When it comes to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this weekly blog series, Manhattan GMAT’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.
Recently, a new student asked me what he could do to get the most out of our class at Manhattan GMAT and his study time over the next several months, and I decided to write a short blog post to share what I told him.
Much of what we discussed boiled down to avoiding these two mistakes that many GMAT studiers make:
1. “Doing” rather than “Analyzing”
The GMAT is not a math test or a grammar test—really, it is not! It is a reasoning test, and I am not just referring to critical reasoning. The GMAT is really a test of how we think. If that is not your primary focus when studying, you will not get the best score you could get.
Do NOT make the mistake of equating “doing” hundreds of problems with learning. You learn when you analyze problems—the actual problem text, your thought processes and solution, alternate solutions and so on. All of this analysis takes place after you have answered the question.
2. Prioritizing “Correct” over “Efficient”
Clearly, we do want to answer questions correctly; if we get everything wrong, we are not going to get a very good score. The issue here, though, is one of priorities. Timing is just as important as accuracy, yet everyone starts off prioritizing accuracy over time (and many, if not most, people never change that mind-set).
Do NOT tell yourself that you are going to master all of the content first and then you will figure out that timing stuff “later.” Unless you have unlimited time to spend studying, you need to deal with timing right from the start.
You can find the full original blog post on this topic here, including links to a few follow-on articles for various concepts, such as how to analyze practice problems. You do not need to read the original post, though, to understand the two main ideas: timing is critically important, and you learn when you analyze problems after you have finished answering them.