The academic director of GMAT Tutor lists several situations in which you may prefer to make an educated guess about the answer to a question for the sake of keeping up your pace in the exam.
Timing is an important factor for your success in the GMAT and strategic guessing is one of the techniques which will help you to manage your time better.
To master the GMAT, you must learn the art of educated guessing. Many students are afraid to make an educated guess or two when taking the GMAT for fear of sacrificing a correct answer on a question. We are hardwired to try answer all questions correctly!
Educated – or strategic guessing – means being smart about when to let go of certain questions and move on with the test. At times on the GMAT, you may need to “pick your battles” in order to achieve a better score. This means that if you can narrow down answers to a question, but aren’t confident in your abilities to answer correctly in a timely manner, you should make an educated guess.
Do not worry too much if you need to make a strategic guess.
Questions in the middle of the exam have less weight in terms of affecting your score, so don’t worry if you have to make a few guesses here and there in middle portion of the exam. Also remember that you may have guessed correctly! There is no reason to get anxious about this.
Here is a list of instances you may want to employ your strategic guessing skills. Keep in mind that questions in the beginning and the end of the GMAT are more important to answer correctly, so try to only strategically guess at:
• Questions that you have no idea how to answer.
• Questions in the middle portion of the exam that you have spent a minute and a half on and you are realizing that it will take you at least another minute and a half of work to arrive to the correct answer.
• Questions in topics that have always taken you a long time to answer, and that you know you have a low chance at answering correctly. Note that this is one important reason that it’s crucial to keep a log of the types of questions you often get wrong.
• Questions that you may need to sacrifice because your overall timing is off. Remember the end of the exam is also very important.