by Rich Cohen, Rich.C@empowergmat.com www.EMPOWERgmat.com
Over the years, the EMPOWERgmat Team has worked with tens of thousands of Test Takers, helping each to score at a higher level on the GMAT. I’ve dealt with almost every situation that you could possibly imagine – from the obvious to the subtle. I’ve seen certifiable geniuses get ‘stuck’ and absolutely ‘average’ students score at remarkably high levels on the GMAT. Of all of the situations that I’ve faced, one of the most frequent actually has nothing to do with the intelligence or test-taking ability of the individual at all; it has to do with the personality of the Client. The Test Takers who have the most problems improving their GMAT scores are the ones who let their PRIDE get in the way of performing at a higher level.
Pride can be a subtle and powerful character trait. Unfortunately, when it comes to training to take a Standardized Test, pride is almost always a hindrance. The best Test Takers I’ve ever worked with were flexible thinkers – they could accept new ways of approaching the Test and be comfortable with processing information, and working through questions, in a way that was initially foreign to their traditional way of thinking.
If you find yourself thinking ANY of the following during your studies, then your pride is probably getting in the way of your improvement:
1 - “I don’t have to take notes”/ ”I can do it all in my head” - the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Test, and the type of ‘work’ that is necessary to correctly answer most prompts is relatively simple. As such, you have to ask WHY you would choose to risk making a little mistake by doing work ‘in your head.’ Isn’t your future worth a little bit of standardized note-taking? If you don’t think that it is, then that’s probably your pride getting in the way.
2 – “I don’t have time to take notes” – in real simple terms… YES you do. 75 minutes is actually the perfect amount of time to handle each of the Quant and Verbal sections. A little less time than that and the Test becomes unfair; a little more time than that and the Test becomes too easy. The time that you’re allotted allows you to properly read the prompt, take notes, and do the necessary work on each of the questions that you face. However, if you don’t take notes, then questions actually tend to take LONGER to solve than they should AND you run the risk of making little mistakes.
3 – “My way will get me to the correct answer (but I have to rush to finish the section and I end up guessing on a bunch of questions at the end)” - This argument hinges on the idea that you have an unlimited amount of time to answer all of the questions, which is NOT realistic. Most GMAT questions can be solved in more than one way. If you have to rush to finish the section, then it’s likely that “your way” is the “long way” to get to the correct answer. By extension, your pride is keeping you from learning new, faster ways of approaching the prompts.
Thankfully, ALL of these issues can ‘fixed.’ Since the GMAT is predictable, you can train for every subject and every situation that you’ll face on Test Day. But the key word there is “train”; if you’re letting your pride keep you from training properly, then you’ll likely get ‘stuck’ at a score level that is less than your potential.
One of the things that you’ll almost certainly have to overcome is your pride. To that end, we are here to help.
GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,