10 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making on Tests like GMAT and GRE


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Jul 01, 2022 06:39 PM IST

Are you planning to take the GRE or GMAT test? Then you should definitely avoid making these mistakes! Find out how to prepare for the GRE and GMAT exams.  

10 Mistakes You Should Avoid Making on Tests like GMAT and GRE

The number of Indian students applying for higher education abroad is growing every single day. According to experts, India is likely to become the largest student market for foreign universities due to the large number of students aspiring to look for employment opportunities abroad. Given the current scenario where an increasing number of Indian students are applying for graduate programmes like MBA and MS, it is evident that the takers for tests like GRE and GMAT will also rise in great numbers. 

USA, Canada, UK and Germany are some of the popular destinations for Indian students to pursue these courses. The universities in these countries accept admission on the basis of GRE and GMAT scores along with the English language test scores like IELTS and TOEFL. While candidates who plan to take GRE or GMAT tests are well aware of the test pattern and syllabus, many end up making some common mistakes during the course of their preparation as well on the day of the test. Knowingly or unknowingly, these mistakes happen and eventually, it affects candidates' performance.

By being well-informed in advance, one can avoid these mistakes and score well on the GRE and GMAT tests. Let us figure out some of the common mistakes made by candidates preparing for GRE/ GMAT or while taking the test. 

Do you need an advanced and personalised study plan to prepare for standardised tests such as GRE/GMAT? Let our experts guide you to crack the GRE/GMAT to make the grade.

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Choosing the Wrong Study Material

There are various books and online material available for a student to prepare for the GRE and GMAT test. However, students must ensure to choose the right and authentic material for practice. 

Candidates must give adequate time for test preparation using GRE practise tests, sample papers, mock tests and the best study material. The practise tests for GRE can be accessed from the official website of ETS which is the conducting body of GRE. Similarly, the practice tests and study material for GMAT are suggested by GMAC. 

Some of the best books to prepare for GRE are ETS GRE: The Official Guide to Revised General Test, Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides, The Princeton Review GRE Prep 2021 and  Manhattan Prep GRE Set of 8 Strategy Guides. Find more information about the Best Books for GRE Preparation here.

GMAT Official Guide Verbal Review/ Quantitative Review: Book by GMAC, The Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set, GMAT Advanced Quant: 250+ Practice Problems & Bonus Online Resources are the books to prepare for GMAT. Find more information about the Best Books for GMAT Preparation here.

Not Following a Study Plan

Candidates must realise at a very early stage of their preparation that the last-minute preparation is not going to help them perform well in GRE or GMAT. Preparing for such standardised exams takes a good amount of time and effort. Plan on spending two to three months and 100-120 hours absorbing material and practising on a regular basis. Top GRE and GMAT scorers spend an average of 120+ hours studying for test days and Score a Perfect 800 on GMAT. In order to score good marks, you must start your preparation early and follow a regular routine for each day.

Not Taking Mock Tests

It is rightly said that practice makes a man perfect. One of the best ways to prepare for the GRE and GMAT exam is to practise mock tests. Mock tests not only help candidates build confidence but also improve the speed and accuracy of taking tests. 

Candidates who practice mock tests perform much better in the actual GRE and GMAT than those who didn't take them. Thus, it is highly recommendable that students practise as many mock tests as possible before appearing in GRE or GMAT entrance tests.

Since the actual GRE and GMAT test is Computerised Adaptive Practice Tests, the candidate must ensure to take mock tests designed similar to the actual test.

Not Doing Analysis of Mock Tests  

Practising mock tests without detailed analysis at the end of the test is like a job half done. It is necessary to analyse mistakes at the end of each practice test to identify weaknesses and abilities. Doing a detailed analysis will help candidates identify the section where they need to give extra attention. It is a long-term process but helps a lot in enhancing the performance on the actual day of the test. 

Candidates must take as many mock tests as they can and tally their scores using GMAT Score Calculator or GRE Score Calculator, as per their preferred test type. They must give equal attention to all the sections asked in the test.

Not Paying Attention to Weaknesses

Merely identifying the weaknesses and weaker sections are not the solution. Candidates must also try to overcome it in order to score well on the GRE and GMAT test. Often students pay less attention to their weaker sections during the preparation time and tend to regret it later on.

Thus, it is important that the student pays attention to all sections of the GRE/GMAT. Even if an individual is good at one section, they must try to improve their scores in other sections. Let us say, only the quantitative section is not sufficient for the overall performance in the test. Candidates must not forget to pay attention to the GRE Verbal section as is often considered more challenging than the GMAT Verbal section by most of the test-takers. For this, you must keep a GRE Words List handy as not to get confused with obscure words.  

Spending Too Much Time on a Question

The aim of candidates must be to attempt all questions asked in the GRE or GMAT. All the efforts of candidates may go in vain if they cannot answer all questions within the stipulated time.  Thus, candidates must keep track of the amount of time spent on solving each question and not spend too much time on questions which are tricky and hard to solve.

Panicking Over Losing Time

While taking the test, the timer keeps running on the screen which may make the candidate panic and get carried away. However, with a certain amount of patience and calmness, the candidate can overcome such situations. Just a little cautiousness is required while solving the problem to avoid panicking over losing the time while attempting the test. 

Not Reading the Questions Carefully 

Often in a hurry to attempt questions, the candidate may not read the instructions carefully. Many times, the questions may be tricky and the candidate may end up selecting the wrong option for the answer. It is, thus, advisable to read the questions carefully and only then mark the most appropriate answer. 

Confirming the Answer Without Cross-Checking

Often, students are in a hurry to attempt questions for the GRE and GMAT and in a rush of doing so they end up making the option without cross-checking which may tend to be wrong. Some questions are designed in GRE and GMAT to judge the presence of mind of a candidate and tend to be tricky. The option that seems to be right at first may at times be wrong. It is, thus, important to cross-check the option every time a candidate confirms an option. This will help them avoid silly mistakes and perform better in the test. 

Avoiding Proper Rest 

Taking good care of both physical and mental health must be the foremost priority of the candidate. They must follow a proper diet and take adequate sleep for a couple of weeks before the test day. Candidates must avoid last-minute preparation and focus more on rest to avoid panic and restlessness. 

Proper rest helps an individual retain anything better and also it improves attention and focus. The candidate must avoid studying a day before the test and keep things ready like admit card, ID and other necessary materials that are needed to be carried on the day of the examination. 

Hope the above information is useful for the reader and will help them perform better in the GRE or GMAT exam. Keep a note of these common mistakes discussed above and stick to your study plan to clear the GMAT/GRE with a flourish of the trumpet. 

Students can also write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com and clear out their doubts regarding tests and study abroad admissions.

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Is GMAT preparation enough for GRE?

No, GMAT preparation is not enough for the GRE exam. You cannot prepare for the GRE with the GMAT. Even if the GRE's quantitative requirements are less difficult than those of the GMAT, the GRE's writing and vocabulary requirements may be more difficult.

Is GMAT better than the GRE for MBA?

Yes, it can be said that the GMAT is better than the GRE for MBA. The GRE is a test that students can take to gain admission to graduate programmes across practically all subjects, including the MBA. On the other hand, the GMAT is a test that is exclusively designed for applicants to business schools. Most business schools typically give preference to the GMAT over the GRE.

How can I tackle mistakes while taking the GRE/GMAT exam?

The simplest way to tackle mistakes while taking the GRE/GMAT exam is to stay focused from the beginning till the end. Spend some time carefully reading the question and determining what it is asking; note everything in the question and highlight any requirements. Read the question carefully, reflect on it for five seconds, and then jot down the answers on paper. Do not pick up the pencil right away after reading the question in a hurry.

How do I stop rushing through the calculations while taking the GRE/GMAT exam?

You can stop rushing through the calculations while taking the GRE/GMAT exam not skipping the steps or not trying to do so much in a single step. Make sure to record each calculation step you perform and divide the answer into manageable chunks. The most frequent error that students make in algebra and mathematics involves the use of minus signs. They either completely disregard the minus sign or solve it improperly and lose marks.

How can I improve my time management skills for GRE/GMAT?

You can improve your time management skills for GRE/GMAT by practising as much as mock tests as you can and that too in a timed manner. Regular practice allows you to grasp the time limits for different sorts of questions and plan your strategy for the actual exam. It is also necessary to maintain track of time at regular intervals through the exam.

How can I avoid making silly mistakes in GRE quantitative section?

You can avoid making silly mistakes in GRE quantitative section by following the tips mentioned below:

  • Do not translate a word problem into a complex equation if two sub-questions are combined in a single question.

  • Improve your handwriting.

  • Always include units after you write an answer or a unit conversion problem 

  • Take one step at a time while doing calculations

  • Look out for double negatives while multiplying

Is 162 a good GRE quant score?

Yes, 162 is a good GRE quant score which is a 75th percentile score. It states that, compared to most of the other test-takers, you performed better. However, a 90th percentile score is considered outstanding and will be competitive for most programmes.  

What is GRE vs GMAT difficulty level?

GRE vs GMAT difficulty level lies in the quantitative section of the GMAT which is more difficult than the GRE. While the GMAT includes more logical reasoning problems, the GRE section often contains more geometry questions. Contrarily, the GMAT's verbal section typically uses terminology that is more challenging than the GRE's verbal section.

Can I apply to universities that require GMAT scores if I took the GRE?

Yes, you can apply to universities that require GMAT scores even if you took the GRE. You may find various GRE score conversion websites online. If the conversion scores are accepted by the university you want to attend, you can inquire about it. If not, you will at least have a rough notion of how you did on the GMAT. With a little additional study, you will be prepared for the GMAT just as you would have been for the GRE.

Which test is easier: GRE or GMAT?

The answer to the question of which test is easier, GRE or GMAT, depends on the test-taker. If you struggle with Quant, the GMAT will appear to be extremely challenging. Meanwhile, if you struggle with vocabulary and grammatical nuances, the GRE verbal exam may seem to be extremely challenging.

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