Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

collegebum1989
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Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:48 pm

Hi everyone,

So about 2 weeks ago, I was practicing using untimed tests and was able to improve a score around 169/170 from my diagnostic about 154.

I took a week off because I felt burnt out and took a timed practice test yesterday and got a 164. I understand that there could be two factors which led to the decline: 1) the effect of timed element in addition to fatigue between sections, 2) getting used to the getting back to study habit after week off.

My goal is a 175, but I would be happy with a 170+ on the June Exam. What would you recommend to achieve this? Continue taking timed practice with mixed review and drills in between?

I've noticed that I am not making improvements in any particular section in general. Sometimes I'll do amazing in LR, bad in RC. But on another test, I'll do amazing on RC, but bad on LR. In LR, I get a mixture of questions wrong near the end of the section. What's the best way to approach this?

d0rklord
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby d0rklord » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:52 pm

I'd say take 2-3 timed tests a week.. (probably one during the week, and one each weekend day) and review them the same day... Use the other days to do TIMED drills of your weaknesses :)

lefty20
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby lefty20 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:59 pm

Taking timed practice tests is crucial! Giving yourself even an extra minute per section on PTs will really come back to hurt you on test day. Also, know that on test day you move from one section to the next very quickly, no time for getting a drink, going to the bathroom, etc., so I also practiced under those conditions. And last, I would rip a few PTs into individual sections and then add one of those sections to each full PT I did, giving me a 5-section test, just like the real thing. Getting used to all these things will really help you prepare for the brain fatigue of test day. I think less frequent, but more intense and realistic, PTs is the way to go. Good luck.

collegebum1989
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby collegebum1989 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:52 pm

So you think just continuously taking timed tests and reviewing mistakes will be sufficient enough to boost my score?

Conceptually, I understand the approaches, but I get intimidated by the last couple questions on an LR section.

Timing wise, I'm able to finish all sections early.

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Geetar Man
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby Geetar Man » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:17 am

collegebum1989 wrote:So you think just continuously taking timed tests and reviewing mistakes will be sufficient enough to boost my score?

Conceptually, I understand the approaches, but I get intimidated by the last couple questions on an LR section.

Timing wise, I'm able to finish all sections early.


Im interested in this as well. I can get a huge amount correct in under 45 minutes, but once I add the time component, I seem to make more careless errors.

I was thinking about trying to slow down while reading the stimulus. The speed necessary to do well does not come from speed reading or getting through the questions quickly (though, this is sufficient), it comes from the speed of your reasoning ability. I believe that if you understand the whats going on better from reading slower/grasping the arguments and/or their flaws, you'll save time by being able to kill through the answer choices.

Remember, knowing which answer choices are wrong helps significantly in finding the correct answer choice. Further, don't cross off an answer choice right off of the bat because it doesn't "sound right". Make sure you have a solid understanding of why you're about to toss this answer in the trash. One thing that I've noticed is that I stopped throwing out answer choices unless I knew for a fact that it was wrong. The reason being is because once I put that slash through the letter, I knew that I would disregard that answer choice completely.

Just some food for thought...

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mountaintime
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby mountaintime » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:40 am

You shouldn't even take untimed PTs. Time them all and time them very strictly. Untimed PTs will only give you false hope and bad habits. It's a waste of a PT and then when you transition to a timed test and your score goes down by 10 points you'll be frustrated. Seriously, don't even bother with untimed PTs.

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ben4847
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby ben4847 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:55 am

mountaintime wrote:You shouldn't even take untimed PTs. Time them all and time them very strictly. Untimed PTs will only give you false hope and bad habits. It's a waste of a PT and then when you transition to a timed test and your score goes down by 10 points you'll be frustrated. Seriously, don't even bother with untimed PTs.

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Kobaine51
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby Kobaine51 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:05 pm

mountaintime wrote:You shouldn't even take untimed PTs. Time them all and time them very strictly. Untimed PTs will only give you false hope and bad habits. It's a waste of a PT and then when you transition to a timed test and your score goes down by 10 points you'll be frustrated. Seriously, don't even bother with untimed PTs.


I disagree with this. I took three timed and two untimed practice tests this week, and think the untimed are as valuable as the timed. My reasoning is that it is - for the reasons that others have described - useful to take timed tests in test conditions. However, taking the tests untimed helps develop a deeper understanding of the questions - for me at least. I have been getting in the high 170's untimed and the high 160's timed, there is a clear gap, however every time I take a day or two of untimed tests I see an improvement of around a point in my timed test.

These tests are probably useless anyway unless you are going over the questions you have gotten wrong to see what your error was. Mine tend to be in misreading.

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mountaintime
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby mountaintime » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:42 pm

Kobaine51 wrote:
mountaintime wrote:You shouldn't even take untimed PTs. Time them all and time them very strictly. Untimed PTs will only give you false hope and bad habits. It's a waste of a PT and then when you transition to a timed test and your score goes down by 10 points you'll be frustrated. Seriously, don't even bother with untimed PTs.


I disagree with this. I took three timed and two untimed practice tests this week, and think the untimed are as valuable as the timed. My reasoning is that it is - for the reasons that others have described - useful to take timed tests in test conditions. However, taking the tests untimed helps develop a deeper understanding of the questions - for me at least. I have been getting in the high 170's untimed and the high 160's timed, there is a clear gap, however every time I take a day or two of untimed tests I see an improvement of around a point in my timed test.

These tests are probably useless anyway unless you are going over the questions you have gotten wrong to see what your error was. Mine tend to be in misreading.

You can develop that "deeper understanding of the questions" by reworking them after you're done but before your grade your answers or simply after you've graded it.

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Kobaine51
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby Kobaine51 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:56 pm

mountaintime wrote: can develop that "deeper understanding of the questions" by reworking them after you're done but before your grade your answers or simply after you've graded it.


Yes, Plainly. That is not an ineffective approach. However, I think that deliberation free from the constraints of a clock - the first time one approaches a question - tends to be more helpful. At least it is for me. I have no problem with time other than that it makes me less accurate though, so it may be different for others.

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mickeyD
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby mickeyD » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:36 pm

I disagree with a lot of the advice here. Untimed practice is essential for improvement. If you can't get questions right with unlimited time, then how do you expect to get them right under time?

Improvement comes from untimed practice. Timed tests simply allow you to gauge your progress. You improved 15 points (congratulations!) by doing untimed work- why would you abandon the strategy that got you where you are now?

Take 2 timed tests per week MAX. Use the rest of the time to drill your weaknesses with as much time as it takes.

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ben4847
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Re: Transitioning from untimed to timed practices

Postby ben4847 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:43 am

mickeyD wrote:I disagree with a lot of the advice here. Untimed practice is essential for improvement. If you can't get questions right with unlimited time, then how do you expect to get them right under time?

Improvement comes from untimed practice. Timed tests simply allow you to gauge your progress. You improved 15 points (congratulations!) by doing untimed work- why would you abandon the strategy that got you where you are now?

Take 2 timed tests per week MAX. Use the rest of the time to drill your weaknesses with as much time as it takes.


That is probably correct.
I notice though, that we repeatedly have posters who think that their untimed results will somehow correlate to their timed results, which is plainly untrue.




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