GMAT & MBA Admissions Blog

GMAT Tutor Tips: How to Review GMAT Homework

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Fri, Dec 17, 2021 @ 01:44 PM

Any good GMAT tutor wants his or her student to review GMAT homework as efficiently as possible. Careful review of missed GMAT problems is one of the most critical parts of GMAT test prep. So what are our best tips for students as they review missed problems on GMAT practice tests?

This guide provides suggestions and study plans that can be tweaked around your GMAT strengths and weaknesses.

Think Carefully about GMAT Homework Difficulty Level

Follow the formula below in order to assign yourself GMAT homework that is appropriate for your ability level. You want the practice GMAT problems you do to stretch your capabilities and challenge you, without being so difficult that you are unable to work through most of the problems. Science shows that the “struggle” is what drives connections in the brain and creates new levels of comprehension.

  • If you are scoring below the 50% percentile on practice tests, you likely need to strengthen foundational GMAT skills. In this case, focus on 500 and 600 level practice problems of easy to medium difficulty.
  • If you are scoring in the 50%-75% percentile range, you are ready to challenge yourself; use a mix of questions of all difficulties.
  • If you are scoring >75% on practice material, your foundation is strong and you are ready for the next step. Focus only on questions of medium and hard difficulty.

GMAT Timing is Key

A tight schedule is essential in training for a timed standardized test like the GMAT. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for time limits in rotating target drills by section type.

  • Problem Solving and Data Sufficiency: 60 minutes for 30 questions
  • Critical Reasoning: 40 minutes for 20 questions
  • Reading Comprehension: 40 minutes for 20 questions
  • Sentence Corrections: Less than 30 minutes for 20 questions
  • Integrated Reasoning: 25 minutes for 10 questions

Another way to gage pacing on the GMAT is looking at timing for a single problem. Let’s break down pacing targets for a single problem by type.

  • Quantitative: Average 2 minutes | Maximum 3 minutes
  • Critical Reasoning: Average 2 minutes | Maximum 3 minutes
  • Reading Comprehension: Average < 2 minutes | Maximum 4 minutes (first question)
  • Sentence Correction: Average 1 minute 30 seconds | Maximum 2 minutes
  • Integrated Reasoning: Average 2 minutes 30 seconds | Maximum 4 minutes

Utilize Proper GMAT Tactics

Different GMAT sections require different sets of skills and tactics in reviewing them. Let’s look at the different focuses between quantitative review and verbal review.

What to focus on dur GMAT Quantitative Review?

  • Problem Solving: seek alternative tactics to improve accuracy and efficiency
    • Technical Mathematics
    • Modeling
    • Backsolving
    • Logistical Estimation
  • Data Sufficiency: Confirm proper mathematic accounting of the problem by asking questions
    • What is known?
    • What is being sought?
    • What is needed?
    • What information is each statement providing? 

What to focus on during Verbal Review?

  • Sentence Correction: articulate common issues in wrong answers.
  • Reading Comprehension: find the reason that the wrong choice doesn’t address the task.
  • Critical Reasoning: provide a common reason for each incorrect option.
    • Argument Tasks
      • Vague
      • Reversal
      • Additional information needed
      • No relevant impact
    • Inference Tasks
      • Extreme
      • Reversal
      • Possible, but not certain

Create GMAT Error Logs

We’ve talked about GMAT error logs before on this blog, and even create one for you to download.

We recommend using a GMAT error log to write down the problem you answered incorrectly and then answer the following two questions about that problem:

  • Do I understand the problem and my process to reach the solution?
  • Did I do it fast enough?

These questions address the two reasons for missing the correct answer and can help you identify trends and problem areas as you customize your GMAT prep.

*Always wait two hours after completing any drill or test before reviewing. By stepping away from the material, you can return to the work with a fresher mind, thereby looking at the incorrect answers and justification for correct ones from a clearer perspective.

Utilize Verbal Process of Elimination

Verbal process of elimination is both an effective GMAT test taking strategy and way to review your GMAT homework. We recommend using symbols to eliminate answers in multiple choice sections.

| Correct – Matches prediction from task and / or information from the passage

X | Incorrect Can definitively say why the choice is objectively wrong

~ | Maybe – Cannot 100% say if the choice is correct or incorrect

? | Can’t define – Terminology in the choice or impact on the passage / prompt is unclear


This system comes with strategic implications:


  1. X   <   ~   <   ?   <  

The reason the ? “can’t define” denotation is more noteworthy than a ~ “maybe” denotation is that the “can’t define” could be 100% correct, while a “maybe” answer cannot.

  1. Allow two-pass elimination by using ? or ~  on the first pass through choices if there is any doubt
  2. If down to two choices, focus on the actions and descriptions for definitive reasons to eliminate an option.

Employing these GMAT homework review strategies can help you improve your GMAT prep process dramatically. Reviewing GMAT homework is a key element of the learning process as you optimize how to study for the GMAT.

Topics: GMAT problem solving, GMAT practice questions, gmat error log