Why is your GMAT score not improving?

So many students work hard to get a good GMAT score that there are bound to be failure. But, when you work hard and cover all your bases, your score should at least improve right? Read on to find out why that might not be as easy as you think. While you may be everything the internet asks you to, your very perception of the exam has to change for you to improve. Here are the most often ignored reasons that lead to a repetitive poor score.

1. You are not disciplined with your time management

In the GMAT, we need to solve a question every 1.40 seconds in verbal and 2.00 minutes in quant. The time management you bring in has to reflect that with every question. Often, students end up taking too much time early on and are left scurrying to finish the paper towards the end. This essentially guarantees that you finish the paper on your knees, defeated. 

What you want to do is set a time limit for every question since the beginning. If you save time with a question, you can use that extra time, otherwise, guess and move on. You will thank us later when you can at least finish the paper! You need to test your average time for every question type well in advance – even before you start taking mocks. A decent portion of your preparation has to be dedicated solely to time management since it is the most common reason that students fail to score in the paper.

2. You never worked on your core aptitude

Over a period of time, you could have practiced a ton of material and learnt how to solve all types of questions. Eliminate ‘being’ and ‘skim through the passage’ are good enough, right? No, they are not. When you use these tricks, you are essentially falling for the simplest of traps. The exam is not conducted in a bubble. The test makers have access to the same material that test takers do. If you were making questions for GMAT, wouldn’t you create questions to trap students who use these tricks? Exactly. 

Forget tricks and shortcuts. Improve your core aptitude skills such as quant translation, critical thinking in terms of factors, speed of calculations etc..  

3. You do not take the other test takers into account

In the GMAT, you are competing against other test takers, not the exam. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you need to master every question type. You simply need to do better, on average, than a certain percentage of people. Play to your strengths and cover your weaknesses. Do not try to do everything or you are likely to burn out or just end up utterly confused.

4. Your calculations are weak

Oh quant! Why art thou such a pain in the noggin! You can work on every concept out there and be able to solve it all but if you add 2 and 3 to make 6, you will never spot it in the exam. You probably had to read it twice to understand what was  wrong here. Calculations in quant are probably more important than all the concepts combined. So, forget the formulas and get to calculating like a machine. No, it is not something you are born with. I built it up. You can too. 

5. You need to read more than once to understand a text

Reading ability is perhaps the least worked on skill for GMAT. We are so busy solving questions, we never pause to work on the one thing that we have to do for every single question – read and comprehend correctly and quickly. How often do you find yourself wondering how you got the answer wrong only to find out you misread? That is not a silly error. It is a big, big part of aptitude. So, put the pen down and pick up a good non-fiction book to read.

You won’t become good at the paper doing things you like to do. If that were the case, everyone would be a 760.