7 Days to GO

This topic has expert replies
Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 22
Joined: 03 Jul 2007
Thanked: 1 times

7 Days to GO

by smashinonions » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:04 pm
hi//my gmat is scheduled on the 22 of march and i have been preparing for about 3 months now. Any strategies on how to tackle P.S. I am sort of time to solve the questions in the end properly.

How should I pace myself in the actual exam. Any advice.

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
GMAT Instructor
Posts: 3380
Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Thanked: 2256 times
Followed by:1524 members
GMAT Score:800

Re: 7 Days to GO

by lunarpower » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:46 pm
smashinonions wrote:hi//my gmat is scheduled on the 22 of march and i have been preparing for about 3 months now. Any strategies on how to tackle P.S. I am sort of time to solve the questions in the end properly.

How should I pace myself in the actual exam. Any advice.
smashin onions? is that some sort of obtuse reference to smashing pumpkins?

--

time management is a huge topic, and, unfortunately, one that's often neglected by students preparing for the exam.

when you think about time management, you have to treat the data sufficiency and problem solving sections as one unit, because they're mixed together in the same 75 minutes. therefore, all of the following advice, except as specifically noted, applies to both DS and PS problems.

* you must stick to your timing plan at all costs.
if you are a hard-driving perfectionist type, this will be much harder for you than for other students, but the single most important thing you can do is train yourself to give up after the requisite amount of time (where 'requisite amount of time' is defined below).
if you take our (manhattangmat) practice tests, we offer an option that forces you to answer the question within a pre-set amount of time. this will of course do heinous things to your score, but it's just what you need if you're one of those hangers-on that just can't let go when your self-allotted time has expired.

* allocate 2 minutes per problem.

* you should internalize a 'mental stopwatch'.
by the time you sit for the exam, you should know what exactly one minute feels like. when you're eating dinner, you should be able to call out one-minute intervals. when you're about to fall asleep at night, you should be able to call out one-minute intervals. and, most importantly, when you're doing gmat problems (whether homework or practice tests), you should be able to call out one-minute intervals. practice doing so until you can, over and over and over.

once you've done that...
* if you haven't found a viable way to solve a math problem within 1 minute, abandon your search and shift your focus to POE or guessing methods.
if you've already been preparing for 3 months, then you probably know just about everything you're going to know about content. at this point, your biggest gains are going to come from properly administered process-of-elimination and guessing strategies.
...but the kicker is that POE and intelligent guessing take time, too. you can't just eliminate choices or take an educated guess in a few seconds. therefore, once one minute (which is half the allocated time) has elapsed, you NEED to shift your focus so that you can eliminate / guess without going into 'time debt'.

if you stick to the above, you probably won't have time debt. but:
* if you're in 'time debt', realize how many questions you have to throw away, and plan ahead.
for example: when there are 30 minutes remaining in the math section, you should be on problem # ___. if you're only on # ___, you're behind by three questions, so you need to throw away three questions.
that may be an obvious observation, but what's not so obvious is that you should plan, ahead of time, what type of questions you'll throw away. for instance, if you hate geometry, you'd resolve to throw away any geometry problems you'd encounter, without trying to solve them at all except perhaps with quick estimates, until you were back up to speed with the time benchmarks.
the worst possible situation to get yourself into is having to throw away the last X number of questions on the exam, because you'll almost certainly be able to solve some of those. if you plan your 'throwaways' ahead of time, you won't have to worry about that eventuality.

* make up time on DS problems by eliminating the 'easy statement' when applicable.
on many DS problems, one of the statements will, by itself, be very clearly insufficient to solve the problem. (most common way: the problem asks about the combination of a and b, but one statement discusses only b.) if the other statement is forbidding and you're down on time, consider eliminating just that one statement (which will kill AD if it's (1) and BD if it's (2)) and then guessing from among the remaining two.

* look for PS problems on which you can estimate.
if a problem has answer choices that are far apart, and offers some sort of 'handhold' for guessing the right answer (say, a diagram in a geometry problem, or any indicator of the size of the correct answer in a numerical problem).

and finally...
* random guessing is just that - random. don't deliberate.
i'm always surprised at the # of students who don't want to just throw in the towel and guess at random. just remember this: random guessing is random. therefore, no method of random guessing is any better, or worse, than any other method of random guessing. so your strategy can even be something stupid, like 'always pick the first remaining choice'. just don't ever sit there and stare at the choices.

hope that helps. if you have issues with a more specific class of questions, don't hesitate to post again.
Ron has been teaching various standardized tests for 20 years.

--

Pueden hacerle preguntas a Ron en castellano
Potete chiedere domande a Ron in italiano
On peut poser des questions à Ron en français
Voit esittää kysymyksiä Ron:lle myös suomeksi

--

Quand on se sent bien dans un vêtement, tout peut arriver. Un bon vêtement, c'est un passeport pour le bonheur.

Yves Saint-Laurent

--

Learn more about ron

Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 32
Joined: 21 Feb 2008

by jimmy23 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:19 pm
BEST OF LUCK from my side.

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 22
Joined: 03 Jul 2007
Thanked: 1 times

Scoring

by smashinonions » Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:05 pm
Thanks ron for your reply. I also wanted to know if the first 10-15 questions are more important than the end questions. Do they determine the score?

Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 147
Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Location: New York, NY
Thanked: 19 times
Followed by:1 members

by parore26 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:30 am
All Questions on the GMAT are equally important. This topic has been discussed and thoroughly analyzed. I'd urge you to not spend too much time on the first 10-15 questions. Instead of a strict 2 minutes per question try 10 minutes for a 5 question block. This will calm your nerves a bit in case you run over the time on 1 or 2 questions as that will help you to get back on time.

Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 30
Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Location: Florida

by michelsmithm » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:52 pm
well i can advice you just to keep yourself calm and confident and prepare your strategy for exams