Usher in Another Academic Year!

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Good luck to all prospective GMAT students. With a few changes on the anvil, the GMAT is in for a minor facelift that could translate into major benefits for test takers. So all said and done, 2015 is another ‘day’’ in the GMAT’s ever-increasing presence in the career plans of aspiring management professionals, and I would want to usher it in with the aplomb and hope that behooves those who are ready to take on the challenge of this much-feared but not so intimidating test!

The almighty question is – what about the GMAT is so overwhelming? My experience says – a lot if you start with that mindset and nothing if you start with an open mind to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The fact that test takers come from crazily diverse academic backgrounds and yet have to face the same level of testing for both Math and English proficiency explains a great deal. Non-native speakers of English have their limitations with the language, while native speakers have theirs; more often than not, the former need to learn, but the latter need to unlearn and relearn. In sum, every test taker has to gear up to be ‘educated’ in the nuances of English grammar and usage.

An example or two here might help to elucidate my point better. In Asia, it is common practice for teachers to declare that sentences MUST NOT begin with ‘because vehemently.’ Starting a sentence with because is blasphemy deserves the severest penalty and even a permanent fall from the favors of English teachers! But on the GMAT, a sentence starting with ‘because’ is as good as the best. And a GMAT test taker must ‘know’ this. Also unique to the GMAT is the new breed of shortened versions of phrases. ‘No matter how much/many,’ ‘once upon a time,’ and ‘In the sense that ‘are three perfect examples of these. On the GMAT, it is common for the first to be truncated into ‘however much/many,’ the second into ‘once’, and the last into ‘in that.’ Not being familiar with these not colloquial forms of language can slow down progress with the preparation because just when all the obvious problems have been taken care of, and a student thinks he has it all under his belt, up pop questions built around these oddballs!

So, what is the crux of this tale? Be alert; question anything odd; be open to ideas and more ideas; do not trust your school grades in English anymore!!!! I have had students blink in disbelief at their diagnostic test performances and shout in self- defense- ‘But I always nailed English in school!!!’ Let bygones be bygones; don’t rake up old glories. Settle down to start the preparation by rediscovering your level vi a vis the GMAT.

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