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Timing Strategies on the GMAT

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New post 27 Jun 2010, 21:53
I'm not sure who else does this, but I've been following this pacing plan (from another source that I dont remember where I had gotten from):

For Math (think: 50-30-10):
@ Q11, you should have 50 mins left
@ Q21, 30 min left
@ Q31, 10 min left

For Verbal (think: 55-35-15):
@ Q11, you should have 55 mins left
@ Q21, 35 min left
@ Q31, 15 min left
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New post 22 Jul 2010, 02:06
I need some advice on improving my timing/ speed in the verbal section. Invariably, I come down to 15 questions, 15 mins and then I end up getting atleast 10 wrong in the last 15 questions. Asa result, my verbal score drops significantly. I feel that correcting this is critical to securing a 700+ score. I currently take the following time on an average:

SC - 1.5 mins/ q
CR - 2.5 mins/ q
RC - 3 mins/ q

Obviously I crack the simple SCs and CRs in less than 1 and 2 mins respectively.

One of the strategies, I am considering is to leave the 4th RC, yes - I mean randomly mark all 3-4 questions of the 4th RC. This will unlock valuable 10 mins that I can use for the SCs and CRs. Has anyone tried this? Please share your experiences and thoughts. Thanks!
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New post 14 Aug 2010, 02:42
really useful post :). It gave me few pointers to think about.
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New post 16 Dec 2010, 22:57
Nice topic, thanks for the tips!

I have problem with timing in the verbal section, I usually end up rushing the last 5- 7 questions (I just notice that I have like an average of a minute or less per question and freak out). Interestingly however, most of the time the last questions are correct! I don't guess but speed up after the last RC passage, and noticed that I can do CR and SC questions on very short time. It looks like under a bigger amount of pressure, you can focus better. I just need to keep myself focused after the first 12 questions, when I usually have the most incorrect answers.
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New post 14 Jan 2011, 07:52
My 2 cents:

I started my practice in October and early February will demonstrate how effective was it. Since the very beginning, I was using timers while solving problems - either test own timers (MGMAT, Gmatclub tests) or Walkers' soft. When flying, I was just measuring the start and the end of the session, getting an average time per question.

What this approach has built, is an internal sense of time - I more or less feel when 2 minutes are about to expire w/o looking at a clock. And, 2 minutes tend to appear longer and longer for me, so I am feeling more and more comfortable when solving questions (even when deadling with my most hated Work/Ratio problems).

Another small tip - while solving CATs, I check myself every 5 or 10 questions on how well am I doing with the time. The trick is to look at how many questions left*2 (check at round number - 20, 25 etc) vs time left. If I have 20 questions to go and time left is 35min, that is not good and I need to speed up.

Yet one more thing - it's important to know what you CANNOT solve and irrespectively of the question, to drop it after 3 min of attempts. I failed (650) one of MGMAT cats because I got stuck in both math and verbal sections, running 7-9 min short in each (!) and guessing 6 questions in a row. 6 wrong questions does not worth 1 800-900 :) question answer.
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New post 18 Jan 2011, 12:26
Thanks so much! This is very helpful!
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New post 14 Feb 2011, 12:04
I have been using this for pacing myself on the exam - hat tip to MGMAT

Its pretty useful

Time Left Math—Near Question… Verbal—Near Question…
75 minutes 1 1
60 minutes 7-8 8-10
45 minutes 14-15 16-18
30 minutes 21-22 24-26
15 minutes 28-29 32-34
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New post 23 Feb 2011, 20:04
Guys, I was reading this post about timing strategies on paper. I'm having troubles improving CR speed. I mostly take more than 2-2.5 mins per CR question. I find it very difficult to complete folllowing steps in under 1.5 mins unless I use my gut feeling:
- paraphrase argument with short notes
- reading each option and how it affects conclusion or premise. e.g there can be many ways an argument can be strengthened/weakened. Trying to match options with one of the method/strategies for that type of question takes really long time. Inference questions require combining 2 or three premise statements, and sometimes options are very confusing.
I've improved SC by doing OG questions again and again. It helped my finding patterns and improving speed.
But SC and CR questions are very different from each other. Once I find error in sentence, I can look for another error and find solution. However, CR argument can be strengthened/weakened in many ways or can have many assumptions.
Suggestions to actually improve speed in CR?
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New post 23 Feb 2011, 23:44
RG1, for CR you need to do as many practice questions as you can. After completition of X number of questions, you'll start getting correct answers already while reading questions (especially, in OG, in which CR questions are very lame). For harder questions check MGMAT CATs and Aristotle CR bank.
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New post 24 Feb 2011, 07:44
Thanks Vorskl. I'm doing 50 CR questions second time from OG12 and 11 and then I'll move on to CR 101 by aristotle
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 22:57
I was told by Princeton Review that the beginning questions are the most important, and to spend 30 minutes or so on the first 10 questions. And that the last 10 questions can only effect your score by about 5-10 points since your difficulty level is all ready dialed in. I spaced my time out more evenly before, but recently I started spending a significant amount of time on the first half of the CAT tests, resulting in almost no time towards the ending of the test. I would be forced to pretty much guess on the last 5-10 questions. But now my score has gone down, and I have been studying A LOT in the past couple weeks.

I have not seen anyone talking about such a strategy on this forum, so I am guessing that this is not a good approach. Is spending a large amount of time in the beginning half of the test ever a good idea?
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New post 06 Mar 2011, 11:00
MeestorEno wrote:
I was told by Princeton Review that the beginning questions are the most important, and to spend 30 minutes or so on the first 10 questions. And that the last 10 questions can only effect your score by about 5-10 points since your difficulty level is all ready dialed in. I spaced my time out more evenly before, but recently I started spending a significant amount of time on the first half of the CAT tests, resulting in almost no time towards the ending of the test. I would be forced to pretty much guess on the last 5-10 questions. But now my score has gone down, and I have been studying A LOT in the past couple weeks.

I have not seen anyone talking about such a strategy on this forum, so I am guessing that this is not a good approach. Is spending a large amount of time in the beginning half of the test ever a good idea?


i would say all questions are equally important, although you will see some experimental question(s) during the exam, just won't know which one it is.
see ron's video on timing...
http://www.manhattangmat.com/thursdays- ... loc=forums
August 5, 2010 -- General GMAT: Timing Considerations
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New post 29 Apr 2011, 07:40
@ bb

I have started my GMAT Prep finally from last Friday (April 22nd, 2011). I have one very important question about the TIME issue.

As I have just begun prepping, should I focus on answering the questions following the rule of thumb about TIME (5Qs in 10 mins) or focus on answering the question correctly?
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New post 29 Apr 2011, 09:35
Schawjibb wrote:
@ bb

I have started my GMAT Prep finally from last Friday (April 22nd, 2011). I have one very important question about the TIME issue.

As I have just begun prepping, should I focus on answering the questions following the rule of thumb about TIME (5Qs in 10 mins) or focus on answering the question correctly?



ALL your practice should be timed.
No offense but the questions are fairly easy if you have 5+ mins per question, it is the combination of difficulty and only 2 min per question that makes it hard...
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New post 29 Apr 2011, 11:31
bb wrote:
Schawjibb wrote:
@ bb

I have started my GMAT Prep finally from last Friday (April 22nd, 2011). I have one very important question about the TIME issue.

As I have just begun prepping, should I focus on answering the questions following the rule of thumb about TIME (5Qs in 10 mins) or focus on answering the question correctly?



ALL your practice should be timed.
No offense but the questions are fairly easy if you have 5+ mins per question, it is the combination of difficulty and only 2 min per question that makes it hard...



With all due respect and just in search of the logic behind, how and why TIME dominates CORRECTNESS as far as the importance is concerned whilst I am just practicing my first few Qs of Kaplan Premier?
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New post 11 Sep 2011, 01:07
bb wrote:
CaliCpa wrote:
BB - Can you please explain why point #4 under the Simple GMAT timing strategy is relevant. I'm sure it has something to do with the progression of the test, but please clarify if possible.


Very Fair question indeed.
The suggestion is based on a few assumptions about the algorith of the test and you are definitely welcome to poke holes in it.

Assumption: You get "penalized" for getting multiple questions wrong

If you are pressed for time and have 4 questions left but really have time only for 2, my suggestion is instead of answering questions 34 and 35 and then guessing 36 and 37 for Quant is to answer 34, guess 35, answer 36, and guess 37. This allows to stay at a relatively same level (or higher if you guess one right) than potentially dropping below the level you were at question 33 by getting multiple questions wrong in a row.


very useful!! i never thought about that when having to guess! Thanks!!
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New post 22 Sep 2011, 13:47
Thanks.. Great read, although couple of days before d-day!
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New post 09 Dec 2011, 01:47
I usually finish my quantitative section in about 60 minutes, which means i'll be left with 15 spare mins. I have planned to use the time to smoke a cigarette and use the bathroom. will that be possible? or will i have to finish the section before i can get out of the test room?
thanks in advance
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New post 09 Dec 2011, 15:02
perfectionist wrote:
I usually finish my quantitative section in about 60 minutes, which means i'll be left with 15 spare mins. I have planned to use the time to smoke a cigarette and use the bathroom. will that be possible? or will i have to finish the section before i can get out of the test room?
thanks in advance


Finishing a section early won't let you take a longer break, unless you want to stare at the wall in the testing room. If you want to get up from your seat, the proctor will end your current section, so you'll automatically be moved forward to the break.
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New post 10 Dec 2011, 08:38
IanStewart wrote:
perfectionist wrote:
I usually finish my quantitative section in about 60 minutes, which means i'll be left with 15 spare mins. I have planned to use the time to smoke a cigarette and use the bathroom. will that be possible? or will i have to finish the section before i can get out of the test room?
thanks in advance


Finishing a section early won't let you take a longer break, unless you want to stare at the wall in the testing room. If you want to get up from your seat, the proctor will end your current section, so you'll automatically be moved forward to the break.


I guess I'll have to stare at walls then. :) This test is obviously biased against smokers.
tnx for the quick reply.
Re: Timing Strategies on the GMAT &nbs [#permalink] 10 Dec 2011, 08:38

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