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Time management in GMAT data sufficiency

Posted on August 11, 2020
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Students preparing for the GMAT exam very well know that the GMAT exam consists of four sections:

  • Analytical Writing Assessment
  • Integrated Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning

The duration of the exam is 3 hours and 7 minutes.

If you know how to manage your test time so you can devote the required amount of time to all four sections, then it’s half the battle won.

The good thing is that the GMAT exam structure is fixed and does not change. The number of different kinds of questions does not change.

You may know how to manage your time well; you can succeed if you have a strategy to answer the questions. This is especially relevant for the data sufficiency questions.

Even the most time-consuming problems or equations often have a simple solution provided you pause to think about how best to solve a problem instead of rushing into it.

Understanding the question

Understanding data sufficiency questions involves inferring the information from the question stem. You will have to read the question stem carefully. Learn to invest some time in understanding what is being asked and what information is needed to answer the question.

It is advisable to generally spend close to one minute to process the information, later on, you can reduce this time to 30 seconds to 45 seconds. This will come with practice. Similarly, the time required to infer information will reduce with practice as well.

Inequality problems

Data Sufficiency problems concerning inequality are typically speed-breakers. The first response is to arbitrarily add the numbers to see how things are going to turn out. Since they didn’t take the time to define the problem first, plugging numbers appear to become a process of trial and error in the hope of reaching the solution.

One way to reduce the time taken to solve inequality problems is to ask yourself if the converse can be true and try out the solution. This strategy can simplify inequality problems and save you precious time in the data sufficiency section.

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