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GMAT Strategy and Pacing

The GMAT is a critical thinking test, not a math and English skills test. The test does rely on high school level math and English content knowledge. But questions, especially in Quant, may be tougher than you've encountered and are often best solved using creative and strategic approaches that you were not taught in high school and college.

GMAT Pacing

GMAT pacing is critical

It is false that earlier questions count more and therefore deserve extra time. It is true that missing several questions initially can lead to a lower score. So it's fine to spend an extra 15 to 30 seconds selectively on a few of the early questions as needed.

But don’t spend so much time early on that you run out of time at the end. There is a significant penalty for not answering all questions, particularly for those at higher scoring levels. Even if you can answer every question, you are less likely to answer them correctly if you are rushing at the end of a section.

Thus, pacing is critical on the GMAT. Learn to cut your losses early on questions that you do not know how to answer. Check your pacing by multiplying the number of questions remaining (including the current question) by 2 for Quant and for Verbal, and by 2.25 for Data Insights. This is approximately how many minutes you should have remaining on the clock. If you are behind, you will need to make some time up.

It is fine to spend up to three minutes on some questions if that time is offset by spending 30 seconds to one minute on other questions. Inevitably some GMAT questions will take longer to complete, whereas others will take less time.

GMAT Strategy

Because timing can be a challenge, you will sometimes need to make an educated guess, no matter how skilled you may be. Eliminate as many answers as you can and take your best guess. Recognize early on that you will need to guess on a question, rather than burning a lot of time just to guess anyway. If you are 30 seconds into a problem and have absolutely no idea how to proceed, make your best guess and save the time for GMAT questions that are more doable.

When you guess on a challenging question, immediately put that question out of your mind. Focus on the next question instead. Always give your 100% undivided attention only to the question at hand.

You do not have to correctly answer almost every GMAT question to score high. You can miss quite a few questions and still do well. In fact, it is possible to miss 25% of the questions in each section and still score above the 90th percentile.