make perfect; only perfect practice makes perfect”–and for me, an online preparatory class for GMAT practice and review makes perfect sense. I still write freelance, and often go from my physical desk at work to a mobile desktop (iPhone hotspot and iPad) in a press box. Flexible scheduling options were important for me, but to keep myself accountable, I knew I’d need some structure.
Designed for prospective business school students traveling frequently, or people like me, with unconventional work schedules, the Kaplan GMAT Test Prep’s Classroom Anywhere courses can be done any place there is an internet connection whether its Boston, Atlanta, or Chicago or wherever you travel. Combining synchronous video and chat sessions on regular once-a-week schedule, with the flexibility to review slides, re-watch materials, take gmat test exams, and other virtual tools makes Classroom Anywhere a good fit for me.
“During the live sessions, there’s a video feed so students can see lessons, as well as a chat window for students to put in comments, or ask questions,” described Andrew Mitchell, Kaplan Test Prep‘s director of pre-business programs and a longtime GMAT instructor. “So students don’t feel like they are interrupting, there are teaching assistants in the class as well to help answer questions.”
The course is 11 sessions featuring six fixed sessions and five flex sessions. But before I sit down to the computer screen, I’ll have face the demon straight on with a full-length practice GMAT-style test.
“It can be intimidating but it’s a great thing because you get your feet wet right away,” said Mitchell. “It helps students become familiar with the test questions and the score doesn’t count. Students can feel like it’s a brutal experience, but know that going in there’s no place to go but up.”
Kaplan has designed the practice test and other GMAT prep materials to be a diagnostics of specific problem areas and then give advice areas for students. The system will give feedback and recommendations on what to study.
“Kaplan has been teaching the GMAT for over 40 years and has been developing the technology to help people do well,” said Mitchell. “We see success stories all the time. The standard error for improvement is 30 points and we see scores go up by more than 100 points all the time. Every situation is different.”
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Regardless of whether an online, in-class, or self-study GMAT prep style is for you, Mitchell offers these points to all students preparing for the exam:
- First: Adequate practice time. Kaplan recommends to reach a goal score of 700+, students should expect to spend 160 hours prepping for the exam.
- Second: Be Open to Change. Mitchell advises that students have to have a readiness to learn and change their behavior. They should be open to coaching and trying new things to get better. Trying best methods and new tools takes a lot of practice and self-awareness.
- Third: Be Informed. Uncertainty causes fear and anxiety. Mitchell coaches that that will go away with the right amount of preparation. With the Kaplan GMAT prep course, I’ll have an opportunity to “simulate” my test day, right down to being finger-printed and checking out the bathrooms at the actual test center. “Going through the whole process, treating (it) as a free test run, goes a long way to reducing anxiety.”
- Finally: Relax, Girl. “The GMAT doesn’t test a wide range of subjects so master, so practice the methods and structure of the exam. It’s a test of critical thinking,” said Mitchell. “Relax and get motivated. None of the wrong answers count during your prep. Take the course seriously enough to learn but there’s nothing wrong with getting a wrong answer, in fact, it’s ideal when you are getting started. The key is to learn from it and make the wrong answers a good learning experience.”
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets