Time Management Strategies for GMAT Exam

Time Management Strategies for GMAT Exam

It is very critical to manage your time while taking a GMAT Exam. The key to scoring well in a GMAT test is to manage time efficiently and working towards accuracy. Time management is a very tricky exam aspect, as this test not only attempts at testing your mathematical and verbal aptitudes, but it tests your capability on working in time constrained situations.

Time management for GMAT starts with the time of GMAT preparation. To maximize the scores, it is important to keep in mind that GMAT is a timed exam.  If you rush through the exam, the chances of making errors go up. And at the same time, if you take too much time, you will fall short of time for the questions in the last. Also, the unanswered questions are penalized in the exam and the percentile falls to a great extent.

A good GMAT score does not require you to answer every question correctly. One needs to work fast enough, yet one may not be able to attempt every question, so adopting strategy is important. This will ensure you get sufficient time to attempt the complete exam on the test day.

Spending optimal time on each question is what is required to achieve a high-level of timing strategy.  Focus on the strength areas and devote lesser time on the weaker sections. There is a simple rationale behind this widely advised tip; that the chances of getting an answer correct from the weak section are lesser and getting an answer right from your strong section are more.

When you assign more time to get the difficult question right, you lose out on the time that could have been allotted to completing an easier question. So save time from the weaker section to use it on other questions, where chances of scoring are higher.

Find Out Your Average Time to Solve a Question in GMAT Exam

There cannot be a perfect optimal time for everyone to follow. Since each student is different and has his own strengths and weaknesses,the time required to find solutions to questions may vary. So work on average time required to solve questions of one group.

Also Read: GMAT Exam Updated Date and Time

Find out the average time, which means the time you require to solve a question correctly. Practice questions with time. Take timed mock tests often. If the time taken is too high i.e. more than 2.5 minutes for CR/RC or around 2 minutes for SC, try to bring this time down.

How to Reduce Average Time in GMAT Exam

Understand what factors are causing you to take more time, and then work on those factors. The most common factor for most of the students is the ability to process and apply concepts instantly. As you grow proficient with practice, the average time will come down. Learn to focus and strengthen the knowledge structure during your preparation period.

There is a block time given for the entire section in GMAT. In the Quant section, based on time you’ll have about less than 2 minutes per problem. Prepare a list of what is tough for you and the ones that you tend to answer incorrectly, to take a quick call to bail early and move to the next.

Secondly avoid spending more than about 3 minutes on any question in Quant or Verbal section.

GMAT Timing Strategy- Points to Bear in Mind

  • Start to master the topics and develop test taking abilities within the set timings.
  • An effective GMAT timing strategy is to check the time and set certain benchmarks. This will help you to work on larger blocks of questions. While doing so keep looking at whether you’re on pace or behind the pace?

Also Read: GMAT Exams Updated Syllabus

Here is a table with pacing benchmarks that students often find extremely helpful in order to keep them sufficiently paced to finish the GMAT sections on time. See how the benchmark can be set to be able to finish the GMAT without hustle.

Questions CompletedTime remaining for Quantitative SectionTime remaining for Verbal Section
1042 min47 min
2022 min28 min
3012 min16 min

Use this table to strategize the test time as it will keep you relieved from stress. From worrying less you will have a better concentration and focus to attempt the test to get more right answers.

  • Do not forget that wrong answers in earlier part of the test will cost more marks than wrong answers on harder questions that appear later. So spend a little more time on initial questions even if it puts you behind on speed. But ensure that you do not get behind too much from the strategized time. Try to make for it in the next questions if you have slowed.

  • In case you find yourself lagging in time at a later stage, do not rush through the questions that you believe you can get right. This is to make sure that you have more accurate answers to bag more marks for a total score.

  • Try to speed more while attempting harder questions. These are the questions that you cannot immediately understand about how to solve. Remember, even the higher scorers in GMAT get a lot of their questions wrong.

  • While you go through a question, know what approach to use to solve this problem. If it doesn’t work, decide to move on to the next question to cut your losses. The time saved from this question can be utilized on a question where you have a better shot at getting it right.

  • Different question types require different amounts of time. For the verbal section, sentence corrections should take less than 1 minute. The Reading Comprehension section takes 2 to 3 minutes to read and 1 minute for general questions.

  • If more time has been taken in reading comprehension passages, you may be out of pace after 10 questions. But that time can be covered in the Sentence Correction questions.

  • Practice this timing strategy well in advance to improve your time management naturally. The more you take GMAT practice tests, the better you get at it. You will be able to recognize your patterns to understand how to take the average time per question downwards. Practice definitely is the key to activate your internal clock.

  • To set yourself a positive mood for the rest of the exam, choose a section that you are confident about and then decide your way forward. Time management strategy goes a very long way to help you gain maximum possible marks based upon your ability.

  • To figure out when to leave a question to move to the next is a crucial part of the GMAT exam. These are questions for which you could not figure out what approach to use to solve them. While the average time to solve a question is about two minutes, such questions may need much more time to be answered right. Allocate this time to another question that deserves your time and that will help you score more.

Also Read: GMAT Eligibility Criteria


The GMAT examiners are surely interested in measuring your ability to reason and perform under stress. Start preparing for the test by embracing it as a challenge. Use this benchmark timing strategy to get good results. The key takeaway here is that spending an equal amount of time on every question is not a good plan. Rather, shift time from the end of sections to the beginning of the sections.

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