GMAT Time Management Strategies

Are you planning to take the GMAT exam soon? Apart from keeping your preparation on track, you also need to closely watch out the time while attempting the standardized test. As we are all aware that GMAT is a computer adaptive test which allows viewing only one question at a time and doesn’t let you return to attempted questions and adapts you to the level of difficult questions on the basis of your previous responses.

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GMAT timing can be a challenge as the exam format is structured in such a manner which lures you to make some tough timing decisions. In this article, we will help you to learn some strategies to manage your time effectively and adopt a cognitive approach towards its implementation during the examination center.

At the examination center, the clock keeps ticking like a metronome and you need to be more sensitive towards adopting some GMAT time management strategies to allocate sufficient time for attempting each question of the different sections of the exam.

Here we bring some GMAT timing strategies which would help you to handle the GMAT exam time like a pro:

#1. Don’t waste time on questions which are time-consuming: Do you hate losing or wasting too much time on a particular question? As mentioned earlier, the GMAT exam format is computer-adaptive in nature which allows you to see only one question at a time. So it is advisable that you set some time aside for each question and avoid wasting too much time on a particular question. Move forward on loser questions and try to focus on potential winner questions which give you the boost to score a point rather than losing one.

#2. Keep your calm if you come across a difficult set of questions: Getting a complex set of questions can take a toll on your exam time. It is here you need to apply some tactics to handle the question without squandering excess time on any particular question. Maintain your composure and try to skip to the next question set which you can answer easily. Remember your GMAT score is a result of the level of difficult questions you’ve attempted during the exam. The more correct answers you answer, the higher are your chances to score a higher percentile in the GMAT exam.

#3. Avoid making silly mistakes: This is extremely important as silly mistakes are bound to happen if you’re in a hurry to complete all the questions within the allocated time. Having said that, we don’t intend to convey the message of devoting too much time on a challenging question. Thoroughly skim through the question and try to understand what is being asked and avoid over-thinking on it.

#4. Adopt the process of elimination: This is one of the best strategies which can make you spend a bit of time on narrowing down your choices during the GMAT exam. However, if you have less time in hand to complete more questions, avoid getting sucked down in one particular question and eliminate those questions which consume more time. We would recommend that you avoid getting sucked into GMAT traps by unnecessarily applying faulty logic and end up eliminating a potentially correct answer in the process. It is better to spend your time productively on those questions which could help you earn a point or two rather than dwindling time on questions which you’re unsure to answer.

Is there any negative marking or major penalty for leaving questions unanswered on the GMAT?

The answer is NO! There is no such thing called negative marking in the GMAT exam. Hence, many aspirants utilize this plus point and make rough guesses to answer some questions rather than leaving the questions blank towards the end of a particular section.

Recent Updates in GMAT:

Since 2018, some new changes have been updated in the GMAT like exam duration and pattern. The test is now timed at 3 hours and 7 minutes excluding optional breaks. Below is the GMAT timing chart per question:

Section Duration Number of Questions Time per question
Analytical Writing Assessment 30 minutes 1 essay question 30 minutes
Integrated Reasoning 30 minutes 12 questions 2 ½ minutes
Verbal Reasoning 65 minutes 36 questions 1 minute, 48 seconds (approx.)
Quantitative Aptitude 62 minutes 31 questions 2 minutes
Total 3 hours, 7 minutes (without optional breaks) Average time per question: 2 minutes (excluding AWA section)

The new GMAT timing is almost similar to the old GMAT timing except that:

  1. On the verbal section, you have little less time per question.
  2. As the sections have become shorter, there is less space to correct timing issues and each question counts a bit more.

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