Ways To Pick Up The Pace and Finish GMAT Test Sections On Time

Often people talk about pacing issues and have trouble finishing sections of the GMAT on time. The approximately two minutes available per GMAT question is not a lot, and meanwhile there is a fairly significant penalty for not answering all of the questions in each main section of the test. Also, time related issues add another challenge to getting right answers to tricky GMAT questions. So what’s to be done to work faster? Here are some ways to speed things up.

One thing that speeds things  up is becoming familiar with the question types and how to handle each type. For instance, if you don’t know how to handle them, questions about overlapping sets can take several minutes to solve. Once you are familiar with them and clear about how to handle them, you will likely get to the answers in two minutes no problem. Most test prep company practice tests include in the results data information on how long it took the test taker to answer each question. You can use that information as a way to figure out what to focus on in order to use less time.

Another thing you can to to pick up the pace is to get good at figuring out quick ways to get to answers. For instance, some questions that seem to require algebra can actually be quickly solved via using some numbers that fit the description of what is going on and seeing what happens when you manipulate those numbers. When doing practice questions, consider all the angles, and seek to come up with methods to get to answers quickly. You can see examples of such methods in the answers provided on forums such a those on Beat the GMAT.

Also, one can save time by being good at handling certain processes that are often used in answering GMAT questions. For instance there are certain types of triangles that show up consistently on the test. By being good at working with those types of triangles, one can save time, because one can focus on figuring out how to get the answers to questions rather than messing around just figuring out how to work with the triangles. For example, often one needs to get from the length of a side of an equilateral triangle to its height or area. If you are already clear on how to do that, when you need to do it, you can just bang out the calculations. Another thing that comes up regularly in test questions is prime factors. So by getting good at finding the prime factors of numbers, one gets set up to handle certain questions quickly.

Overall, one can look for ways to be more efficient in every aspect of the way one handles questions. Reading comprehension passages can be handled in certain ways. One can be more or less efficient in the way one reads word problems. Even being careful when doing calculations can save time, because going back to fix little calculation mistakes can suck up time.

One thing that does not work is guessing to catch up with the clock. You should only guess in two situations, if you feel that you will not get the answer to a particular question in a reasonable amount of time or if you are at the end of a test section and will not complete it without guessing. Other than that don’t guess. Guessing just to catch up with the clock is pointless and can even drag your score down if you guess on a question that the test considers relatively easy.

Another thing that does not really work, at least not at the beginning, is seeking to do many practice problems on a timed basis. If you practice answering questions in two minutes before you can actually effectively handle them in two minutes, you sabotage the learning process, and you will not really develop the skills you need to get to right answers. So for the most part use as much time as you need to get practice questions right, even if at first doing that takes something along the lines of ten minutes or more per question. Learning to get right answers is what it’s all about, and once you are good at getting to right answers, you can seek to get faster and faster until for the most part you handle questions at test speed.

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