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GMAT Tip: Strategies to Avoid When Pacing Yourself During the GMAT

GMAT Tip: Strategies to Avoid When Pacing Yourself During the GMAT

Chances are, if you live anywhere along the East Coast, you’ve been inundated with news about Winter Storm Jonas aka Snowmageddon aka The Big One of 2016. If you skim your social media newsfeed, you see pictures of bare grocery store shelves, kitchen tables filled with wine, beer, cookies & other comfort foods, and maybe some cross-country skis.  Feel free to insert any other natural disaster or scenario that would force you to spend an extended period of time with family and/or roommates in close quarters.

You may be thinking, I’ve read this blog before. Blizzard blogs tell me to appreciate the forced time off, ditch the beer and Netflix bingefest and work on data sufficiency and critical reasoning instead. This is not that blog.

If you’re going to survive Snowmageddon and still like your friends and family, it’s important to remember one thing: pacing. Sure everyone wants to run out and make snow angels or shovel the driveway within the first two hours of that first snowflake, but what happens at hour 10, 20, 48? The GMAT is similar. You’ve spent months preparing, and you’re ready to rush out of the gate and tackle everything at 110%.

Let’s take a look at some of the pacing pitfalls that you might encounter.

  • The “I’ll Shovel the Entire Driveway Every 2-3 Hours” or First 10 Question myth: If you’re expecting multiple feet of snow, and you go out every few hours to shovel your entire driveway, you’re going to run out of steam before the storm ends. I spent 9 years working at the non-profit that develops and delivers the GMAT. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if the first 10 questions on the GMAT counted more than others, I probably could’ve retired after my first 3 years. Over the years, folks have been led to believe that your GMAT fate is decided in the first 10 questions. However, what isn’t talked about is the significant penalty that’s incurred if you don’t finish a section.
  • The “Just 5 More Minutes” or Rationalizing Extra Time myth: When you were a kid, did you beg for just five more minutes or one more run down the hill? Rather than pulling a John Elway and exiting on top, that last ride would be the one that resulted in hitting a bump and wiping out face first. On the GMAT, you’re going to encounter some easy questions, but even more challenging ones. If you’ve done your homework, you’re going to be fairly confident that you know how to solve most… but you might need just one or two more minutes. Beware of the time suck questions that might derail your pacing plan and lead you to the dreaded incomplete.
  • The “Let’s Watch/Eat Everything Now” or Use All Your Tricks Early myth: You went to the store, got the last gallon of milk, made a crock pot of chili, and are ready to binge watch your favorite TV show. So let’s make hot chocolate, eat chili and turn on the TV now! Then you’ve wasted all of your energy and have nothing left for Day 2. The first hour of the GMAT consists of the Analytical Writing Assessment and Integrated Reasoning. Both are important, but likely won’t make or break your application. Don’t waste all of your energy and brain power on the first hour. Save something for quant and verbal. Again, pace yourself for the nearly 4 hours at the test center.

So while you’re watching the snow fall, remember the importance of pacing so you can emerge from winter’s first big storm with your friend and family network still intact. And while you’re at it, it might not hurt to crack open your Official Guide while you’re not binge watching Netflix.


The above GMAT Tip comes from Veritas Prep. Since its founding in 2002, Veritas Prep has helped more than 100,000 students prepare for the GMAT and offers the most highly rated GMAT Prep course in the industry.

Special Offer Enroll in a Veritas Prep GMAT course through MetroMBA and save $100. Use the discount code CLAS100 to save $100. Find a course now!

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