Delusions of Grandeur
(This is one of a series of GMAT tips that we offer on our blog.)
If you are reading this, there is a high likelihood that you are a successful person; other than the occasional Googler-gone-astray, those who find a blog that specializes in admissions for elite MBA and JD programs tend to be students or young professionals who would like to advance their careers to an even higher level. Assuming that the description fits, congratulations to you!
When it comes to the GMAT, however, your prior success may hold with it a key to your undoing. As a successful professional, you have undoubtedly been able to make decisions based on gut feel or a calculated high probability – you’ve correctly hypothesized that a stock price might rise, or that a corporate initiative would yield positive returns; you’ve effectively chosen between academic majors and job offers; you’ve made purchases and decisions with incomplete information and feel confident that your choices were correct. At this point, you feel comfortable with your ability to assess probability and make good decisions accordingly.
On the GMAT, however, questions that ask you to draw a conclusion – “based on the above we can safely conclude that…” – require an answer that must be true based exclusively on the information given. These questions often pose a problem for successful individuals, who would rather provide a compelling answer with a high probability than a less exciting answer that is definite. When faced with the need to draw a conclusion on the GMAT, keep in mind that the conclusion must be true, but need not be exciting.