GMAT Reading Comprehension: It’s all in the timing

We’ve talked some over here about the GMAT reading comprehension section and smart study tips, and today we’re going to look more into the section, particularly in terms of timing.

Here are some facts we have to remember about the GMAT and time, according to Beat the GMAT:

  • You can’t go back. If you finish a section early you cannot return to previous questions to double check your answer.
  • You can’t skip a question and plan to return to it later. You have to pick an answer choice (or guess) and move right along.
  • You are penalized more for unanswered questions than for questions you get wronng.

These facts can make the testing process incredibly frustrating, leading us to watch the clock more than pay the proper attention to the questions.

However there is good news about how to approach time and the GMAT reading comprehension section. With the proper practice in time management skills, we can learn to train ourselves to ignore the clock while still answering questions in enough time.

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.

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.

You want to aim for spending just 6-8 minutes per GMAT reading comprehension passage; if you can get yourself to this time frame during your preparation period, you should be good to go!

Timing is everything, even when applying to get your military MBA. Make sure that you have all of the due dates, from when your GMAT scores need to be in to when the school expects your letters of recommendation to arrive.  Keep your eye on the clock as you prepare, especially during the GMAT reading comprehension!



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