Exams Know-how

GMAT Time Management in 2024: 7 Best GMAT Timing Strategy

Rohan Deshmukh

Taking the GMAT is a crucial step for aspiring business students. This standardized, computer-based exam, administered by the GMAC, is widely accepted by business schools globally and features multiple-choice questions covering quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, integrated reasoning, and analytical writing.

Beyond thorough preparation, mastering effective test-taking strategies is paramount to success on the GMAT. It’s a timed exam, so a well-defined GMAT timing strategy is crucial. This strategy will ensure you have enough time to answer all questions, with some buffer for revisiting trickier ones. Efficient time management will significantly boost your confidence and performance on the test. This blog will equip you with the tools and tactics to manage your time effectively, boosting your confidence and performance on the test day.

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  Table of Contents

  1. An Overview of GMAT Exam Pattern
  2. GMAT Time Management Strategies and Tips
  3. GMAT Time Management: Section Wise Division

An Overview of GMAT Exam Pattern

The GMAT challenges your skills in four distinct sections, each timed differently and separated by two optional 8-minute breaks. The total test duration is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes. The detailed time breakdown and question format for each section are outlined below:


Number of Questions



Analytical Writing


30 minutes

0 to 6

Integrated Reasoning


30 minutes

1 to 8

Quantitative Reasoning


62 minutes


Verbal Reasoning


65 minutes


Your GMAT exam consists of four sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Analytical Writing Assessment. You get to choose the order in which you tackle them initially.

However, a crucial twist comes with the computer-adaptive nature of the Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning sections. In these sections, once you submit your answer to a question, it’s locked in. You can’t go back, review, or change it. The computer chooses the next question based on your performance on the previous one.

This makes time management in these sections paramount, which is the core focus of this guide. Now, let’s discuss effective time management strategies for the GMAT Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning.

How to Prepare for GMAT

GMAT Time Management Strategies and Tips

To help you excel on the GMAT, we’ve assembled a foundational list of time management strategies and tips. Don’t hesitate to tap into the collective wisdom of the Yocket community as well. Learn from their experiences and insights to fine-tune your approach and win the clock!

  • Aim for an average of 2 minutes per question. It’s okay to exceed this sometimes but compensate by finishing another question in under 2 minutes.
  • Don’t get stuck on any single question for more than 4 minutes. Move on if needed.
  • Use a clock or timer during your practice and the real exam to stay aware of your pace.
  • The first questions are usually simpler, so use them to build your momentum and confidence.
  • If you answer a question in under a minute, spend the remaining time double-checking your work and reasoning.
  • Don’t waste time on questions that instantly feel frustrating. Skip them (if there is no penalty for skipping) and focus on the ones you can approach confidently.
  • Rushing can lead to careless mistakes. Breathe, stay calm, and maintain a steady pace.

How Many Hours Should You Study to Maximize Your GMAT Scores?

Moving beyond verbal and quantitative, let’s explore effective time management techniques and helpful tips for mastering the GMAT’s integrated reasoning and AWA sections.

  • In preparation for the Integrated Reasoning section, prioritize building strong analytical and reading skills through consistent practice. This will allow you to approach complex passages and questions with confidence and speed. While aiming for less than 12 accurate answers may seem counterintuitive, focusing on depth over breadth will yield better results.
  • For the Analytical Writing Assessment, your initial focus should be on completing the essay within the time limit. This ensures you can fully address the prompt and develop a well-structured argument. Once finished, dedicate the remaining time to thorough proofreading and editing.
  • Consider incorporating benchmarks into your overall GMAT timing strategy. These reference points, typically based on question type and section format, help you allocate time efficiently throughout the exam. Utilize practice tests and official study materials to establish your benchmarks and refine your pacing for a stress-free and productive test day.

Which Universities are Waiving the GMAT for an MBA Abroad?

GMAT Time Management: Section Wise Division

Let’s break down the time allotment for each section in a clear and concise table, which you can use as a reference point during your preparation.


Duration formal

Time you should take

Analytical writing

30 minutes

  • 20 minutes to write
  • 10 to revise and edit

Integrated Reasoning

30 minutes

  • 2 minutes per question
  • 6 minutes to revise
  • (Remember to not waste time on hopeless, ugly questions to save time)

Verbal Reasoning

65 minutes

  • Spend up to 4 minutes on RCs and less than one minute in others
  • Use the skipping method here too, as you cannot revise the questions

Quantitative Reasoning

62 minutes

  • Spend less than 2 minutes per question, and skip ugly questions in under 30 seconds.

What is the Best GMAT Score for an MBA Abroad?

While skipping might sound counterintuitive to ambitious test-takers, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Here’s the secret: the GMAT adapts to your performance. After each question, it analyzes your response and adjusts the difficulty of the next one to match your skill level. In other words, spending excess time on a tough question may not only lead to an incorrect answer but also lock you into a more challenging string of problems. This can create a frustrating snowball effect, ultimately costing you valuable time and potentially causing you to miss easier questions later on.

Think of it this way: if you encounter a question that feels truly repugnant (a dreaded data sufficiency table, perhaps?), take a breath and consider the odds. By strategically guessing and moving on, you retain a 20% chance of getting it right while drastically increasing your chances of tackling all the remaining questions instead of scrambling through the last few due to time constraints. A strategic guess on one question can free up time and mental energy for potentially scoring high on multiple others. In simple words, strategic guessing is not a cop-out; it’s a calculated risk. It allows you to maximize your GMAT score potential by focusing your energy on questions you can answer confidently.

Also Read: Exam Day Tips for the GMAT

From the Desk of Yocket

Time management on the GMAT can elevate your performance from competent to exceptional. It’s not just about rushing through questions; it’s about understanding the test, your strengths and weaknesses, and strategizing accordingly. The GMAT is a race against the clock. You have a fixed amount of time to answer a set number of questions, and exceeding the time limit for any section leads to automatic penalties. Effective time management ensures you attempt all questions within the allotted time, maximizing your scoring potential.

Familiarize yourself with the test format, question types, and time limits for each section. Practice with official GMAT materials and timed mock tests to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and develop personalized strategies for tackling different sections. During the actual exam, stay mindful of the time remaining. Don’t get bogged down on a single question; if you’re stuck, move on and come back later if time permits. Utilize educated guessing for questions you’re unsure about, but remember, wild guesses can hurt your score. Take short breaks to re-energize and maintain focus.

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Frequently Asked Questions about GMAT Time Management Strategies

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