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Pacing vs Difficulty dilemma

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Manager
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Joined: 03 Jan 2016
Posts: 100
Location: India
GMAT 1: 640 Q49 V29
GMAT 2: 760 Q51 V41
GPA: 3.2
Pacing vs Difficulty dilemma [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2017, 09:16
I have noticed that in some of the CATs I took, I faced a conundrum on some of the more difficult questions whether to skip the question or solve it by giving it a couple more minutes (I'm talking 3:30-4 minutes overall on especially difficult DS or CR questions, or 5 mins on RC passage comprehension) and sacrifice my pacing in the process.
Since the GMAT takes into consideration the difficulty level of the question in evaluating the score, and from what I understand, an incorrect question earlier in the section does more harm than an incorrect question later into the section (please confirm this assumption!), and conversely, getting difficult questions correct earlier in the section is good for overall score, what is the ideal range or point in the section where one can make a transition from trying to focus on accuracy on each question to ensuring that one completes the section on time and minimize the number of final questions in the section on which one has to guess one's way through to the end.
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Re: Pacing vs Difficulty dilemma [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2017, 09:53
ZenYogi wrote:
I have noticed that in some of the CATs I took, I faced a conundrum on some of the more difficult questions whether to skip the question or solve it by giving it a couple more minutes (I'm talking 3:30-4 minutes overall on especially difficult DS or CR questions, or 5 mins on RC passage comprehension) and sacrifice my pacing in the process.
Since the GMAT takes into consideration the difficulty level of the question in evaluating the score, and from what I understand, an incorrect question earlier in the section does more harm than an incorrect question later into the section (please confirm this assumption!), and conversely, getting difficult questions correct earlier in the section is good for overall score, what is the ideal range or point in the section where one can make a transition from trying to focus on accuracy on each question to ensuring that one completes the section on time and minimize the number of final questions in the section on which one has to guess one's way through to the end.


The incorrect question earlier in the exam doing more harm than later is most probably a myth. It is ideal to finish the questions in under 2mins and if it takes more time, you would need to guess or triage it. This would require a lot of practice though! Try getting all the questions right for the right reasons during the first phase of your prep. The time that you would need to get the questions would gradually increase as well. All the best! :)
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Re: Pacing vs Difficulty dilemma [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2017, 18:01
Hi ZenYogi,

You ask some important questions, but the exact 'data' that you need to properly answer those questions will never be available. Instead, you should think in these terms: one of your real goals on Test Day is to be 'efficient.' That does NOT mean that you have to answer every question 'fast' - it means that whatever choices you make on Test Day, you must make them in an efficient fashion (so that you don't waste time). If by spending lots of time on one question (or on a couple of questions), you end up having to 'rush' through a lot of questions later on in the section (and you end up guessing on them and getting them wrong), then THAT is part of the reason why you haven't hit you score goal.

NONE of the Quant questions that you'll face on Test Day will actually require 4 minutes of 'work'; if a Quant question takes you 4 minutes to solve, then you were almost certainly working in an inefficient way (using a "slow" approach - when faster options were available, doing work in your head, making sloppy mistakes that you then have to go back and correct, etc.). By extension, if you find that "your way" of dealing with GMAT questions is taking a long time, then you likely have to learn/practice new Tactics.

1) How long have you studied?
2) What materials have you used?
3) How have you scored on each of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?
4) What is your goal score?

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Re: Pacing vs Difficulty dilemma   [#permalink] 17 Mar 2017, 18:01
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Pacing vs Difficulty dilemma

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