Top Ten Tips for GMAT INFANTS (that can instantly boost up your score by 30 points or so)*
* In my experience, if it doesn’t help you in the same way don’t sue me!
Disclaimer: This post is for absolute newbies to the world of GMAT. Anyone who claims to have even an infinitesimal amount of expertise would be advised to loiter in some other more useful post.
I absolutely love top ten lists :D . Top-ten songs, top-ten books, top-ten-ways-to-get-a-guy, top-ten-ways-to-get-a-life….you get the picture
SO, I was itching to put up a top ten list on my own in GMAT club. I am unsure how helpful this can be, but anyway….here goes….
GMAT is a strange beast. It has some special idiosyncrasies which need to be paid attention to. When I took my first GMATPrep test without the slightest bit of preparation, I had a measly, heart wrenching score. I am still scoring…ummm…measly-ly….but I am way past my infant-hood (I am currently a confused teenager now :O ) and I think I may be able to give some quick-fix advice which can instantly boost up scores. These are few things I learnt over the first two weeks along my GMAT journey.
0. Download GMATPrep
software from MBA.com and solve one question to gauge where you stand. This will also let you know the question categories tested in GMAT.
1. Read ALL answer choices
: One of the biggest mistakes in GMAT is to read only up to that answer choice which you feel
is correct. This is especially relevant in Verbal, because there can be more than one correct answer to the question. If you don’t read all the choices, you might end up picking a ‘second-best’ answer. You should always
read all the answer choices and determine which the ‘best’ is.
2. Read PS questions carefully before jumping to solve the question:
This was a major, major problem with me. In my attempt to solve the questions fast, I would start solving halfway through reading the question , only to realize later that I missed out on some crucial property(example: ‘x can only take positive integer values’) of the numbers involved that changed everything or made the solution much simpler. Ideally, you should be spending at least 50% of your time used to solve a particular PS question to READ AND UNDERSTAND the question before touching pen on paper. Many problems can be solved even mentally once you are clear about the typicality of the question.
3. In DS questions, prove (in)sufficiency of both statements SEPARATELY :
Another typical mistake committed by a newborn is to read both the statements together and then answering ‘C’ . Remember, each statement has to be proved or disproved for sufficiency separately. You should first analyze the ‘easier-looking’ statement for sufficiency and then, AFTER forgetting that statement, analyze the other statement. Don’t carry information from the first statement to the second statement! However, it’s important to know that both statements are TRUE in their own right; it might just not be SUFFECIENT to solve the problem. (or even NECESSARY if it’s an information drawn out of the question itself)
4. You don’t always need to SOLVE for DS questions:
Its even more important in DS questions to analyze the question carefully before touching your pen to paper. Many, many of the DS questions can be answered without finding a numerical solution to the problems. There are two kinds of DS questions ‘value’ type and ‘yes-no’ type. (Yes-no problems can be answered only in YES or NO. example: does the point described lie in the first quadrant etc…).All you need to do is find WHETHER ITS POSSIBLE to find the numerical or ‘yes or no’ solution to the problem.
5. Concentrate on the conclusion:
The CR passage can appear to be a dark, dense jungle to the newborn. The passage contains some facts, some reasoning and a conclusion that stems from the facts and reasoning. If you can identify and understand the conclusion (generally signaled by words such as ‘therefore’, ‘so’, ‘hence’, ‘to conclude’…..), you can solve most sub-700 level questions and a good amount of 700+ questions with ease.
6. ALWAYS try to prephase CR questions:
CR questions, especially the ones which ask for ‘main point’/’must be true’/’inference’, ‘assumption’, and ‘flaw in reasoning’ –mostly ‘suggest’ an answer to the mind. Even if it doesn’t come to mind automatically, you should try to answer the question before reading the answer choices ; and then match your ‘pre-answer’ with the ‘answer-choices’. Even after prephasing , you should ALWAYS read ALLthe answer choices.
7. NEVER try to prephase SC questions
:In SC questions, NEVER try to prephase an answer because there can be a hundred ways of correctly writing a sentence even after keeping the meaning intact. Prephasing will only confuse you if you fail to find something similar in the answer choices. Worse, it may cause you to pick up a ‘lesser’ answer which can be wrong! ALWAYS read all the answer choices and pick the ‘best’ answer possible in terms of meaning, grammar and concision.
8. ALWAYS solve SC question in context of the non-underlined part:
Another popular mistake is to read only the underlined part of a SC question. The non-underline part is the ‘anchor’ to which your ‘underlined-part-ship’ is tied. It is the reference with which you decide the tense, verb agreement, placement of commas, placement of modifiers and entire tone of the sentence.
9. DON’T play by the ear while answering SC questions:
This is probably the most advised advice out there. If you try answering SC questions simply by choosing what ‘sounds’ right, you are most likely to get the question wrong. The best thing to do is to is lose your ‘i-know-english-like-the-back-of-my-hand’ swagger and hit a good strategy guide. (Really, do you actually know the back of your hand that well??) SC is that section where most people score the poorest when they start out but also make the biggest improvements in. You have to resist the urge to play-by-the-ear, literally; follow the rules instead.
10. USE your head:
This might seem obvious, but really, you need to remember that for all the strategies and templates that you learn, you still need to keep an open mind .If you approach questions blindly following a guided route, you can only achieve so much. GMAT is all about logic-something you can’t really learn. You can only learn tools that help apply logic more effectively. This has become even more relevant in the current SC questions where you have to judge the correctness of the answer on the basis of what is ‘logically correct’ and not JUST grammatical correctness. In quant, visualize wherever you can.
I hope this list can be of some help to some people at least. Thanks and have fun preparing!
P.S. Dont be shy to give a Kudo or two if you like this post!