Contrary to popular belief that you need to be well prepared to attempt and solve all the questions on the GMAT, it is true that during certain circumstances you will need to guess the answers to certain questions to be able to complete the exam within the stipulated time. You must keep in mind that leaving a question blank or unanswered will not give you any credit for that question. Although random guessing is not advised, there are certain strategies that you can make use of while answering the questions on the GMAT Exam. 

While guessing an answer may not seem prudent we will help you with some important tips to keep in mind so that you can make the correct choice and score the points for that question as well.

Does Guess Work Affect Your GMAT Score?

Before we tell you why guessing is important on the GMAT exam, you’d need to know how to score on the GMAT exam. We will discuss more how the scoring is done on the GMAT. Your GMAT total score is a composition of your scaled quantitative and verbal scores. Following are the three factors that help in determining your GMAT scores :

  • The total number of questions that you answer
  • The total number of questions that you answer correctly
  • The difficulty level of the questions which you answer

It is therefore important to remember that you need to answer every question to be able to obtain a good GMAT score. Since the GMAT is an adaptive exam, your scores also depend on the level of difficulty of the questions which you answer. You must remember that while it is essential to answer all the questions, you must not make random guesses as well. It is recommended that you narrow down your answers to the closest possible solution.

Don’t spend too much time dwelling on a difficult question to which you may not know the answer to, instead try to work on eliminating the incorrect choices so that you can arrive at the correct answer in a quicker manner. As you would know you have limited time to answer all the questions on the GMAT exam and hence you must make the most of every minute. Let us now learn more about the tips and strategies to help you with your guessing in the exam.

Strategies for Guessing or Narrowing Down your Choices

#1: Eliminate unnecessary grammatical errors in the Verbal or AWA section

The Sentence correction questions on the verbal section will have a few answer choices which would be obviously incorrect in terms of grammar or those that sound inappropriate. You must make sure to eliminate such options immediately. Another important point to remember is the answers on sentence correction are seldom long and hence extremely long answers can also be eliminated from the list of probable answers.

#2: Remove illogical and irrelevant answer choices/options: 

In the Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning section you can go ahead to eliminate any irrelevant/illogical choices which have nothing to do with the passage or the question which is asked. Any answers which speak of absolutes like – “every ”, “all” etc can also be removed.

#3: Logical Elimination

When attempting questions in the GMAT Quantitative section, you must first look at all of the options available and then proceed to eliminate incorrect answer choices. For example – if you have a question about the area of any diagram with an arc included on it, then the correct answer choice is probably the one with a pi symbol mentioned on it. Similarly, if a question involves multiplication or division then you can be certain that the answer must be a multiple or factor of any of the numbers present in the question. Alternatively, you could also take a quick look at the answers to the questions first. If all the answers are given in numerical values, you can try estimating the right answer to the question. Keep a close check on the questions which use the term ”approximately” which could help you to estimate and detect the correct answer to the question. 

#4: Watch out for the tone of the question

The GMAT generally uses business communication and a moderate tone in all its questions. Therefore if you come across an answer choice that uses extreme verbal tone or language then it is likely that it is an incorrect option.

Some other important points to remember are to not spend more than 2.5 minutes on each question and to ensure to use the process of elimination to make strategic guesses. For the Quant section, you can plug in the numbers in the answer choices and find out which matches appropriately with the question.

We hope this article has given you a brief overview of how to guess answers for the GMAT exam and what strategies to use for the same.

Good Luck!


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