Successfully answering GMAT questions is a function of concentration. There are no magic pills to improve concentration, but most test takers have improved their performance by sitting through dense and boring passages, GMAT 800 problems, tricky GMAT Sentence correction questions, and confusing critical reasoning section.
Before we go into tips, answer the following questions:
1) Does external noise – both loud and routine, easily distract you?
2) Do random thoughts take your focus away from the text on the screen?
3) Does the timer in the GMAT test screen distract you?
Now if the answer to all the three questions above is Yes, then let us look at some of the potential reasons for this behavior.
External Noise (Loud)
Almost all readers will be distracted by the loud construction or plumbing work in the neighboring room. Luckily, for such noises, GMAC provides earplugs in the test Centre. Some test takers have developed the habit of converting noises to background noises with limited interference on their performance. If you are such a test taker, then you don’t have to worry. Practice reading comprehension passages in a noisy environment and measure your performance. If you have developed the skill of acclimatizing to external noises after the initial distraction, the earplugs are an unnecessary intrusion.
External Noise (Routine)
If the sound of keyboards, the Proctor handing notepad, and the movement of the chairs in the test Centre disrupts your concentration, then you are not focused enough on the test. No earplugs or yoga techniques would help you. You have developed a resistance to performance, and subconsciously you are already making excuses on why you will not score 700+. Come out of the ‘victim mentality’ immediately, and start focusing on the first section. Luckily, the first section - IR and AWA does not contribute towards the total score. Even if you perform miserably in the first section, after the break, you can always regain your concentration and focus on the real test. Therefore, if you are distracted in the first 20-30 minutes, don’t fight, let your mind calm down. It will eventually once you get into the pace of the test.
Timer is an essential evil. If you have prepared 2-3 months for the GMAT test, you would have developed an internal clock. The timer just acts as a reference. You internally know when you have spent more than 3 minutes on a problem. Stop. Guess and move on. No problem deserves more than 3 minutes of your time. You are unlikely to solve the problem successfully if you spend one additional minute on it. Completing the test is crucial, and you can score in the 650-720 range, even if you guess on 2-5 GMAT 720+ level questions.
Once you are aware of the timing, and unaware of external distractions, it is time to calm the real villain.
The dialogue that we have with ourselves determines our future – both in the test and the real world. If your internal dialogue is positive with marked caution on some sections, then you are likely to score in the 680 to 720 range, provided you have given your best performance during preparation time. The inner dialogue that needs control is the one where you get a question wrong. For the high performing Inner Voice, it is a travesty even to get one answer wrong, but the reality is that if you are not carried away by the previous question, you are likely to reach your initial target. Short-term memory about your performance helps.
If you are not easily tied down by small defeats, GMAT is an energy draining battle that you would enjoy.
Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide
After reading F1GMAT’s Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide, you will:
1. Complete GMAT RC Questions in less than 1 minute and 50 seconds
2. Read Faster
3. Take Notes Effectively
4. Collect and Interpret Facts
5. Speed up Summary Creation
6. Remember Information
7. Question the Author
8. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Title question
9. Learn to Answer GMAT Reading Comprehension Main Idea Question
Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning
After you read F1GMAT’s Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning Guide, you will learn:
How to overcome flawed thinking in GMAT Critical Reasoning?