3 Things the GMAT Testmakers Don’t Want You to Know: Part III

QuestioningWelcome to the third and final installment of GMAT’s secrets revealed!   We now know 2 things the GMAT testmakers don’t want you to know – one, they can do most quant problems entirely in their heads, and two, verbal complexity is intended to clarify, not confuse, a given situation.  These insights are a critical part of the recognition that the GMAT is not actually as difficult as it is intimidating.  It has a lot of tough-looking math and long, dense passages, but that’s mainly on the surface – deep down, unlocking GMAT reasoning is feasible for anyone.

However, there’s more to the test than its logic and concepts.  Today, let’s look at the last but not least of its secrets:

3.     Time Management Is Half The Battle

Regardless of how obvious this does or doesn’t sound upfront, it is one point that is not possible to teach or learn in the same way as is the other half of the test (the material).  It can’t be studied or practiced in different variations in the same way the test material and reasoning can.  It is something that requires continued focus and self-assessment, but those who can get really good at it will have a huge advantage.  It involves a few ideas:

  • Assessing how well you understand a problem and how quickly you can break it down
  • Guaging your time while running through problems
  • Keeping mentally focused as you check on the clock during an exam

To make sure you’re comfortable with these, take practice tests and time your problem sets, keeping tabs on how well you manage your time.  Veritas Prep’s online problem sets are a great tool for this.

Good time management is also about recognizing that it’s not necessary to get every question right to do really well on the test.  If there are problems that stump you or it simply doesn’t seem worthwhile to spend an extra two minutes deciding between two answer choices, it’s OK to make a best guess and move on, as long as you are comfortable with your progress and confident you’ll get the next one.  The sooner you can begin to guage yourself, the more natural it will become.  Again, this is the easiest insight to overlook because it simply can’t be mentioned after every practice question you see.  But it’s always there.

To recap the 3 Things The GMAT Makers Don’t Want You To Know:

  1. Quant problems are simple enough that they can do them in their heads
  2. Precise, high level language is used mainly to clarify a situation, not complicate it
  3. Half of a good score is achieved through good time management and self-assessment skills

So now, armed with the knowledge of the most carefully guarded secrets behind the GMAT, you’ll be ready to face the most challenging questions without losing your nerve.  These three advantages are all psychological.  They exist because the average test taker isn’t really aware of them – and is thus intimidated by what skills they think they lack in carrying off a successful attack on each problem.  Once you recognize these things, you’ll never need to fear what looks on the surface to be complicated, confusing, dense, or time consuming.

Planning to take the GMAT soon? We have online GMAT prep courses starting all the time! And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter to better learn how to Think Like the Testmaker!

Joseph Dise has been teaching GMAT preparation for Veritas Prep for the last 4 years in Paris and New York City.