Last night I spent about 2 hours studying for the GMAT. (I’m trying to keep a log now) I was working on the next part of my Manhattan GMAT assignments, which were all Official Guide questions. Before, I had been doing OG problems without timing myself on each question. I thought this was the best way because I assumed this was a better simulation of the test: the more time you take on one problem, the less you have for another and vice versa.
However, when I reviewed Manhattan’s course guide, they explicity tell you to time each question individually. Not only did they send me a stopwatch, but they also have a timer on their website that will count you down for every question you plan to complete.
I decided to give this a shot during my most recent session and it immediately proved to be a worthwhile experiment. First off, starting each question with the beep of a stopwatch puts you in “stress mode” immediately and encourages you to quickly focus on the question at hand. This is different from my previous study sessions where I could often play around with my music, grab a snack or drink, zone out, etc.
Secondly, it was really interesting to see my time splits for each of the questions. I always thought I had a good sense of how much time I was taking on each of the questions, but this turned out not to be true. On some of the questions where I thought I had taken an immense amount of time, the stopwatch showed only a little over a minute. On one question, where I thought I had finished within the 2 minute benchmark, I actually took over 3 minutes to complete. This was a huge wake up call in terms of my sense of timing for the test and will hopefully make me more self aware in the future.