I have very few complaints with my BSO, but this is one of them.
My rear derailleur seems to hold the same 'up and down' tension across all the cogs. So when I'm on the first couple of cogs (32 and 26 teeth), the shifting is precise and efficient. But when I move out towards the end of the freewheel, I have to push the lever a long way to make the jump to the next cog, and then pull it back to keep it from making noise.
Basically, the top jockey wheel stays at the same height all the way across the freewheel, which means that when it's on the small cogs, it's hanging well below them, and has to move a long way to get the chain to hop to the next cog.
Is there a way to adjust this, or is it simply a consequence of having BSO-level components?