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I'd like to make a sentence like this:

The time for the exam will run out soon, I have to speed up my problem solving.

By the way, how to express "speed up my problem solving" in a more idiomatic manner?


As Andrew Leach suggested, I mean how to say "The time allowed in which I must complete the exam". Should I use "time of exam" or "time for exam" and why?

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I reckon that is idiomatic and the sentence is entirely fine. It would help, though, if you said what you were trying to express with time of or time for. If you mean, "The time allowed in which I must complete the exam," then "time for" is indeed correct, not "time of". – Andrew Leach Oct 7 '12 at 13:38
Yeah. That's what I mean. So why not use "time of"? – ymfoi Oct 7 '12 at 13:47
Please edit the question to show exactly what you would like to know and why what have found in your research so far doesn't suffice. Getting the scope of questions to creep via comments is not the way this site works. – Andrew Leach Oct 7 '12 at 14:04
@AndrewLeach Sorry for that. Because my English is relatively poor, so I could not think up a better way to express. >_< – ymfoi Oct 7 '12 at 14:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

1. "The time of the exam" will usually mean "the time appointed for the exam to start".

The time of the exam is 2:00 pm.

(You might encounter a durational sense in "The student finished the exam with a time of one hour and forty-five minutes"—but this would be his time "in the exam" or "for the exam" not "of the exam".)

"The time for the exam" might mean either "the time appointed for the exam to start" or "the time allotted for the exam to last" or (as in my parenthesis above) "the time actually spent on the exam". In your context it's clear which is meant, but you would do better to eliminate ambiguity and write "The time allotted for" or "The time allowed for".

(To make things even more confusing, you could also write "the time allotted to the exam". In most cases this would be frowned on, because the time is ordinarily allotted to the student for the exam. But it might be allotted to the exam on a schedule: "Our program allots six hours to lectures and two hours to the exam.")

2. "I have to speed up my problem solving" is perfectly OK, but more detailed than it's likely to be expressed in ordinary speech. "I have to work faster" or "I have to speed up" are more likely. "Gotta" for "I have to" is yet more likely.

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You can replace "speed up my problem solving" with "hurry."

Trust your audience to understand that a test has problems, and if you're running out of time, those questions are what need to be solved.

"The time for the exam will run out soon, I have to hurry."

You could also use, "There isn't much time left, I have to finish the rest of this exam soon."

If you want to emphasize the increase in speed, you could say "I'll never finish the exam at this rate." However, with this phrasing, you lose the implication that time is running short.

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Nice! Thanks for the idiomatic expression~ – ymfoi Mar 31 '14 at 14:38

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