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Please note that this blog has been created before the introduction of GMAT Focus and has not been checked and/or corrected.


practical gmat information Oct 22, 2022
GMAT writing pad

When preparing for the GMAT, you will come across the subject ‘scratch paper’ or ‘writing pad’. But what is this writing pad exactly and what do you use it for? In this blogpost we will explain everything you need to know!

What is the GMAT writing pad?

The GMAT writing pad is a notebook that you can use during the GMAT exam. The pad will be handed out right before the start of the exam and consists of 5 pages of squared laminated paper. In addition to the writing pad, you will receive a special marker. It is possible to write on the laminated paper with a special marker. Your notes with this marker are not directly erasable, so use your writing space wisely. It is also important to remember that making notes will take valuable time, so make sure that what you write down is directly applicable.

When you are out of writing space, you will be given a new writing pad. Still, you have to be aware: you are only allowed to use one writing pad at a time. So when you get a new writing pad, you won’t be able to look into your notes from your first notebook.

The quantitative section

During the Quantitative part of the test you will not be allowed to use a calculator. For this reason the writing pad can be very useful for the quantitative part of the test. To get a good overview of the information that will be given to you in every question, it is useful to put down the given information (in short). In this way it might be easier to make a fast calculation.

The verbal section

While taking the verbal part of the test it can be useful to put down the most important information from the text. This is especially useful for long texts, with multiple questions that have to be answered. It can also be effective to write down the answer possibilities ‘ABCD’ for every question and cross out the answer possibilities that you think are wrong. By eliminating answers, it will be easier to get to the right one.

General information

A lot of students use the writing pad to keep track of the available time that is left to finish the questions. When you know what the given time for the section is and how many questions you will have to answer, you will be able to calculate how many minutes you can spend on each question. Keep in mind that making a time schedule will take time, therefore we suggest you to make this schedule on you writing pad when you have still time left at a previous part of the test. For example: at the quantitative section you will get 75 minutes to answer 37 questions. This means that you have 2 minutes for every question to answer them. Write down the numbers 1 up to 37 and write next to the 1 a 2 (2 minutes). Add up 2 minutes every time and put them down next to the following numbers. Example:

1 – 2

2 – 4

3 – 6


36 – 72

37 – 74

In this way you can keep track of the time you have spent and the time that is left. Would you like to practice with using the writing pad? Order a writing pad to make sure you’ll be fully prepared for the GMAT exam!

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