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There are many benefits to timing your practice, including:
Read the whole question three times (twice before you start solving the problem, and once before you finalize your answer). I can't tell you how many problems I missed in my practice because the question asked about positive integers or even numbers or isosceles triangles. I also can't tell you how many times my ass was saved during the real thing by reading the question one last time before I clicked "confirm", and then realizing that I was about to select a "trick" answer choice. These are mistakes that you can easily avoid by paying close attention to the prompt.
I normally write somewhere what I'm trying to solve for, especially on DS. I think I may just reread the question before answering on PS from now on. Good tip!
I appreciate what you said about the Analysis of an Issue section. It made a lot of sense. I have been always tempted to take the extreme side, but when I begin writing my reason for doing so, I find my arguments lacking and am unable to justify my choice. As I write, I get to realize the merit of the other side. For some issues, there is a "golden mean." What you said on being systematic about justifying the mid/half-way choice is noted.