Monday, November 17, 2014

How to best prepare for AIMAT?

When I applied for MBA at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), applicants still have the option to take AIM Admissions Test (AIMAT). With the current changes in school's policy, AIMAT can be taken by students applying for Master in Development Management (MDM) and Executive MBA (EMBA) programs. Anyhow, I am writing this article to help aspiring MDM and EMBA applicants ace the AIMAT.

One of the advantages for taking this test is that it is cheaper than taking GMAT or GRE. AIMAT only cost around PhP 2000.00 while GMAT costs USD 250.00 and GRE costs USD 150.00. If you're a Flipino and living in the Philippines, you can just go to AIM Campus in Makati to take the exam or in some cases, the AIM admissions personnel conducts AIMAT in various provinces in the country. Just watch out for AIM's advertisement in their Facebook account. For non-Filipinos, AIM also conducts AIMAT in various countries such as India or Vietnam. They also post notice in their Facebook page. So it will be helpful if you follow AIM in Facebook. 

How then is it to pass AIMAT?

At AIM, it is a requirement to have at least six (6) years of work experience before you can take the MDM or four (4) years of experience for EMBA program. There are exceptions of course, but it is more advisable to have the required years of work experience before taking either of these programs so that you can actively participate in class or learning team discussions. This means that when you apply for MDM or EMBA, you are a working professional and have to juggle between reviewing for AIMAT and the demands of your work. Well, I experienced this first hand. If you can avail of leave from you company for a week or two, then avail it so that you can focus on your review. But do this two to three weeks before your exam so that what you have reviewed are still fresh in your mind and you have ample time to master some aspects which you feel might need some more drills.  

Before reviewing for AIMAT, it is advisable to make a plan. The first thing you have to set is your review schedule. This is of course applicable if you are doing self-study otherwise you have to allocate time if you sign-up for formal review such as that offered by Kaplan. In here you have to define the hours you have to spend for study so that later on when you have the materials at hand,  you can prepare the schedule specifying which material you will review on a certain day.
In doing your plan, do a window shopping of bookstore to know what GMAT or GRE reviewers are available. Search also Google or Amazon on recommended reviewers. But for me, I recommend the latest edition of the Official GMAT or GRE reviewer though Kaplan's and Princeton's Reviewer are also helpful. More often, the Official GMAT or GRE Reviewer is not available in National Bookstore, Powerbooks or Fully-Booked. You can request Powerbooks or Fully-Booked to order these books for you. It takes two to three weeks to order these books. If you have credit card or any card which can be used to purchase at Amazon, just order it from there. It is more convenient.
Author: Graduate Management Admission Council
Title of the Book: "GMAT Review" 
Year of Publication: 2005  
Place of Publication: New Jersey  
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell   
Number of Pages: 832
ISBN: 978-1405141765  

Author: Educational Testing Service
Title of the Book: "The Official Guide to the GRE Revised General Test" 
Year of Publication: 2010
Publisher: McGraw-Hill   
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0071700528  
Just like GMAT or GRE, AIMAT also tests your Verbal, Quantitative and Writing abilities. As such from among these you have to know your strengths and weaknesses. In my case, since I am an engineer, I have no problem with the quantitative part. So I just focused on the Verbal and Writing part of the exam. In my schedule, I placed these two subjects to be reviewed first. I reviewed the quantitative part last. The reason for this was to ensure sufficient time to review and do practice for the examination part which I thought will be of challenge to me. If I review the quantitative part last and cannot finish it, then it will not have significant effect on my score because I already have sufficient mastery of it.   
The Official GMAT Reviewer above provides techniques on how to approach the verbal test items. Since I don't read fast and I find the reading comprehension part more challenging than the grammar test, I practiced it first. The Official GMAT Reviewer will not teach you to have close reading of the passage which takes probably thirty (30) minutes or so. It will teach you some kind of skimming and mentally remember the key words as you skim. But before that you have to read the questions first so that you know what keywords you will lookout for in the passage. This kind of technique will enable you to finish answering the comprehension questions in the allotted time. Of course, you will have to review the rules of grammar and the Official GMAT Reviewer provides a condensed guide, which will make your review a lot easier and faster. As you go through the reviewer, also take note of the words which are strange to you. List it in your notebook and find its meaning in the dictionary. This is to enrich your vocabulary. If you need more drills on the Verbal part, you may purchase the following book also published by GMAC.

Author: Graduate Management Admission Council 
Title of the Book: "GMAT Verbal Review"
Year of Publication: 2005
Publisher: Graduate Management Admission Council    
Number of Pages: 328 
ISBN: 978-0976570912   

During the course of your review until the examination time, it is highly recommended to read newspapers. If you're a Filipino, you may read the opinion section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer which is a local newspaper. But I highly recommend that you read the opinion section of New York Times or Financial Times because these two newspapers provide global perspectives and a global way of thinking or analyzing. It can also help you enhance your vocabulary and ease in expressing your thoughts in writing.   
As was said, AIMAT has a writing component and as such you also have to prepare for it. In your preparation, the Kaplan's GRE and GMAT Exams Writing Workbook will be of great help. This book teaches you  the approach to writing exams. What I have gotten from Kaplan's technique is to prepare templates before hand. The templates are general in structure (i.e. introduction, body and conclusion) and can be easily tweaked for whatever essay prompt you will write about. The Writing Workbook, provides you essay prompts and high-scoring sample essays. You are also provided with ample opportunity to practice the Kaplan technique for writing essays covering wide array of topics.
Author: Kaplan
Title of the Book: "GRE & GMAT Exams Writing Workbook"
Year of Publication: 2008
Place of Publication: New York 
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing 
Number of Pages: 360 
ISBN: 978-1419552175    
Before you embark on writing practice, prepare first the templates. I suggest you prepare two types of template in different style. In doing the writing exercises, at first, it will take you a little longer. Probably during your first try you can finish it within two hours including organizing your thoughts, writing and proofreading. As you get more practice, the time it will take you to write is about 30 minutes, just the time allotted for you in the GMAT or GRE Exam. 
You have to remember that you will be given three topics in AIMAT and you have to choose one which you will write about. Choose the topic which is more familiar to you so that it will be easy for you to develop and express your thoughts. The topics anyway do not require previous knowledge. In writing your essay, exhibit your dexterity of words. Hence, you should not repeat the same words over and over again. You have to use its synonyms. Also, my advise is to use scholarly words or not frequently used words such as exquisite instead of beautiful, erudite instead of intelligent.
If you are challenged in your quantitative ability, then do the exercises in the following book.


Author: Graduate Management Admission Council
Title of the Book: "GMAT Quantitative Review"
Year of Publication: 2009 
Place of Publication: New Jersey  
Publisher: Wiley  
Number of Pages: 216 
ISBN: 978-0470449769     
This book teaches you the approach to common math problems you will encounter in the exam. It teaches you also the shorter way to problem solving in which case you will save time.

As an old adage would tell us "Practice makes perfect." Practicing a lot will give you a higher chance of success in AIMAT. As such, I hope for your meaningful journey to AIMAT success!


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