GMAT Tip of the Week

Two-Minute Drill

(This is one of a series of GMAT tips that we offer on our blog.)

GMAT examinees often lament that the average time they are allotted to spend per question is approximately 2 minutes on the quantitative section (actually 2:04.8, but who’s counting?), and 1:45 on the verbal. The time pressure often rattles test takers more than does the content, and is usually a contributing factor when questions are answered incorrectly. To combat that, consider these thoughts:

  • Have you watched any of the NBA Playoffs? The last 2 minutes of a playoff basketball game can extend for nearly an hour when timeouts and free throws are factored in. More importantly, quite a bit of action takes place during the time when the clock is running over those 2 minutes.
  • Have you watched any of the Stanley Cup Finals? When your team is killing a 2-minute penalty, 2 minutes can feel like an eternity.
  • Have you recently done plyometric exercise for 2 minutes? While it may be true that “no one can get a good ab workout in 7 minutes”, a 2-minute wall sit or leg raise is more than enough time to feel the burn, as well as some real discomfort.

What does this mean for your GMAT preparation? Remind yourself that 2 minutes, when given the proper perspective, is plenty of time. If you’re concerned about timing, try doing any of the following periodically for 2 minutes to remind yourself just how long 2 minutes can be:

  • Brush your teeth or gargle (few people regularly do either for this long…the upside is that your dentist will thank you just as much as your admissions officer will)
  • Sprint on a track, or turn your treadmill to maximum speed
  • Do as many pushups or situps as you can
  • Lean your back against a wall, form 90-degree angles with your knees and hips as though you were sitting on a chair, and hold that position with your hands out and palms up

Tired yet? These exercises should give you a better appreciation for just how long 2 minutes can be…and allow you to take the GMAT in excellent physical (and hygienic) condition!