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# Managing Time

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Intern
Joined: 31 Aug 2009
Posts: 27

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06 Jan 2011, 08:38
Hi,
I need a suggestion in managing my time.In my first CAT(GMAT Prep) I have finished my quant with 5 minutes to spare but fell apart on accuracy, I had more mistakes( Around 10). In my second CAT i consciously worked for accuracy, reading each question and analyzing it carefully from every angle before jumping in to conclusion. But, I could not finish the quant section on time. How can one strike a perfect balance between accuracy and time.

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06 Jan 2011, 14:08
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There is no simple answer to how to strike a "perfect balance" -- after all, this is in many ways the primary challenge of the test! Also, on some level, it differs for every test-taker. However, in my experience, here are the things to keep in mind and try out for yourself:

1) The most important thing -- by far -- is to finish the test. So, if you have a few questions left but only 30 seconds remaining, it is essential to click click click and at least have random guesses in for all 37 Quant questions (and for all 41 Verbal questions). Every question left blank will drop your scaled score by 1 point. Really.

2) If it's a matter of only 3 or 4 questions at the end of the section, then honestly you don't have much to worry about; you'll get slightly faster as you continue to study, and if you have to guess the last couple on test day, that's okay.

3) Part of an adaptive test is getting questions wrong. Everyone gets SOME wrong, it's inevitable. It is possible to score 800 and still get something wrong. So, if you're running out of time regularly, think of this: If you're not going to get to answer 5 questions (at the end), then instead think of it as having 5 free "skips" in the middle of the test. When you come across a problem that looks particularly challenging or bizarre, don't even bother; spend 30 seconds eliminating answers and guess and move on. On my GMAT in December of 2009, I intentionally guessed on 3 questions in the middle of the test because they seemed very difficult, and I was very satisfied with my 50 on the Quant section. If you too would be satisfied with a 50 (99th %ile), then you can do this, too.

4) Never try to "catch up" by rushing through questions. As you learned your first time, if you try to do questions too fast, you will end up just getting them wrong. On each question, decide early on: "Am I going to actually do this? Or am I going to give up and guess?" And after 2 minutes, if you haven't reached an answer, ask the same question again. Never rush: either do the question the right way, or don't do it at all.

5) In general, timing is about predicting where the test is going. As you're studying, categorize questions. The best test-takers approach each question not from scratch, but from a position of recognition. We say, "Oh, I've seen this one before, I'm going to do the same thing I did last time." This really speeds up the beginning of the problem. However, you can't reach this level overnight; it requires practice and practice and study to the point of a pretty unhealthy familiarity with all of the topics on the test. When you've reached this point, and you're confident and aggressive enough to attack each question like the ones you've seen before, your timing will improve.

To summarize:

1) You must finish!
2) It's okay to have to guess on a couple.
3) It's okay to give up and guess on a couple in the middle of the test.
4) Never rush!
5) The more familiar with the questions you are, the more aggressively you can attack them and set them up faster.

Hope this helps!
_________________

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VP
Joined: 16 Jul 2009
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06 Jan 2011, 16:43
1
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I also got a Q 50 and my approach is a bit different from that of Adam in that I dont guess the most challenging ones, because (at least is what I thought), those difficult questions probably mean that you are doing OK, so it is important to got them right as well to truly make the difference.
In order to have time for those difficult questions, I try to move very fast in the first 10-15 questions (1 min per question), which are usually easier.
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Intern
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Posts: 27

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07 Jan 2011, 05:11
Adam, noboru thank you for your suggestions and my kudos to you. Let me try them out in my next practice CAT , Good I have failed twice in reaching my expected score in the last two practice cats so that I can introspect.

noboru do you mean that you never guessed in your GMAT to get such a good score of 50. If so, how were you able to manage. I mean is it that you practiced well to an extent every question appeared easy. Let the forum know the tips. I am seriously looking forward for a quant score of 50 or 51. Your suggestions would surely help.

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07 Jan 2011, 06:36
sashikanth wrote:
Adam, noboru thank you for your suggestions and my kudos to you. Let me try them out in my next practice CAT , Good I have failed twice in reaching my expected score in the last two practice cats so that I can introspect.

noboru do you mean that you never guessed in your GMAT to get such a good score of 50. If so, how were you able to manage. I mean is it that you practiced well to an extent every question appeared easy. Let the forum know the tips. I am seriously looking forward for a quant score of 50 or 51. Your suggestions would surely help.

OK, I have to say that I guessed 2 or 3, to save some time, but it was a very educated guess between 2 answers (or 3).

For quants there are no tips: know the basics, and practice a lot. This forum is a very good source of practice. Let me know if you have any concrete question of how to approach any specific question.

I wish I had the same confidence with the verbal section!
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07 Jan 2011, 09:02
1
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One more thing about guessing: I find that it really saps your energy to spend too much time on a hard question. Above and beyond timing concerns, it's just a bad rhythm to get into when you dig your heels into to a very difficult question and still aren't sure if you got it right. Look at your practice tests: most people, if you spend a long time on a question, not only get that question wrong anyway (because it was clearly too hard for you), but also get the next few wrong as well, because it's really hard to re-focus after that level of investment. Remember, NO ONE gets them all right: if you realize that you're going to get a question wrong no matter what, then get it wrong in as little time as possible.
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11 Jan 2011, 10:33
I also have this problem, spending too much time on one question or giving myself too little time. I find that it is helpful to not second guess myself but to go with my first instinct. Possibly will be my downfall, but so far it has helped me with my answers.
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18 Nov 2013, 10:08
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13 Sep 2017, 07:49
Hello from the GMAT Club BumpBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Joined: 21 Mar 2017
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13 Sep 2017, 07:50
There is no simple answer to how to strike a "perfect balance" -- after all, this is in many ways the primary challenge of the test! Also, on some level, it differs for every test-taker. However, in my experience, here are the things to keep in mind and try out for yourself:

1) The most important thing -- by far -- is to finish the test. So, if you have a few questions left but only 30 seconds remaining, it is essential to click click click and at least have random guesses in for all 37 Quant questions (and for all 41 Verbal questions). Every question left blank will drop your scaled score by 1 point. Really.

2) If it's a matter of only 3 or 4 questions at the end of the section, then honestly you don't have much to worry about; you'll get slightly faster as you continue to study, and if you have to guess the last couple on test day, that's okay.

3) Part of an adaptive test is getting questions wrong. Everyone gets SOME wrong, it's inevitable. It is possible to score 800 and still get something wrong. So, if you're running out of time regularly, think of this: If you're not going to get to answer 5 questions (at the end), then instead think of it as having 5 free "skips" in the middle of the test. When you come across a problem that looks particularly challenging or bizarre, don't even bother; spend 30 seconds eliminating answers and guess and move on. On my GMAT in December of 2009, I intentionally guessed on 3 questions in the middle of the test because they seemed very difficult, and I was very satisfied with my 50 on the Quant section. If you too would be satisfied with a 50 (99th %ile), then you can do this, too.

4) Never try to "catch up" by rushing through questions. As you learned your first time, if you try to do questions too fast, you will end up just getting them wrong. On each question, decide early on: "Am I going to actually do this? Or am I going to give up and guess?" And after 2 minutes, if you haven't reached an answer, ask the same question again. Never rush: either do the question the right way, or don't do it at all.

5) In general, timing is about predicting where the test is going. As you're studying, categorize questions. The best test-takers approach each question not from scratch, but from a position of recognition. We say, "Oh, I've seen this one before, I'm going to do the same thing I did last time." This really speeds up the beginning of the problem. However, you can't reach this level overnight; it requires practice and practice and study to the point of a pretty unhealthy familiarity with all of the topics on the test. When you've reached this point, and you're confident and aggressive enough to attack each question like the ones you've seen before, your timing will improve.

To summarize:

1) You must finish!
2) It's okay to have to guess on a couple.
3) It's okay to give up and guess on a couple in the middle of the test.
4) Never rush!
5) The more familiar with the questions you are, the more aggressively you can attack them and set them up faster.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Managing Time   [#permalink] 13 Sep 2017, 07:50
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