Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Help: Time Issues

ConnollybConnollyb Live Member
in General 35 karma

I know mine is not a unique problem, but I am wondering if anyone has advice. When I have the time to slowly go through each question, I have great accuracy in pretty much all four sections. However, especially in the LR sections, I am finding the time pressure is causing me to miss important details and trying to move quickly results in sloppy decision making. I know practice helps, but I continue to struggle when under pressure. Does anyone have any tips for overcoming this?


  • offy0c-1-1offy0c-1-1 Core Member
    221 karma

    I think what really helped for me was getting accustomed/familiarized the approach in which I would take for each question type. I think that was really a game changer for me with regards to time. When I identify the question type I instinctively know what method to take when I am looking at the stimulus.

    Ultimately to truly grasp what was being said just took practice, but one thing I can recommend is attempting to put the info that you are reading into your own perspective. That really helps because you are no longer attempting to read the stimulus from the pov that is given, but rather from your pov (by considering the text provided in the stimulus).

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    edited February 8 27710 karma

    The first thing to do is to flip around how you think about the relationship between sloppiness and your decision-making. When you say, "trying to move quickly results in sloppy decision making," you've got that backwards. Decision-making is not a consequence of speed, it's a cause. Good decision making makes for effective time management. Bad decision making makes for ineffective time management. So don't focus on your speed, focus on your decision making.

    I don't even like thinking in terms of "speed" at all. I like to think in terms of efficiency. What matters is the return on investment. The returns are points and the investment is time. Slower pacing is often much more effective at maximizing better ratios of returns. When you say that timing often makes you miss important details, what you really mean is that the way you manage time results in missing important details. So slow down to where that is no longer happening. You don't want to dilly-dally, but don't race the clock either. Things take how long they take. Time management--and the decisions we need to focus on--is really just recognizing which things are worth doing and which things aren't

    For example, maybe you fully understand the stimulus and then read answer choice A and it's a perfect fit. At that point, you have a decision to make. Move to the next question or read the other answer choices. Both have their merits, but what is the most effective choice? This will depend on your specific data, but for me, the most effective choice is to choose A and move on immediately. My accuracy rate with this move in this situation is extremely high, and I am not going to correct an error often enough to warrant the extra 20 seconds I may anticipate that work to cost me.

    An even easier example would be something like a parallel flaw question where you're really confused in the stimulus. Before you go to the answers, you've got a decision to make. Here the correct decision, every time, is to move on immediately. If you don't know what's happening in the stimulus, you have no chance in the AC's. The time we expect to take here is exceptionally high, and even then we likely expect to miss this one anyway with above average frequency. If you do anything but move on as soon as you recognize the situation (which should not take long!), then you've made a huge error. This work requires a high cost and yields a relatively low return. Pass.

    Allow things to take as long as they're going to take. Your job with time management strategy is not to figure out how to work faster. Instead, you should learn to anticipate how long a given task is likely to take and then to skillfully assess whether the returns on that work are worth the time investment. Getting better at time management means making reliably accurate assessments and then choosing to do only the most valuable work. We simply don't get to do everything, so you have to triage to separate out the work that's worth it from the work that isn't. This is a complex task, but it is one that is as masterable as any fundamental.

  • ryan.lattavoryan.lattavo Live Member Sage 7Sage Tutor
    109 karma

    Lots of fantastic advice in this thread overall, but I think I also want to add that just having a for-sure idea of what you're looking for going into a specific question will really help! For example, learning what exactly is required of you within a necessary assumption question, versus a strengthen or weaken question, can narrow down what you search for within a stimulus and sharpen your pre-phrase in general. That will always lead to time improvements!

    If there were specific questions you had in regard to implementing a timing strategy in any section, then there's no harm in scheduling a free consultation session with a tutor here!:

    We'd love to help discuss this further.



Sign In or Register to comment.