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How to Shave Vital Seconds Off Your GMAT Test!

Timing is critical when taking the GMAT; and you will want extra seconds on difficult questions. These 3 tips from our admissions experts will help you shave vital seconds off the test!

This is a guest post by Nitin Pulyani, founder of admissions expert companies Edvento.com and ThinkAdmit. 

The GMAT is as much about time management as it is about analytical and verbal skills. In a timed test like the GMAT, every second counts and a smart test-taker will know all the tricks of the trade in order to save every precious second. So let me share with you 3 simple ways to save time on the GMAT:

1. Know the instructions / question formats: Every instruction on the GMAT is already made available by GMAC and can be read at home on the internet or while attempting the mock test that comes with GMAT registration. Read each and every instruction carefully so that you need not waste time on the instructions that appear against your exam time.

Also, get a feel for the actual exam scenario by attempting the above mentioned mock tests, and get to know what information is presented on what segment of your computer screen. This might seem very simple but knowing your widgets will save you some crucial time that can be used in a more productive way.

2.  Make an educated guess:  In the GMAT quantitative section, you need not know the exact answer each time. Some time approximation is all that is needed and all that is expected from the test takers. For instance, consider the simple example below (of course a GMAT question might not be this simple, but this is just to understand the idea):

10001/99 = ?

(A)   10.10

(B)   101.02

(C)   1010.20

(D)   10102.02

(E)    101020.20

I can see from the answer-choices that the answer values are quite distant from one another. So if I introduce a little approximation into the question stem, then the actual answer will not be very far from the value that I end up with (after the approximation). I can therefore interpret the given question as:

10001/99 = 10000/100 = 100. Since 101.02 is closest to 100, I can be certain that this is the answer. In this question I was not expected to solve the exact value by getting into a messy division. All that was expected was for me to solve the problem in the most efficient manner possible.

3. Eliminate choices: This tip mainly applies to the verbal section of the GMAT - sentence correction, to be more specific. Although it is a good idea to always read the entire answer choice, sometimes it helps to simply skim over the choices without reading the entire sentence in great detail. This can save you a significant amount of time, sometimes even up to a minute or two. Let us look at a simple example:

Born and raised in India, the life of C V Raman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and the father of modern physics, was dedicated to pioneering work in physics and also physical optics.

(A) The life of C V Raman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and the father of modern physics, was dedicated to pioneering work in physics and also

(B) C V Raman, who was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century as well as the father of modern physics, dedicated his life to pioneering work in physics and also

(C) The life of C V Raman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and the father of modern physics, which he dedicated to pioneering work in physics and

(D) C V Raman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and the father of modern physics, he dedicated his life to pioneering work in physics and

(E) C V Raman, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century and the father of modern physics, dedicated his life to pioneering work in physics and

The original sentence begins with the modifier “Born and raised in India", which must describe "C V Raman", rather than his "life”. This tells me that the underlined portion of the sentence begins with C V Raman. So now my answer choices look like:

(A) Blah blah blah

(B) Still interested

(C) Blah blah blah

(D) Still interested

(E) Still interested

Without reading even a single complete sentence, I am already left with 3 (instead of 5) prospective answers. Once you know all the relevant concepts in sentence correction, you may even drill down the answer choices to just the correct answer. In a similar manner, parallelism and idioms will help you breeze through the answer choices - making your job that much easier!

For those interested, the answer to the above question is E!

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