The Importance of Progress Monitoring When Preparing for GMAT
Most GMAT aspirants are very ambitious when it comes to setting a target score for themselves. Although a high target will keep you motivated throughout your prep journey, it is important that you take the right steps that help you achieve it. A simple trick to do that is to check your progress regularly and see if you are getting closer to your goals. If not, you will need to adjust your preparation strategy. Thus, progress monitoring plays a key role in ensuring that you get your desired score on GMAT.
What is the Importance of Progress Monitoring?
The GMAT score of a student is a final evaluation of their ability and skill. However, it is also true that once final, there is not much they can do to enhance this score apart from reappearing for GMAT. The only leverage you have over your GMAT score is when you are preparing for it. Which is why it is important for students to consistently monitor their progress, keep themselves motivated during preparation, and ensure that they are progressing toward their GMAT goals. Let’s discuss the two major benefits of progress monitoring-
a. Helps Achieve Targets in Desired Time
Let us suppose you have a four-months preparation window. Now, many students believe that 4 months is a lot of time to prepare and therefore it is common to see students going on their own pace specially in absence of clear weekly targets. In most of these cases, the students end up feeling lethargic and think that they still have a lot of time in hand. They do not realize how quickly a month goes by, then 2 months unless they come too close to the target date. In the end, they have to change their target GMAT date or they end up messing up the GMAT.
On the contrary, when you follow a detailed study plan and divide these four months into easy weekly targets, you have a better control over your progress. Not only do you get ample time to learn concepts and practice questions, you also get time to revise your strengths and focus more on weaknesses. Also, if you’ve weekly targets, in case you fall behind your schedule you get to know sooner than later. Hence, it is important to know where you currently stand (take a diagnostic test) and build your study plan accordingly.
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b. Helps Keep Track of Improvement
We have already discussed how you can achieve your desired score if you track your progress at regular intervals. Now, let’s see how progress monitoring helps to keep track of improvement as well –
a. You Get to Note The Common Mistakes That You Make
Progress monitoring helps you to look at the bigger picture, which includes both – your successes and mistakes. While acknowledging your success keeps you motivated, your mistakes help you improve. Your focus, thus, should be on reducing the number of mistakes you are making.
b. Gives Clarity of Why You Make Those Mistakes
There can be many reasons why you made a certain mistake, such as rushing through the solution part, not reading the question properly, not understanding the question, not having clarity of concepts, or using the wrong right approach. Progress monitoring gives you more clarity of why you are making these mistakes.
c. You Adjust Your Strategies Accordingly
Now that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses you must adjust your study plan in a way that you get more time to work on your weaknesses. For instance, if your current study plan does not accommodate enough time for revision or you feel that you have strengthened Verbal but need more time for Quant, you can adjust your study plan to accommodate those changing needs.
So, we have discussed the benefits that you enjoy with regular progress monitoring. But what are the different ways to track progress efficiently. Let’s discuss them –
How to Track Progress?
Here are 4 simple yet sure-shot ways to monitor progress efficiently –
a. Follow a Study Plan
As already discussed above, when you follow a study plan, you give yourself easy, short-term targets that make it easier to track progress. Knowing where you currently stand in preparation will help tailor your plan for the coming week. When you study from a platform like GMATWhiz, you are automatically served with a study plan that is designed specifically for you.
b. Take Practice Quizzes
Once you finish learning a module, take a practice quiz to test your knowledge. If you easily manage to score more than 70% on practice quizzes, you are good to move to the next module. However, if your score is consistently lower than 70%, it means you have certain gaps in your understanding, and you must revisit the concepts. The intent behind this should be that if not the hard questions, you should at least have a good hold over the easy and medium-level ones before you move to the next module.
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c. Work Out A System to Self-Evaluate
This is more from the standpoint of application of concepts. While practice quizzes give you an insight into the questions that you are getting wrong, self-evaluation will give you a chance to dig deeper into the reasons why you are making mistakes. One way to effectively self-evaluate is to solve one question at a time. Take as much time you need to solve the question. Once done, review the solution that is given with the question and try to identify any variations in the approach. Ask yourself questions and find the reason why you didn’t follow the same approach. Then, take this learning forward and try to solve the next question with this approach.
d. Take Feedback from an Expert
Some students feel that they learn concepts better with one-on-one instruction so they prefer a dedicated mentor who can guide them during their GMAT journey, and help them assess and re-plan strategy. Now, this mentor can be a tutor, a friend, or someone else who has done well on GMAT. But, to get a correct evaluation of your progress, you must find the right tutor who not only understands your learning style but is also able to evaluate your progress along the way. Platforms such as GMATWhiz offer a dedicated mentor who pro-actively tracks your progress every 10-15 days.
So, Are You Ready to Monitor Your Progress?
Now, that we have discussed the importance of progress monitoring for GMAT students and how they can do it, it is time to begin preparing. If you are a beginner, go through these 3 mistakes that you should avoid at the beginning of your prep. Focus on building skills, practice questions, revise, and repeat!