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 is a full-time instructor for Kaplan Test Prep and he loves preparing GRE students for Test Day. The classroom is Lucas’ arena. When he cannot be found in one of Kaplan’s cage matches of learning, he is very likely dancing around DePaul University’s College of Commerce/Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago professing various courses offered by the Department of Management, up to and including monikers such as: “Managing for Effective and Ethical Organizational Behavior,” “Entrepreneurship Strategy,” “Strategic Managements and Analysis,” “Human Resource Management,” “Recruitment and Selection,” and “Foundations of Business Thought and Theory.” (Although that last one was cancelled just before the quarter started and he’s still not gotten over it.) Lucas spent most of his formative years in North Carolina, but hit the long road as soon as he was able. A world traveler with a currently expired passport, he has lived on and wandered around three continents with the expressed intention of finishing the job. He holds a BFA with a concentration in sculpture as well as an MBA with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. When not challenging standardized tests to a duel or wondering how to corrupt the business students of America, Lucas can be found brewing delicious beers, riding-then-fixing-then-riding his motorcycle, hanging out with dogs, pretending he’s a good cook, and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world to have such a fantastic wife and endlessly amazing young son. He’s in Milwaukee now, but is in Chicago often. Email him anytime about anything at:

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