Hi all. I'm done with writing the GMAT and I finally got the score I wanted. Anyways, I hope the following strategies/tactics help my fellow brothers/sisters in this forum that are trying to push there score from the 500s to 600s (if you're getting over 700s, I dunno if you will find these strategies as useful):Quantitative timing strategies:
For many in the 500s range, you are probably struggling with timing like me. Specifically, timing can really hurt you in the Quantitative portion of the exam. Here is what you can do to maximize your time management:
1) At some point in the Quantitative section for people in the 500s, you have to guess. However, guessing on PS questions is much different than DS questions. In general, if you are short on time, it's better to guess on DS questions than PS questions.
Why? Because in DS questions, you can often quickly eliminate a portion of the answers and guess on the remaining answers, whereas in many PS questions, sometimes you are really guessing blindly at all 5 answers
2) If you have to guess on a PS question, eyeball the answers to see if you can quickly narrow it down. Sometimes, there will be 1 or 2 answers that you can quickly eliminate without doing any math. This is a last resort if you are forced to guess on a PS question.
3) For me, I tended to average longer on PS questions than DS questions. This is probably the most useful feedback I got back from the Manhattan GMAT
CAT preps. I would often spend up to 5 minutes on a PS question on the Manhattan GMAT
CAT and this is a huge waste of time (I would even get the answer wrong after 5 minutes!). Thus, I have a hard rule
to use for PS questions:If you don't know a good approach around the 1 minute mark such that you can start to work out the math on paper, guess and move on
. Let's say you spend 2 minutes on a hard PS question and you finally figure out the correct approach to solve the question - this is bad because it may take you another minute or more to work out the math
to solve the question. If you start working out the math at the 2 minute mark on paper, and it takes you another 1 to 2 minutes to work out the math, you will have spent a total of 3 to 4 minutes to solve this question - that has already put you behind
. You need to develop a good intuition of "when to cut your losses and move on."
4) Number substitution, number substitution, number substitution! Even on problems where you can work out the problem using formal algebra, it may not be time efficient to do so.
When you read the question stem, determine quickly whether a number substitution method can be applied to save time.
5) If you need a new pad, raise your hand immediately once you have obtained the answer for a question. While the administrator is getting you a new pad, you can continue to read the question stem and not waste time. My administrator took my pad away from me and left me no pad on the table when she went to get a new one
, but fortunately, I was reading the question stem during that time period (I believe the correct procedure is for the administrator to leave you with your old pad, while she returns with a new one).Verbal timing strategies:
1) If you are short of time on RC and CR questions, eliminate unrefutable and extreme
answers that use words like "will," "always," "never," "all," etc. If you have to guess on a RC or CR question, you have just narrowed down the answers to guess from.
2) For native English speakers
, if you are short of time and have to guess, guess on the SC questions. This is because you can do a quick read through of all the answers and eliminate the "awkward" sounding answers.
3) For CR questions, quickly eliminate answers that have nothing to do or very little to do with the question. There are usually 2 or 3 of these answers in a CR question. For instance, it's easy to determine "out of scope" answers.
4) For me, I found it helpful in the verbal section to "click" on the best answer if I encountered one and left that selection box ticked. Also, after reading all 5 questions, if you are torn between two answers that could be right, jot down the letter of those two answers on your pad, so that you don't revisit all the other irrelevant answers you have read and waste time rereading them.General timing tips:
1) Go to the restroom and flush everything out before the exam, LOL. Going to the restroom "in between" the breaks may cost you time, and may cost your more than the 8 minutes allocated.
2) If you're like me and you need caffeine, get a double expresso at Starbucks or better yet, use a caffeine pill. Minimize the amount of water you take before the exam.
The shot of caffeine is what matters, not the water that comes with it! The reason is, you want to minimize your "restroom" excursions as much as possible. Never let the 8 minutes cut into your exam time.
3) Like many test takers, you will probably write down a small table with a minute mark column and a question number column to keep track of your progress. Write this down BEFORE
the test starts, not after the test starts - you don't want the clock to run against you.
4) Points 1) and 2) about the restroom tips are a bloody joke and I will laugh at it from hindsight. What other exam in the world do you have to be so tight with your time?