Contrary to what you might believe, someone who scores a 720+ on the GMAT isn’t necessary a genius with an extraordinary IQ; neither is he necessarily a master of theoretical Math or English. In fact, many of the high scorers on GMAT aren’t too proficient with advanced math or even with advanced grammar. This is because the GMAT isn’t a test of content: the math and language concepts tested on the GMAT are at the most of high-school level.
What is the GMAT a test of?
The GMAT is actually a psychometric test that gauges very specific competencies of a candidate. These competencies are perceived as (by GMAC and Admission Committees) essential to become a successful business administrator.
Some of these competencies are characterized by one’s ability to recognize key patterns to make accurate and quick decisions.
Especially patterns that are recurring and predictable.
- Get to the core of an issue by identifying important details.
Also, being able to avoid getting distracted by an overflow of other not-so-important data or details within the argument, passage or sentence.
- Critically evaluate an issue at hand and formulate an effective plan of action rather than approach it mechanically or purely on the basis of “what you feel” about it.
Most 720+ scorers achieve high scores because they are able to apply these competencies (with or without their cognizance) when solving GMAT questions and, more importantly, apply them on test day. But how do these competencies apply on GMAT questions?
Think like a Business Administrator!!
The GMAT sentence correction is the most predominant type in the Verbal section, making up about 16 of the 37 questions. A lot of analysis on how time must be distributed to each question format reveals that a Sentence Correction question needs be solved within a minute! This is the only way to ensure that you dedicate enough time to strategically analyse and solve the other question types. That said, let’s look at a GMAT like Sentence Correction question to understand how you should be approaching them!
Try solving the following: You have one minute!
|During and immediately after the California gold rush, the way for a merchant to generate the most profit was to move a limited amount of scarce goods to San Francisco as quickly as possible, rather than to carry larger loads more slowly, determining the design of the clipper ship.
A) to carry larger loads more slowly, determiningB) to carry larger loads more slowly, a situation that determinedC) carry larger loads more slowly, which determinedD) slowly carry larger loads which determinedE) carrying larger loads more slowly, and this was a situation in determining
My guess is that it took you substantially more time than a minute to solve this.
The secret to solving hard questions within the allowed time is to realize that the GMAT isn’t a test of theory: there is bound to be some sort of pattern underlying each hard-to-crack question. Let’s see what patterns underlie this one!
Here are some observations about the question type
- Option A is always the same as the underlined portion – so we don’t have to read it again.
- There are certain similarities and differences among the answer options. So let’s work by segregating the differences and understanding which ‘split’ works (and which one doesn’t). This will help expedite the evaluation process.
Step 1: Read the sentence looking for errors
|…. the way for a merchant to generate the most profit was to move a limited amount of scarce goods to San Francisco as quickly as possible, rather than to carry larger loads more slowly, determining….|
The sentence says that ‘the way to make more profits was’ to X rather than to Y. Notice that X and Y (to move – to carry) are two sides of the reasoning. Their grammatical constructions should also be similar.
Step 2: Group options to understand underlying patterns
Options C, D and E do not start with “to carry” and therefore break the parallel construction discussed above. These options can therefore be eliminated.
Step 3: Eliminate Option until only one remains
Let’s look for further differences; this time between A and B.
|A) to carry larger loads more slowly, determining
B) to carry larger loads more slowly, a situation that determined
Option A doesn’t clearly elaborate who or what is ‘determining’ the design. Option B on the other hand fixes this ambiguity.
Answer: Option B
Wasn’t that simple?
On the GMAT it isn’t enough to be a master of concepts. It is very important to use strategic thinking and pattern recognition to ensure that you get to the correct answers as quickly as possible. This is essentially what differentiates a 720+ from the rest!
Want to know more about how you can achieve a 720+? Get in touch with us and we can schedule a one on one interaction with our experts to know exactly how you need to strategize your preparation for a fabulous GMAT score!