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There are many discussion on sites how to handle time pressure in exam, should you invest in first 5 question or not etc. Though, Small topic that I havenâ€™t seen discussed is how to effectively manage your time during breaks. To me, it is a crucial topic and warrant detail discussion. These are my thoughts.
1) Understand exactly what to expect! If you notice in your GMAT registration receipt, it says that total length of test is 255 min! What everyone knows isâ€¦
Test has three sections and two breaks
60 min : AWA
First break between AWA and Quant session
75 min : Quant
Second between Quant and Verbal session
75 min : Verbal
At present these breaks are 10 min each.
So all together are 230 Min, so what about extra 25 min!
=> Before essay section you have 5 min to go through instructions such as GMAC policy, tutorial etc.
=> Another 5 min are given to fill out personal information after test.
=> There is 1 min after each break (2 min total) to read section directions.
=> Other 13 min are perhaps miscellaneous.
2) Understand Breaks and plan on how to use these breaks.
What to expect: Once you hit last question of any section, a screen asking weather you want to take break will appear! Do not click anything, please raise your hand so proctor can come and lock the station.
I notice that 10 min down counter starts when proctor locks the station rather than when you finish last question (I would love if someone can second on these observation). So, before clicking anything raise your hand and let proctor come and tell to click â€œyes I want to take breakâ€
This thread is crucial - there are actually many untimed sections on the test when you can read the instructions etc. I use this time to set up my work sheet for the quant section.
Keep in mind the timing is very important. I cannot stress this enough. I recently took the 10 min break between the AWA and Quant section and went 75 seconds over (the didnt have a clock around and those 10 min seem more like 2). That threw me off for a few minutes and on this exam you cannot afford that.
I would say keep the breaks to 8 min or less. If you still arent in the right frame of mind def use the 1 minute additional time during the instructions to get your head straight.
To me the most important thing to do in the first 10-15 mins before your exam begins, i.e from the time the proctor leaves you with the instructions to the time you begin AWA is the following:
1) NOte down all tough QUANT formulaes in the sheet. this might take 5 mins or so.. but i noted down nPr and nCr in my last exam.. somehow I confuse them
2) I also note down the AWA essay template.. just the template.. straight out of my head.. so that when I begin the test I copy the first few lines from teh AWA
3) I did not note down enough formulaes last time...but next time I am going to make sure I note down all the geometry and sequence equations.
4) And finally I am sure I will note down the DS type numbers that I am going to test.. such as -1,-2,0.5,1.0,2,3.. etc.. all in one line.. so that when I reach a problem, I make sure I take the subset from it.. if I know its Real or > 0 integers etc.
I began AWA. in the 10 minute break, I had my coffee, and a fruit
After I sat down, I specifically said to the proctor not to type her password in, until I was settled in.. And after tat you have one more minuete..
Between QUANT and Verbal break, I noted down the type of sc errrors I keep on forgetting in the sheet there.. in the one min.. I just wrote down a few of them..
in my case (2006) they kick you out of the room if you want to take a break and once you get back you have to start the test immediately (they put the password in immediately)... so I don't know how you managed to ask the proctor to give you some time to write down the formulas during the breaks... was s/he there standing and watching over your head?
PS for the first-time takers... I would not rely on the assumption that proctor will give you time to do this... you might be very upset if it doesn't happen... you would have to use your Tutorial time to do this... not the actual 10 min
on my break between AWA and Quant, I asked the proctor not to write her password until i was settled.
because of lack of time.. (1 min in the instructions)
what do you mean by settled?
also if you write the formulas during the tutorial, then use the rest of the paper for AWA and part of quant, you would have to "exchange" it... they didn't allow me to keep the old one.. although I didn't write too many formulas on it and could remember the ones I needed anyway
But i thought that GMAT had done away with the scratch paper.
Also Willget800, can you share with me some of the common errors on SC that you keep forgetting.MAybe I have missed out on them while making my list.
Thanks guys, for sharing the exact break-up of the test-time.
This gives people like me a very good idea of what to expect and be prepared.
I think, just before the actual GMAT test, for the last few practice tests we can use this information and incorporate the brake-timings as in the real test. This would give us better time management during te breaks.
Is there any limit on the laminated sheets provided during the test or we can ask for any number as and when we needed
From what I remember you get a book with 8 or 10 two-sided sheets, and if you filled it up you could get another one. But you can also wipe things out and reuse pages as you go along. I had never practiced with the laminated sheets prior to my G-day but it wasn't a hard transition at all.
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