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SC pacing strategy. Accuracy vs Time

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SC pacing strategy. Accuracy vs Time  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2019, 00:37
Hi,

Through some practice and change in strategy, I saw a good improvement in my SC but now I am taking ~95 seconds on each SC just to make sure I eliminate 4 incorrect answers. Obvious splits speed up the process but then again I am not sure If I should be taking that much time on SC. I am struggling with time on verbal and that destroyed my last GMAT attempt.

What Can I do to improve my pace in verbal? Also will answering wrong a good chunk of one type of questions (RC, CR) but doing well on the other two tank my verbal score? does the algorithm punish you for being below average on a particular type of question?
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Re: SC pacing strategy. Accuracy vs Time  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2019, 06:55
Hi CaptainMeow,

The first thing to understand is that timing on the GMAT, as in life, improves as your knowledge, understanding, and skills improve. Timing does not improve simply by “trying to go faster.” In fact, when people try to force speed before they’re ready to go faster, they tend to end up making a significant number of preventable mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes badly erode people’s test scores. In addition, when people rush learning -- a common pathology of those trying to force speed -- they actually never end up developing the speed they seek. One of the great paradoxes of learning is that to develop speed, a student must slow down to ensure that he or she masters the material. Consider the following examples, which hopefully will bring you some more clarity:

Imagine your goal were to run a mile in four minutes, a difficult feat even for professional athletes. So, you get yourself a running coach. You show up on the field and ask, “Coach, how do I get faster?” The coach responds, “Well, just run faster.” So, you try your best to “run faster,” but you can't; you’re running a 12-minute mile. Out of breath, you come back to the coach and say, “Coach, I stink. How do I get faster?” Again, he says, “Just run faster.” So, you try again, but this time you fall and skin your knees. You keep trying to run faster. On the tenth attempt, you pull your hamstring, falling to the ground in pain. Over your next four months of recovery, you ponder why you couldn't run faster.

That situation would be insane, right? No qualified running coach would ever provide you with that advice, because the coach would understand that no one gets faster merely by trying to run faster. Instead, the coach would set you up on a linear, comprehensive plan to make you a BETTER runner. He may have you run progressively longer distances at relatively slow speeds. He may have you run up and down the stairs at the football stadium. He may have you run up and down hills. He even may have you engage in strength training, yoga, or Pilates to make you a more fit athlete. After all of that training, he finally would bring you back on the field and time you running the mile. At that point, he’d coach you on how to push yourself through the pain of sprinting and help you to understand what a four-minute-mile pace feels like. He now could help you with those things because you would be in the necessary shape to be receptive to them. So, you begin your run, and BOOM! You run a 6-minute mile. What happened? Well, you became a better runner. You became a fitter athlete. You became stronger. Although you’re not yet at the four-minute-mile mark, your training has yielded considerable improvements.

Now imagine your goal were to play a complicated song on the piano. The tempo at which a pianist plays greatly impacts the way a song sounds. To make songs sound the way they should, often a pianist must play at a fast pace. But your experience with the piano is limited. Can you imagine trying to play the complicated song at full speed right at the outset? Doing so wouldn't be possible. Instead, you first need to master many aspects of the piano -- without really trying to get faster. In fact, you need to proceed slowly at first, sometimes very slowly. As you master the piano, you find that you’re able to play your song at progressively faster tempos. With time and dedicated, proper practice, you’re able to recreate the sound you seek. If in the early days of practicing you had tried to force speed instead of mastering your technique, you never would have gained that speed. You never would become truly accomplished at playing the song.

The process of getting faster at solving GMAT questions is quite analogous to the process of improving one’s running speed or ability to play the piano at the proper tempo! To get faster, you must get better. As you further develop your GMAT skills, you will get faster at a) recognizing what a problem is asking and b) executing the necessary steps to quickly attack the problem.

The key takeaway is that as you develop stronger GMAT verbal skills, better timing will follow. In fact, a great way to know how well you have mastered a particular topic is to be cognizant of how you react when seeing a question involving that topic. For instance, consider the following simple question, which might be challenging for someone just beginning to work on Sentence Correction:

The researchers traveled into the rainforest to observe monkeys while swinging through the trees, using their hands, feet, and tails.
(A) traveled into the rainforest to observe monkeys while swinging

(B) traveling into the rainforest, observing monkeys that were swinging

(C) traveled into the rainforest to observe monkeys, swinging

(D) traveled into the rainforest to observe monkeys, which swing

(E) were traveling into the rainforest to observe monkeys in order to swing

Looking at this question, a test-taker might quickly see that choice (B) can be eliminated because the version created via the use of (B) has no main verb, and that choice (E) can be eliminated because the version created via the use of (E) conveys the nonsensical meaning that the researchers were traveling into the rainforest in order for the researchers to swing through the trees, using their hands, feet and tails.

Then, having eliminated those two choices, the test-taker could end up using a lot of time circling through choices (A), (C), and (D), not sure what’s wrong with any of them.

However, a person who has studied modifiers would know that, when a closing “–ing” modifier is preceded by a comma or begins with preposition, such as “while,” that “–ing” modifier targets the preceding subject verb combination. So, a person with that knowledge would quickly recognize that “while swinging …,” in (A), and “swinging” preceded by a comma, in (C), target the subject and verb of the preceding clause, which are “researchers traveled,” Thus, that person would see that (A) and (C) convey the illogical meaning that the researchers were swinging through the trees, using their hands, feet, and tails, and that, therefore, the only choice that works is (D).

Although this is just one example of many, you see that you must have many tools in your toolbox to efficiently attack each GMAT verbal question that comes your way. As you gain these skills, you will get faster.

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.

Good luck!
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Re: SC pacing strategy. Accuracy vs Time   [#permalink] 26 Aug 2019, 06:55
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