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GMAT simple mistakes
Dec 09, 2015

GMAT simple mistakes

What if I was to tell you that the majority of the mistakes you are making on the GMAT are easily fixable? If you have been studying correctly, you likely have already learned how to answer each type of question that the GMAT will throw at you. The problem is that all too often, simple mistakes stand in our way to a higher score. This is not to say that there will not be certain questions that you struggle with at a structural or mental level, but honestly in my experience these major issues are far less common than their simplistic counterparts. This means that one of the fastest ways to improve your GMAT score is to focus first and foremost on the questions which you should have gotten right. Here are three major areas where the GMAT trips people up.

One-off answers

A common tactic that GMAC test makers use to trap you is to list answers that are only slightly off of the correct answer. I call these “one off” answers because they are typically one step away from being correct. The GMAC uses these questions to check for your ability to notice details. For example, let’s say that a question asks you to see how long it takes an individual to complete various tasks throughout the day. At the end of the question, it asks for the answer in hours, but all of the information inside the body of the question is given in minutes. In this situation, do not be surprised to see an answer listed that is the correct number in minutes instead of hours. You know how to convert from minutes to hours, but at first glance it can be easy to forget the step and miss the question.

Reading with a Purpose

The GMAC loves to throw dense and convoluted scientific passages at you in the verbal section. Quite often, when confronted with this information readers begin to panic as they struggle to learn the details. The trick is that you do not have to understand everything in the article. Trying to remember all of the details is only a waste of time and effort. Instead, focus on the questions first before looking into the article. What is the GMAT actually asking you to figure out? Once you know this, read the passage again and only focus on the details that are pertinent to the question at hand.

Time Management Issues

Most assume that topical mastery and learning strategies to address specific question types is where all their focus should be. It is not. In truth, one of the most difficult parts of preparing for the GMAT is learning to nail down your pacing. Even if you know all of the material backwards and forwards, poor time management skills will still kill your score. There are two common mistakes made when trying to deal with the GMAT’s time limit. The first is to simply ignore it and take all of the time you need to ensure accuracy in every question that you receive. The second is to obsess over it and try to fly through the questions as fast as possible. Both of these strategies are horrible ideas and will have you scheduling a retake in no time. The tough reality is that there is no easy trick or hack to mastering GMAT pacing other than repeatedly timing yourself during practice tests and sections. It is not glamorous, but it is effective and it is something that you will need to do if you want to succeed on this test.

Everyone has areas where we make silly mistakes. What are yours, and how are you addressing them? Let us know in the comments section below!

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