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Strategies to crack a perfect 99 on the NMAT by GMAC Test

Tips for NMAT 2017 Test

NMAT by GMAC is primarily an important test for more reasons than one. It is the kick-start to a long season for most serious aspirants and the one test from which, aspirants can either derive a lot of confidence or get so scared that the entire season that follows is a blur. As someone who had scored a perfect 99 on the NMAT by GMAC (99th percentile across all sectionals and overall), I would be sharing a few strategies and tips that would be immensely helpful if you are taking the test.

Understand the test

Unlike most of the other entrance tests, NMAT by GMAC is a fine balance of knowing a huge range of question types and switching between those at breakneck speed. While the test does not have negative marking, it does have timed sectionals and a ratio of a minute per question on an average. You are expected to read the question, understand it, represent it on your rough sheet, solve it and mark it in that minute. Even if you decide to let go of the question in the first round, you would need to make that decision within 30 odd seconds of seeing the question.

So, your knowledge of yourself as a candidate becomes crucial especially in these tests wherein a lean patch of 5-10 minutes during the test can result in your downfall. If you know at a question-level whether you should spend time attempting it or not, you will do extremely well on the NMAT by GMAC.

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Preparation before the test terms of content

Language Skills: The main challenge in this section would be to read faster than you normally do. 32 questions in 22 minutes would be a blur and solve two around 500-word Reading Comprehension passages (with 4 questions each) would take a big chunk of your time. The best strategy would be to focus on vocabulary based questions (synonyms, antonyms, fill in the blanks, cloze passages, etc.) and grammar based questions at the start which will take lesser time. With regard to preparation, keeping track of common word roots and a few expressions should be enough in addition to basic reading comprehension practice and understanding the basic grammar rules (parallelism and subject verb agreement are the ones that will be tested most often).

Quantitative Skills: Arithmetic, linear equations and numbers would be the important topics here. There were a few questions that were of the ‘apply-the-formula-directly’ type, especially from co-ordinate geometry and numbers and so, even if you do not have a thorough understanding of a topic, at least remember the formulas that you would come across. The data interpretation sets are generally of a moderate-difficult level and will be useful only once you have cleared the cut-off. Ideally, you should be done with the quantitative part before you jump to the data interpretation part of the section.

Logical Reasoning: Arrangements and input-output can be pretty challenging at times, and unless you crack it within the first few seconds, it would be prudent to let go of these. Coding decoding, almost all of the series based questions, verbal logic (assumptions, inferences, conclusions) would be ones that will boost your score.

Test taking strategies:

  • Which window to choose? Doesn’t matter to be very frank. Ideally, it would be best if you could plan for an additional attempt in case you are not satisfied with how things went the first time around. Considering that CAT, IIFT, and SNAP will be the ones that you would need to word around, you can go for an attempt around the last week of October and then take a call.
  • Multiple attempts vs. single attempts: Again, it is completely up to you. You can of course plan a bit ahead and have a window to be safe just in case you need it.
  • Order of sections: If you are someone who faces fatigue issues, keep your best section for the end. That way, you won’t run out of steam throughout the test. Also, try not taking reasoning right at the start (unless of course, you are exceptionally good at it) as it would include a lot of surprise elements which might throw you off guard.QS-LR-LS or LS-LR-QS are both fine. Also, the speed at which the sections pass should be enough to keep you on your toes throughout.

Leaked questions, stay away from rumours

Almost every year since the test went computer-based, there have been ‘leaked’ questions that are floated by the takers. A few of them are genuinely right and would have appeared, but a lot of them are half baked, without options and perpetuated by quite a few shady elements to entice people rather than help them with prep. Also, if you look at these questions, they are pretty much manageable the first time around (except may be vocabulary based questions) and so, do not deserve undue attention.You will also find people claiming that 50-60 percent of the paper was from the circulated leaked questions which would be ridiculous. So, stay away from these things and focus on your prep. End of the day, leaked questions are available to everyone and so, solving them would not give you any edge.

What score to expect?

Typically, anything above 205 should be the bare minimum target. To put it in context, I had attempted almost the entire paper genuinely (except a DI set which was too long and a couple of logic based questions; I had expected to get around 24-25 questions right in LS) which got me a QS (89) + LS (75) + LR (85). So, the score is not scaled heavily as far as my knowledge goes although it would completely depend on your performance in comparison to that of your slot-mates and the performance of your slot vis-à-vis the other slots. Generally, a 75-65-70 split should be the ideal score that you should be looking at. But, it is best to not worry about scores and take the test without any undue pressure whatsoever.

This article has been written by our Guest Author Dr. Shashank Prabhu, who has been a CAT 100 percentiler, CET Rank 1, IIFT 100 percentiler. He had a scaled score of 249/360 in NMAT BY GMAC 2016 and 99 percentile in each of the sections and overall score.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of MISB Bocconi.

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