### Archives For Time Management

In the first part of this series, we discussed time positions (positive, negative, and neutral) and addressed our first three major considerations for timing:

(1) understanding the scoring (and what implications that has for timing)

(2) per-question timing and tracking your work

(3) reflecting on your results so that you can improve

If you haven’t already read the first part, do so now before you continue with this article. Today, we’re going to talk about our final three major timing strategies.

(4) Develop your 1 minute sense

While keeping a single-problem time log will help you become aware of your pacing on all question types, you can’t check the clock after every problem on the real test. You’ll drive yourself crazy before the test is over! What to do, then?

What we’re going to do is develop a time sense so that we can make appropriate, timely decisions as we move through the test. Let’s talk first about why and how we use this time sense; then, we’ll talk about what we need to do in order to develop it.

Note: Most people find it takes three to four weeks of regular practice with this in order to develop a time sense that is reasonably accurate most of the time.

WHY are we developing a 1-minute sense?

I haven’t picked too ambitious a title there, have I? Let’s see how we do!

First, just a note: these two articles are long and have a lot of detail. You aren’t going to be able to remember everything and start incorporating it right away; instead, you’re going to keep coming back to this article as you get further into your studies. Bookmark this right now so that you can find it again easily in future.

Time management is obviously an essential GMAT skill, and one of the (many!) skills we need for this test is the ability to maintain an appropriate time position. Time position refers to the relationship between the test taker’s position on the test (the question number) and the time that has elapsed to get to that point in the section.

For example, if I’ve just finished quant question #5 and 15 minutes have elapsed so far, am I ahead, behind, or on time? Use this chart to help you decide:

This article, written by Abby Pelcyger and Stacey Koprince, was adapted from our upcoming book, The GMAT Roadmap: Expert Advice Through Test Day. The full book will be available mid-November.

You won’t correctly answer every Quant problem on the GMAT in the allotted time. Even 99th per-centile performers typically don’t do this. Through a 700, GMAT-takers are getting about 60% of the problems correct: that’s only three out of five! Even individuals who score a 750 are only getting about four out of five questions correct. That’s why time management is essential on the GMAT. Why spend time on a problem that you won’t get correct anyway, when you could invest that time on a problem where the time will make a difference?

As you are working through a GMAT problem, you also need to evaluate whether you are using your time efficiently. For instance, if you are attempting to solve a problem that you know you wouldn’t get right in ten minutes, let alone two, you are not using your time effectively. Likewise, if you are working on a problem and you know that you can get right, but that it will take five minutes, you are also not using your time effectively. Any time that you spend on a problem over two minutes is time that you are tak¬ing away from a problem that you have not even seen yet.

So how should you use your time? While no two problems will take you exactly the same amount of time to work through each step, using this timeline to structure your time working on GMAT practice problems will help you to make wise (but difficult) decisions on test day.

Note: While having a plan for a problem may mean an algebraic method to solve, it doesn’t have to. Back-up strategies such as plugging in numbers and picking smart numbers are just as valid approaches” and sometimes quicker!

Once you have used this strategy to work through a practice GMAT question, write down (or better yet, input into the GMAT Navigator) your best guess. Then, draw a line under your scrap paper notes and continue to work on the problem until you have exhausted every potential line of your thinking. Providing your brain with the opportunity to think through new material most often takes more than two minutes. The trick is to do the heavy thinking now, during practice, so that on test day there’s very little new: all you will have to do is recognize, remember, adapt, and solve!

I haven’t picked too ambitious a title there, have I?  Let’s see how we do!

Time management is obviously an essential GMAT skill, and one of the (many!) skills we need for this test is the ability to maintain an appropriate time position. Time position refers to the relationship between the test taker’s position on the test (the question number) and the time that has elapsed to get to that point in the section. For example, if I’ve just finished quant question #5 and 15 minutes have elapsed so far, am I ahead, behind, or on time?

Check out the table below to help answer that question:

 Positive ahead of time (>3 minutes ahead) Neutral on time (+/- 3 minutes) Negative behind on time (>3 minutes behind)

In my previous example, I would be behind on time because, on quant, we’re expected to average about 2 minutes per question. After 5 questions, only 10 minutes should have elapsed “ so I am 5 minutes behind, putting me in a negative time position.

Most people will find themselves in the negative position more frequently than the positive position. If we run out of time before completing the section, Continue Reading…

Almost all students undertaking a prep program for the GMAT, or for any other standardized test, understand the importance of the test itself. Far fewer, however, understand the importance, or the magnitude, of the mental adjustments required for success on the test.

The following “attitude adjustments” are discussed in detail by our instructors over the course of our nine-session program, but they bear repeating here as well.

1. PRACTICE ISN’T GAME DAY
In other words, studying for a test is not the same thing as taking that test.

On test day, your sole goal is to answer as many questions as possible correctly, within the desired time frame; this much is quite obvious. However, many GMAT students make the mistake of extending this same mentality to studying for the test, practicing primarily by solving problem after problem after problem and rarely, if ever, returning for a formal review.