GMAT Tip of the Day: Do Not Overinvest in the First 10 Questions in Quant or Verbal

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Do Not Overinvest in the First 10 Questions in Quant or Verbal

A common misconception is that if you correctly answer the first 10 questions on GMAT Quant or Verbal, you automatically get a great score. Maybe at some point during your GMAT test prep, you heard about this tactic. Maybe you decided that by adding this “secret weapon” to your arsenal on test day, you could give your score that extra little boost it was missing. Maybe, as a result, you saw your score decline.

Myths about the GMAT are never in short supply, but the myth of the first 10 GMAT questions is one with serious staying power. Unfortunately, the reality is that overinvesting time in the first 10 questions of a GMAT section can have a negative impact on your score.

For one thing, just because you answer the first 10 questions correctly does not mean that the GMAT scoring algorithm will have you pegged as a “high scorer,” and thus regardless of what happens on the remaining questions, you will get a great score. Furthermore, by spending more time on those initial 10 questions than you normally would, you most likely will end up having to rush at the end of a section to make up time, and maybe even guess on several questions, both of which will hurt your score.

For example, let’s assume that you use 40 minutes to answer the first 10 questions of the Quant section correctly; how will the rest of the section go with only 22 minutes remaining to answer 21 questions? You won’t have sufficient time to correctly answer many of those questions, even if they are within your skill level, and those incorrect answers will degrade your Quant score substantially. As you near the end of the Quant section, more than likely you will be forced to guess on a string of final questions, further dropping your score. So, even though at question 10 you had a very high score, by question 31, there is a high likelihood that your score will have plummeted. In fact, your quant score likely will end up being much lower than it would have been had you devoted a reasonable amount of time to each question in the section, pacing yourself from beginning to end.

Are the first 10 questions of a section important? Of course. If you answered all of them correctly, would you be scoring very well on that section at that moment? Yes. However, overinvesting time in the first “X number of questions” is a poor GMAT strategy because any gains that brings will more than likely evaporate by the time you reach the final “X number of questions.”

Happy studying! ✨

Warmest regards,
Scott