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Guess when running out of time?

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Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2012, 17:13
Hello. I was hoping to hear what your thoughts are on the following subject.

I usually run out of time when completing the quantitative section. I usually have five to ten unanswered questions. In such a situation, will my score be higher if I guess on the unanswered questions or if I just let time run out?
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2012, 11:56
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You get penalized severely for leaving questions unanswered. NOt only do they count as a wrong answer, but you also get an extra penalty for not answer the question at all. It would definitely be helpful to just guess on those last 5-10 questions instead of leaving them blank.

The real issue you need to address here is that you should NEVER have 5-10 questions left at the end of a section. You should finish the last question right when the time runs out with enough time to give each question a chance. You need to work VERY hard on your timing, b/c the GMAT will crush your score if your timing is off. Read this post: timing-strategies-on-the-gmat-80176.html?fl=menu for help.

Good luck!
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2012, 12:21
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I just took the GMAT test about 2 weeks ago and the quantitative pacing is difficult for sure. I think you really need to set the pace during your practice tests so that you get into a good rhythm. My approach was to try to figure out the likelihood I would be able to answer the question within the first 30 seconds. If by that time, I had absolutely no approach to answering, I would take an educated guess so that with that time saved, I would be able to concentrate on the questions I would be able to answer and pace at about 2 minutes per question.

It is really tough on the real GMAT, but I stuck to my plan of not trying to take too much time on any one question.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2012, 14:15
Thank you, GMATLA and tcepic. I'll read about and try out timing strategies and guess when necessary.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 04:46
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First of all NEVER ever leave a question unanswered .

Secondly don't ever take more than 3 minutes on a quant question . If you've crossed the 3 minute threshold just make an educated guess and move on . No question is worth more than 3 minutes ! This is a very basic strategy but hard to implement because it's difficult to "give up" on a question and admit defeat . But the GMAT is all about choosing your battles carefully !

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 [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 07:21
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honsmos wrote:
Hello. I was hoping to hear what your thoughts are on the following subject.

I usually run out of time when completing the quantitative section. I usually have five to ten unanswered questions. In such a situation, will my score be higher if I guess on the unanswered questions or if I just let time run out?


Like everyone said, you MUST answer EVERY QUESTION or you lose many points. You are better off guessing randomly on five questions than not answering them at all like you would have in the SAT for college entrance exams.

Don't take more than three minutes on any question like another guy wrote above. This test is hard for everyone because it will hit everyone's limits. Your study must focus on learning new concepts and also learning how to solve those problems as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 12:23
Thanks for the great advice george and nova. For all the practice tests I've taken, I've occasionally spent more than 3 minutes on a question. I'm one of those "hate giving up" guys. But from now on I'll, take an educated guess at the three-minute mark and keep improving.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 20:14
Ideally , you should'nt go upto to the 3 minute mark on more than 3-4 questions . Also it is more advisable to take "educated guesses" on Data Sufficiency questions rather than Problem Solving questions

On the verbal side , it's more difficult to allocate time . The best candidates for guesses on the verbal section are Bold Face CR Questions , Evaluate the argument , mimic the reasoning and those dreaded "Except" questions . I feel you should never skip a SC or RC question . Another interesting tip ( note : use this only when you are very desperately short on time - Answers (D) and (E) have a higher probability of being right on SC questions in which the full sentence is underlined).

Good luck with your prep !
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 30 Apr 2012, 21:17
Got it.

I tend to do quite well on the verbal. I think it's 'cause I read a ton of sports and video game articles each day, lol. I've gotten 4-6 questions wrong on the verbal section of my four GMAT Prep tests. And I usually finish 15 minutes early (need to slow down).

But I struggle with math. I feel like I've made a lot of improvement over the last 2 years of studying (!), but I'm still getting about 10+ questions wrong. I scored a 730, 720, 740 and 740 on my practice tests (I recognized a good number of questions on my last two practices).
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 01 May 2012, 06:25
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georgepaul0071987 wrote:
Ideally , you should'nt go upto to the 3 minute mark on more than 3-4 questions . Also it is more advisable to take "educated guesses" on Data Sufficiency questions rather than Problem Solving questions

On the verbal side , it's more difficult to allocate time . The best candidates for guesses on the verbal section are Bold Face CR Questions , Evaluate the argument , mimic the reasoning and those dreaded "Except" questions . I feel you should never skip a SC or RC question . Another interesting tip ( note : use this only when you are very desperately short on time - Answers (D) and (E) have a higher probability of being right on SC questions in which the full sentence is underlined).

Good luck with your prep !


I actually liked the EXCEPT questions on CR. For me it was playing the odd man out game.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 01 May 2012, 06:30
honsmos wrote:
Got it.

I tend to do quite well on the verbal. I think it's 'cause I read a ton of sports and video game articles each day, lol. I've gotten 4-6 questions wrong on the verbal section of my four GMAT Prep tests. And I usually finish 15 minutes early (need to slow down).

But I struggle with math. I feel like I've made a lot of improvement over the last 2 years of studying (!), but I'm still getting about 10+ questions wrong. I scored a 730, 720, 740 and 740 on my practice tests (I recognized a good number of questions on my last two practices).


For many native English speakers, the full 75 minutes isn't necessary. I probably finished my exam with 15 minutes to spare as well. Perhaps slowing down may have improved my score a little, but at a certain point, if you feel good about a certain question you feel good about that question.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 01 May 2012, 06:32
Ah. I agree about feeling good about a question. I'll try slowing down on my next practice test.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 01 May 2012, 21:11
Wow ! I can't believe you guys finish the verbal section with 15 mins to spare ! In my MGMAT tests , I've scored well I'm verbal , but I almost always have to simply guess the last 2-3 questions because I run out of time

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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 08:03
I think I subconsciously push myself to finish the verbal fast. It's always been the last section on my practice tests, and I start feeling mentally tired when I get to it. But I do struggle with the quantitative section.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 20:05
Verbal section is like a roler coaster ride for me. Sometime in between I slow down and when I see the time passing by very fast, I rush through it but in the end I finish it before 5 minutes.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2012, 22:49
honsmos wrote:
I think I subconsciously push myself to finish the verbal fast. It's always been the last section on my practice tests, and I start feeling mentally tired when I get to it. But I do struggle with the quantitative section.


I'm curious to know , how much time do you take on each question type for the verbal section ( RC,cr,sc) ?

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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 03 May 2012, 04:32
@ clubgmat, Ah.
@ george, I have never timed myself. Since I usually finish 15 minutes early, on average I spend a bit less than a minute and a half (60 minutes/41 questions = 1.46).
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 03 May 2012, 12:18
Forgot to mention, I usually recognize about five questions on the practice GMATs, and I have a pretty good memory. That's probably a big reason why I've been finishing early.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2012, 09:24
Contrary opinion here:

The above post says it doesnt matter if you leave a question blank and let time run out or guess and complete the test.

Experts please comment.
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Re: Guess when running out of time? [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2012, 09:25
Contrary opinion here:

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/guessing-a ... -the-gmat/

The above post says it doesnt matter if you leave a question blank and let time run out or guess and complete the test.

Experts please comment.
Re: Guess when running out of time?   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2012, 09:25
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