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Tips for quantitative section timing

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Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2011, 12:14
I'm currently very frustrated.

As someone who has never ever not finished a multiple choice exam in its entirety, I find it extremely frustrating that I have yet to finish the quant section of an MGMAT CAT. So far I've done 3 where I've score 33, 35, and 37 in that order. However I've finished only 33, 30, and 26 questions in that order. I have no idea how to finish this section! I go into it saying to myself "2 min max" but I guess during the exam I focus too much and forget about the timing component. I only realized how much extra time i'm taking once I see i have 20 questions left with 20 minutes remaining.

Please help me out...this seems to be my biggest weakness!
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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2011, 13:09
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Hi Unforseen

Your frustration reminds me of my own situation when I used to attempt MGMAT CATs. I faced a similar problem when solving the Quant section.
However, unlike you, I tried to guess a few questions towards the end, just to ensure that I don't leave any questions unanswered. For this reason, I scored 45, 47, 47 and 45 on the four MGMATs I attempted. You might know that there's a heavy penalty in GMAT for questions left unanswered.

I believe that the level of Quant questions on MGMAT are a bit higher than the actual GMAT. So, I don't see this as an area you need to worry about too much, if you have time in hand to practice. I would suggest you devise a timing strategy for Quant section and strictly stick to it whilst attempting CATs. You might see different timing strategies on this forum and on others. However, you need to test these and decide for yourself which one works best for you. I personally used the below mentioned checkpoints in Quant section in CATs.

Question Number------Time Remaining
--------8----------------------60 minutes
-------18----------------------40 minutes
-------28----------------------20 minutes
-------33----------------------10 minutes
-------35-----------------------5 minutes

The left column shows the question number on which you should be on and the right column shows the time left when you are on that question. I felt that I was on time, on the real GMAT and this strategy worked for me - I managed to score a decent 49. However, you might need to practise and perfect your own strategy.

Even if you are able to guess a few questions on MGMAT towards the end, do ensure that you evaluate and review all questions and answers after the test, including the one's you guessed. Also, check which type of questions you're taking longer to solve and out of those questions, how many end up being incorrect. This way, you can track your weakness and perhaps try making an educated guess, going forward, instead of spending too much time on it and suffering towards the end because of it.

Hope this information helps you build your own strategy on future CATs and improve your score. :)

Let me know in case you would like to know anything else in this regard.

Cheers!
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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2011, 13:39
In my experience when you run out of time when you do the test, you probably did not practice enough.

I believe with more practice that includes working on problems as well as re-reading the concepts from the book, you can improve you scores greatly. The reason is because some things will become a routine for you and you will not lose time on thinking on what to do. As the person above mentions, by not putting an answer in you will get a greater penalty then by putting in a wrong answer. So basically you've got nothing to lose and only to gain. Go for more quantity and things will probably get better for you.

Good luck. :wink:
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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2011, 18:56
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Have you seen my recommendations here: timing-strategies-on-the-gmat-80176.html ?


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

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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2011, 12:57
I finished the MGMAT 4 guessing the last 6 questions (4 wrong) and I got q44...man the gmat does punish you hard for not finishing
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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2011, 13:03
Guess more liberally during the beginning and middle of the section instead of all at the end. You'll get better score by spreading out your guesses(wrong answers).
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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing [#permalink] New post 19 Dec 2011, 01:15
MGMAT Quant is way too tough than GMAT (and in a wrong way). GMAT doesnot give you lengthy questions to stop you from scoring well on Quant. I believe all GMAT Quant Questions can be solved in 2 mins if you know the concepts. Not the same with MGMAT, the higher level Q's easily take 3 mins. Give some other tests like Princeton Review, Kaplan to get a better measure of your quant skills.
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Re: Tips for quantitative section timing   [#permalink] 19 Dec 2011, 01:15
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