Since the advent of the New Revised GRE in August of 2011 a lot of GRE students in Pakistan and around the world have started to fret about GRE test time management and GRE exam time handling. We all know (and it needless to say although I’ll still say it is) that in order to get a good final GRE score, the most crucial thing after your GRE test preparation is practicing to save time on the test.
Saving time efficiently in GRE is no doubt a difficult art for all of test takers of GRE in Pakistan. However it can be made easier by taking a lot of timed computer based GRE practice tests – including practice tests from ETS’s website. This will help you increase your answering speed to a great extent, eventually saving time for the difficult and more intensive questions.
I always insinuate my GRE students in Pakistan that they should make a continuous effort coupled with dedication for at least a couple of months if they are to score anywhere near the 90th percentile. This is the biggest step towards fulfilling your dream, of getting admitted to a reputed college.
Therefore here I suggest some tips on how you can save time on the GRE test while you are in the middle of the GRE exam in Pakistan.
1. Firstly, you need to understand what the question is about and what is it really asking. Sometimes in GRE, an extra step is required for solving the question correctly. For example, it might ask for an integer X, instead of just asking for X. So in such cases you need to be attentive as this will save your time and ultimately save you from committing silly mistakes. At BrightLink Prep (GRE preparation Lahore) we strictly make students practice reading and fully understanding questions before they proceed on to solve them. This is an effective technique in successfully handling time management on the GRE.
2. Make a habit of answering all the questions from day 1, as finishing all the questions in each section on time results in getting a high score. For GRE students in Pakistan I have mostly observed that we leave questions that we do not know and proceed forward. This is not a good practice. Make the habit of answering ALL questions by taking practice tests and implementing this technique. This will be a bit intimidating in the beginning when you can’t solve a question. But gradually you will improve as you prepare for the test.
3. For each verbal section, there will be 20 questions to be covered in 30 minutes approximately. For most of us taking the GRE exam in Pakistan the verbal section is the hardest one. And to make things worse each question will require 1.5 minutes to solve at maximum on the verbal section. You should try to complete the text completion section and sentence equivalence section in less than the above mentioned time, as the reading comprehension section will take a bit of more time as calculated. Avoid rushing and don’t lose confidence. Keep in mind the importance of completing the whole section.
4. GRE Math is one of the strengths of Pakistani GRE test takers. To become more apt at it make a criterion for the quantitative section. This section will contain 20 questions to be covered in 35 minutes approx. This means that each question should get at most 1.75 minutes. However I recommend my GRE students in Lahore to spend more time on questions like word problems and data interpretation. This is because such questions require more reading and information absorption than the rest. So you can tell yourself not to spend more than 2.5 minutes on these two question types.
5. You should bring about a comfort level with working on paper along with the screen, which can only be done if you make habit from day one, to use your scratch paper while practicing. Before solving geometry questions, draw figures if not given, in order to avoid confusions. For the reading comprehension section, note down the important points which would help you in answering questions. Thus using scratch pad ultimately saves time and results in a lot of correct questions.
6. Don’t stop from proceeding further if you are stuck on a question. Many a times I have seen in GRE students in Pakistan that they stick to one particular question for too long and end up messing the rest. Therefore, after spending 1-2 minutes on a particular question, it’s always better to select one of the choices than rushing crazily on other questions in the last when you are running out of time. Harder questions especially in the quantitative section are not made to waste precious time on.
7. If you are prepared for the GRE, you must be aware of the direction and type of each question. For analytical writing, especially, you can skip directly to the prompt. This will save a lot of your time. The less time you take to read, the more time you get to write. Similarly don’t waste time reading prompts for several different question types in the Math and verbal sections.
8. In the end come back to those questions that you were not able to solve at all. Spend another 45 seconds on each such question and see if you can come up with a way (like POE – Process of Elimination etc.) to solve them. Otherwise make a wild guess and move on.