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How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question

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How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 07:00
Hi,

I have written a few full-length CATs(Kaplan and GmatPrep) and I have realised that my time taken per question seems to vary quite a lot. It ranges from 40 secs to 180 secs over the span of just a few questions. Overall, I do not face a time crunch and am mostly left with a minute or so at the end of both the Quant and the Verbal sections. I have been scoring in the 650-690 range across 4 tests. Also, there is no correlation between the time I take and my answer being wrong/right. I manage to screw up in both scenarios i guess :lol: .

What will the GMAT algorithm make of this variation? Is it even considered by the adaptive algorithm while deciding my "payoff" for a certain question? If yes, what all should be kept in mind to avoid a negative impact on my overall score?
Could someone also give me some pointers to improve my consistency wrt the time taken per question?
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Re: How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 07:10
lfc wrote:
Hi,

I have written a few full-length CATs(Kaplan and GmatPrep) and I have realised that my time taken per question seems to vary quite a lot. It ranges from 40 secs to 180 secs over the span of just a few questions. Overall, I do not face a time crunch and am mostly left with a minute or so at the end of both the Quant and the Verbal sections. I have been scoring in the 650-690 range across 4 tests. Also, there is no correlation between the time I take and my answer being wrong/right. I manage to screw up in both scenarios i guess :lol: .

What will the GMAT algorithm make of this variation? Is it even considered by the adaptive algorithm while deciding my "payoff" for a certain question? If yes, what all should be kept in mind to avoid a negative impact on my overall score?
Could someone also give me some pointers to improve my consistency wrt the time taken per question?


It does not matter how fast you solve a question , what matters is whether you are able to solve question right or not?
if you have time utilize it to make sure your answers are correct.
GMAT is adaptive on the basis of correctness of answer not on time so be relax.
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How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2018, 17:25
The simple answer is that you don't have to be consistent - and in some cases, it's much better to be a little inconsistent. Here are a couple examples.

Let's say that you just don't get combinatorics. Anything with a permutation or combination is just a no-go in terms of getting it right. Take 30 seconds to read and consider whether it's something that you feel like you could attack and be successful on. But if you just don't know combinatorics, it's better to "fail fast" (as they say in Silicon Valley) rather than spend your allotted time-per-question trying to ram your head against a wall.

On the flip side, if there's a question you know you can get right if you just have an extra fifteen seconds, don't rush through it just to fit within your allotted time-per-question. Spending the extra fifteen seconds and getting it right is so much more valuable than rushing through and missing a question you should have gotten right. (Just don't do this on every question or you're going to be in some serious time trouble :-) )
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Re: How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2018, 05:17
lfc wrote:
Hi,

I have written a few full-length CATs(Kaplan and GmatPrep) and I have realised that my time taken per question seems to vary quite a lot. It ranges from 40 secs to 180 secs over the span of just a few questions. Overall, I do not face a time crunch and am mostly left with a minute or so at the end of both the Quant and the Verbal sections. I have been scoring in the 650-690 range across 4 tests. Also, there is no correlation between the time I take and my answer being wrong/right. I manage to screw up in both scenarios i guess :lol: .

What will the GMAT algorithm make of this variation? Is it even considered by the adaptive algorithm while deciding my "payoff" for a certain question? If yes, what all should be kept in mind to avoid a negative impact on my overall score?
Could someone also give me some pointers to improve my consistency wrt the time taken per question?
The GMAT algorithm does not take time taken into account when scoring someone taking the GMAT exam.

Also, no one can be perfectly consistent in terms of time per question. What you can do, however, is maintain a safe average. Here is one strategy that you could consider.
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Re: How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2018, 15:06
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Hi Ifc,

I’m glad that you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First off, the GMAT algorithm does not recognize or adjust on the basis of how long you are spending on a particular question. The only thing that matters is whether you get a question correct.

Further, the truth is that, as long as you are finishing the quant section on time, varying the amount of time you spend on questions can be a path to success. As you have seen, you can take longer than two minutes to answer some questions, because there will be others that you will answer in under two minutes. An effective test-taker can recognize the cases when it makes sense to go over two minutes and, thus, optimize his or her use of time and maximize his or her score.

At the same time, as I like to tell my students, you really should focus on the things that you can control, and the number one thing that you can control is getting better at answering GMAT quant questions, by increasing your knowledge of GMAT quant material and developing stronger skills. If you get to a point such that you can dominate GMAT quant, you won’t have to worry as much about spending consistent amounts of time on questions.

Furthermore, as your GMAT skills improve, your timing will likely become more consistent naturally, as it is likely that you will spend a little more time to carefully answer questions that you are answering too quickly now and that you will spend a little less time answering questions that you find particularly challenging now. In fact, a great way to know how well you have a mastered a particular topic is to be cognizant of your reaction time when seeing a particular question.

For example, consider the following simple question with which many students who are beginning their prep struggle:

20^2 + 21^2 + 22^2 + 23^2 + 24^2 + 25^2 = ?

A) 3,055
B) 2,060
C) 3,066
D) 3,704
E) 3,077

Upon seeing this question, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Performing all of the calculations by hand? Grabbing a calculator to add up the values in the expression? Are you spending 60 seconds or more just thinking about what the question is really asking or how it could be efficiently solved? Or do you quickly recognize that there is a simple solution that utilizes the concept of units digits?

If you are able to quickly recognize that using the units digits will allow you to attack the problem quickly and efficiently (see the solution below), the question becomes very basic.

Solution:

Because each answer choice has a different units digit, instead of finding the actual sum, we can just find the units digit of the sum. Let’s use the units digit of each square to determine the units digit of the sum.

- The units digit of 20^2 must be 0, since 0^2 = 0.
- The units digit of 21^2 must be 1, since 1^2 = 1.
- The units digit of 22^2 must be 4, since 2^2 = 4.
- The units digit of 23^2 must be 9, since 3^2 = 9.
- The units digit of 24^2 must be 6, since 4^2 = 16.
- The units digit of 25^2 must be 5, since 5^2 = 25.

Once we have this information, we can sum the units digits: 0 + 1 + 4 + 9 + 6 + 5 = 25. Thus, the units digit of the sum is 5. Answer choice A is the only choice with a units digit of 5.

Although this is just one example of many, you can see that you must have many tools in your toolbox to be prepared to efficiently attack each GMAT quant question that comes your way. As you gain these skills, you will tend to answer quant questions faster.

Finally, you may find my article about how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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Re: How consistent do I have to be with my time taken per question &nbs [#permalink] 23 Jul 2018, 15:06
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