At Merchant GMAT, we constantly talk about all the psychological factors that go into studying for the GMAT. Well, here’s another one for you. What if the only difference between you and that guy you know who got a 710 is your attitude?
In class, I hear a lot of students say things like, “Oh well, I’m not expecting to get a 700.” I say, “With that attitude, you’ll never get one.”
When you set your sights low, you create space for excuses and you accept less than your best. That week you had a big project at work and didn’t study at all? “Oh well,” you think, “it’s not going to make a difference. I’m not going to get a 700 anyway.” That mock exam you did and then didn’t take the time to analyze your mistakes? “Is that really going to help me?” you ask yourself. All these small areas of negligence add up, and in the end you may find it’s hard to get a 600, let alone a 700.
In contrast, if you’re aiming for a 700, you’ll keep yourself accountable. Adopting a 700-level attitude inspires a new level of excellence in your work. Got a question wrong? You better bet a 700-level test taker is analyzing exactly where he went wrong and figuring out how to avoid the same mistake in the future. Got a question right? The 700-level test taker is thinking about how she can get the correct answer again even faster. When you’re tempted to slack off you think, “What would a 700-level test taker do?” and you keep on pushing.
People tend to define their own limits. Why does it seem like the same people always succeed at everything- from school, to work, to the GMAT? It’s not because those people are extra smart or extra talented. It’s likely because they had a small success early on and began to consider themselves above average. Adopting that above-average attitude meant that they weren’t willing to settle in any area of their lives from there on. In each new challenge they encountered, they had the confidence to believe that they could succeed, and so they did.
You don’t need anyone’s approval to think this way; put yourself in the 700-level category. If you train like a 700-level test taker, it’s very likely that you’ll become a 700-level test taker.
So what’s stopping you? It’s not lack of talent- that’s not what the GMAT tests. It’s not lack of content- you have all the GMAT tips and strategies right at your fingertips, just like anyone else. So the answer to what’s stopping you is: you. And now there’s really no excuse.
By Madeleine Achgill