How to Avoid Common Traps on the GMAT

Last week we wrote about three mistakes every GMAT rookie makes at some point in the GMAT prep process, along with some advice on how to avoid them. Today we’ll build on what we wrote last week and go a bit deeper into what you can do to avoid these and other common mistakes on the exam.

Simple awareness of the score-killers we discussed last week will provide you with additional points on the exam. With enough practice (specifically, the right kind of practice!), you can turn these common pitfalls into a competitive advantage. While the GMAT traps other students with high-600-level traps, you can think through these pitfalls and move into higher levels of GMAT ability.

A proactive approach to the GMAT allows you to both save time and feel confident that you are making progress with each step. Combine that time savings with awareness of the unique ways that the writers of the GMAT will pose questions to distract you, and you will have ample time to double-check that your answer corresponds directly to the question.

Throughout your GMAT preparation, be sure to focus on the following as you plan out your time:

  • Concept areas that require additional study
  • Equation types that you are prone to setting up incorrectly
  • Incorrect answer types that commonly guide you astray
  • Incorrect assumptions you often make when reading questions quickly
  • Question families for which you will need to slow down and spend wisely the time you will have earned on other questions

Every one of the above is raw material that the people behind the GMAT can use to lead you down a wrong path. You will never be able to memorize everything that might show up on the GMAT — and trying to do so is a fool’s errand — but knowing what concepts can give you problems will help you be on your guard against the traps that catch the majority of test takers.

Remember: The GMAT is not as much a content-based exam as it is a mental process exam. Paying close attention to these items, in addition to the comprehensive conceptual material you will cover, is essential in your quest to maximize your score!

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