How to crack GMAT: Strategies you need to know

Scoring well in the elusive GMAT is a dream that many MBA aspirants harbour, as it provides them with a gateway to get into their dream B-schools. Scoring 700+ in this adaptive test is no easy feat, though, with some practice, guidance and a few tips, it is possible to ace the test. With the GMAT tips below, you can easily score better in the test and reach the University of your dreams.

Acquaint yourself with the design of the computer-adaptive test

Since GMAT is a computer-adaptive test with all questions being compulsory, there is no way to skip questions or revisit them at the end. GMAT is also based on an algorithm that tests your skill levels by providing you questions and understanding how well you answer them. The test starts by giving you questions of average difficulty and the more correct answers you give in the test, the more difficult the next question gets and you would be answering queries of varying difficulty. Also, only the Quantitative and Verbal sections would be making use of this adaptive algorithm format and not the Integrated Reasoning and the Analytical Writing Assessment sections. But rather than obsessing about the computer-adaptive element, it is wise to give your best to every question. To familiarise yourself with the format, timing, and ambience of these tests, you should take plenty of practice tests on a computer that is readily available online. Regular practice will reveal what type of questions seem confusing to you and you can improve upon them before the test.

Related Blog: How to Write an Introduction to a GMAT AWA Essay


Know the format of the exam

The GMAT exam comprises four sections, namely, the Quantitative, Integrated Reasoning, Verbal and Analytical Writing Assessment sections. They all comprise different question types, markings and number of questions, which can be compared using the table below:


Sections No. of Questions Time Types of Questions Score Range
Verbal 36 Questions 65 minutes Reading Comprehension; Critical Reasoning; Sentence Correction 200-800
Integrated Reasoning 12 Questions 30 minutes Multi-Source Reasoning; Graphic Interpretation; Two-Part Analysis; Table Analysis 1-8
Quantitative Section 31 Questions 62 minutes Data Sufficiency; Problem Solving 200-800
Analytical Writing Assessment 1 Topic 30 minutes Analysis of Argument 0-6 (in 0.5 increments)

Out of the four sections in the exam GMAT allows you to choose which gateway you would like to attempt first, i.e. the order of questions. There are also two breaks of 8 minutes that you can take, depending upon the order of sections that you have chosen.


Order 1 Analytical Writing Assessment Integrated Reasoning Optional Break (8 mins) Quantitative Reasoning< Verbal
Order 2 Verbal Optional Break (8 mins) Quantitative Reasoning Integrated Reasoning Analytical Writing Assessment
Order 3 Quantitative Reasoning Optional Break (8 mins) Verbal Integrated Reasoning Analytical Writing Assessment

Related Blog: GMAT Tips and Formulas for Success

Avoid making common mistakes

The GMAT is designed in such a way that test takers have to be in a rush constantly and take a lot of pressure during the test. Hence most students, especially those who are taking the test for the first time, make many common mistakes that both takeaway time and lower your scores and accuracy. Thus, it is important to avoid these common mistakes to score higher in the test. Given below are a few of the mistakes that you must avoid: 

a) Guessing Answers

Since there is no negative marking in GMAT, you might be tempted to guessing the answers without doing lengthy calculations. Rather than guessing, which might turn out wrong, it is wiser to answer questions after being sanguine. This is because GMAT is a computer adaptive test designed to guess your ability to answer questions of varying difficulty. Though you can use the process of elimination to arrive closer to the correct option in the exam, it is wiser to move on and attempt the maximum number of questions rather than guessing. 

b) Not taking notes

The GMAT scratchpad is specifically provided so that students can make important notes related to the questions. Questions in GMAT can have more than one dimension to them which are designed in a way that can cause confusion. Therefore, not taking notes may make you miss out on a key aspect of the question and can actually make you spend more time solving it. 

c) Prepare well

Preparation for GMAT should ideally begin with a diagnostic test which is a preparatory test designed to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, these tests also help you develop strategies to master your weaknesses. Next, you must devise the way in which you can improve yourself and create a study plan according to that. Lastly, you must ensure that you have got the basics covered in the subjects and taken ample GMAT practice tests before appearing for the exams. 

The GMAT is easy to score in, provided you follow a good study regimen and avoid common mistakes.

Also, there are several professional institutes that provide guidance for GMAT according to your strengths and weaknesses, which can help you in your journey towards your dream B-school.  

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1 Comments so far

  1. For the best score in GMAT exam, it is advised to find a balance between speed and accuracy. The initial questions should be answered with 100% accuracy as they are easy and GMAT is a computer adaptive exam. By the end of the section, some questions will be too tough to be spent time upon. It is prudent to do guesswork there IF there is shortage of time. Because not being able to attempt all questions of a section has a huge penalty.

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