The GMAT doesn’t time you within a section. Thus, you can spend anywhere from a few seconds to the whole 65 minutes on one single question. However, our goal is to not do that. We want to attempt the most questions correctly to receive the maximum possible score.
So how do you do that? How do you time yourself within each section in a way that you can make the most of your time and get the highest score possible for you personally?
We have already discussed guessing and skipping questions on the GMAT. These are very important strategies to follow when working on time management on the GMAT. But like every good thing, they must be done in moderation.
You can’t guess or skip every question that bothers you in the slightest. The guessing techniques are also different for the types of questions you are attempting. For example, the GMAT Verbal section requires educated guesses as opposed to the GMAT Quant section.
An educated guess is when you are close to an answer, have eliminated most of the option choices, and are confused amongst two possible options. Since you know that the other options are wrong, your probability to get the correct answer will be 50%.
In a quant question, you would either have solved the answer or not have a clue. This is why we suggest making an uneducated guess on the hard questions on this section. Just go on and select an answer. You will either be right and get a point, or will be wrong and get an easier answer. Pay attention to how I said ‘har questions.’ This is because getting an easy question wrong will take away from your score much more than a hard one.
This is where skipping a question would come in. If you aren’t able to reach any conclusions even after trying to guess, it will be a smarter idea to skip an easy question.
However, only 2-4 questions per section are a good choice for the number of questions you can skip. Try limiting yourself to this.
For the questions that you just know you wouldn’t be able to solve on the Quant, don’t waste your time using the one-minute rule.
While practising quant, you will learn to identify questions that you won’t be able to solve. These questions will keep changing as you move forward with your GMAT prep. But there always will be some questions that will instantly let you know that you can’t attempt that once you’ve read them. This would take you a few seconds of reading by the day you take your official GMAT test.
For these questions, try reversing your approach. Rather than solving for the answer, solve with the answers. Use the option choices to replace the question.
Since we have already discussed skipping or guessing you must be wondering why you need this strategy. This strategy is to make sure you do not loose points due to excessive skipping or guessing on the test. Those strategies are presented as a secondary method for when you do not know an answer and need to be followed in moderation.
The verbal section can be attempted effectively with the time constraints by following a simple strategy. Prediction.
Unlike the Mayans’ December 12th prediction, your prediction will be of use. When attempting a question on the Verbal section, apart from the Reading Comprehension, predict your answer before reading the option choices.
For example, let’s look at this sentence correction question.
A polar ice cap is a very large glacier of more than 50000 square kilometres covering the Earth, with a thickness of several hundred meters or kilometres.
Reading this statement, with the underlined part, you can easily predict that the right answer should have parallelism since ‘or’ is indicative of a list. Thus, the right answer will create parallelism amongst ‘several hundred meters’, and ‘kilometres.’
This will instantly remove at least one option choice for you. Having seen how the GMAT questions are formatted, it would probably remove more than one answer choice, leaving you with much fewer options to scrutinize and decide amongst.
I won’t say that all questions on the GMAT can be attempted in a time-saving way. That is not possible. There will be some questions that will require you to do hard labour and spend a good 3 minutes on them. But following these tips will help you to have those extra minutes to send on one single question.
The aim is not to finish the test faster. It is to attempt the maximum questions in the given time without affecting the quality of the solution.