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The 3 Mistakes Indian Aspirants Make on the GMAT


This week’s edition of Wednesday Wisdoms talks about the 3 classic GMAT mistakes Indian aspirants make, & how to modify your test prep techniques for a higher score.

Over the last couple of years, I have been teaching students both in India, and I have also had students who have come in from the U.S., and the question that I usually get asked by my students is – do you see the difference between the way an Indian approaches the GMAT versus the native speaker (American) would approach the GMAT? The answer is yes. I think there is a significant difference in the way we tend to look at the test.
So let me give you the 3 things that I think that as Indians we tend to do a little differently.

But before that, watch a quick video of the same!


1. The first thing I have noticed that on Sentence Correction, one advice that I usually tell students is – do not focus on idioms! The exclusion of other things such as parallelism or modifiers or any basic rule. First apply the basic rules, don’t get into clarity and concession and idiomatic usage till the very end.
Only when you are in the last 2 answer choices, and you have to decide between them based on these rules, do not do so. It’s just that we tend to not have a very good ear for English because it’s just that we have been exposed to English which is sub-optimal English.


2. The second thing I usually advice students, especially when it comes to Reading Comprehension – do not try to understand the passage. I don’t see the need to understand the entire passage to answer questions. Usually what I say is the way we read, we tend to read it to understand so we can be asked anything based on that (passage), but it doesn’t work that way on the GMAT.
Don’t focus on understanding the whole passage, I don’t see the reason behind it. In fact many a time on a tough passage, I may not be able to understand more than say 50 to 60% of the passage at any given point. But, I would be able to go back to the passage if required to answer questions, so get away with this fixation of trying to understand the whole passage.


3. The third thing and something which is probably non-verbal is the way Indians tend to approach maths. The way our curriculum is, it’s not problem solving really. If you understand, GMAT says it’s problem solving. Where as what we are very good at is given a formula, we’ll be able to plug in values and we will be able to get an answer.
On the GMAT, this is not going to work above the 70th percentile, above a 47-48 raw score, this is not going to work. You would need to have a swiss-knife… kind of approach where we have multiple ways to attack a problem.
You could actually go from the answers to the questions, try to plug in values in the case of data-sufficiency, try to do something which is more than just putting in the values and getting the answer. Try to expand the way you solve the problem.


So these are the 3 things I would like to share with the Indian GMAT test takers – first, do not worry about idioms on SC, anyway GMAT is reducing the focus on American idioms. #2 in RC do not get fixated with understanding the entire passage and #3 try to look at various ways in which a Quant problem can be solved.


So that’s what we have for this week’s Wednesday Wisdoms, I’ll share some more tips with you next week. Thank you.

Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.
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