Most Common GMAT Traps (Avoid them at all costs)

Have you ever done a GMAT question and were confident you did everything correctly, only to discover – to your huge surprise – that you got that question wrong?

If you have, you’re not alone! Almost everyone falls into GMAT traps sooner or later, so learning these traps will definitely help you avoid them! Moreover, knowing the silly mistakes that other people are making can often lead you directly to the right answer without doing too much work!

While there are too many traps to list in this short blog, here are the most common ones – among the dozens of traps that we teach in our GMAT Express self-prep program or the GMAT Mastery instructor-guided course:

Arithmetic Traps

How many numbers are there between 10 and 20, inclusive?…

Are you trying to decide whether there are 9, 10, or 11 such numbers? If you are, think again! There is an infinite number of numbers between 10 and 20. We mostly use whole numbers in our everyday lives, and the GMAT can’t wait to take advantage of our common habits! Unless the GMAT tells you that the number is an integer, it doesn’t have to be!

Speaking about habits, you may have experienced, by now, that sometimes our bad habits drag us down. The key to success on the GMAT will be learning good strategies upfront, and then practicing them until they become good habits.

When you shop around for a GMAT prep course, be sure to choose a course that not only teaches you good strategies, but also includes personalized coaching from an experienced instructor who will help you break old habits and replace them with new, good habits. An Admit Master GMAT Mastery course includes 60+ hours of live classes and 3 hours of private tutoring, giving you a superior personalized experience from start to finish.

Algebra Traps

If x/y>2, is x>2y?…

Most people will say yes, of course, but the answer is: we don’t know. What if y were negative? If we multiply both sides of the inequality by a negative number, we need to flip the sign.

Because y is a variable, it could be both positive and negative. Depending on the sign of y, we may or may not need to flip the sign in the inequality. Hence, we actually don’t know whether x>2y or x<2y. This rule will be super useful when you’re dealing with Data Sufficiency inequality questions, so make sure you’re super comfortable with it!

Geometry Traps

If the distance from A to B is 25, and B to C is 15, what is the distance from A to C?…

If you don’t draw a picture, it’s so easy to fall into this trap and think that the answer is 40. How do we know that C is not between A and B? Or, maybe, these 3 points are not even on the same straight line?

Always draw a picture on a Geometry question, even if one is shown to you. Almost always you need to do something with the picture, so having your own copy is super helpful! Moreover, the GMAT will often manipulate the picture and draw it “not to scale” to mislead you. Redrawing the shape will help you avoid visual traps in Geometry.

Sentence Correction Traps

Why would a dog’s tail be between its legs when it’s raining outside?

Do you know how to correctly use ‘s? Do you also know that its use in pronouns is different than in nouns? Paying attention to such details is going to be very important on the GMAT.

In fact, did you know that the most common skill tested on the GMAT Sentence Correction is attention to detail? How do you develop this attention to detail? By knowing what detail to pay attention to! In our GMAT Mastery and GMAT Express programs, you will learn exactly what to look for in each Sentence Correction question, so that you can master this skill with ease!

Critical Reasoning Traps

The Earth is flat. Therefore, one can fall off the Earth by walking far enough.

Could we weaken this argument by saying that the Earth is actually round? Surprisingly, the answer is no. The first statement was the evidence, and trying to weaken the evidence is one of the most common traps in Critical Reasoning.

Critical Reasoning is definitely a mind-bender, so knowing what to look for will be critical (no pun intended). Be very clear where is your conclusion and where is the evidence, and never strengthen or weaken the evidence!

Reading Comprehension Traps

Should you read the question first or the passage first?

It would be helpful to read the question first if there were only 1 question, but each passage has 3 or 4 questions! Reading efficiently, paying attention to just enough detail, and seeing the big picture is key to your success on Reading Comprehension.

Most people read passages more than once, but truthfully you barely have time to read it once! Some people just skim and miss important details. Some other spend too much time reading into the details that are not even that important.

You may have experienced this pattern in your studies, as well! Often, when we read a GMAT book, we find a lot of details about every topic, but did you know that some topics are way more important than others (obviously)?

In our GMAT Mastery program, we will show you what’s really important to know and what won’t show up on the test very often, so that you can study efficiently and enjoy the process!

Come join us at our next GMAT Mastery live program and get the structure, the coaching, and the support necessary to help you get into your dream business school. Or, if you prefer to study by yourself, check out our GMAT Express self-study program and ace the GMAT at your own pace!

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