To Thine Own Self Be True
(This is one of a series of GMAT tips that we offer on our blog.)
The GMAT tests many things — grammar, geometry, logic, algebra, etc. as skills; poise under pressure and efficient decision making as virtues; dedication and focus as attributes. Perhaps above all else, the GMAT is a test of thought processes — you need to know the content in order to apply it to the questions, but simply understanding grammar, logic, and math isn’t enough to ensure success. Much of the test hinges on your ability to control the way that you think to ensure that you answer questions specifically and accurately. In business terms, the test wants you to use the assets that you have — the knowledge of the content — to accomplish specific tasks — answer the questions explicitly.
Because of this, the test is full of many pitfalls, which include:
- Answering a tangential question (the questions asks you to solve for the amount of gasoline left in the tank, but you’re prone to answering how much was used)
- Assuming something about the variable in question (that it is an integer, or positive, etc.)
- Misreading the intention of a Data Sufficiency question (remember: the question is asking “can you answer this question definitively?” NOT “is the answer yes?” – we’ll cover this particular mistake more thoroughly in next week’s Tip of the Week)
Naturally, this is an incomplete list of the errors that some may make on the GMAT, as the test is written in a way that will encourage people to unknowingly make mistakes. As such, it is crucial for your preparation to track and find patterns in the mistakes that you often make. If you can simply identify your 2-3 most frequent errors on each side of the exam, and jot those down on your noteboard at the beginning of the test as reminders, you can greatly minimize the number of points you “give back” to the test, but that should rightfully be yours.
As you finalize your GMAT preparation, put an emphasis on minimizing the errors that you make simply because of the way that your mind works under pressure, and you’ll increase your score as a result (think of it as “controlling costs” – the more you study, the more you “increase revenue” with you score, but you can “increase profit” by cutting down on those mistakes).
At Veritas Prep, we have worked with thousands of students and, in doing so, identified several of the most common errors that all test-takers are prone to making. The latest addition to the Veritas Prep course materials capitalizes on this experience with a set of sidebar tools, including “How Your Mind Works,” to alert you to these pitfalls that you may face, and that you often may not even know exist. Visit our site for more information about the Veritas Prep program and our GMAT prep resources.