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Increasing Your GMAT Score By Finding Ways to Put Points on the Board

Ok, so let’s say you have prepared some for the GMAT and taken a full practice CAT. You see the score and it’s 100 points below what you want it to be. Now it’s time to figure out your next step.

You could do something like this, go back through the Official Guide and also review those verbal strategies you learned about, hoping that just by learning everything a little better you will get a higher score. Or you could do something a little more solid, find ways to put points on the board.

Here’s what I mean.

I am just going to use a round number and say that each additional question you get right is worth about a test section point. Clearly the dynamic of a computer adaptive test makes this a huge oversimplification. Sometimes an additional right answer is worth less than a section point. Sometimes one more right is good for more than a point. Still, this conceptual framework is useful, because what I am really working on here is your developing a mindset of coming up with ways to put points on the board.

So if, for instance, you want to put some quant section points on the board, ¬†you can find question types you usually get wrong. Practice one type, you become pretty sure to get one more question right. Then you practice another type, and learn all the concepts necessary for getting that type right. That’s good for another right answer or two, and so by getting better at those two question types you’re probably good for one or two more quant section points. Yes, getting more questions right will result in the test feeding you harder questions in general, but even so, the strategy works.

See what’s going on here? Instead of just reading through another strategy guide or “reviewing quant” in hopes that you will do better, you are picking specific ways to put points on the board and working on them until you are pretty much guaranteed to get those points when you take the test.

The strategy can work similarly on the verbal section. If you want to raise your verbal score by two points, learn to better handle five types of sentence correction errors. To raise it ten points, you might need to better understand and handle more adeptly a dozen sentence correction concepts, get better at handling certain critical reasoning question types and somehow speed up your reading of reading comp passages.

This method is not confined to working on specific concepts or question types either. If, for instance, you are making four careless or minor calculation type errors on a section, you might realize that if you can reduce that to one such error, you will get three more questions right and put some more points on the board. Alternatively, you might realize that you are getting anxious sometimes and that is affecting your performance. So in that case a little mindfulness practice might be good for two or three points.

Overall I like this approach because getting a higher score on the GMAT takes getting more questions right, and when one uses this approach, rather than just learning a bunch of stuff and hoping that doing that will translate into a higher score, you are finding specific things to do that are directly focused on getting you the points you want. That way things are goal driven, predictable and somewhat quantifiable, and also you gain the additional advantage of having a pretty good idea of how long it will take to get your score to your goal.


  1. Great tip – I just wish I had more time to classify all the question I get wrong and rectify my methods within this month.

    I’ll be glad to finish up the content of the course I am following right now.

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