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There are many benefits to timing your practice, including:
Generally we advise students not to read the whole passage (waste of time); you want to get the general idea of the passage initially. Reading the first two sentences from each paragraph is usually sufficient to get an initial feel and to actually answer most general idea, structure, and tone/style questions. Take notes on what you read. You are simply mapping out over here and do not get caught in details.. Obviously sometimes you may need to read a bit more, so for example if you see the third sentence starts with an opposition conjunction, read this as well (ALWAYS pay attention to opposition conjunctions). Or if you see that it is an extra long paragraph or a one paragraph text then you may want to look at the third and last sentences too.
The point is do not read more than you need to. Too easy to fall into traps and waste time- taking notes actually ends up saving time for most people (in case you are wondering).
As for specific quesitons, the mapping can help you locate some of those specific questions. Generally you should not ready more than 2 or 3 sentences per each detail question.
In terms of time, of course doing an initial reading may take you a bit more than a couple of minutes but it will shave off your time when answering certain quesitons. So your times seem good for now. The more you practice technique and not reading everything the faster you will become. It is normal for the RC to take a bit longer. Doing the initial work can go a long way to making you precise and efficient.
What about is a good amount of time to spend on RC questions? Right now I'm averaging 2-3 minutes to read the passage and 1-2 minutes for questions. Is that good or too slow?
On RC, you will average 2 minutes per question but almost half of that time will be spent reading the passage. If you are talking about a short passage (2-3 paragraphs with 3 questions) you will want to spend 2-3 minutes reading and about 1 minute per question. Some questions (like the general questions) will take you less than a minute, which will allow you to spend a bit more time on harder, specific questions.
If you are working on a long RC passage (3-4 paragraphs with 4 questions), you will spend 3-4 minutes reading and about a minute per question.
I will echo some of the comments above. Your initial read needs to be focused on the structure and the overall meaning of the passage - don't get caught up in all the details. You know if you are reading at the right level of detail if you can answer all the general questions without going back to the passage and if you know where in the passage you need to look to answer specific questions.
I also wanted to add the following. You have to weigh what you are doing in the RC vs other questions too.
If you know you have trouble finishing the exam on time, you obviously do not want to rush everything (that will simply lead to careless errors). However, then you have to start thinking about a proper timing strategy and whether you may wish to sacrifice 2 or 3 quesitons in the middle part of a section. If, for example, I know that generally I am very good at RC questions and perhaps they take me a bit longer than the average to get them right, yet on CR Complete the dialogue questions I am consistently wrong and/or these almost always take me too long, I may well choose to sacrifice the latter and devote that extra time to some of the RCs. So sometimes it is simply a matter of weighing how to make your strengths shine through and not allow the weaknesses to drag you down.
Ha! If you can do that consistently then I would be glad to have you along as an instructor
I think the important thing is to monitor how you are doing vis-a-vis precision and time. If you can consistently show high success rates and you finish a bit ahead of time then you needn't worry much at all about timing! Seriously. If after a few exams you see something consistently off (eg you happen to go fast on all of them and are making mistakes in certain ares etc) then that is worth thinking about and analyzing further. I think the main point is- on certain questions it is ok to take a bit more time etc but there may be times when you need to learn how to let go. For now, it sounds to me as if you are doing well. Good luck the rest of the way!
Re: Reading Comprehension Average Timing? [#permalink]
24 Oct 2013, 16:30
I was having timing issues on the quant section, and so I think I still kept "rushing" through the verbal. Plus I wasn't really slowing down and reading through all the answers and picking apart splits, etc. on SC questions, which is why I got like 7 SC questions wrong despite studying for those a ton! 82nd percentile isn't bad for that fast I guess, but I wish I would've slowed down and gotten a more accurate score! We'll see how it goes from here on out, thanks!