GMAT Timing: what that means for studying

The GMAT is a computer adaptive, four part test with 2 optional breaks. It looks like this:

  • Analysis of an Argument (30 minutes)
  • Integrated Reasoning (30 minutes)
  • Optional Break (8 minutes)
  • Quantitative Section (75 minutes)
  • Optional Break (8 minutes)
  • Verbal Section (75 minutes)

What does the timing mean for studying?

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  If you are aiming for a top score, you need to train your brain to be at top capacity for the entire 3.5 hours that you will be tested.  That means you need to take LOTS of practice tests.  I personally took 13 FULL LENGTH (not just quant and verbal) just in the few weeks before my test to improve my mental endurance and get my brain used to being at top form for the whole 3.5 hours.

Since there are so many questions in such a short time, it is also important to know when to give up on a question.  This is something that is very difficult to do.  As a perfectionist, I had a lot of trouble letting go of questions that were too difficult or too lengthy for me to answer.  My score suffered a lot from this, since when I first started studying, I would always run out of time before completing my quantitative section.  Sometimes the question just isn’t up your alley and the best thing to do is guess and move on.  This is especially important since an unanswered question is punished more heavily than a wrong answer.  So make sure you ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS, even if it means you have to guess at the end.

Don’t let this happen to you:

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Meet the Author

Eliza Chute

I was always just an average student, but with the right course prep I was able to score a 770 on my first try. I had to wade through a lot of material to find what was right for me, but luckily for you I've done all the research for you! See more on my GMAT courses page.

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