Guessing on the GMAT is a painful decision – especially for advanced test takers. In the past, sometimes you were punished for guessing (like on the SATs) and sometimes you were made to feel like you weren’t fully prepared (remember college Spanish classes?). However, on the GMAT, while you want to minimize the amount of guess you do, realize that having a guessing strategy in place is important. A guessing strategy is more important in the Quantitative sections since most test takers have a more difficult time finishing that section. However, it is also important not to lose track of time on the Verbal section. For sound GMAT strategy, primarily there are two distinct times when you want to guess:
When You Don’t Know the Concept
When studying for the GMAT, one of the first steps you should take is to create a study schedule. Jumping from one topic to the next without structure can have a negative impact on your studying, so putting together a plan is essential to maximizing the effectiveness of the time you have to devote to the GMAT. To make your plan as successful as possible, you should follow a few basic guidelines.
Diagnose your strengths and weaknesses
First, it is a good idea to take a diagnostic test before you do anything else. While knowing the score at which you are starting is useful, it is not the main purpose of this test. You need to analyze the questions you answered incorrectly and look for any patterns in the types of problems and topics that you often miss. This will allow you to make the most of your study-time, … Read full post
If you have a limited amount of time to study for the GMAT, you are probably unsure of how to divide your time between the math and verbal sections. In determining how to split up your study time, there are a few factors that you should consider.
Above all else, you should consider your relative strengths and weaknesses. Make this assessment based on recent practice. This means that your first step should be to take a diagnostic GMAT exam, which you can analyze to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Many students expect to be stronger in math than verbal, based on their experience in high school and are surprised when this is no longer the case. In order to ensure you accurately assess your trouble areas, you must take a diagnostic exam with GMAT style questions.
Once you have made this assessment you will know in which section … Read full post
So you have finally decided to apply to business school, but your deadline is fast approaching and you only have one or two weeks before you need to take your exam – what should you do?
A student who studies for the GMAT for two weeks or less requires a very different plan than a student who studies for the more traditional one to three months.
Students studying for a longer period of time have the luxury of mastering the most effective methods and strategies before sitting for their exam. If you are studying for less than two weeks you will not be able to master these methods and strategies. Always remember, the GMAT is not a test for which you can cram – learning brand new methods in under two weeks is simply not possible.
Instead, students who are studying for such a short period of time should focus … Read full post
As you’re preparing to take the test, you become very familiar with numbers, and I don’t mean just the numbers within the quantitative question. Can you recognize the significance of the following numbers?
700 is a 90th percentile score. The average GMAT score for top 10 b-schools is right around the 700 range, so it’s a good score to set as your target if you’re looking to attend any of those schools. If you knew this, that’s great. You’ve probably already started looking at business programs you’re interested in. If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to take a practice test to see what range you’re scoring in and how far you have to go to reach your target score.
75/37 refers to the GMAT quant section being 75 minutes long and containing 37 questions. In this handy format, it reminds you that you have … Read full post
It is test day. You are on question number 11 of the quantitative section. You have been on question number 11 for the past 2 minutes. You glance down at your scratch work and you see a tangle of equations and calculations, but not one of them is getting you any closer to the right answer. What do you do?
The first instinct of most students is to check how much time is left. This is an important consideration in determining your next step, but its usefulness varies based on a couple of factors, as we will see below.
After checking the time remaining, students have two basic options: continue working on the problem or make a strategic guess and move to the next question. If you are clearly ahead on time, especially late in a section, take another minute to try to solve it. If you are clearly behind … Read full post
While the two essays on the GMAT require you to do completely different things, the approach and foundation of each essay is exactly the same. In this blog article, I want to address two questions my students often ask: “How long should I spend on planning the essay vs. writing the essay?” and “How long should the essay be?”.
Pacing the Essay
Thirty minutes isn’t a great deal of time to write Shakespeare. However, you don’t need to be as eloquent and esoteric in your style. What you need to be is clear, organized, and direct. The best way to accomplish those three objectives is to spend a significant amount of time planning your essay before you start typing the essay. Kaplan has specific templates and approaches that we discuss in our course; however, I’m going to simplify our approach for this post:
Step 1: Spend about 8 minutes planning … Read full post
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the GMAC Test Prep Summit and hearing about the GMAT from GMAC’s VP of Research, himself a senior psychometrician (“psychometrician” = GMAT wizard). Over the course of the day I picked up a lot of invaluable nuggets about how the test is scored, and over the next weeks I’ll share these nuggets with you.
Today’s topic: skipped or omitted questions.
You can’t really “skip” questions on the GMAT, but if you run out of time you may leave some unanswered at the end and those questions are referred to as skipped or omitted questions. A few Key Takeaways:
1. Skipped questions can hurt your score really badly – even worse than you think.
2. It’s complex to answer how much a skipped question hurts your score, but given Key Takeaway #1 above, the complexity doesn’t matter much from your perspective.
Skipped questions … Read full post
Guessing on the GMAT is a painful decision point – especially for advanced test takers. In the past, sometimes we were punished for guessing (SATs) and sometimes we were made to feel like we weren’t fully prepared (college Spanish classes!).
However, on the GMAT, while we want to minimize the amount of guess we do, realize that having a guessing strategy in place is important. A guessing strategy is more important in the Quantitative sections since most test takers find they have a more difficult time finishing that section. However, it is also important to not lose track of time on the Verbal section. Primarily there are two distinct times when you want to guess:
Don’t Know the Concept
Honestly, on test day, you have a chance of forgetting one of the several equations you have memorized. Additionally, sometimes you will look at a Problem Solving question and have no … Read full post