Monday, December 19, 2011

Up Close and Personal with NTS-GAT

"So how are you going with the Lambs?", casually I asked her. "I am not very fond of food", she replied. I was surprised. I asked again, "I mean the book that I gave you? Charles and Mary Lamb?" "Oh. No, I haven't started it yet.", she shot back. Anxious, I persisted, "and the movie that I recommended to you? Pygmalion." I was about to add to the list of movies when she interrupted. "Look, I am right now preparing for GAT test. Only one week left and I have just reached the letter Q and still 2000 words left to be memorized". I gave it up. I would not be able to memorize 300 words in 300  years. But there she was, memorizing all those words. 


Graduate Assessment Test (GAT) which is also know is local GRE is required for admission into M. Phil in almost all Pakistani Universities. Moreover, it is required for HEC scholarships. Naturally, students in their last semester/year of their graduation get obsessed and sometimes worried about GAT as their future is dependent on passing or failing of it. So what is really GAT? As obvious by its name, it is a test which is designed to assess the skills and abilities gained in 16 years of education. And so there are no quick fixes. But do not get depressed. Continue reading to know what you can do to make this test less dreadful for yourself.

So what can you do?



Get familiarized with the test first. There are a total of 100 multiple choice questions and a total of 120 minutes. Each question carries one mark and there is no negative marking. Further, there are 40 question in the English section, 30 in analytical and 30 in math (this is for Biological Sciences. For other subjects, there is slight variation. For complete details, visit the NTS website). In English, there are antonyms, synonyms, fill in the blanks and reading comprehension questions. In math, which is essentially high school level math, the questions consist of basic geometry, sets, basic arithmetic, and basic algebra. Analytical section is mainly consisted of logical puzzles and a few logical reasoning questions.

Hone your math skills by studying elementary math like high school level math in a month or two. Try to learn algebraic and geometric equations and formulae. Practice your skills each day with sample questions. You can find the lastest GAT format in the official NTS book. The questions there are not of the highest quality but at least you will get an idea of what type of questions you may expect.

You can improve your analytical ability by practicing sample questions. For the logical puzzle questions, my favorite book is the GRE Big Book which has plenty of questions to last a life time. You can try to solve puzzles like Sudoku or code breaker which help increase your analytical ability.

For English there is no quick fix. Forget memorizing the word lists. They will do no good and instead will disturb you psychologically. Try a few novels, preferably by British authors. Also try to read columns and op-ed pages of English dailies. Puzzles like anagrams and crosswords help you increase your vocabulary. Try to solve at least 1 puzzle daily.

The main thing in these type of tests is that you know answers to all of the questions but you mismanage your time and at the end left with no time. So try to solve 100 questions in the same ratio as in the real test in a time of 120 minutes. This way you can find your rhythm and can simulate the real test conditions. With a week of solving these "home" tests, you will feel confident and be able to manage your 120 minute in the best way on test day.

People often ask me what book one should follow to get a higher score. I usually suggest books like GRE Big Book, Barron’s (older editions), ARCO and the NTS official book. But please keep in mind that these books are no substitute for hard work and dedication and use these as a tool rather than relying entirely on their contents. As GAT has no fix syllabus, in the end a book serves as much as a template for the real test.

Try to sleep early before test day. Reach the test center well in time and locate your seat. Try to relax. Do not read anything on test day. GAT has no syllabus so you do not have to complete that sample test from the last night. You may try your own methods of solving the test while my method is this: Start with math section and solve all those questions which are straight forward and can be solved in less than 45 seconds. It will take 20 minutes. The rest I leave. Then move on to the English section and try to solve the easy questions. Leave the reading comprehension questions for now as they are very time consuming. With 30 minutes on this section, finally move on to analytical section. The trick here is to understand the problem. And if possible, draw a table or diagram. Read each question carefully. Try the process of elimination on each option. At the end there is only one option and that must be the correct one. Do not try to spend too much time on a particular question. This section will or should take you maximum of 50 minutes given that there are 30 questions. So go back to the math section and try the remaining questions there. Sometimes you are sure about a question that you will not be able to solve it in the next few years. So make an educated guess. Move on to English and try the same. At the end you will be left with 10-15 minutes. So try to solve the remaining analytical questions. In the last 2-3 minutes, make guesses about all the questions that you left. Double check your answer sheet to make sure that no question is left unmarked.

These are few tips or suggestions which worked for me but do not think that it will work for everybody. Different people have different way of thinking and how they work so try your own way if that works for you.

I wish you best of luck for your next test and hope that it will not be a nightmare.



Also published in Express Tribune Blogs.


(P.S. This was posted earlier but upon the insistence of some of the friends I have posted this again for the benefit of those students who would be appearing for the test in January 2012.

P.S.S. Those of you who are outside Pakistan and wondering what this is all about, GAT is the local version (desi GAT as called by Fatima) of the International GRE conducted by ETS, USA.)

55 comments:

  1. wow man its really a nice contribution from ur side,,,,,,coz u are guru of GRE,,,,,87 marks with first attempt is something not extra but ultra ordinary...:)

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    Replies
    1. I this it was 99.8 percentile... Am I right?
      We are proud of you...

      Delete
  2. lolz man...the NTS people have since then repaired their marking machine so no chance for me to get 87 again :)

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  3. well said misterio you are cent percent right about the time management as well the nightmare which makes the test more terrible than horrible. what i belive your time managment fromula will works to 90% of people as most of people including myself face the same problem. i wish this time the machine again got problmetic at the last hour of checking...lolx and i think novels are really helpful as no 1 can memorize word list.and your writing contribution z an xcellent job keep it up!

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  4. nice work..would be great help

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  5. Marvelous captive thinking and ideological solution to one of the most competitive exams for seeking higher education by our sweet buddy Israr the great. It’s simply a spectacular work in supporting the motivational aspect of new comers in attempting GRE exams. Adnan is right as per his opinion that you are topper if GRE, that's really admirable and considerable. Come up with a new ideas as per a great slogan of one of the leading Audit and Accountancy firm on globe, Ernst & Young,
    "Quality in Every Thing We Do"

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  6. thank you all for reading my writings... hope it would be of help to you people...

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  7. yup u said right at the end. i m totally disagree with u. First off all i used Barrion's that is so much difficult and not fit our GAT. The Best book is Dogar sons that is easy and accourding to test 100%.
    I think it is totally a Luck i saw such fellows they do not read any book and qualified above 60.

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  8. yup luck is also there but one cannot hope to get lucky everytime so have to think of preparing for it :)

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    Replies
    1. dear sir,

      plz guide me in the GAT general my cell no. 0336-4103257 would you like to give me your cell no.

      Delete
  9. - all one has to do is--------PRAY. :-P

    ReplyDelete
  10. arey wah you are toh Baap of GRE
    m sure this post is going to help many

    """Forget memorizing the word lists. They will do no good and instead will disturb you psychologically.""" so agree with this. i have trained students for GRE handling the verbal ability part of the tests & even i get stumped at times :DD

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  11. Hehehehe..it's good....well done afficer...v r proud of u....please keep us making proud always....:)

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  12. Very true, many graduates die for GRE. Nice attempt to help other blogger friends who dream of GRE.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Eek that sounds ... impossible!
    Well done to you, and I'm sure your post will hep many :o)

    Merry Christmas Muhammad x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, luck can play a big part - and it works either way.

    ReplyDelete
  15. u ve done a good job...really feel proud of u friend...

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  16. When I started reading I thought... somehow u gonna twist this as all other posts in to something fun.... But my friend this was a "PURE HELP POST" with no goofs.. Kudos !!

    It will help all fellow bloggers n friends :)
    I learned few things too :)

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  17. Hello Israr.
    You sound like one who remains totally calm under pressure...that's a good quality to possess. I know for me, I have to keep doing periodical assessments/tests with my job. Don't like them, but you just have to do your best.
    Very nice & informative post.
    Thanks for sharing , my friend.
    Thanks also for your recent visit. I have answered your question.
    Be well, my friend!

    For ref:
    An Inscription Of Love

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great useful tips. Thank you for your kind heart to share these again

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  19. I did read this before, and may have commented then, too. But I wanted to mention what struck me as especially good advice as I re-read it. This paragraph is pure wisdom:

    The main thing in these type of tests is that you know answers to all of the questions but you mismanage your time and at the end left with no time. So try to solve 100 questions in the same ratio as in the real test in a time of 120 minutes. This way you can find your rhythm and can simulate the real test conditions. With a week of solving these "home" tests, you will feel confident and be able to manage your 120 minute in the best way on test day.

    ReplyDelete
  20. These are really useful tips and can be very handy for all those who wish to be successful there....

    ReplyDelete
  21. that was a great help for students like me :P
    and thaaaaaaaaankz God akhir kaar paass kar hi liya himmat kar k :P now i pray that i utilize it at good place .
    and BTW what is this politics ?? old post again??
    u r becoming tooo lazy u must be finned :P

    waiting for the new post with a new color :)
    best wishes :)

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  22. I never knew about this test :P Thank you for the information!
    I'm sure it'll be of help to many!

    Merry Christmas :)

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  23. Hey, israr :)
    i liked your piece, though am not a Pakistani. I think your tips are pretty relevant to a large number of entrance exams . . . While most entrance exams do have a syllabus, the basic approach to all of them, including the time management and to keep our cool, is the same.
    I am sluggishly attempting to prepare for AIPGMEE that is All India Post Graduate Medical Entrance Examination. My preparation is very bad. I cant read MCQs . . :( i read topics and then try to solve some MCQs, but i can hardly answer any :(
    i am not really 'working hard' you know.
    Anyways, thanks for the 'general tips'. . . And All the best to all GAT aspirants and to the AIPGMEE aspirants as well :):)

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  24. Israr@
    this is really too much helping for those students who are afraid of GAT. its good u posted it again...:) i l get help from it for my admission in PhD....p

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  25. Came by to wish you a most Happy New Year, Muhammad! May 2012 open itself to you and show you much delight, serene contemplation, and answers to your dreams.

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  26. @anonymous...

    yes sure you keep on praying :) happy new year

    ReplyDelete
  27. @mamoona...

    thanks for reading and commenting... yes i think time management is the name of the game in this test and those who master it will be successful... i wish my little effort helps many people...

    hahahah...naw i don't think time machine will have any problems in the future...it was beginner's luck with me when it went out of order :)

    yes novels are the best as one can enjoy as well as learning new words and phrases so...


    thanks once again for appreciating and encouraging remarks :) happy new year...

    ReplyDelete
  28. @student...

    thanks for reading and liking..hope it helps you... happy new year...

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Anonymous (Buddy)...

    ahan man... your comment is like a crash course of GRE English :P

    yes sure...one should try to help needy people morally, financially or whatever is possible :)

    happy new year...

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Nagina...

    thanks for visiting... yes Barrons is designed for the International GRE and is hence very difficult for local students...

    yes as i said, Dogar book is the official guide for NTS GAT so one should have a look at it...

    yes luck is there as this test does not have negative marking which sometimes encourages students to blind guess...but since it is there so one has to prepare as much as one can..best luck..happy new year...

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  31. @Anonymous..

    ooh yes... praying is also required so that one does not have a headache or flu on test day :P

    ReplyDelete
  32. @SUJATHA SATHYA...

    hahaha...thank you so much for your most generous comment in my appreciation :)
    i hope my humble effort help anybody in the coming test... :)

    as you yourself are a student trainer so you are in much better position than me on advising the aspiring students how to prepare...yes i think its all psychological game..


    happy new year :)

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  33. @Anonymous...

    thank you for your kind words... i always try my best to do something good so if you think this one is good, i am pleased :)

    happy new year...

    ReplyDelete
  34. @Shreya...

    thanks for reading... yes as GRE is required in many places and also add to ones resume for scholarships so graduates attempt to score higher in it...

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. @Deborah...

    thanks for reading and liking..yes i do hope it will help somebody...

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Dave king...

    your comments are always encouraging and spot on.. thanks for visiting :)

    happy new year...

    ReplyDelete
  37. @nisha...

    thank your for your kind words...

    happy new year friend :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. @Jyoti mishra...


    hahaha...yes i was thinking like that but then i thought the test is just around the corner and somehow it got serious...so the funny part was left out :) but as they say, "The expected never happens" so i am glad what you expected did not happen :)

    ah.. i am so happy that even you could learn something from me... thats most flattering :)

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. @Ria...

    thanks for reading and liking... :)

    happy new year... :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. @Andy...

    thank you for visiting and reading and liking this one..
    wow... so i think then you would know better than me when it comes to assessments/tests and would point out something new to the aspiring students...

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. @Latha...

    welcome to our blog..,. i am glad you liked it... keep visiting...

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. @Lydia...

    yes i guess you once told me that you read this one but couldnt comment then...but anyways thanks again for visiting again and reading..

    i am glad you re-read it and picked out your favourite para...

    stay blessed... happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. @Irfanuddin...

    thanks for reading and liking...i do hope it help as many as there are.. :)

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. @Maria almas...

    oh i am glad that you needed any help in this :P

    kab kia pass? you should have given a treat to me :P

    hahaha...yes i am being lazy... but i checked the blog and there were few posts which are my personal favs but did not get much attention as the blog was new that time so i thought i should post these again... so this is why i posted it here...and there are 2 more old posts which i shall be posting in this month and the next one :) so be ready...

    hope there is new post for this monday so do come and read it... :)

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  45. @Philo...

    oh i am sorry... i did not mean to hurt those of you who were not aware of this test and were living happily :P

    thanks for reading and liking...

    happy new year :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. @Jalpari...

    first i want to complain that what have you done with your blog? i am not able to comment on any of your posts :(


    yes i guess these are not specific to this one test and anybody can use some of these in their own way :)

    yes i guess the important thing in entrance exams is time managment so this is still valid and apply to those tests even if these have any syllabi...

    wow... mashALLAH...so you are attempting AIPGMEE after becoming full doctor.. :) my prayers with you and you will pass it with flying colours :)

    i hope your prep will improve once you get into groove... well i don't know much about your test or medicine topics but i guess if i were you i would first try to solve old test questions and then check my self where i stand and then read the topics and again try to solve the test..and will see if there is any improvement...if not then i shall change the method..

    best of luck to you and do send me mithai when you clear it :)

    happy new year...

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  47. @kiranshah...

    thank you for reading and liking it... i hope you get admission in ph.d and then post it on this blog your experience :)

    happy new year...

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  48. @Lydia..

    That is so nice of you. Wishing you a very Happy New Year 2012 and may all your wishes come true in this year and may it be the happiest year of all your life.

    ReplyDelete
  49. How could I miss this post?? My radar didn't even detect it! :p

    Yes, Israr, I haven't been here for quite some time. I'm tied up with work! You know, ending and beginning of the year are two most hectic times for me. :(

    I read the tips in this post. It's really very academia. Actually, you could write a book about it. I'm serious! It is of great help to those students sitting for GAT. If I were among them, I'd definitely take heed of the tips here. Hey, thanks for sharing. Brilliant, as always! :)

    Btw, 5 new days have gone by but I'm not too late to wish you Happy and Blessed New Year! May successes be with you! Amin. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. @Balquis...

    yes i was thinking the same that why you did not comment on this post after so many days...now i am glad that you did...

    ah... so i hope you finish your work soon and then be regular here again :)
    hahaha... yes if i write a book i think you would be the only one to read it :P

    thank you for reading and liking the post

    and happy new year :)

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  51. Thank You Grumpy teacher :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. welcome grumpy student... and best of luck :)

      Delete

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