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Timing Strategies on the GMAT

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 06:40
@ bb

I have started my GMAT Prep finally from last Friday (April 22nd, 2011). I have one very important question about the TIME issue.

As I have just begun prepping, should I focus on answering the questions following the rule of thumb about TIME (5Qs in 10 mins) or focus on answering the question correctly?
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 08:35
Expert's post
Schawjibb wrote:
@ bb

I have started my GMAT Prep finally from last Friday (April 22nd, 2011). I have one very important question about the TIME issue.

As I have just begun prepping, should I focus on answering the questions following the rule of thumb about TIME (5Qs in 10 mins) or focus on answering the question correctly?



ALL your practice should be timed.
No offense but the questions are fairly easy if you have 5+ mins per question, it is the combination of difficulty and only 2 min per question that makes it hard...
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 10:31
bb wrote:
Schawjibb wrote:
@ bb

I have started my GMAT Prep finally from last Friday (April 22nd, 2011). I have one very important question about the TIME issue.

As I have just begun prepping, should I focus on answering the questions following the rule of thumb about TIME (5Qs in 10 mins) or focus on answering the question correctly?



ALL your practice should be timed.
No offense but the questions are fairly easy if you have 5+ mins per question, it is the combination of difficulty and only 2 min per question that makes it hard...



With all due respect and just in search of the logic behind, how and why TIME dominates CORRECTNESS as far as the importance is concerned whilst I am just practicing my first few Qs of Kaplan Premier?
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2011, 00:07
bb wrote:
CaliCpa wrote:
BB - Can you please explain why point #4 under the Simple GMAT timing strategy is relevant. I'm sure it has something to do with the progression of the test, but please clarify if possible.


Very Fair question indeed.
The suggestion is based on a few assumptions about the algorith of the test and you are definitely welcome to poke holes in it.

Assumption: You get "penalized" for getting multiple questions wrong

If you are pressed for time and have 4 questions left but really have time only for 2, my suggestion is instead of answering questions 34 and 35 and then guessing 36 and 37 for Quant is to answer 34, guess 35, answer 36, and guess 37. This allows to stay at a relatively same level (or higher if you guess one right) than potentially dropping below the level you were at question 33 by getting multiple questions wrong in a row.


very useful!! i never thought about that when having to guess! Thanks!!
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2011, 12:47
Thanks.. Great read, although couple of days before d-day!
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 28 Nov 2011, 10:59
This is great post bb.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2011, 00:47
I usually finish my quantitative section in about 60 minutes, which means i'll be left with 15 spare mins. I have planned to use the time to smoke a cigarette and use the bathroom. will that be possible? or will i have to finish the section before i can get out of the test room?
thanks in advance
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2011, 14:02
perfectionist wrote:
I usually finish my quantitative section in about 60 minutes, which means i'll be left with 15 spare mins. I have planned to use the time to smoke a cigarette and use the bathroom. will that be possible? or will i have to finish the section before i can get out of the test room?
thanks in advance


Finishing a section early won't let you take a longer break, unless you want to stare at the wall in the testing room. If you want to get up from your seat, the proctor will end your current section, so you'll automatically be moved forward to the break.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2011, 07:38
IanStewart wrote:
perfectionist wrote:
I usually finish my quantitative section in about 60 minutes, which means i'll be left with 15 spare mins. I have planned to use the time to smoke a cigarette and use the bathroom. will that be possible? or will i have to finish the section before i can get out of the test room?
thanks in advance


Finishing a section early won't let you take a longer break, unless you want to stare at the wall in the testing room. If you want to get up from your seat, the proctor will end your current section, so you'll automatically be moved forward to the break.


I guess I'll have to stare at walls then. :) This test is obviously biased against smokers.
tnx for the quick reply.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2012, 19:02
For Quant as well as Verbal I assume time to be in 5 sets (15 min each)
and then for quant i try to to solve 7 question in one set
& for verbal i try to solve 8 questions in one set
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2012, 19:05
@GMATpill:- How does it affects if we guess in between test say 25-30 rathar than in the end to catch up with time??
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2012, 10:34
nice one :wink:..its really helpul for students who are perparing for gmat ...rreallyy good effort i m really impress... 8-)
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2012, 20:09
Thanks! Great Post!
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2012, 03:44
My current Verbal timings on an average are close to:
100+ seconds for SC
120-150 seconds for CR
6-7 minutes for Short Passages with 3Q
8-10 minutes for Long Passages with 4Q

But i feel Bunnel's strategy seems more promising for improved accuracy in RC.

I end up doing total 3-5 wrong (out of 13-14 Q's) in RC if i try to achieve:

6-7 minutes for Short Passages with 3Q
8-10 minutes for Long Passages with 4Q

but only 1-2 errors (out of 13-14 Q's) if i spend:

8-10 minutes for Short Passages with 3Q
9-11 minutes for Long Passages with 4Q

I am trying to save time on CR and SC easy Q' and hoping to save time for RC for improved score.
This also depends what improvement i can do to my CR and SC timing in next 10 days or so.

Is that a sound plan?
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 22 Jul 2012, 21:08
Hi,

Thanks a lot. These suggestions are really helpful.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2012, 10:58
I took my first proper practice test today (MGMAT free test) and really screwed up my timing on quant - i answered only 30 questions! Finished verbal with 10 minutes remaining and did alright but i got so agitated towards to end. ended up with 670, which is way below my target of 720. I have 15 days left to improve. Wish me luck!
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2012, 04:41
Great thread BB .. My strategy for Verbal is to look at the stimulus, then the stem and conceptualize what the correct answer should look like (great for CR and RC) . For SC i try to devote 10 seconds or so to find the mistakes in the original sentence (superficial) and then give my self 20 or so seconds to short list the answer choices that correct the mistakes i have found. I then give my self around 20 seconds to choose the best answer from the ones that are left. I can usually narrow it down to 2 or 3 choices within the first 20-30 seconds. Then based on the difficulty level it takes me any where from 20 seconds to a minute to choose the correct answer. For RC i hit high accuracy in the problems from the OG12 (90%) by reading the passage in detail and answering each question, however i found out that i could sacrifice a little accuracy and save a lot of time by using the Kaplan method of paraphrasing the paragraphs and skimming through the details (concentrating on modifiers etc ).. I have attempted a good number of question using both techniques and am confident with both so i guess i can use either depending on time that i have left during the actual test. Does the RC passage adapt as per difficulty or does each individual question also adapt on the same passage ?

What bothers me is the DIFFICULTY of the questions in the verbal section (and i guess this also applies to the quant section) . Suppose i answer 4 out of the first 6 questions correctly, when will the COMPUTER start to consistently dish out 700+ questions and would it ever plateau ? Is it correct to assume that one starts off with say a 550 level question and then their is a gradual buildup to 700 say by halfway through the section? It would really suck to have all 700 level questions throughout the rest of the section if you get 5 out of the first 5 correct (suck in terms of time management - obviously the eventual score if one does manage to stay focused, on time and hit the accuracy rate so desired - would be great).
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2013, 03:16
great post, and great advice
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2013, 02:13
bb wrote:
Timing Strategies on the GMAT
Right now this strategy mostly focuses on Math but it is a work in progress. I will keep this post updated and will include any other verbal/math tips that I may find on the forum or hear about from you.


General Timing Concepts:
Bad news: you have to answer a variety of questions within 75 minutes.
Good News: You can manage your time yourself, deciding how to invest it.

Almost all the problems that are given on the GMAT are not that hard. What makes it hard to solve them is that you have less than 2 minutes per problem regardless of the kind and difficulty level.

Simple GMAT Timing Strategies:
  • Use a GMAT Timer by Walker.


  • On the math section, after reading a question and before starting to solve it - stop for 5 seconds and instead of fully engaging yourself, take a casual look at it and think if an easier solution exists. Don't just rely on your reflexes, use your brain too.

  • Know by heart the common percent values, square roots, powers, and fractions. This will allow you to save time on calculations - see this post for details: what-arithmetic-should-i-memorize-80128.html

  • Avoid guessing 2 questions in a row. If pressed for time - solve every other question instead of guessing the last 3.



"Advanced" Timing Strategies (not as easy and potentially less efficient):
  • Don't spend your time looking at the clock - instead do it 3 times only - that will save you at least 5-10 secons that you were going to use up and also a lot of worrying about not finishing on time. Try dividing the math part into three sections (50 mins remaining – 12 questions done; 25 mins remaining – 25 questions done; 1 min remaining –37 questions done). This approach is designed to invest as much time as possible into the first 15 questions. I have followed this approach on the GMAT with some success. When I was done with 18 questions, I only had 33 minutes left. (I spent 2 and a half minutes per question on the first section) , I realized that I still had a half of the questions to go.

  • You need to be prepared that the timing will not go as you wish; you may get a hard start or a few questions in a row that will get you down, but you need to be flexible and adjust to the test, just as the test tries to adjust to you.

  • Take an "ideal" test — that's a test on which if you don't answer a question within 2 minutes, you simply move on. I did take one, and what I did was guess when I was overtime on hard questions. My results that day, perhaps, were the lowest of all, but it allowed me to finish early and measure the time I had left as an "extra" time for hard questions

  • If you encounter a hard question that you are not sure how to solve - be happy - you must be doing really well. The key is not to get paralized but after taking 5 secons to evaluate your options start cracking at it - it will give in.

  • After reading the question, it may help to review the answer choices with the following thoughts in mind: how far apart is the distribution (how precise the calculations need to be), potential tricks with answers such as \frac{1}{2} or \frac{-1}{2}.

  • Know when it is the time to move on. Use GMAT Timer or test results to measure time taken to answer each question. You need to know the longest time spent on a question; the longest time spent on incorrectly answered questions, and the longest time spent on correctly answered questions. These should NEVER be more than three or three and a half minutes. If you use 3.5 minutes, you are using almost double the time you have for each question, and will need to save time on the next 3 or 4 questions.

Quant Summary:
    1. Read through the question (take 5 seconds to look at it and the answer choices)
    2. See if you can apply any of the time saving techniques or quicker solutions
    3. Read again and write out all the info you will need to answer the question (this helped me)
    4. Do not miss an important detail in the beginning of the question - this is a common catch in both Math and CR's
    6. If you are too stressed about time, and the test’s got you on the run, take away your eyes from the screen and try focusing them on your hands or the seam of your pants to regain your confidence
    7. Know how to solve every math question type (arithmetic, probability, word problems, etc)
    8. Before you go to the test center - take several full length tests with AWA. Know your limits - be realistic. Know how much you can spend on each question


Verbal Timing Strategies on the GMAT

You will need to define your own timing strategy on the verbal section since your timing on each of the questions types will depend on your proficiencies, reading speed, grammar skills, etc.

Sentence Correction (SC)
My personal strategy was to spend 45 seconds on SC's (read question once, identify the problem, phrase it in my mind, and find the correct answer that matched the one I made up). Usually I could hit these in 30-45 seconds and in 20% of cases needed as much as a minute and a half to identify the correct one (this was more usual when A was the correct choice).

Critical Reasoning (CR)
I spent 1:30 on each CR question. I could crack half of them in 30-45 seconds but the other half took closer to 2 minutes, so it was averaging about 1:30.

Reading Comprehension (RC)
All of this was building up towards the section I had the most problems with - reading comprehension. I knew that I needed 45 x 15 for SC's, 1:30 x 14 for CR's and that left 40 minutes for RC, which meant I could spend 10 minutes per passage. I would read the passage very carefully and spend probably 5-6 minutes doing and not feeling rushed as I knew I could read any passage in that period of time. After finishing the text, I knew I had 1 minute for each question so I did not need to rush either. On the Verbal, I did not really keep track of the clock when moving from question to question, but I would note the time when I start the RC passage and made sure I did not go over the alotted time by the end.


Time-saving tools/ideas for Verbal GMAT Section
  • Draw a grid on the scratch paper (A | B | C | D | E) for 5-10 questions and use it with hard verbal questions. (Make sure you do this during your break time or when the clock is not ticking). Then on the test, as soon as you eliminated an answer choice (for whatever reason, mark it on the piece of paper - esp helpful by the end of the verbal section when the brain can no longer function).
  • For SC, create a check-list of grammar topics that you most often fall for. For instance, if you have trouble with modifiers, run-on sentences, and plurals, make sure those are on top of your check-list to run through when you cannot identify a problem with SC (i.e. when A is the correct answer). Here is more details about options to create such list: distribution-of-sc-questions-strategy-85636.html
  • Remember that the most time efficient strategy to approach questions is outlined in the guidebooks (Kaplan Verbal Workbook, MGMAT CR, MGMAT SC, MGMAT RC, GMAT Pill E-book and PowerScore CR, PowerScore SC, PowerScore Verbal Bible) - the basic strategies are all pretty similar in these guidebooks - FOLLOW them by the book, and by ever line. If the strategy says you need to re-read the question, that's what you do, and if it says you must read the question first - that's what you do as well. I see people making this mistake all the time - they try to cut corners and beat the system only to get mediocre inconsistent results
  • The best strategies for me were:
    • CR - read the question first and mark on a piece of paper the type of question (W for weaken, S for strengthen, A for assumption, etc)
    • CR - after reading the passage - read the question again and answer it WITHOUT reading answer choices - BEST TIP EVER (if I had to pick one). After that, you only have to find it in the list - very quick and efficient. Learn how to do this.
    • SC - the fastest strategy is to pick an error just from reading (without having to go through answer choices) then again, you are just picking from a list - faster than analyzing each answer choice (though possible only sometimes)
    • RC - paraphrase each paragraph, take notes as you go - helps to remember the text and not go back
    • RC - spend more time reading the first and last sentence of each paragraph and ask yourself - why was this sentence/paragraph placed here? What is author driving with it? Are you seeing any logical issues/flaws with it?
    • RC - don't go back to the text (if you have read it carefully - you will not have to) - fastest and most reliable way through RC
  • I find reading a few thousand pages a good way to prepare to and save time on the verbal section:
    • You read faster - helps with every section
    • Better digest large volume of text - helps with RC
    • Your ear is trained better - helps with finding errors in SC's
    • You're a less boring person to talk to :wink:
  • Make sure you know the idioms GMAT Idoms test and Idioms list (search for idiom in text) or use ToolKit Apple App
  • If you are an international student, it is a good idea to know every word that you meet in the question text. Write them in a notebook - word, and definition with an example of how you encountered it. It takes time, but by the time you're done with one word, you will remember it


Hi,

I took GMAT on March 12, 2012. Before that i used to complete maths session with 3-4 minutes to spare and scored an average of 42. But unfortunately on the test day, i got few questions wrong at first and got tensed and finished the test with 15 mins to spare and got a pitiful 32.

Then i start practicing harder questions from OG's without concentrating more on time but on solving the questions and understanding the concepts. For those questions i took almost 2 - 3 minutes to solve. Now when i am again taking tests i feel it very difficult to finish within the time. I have almost 10 questions to finish within last 5 mins , and i am randomly guessing last 5-6 questions.Now, more than the concepts timing became the problem.

When i reviewed, i found for 2 or 3 questions i spent nearly 6-7 mins. But i am not aware of how much time i am spending in each question when i am writing the exam.For some questions it took 2 mins for me to find a way, and i am also aware that it took another 2 mins to solve the problem. I dont know how to respond to those situations. Will you please advise ?

Regards
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2013, 06:32
Hi experts,

i want to know how much i might have been penalized for not able to attempt last 5 questions on quant?
Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT   [#permalink] 23 Apr 2013, 06:32
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