Friday, February 22, 2013

Pacing on the Exam.

The following question was asked by a reader of the blog:

"Do you have a recommended approach for dealing with questions requiring one to select which of four described precedents apply to which of four described scenarios? These types of questions are time sinks.‏"


With the MBE only days away, I've started to receive quite a few questions regarding strategies, in addition to the questions regarding content. I'll address this question by discussing my advice regarding how to approach any question that is taking you longer than the allotted time provided for each question.

In short, pick an answer, and move on. It's a good idea to mark on your test booklet which questions you've guessed on, so that if you happen to have some time at the end of the exam, you can return back to those questions for a closer look.

It's easy to lose track of time while taking the exam. But for every question that you spend more than 1.8 minutes on, you give yourself less than 1.8 minutes on a later question. And if you're spending more than the allotted time on any given question, then it's likely that you find that question difficult, which makes it less likely that you'll answer that particular question correctly. If you spend 3 minutes on a question, you'll be guessing on a later question (due to lack of time,) and it's possible that the question that you'll be forced to guess on is an easier question than the question you spent all that time on.

The smarter move is to move on before spending any extra time on a question, so that you'll at least have an equal opportunity to attempt all the questions. At the end of the exam, as stated above, return to those questions you've guessed on, for a closer look. If no time remains, then at least you had the opportunity to attempt all questions. On a 200 question exam like the MBE, you never want to get hung up on any particular question, as each question amounts to a very small percentage of your entire score.

Keep moving along steadily, dwelling not on any prior question, focused only on the question at hand.

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