One of the Toughest Choices You Will Have to Face On Test Day

By Max Peterson On Aug 21, 2015 In  Quant Verbal Study Plans General GMAT 


To begin this article, I have to give you some bad news – you’re probably NOT going to get an 800 on the GMAT. Shocking news, I know – but if we pull together, you should be able to survive the horror of that realization. Now, it’s important that you read those prior two sentences as the ‘joke’ that it’s intended to be. Your goal should NOT be to get an 800 (to be fair, very few people hit that mark each year – only about 1 in every 10,000 Test Takers can actually do it). Your actual goal SHOULD be to score at a level that will help make you an attractive applicant to the Business Schools that you plan to apply to.

Assuming that you have the proper overall perspective on that issue, we can now move on to the actual ‘tough choice’ that you’ll face while taking the GMAT:

One of the Aspects of Maximizing Your Performance

You MUST prioritize your performance on the OVERALL Quant and Verbal sections ahead of your performance on any one question in the Quant and Verbal sections.

In real simple terms, this means “don’t get hung up on any really hard, layered or weird prompts and waste so much time that you end up cannibalizing your 75 minutes and missing out on LOTS of other points as a result.”

You Can See It In Your Own Performance

Depending on how long you’ve studied, you’ve likely come across a certain number of questions during your practice CATs that you would describe as ‘hard’, ‘really hard’ or ‘I-had-no-freaking-idea-how-to-deal-with-it hard.’ Take a good look at any of the CATs that you’ve taken and locate any questions that would fit that description… How much time did you spend on EACH of those questions...?

If it was a Quant question, then did you spend MORE than 3 minutes on it? And how many times did you end up spending more than 3 minutes on a question in that section? Did you then have to rush through a bunch of questions just to finish on time? Did you hit Q49+ or did you come up short?

If it was a CR question, then did you end up spending more than 2.5 minutes on it? If it was an SC, then did you end up spending more than 1.5 minutes on it? How many total CRs and SCs fit that description? Did you have to rush through a bunch of questions just to finish on time? Did you hit V40+ or did you come up short?

Next, take a good look at the questions that you had to rush through. How many of them COULD you have gotten correct IF you just had a little more time…?

Now, Put it All Together

So now we’re finally down to it – THE tough choice you have to make – are you comfortable with the idea that you need to ‘sacrifice’ a really hard question (or a few of them) so that you can have enough time to answer those other questions? It’s a tough reality to face, but you seemed comfortable earlier with the idea that you weren’t going to score 800, so it shouldn’t be THAT hard of a concept to digest.

GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,


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