You can’t teach the GMAT very long without getting certain questions. One that you can count on hearing as regularly as the tide comes in is some version of, “Do you have any advice on how I can work faster? I need to find a way to speed up so that I don’t keep running out of time at the end.”
Ah, yes. The Great Speed Issue. For many people, 75 minutes simply isn’t enough time to answer 37 math questions or 41 verbal questions — at least if you want to answer them with a high degree of accuracy. So until we develop the ability to freeze time, finishing the GMAT sections in the allotted 75 minutes is going to be a problem and a challenge. Fortunately, there are indeed some things you can do to improve your speed on the GMAT.
What You Can’t Do
First, though, we should acknowledge what you can’t really do: speed up your brain. You can only think as fast as you can think. There aren’t any practical ways to change this. Caffeine won’t make you think faster, energy drinks won’t make you think faster, ginseng and ginkgo biloba won’t make you think faster, crossword puzzles and sudoku won’t make you think faster. You simply can’t will your mind to work faster than it does. Improving your speed on the GMAT will have to be based on something other than increasing your mental horsepower.
What else you can do inside qs leap ?
What else you can do inside qs leap ?
Reduce Wasted Time at the End of Questions
The first important thing you can do to get to more questions is make sure you are not wasting time. When you’re done with a problem, you need to pick an answer and move on. Many people waste time by second-guessing their answers, double-checking things that don’t need to be double-checked, or simply being too timid to move on until they have stared at their work for another 10 seconds. It may not seem that 10 seconds matters much, but you have to think of the cumulative effect of doing this time after time across the whole test. Spending 10 unnecessary seconds on 31 questions adds up to 5 minutes of wasted time.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t work carefully, or take your time on some problems to make sure you aren’t making careless mistakes. But you need to evaluate yourself honestly and ask whether you could be moving to the next question more quickly than you are.
Let Go of Questions that Are Too Hard
Once you start working on a question it’s hard to let go of it until you arrive at an answer, and the longer you work the harder it is to let go. Psychologically you rebel against giving up, and the result can be that you throw even more time away when the smart thing to do is cut your losses, guess, and move on. Here I’ll simply say that there will be some questions you attempt on the GMAT that, in retrospect, you’ll wish you hadn’t. Don’t compound the problem by spending even more time on them. The time you’ve already spent is gone and can never be recovered, so don’t let that affect your choice to move on. When you realize you’re in over your head, take your best guess and don’t look back.
Focus on Mastery
But what about actually solving questions faster? Once you’ve eliminated wasted time, and disciplined yourself to guess and move on when you’re in over your head, what then? How can you actually become speedier at attacking the questions themselves? The only way to actually become faster at solving GMAT problems is to master GMAT technique and content. You need to practice your techniques until they become automatic and second-nature. You need to work on question identification so that you can more quickly recognize what a question is testing and how to approach it. You need to work on efficiently extracting the key ideas from Reading Comprehension passages. You need to work on recognizing common argument patterns in Critical Reasoning questions such as causal, sampling, and analogy flaws. You need to work on identifying common errors in Sentence Correction questions such as subject-verb agreement, misplaced modifiers, and pronoun errors.
Speed is a natural byproduct of mastery. The more you master the content of the GMAT and the techniques needed to excel on the exam, the faster you will be.