A very common reason why students find GMAT difficult is that GMAT is a time constrained test. Given more time, many students believe they can answer questions with accuracy, but the stress of solving them within a limited time frame of 2 minutes causes them to trade-off with accuracy.

Evidently, to solve every question on GMAT within the allotted time, students need a lot of hard work and expertise. But, before we dig into how one can solve questions in less than 2 minutes, let’s discuss why it is difficult to do so in the first place –

Why students take mroe time solve questions on GMAT and how to solve questions in less than 2 minutes?

Why do students take more than 2 minutes?

Finding the right approach to solve a question is one of the biggest reasons why students take more time to solve a question. If you know the right approach, solving the question is not really time consuming. The main difference between students who score a 700+ and those who don’t is that the successful students know the approach beforehand. This is why, when attempting a question, they don’t have to spend 1-2 minutes on identifying how to approach it and can simply jump to solving questions.

How to identify the right approach to solve every question?

The best way to ensure that you answer every question on GMAT using the right approach is to learn methods that equip you to solve these questions. Here are 4 simple steps to learn the right method of solving questions –

  1. Learn the Method From A Credible Source
    A lot of students tend to refer to multiple resources during prep. While it is okay to try different resources in the initial stages, the problem arises when you try to learn every methods from every resources to solve one type of question. The better decision would be to learn the right approach from one credible source.
    Here are some Powerful Strategies to Master GMAT Questions .
  2. Review the Solutions at Length
    Once you learn a method from a resource, the next thing would be to solve questions using the method. Now, solving many questions is not important at this stage. What is more important is to zero-in on the right method to solve the question.
  3. Identify Where You Faltered
    Take note of the mistakes you made in the questions that you solved incorrectly and make it a point to not repeat them in similar questions.
  4. Internalize the Method
    Now that you have identified the right method to solve a question, practice at least 50-60 similar questions. Once you have internalized the method and learned to approach the question logically, you will be able to solve it accurately within 1 to 1.5 minutes.

    It is important for students to understand that learning the right methods takes time. At this stage, your focus should only be on learning the right methods, without timing yourself. Let’s understand why it is important to take ample time to learn the right methods –

Why should students not time themselves while learning?

Every student goes through three stages of learning while preparing for GMAT. Those three stages are as follows –

  1. Level 1 – In this stage, students spend most of their time in learning concepts. After the stage 1, students can easily score up to 570.
  2. Level 2 – The stage 2 is mostly focused on learning the right strategy to solve the questions. The right strategy helps students to improve their score by 100-150 points.
  3. Level 3 – The level 3 can help you to further improve your score by 50-100 points by working on fine-tuning your weak areas.

Out of these three stages, the most crucial one is the second stage where you are learning the right strategies to solve the questions. Since GMAT is a logical test, one can not depend upon shortcuts entirely to score well on the test. The only way to get a high score is to learn the right logical methods.

For instance, the best approach to correctly solve SC is the meaning-based approach, Scope Analysis in CR, and the Involved Reading approach in RC.

Timing yourself and trying to solve the questions within 2 minutes may considerably hamper learning

It is okay to take 4-5 minutes in the beginning because when you begin learning the right methods, you may take more time to solve a single question. However, it is important to not doubt these methods and to not give up on learning them. Instead, you should continue learning even if it seems to be time consuming in the beginning.

Learning a New Skill Takes Time

Let’s understand this with an example. When someone learns driving for the first time, they find it difficult. You have to think of the clutch, break, accelerator, gear box, side mirrors and many other things all at the same time. It is only after you drive for quite some time that you get used to the method. 

Similarly, if you follow a methodical approach, you will take some time initially. If you don’t worry about timing, you will learn the process better and with time it will become a natural process for you. Gradually, you start following most steps intuitively without additional effort and that’s when the time will start to fall in place. So, you must focus on getting the approach right and not on timing initially.

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When should you start timing yourself?

Well, it varies for every student.

Some students get used to the methods faster than others. The important thing to do is to not time yourself at all when you’re learning. Only when you have finished Level 1 and Level 2, covered all the concepts for GMAT, and you feel you are ready to enter the fine-tuning phase, should you start timing yourself.

You should not directly move to 2 min per question. Instead, you must see how much time you’re taking for different question types and reduce the time gradually. For example, if at the end of the learning phase, you are taking 3.5 mins per question, you should first reduce it to 3 mins then to 2.5 mins and then to 2 mins per question.

And, last but not the least…

Refer to the right resources for GMAT prep so that you can get access to the level of detail that is required in each question. Without proper detailed explanations, it is tough to properly learn the methods. This is because, while you are thinking that you’re following the right method religiously, you may not be doing so in reality.

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