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Oops! Mistake in MBA

The Most Common GMAT Mistakes

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized admission test for management courses, most popularly, the MBA. If a top B-school is your aim, then the GMAT is something you have to take very seriously! And that means avoiding every mistake possible!

To get started, don’t take this test thinking you will ace it because you are a quant wiz. From the prep plan to the test day, there are plenty of mistakes to make, and you are probably making some of them already.

So, to ensure that you are clear all the way through, this blog will cover common mistakes made while prepping for the test, mistakes that one can make while devising a strategy, and section based mistakes as well.

Let’s make sure you truly give your best for the GMAT!

GMAT Prep Mistakes

The preparation for the GMAT test is absolutely important and if you don’t plan it right it will be really difficult to score in the upper margins. And even beyond that there are certain very obvious but common mistakes that people commit. So, let’s go over all of them.

  • Not having a Plan

Practice tests are really useful, but they are not the entirety of your prep. You need to study core concepts, practice questions, analyze mistakes, and prep again. Not having this plan thought out thoroughly will never allow you to get the best out of your prep. Additionally, everyone’s prep plan is unique. So, don’t just copy a schedule from the internet and follow it. Understand what you need and create your own plan.

  • Taking only book tests

The GMAT test will be performed on a computer. However, the tests you will practice are most likely in a book. While that’s great for initial practice, the final practice should definitely be done through computerized tests. This will make the practice as realistic as possible, and will help you understand what it actually feels like to give the exam.

  • Making strengths stronger

There is a limit to how strong you can be at a certain section. Trying to achieve above 95% in quant will always lead you to ignoring your weaknesses. And this is a loop many quant heavy GMAT aspirants fall into. Your goal should be to have an even score in all the sections with a slightly higher score in a few specific sections. This will look better on your application as well.

  •  Pre test overloading

Let’s be real, we all have gotten through a few tests in our college days by cramming. This doesn’t work for the GMAT. You may be a full-time employee, but you will have to find the time to prep consecutively over months if you want to excel at this test. 3-4 months is a good enough time limit if you can devote 10 hours per week. If you can devote less, you may take up to 5 months to be fully prepared.

GMAT Strategy Creation Mistakes

When it comes to actually giving the test, you need to have a strategy. The strategy you devise should play to your strengths and also cover for your weaknesses. This is not simple and mistakes can be made. Here’s how to avoid them:

  • Don’t keep searching for the right answer

You will never get every answer right. So, if you get stuck on a question just take a guess and move on. It’s more likely that finishing the test will get you a higher point overall than getting that one answer right. You have to manage your time during the test, and if you have to use guesswork to make sure you finish the test, go for it.

  • Use the notebook

You are given a sheet of paper for taking any notes you may wish to take during the test. While this may seem like a waste of time and doing mental calculations is much easier, taking effective notes can actually help you save time. For example, if you are reading a passage and then answering a question, taking notes about the passage will help you avoid the need to read the entire passage twice. Figure out how you can use the notes in the best way possible.

  • Never rush it

GMAT questions can be straightforward or they can be tricky. If you rush it then a tricky but simple question will get you and you will lose an obvious point. You need to stay sharp for every question and consider every detail given to you. Careless mistakes are something you need to have at all costs, and rushing a test is the easiest way to make such mistakes.

  • Move on from hard questions

There will definitely be some hard questions in the GMAT test and if you get stuck on them you will once again lose out on time. Give every question the time it needs, but make sure to not overdo it. Always remember that time is of the essence.

GMAT Section Wise Mistakes

The GMAT has multiple sections, and preparing for each of them requires different strategies and a strategy to perform best as well. Let’s see how you can do best in each section by avoiding common mistakes.

  • Avoiding the first answer to sentence correction

The segment for sentence correction based questions can leave you confused. However, thinking that the first option given to you can never be the right one because that would make it too obvious is not always true. The first answer (A) has every possibility of being the right answer as the rest of them. Never rule out an answer thinking it’s too obvious.

  • Going into deep calculations

There are many questions that may seem like it requires a lot of calculation. But, if it’s not mentioned in the question it most likely doesn’t need those calculations and is more of a logical question. For example, data sufficiency questions can lead many candidates into a rabbit hole of calculations. You need to be able to decide where a calculation is required or not. If it’s a logical question, minimal calculations should give you the right answer.

  • Over Assuming answers

This mostly takes place while answering critical reasoning questions. If you are given a set of facts make sure that your answer is based solely on those facts and not what they could and could not imply. This will not only waste your time but also give you a wrong answer. Concentrate on the question and create a stream of reason based on it.

  • Avoiding outlines

There are plenty of areas in the GMAT where creating an outline will save you time and give you a better answer. Especially in the case of analytical writing where you have to write an essay answer, the best way to approach it is with an outline. This allows you an overview of your answer even before you start and doesn’t let you fly off the margins. Even in other segments where a slightly long answer is required, creating a quick outline will be absolutely helpful.

While these are some of the very common mistakes one can make in their GMAT, the biggest mistake still remains not balancing out strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you are giving plenty of time to both sides, and read through this list once more before you start down the path of one of the most important tests of your life!

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For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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