My talk with Varun was an interesting one. In this interview, he shares a few testing strategies I had not head of. For example, Varun's band 9 in Listening was helped by using the pauses given early in the test to preview Sections 3 and 4. As you know, the first few questions of Section 1 are usually fairly easy and straightforward, so Varun decided he would put the early pauses towards previewing the harder listenings.
Varun was also kind enough to share a breakdown of the pause timings he experienced on the exam. They are:
Time before the example question plays: 1 min 55 sec
Pause between first and second half of section one: around 30 sec
Time to review section one: 30 sec
Time to preview first group of questions of section two: 30 sec
Pause between first and second part of section two: around 25-30 sec
Time to review section two: 30 sec
Time to preview first group of questions of section three: 30 sec
Pause between first and second part of section three: around 20-25 sec
Time to review section three: 30 sec
Time to preview questions of section four: 30 seconds
Using these pauses to preview the other sections of the exam is vital to performing well.
Thanks very much, Varun. This was an enlightening conversation.