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# Quant section timing - keep running 4-5 problems short

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Intern
Joined: 25 Jan 2016
Posts: 1
Quant section timing - keep running 4-5 problems short  [#permalink]

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06 Jun 2016, 07:12
Hey guys,

When I am doing problem sets in chunks of 10, I've been pretty good about keeping 2 minute mark timing, but whenever I am doing a full-length tests (Veritas and Manhattan Prep), I keep on running out of time at around problem #33-35. I have been doing the measurement at 60/45/30/15 minute mark, but by the time 45 minute rolls around, I see that I'm 3-4 problems behind.

What is a good way to improve this? Did you guys have the same issue before?

I can't decide if my strategy should be:

1) to time myself for every question to see if I'm at a 2 minute mark
2) when I see that I'm behind, make best guesses to catch up with the timer
3) keep pace, but when I'm at 2 minute mark with 4-5 problems left, make quick guesses to complete the test.

Thank you!!!
SVP
Joined: 06 Nov 2014
Posts: 1861
Re: Quant section timing - keep running 4-5 problems short  [#permalink]

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06 Jun 2016, 07:50
junechoi89 wrote:
Hey guys,

When I am doing problem sets in chunks of 10, I've been pretty good about keeping 2 minute mark timing, but whenever I am doing a full-length tests (Veritas and Manhattan Prep), I keep on running out of time at around problem #33-35. I have been doing the measurement at 60/45/30/15 minute mark, but by the time 45 minute rolls around, I see that I'm 3-4 problems behind.

What is a good way to improve this? Did you guys have the same issue before?

I can't decide if my strategy should be:

1) to time myself for every question to see if I'm at a 2 minute mark
2) when I see that I'm behind, make best guesses to catch up with the timer
3) keep pace, but when I'm at 2 minute mark with 4-5 problems left, make quick guesses to complete the test.

Thank you!!

The best way out would be to obviously try and improve your speed. There might be certain topics that would be troubling you.
Find out those topics and then go through the concepts again and practice extensively.

If in the end it comes down to guessing, then you should guess on the question which you are most uncomfortable with.
I would recommend you to go with the option 2 if at all the beed arises.
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 04 Dec 2015
Posts: 948
GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: Quant section timing - keep running 4-5 problems short  [#permalink]

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06 Jun 2016, 11:17
1
junechoi89 wrote:
Hey guys,

When I am doing problem sets in chunks of 10, I've been pretty good about keeping 2 minute mark timing, but whenever I am doing a full-length tests (Veritas and Manhattan Prep), I keep on running out of time at around problem #33-35. I have been doing the measurement at 60/45/30/15 minute mark, but by the time 45 minute rolls around, I see that I'm 3-4 problems behind.

What is a good way to improve this? Did you guys have the same issue before?

I can't decide if my strategy should be:

1) to time myself for every question to see if I'm at a 2 minute mark
2) when I see that I'm behind, make best guesses to catch up with the timer
3) keep pace, but when I'm at 2 minute mark with 4-5 problems left, make quick guesses to complete the test.

Thank you!!!

This is a very normal issue! I could write a whole book about it (actually, look out for an upcoming series of articles on the MPrep GMAT blog on exactly this topic), but here's the short version.

Your timing strategy needs to include the following:

1. How will you keep track of time? (Will you look at the clock after every question? Every other question? Every 10 questions? Multiple times during each question?)
2. How will you determine whether you're ahead or behind on time? (I recommend the Yellow Pad Technique: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... tch-paper/)
3. What will you do if you're behind?

It sounds like your current strategy includes the first two, but not the third. You say you're noticing that you're behind on time at the 45 minute mark, but... what are you doing when that happens? If you're behind at 0:45, and then you're still behind when you finish the test, you've missed a step in using your timing plan. There are a couple of options that my students use, each with different advantages and disadvantages.

1. "The nuclear option": If you're behind by more than a minute or two, guess on every question until you're not behind anymore.
2. The middle-ground option: If you're behind by more than a minute or two, work normally (but keep a very close eye on the clock) until you get to a question that looks time-consuming, like a word problem or a particularly challenging problem of any type. Then guess randomly on that one, and repeat until you're ahead again.
3. The gentle-but-doesn't-usually-work option: If you're behind by more than a minute or two, go into 'fast mode'. Be more willing to guess on moderate-to-tough problems, stop double-checking your math, try back-of-the-napkin strategies more quickly, etc. I include this as an option because some students can make it work, but typically, this is what people want to try first and it doesn't work that well. If you could just go faster without really hurting your score, you should've done it in the first place!

Also, if you're wondering about whether some aspect of your test-day strategy is working or not, that's what practice tests are for! Try something dramatically different on a practice test, and see what happens. I think too many people try to take practice tests 'right', instead of just trying new approaches to test them out. That results in being stuck in your old habits for longer than you need to be, because you're afraid to let go of them.
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Re: Quant section timing - keep running 4-5 problems short   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2016, 11:17