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Why is Timing an Important Challenge for GMAT takers

The GMAT is a marathon test. Apart from testing the quant and verbal aptitude, the four-hour long exam also tests various soft skills of the candidate including the ability to handle pressure, decide among various options diligently and most importantly, time management.

Timing is of essence on the GMAT. It is the most single-most important factor that differentiates between a high-600s and a 700+ score. In my experience over the years, I have come across various candidates who were stuck on a score and the problem continues even now. The biggest reason being poor timing. So why is timing such a common problem for test takers? The answer, I believe, lies in one word – DISCIPLINE (or the lack of it).

It is discipline with respect to time that leads to a good score. In fact, if you have timing under control, you will easily score 50 points higher than a candidate who messed up his timing (keeping prep levels constant). And that is what helps you clear the 700 barrier.

So how do you ensure discipline during the test?  

We understand that GMAT is an important test – the start to your MBA journey – the start of the dream career you have always aspired for. Since so much depends on that one test (and those four hours), candidates tend to get carried away. The pressure of the test gets the better of them and they end up messing up their timing, resulting in a sub-optimal GMAT score.

To avoid that, we suggest various timing strategies on the GMAT. The strategies, if practiced over time, become second nature and this helps to remain disciplined during the test. One of our proprietary timing strategies is “the Better after 5” rule. Given below is an illustration of the strategy.

Timing is the key on the GMAT. To get a good score, you need to always stay “ahead of time” or on time but "never behind time" at all times during the test. To manage time, this is what we suggest:

 

Write the below numbers on your note board.

 

Quant

 

Ques (completed)

Time (remaining)

5

65

10

55

15

45

20

35

25

25

30

15

35

5

 

Verbal

 

Ques (completed)

Time (remaining)

5

66

10

57

15

48

20

39

25

30

30

21

35

12

40

3

 

Look at the clock not more than 6-7 times during each section (say after every 5 questions or so) just to ensure that you are never behind time. This will keep you aware and help you remain “ahead of time” during the test.

 

We believe that there is a penalty for being “behind time” on the test just as there is a penalty for not completing the test. And, that penalty is a lower score on the GMAT!

 

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