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# My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620

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Intern
Joined: 29 May 2009
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My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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27 Mar 2010, 18:03
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Hi all. I'm done with writing the GMAT and I finally got the score I wanted. Anyways, I hope the following strategies/tactics help my fellow brothers/sisters in this forum that are trying to push there score from the 500s to 600s (if you're getting over 700s, I dunno if you will find these strategies as useful):

Quantitative timing strategies:

For many in the 500s range, you are probably struggling with timing like me. Specifically, timing can really hurt you in the Quantitative portion of the exam. Here is what you can do to maximize your time management:

1) At some point in the Quantitative section for people in the 500s, you have to guess. However, guessing on PS questions is much different than DS questions. In general, if you are short on time, it's better to guess on DS questions than PS questions. Why? Because in DS questions, you can often quickly eliminate a portion of the answers and guess on the remaining answers, whereas in many PS questions, sometimes you are really guessing blindly at all 5 answers!

2) If you have to guess on a PS question, eyeball the answers to see if you can quickly narrow it down. Sometimes, there will be 1 or 2 answers that you can quickly eliminate without doing any math. This is a last resort if you are forced to guess on a PS question.

3) For me, I tended to average longer on PS questions than DS questions. This is probably the most useful feedback I got back from the Manhattan GMAT CAT preps. I would often spend up to 5 minutes on a PS question on the Manhattan GMAT CAT and this is a huge waste of time (I would even get the answer wrong after 5 minutes!). Thus, I have a hard rule to use for PS questions:

If you don't know a good approach around the 1 minute mark such that you can start to work out the math on paper, guess and move on. Let's say you spend 2 minutes on a hard PS question and you finally figure out the correct approach to solve the question - this is bad because it may take you another minute or more to work out the math to solve the question. If you start working out the math at the 2 minute mark on paper, and it takes you another 1 to 2 minutes to work out the math, you will have spent a total of 3 to 4 minutes to solve this question - that has already put you behind. You need to develop a good intuition of "when to cut your losses and move on."

4) Number substitution, number substitution, number substitution! Even on problems where you can work out the problem using formal algebra, it may not be time efficient to do so. When you read the question stem, determine quickly whether a number substitution method can be applied to save time.

Verbal timing strategies:

1) If you are short of time on RC and CR questions, eliminate unrefutable and extreme answers that use words like "will," "always," "never," "all," etc. If you have to guess on a RC or CR question, you have just narrowed down the answers to guess from.

2) For native English speakers, if you are short of time and have to guess, guess on the SC questions. This is because you can do a quick read through of all the answers and eliminate the "awkward" sounding answers.

3) For CR questions, quickly eliminate answers that have nothing to do or very little to do with the question. There are usually 2 or 3 of these answers in a CR question. For instance, it's easy to determine "out of scope" answers.

4) For me, I found it helpful in the verbal section to "click" on the best answer if I encountered one and left that selection box ticked. Also, after reading all 5 questions, if you are torn between two answers that could be right, jot down the letter of those two answers on your pad, so that you don't revisit all the other irrelevant answers you have read and waste time rereading them.

General timing tips:

1) Go to the restroom and flush everything out before the exam, LOL. Going to the restroom "in between" the breaks may cost you time, and may cost your more than the 8 minutes allocated.

2) If you're like me and you need caffeine, get a double expresso at Starbucks or better yet, use a caffeine pill. Minimize the amount of water you take before the exam. The shot of caffeine is what matters, not the water that comes with it! The reason is, you want to minimize your "restroom" excursions as much as possible. Never let the 8 minutes cut into your exam time.

3) Like many test takers, you will probably write down a small table with a minute mark column and a question number column to keep track of your progress. Write this down BEFORE the test starts, not after the test starts - you don't want the clock to run against you.

4) Points 1) and 2) about the restroom tips are a bloody joke and I will laugh at it from hindsight. What other exam in the world do you have to be so tight with your time?

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Intern
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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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02 Apr 2010, 23:52
thanks for the strategies !!!!

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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2010, 18:24
Great Advice! My first test date is a week away and I'm really worried about my game plan so this helped.

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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2010, 18:48
Good one, thanks!
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If you like my post, consider giving me a kudos. THANKS!

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Location: United States
Concentration: General Management
GMAT Date: 11-15-2011
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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2011, 20:52
Great strategies. However, I don't know if its just my luck, but even when I can eliminate upto 2 answer choices and have to guess amongst the rest, I always seem to guess wrong . Its always been that way. So i've always been a bit iffy when it comes to guessing.

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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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15 Sep 2011, 12:18
Hey gmattester123,

Thanks for the insights, would you mind me asking how long you studying the GMAT for? Were you ever good at standardized exams? I wasn't. I'm pretty much on the same boat as you are right now. My first attempt I scored a 480, even though I was averaging about a 590-600 on the Kaplan practice tests. I started studying with Knewton at the start of the year and my average dropped to the low 500's. I took a break for a few months, and now i'm just starting to get organized to start studying again. Booked the GMAT for December 14. BOOYAAA!

Cheers

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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620 [#permalink]

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29 Sep 2011, 09:29
NoObstacles wrote:
Hey gmattester123,

Thanks for the insights, would you mind me asking how long you studying the GMAT for? Were you ever good at standardized exams? I wasn't. I'm pretty much on the same boat as you are right now. My first attempt I scored a 480, even though I was averaging about a 590-600 on the Kaplan practice tests. I started studying with Knewton at the start of the year and my average dropped to the low 500's. I took a break for a few months, and now i'm just starting to get organized to start studying again. Booked the GMAT for December 14. BOOYAAA!

Cheers

I have always been good at standardized exams but for some reason, I perform very poorly on the GMAT. For the verbal portion, I am guessing part of my poor performance is because I have always been a slow reader. FYI, since starting my MBA program, my grades usually match or exceed other classmates that have scored 700 on the GMAT (however, there are many written reports in my MBA program and my writing is above the average MBA student in my class so that may give me an advantage). FWIW, I scored 5.5 on the written portion of the GMAT.

I was out of school for 10 years and my math was very rusty so for me so I spent 9 months preparing for my first GMAT exam - albeit, I was very lazy and slow in my preparations. I think I could have done the same preparations in 4 or 5 months if I had focused my preparations.

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Re: My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620   [#permalink] 29 Sep 2011, 09:29
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# My GMAT timingstrategies/tactics that got me from 530 to 620

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