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Preparing your scratch pad

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Preparing your scratch pad  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2018, 03:17
Hello experts gmatclub,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all experts who have made this community so helpful and lively.

I have two questions, the first is a specific exam-related one and the second is more subjective and general.

1. Setting up the scratchpad before the test

I took my GMAT earlier this year, but not without some exam day surprises.
While I was about to start my first section (quant), I started preparing my scratchpad with the usual demarcations, and mid-test target timings.
But as soon as I started, the invigilator stormed in and protested, saying that I am not allowed to write anything before the official start of the test.
Is this true?
i.e In the 8 min instructions segment, can I not prepare my scratchpad?
If I can, what could I say to the invigilator, if he/she protests? I will be taking the exam again, very soon.

2. GMAT Verbal strategies

Verbal is not my strong suit because English is not my first language and consequently I take a lot of time reading and absorbing the details.
I read a post by the GMATClub Verbal expert (also very handsome!) GMATNinja on verbal timing strategies and I found it quite helpful because he addressed the kind of issues I generally faced.
Despite that, I still can make it to only q29 with 5 mins spare, or q31 with 1 min spare.
On checking some of my practice tests, I noticed that mostly 7 out of 8 of those last questions I answered in 5 mins were wrong or 5 out of 6 if I left it to the last minute for complete blind guesses.
I've tried but I can't bet better than 32q in 65 mins.
What is less damaging? Giving 8 questions 40 seconds, or 5 blind guesses?

Thanks! :)
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Re: Preparing your scratch pad  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2018, 19:16
Hi hargun3045,

Many Test Takers face pacing problems while dealing with either the Quant or Verbal section (or both). Pacing problems don't exist on their own though - they're the results of OTHER problems. As such, it might help to discuss HOW you approach the Verbal section - since there are likely inefficiencies in those approaches that are costing you time and leading to this pacing issue.

Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?
4) How did you Score on the Official GMAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)?

Goals:
5) What is your goal score?
6) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
7) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
8) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Preparing your scratch pad  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2018, 17:44
I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. Regarding your first question, I’ve never heard of not being able to write on your scratch pad at the beginning of the quant section. Before your next exam, you could confirm with the folks in the test center that you are in fact able to write on your scratch pad at the beginning of your exam, and let them know that you plan to do so. That way you will have all of your ducks in a row before you take your next GMAT.

Regarding your timing issues, I don’t think there is really a best-case scenario when deciding between doing 8 questions in 40 seconds or 5 blind guesses. Rather than succumbing to your timing woes, take the approach of, “I’m going to do whatever is necessary to improve my GMAT quant and verbal skills and thus improve my timing!” OK?

If you’d like further advice on how to improve your quant and verbal skills, feel free to reach back out, and I can provide some further advice.
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Re: Preparing your scratch pad  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2018, 20:11
hargun3045 wrote:
i.e In the 8 min instructions segment, can I not prepare my scratchpad?
If I can, what could I say to the invigilator, if he/she protests? I will be taking the exam again, very soon.
I don't think that's allowed, but most test center staff members will let you do it. If I were you, I'd probably just run this by them before entering the testing room.

hargun3045 wrote:
What is less damaging? Giving 8 questions 40 seconds, or 5 blind guesses?
It's very hard to say, and it's best to avoid any such situation in the first place. If that's not possible, I'd go with doing my best on as many questions as possible and randomly marking answers to any remaining questions (even leaving them unanswered is an option at lower score ranges).
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Re: Preparing your scratch pad   [#permalink] 24 Oct 2018, 20:11
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