Top 5 Ways to Flunk the GMAT

The best ways to perform badly on your GMAT. Follow each to the letter and you’ll be sure to flunk terribly well!

1. Get Yourself Really Stressed Out.
In order to really hinder your ability to learn new information and memorize GMAT concepts, be sure to get stressed out to the max. Put yourself under a lot of pressure and resist taking breaks or coming up for air while studying. This will ensure that you can’t sleep, get plenty headaches, become constipated and incredibly irritable. Plus, being stressed means that you might not need food, because stress inhibits your appetite. So you can save some money and time cooking, and spend more time studying off an empty tank!

OR, you could…
Manage your stress levels sensibly. Stress is what got you this far, it pushed you into studying and taking the test. But when stress gets too much, your studies and performance will suffer. As soon as you think your stress levels are getting too high, be sure to take a break -change up your environment, laugh (with an old friend or at a funny movie), get some fresh air and remind yourself that it’s not the end of the world. (And there are always GMAT retakes!)

Your memory, understanding and performance will all thank you for it.

2. Go with what Sounds Natural on the Verbal Section.
“Hey, I don’t care what the GMAT takers say, I’m a native English speaker and I know what sounds natural!”

OR, you could…

Learn what the test takers consider to be correct.

GMAT grammar follows the rules of Standard English – those rules that should be followed but in everyday life tend not to be. This is why this section is difficult for non-native speakers and native speakers alike. Sometimes the correct answer just doesn’t sound natural. Just for this period of your life, learn what is “GMAT correct”, even if it doesn’t seem to be “common sense correct” to you. Whatever the GMAT testers say goes, I’m afraid. They are the boss here.

3. Be Sure to Blow your Timing!
Spend loads of time on the problems that you can’t solve. This way you will never get to the ones that you can solve, but you might, might just be able to crack the most difficult ones, eventually. Yay!

Or you could…

Be vigilant with your time management. Did you know that some of the questions on the GMAT are experimental and won’t actually count towards your score? This is just one reason why there is no point spending too long on the harder questions. The other reason is that you will answer fewer questions and you won’t be able to get as far with the test, nor get points for the questions that you can solve. Stick to strict time constraints and your score will be much improved as a result.

4. Protect Your Ego At all Costs.
Don’t hurt your pride – stick with a question until you’ve solved it.You don’t want to admit that you can’t do it, so keep trying it until you work out the answer! Yes, even if it takes 20 minutes. You’ll feel good at the end of it.

OR you could..

Let it go and move on. It can be uncomfortable for some people to accept, but you have to guess aggressively on the GMAT. Just accept that you can’t solve it (in a reasonable amount of time) guess, and move on. Do not let your pride get in the way, and accept defeat graciously. Focus on how you (and your ego) will feel when you get a 780 vs 500!

5. Don’t Prepare Physically for the Test.

Study the night before until super late, get a terrible night’s sleep, skip breakfast and have 3 cups of coffee instead. You’ll be nice and hungry, jittery and uncomfortable, and won’t be able to focus. Perfect conditions for flunking the GMAT!

OR you could..

Walk into the test center feeling well-rested, well hydrated and with plenty of time to spare until the test. Get your 6-8 hours sleep if possible. Be sure not to head to bed too early, instead hit the sack when you feel sleepy. This will help you avoid tossing and turning all night. Leave enough time to have breakfast, a drink and use the bathroom is poss. Take a brisk walk and give yourself a pep talk!

Have directions to the test center printed out, research the parking situation (some public parking garages don’t open until 8am – don’t get caught out!), have change for parking meter, gas in your tank, or bus/ train timetables worked out. Having someone reliable take you in if possible may help settle your nerves.

And if you enjoy a cup of coffee… caffeine is known to increase short term recall and boost performance on mental tests. It can boost your memory and reasoning, and hence your test performance. So feel free to have a cup before the test, just don’t go overboard!


This is an article by Brandon Wu, author of 30 Day GMAT Success, a GMAT Guide for people taking the GMAT but with limited time to study. When Brandon isn’t at his computer, he is walking the dog or eating noodles.

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