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Are you gearing up to take the GMAT exam? As you prepare for this crucial step toward your business school aspirations, it’s essential to be aware of the common pitfalls many test-takers stumble upon during the GMAT prep. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the frequently made mistakes on the GMAT exam and equip you with the knowledge to avoid them. So, fasten your seatbelt, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s dive into the world of GMAT blunders and how to steer clear of them.

In this blog:

1. Not Creating a Solid GMAT Study Plan

Structure your path to success!

One of the most critical mistakes you can make when preparing for the GMAT is failing to devise a solid study plan. Without a roadmap, you risk wasting time, feeling overwhelmed, and missing crucial topics. Take the time to create a detailed study plan that encompasses all areas of the test, allocates sufficient time for each section, and includes regular review sessions. Remember, a well-structured plan is the foundation of your GMAT success!

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2. Underestimating Official GMAT Practice Tests

Practice makes perfect!

You might have heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” and this holds especially true for the GMAT exam. Underestimating the value of official practice tests can hinder your performance on the actual exam day. These practice tests not only help you become familiar with the format and timing but also assess your progress and identify areas for improvement on the GMAT exam. Make it a habit to incorporate official GMAT practice tests into your study routine to boost your confidence and refine your test-taking strategies.

3. Ignoring Time Management on GMAT

Tick-tock, tick-tock!

Time management plays a crucial role in the GMAT exam. With strict time limits for each section, failing to manage your time effectively can lead to rushed answers, incomplete sections, and increased stress levels. Practice pacing yourself during your study sessions, aiming to answer questions within the allotted time. Time management skills for the GMAT exam can be honed through consistent practice, allowing you to approach the actual exam with confidence and ease.

4. Overlooking Proper Sleep & Nutrition During GMAT Prep

Rest and recharge!

When preparing for the GMAT exam, it’s easy to get caught up in the study frenzy and neglect your well-being. However, overlooking the importance of proper sleep and nutrition can have a significant impact on your cognitive abilities and overall performance. Ensure you get enough restful sleep and maintain a balanced diet to keep your brain sharp and focused during your study sessions and on the exam day.

5. Failing to Read the GMAT Question Stem Carefully

Read between the lines!

In the rush of the exam, many test-takers fall into the trap of skim-reading the question stems and missing crucial details. To avoid this mistake, make it a habit to read the question stem carefully, underlining keywords, and identifying what the question is specifically asking for. Understanding the question stem thoroughly will help you navigate through the answer choices more effectively and increase your chances of selecting the correct option.

10 GMAT Reading Comprehension Questions with Solutions

6. Not Utilizing the Process of Elimination

Cross off the wrong choices!

When faced with multiple-choice questions, not utilizing the process of elimination is a common error made by test-takers. Instead of trying to find the correct answer directly, start by eliminating the options you know are incorrect. This strategy improves your odds of selecting the correct answer and saves you precious time. Remember, even if you’re unsure about the correct choice, eliminating the wrong ones significantly increases your chances of guessing correctly.

7. Relying Solely on Memorization for GMAT Concepts

Understanding is key!

Memorizing formulas, rules, and concepts without fully understanding them is a recipe for disaster on the GMAT exam. Instead of solely relying on rote memorization, strive to comprehend the underlying principles and apply them to various scenarios. This approach enables you to tackle complex problems more effectively and enhances your ability to adapt to different question formats.

8. Neglecting to Review Mistakes on GMAT Practice Tests

Learn from your missteps!

After completing practice questions or mock exams, many test-takers tend to move on without thoroughly reviewing their mistakes. However, analyzing your errors is a crucial step toward improvement. Take the time to review each incorrect answer, understand the reasoning behind it, and learn from your missteps. By identifying recurring patterns and areas of weakness, you can focus your efforts on specific topics that require additional attention.

9. Focusing Only on Your Strengths During GMAT Prep

Embrace your weaknesses!

It’s natural to gravitate toward topics you feel more comfortable with, but solely focusing on your strengths can leave you ill-prepared for the GMAT exam. Remember that the test covers a wide range of concepts, and neglecting weaker areas can significantly impact your overall score. Identify your weaknesses early on and allocate sufficient study time to bolster your understanding and performance in those areas.

10. Succumbing to Test Anxiety On The GMAT Exam Day

Keep calm and carry on!

Test anxiety can sabotage even the most well-prepared test-takers. Don’t let nerves get the best of you during the GMAT exam. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and positive visualization, to manage anxiety and maintain focus. Remember, you’ve put in the effort, and you’re well-prepared. Trust in your abilities and approach the exam with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Is it necessary to take a GMAT preparation course?

While not mandatory, a GMAT preparation course can provide valuable guidance, practice materials, and strategies to enhance your performance. It can be particularly beneficial if you prefer a structured approach to studying.

Q2: How many times can I take the GMAT exam?

You can take the GMAT exam up to five times within a rolling 12-month period, with a gap of at least 16 days between each attempt. However, it’s advisable to aim for your best possible score within the first two or three attempts.

Q3: Should I guess if I’m unsure about an answer?

A3: Yes, it’s generally recommended to make an educated guess if you’re uncertain about an answer. The GMAT does not penalize for incorrect answers, so guessing gives you a chance of selecting the correct option.

Q4: Can I use a calculator during the GMAT exam?

No, the GMAT does not permit the use of calculators. The exam is designed to assess your ability to reason and solve problems without external aids.

Q5: How long is the GMAT exam?

The GMAT exam lasts for approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes, including breaks and instructions.

Q6: Can I cancel my GMAT score if I’m not satisfied with my performance?

Yes, you have the option to cancel your GMAT score. However, it’s important to note that canceled scores will still appear on your score report, and business schools may consider them when reviewing your application.


As you gear up to conquer the GMAT exam, being aware of the common mistakes to avoid is essential. By structuring your study plan, utilizing official practice tests, managing your time effectively, prioritizing your well-being, and implementing effective test-taking strategies, you can enhance your chances of achieving a stellar score. Remember to review your mistakes, focus on both strengths and weaknesses, and approach the exam day with confidence. With the right mindset and preparation, you can tackle the GMAT like a pro and take a step closer to realizing your business school dreams.

Explore more on your GMAT prep with these GMAT prep videos.

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