But to the untrained eye, looking at the content that it tests, it may not appear to be well suited for that. The GMAT features:

#### Reading comprehension (but on passages of less than 400 words; there are no legal briefs or Tolstoy novels here).

So why does a test that features content that might look primitive to even an average high school student work so well at assessing a 25-year-old college graduate's preparedness for Harvard, Stanford or London Business School?

The GMAT is a test of reasoning, of "higher-order thinking". And higher-order thinking has an academic definition - it's not a buzzword like "paradigm shift" or "synergy" that could be open to interpretation. Higher-order thinking is anything beyond "Remember" and "Understand" on a list of verbs that demonstrate a student's facility with new information or concepts. Higher-order thinking means that you don't merely remember and understand that information, but you can "Apply" it to new concepts, "Analyse" it in and out of context, "Create" new information or understanding how to build off of it. Which all means that to truly succeed in the GMAT test, to achieve scores in the high 600s into the 700s, remembering those facts and formulas from high school isn't enough. It's not about whether you remember the Pythagorean Theorem or how to factor a quadratic equation; it's about whether you can apply that knowledge to unique situations that may not even seem at first glance to call for that type of knowledge. Simply put, the GMAT is a test of how you think, not a test of what you know. So, how can you apply this new found knowledge about the GMAT in your quest to achieve a high score? Learn more about the GMAT Facts and Stats

## Learn What to Do, Not Just What to Know

Higher-order thinking involves a lot more application than knowledge. So as you study, try to include verbs for what you are thinking. Think about what you need to actively DO on problems as opposed to focusing simply on the rules. For example, you need to KNOW that when you're multiplying exponents of the same base, you add the exponents. But that's a rule. What you need to DO is take exponent problems and try to put them in a form where you can apply that rule. So you'll want to do two major things whenever you see an exponent problem: 1) Find common bases (so you may need to factor a base such as 6 into its prime factors of 2 and 3 so that you can get common bases) 2) Factor addition and subtraction into multiplication (since most of your exponent rules apply to multiplication and division, you'll often need to transform the given expression into one that allows you to use those rules) The GMAT test makers love to provide you with slightly inconvenient setups, where the third and fourth steps may be based on rote knowledge, but the first one or two steps require some creative problem solving. If you think in terms of active verbs as you study, you'll have strategies (such as FIND common bases; FACTOR for multiplication) in mind to help with that problem solving.

## Think Like the Test Maker

The authors of the GMAT test have a difficult task: to reward the most critical of thinkers and creative problem solvers at the graduate school level, using primarily junior high and early high school content. So how do they do it? They often lay traps that ensnare the less adept while rewarding those who think critically about the problem. For example:
• In a sentence correction problem, they might "hide" the critical decision point toward the right-hand side of the answer choice, knowing that you read from left to right and might take the bait of a strange-but-correct phrase toward the left as the item you need to fix.
• In a problem-solving problem, they might make it easy to solve one variable (x) while actually asking for the harder-to-solve variable (y), suspecting that once your algebra spits out a number for x, you'll be relieved and satisfied enough to select that as an answer.
• In a data sufficiency problem, they might make a statement look sufficient for any "obvious" number you'd test (positive integers, for example), but reward only those who think to test an out-of-the-ordinary number (e.g. a massive number near infinity, or a negative fraction).