I have the problem that I need to spend too much time on the advanced DS questions, I thought I'd post my strategy and you could suggest some parts that could be eliminated without necessarily resulting in wrong answers:
I read the question twice, which takes me about 10 seconds.
I always rewrite the question, although in short form and the constraints, to make sure that I don't forget crucial information, I know this costs me about 10-20 seconds, but I have the feeling that it does help.
I rephrase when necessary or set up an equation on word problems, which takes me about 15-30 seconds.
I rewrite each statement, look what kind of information it provides, rephrase it if needed, I would say analyzing the statements takes about 20-40 seconds, but it depends on the type of statements, if I have to test numbers and multiple scenarios, this might even take me up to 50 seconds for each statement. I think these are the questions that really kill my time management. Do you generally get better and faster at picking numbers the more you do it?
Sometimes the biggest problem is combining the statements, this might also take between 15 and 30 seconds.
On really tough problems I sometimes need approx. 3 minutes, sometimes maybe even 3:30min.
I somehow have to eliminate some parts of my strategy. Would you say that rewriting all the information is unnecessary and could be eliminated? If I dont get better at picking numbers should I just give up on the really hard questions?
It's not surprising that you need extra time to solve tough DS questions. Mind you, a DS question could be 3 questions rolled into one (theoretically). You first try with Stmnt 1, then with Stmnt 2 and then with both together. It kills time management and that is why people don't like DS questions. But you need to steal time away from PS questions to afford some extra time for DS questions. Also, if you see that you are getting tough DS questions, chances are that you got some easy and medium level questions before which you cracked in half a minute each. So anyway you will have spare time on your hands. What I am trying to say is that it is impractical to aim max 2 mins per question. You can put in 3 - 3.5 mins in some questions provided you make up in some others. After all, you get 75 mins for 37 questions, not 2 mins per question.
Also, if you use plugging in numbers very often, that's bad strategy, especially for DS questions. I agree that sometimes you need to plug in but often you can solve the questions logically. That will be far quicker and less confusing.
Lastly, most of what we write in GMAT is unnecessary. Anyway, I am a proponent of solving questions orally so I may be biased but yes, you most certainly need to give up the habit of re-writing what is already there on the screen. Write only what you absolutely must. Your hand works much slower than your mind. If you practice enough, you will be able to kick this habit.
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