When it comes to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this biweekly blog series, Manhattan GMAT’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform on test day by using some common sense.
Or: the most important thing you need to master before you take the GMAT.
Last night, one of my students told me that he’s struggling to cut himself off on too-hard problems, because normally, he’s “in it to win it.” (For those who aren’t familiar with that expression, it means that if you’re playing a game, you’re always trying your hardest to win.)
I responded, “But are you playing the right game?”
He’s been playing the game he was taught to play in school—there, getting things right was more important than the length of time spent. In school, grades are almost always based on percentage correct. The best students expect to get everything right. And this is the mindset that most of my students take into the GMAT as well—at least, until they talk to me.
We’re not playing that school game anymore. This is a new game with different rules. If you play by “school rules,” you’re not going to get the best score that you’re capable of getting.
In other words, sticking to your timing, learning to make educated guesses, cutting yourself off on too-hard questions and making educated guesses instead—all of these habits ARE the habits of someone who is In It To Win It! You’re not giving up when you do those things. You’re playing the game like an expert.
Here are some additional resources to solidify this new mindset and learn to do what you need to do to win the game.
Scoring: Read the “Scoring” section of ManhattanGMAT’s free e-book The GMAT Uncovered Guide. If you have an account with us (even a free account), the guide is already sitting in the Downloads section of your Student Center. (Note: It’s in the Downloads section as of the date of publication of this article; it could move over time.)
Timing: Read this article on time management and start doing what it says.