GMAT tip: Got a question? Ask it!

February 6, 2012
Lucas Weingarten

GMAT BlogI spend a lot of time teaching.  By virtue of this profession, I spend a lot of time fielding questions.  I actually thrive on questions.  Questions tell me many things.  Each of the following line items begins, “If my students are asking questions, it means…”

  1. They’re engaged.
  2. Class rapport is healthy.
  3. We’ve created a learning environment.
  4. This is a concept I need to spend more time on right now.
  5. This is a concept I need to revisit and work into subsequent lessons.
  6. I am asking sufficient/appropriate questions.
  7. My delivery is off and I need to adjust.
  8. They care.
  9. They are learning.
  10. I am doing my job.

Make no mistake, I truly do love questions.  Which is why I hate the statement that precedes so many of the questions I love: “This is a dumb question…”

No!  It’s not!  Let me ask you this—in your previous history as a student, each time a classmate of yours requested clarification on something or tested out an idea, would you always glower at them and think to yourself, “Oh, c’mon!  Really?  You really just asked that?  That is such a dumb question, and it is clear that you are a dumb person.  I do not respect you and I will hate you forever.  Dummy.”

At its base, I think that is why people refrain from participating in class, i.e., they fear being judged by others.  Why else would one feel the need to preface their inquiry in such a way?  It’s a defensive move.  Perhaps they feel by saying this, the class will infer that they are in fact not dumb.  Rather, they are obviously very smart since they can see the banality and elementary quality of their question.

That kind of an outlook simply has no place in your study regimen, GMAT or otherwise.  In fact, some out there say such an outlook has no place in your professional life either.  Wanna do well on the GMATAsk all your questions.

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten teaches students how to beat the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for Kaplan Test Prep and is proud to have earned “elite instructor” status. Lucas writes extensively for Kaplan’s GMAT blog, and in addition to the GMAT and business school as primary subject matter, he regularly explores topics within higher education, economic systems, sustainability, and current events. Lucas spent his formative years in North Carolina and currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, though he has not yet found the part of the world wherein to bury his roots. He has an MBA with a dual concentration in entrepreneurship and finance from DePaul University in Chicago and is fortunate to have secured an adjunct teaching position there out of the department of management. Family, friends, and a seemingly endless stream of new hobbies keep Lucas busy and happy outside of the classroom. You can reach out any time by email ( or through the comments thread after his blog posts.

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