Time Management for GRE


Time Management for GRE

Now, we don’t want to start off this blog by using a clichéd quote such as “time waits for no one”, but just like most clichés, this one is true as well and it is extremely relevant in the context of the GRE. The allotted 3 hours and 45 minutes of your exam time will fly by faster than a bullet out of a gun. However, there are ways through which you can optimize your time and get the best possible score. 

  1. Mock Exams 

The first tip is fairly simple and straight forward. Make sure that you take ample mock tests to give you a fair idea of what to expect from the exam. Also, ensure that you create conditions that are as similar to the exam as possible, especially when it comes to time. Many students make the mistake of taking the mock exams too casually and then are completely overwhelmed on exam day. Also try to understand if you are taking up too much time on a specific section and try to work on that. So, lock yourself in a room, abide by the rules of the mock test and do not misuse the pause option! 

  1. Effective Breaks 

On the day of the test, you will be given the option to have two official breaks – one 60 second break after completing the essay section, and one 10-minute break after 2 more sections. It is imperative that you make the most out of these breaks in whatever way you think is best. Some people like to wander and walk around while some prefer to sit down for a quick meditation session. Just make sure you are feeling relaxed and giving your mind some rest while not worrying about how your exam is going. If you are on the tightly scheduled break but your brain is still in the exam, then you might as well not even have a break. 

  1. Don’t overthink  

If you end up spending 5 minutes on a question, chances are you’ll end up messing up the next few questions as well. This is actually one of the ways the GRE tries to trick you. Instead, if you feel you’re stuck on a question and have given it more than 90 seconds, quickly move on and focus on the next question. You can always circle back to the difficult question later. Remember that all the questions in any section have the same weight so there is no point in wasting time over the difficult questions. 

  1. Elimination 

The process of elimination is sometimes a lifesaver in so many challenging questions and can really help you find the best guess and increase your chances to get the right answer. Simply, start ruling out the obviously incorrect answers and go from there. However, do remember to read all the options carefully and not be tricked by a curveball. This is another way that the exam tries to trick students, so only rule out an answer when you are 100% confident that it is incorrect. 

  1. Calculator and Scratch Paper Usage

You must understand that though the calculator can save a lot of time, it can also end up wasting a lot of your time as well. Only use the calculator for questions that you actually need it for. Sometimes, it can unnecessarily complicate simple math problems and the use of the scratch paper can be really effective. Also remember that there is no set limit on the amount of scratch paper so use it generously. You can also try to draw out problems if you feel it will help you visualize it better. 

Lastly, make sure you are properly equipped with the right mindset and outlook to completely crush the exam. Just don’t get nervous on the difficult questions and cocky on the easy ones. Stay focused and before you know it, you’ll be able to sail through the exam like a piece of cake, not even realizing that it’s over. 


This blog was written by Siddharth Bhati.