Time Management on the GRE Verbal Section

Posted by on September 10, 2013 in GRE, GRE Tips and Strategies | 0 comments

Time management on the GRE verbal section is crucial to score above par. The GRE rewards those students who can manage their time effectively on the test. Almost always it is the case that students who do well on the GRE have mastered the technique of utilizing their time efficiently.

For those of you who do not know, each of the two GRE verbal sections has twenty questions and you are expected to solve them in thirty minutes. So one can say that it takes approximately 1.5 minutes to solve each verbal question. But, you also have to read well and comprehend these questions; therefore it may require a little more than 1.5 minutes.

GRE students urge me to teach them the ‘golden’ trick to solve all verbal questions as soon as possible. Though there is no such ‘golden’ strategy, however over the last few months I have found one time management technique extremely effective for almost all of my GRE students.

This requires you to distribute your time amongst your GRE verbal section in the following manner:

  • One-Blank Text Completions – 40 seconds
  • Sentence Equivalence – 60 seconds
  • Two-Blank – 70 seconds
  • Three-Blank – 2 minutes
  • Short Reading Passage (including time to read the given passage) – 1:45 minutes.
  • Long Reading Passage (including time to read the given passage) – 3:00 minutes.

This distribution will give you a rough estimate of how much time a question type can consume. In simple words, one blank text questions will take less time as compared to the sentence equivalence.

These stats simply mean that you shouldn’t be spending more than 40 seconds to solve the text completions or more than 60 seconds to solve questions like sentence equivalence. You guys must make sure that you follow this time distribution at all times.

Reading Comprehension Takes Time

You guys have to accept the fact that GRE reading passages consume a lot of time since you first have to read the question and then answer the questions. However spend most of the time reading and comprehending since this will allow you to quickly answer all the associated questions quickly.

Try to complete the short passages and then solve at least two questions within three minutes and a long passage with three questions in less than five minutes. This will help you practice precisely and gain more confidence.

There will be both, easy and difficult, types of questions that you will see on the final test day. For many questions, you will find answers in a blink while some would be brain-busters.

For me the golden rule to attempt the verbal section is to first solve all the text completions and sentence equivalence questions in less than 10 minutes. Then spend the remaining time peacefully on the reading passages. Luckily, you will not be penalized if you are guessing on the GRE, so there is no need to leave any unsolved problems. Try to guess the answers for the unsolved questions in the last couple of minutes before moving to the next GRE section.

The rule is very simple here; every question presented in GRE carries same weightage. If you are wasting time on the difficult ones and skipping the easy ones, you may get off-track. Thus, try following guidelines and attaining what you have been aiming for!

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