Ever wondered why the GMAT exam sounds tough? No, it’s not only the academic aspect of the exam, it’s also the GMAT timing. The way you manage your time while answering the exam also has a significant impact on your final score. Hence, having a time management strategy is very essential. 

This article will help you understand the GMAT test time and some good practices you can adopt to perform better on the day of your exam.

How is the GMAT Exam Timed?

The exam is like a ticking bomb, wherein you have limited time to solve complex questions and get to the right answer. The GMAT exam has four sections — integrated reasoning, analytical writing assessment, quantitative reasoning  and verbal reasoning — that are timed differently. 

The quantitative and verbal sections are the most demanding parts of the exam and are allocated the most amount of time from the total 3-hour duration of the exam. The time allotted for both these sections is such that you can only afford to spend two minutes for each question in quant and precisely 1.8 minutes in verbal. The quant section is timed at 62 minutes for 31 questions and the verbal section is timed at 65 minutes for 36 questions. Moreover, the integrated section is timed at 30 minutes for 12 questions and the analytical writing is timed at 30 minutes for 1 essay-type question.

In addition to answering questions correctly, the ability to attempt all questions within a limited amount of time is also what is key to acing the GMAT exam. Hence, the most important step while preparing for the GMAT exam is to time yourself when solving practice questions. It is essential to simulate the exam-like scenario while you’re practising. Doing so helps to overcome nervousness on the day of your test. So having a time management strategy in place as part of your planning and preparation is imperative. 

GMAT Timing Strategy 

There are a few ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ that every test-taker should be aware of when planning their GMAT timing strategy. 

Extra Time Taken in One Question Should be Made Up for in Another – One of the essential aspects of the ‘do’s’ is — understanding that time, here, is like money. Time saved on one question is as good as time earned to solve other questions on the exam that may be easier to solve. So, even if you spend more than two minutes on a question, you should counter the loss by taking less time on another question. Do not spend more than three minutes on a question as this can impact your overall pace to attempt all the questions of the exam.

Incorporate the Two Readings Rule – Do incorporate the two-readings-rule as part of your strategy. The two-readings-rule states that you must only read each question twice. If you do not understand the question in the first attempt, then try a second time. Do not read the question again if you do not understand it even after the second attempt of reading. This is because a few questions on the GMAT exam are particularly framed in a complex manner such that they are a trap. Your best strategy, in such a case, is to take a close guess and move forward. Remember, not answering all of the questions on the GMAT can affect your overall score significantly more than answering a few questions by way of guesswork or incorrectly.

Keep Track of Time When Taking Mock Tests or Practicing Sample Papers – When you practice each section, do ensure that you have a method of logging the time you are taking to solve a particular question. Don’t practice without timing yourself, this will only hamper your performance on the day of the test even if you are very well versed with most concepts asked in the exam.

In conclusion, the GMAT exam time is a challenge, hence, formulating an exam strategy that incorporates the GMAT test time is imperative. By doing so, you confidently will be able to answer the exam (complete all questions) within the given time frame. 


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