GMAT - Test Taking Strategies

Try not to be nervous. We know that´s difficult, but you´ll be able to focus better if you´re calm—and you´ll be calm if you arrive at the test center rested, prepared, knowing what to expect, and armed with some solid test-taking strategies.

The night before the test, get plenty of sleep and make sure you have everything you will need to bring to the test center.

Following are our suggestions regarding the Graduate Management Admission Test® (GMAT®) questions themselves and how to manage the time you have during the test. We also want to make sure you understand the consequences of quitting the test and/or exiting a section.

The Questions

Read all of the test directions carefully

  • At the beginning of each test section, the total number of questions and the time allowed for the section are stated.
  • Because the score per section is based on the number of questions you answer, try to answer as many questions per section as you can.

Read each question carefully before answering

  • If you are reading too quickly, you may miss an important part of the question or gloss over the right answer.
  • Remember that you can´t skip around from question to question. You have to answer the question that appears on the screen before you can move on to the next one. (But, if you want to change your answer at any time before you confirm it, just click on a different answer.)
  • Once you answer a question and confirm your response, you can´t return to that question. Tip: If you need to review the directions during the test, click on the "HELP" icon.

Should You Guess?

We get that question a lot. Because you have to answer a question to proceed to the next question, you should try to respond to each GMAT question, even if you need to guess.

The best approach is to give yourself enough time to answer every question in the GMAT. If you are running out of time at the end of a section and there are still unanswered questions, you should try to consider and answer as many questions as possible. Why? Because the number of unanswered questions will lower your score. Keep in mind, too, that guessing at random can also lower your score.

One last word of advice. You can still do well on the GMAT if you don´t answer every question correctly. If you can eliminate certain answers but can´t decide between two that you think could be the right answer, then guess. That´s an intelligent guess, and you are most likely better off making it and continuing with the test.

Managing Your Time :

  • Understanding the format of the test is important, because you´ll want to gauge your time according to what section of the test you are taking.
  • Pace yourself and keep track of your progress by knowing the amount of time you have left (it´s on the test screen). Each section is 75 minutes. You have about two minutes per Quantitative question and about 1.75 minutes per Verbal question.
  • Pay attention to the number of questions that remain in a section. There are 37 quantitative section questions. There are 41 verbal section questions.
  • Once a section begins, the time allotted starts to run down (shown as “TIME”).
  • Clicking on "HELP" doesn´t pause or stop the time.
  • Hiding the "TIME" information doesn´t pause or stop the time.
  • If you take an unscheduled break, test time doesn´t pause or stop even for a second · Between test sections, replenish your supply of scratch paper.
  • Take advantage of the five-minute breaks after test sections 2 and 3.
  • If a question is too time-consuming or if you do not know the answer, make an calculated guess.
  • If time is running out for a section and you haven´t answered every question, try to do so. (Remember, the number of questions answered affects your score.)

NOTE: You must respond to both essays and each multiple choice section of the test in order to receive scores.

Exiting or Quitting the Test:

  • If you exit a section and confirm you want to exit that section, you won´t be able to return to it.
  • If you click "Test Quit," you won´t receive a score for any section, even if you answered questions for some or all of the sections.
  • If you click "Section Exit" or "Test Quit,” you have to confirm your decision. So, if you clicked either of these buttons by mistake or you change your mind, just select the option “Return to Where I Was.”

NOTE: The policy on taking the GMAT multiple times is that you can only take one computer-based test per month. If you QUIT the test or canceled your scores, you are still considered to have taken one test for that month.

GMAT® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®.