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Two questions about CATs

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Joined: 06 Jun 2013
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Two questions about CATs [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2013, 02:17
Hey people,

I just wanted to seek advice. I 've recently done my last CAT and I m going for the GMAT in 4 days.

1) Reviewing the CAT, as so often before, I recognized that about half of the mistakes I made were due to stupid mistakes. Things I normally know / can do easily. How do you guys stay focused? Is there a trick or something? I sleep more than 8 hours, drink gatorade, take brakes etc... still cannot manage to stay focused it seems.

2) I 've never had a problem with Quant timing. Right know I am always finished with some time to spare (be it 30 secs or 2 mins). Reviewing the CATs I get the impression that there are some problems where I could have gotten the actual answer right after just spending some more time on them. Is that a good approach? Considering that I have never managed to get out of the first 10 questions without at least 3 mistakes...?

Would be great to hear some advice!

With all the best!

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Re: Two questions about CATs [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2013, 09:04


Timing is all about averages, not absolute time per problem. Also, don't worry about the first ten problems. Your goal is to do well overall, as tanking at the end and being pressed for time can really hurt your score.

Don't assume your mistakes are always "stupid". The GMAC spends a lot of resources developing questions and there's a reason for marking what you mark. Keeping a good error log is key.

Best of luck in the next couple days.

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Re: Two questions about CATs [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2013, 13:29
Good questions -- and good luck... wanted to share a few thoughts on your questions:

1. Developing that focus is tough -- it just requires practice. You're literally building muscle memory for your body to sit and focus on a task for more than 3 hours (admittedly, something that not many of us do on a regular basis in this adult-ADD world we all live in.) That said, try not to think of it as 3.5 hours. Think of it as two somewhat-important 30 minute sections, with a quick break, and then two pretty important-75 minute sections. What stinks of course is that the less important sections come first (when our brains and bodies have the most energy.) You'd hate to get 95% of the way up Everest only to run out of energy. Same thing here -- need to figure out a way to prioritize and stretch out that energy.

2. Remember, your goal is to win the war, and not any specific battle. You need to think about both time per problem, and where that fits in the context of the full exam. Don't go crazy worrying about the first ten questions more than you would any other set of 10 questions. Remember -- you will get questions wrong. It's the nature of the adaptive test.

Hope this helps.


Brian Lange | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | North Carolina

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Re: Two questions about CATs   [#permalink] 30 Jul 2013, 13:29
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