GMAT Reading Comprehension Time Management - 7 Rules

GMAT RC Time ManagementTiming is everything in GMAT. Computer Adaptive Tests (CATs) have additional constraints apart from limited time: You cannot return to previous questions, you can't skip a question and you are penalized more for unanswered questions than for wrong answers.

For many GMAT test takers, the ticking clock on the top right corner of the screen is a constant source of worry. "How much time should I spend on this question?". "Should I guess and move on?". These questions will force even the coolest test takers to make irrational decisions.

Don’t let stress over the clock have a negative impact on your confidence or your GMAT score! You do not want the time crunch to take focus away from answering the questions correctly.

Consistently practicing time management skills will allow you to become more comfortable with this aspect of the test and refocus your energy on reasoning skills necessary to pick the correct answer choice.

1) 6 Minutes vs 8 Minutes: Spend around 6 minutes on a reading comprehension passage with 3 questions, and around 8 minutes on a passage with 4 questions.

2) 2 Minutes Quick Read: In 2-3 minutes you need to read the passage carefully, absorb the information, and take notes.

Force yourself to move on to the questions: During your GMAT Prep, put yourself on the clock. Start getting used to reading a passage in 2 minutes (if the passage is between 25 and 40 lines) or 3 minutes (if the passage is more than 40 lines). After your time is up, force yourself to move on to the questions. For each question, time yourself once again. After 1 minute 30 seconds has passed, force yourself to choose an answer, even if you’re guessing.

4) Practice with Time Constraint:While practicing pacing skills, you can return to the questions later and see if you would choose the same answer if you had unlimited time. As you continue to practice, the answers you choose in the time constraint situation should more and more begin to mirror what you would choose if allowed unlimited time.

5) Practice Right: If you continue to practice for the GMAT without forcing yourself to pay attention to time constraints, you may get really good at answering questions — you might even get close to perfect. But you would be practicing wrong! “Practice, Practice, Practice” only works if you are practicing the right way. And on the GMAT, time matters!

6) Keep the 6-8 Minutes Time Window: Start getting used to spending 6-8 minutes reading and answering questions for a passage and it will become easier to work with the time you have without feeling pressured.

7) Don't Focus on Pacing, Too Early: Be mindful not to focus exclusively on pacing too early in your study preparation. First, focus on developing the skills necessary to pick the right answer in the Reading Comprehension section. Then, practice applying these skills in a timed environment.

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