Have you completely misunderstood the timing problem?
I have lost the count of how many GMAT aspirants call me and say that their main problem is timing. Yesterday, I got a call from one such aspirant. He explained me in detail that even though he can get questions right in an untimed scenario, his accuracy plummets in timed conditions.
After he had explained his problem, I asked him that till what speed he can drive a car without losing control.
He answered 120 kmph.
“What is the difference between you and a person who learned to drive the car a month back and feels uncomfortable at any speed beyond 40 kmph?”, I asked.
“How has experience created the difference?”
“Probably, the experience has made me better in judging the relative position of the things on the road and in controlling the different elements (clutches, gear, steering wheel)”.
“So, in essence, you are more skilled than the other driver. Right?”, I asked rhetorically.
The problem the other driver is facing is not of timing or speed but of skills. Once his skills increase, he’ll be able to drive at higher speeds without losing control.
Isn’t it so?
Same is the case with learning musical instruments. When you have learned a musical instrument for some time, you can play it fine at slower speeds. However, as you increase speed, you fall out of tune. Why?
Is speed the problem?
The problem lies in skills. You are not as skilled as a person who has trained for years and thus can play at very high speeds.
If you think about it deeply, you’ll realize that
TIMING IS NEVER A PROBLEM; IT’S ALWAYS A SYMPTOM.
If you try to treat it directly, you’ll always falter just as you’d falter if you try to treat physical problems such as pimples or muscle pain directly. Pimples are probably the result of some imbalance in the blood, and muscle pain is probably the result of lack of calcium in the body. You have to treat the cause, not the result. Isn’t it?
The skills gap is, I believe, the biggest cause of the timing issue. Thus, your biggest improvements in timing will come when you start focusing on building your skills.
Now, how to build skills?
Will practice build the required skills in us?
The answer is: It depends on how you practice. You can read my article for my thoughts on this: Practice won’t lead you anywhere!
However, there are two other reasons that contribute to the timing issue:
Approach: If the way you are holding the steering wheel is wrong, you will likely continue to face problems at higher speeds even if your skills improve. Similarly, if the way you read and solve a question is wrong, you’ll continue to face problems when you try to speed up the process. The approach is different from the skills. For example: in Reading comprehension, you may have the skills to comprehend the passage, but if you have always been told to read the passage superficially (some test prep companies suggest reading just the first line and the last line of each paragraph!!), you may keep shifting back and forth between the passage and the questions, leading to unnecessary time waste.
However, the approach problem can be easily solved by listening to and taking guidance from the right people.
Stress: Stress is a problem that impacts your concentration power, leading to increased time to understand the given material. If you are overly stressed, a part of the brain is always focussed on the end result, and only the remaining part can focus on the question at hand. Now, how to deal with stress? There are two ways:
To summarize the article, I’ll say:
Feel free to share your thoughts on this article. I’ll be happy to discuss 🙂