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Timing Strategies on the GMAT

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2013, 19:02
Any timing strategies for verbal when I have 2 RCs between Q32 and Q41?

I was giving GMAT PREP 2 and found myself behind on verbal and started catching up but ended with 2 RC in the final nine questions.. ended random guessing and got me only V28 :-( and the score dropped to 660 with 2 consecutive 3 wrongs..

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2013, 13:15
My first post here. And here it goes - Is there any bonus mark awarded in GMAT if one completes before time?? ( Given that there is heavy penalty for blank submission)
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2013, 01:28
Hi BB,

How did you manage 45 sec per SC question?
This is less than half of what I take..especially now when SC are meaning based and hard to figure out the splits.
Any advise

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2013, 04:54
I am facing serious issues with time management.
MGMAT 1 - 640
MGMAT 2 - 680
MGMAT 3 - 640

My accuracy level is good (right/number of q attempted) but the issue is that in quant and verbal,I am unable to attempt ~ last 8-9 questions coz of time paucity.
Any suggestions as how to improvise on speed.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2013, 07:53
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sshivanis04 wrote:
I am facing serious issues with time management.
MGMAT 1 - 640
MGMAT 2 - 680
MGMAT 3 - 640

My accuracy level is good (right/number of q attempted) but the issue is that in quant and verbal,I am unable to attempt ~ last 8-9 questions coz of time paucity.
Any suggestions as how to improvise on speed.

High accuracy is a very good sign, i have had similar timing issues. trying to rush answering questions , in general, can only hurt the accuracy. I've started using timing map since then, and have generally improved on timing . few things to improve timing
1) know your weakness ( in terms of what kind of questions take too long or generally wrong )
2) build timing map during breaks / before the mock
3) avoid looking at timer frequently , and check time during the checkpoints defined in the timing map
4) calculate lead / lag at the checkpoint and determine if you've to throwaway / guess any question and how many
5) keep an eye on the question types from #1 and throw/ guess them (depending on the lag, it's sometimes good to give it a wild guess within first 10 seconds, but if it's manageable , giving it a few seconds and good guess is better )

And here's the best resource you can get about timing . I found it very useful. ... anagement/


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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2013, 08:13
shraddhasahoo wrote:

Please dont use CAPS a sentence looks nice in small.

Regarding your query check the 1st page of this thread..timing-strategies-on-the-gmat-80176.html

PS- Its a good idea to post all your queries(especially general gmat questions) in single post rather than posting them in different forums and threads.


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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2014, 15:35
Thanks Awesome Tips
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2014, 14:16
Great!~~~~~Helps a lot~
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2014, 09:00
bb wrote:

Timing Strategies on the GMAT

Updated Jan 2014

General Timing Strategies:

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. However, you can give yourself an advantage by preparing and saving or investing time where appropriate.

  • Time yourself whenever you solve any questions. Whether you are solving 10 or just 1 question, make sure you are familiar with the ticking of the clock and pressure that it puts on you. You can use a variety of tools such as:

  • Try to Pause after reading a question. Esp. 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. This trick will help you save time and also avoid some silly mistakes you may make by rushing to read the question.

  • Avoid guessing 2 questions in a row. If pressed for time - solve every other question instead of guessing the last 3. You can see what happens if you get multiple questions in a row wrong here: gmat-prep-software-analysis-and-what-if-scenarios-146146.html

  • Never ever ever spend more than 3.5 minutes on a single question. After 3 minutes, if you still can't see a solution, figure out an alternative approach, or start a guessing strategy. Be done by 3.5 - it will hurt even with 3.5 mins and I would recommend that you do it only once per section.

  • 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. Plan to be stuck. Plan to be fraked out. Plan to panic. Don't do it but have a plan for all of these situations. Know when it is time to cut bait.

  • If you have problems with timing - experiment! For example, you can take a test on which if you don't answer a question within 2 minutes, you simply move on. I took one like that, 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. Another test you can take is "untimed" (some software simulators allow it) and take the time I needed on every question - this showed how much time i comfortably needed.

  • Don't spend your time looking at the clock or turning it on and off - instead check the clock 3 times only during the 75 min section - this will save you at least 30 secondss that you were going to use up and also a lot of worrying about not finishing on time. Try dividing the test into three sections (45 mins remaining – 12 questions done; 20 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 since you will most likely get stuck there or will need extra time to solve questions. You can experiment with your own time allocations on GMAT Prep or other tests.

  • Finally, an obvious one - do not leave questions unanswered. Each unanswered question drops your score by 3 percentile points as confirmed by GMAC

Quant Timing Strategies

  • 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

  • If you encounter a hard question that you are not sure how to solve - be happy - you must be doing really well and on the right track. Celebrate and don't freak out. Take a pause and think of an un-usual/backsolving/etc solution to it.

  • 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 \(\frac{-1}{2}\).

Quant Question Approach in Short:

    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. Optional: Read the setup 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 proficiency, reading speed, grammar skills, etc.

  • 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

  • Get a handle on Scope, Assumptions, Inference, Conclusions. If you can master these, you will be able to save at least 5 minutes on the GMAT, and probably pick up as many as 5 points in your verbal score. Many answer choices are based on within/outside of scope - that's true for CR's and RC's. The same applies to assumptions, inference, and conclusions - many of the CR and RC questions are using these basic step stops to build questions and traps. If you can be flawless with these, you will be much better off. You the OG/Official questions to train your SCOPE ear.

  • 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:
  • Don't waste too much time on Idioms as they are not emphasized in the GMAT any more, but know the common ones that will help you understand text better
  • 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

Verbal Question Approach in Short:

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 0:45 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 10 min interval by the end.


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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2014, 05:36
I gave the simulation test today. I was getting harder questions and i was sure that i would cross 700 mark . But to my surprise my score was merely 600 (q-48 and v-26).
I became hopeless after seeing the result after months of hard work on verbal.
On analysis i saw that i made mistake in last 4 questions of quant and last 11 questions on verbal section.
Verbal: I made only 9 mistakes till 30 questions and after that i lost the game. My concentration was poor. I started feeling something bad at back of my head. i was not able to find the solution of the solution.
I am worried about it.I know problem is with time management and lack of concentration at the end of test. Please suggest some ways to get away with this problem. i really need a help

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 11 Mar 2015, 11:46
bb wrote:
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.

Hi bb, could you share how you can do this this fast? I spend 1.25-3+ mins.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2015, 09:05
I've been struggling in time management too particularly in verbal section. Finding it very difficult to cross 35 Qs. But the strategies are helping me in improving my time management skills.
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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2015, 13:39
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Hi ssmohanta,

Here's a quick gauge for your pacing that you can use to measure how effectively you're working on your CATs:

1) Most SCs should be solved in 60-90 seconds (although certain prompts can take longer than that).
2) Most CRs should be solved in about 2 minutes (again, some "thicker" prompts can take longer).

On your last CAT, on how many SC and CR questions did you spend MORE time than the suggestions above? Many Test Takers think that all of their Verbal pacing problems are due to RC, but mis-handling these other question types can lead to a serious loss of time.

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT [#permalink] New post 04 May 2015, 02:46
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New and Updated thread is available here: timing-strategies-on-the-gmat-206035.html

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Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT   [#permalink] 04 May 2015, 02:46

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