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Mahesh Ramani

Mahesh Ramani is a senior content editor for the Hotcourses India- an IDP company.


12 Aug 2015 159 Book icon 2 mins Share

Common mistakes students make while writing the GMAT

We've listed down the common mistakes students make while writing the GMAT and tips on how to avoid them

12 Aug 2015 159 Book icon 2 mins Share
Mahesh Ramani

Mahesh Ramani is a senior content editor for the Hotcourses India- an IDP company.


Share this article
Common mistakes students make while writing the GMAT

‘MBA’ - The magical passport to success, high-flying careers, lucrative salaries and a sense of power. The GMAT is used by institutions around the world to test the skills of students aspiring to study an MBA. The GMAT is administered by the ‘Graduate Management Admission Council’. Currently the GMAT has four sections as follows: 

  • Analytical Writing Assessment - 1 Topic
  • Integrated Reasoning - 12 Questions
  • Quantitative - 37 Questions
  • Verbal - 41 Questions

With a duration of 3 hours and 30 minutes, the GMAT can be quite physically and mentally demanding. This article explores the various mistakes committed by students who write the GMAT.The article also offers tips to help students score well in the GMAT.

Mistake - 1 - Careless blunders:

What is the difference between a mistake and a blunder? Well a really silly mistake is a monumental blunder. Example - If you subtract values instead of adding them or if you use ‘expect’ instead of ‘except’ in your essay.

Mistake - 2 - Rushing through or going too slow:

You know the exact time that you have been allotted for the various sections of the test. So do not rush through the test or go too slow. Before you take the actual GMAT - write as many mock tests as possible with a timer in place to improve your speed. There is no such thing as a partially correct or a partially wrong answer in the GMAT. You either get it right or wrong or skip the question. 

Mistake - 3 - Misinterpreting questions:

Many a time when reading a question quickly, you may fail to read it clearly and misinterpret the question. This is a sure-shot way to answer incorrectly.

How to Crack the GMAT?

In addition to all the regular preparation that you do, we advise that you create an ‘error log’. You could just enter your list of errors in a small diary or notebook and keep revisiting it. Alternatively, open a new spreadsheet on your computer and tabulate the various errors that you make in your practice tests. The aim is to cut down on the errors with each passing day. When you are finally ready to take the GMAT, you should be able to avoid the mistakes that you have made before in the practice tests.

Sample Error Log:

The error log can be customised as per user requirements. A sample error log is given below for your reference

Serial Number


Page Number / Question Number




Princeton Guide

P-20 - Q-13


Formula Application Error


Kaplan Guide

P-12 - Q-35


Pronouns Usage


Kaplan Guide

P-30 - Q-10




GMAT Mock Test

P-20 - Q-17



If you solve enough mock-tests, you will get a clear understanding of your weaknesses and strengths. For some students - the algebra-based questions might be tough. Others may face a problem with the verbal module. The aim is to work bit-by-bit on one’s weaknesses and overcome them.

Also remember that timing is a critical factor. Assuming that you have completed a total of 15 mock-tests over a three-month period; you should have completed the 15th mock-test way quicker than the first one.

The Essay:

The Analytical Writing Assessment or ‘essay’has been known to make or break the GMAT. There is a strong misconception that an MBA programme is all about numbers, statistics and strategic analysis. People forget that effective communication and clear writing are two skills that are respected in all industries. Read a lot, stay tuned into current affairs and learn to write without beating around the bush. One does not need to use pompous language to write a good essay. What is needed is a clear line of thinking and simple direct language to ace the essay! Needless to say, write enough practice essays, get them read by your teachers and friends and ask for feedback and suggestions for improvement.

We hope that you found this article useful. There are some more articles lined up, which will be useful for students aspiring to write the GMAT. Stay tuned to the website for new articles.

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