Want to improve your GMAT exam speed? Then read on! 

Like any other entrance exams, GMAT is designed to test candidates’ quantitative and verbal aptitude and their ability to tackle questions within a given time limit. In other words, you will need to work on your question-solving speed.

To understand the importance of time management in GMAT, go through the following expert-backed tips to improve GMAT exam speed.

Significance of Time Management in GMAT Exam:

In GMAT, you need to answer 31 questions in the Quantitative Reasoning section in 62 minutes and 36 questions in the Verbal Reasoning section in 65 minutes. This gives you roughly 2 minutes for each question. These two sections consist of  several tricky questions. Hence, you need to devise a proper strategy for investing time in the verbal and quantitative  sections as per the type and complexity of the questions.

General Time Management Tricks for the GMAT Exam:

Here are the top tips to improve GMAT exam preparation in terms of speed and accuracy:

  • Work on Problem Areas

Identify your strong and weak areas. Once you know these areas, you can focus more on your weaknesses and devise a plan to make improvements. 

  •  Set Timing Benchmarks and Question-specific Strategy

Instead of keeping track of the exam’s total time, set a minimum time to solve each question. For instance, you can target solving 4 quant questions every 8 minutes of the sectional time limit. Similarly, you may aim to answer 6 verbal questions every 10 minutes. At the same time, there will be questions that demand more time than others. So, it is a good idea to have a different strategy for different kinds of questions. 

  • Don’t Get Stuck on Particular Questions

You often come across certain questions that appear easy at first and turn complicated in the solving stage. While you may have felt confident about them initially, it is better to let go after a few trials lest  you end up wasting your time. 

  • Take Practice Tests Frequently

Practice is the key to developing effective time management skills. When you start taking timed mock tests, you will get to know if your chosen strategy is working or needs further improvisation. With every practice test you attempt, your speed and accuracy will increase. Besides, it will boost your confidence.

Apart from these general tricks, an aspirant should be aware of the section-specific tips to improve your GMAT exam preparation.

Timing Strategy for Quantitative Reasoning:

Considering the number of questions and time limit for the quantitative section, you can allocate only 2 minutes to each question. However, as stated before, some questions demand more time than others. So, you must follow different plans for different types of questions in order to get a good score in the GMAT Quant section. Here are some useful tips for the quantitative reasoning section:

  • Utilize the Given Information Well

Students often tend to misread the questions in a rush to answer them quickly. It is critical to pay close attention to all the data given to get the correct answer. First, try to understand the facts and figures. Also, if the data looks unorganized, you can categorize the same on a rough sheet so that you can comprehend it better. 

  • Use Elimination Technique

Some of the quant questions seem more complicated than they actually are. Simply put, these questions require a lot of lengthy calculations. But, they can be handled quickly by the elimination method. You can strike out the most irrelevant options by analyzing the calculations in your mind. This way you will have fewer options to choose from. 

  • Rely on Mental Math Tricks

Undoubtedly, the best way to enhance your problem-solving speed is to make use of mental math tricks and shortcuts wherever possible.  Use formulas wherever feasible instead of using a longer calculation method.  However, these tricks can only be mastered if you invest sufficient time in practising the relevant questions. 

  • Know When You Should Stop Trying to Solve a Question

There will be a time when you can solve the first half of the question smoothly but you may find it difficult to solve the last portion of the question. Whatever the type of question, ensure you don’t spend more than 3 minutes. If any question is taking more than 3 minutes to solve, it is wiser to move on to the next question. Sometimes, you will be tempted to spend an additional 40 seconds figuring out the way to solve a particular question. In this case, you must immediately skip the question and move on to the next one.

  • Avoid Messy Rough Work

It is a widespread practice among GMAT aspirants to use several pages for calculation work. However, your rough work often gets messy, resulting in unnecessary confusion and panic. An intelligent way to keep it organized is to divide your scratchpad beforehand. For example, you can divide a scratchpad into 4 parts and reserve each part for one question.

Timing Strategy for Verbal Reasoning:

Unlike quantitative reasoning, there is no standard way to check your answers in verbal reasoning. Besides, you can spend a maximum of one minute on each question. As this cannot be applied universally, you need to plan specific strategies for various types of questions. Keep the following things in mind while working on the verbal reasoning section:

  • Read A lot

A universal way to enhance your speed in the verbal reasoning section is to develop a regular habit of reading. The more you read, the better is your reading speed and interpretation of exam questions. This will not only hone your RC skills but also help you in mastering other types of questions in the verbal ability section. Also, you must read from good newspapers, magazines, websites and books.

Apart from speeding up your exam performance, diverse reading also familiarizes you with various key events and topics.

  •   Invest Less Time in Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning questions are generally framed in a manner that can confuse candidates. Nevertheless, you should avoid spending more than 90 seconds on each such question. Since the questions are based only on the given statements, never assume any additional information or be tempted to answer it as per the actual known facts. For example, if a question states certain facts and figures regarding a particular nationwide survey and the figures given do not match the real ones, you must answer using the information given in the passage only.

  • Give Maximum Time to RC questions

The GMAT exam paper consists of both long and short passages. So, depending upon its length, you will require 2-4 minutes to read a passage. After that, the associated questions will take an average of 6-8 minutes per passage. While some questions demand 30 seconds of deliberation, others may be more taxing and take up to 90 seconds. A time-efficient strategy is to read the questions before going through the passage. This way, you will be able to spot the answers quickly while skimming through the passage.

Also, most of the correct answers to RC questions do not include extreme opinions. So, you must avoid answers accompanied by words like ‘always’, ‘only’, ‘must’, etc. Similarly, the answer choices that go beyond the scope of the passage or tend to universalize claims are generally incorrect. While reading the passage, your aim should be to comprehend its major crux and not memorize the statements or facts given.

  • Spend Minimum Time on Sentence Correction 

Sentence correction questions basically evaluate your knowledge of grammatical rules and conventions. So, if you are well-versed with all the requisite rules, you will be able to identify the answers within a few seconds. But if you are unable to understand a question, then you can figure the answer out by seeing the options. You will not require more than 60-90 seconds to answer each question of this section.


It is important to remember that one specific strategy cannot work for every GMAT aspirant.  You may need to devise multiple strategies for different types of questions. With frequent practice and subsequent analysis, you will get to know the tricks that work best for you.

All the best!


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