Alright, so you have decided you are going to write the GMAT. You might have even registered for the exam. There are a few things about the GMAT which every aspirant should know and understand before you even start preparing.
The most important thing to remember is that there’s nothing particularly difficult about the GMAT or particularly brilliant about the people who do well on it.
The GMAT tests basic grammar and reasoning skills, and the math portion of the exam rarely goes beyond a 10th grade level. Knowing that, it might be shocking to reveal to you that the average GMAT taker scores only half the total score possible. A major reason for this is that the exam is designed in such a way that it tricks you and takes advantage of your mistakes.
How Should I Prepare for The GMAT?
As you start preparing for the GMAT, I recommend that you brush up your high school math and grammar in a few days and then move on to bigger things. That doesn’t mean you have to go back and solve questions from high school books. The intention is to go through the curriculum so you have an idea about what is in store for you.
Once you have done that you’ll need some serious books. We have put together a list of “Must-Have” books which you must go through. The most important book to start off with is the Official Guide. This is written by GMAC, the organisation that conducts this test. Hence, you’ll get a very clear picture of what to expect in the exam. At the same time, do not expect tricks to crack the exam in this book. For those, you’ll need something else, like the Kaplan Premier.
How is the GMAT Scored?
Okay, so now comes the interesting part. I often get a lot of questions about how the GMAT is scored. The simplest answer is that the test adjusts the difficulty of its questions until the test taker reaches a level at which he misses approximately 50 percent of the questions. That level of difficulty is then correlated with a score ranging from 200 to 800 points.
Your first question will be of medium difficulty. If you get it right you’ll get a harder question; if you get it wrong you’ll get an easier question. Basically that is the theory behind the scoring pattern. But then again, it all comes down to what GMAC considers easy and what they consider as hard.
Can I Guess on the GMAT?
Well, the test does not allow you to skip questions and come back to it later. Therefore, if you do not know the answer to a question, you have to guess.
At the same time, we know that the difficulty of the next question depends on your present answer. Get it right, you’ll see a tougher question. Get it wrong, and you’ll see something that’s easier.
So, you can’t avoid guessing in the GMAT. All I can advise you is, guess wisely and whenever you come across a genuinely tough question, guess on it and move on rather than wasting time on that question. Once again, I remind you, try to make a wise guess and not a random one.
How Many Questions Can I Miss But Still Get a Good Score?
The fact is your score does not depend on how many questions you answer correctly, rather it depends on the difficulty level of the questions that you answer correctly. You can make mistakes but still end up at a good score. Remember it can happen the other way around too is you answer a lot of easy ones incorrectly.
Finally, its nothing to worry if you start seeing exceptionally hard questions. All that means is that you’re doing well.
Always remember, timing is the most important strategy. Apart form doing everything else correctly, always keep a track of how much time you are spending on a question.