|GMAT Prep Guide- GMAT Tips and Strategies|
The Art of Guessing
Guessing, like pacing, is more important on the CAT than on any other
test you have ever taken. You'll have to guess often on the CAT because:
The key guessing strategy is P.O.E. (process of elimination). A big asset going into test day is knowing that one of the five possible answers must be right. If you can eliminate two of the choices, you can increase your chances of getting the right answer by 65% (from 20% or 1 in 5 to 33% or 1 in 3). Here's how to do it:
Eliminate answer choices you know are wrong. Even if you don't know the right answer, you can often tell that some of the answer choices are wrong. For example, on the Data Sufficiency questions, you can eliminate at least two of the answer choices by determining if one of the statements is true.
Avoid answer choices that look suspicious. For example, on Sentence Correction questions, beware of any answer choices that look completely different from all of the other choices. In the Quantitative section, you can usually eliminate any answers that are negative when all the other answers are positive.
Once you have narrowed down the list of answer choices, pick one of the remainders. It is a myth that some answer choices, like A or C, are more often correct than other choices.
You'll need to use your dry erase scratch paper because you are taking a test off of a computer screen, and you can't write on the screen. The result is that you'll sometimes have to carefully copy much of the question down onto paper without miscopying the information. This is awkward and difficult. It takes valuable time to recopy information and it increases the chance of a hurried error, so you have to be careful about what you copy and what you don't copy.
About 1/3 of the questions on the CAT are experimental and will be randomly mixed in with your normal questions. In these questions you are being used as a guinea pig for experimentation to assess the difficulty of the question. In the future, that question may be positioned at a different level depending on how students performed on it when it was an experimental question.
The consequence of the experimental questions is that you can't rely on all the questions being at your difficulty level. In other words, if you are a high scorer you can't expect all the questions past question five to be difficult (at your level). Try to avoid obsessing over how hard your questions are as a measure of your performance.
If you have a bad day, you have the option of canceling. When you
finish the test, the computer will offer the option of canceling the
test or accepting it. If you cancel the test, neither you nor any
school will see your score. If you accept the test, the computer will
display your score and it will be available to all schools (official
scores will be mailed about two weeks later). Relax and make sure
to schedule the test far in advance of when it is due. Make sure you
have adequate time to cancel and reschedule the test if necessary.
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