Difficulty level, Medium level time suckers, and GMAT Timing

I answered a question on GMAT timing and difficulty level here on reddit recently and wanted to follow up here on the GMAT blog with a little more insight.

Difficulty Level Timing Reddit Post

The question was about how many hard questions should one expect to see if aiming for a great quant score (q49+). And I think most people would be surprised to learn that even if you are absolutely nailing it you will really only see a handful of incredibly challenging questions. In my experience, having taken 10 GMATs I’d place that number at 3-5. That’s really it.

So it’s important to remember that you’re not really preparing for those 3-5 questions but for the rest. The test is won and lost in the big middle.

The other thing addressed in that post: timing. It’s helpful to realize that difficult questions can have very quick solutions while some medium level questions can be cumbersome and time consuming to solve. So it could very well be that it’s worth skipping a medium level time consumer and approaching something that is difficult but lightweight. In the GMAT tutoring program we focus on creating an awareness for difficult and lightweight questions because they are a great way to score points.

And with all of this talk of difficulty level it’s worth mentioning that questions toughness can be a very personal thing. In that what is statistically challenging according to GMAC (because lots of people get it wrong) may not be tough for you because you happen to be very good at that specific piece of content.

Or maybe you literally just reviewed a very similar question the day before. So it’s important to have a sense for your own strengths and weaknesses rather than relying on GMAC or GMAT Club for difficulty cues.

Last thing for now: for the most part ignore evaluating difficult. Either you have a plan for tackling something or you don’t. If you do then start to set things up and see where it goes. If you don’t then guess and move on! We have an in depth deep dive on GMAT timing strategy. I’d recommend giving it a look.

Have a different experience? Let us know! Have a question? Go ahead and comment!