Saturday, January 26, 2008

Now, Where Should I Start?

Well, as a first timer like myself, naturally you will want to know what GMAT is. Wiki explains it all. If you want something more official, then go to the "horse-mouth": The Graduate Management Admission Council.

One website that you should not miss is the This is your one-stop centre for anything related to MBA including registering for GMAT in your country.

What books do you need and where to get them in Malaysia? Let's start with the books.

a. The Official Guide for GMAT Review 11th Edition (or the latest) aka OG aka Orange book, in short.

This book is a MUST have. Hey, this book is from the creator of GMAT. How can you not have a copy of over 800+ past years questions? This is your GMAT bible. Make sure you pray to it each night. However, I find that the Math review - refresher on the mathematical concepts and English grammar rather "weak" (my personal opinion). The book did state that it is not mean to be a textbook. So, this means you need other books to supplement your studies.

GMAC also produces the Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review (green book) and the Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review (purple book). For me, the Orange book is suffice.

b. What other supplementary books do you need? There are plenty in the market - Kaplan, Princeton Review, McGraw-Hill, Manhattan, Barron's to name a few. Go to the bookstore and check them out. Compare them and find out which will help you in your revision. Each of us has our own personal preference.

c. GMATPrep Test-Preparation software. This is a simulation of the real GMAT. Download the 26MB file from

Where to get these books? Head for Kinokuniya Bookstore at KLCC. They have a good selection of GMAT materials. The OG books (orange, purple and green) each costs about RM120-RM140. The other supplementary materials are about the same price too.

So, can you afford to buy many books? Maybe not. GMAT is a "costly" affair. Each test will cost you US$250 (or RM825 at exchange rate of RM3.30 to US$). Books and other herbal supplements will easily cost you another RM600-800.

d. Download a stopwatch at

This is a timed exam. During your preparation, you want to pace yourself as you progress and adopt and adapt to the "right" speed of answering questions. Typically, many people will advise you to spend 2 minutes for each quant question and 1 3/4 minutes for each verbal question. I have tested this method and it did not work in my favour. In fact, it created more stress than necessary.

Medium and easy questions can be answered in less than 1 minute while tougher ones will take more. As I progressed, I found that I could complete a set of 31 quant questions within 30-50 mins out of an allocated 62 minutes, while a set of 31 verbal questions can be completed within 35-45 mins out of an allocated 57 mins. The no. of errors I made for each set of questions, on average, are less than 3. Thus, I have found my pace and the stopwatch helps me get into that rhythm. Bear in mind, you have a stopwatch during the real exam. Wall clock or watch does not help.

Now, that you know what you are getting into, be prepared.

Jimmy Low

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