MIT Sloan | Mr. Semiconductor Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.68
Stanford GSB | Mr. 750
GMAT 750, GPA 3.43
Columbia | Ms. Cybersecurity
GRE 322, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Global Perspective
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Ms. JMZ
GMAT 750, GPA 3.47
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
IU Kelley | Mr. Businessman Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 7.26/10
MIT Sloan | Mr. Surgery to MBB
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. Multinational Strategy
GRE 305, GPA 3.80
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Data Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 7.76/10
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Hopeful CXO
GMAT 750, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
SDA Bocconi | Mr. Hotel International
GMAT 570, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Renewable Energy Investing
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Foster School of Business | Mr. CPG Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Tuck | Mr. South African FinTech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.08
London Business School | Mr. Indian Electric Tech
GMAT 620, GPA 3.5

The Mistake High GMAT Scorers Make

So what should you take away from this?

We’re all susceptible to making silly mistakes, but the highest performers among us are particularly susceptible to them in this context – when our intellect has been satisfied elsewhere, the trap can hide in plain sight.  So as you study for the GMAT:

  • No error is “too basic”.  If you made it once you could make it again – don’t assume you’re better than any one type of error.
  • Be thorough and complete the last few steps.  Think like the testmaker – they know that we’re all guilty of the Law of Least Effort and they’re apt to exploit it.  Difficulty on the GMAT doesn’t necessarily all derive from “the hardest concept to grasp” – it often comes from the silly mistake that most make right after they’ve mastered that hard concept.
  • Make a checklist of the silly errors that befall you on practice tests and have a regimented process for double-checking them.  The GMAT will keep your high-powered intellectual side busy, so you should have a system in place to guard against that inevitable lull your mind will experience after the heavy lifting is done.

Those who know the GMAT well typically agree that one of its greatest qualities is that its difficult questions aren’t difficult because they’re “obscure”, but rather because the test finds ways to hide its difficulty in plain sight.  The test is full of Shrumbusters, opportunities to run afoul of the Law of Least Effort.  The way that your mind is wired for efficiency might well become the least efficient component of your GMAT performance; the GMAT testmaker knows that for certain, but now that you do it’s a fair fight.

Brian Galvin will run the free seminar

Brian Galvin is Director of Academic Programs at Veritas Prep, a GMAT prep and graduate school admissions consulting provider. This is his second column for Poets&Quants.com. His contrarian views appear monthly.

DON’T MISS: THE NEW-GEN GMAT TEST: THE VIEW OF TWO B-SCHOOL DEANS or  WHY YOU SHOULD DITCH YOUR GMAT GOALS