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help with timing (only two weeks away)

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help with timing (only two weeks away) [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2012, 11:39
Good Afternoon All,

I am doing 20 minute timed sets in quant (first attempt will be in two weeks at the actual exam). I have noticed that I am avg about 7.5 questions per 20 minutes. Any suggestions to help increase my speed?
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Re: help with timing (only two weeks away) [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2012, 13:44
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jmuduke08 wrote:
Good Afternoon All,

I am doing 20 minute timed sets in quant (first attempt will be in two weeks at the actual exam). I have noticed that I am avg about 7.5 questions per 20 minutes. Any suggestions to help increase my speed?


Great question. One fact that most first-time test takers don't realize is that this test is every bit as much about timing as it is about accuracy.

Here's one pattern that I notice for virtually all of my students: you're less accurate on problems that take you more than 2 minutes. It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you see a GMAT problem that's right up your alley, chances are you can do it in under 2 minutes. Here's the timing system I recommend:

• 1 minute in. Do you understand this problem? Have you at least started to form a plan for solving it? If not, take an educated guess and move on!
• 1.5 minutes in. Do you have a solid plan and have you at least started executing that plan? If not, take an educated guess and move on!
• 2 minutes in. Have you mostly executed your plan? Are you certain that you can finish solving in the next few seconds? If not, take an educated guess and move on!
• 2.5 minutes in. No excuses. Unless you are already 5 or more minutes ahead of pace it's time to move on!

Now, you don't want to have to look at the clock constantly. These times are estimates and the way to implement this strategy is to practice it to the point where you have a good "internal" GMAT clock.This method prevents you from wasting time on problems you're not likely to get, but still allows you to solve problems that take you just a little longer than the recommended 2 minutes / problem.

In summary, if you're struggling with timing, you're not doing enough guessing! It's my belief – and perhaps some other GMAT Experts can back me up on this – that most high-scorers do a fair amount of guessing. (I know that I guess on a handful of problems in each section when I took the GMAT.) The key is learning when it's advantageous to guess and learning how to make good guesses.

With several months to study, you could possibly improve your fundamentals enough to actually be faster at many problems. But with two weeks to go, the best thing you can do for your score is learn when and how to guess.

Good luck!

Mark
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Mark Sullivan | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Seattle, WA


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Joined: 21 Jul 2012
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Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 32

Re: help with timing (only two weeks away) [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2012, 13:49
Thank you Mark!

Yeah, my last four practice tests (MGMAT CATs) were 680s. I am having a difficult time getting over the 700 hump. I feel that I am able to tell myself I don't know the answer and move on quite easily but then again there are times when I panic (after looking at the clock). I have found that sometimes I guess to freely and end up with a substantial amount of time left to only do a few problems and then on the most recent tests I was struggling to finish. I am not good with benchmarking so whenever I see I have ten minutes left I get the urgency to guess no matter how much time is left bc I start to get nervous and panic.

Any advice other than just practice?
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Joined: 08 May 2012
Posts: 51
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
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Kudos [?]: 142 [0], given: 4

Re: help with timing (only two weeks away) [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2012, 13:55
Expert's post
jmuduke08 wrote:
Thank you Mark!

Yeah, my last four practice tests (MGMAT CATs) were 680s. I am having a difficult time getting over the 700 hump. I feel that I am able to tell myself I don't know the answer and move on quite easily but then again there are times when I panic (after looking at the clock). I have found that sometimes I guess to freely and end up with a substantial amount of time left to only do a few problems and then on the most recent tests I was struggling to finish. I am not good with benchmarking so whenever I see I have ten minutes left I get the urgency to guess no matter how much time is left bc I start to get nervous and panic.

Any advice other than just practice?



Here's a good benchmarking system:

After Problem # ............. Time left on clock
5 ............. 65 minutes
10 ............. 55 minutes
15 ............. 45 minutes
20 ............. 35 minutes
25 ............. 25 minutes
30 ............. 15 minutes

That leaves you with problems 31–37, so 7 problems and 15 minutes. It's a little extra buffer.

Just remember to trust the benchmarking system:
• If you're on time, you're doing great and shouldn't make any changes!
• If you're behind a benchmark, do some educated guessing until you're back on track.
• Don't rush at the end, because that's where correct answers are most important for your score.
• While finishing early is a much better timing problem than running out of time, it's still a timing problem.
_________________


Mark Sullivan | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Seattle, WA


Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile


Re: help with timing (only two weeks away)   [#permalink] 21 Jul 2012, 13:55
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