How to Guess an Answer Choice Better on GMAT

Use this video to learn how to Guess An Answer Choice Better. Do grasp the tips well in order to deliver an optimum performance on the test.

How to Guess an Answer Choice Better

As we have mentioned in several other articles, it is important to not stick to any one question for too long, on the GMAT. Given the time constraints of the GMAT, you cannot afford to devote more than two minutes to any given question. However, as the penalty for leaving the test incomplete is higher than the penalty for a few wrong answers, the best course of action, in such situations is to try and guess the answer. In this short article, we will cover a few methods that you can use to improve your guesses.

Logical Elimination

To improve your chances of getting the right answer, you must try to eliminate as many answer choices as possible, before you guess, as quickly as possible. Here are a few examples of logical shortcuts that you can use to eliminate answer choices swiftly.

Example 1 - If there is a question that is asking you about the area of any diagram with an arc in it, the correct answer choice is likely to include a pi symbol. Thus, any choices that do not can be eliminated.

Example 2 - Consider a problem solving question that involves the numbers 12, 15, 10, and 8, and the answer choices include 7 and 13, those choices can be eliminated, as they are awkward. Given the numbers involved in this question, and especially if it involves multiplication and division, we can expect the answer to be a multiple or factor of one of the given numbers.

Example 3 - Choices with an extreme verbal tone can be eliminated in all verbal questions. The GMAT maintains a moderate, business communication tone and strives to avoid offending anyone from any cultural background. So, any answer choice that employs extreme language is likely to be incorrect.

Example 4 - Irrelevant answer choices in CR and RC questions can be eliminated. If the information presented in the answer choice has nothing to do with the passage or question asked, then it is definitely not the correct choice.

Example 5 - Extremely long answer choices in sentence correction questions, as unlikely to be correct and can be eliminated. The GMAT favors brevity.

Example 6 - When you are in a hurry, awkward sounding answer choices can also be dismissed in the sentence correction questions.

Once you have eliminated all the incorrect options that you can, make an educated guess from among the remaining choices, and move on.

Additional Tips

In DS questions, when you think an answer is E, it might actually be C. Remember, "Question cannot be answered" is different from "I cannot answer the question". In SC questions, mark the shortest answer choice, these have a slightly higher chance of being correct. Similarly, in RC and CR questions, choose the longest answer choice. In PS questions, look for answer choices with a 0 in them.

Above all, however, keep in mind that these strategies are only to drive that extra point of luck in your favor. None of this will actually define your GMAT score; it is only understanding the concepts that will deliver a good GMAT performance.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One videos.

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