If you’ve been prepping, or planning to prep for the GMAT you must have heard about time management on the test. It’s pretty much the first thing anyone talks about, even before the actual test material.
But why is it so? Why is time management such an important thing on the GMAT? After all you have been giving three-hour exams since at least 5th grade. Let’s find out why.
Unlike school exams, where you had the option to go back and forth between questions and sections to write elaborate answers, GMAT doesn’t allow you to switch answers as freely. Once you’ve submitted a section, your fate is sealed.
GMAT also, unlike school exams, will not give you nay marks for an answer you eventually got wrong. we all have depended on having at least a few steps right on a question to get some marks. GMAT only cares about the final answer you select and not how you reached there. It challenges the fact that we have learnt, to explain all our answers, and will not discriminate between a correct answer you worked on or just guessed.
This means you could either take 5 minutes or 5 seconds to get the right answer.
To up the difficulty, the GMAT is also Computer adaptative. This means the test will adapt itself to your level. If you’ve been getting all your questions right it will just keep giving you harder questions. This means you might not score high even if you gave the right answers to all the questions you attempted.
Our goal with the GMAT is to attempt as many questions as possible but still have over 90% of them answered correctly to receive a high score. If you are unable to attempt all the questions before the time runs out, it won’t matter how many you got right.
However, powering through might also be a problem as it could lead you to make careless mistakes. This is why knowing how to maintain speed on the test without contaminating the quality of problem-solving is a must on the test.
Just like every other tip or strategy,
also need to be practised daily while prepping for the test.
A popular strategy for the
section is that when you read an article in the news, or on a blog, practice the reading style that is recommended for the GMAT. Skim through the article to understand the basic gist.
This is to instil the technique in a way that your brain starts doing it without being prompted to.
Similarly, practising time management techniques while solving questions during GMAT prep will help you immensely.
I know what you’re thinking. What about diagnosing your mistakes? How do I understand a question if I don’t take my sweet time trying to figure it out through all possible ways? There is an easy fix for this.
While answering questions during GMAT prep, first answer the question within a time frame as you would on the test. Once you have achieved an answer through this, try the question as long as you are satisfied before looking at the answer book.
This way you will get a feel of the time limit on a question and also understand the different ways to attack it.
It’s a win-win situation for you.
Guessing on the GMAT isn’t the best way to attack a problem but when you’re pressed for time, I would say go for it. However, there are ways to make guesses that could eventually turn out to be correct.
The guess on a reading comprehension question should be an educated one. You can’t randomly select an option choice and then pray you’d selected the right one. You will have to carefully eliminate most option choices to make a guess here.
In most question types on the GMAT Reading Comprehension, you can easily eliminate option choices by the words they use. Any option choice with an absolute word in it will probably be the wrong one. This can be seen through an example.
She was always giddy in the mornings.
She was giddy most of the mornings I saw her.
Which of these options are more likely to be true? For the first option, evidence of even one morning, whether the author saw the subject or not, will prove it to be untrue.
Whereas, the second option has not much possible denial.
So, you have eliminated 3 option choices and are now stuck with very similar looking two. What should be your next plan of action?
You will find yourself in this situation multiple times during the test. Don’t worry. The way out of this problem is very simple, and would, probably, give you an accurate answer. Focus on the differences between the two option choices.
On the GMAT, there are never two correct answers. This means that the right answer will be different from the wrong one by very miniscule differences. In finding the difference you will also zero-in on the grammatical error on one of the option choices hence, finding the answer.
If you’re still unable to find the right answer and are sure that the two option choices are grammatically correct, eliminate the answer choice that changes the meaning of the sentence.
A very important grammar rule is to not interfere with the meaning of a sentence. When two grammatically correct option choices are present on the GMAT one will surely be incorrect because it changes the meaning of the sentence.
In critical reasoning, just like sentence correction, many answers are written in a way that they just seem wrong.
These answers will be correct in all forms but just seem off. This is done to check the conceptual knowledge of the test-taker. These are answers you’ll not get right if you take a random guess. These are also answers, that will have students stuck on them for precious seconds during the test.
When stuck on answers like these you will, most likely, find yourself left with two choices. One of the choices would sound off and the other would sound almost right if only somethings were changed. This means that the second option, the one that is almost right, is wrong.
When you identify an answer to be wrong, it is always wise to strike it off. The other answer might not be completely clear to you but it could just be oddly worded.
An uneducated guess is a blind guess with only a 25% chance of getting the right answer.
This method of guessing is not recommended for every answer you are unsure of. But when pressed for time, this could come in really handy to give you a few correct answers.
This in no way means that mostly guessing, or getting all difficult questions wrong would get you a good score. You will need to choose your battles, and do so wisely.
Another variation of guessing or answering wrong is to skip problems on the GMAT. But this one is catered towards the harder unsolvable problems. These are the problems that have already taken up around 40-50 seconds of your time and have reached nowhere near an answer. If you can’t even use the tips from the previous points and take a guess, you are better off skipping them altogether.
Problems like these, that are time-consuming and laborious should be skipped if you want to score high on the GMAT.
While life won’t let you skip your problems, take the liberty to do so on the GMAT.
GMAT isn’t a hard test because of the types of problems it asks of a student to answer. I am sure if given a good amount of time you will be able to answer all of them correctly since they are concepts you have learnt in school. the challenge of this test mainly is to answer correctly but within the small amount of time that has been given to you.
This is why we endorse students to not only study hard but to also study smart. Hang on to every nugget of information that you find out about how to solve problems quickly because this might be the difference between a 500 and a 700 GMAT score.