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# 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy

Author Message
Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  30 Mar 2015, 01:05
My official date is May 30th. Today is March 30th and here are my current “stats”

CAT 1 March 18th (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 580 Q37 V33
CAT 2 March 22nd (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 610 Q37 V36
CAT 3 March 24th (VERITAS without IR and AWA): 620 Q41 V34
CAT 4 March 30th (MGMAT incl. IR and AWA): 620 Q39 V36
CAT 5 April 4th (GMATprep, inlcl IR and AWA, test conditions): 640 Q37 V41
CAT 6 April 12th MGMAT (incl IR and AWA) TERRIBLE CONDITIONS: 620 Q36 V38

CAT 7 April 26th MGMAT incl IR and AWA: 620 Q37 V37

CAT 8 May 3rd MGMAT incl IR and AWA: 620 Q39 V36

Plan for progression:

CAT every week, this is to perfect my timing and work on being less sloppy and silly on tests, also to relieve my nerves and get used to the test situation. CAT will include AWA and IR every time to ensure mental stamina.

I know I did CATs a bit too often to start, I will now limit is to once a week. My real test is on a Saturday so from now on every mock will be at 9am on Saturdays.
I think I will do one MGMAT this Saturday to really benchmark my score and know where to work from. Besides that I was debating purchasing more tests from perhaps Veritas, but there might not be much sense in that since I have 5 tests available to me right now and technically only 7 weeks that I should be doing CATS. Any advice?

My study plan is to keep a ratio of 2:1 quantitative to verbal.

I am extremely nervous, as I did so badly on the real GMAT back in December despite scoring similarly on practice CATs back then . Does anyone have any tips?
I feel like I need some words of encouragement and a confirmation that scoring a 600+ is realistically achievable within the next two months…

Any guidance is much appreciated !

Last edited by sabineodf on 03 May 2015, 23:59, edited 4 times in total.
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Manager
Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 85
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
GMAT 2: 760 Q48 V47
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 52 [0], given: 11

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  30 Mar 2015, 05:57
sabineodf wrote:
My official date is May 30th. Today is March 30th and here are my current “stats”

CAT 1 March 18th (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 580 Q37 V33
CAT 2 March 22nd (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 610 Q37 V36
CAT 3 March 24th (VERITAS without IR and AWA): 620 Q41 V34
CAT 4 March 30th (MGMAT incl. IR and AWA): 620 Q39 V36

Plan for progression:

CAT every week, this is to perfect my timing and work on being less sloppy and silly on tests, also to relieve my nerves and get used to the test situation. CAT will include AWA and IR every time to ensure mental stamina.

I know I did CATs a bit too often to start, I will now limit is to once a week. My real test is on a Saturday so from now on every mock will be at 9am on Saturdays.
I think I will do one MGMAT this Saturday to really benchmark my score and know where to work from. Besides that I was debating purchasing more tests from perhaps Veritas, but there might not be much sense in that since I have 5 tests available to me right now and technically only 7 weeks that I should be doing CATS. Any advice?

My study plan is to keep a ratio of 2:1 quantitative to verbal.

I am extremely nervous, as I did so badly on the real GMAT back in December despite scoring similarly on practice CATs back then . Does anyone have any tips?
I feel like I need some words of encouragement and a confirmation that scoring a 600+ is realistically achievable within the next two months…

Any guidance is much appreciated !

First, based on these scores, scoring above 600 is definitely attainable. One thing to keep in mind is that none of the test prep companies know the actual algorithm for the GMAT, so you should expect some sort of variance between these exams and your actual GMAT.

In terms of doing CATs, make sure you do every one with AWA and IR. Even though you only need a 600, test day stamina is critical. Unless you are just going to sit there and not answer the AWA and IR sections on test day, you should at least be practicing them when you take each CAT. It's good that you are going to start taking them at the same time as your actual exam, but just make sure you make it as realistic as possible (only 8 minute breaks, no cell phone).

You mentioned purchasing other CATs (which doesn't seem like it is necessary), but have you done the GMATPrep ones? These are going to be the most accurate since they are from GMAC. I would definitely do the two free ones that they give you with the software, and personally I would purchase Exam Pack 1 (which gives you two additional exams). The GMAC official resources are the best thing to study from. If you haven't already, you should complete all of the GMATPrep questions and look into purchasing question pack 1 as well.

In terms of improving, I would make sure to keep some sort of error log. After each set of questions you do (especially after each CAT), make sure to go over every single question and identify why you got it right or wrong and what the traps were. At a certain point, you want to be able to think like the testmakers and identify what their tricks are for each question. You need to identify your weaknesses and do everything you can to get stronger in that area (note: be as specific as possible when identifying your weaknesses, ex. Critical reasoning --> assumptions)

Based on some of your other posts, its clear that you had a lot of test anxiety going into your previous exam. I think it is important to put the exam in perspective. This exam will NOT determine the rest of your life and it is not a reflection of you as a person. Assuming you are taking the exam at the same place as your first exam, you already have a leg up on the competition. You know the entire routine of signing in, how the breaks work, the layout of the test center, etc... All of this familiarity should make you feel more at ease.

In my exam debrief (link in signature), I listed a few things that helped me get in the right mental state for this exam. I personally believe that people tend to wrongfully underestimate the mental aspect of this exam. Throughout the entire process (especially the last week leading up to your exam), you must keep a positive attitude. It's not easy to do, but it will pay off in the end.
_________________
Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  30 Mar 2015, 06:29
alexau wrote:
sabineodf wrote:
My official date is May 30th. Today is March 30th and here are my current “stats”

CAT 1 March 18th (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 580 Q37 V33
CAT 2 March 22nd (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 610 Q37 V36
CAT 3 March 24th (VERITAS without IR and AWA): 620 Q41 V34
CAT 4 March 30th (MGMAT incl. IR and AWA): 620 Q39 V36

Plan for progression:

CAT every week, this is to perfect my timing and work on being less sloppy and silly on tests, also to relieve my nerves and get used to the test situation. CAT will include AWA and IR every time to ensure mental stamina.

I know I did CATs a bit too often to start, I will now limit is to once a week. My real test is on a Saturday so from now on every mock will be at 9am on Saturdays.
I think I will do one MGMAT this Saturday to really benchmark my score and know where to work from. Besides that I was debating purchasing more tests from perhaps Veritas, but there might not be much sense in that since I have 5 tests available to me right now and technically only 7 weeks that I should be doing CATS. Any advice?

My study plan is to keep a ratio of 2:1 quantitative to verbal.

I am extremely nervous, as I did so badly on the real GMAT back in December despite scoring similarly on practice CATs back then . Does anyone have any tips?
I feel like I need some words of encouragement and a confirmation that scoring a 600+ is realistically achievable within the next two months…

Any guidance is much appreciated !

First, based on these scores, scoring above 600 is definitely attainable. One thing to keep in mind is that none of the test prep companies know the actual algorithm for the GMAT, so you should expect some sort of variance between these exams and your actual GMAT.

In terms of doing CATs, make sure you do every one with AWA and IR. Even though you only need a 600, test day stamina is critical. Unless you are just going to sit there and not answer the AWA and IR sections on test day, you should at least be practicing them when you take each CAT. It's good that you are going to start taking them at the same time as your actual exam, but just make sure you make it as realistic as possible (only 8 minute breaks, no cell phone).

You mentioned purchasing other CATs (which doesn't seem like it is necessary), but have you done the GMATPrep ones? These are going to be the most accurate since they are from GMAC. I would definitely do the two free ones that they give you with the software, and personally I would purchase Exam Pack 1 (which gives you two additional exams). The GMAC official resources are the best thing to study from. If you haven't already, you should complete all of the GMATPrep questions and look into purchasing question pack 1 as well.

In terms of improving, I would make sure to keep some sort of error log. After each set of questions you do (especially after each CAT), make sure to go over every single question and identify why you got it right or wrong and what the traps were. At a certain point, you want to be able to think like the testmakers and identify what their tricks are for each question. You need to identify your weaknesses and do everything you can to get stronger in that area (note: be as specific as possible when identifying your weaknesses, ex. Critical reasoning --> assumptions)

Based on some of your other posts, its clear that you had a lot of test anxiety going into your previous exam. I think it is important to put the exam in perspective. This exam will NOT determine the rest of your life and it is not a reflection of you as a person. Assuming you are taking the exam at the same place as your first exam, you already have a leg up on the competition. You know the entire routine of signing in, how the breaks work, the layout of the test center, etc... All of this familiarity should make you feel more at ease.

In my exam debrief (link in signature), I listed a few things that helped me get in the right mental state for this exam. I personally believe that people tend to wrongfully underestimate the mental aspect of this exam. Throughout the entire process (especially the last week leading up to your exam), you must keep a positive attitude. It's not easy to do, but it will pay off in the end.

Thanks alexau!!

I will definitely do the GMATprep CAT this weekend, and try to make it as realistic as possible. Thanks for the encouragement. I will keep it all in mind going forward, and try to keep a more positive attitude. I think I have it in me, I just need to beat these nerves.

Manager
Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 85
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
GMAT 2: 760 Q48 V47
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 52 [0], given: 11

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  30 Mar 2015, 10:55
sabineodf wrote:
Thanks alexau!!

I will definitely do the GMATprep CAT this weekend, and try to make it as realistic as possible. Thanks for the encouragement. I will keep it all in mind going forward, and try to keep a more positive attitude. I think I have it in me, I just need to beat these nerves.

It's totally normal to have nerves (and all it shows is that you truly care about this exam, which is a good thing). But the one thing you have to do is make sure that the nerves do not control how you perform. Sometimes you need to go in there with an attitude something along the lines of "I know I am going to do my best and that's all I can worry about."

You clearly have it in you, but you just need to believe in yourself. I started writing "mantras" to myself to mentally prep myself, and wrote down notes on my notepad when I took the exam. Little things like that will go a long way when under pressure. It helps keep you calm and reminds you of everyone supporting you through the exam.
_________________
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 5585
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
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Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  30 Mar 2015, 10:59
Expert's post
Hi sabineodf,

You mentioned something that I'm hoping that you can clarify. Since you've studied before and now you're studying again, are you taking NEW CATs or CATs that you used before? I ask because re-taking a CAT almost always leads to seeing some repeat questions (and that is NOT realistic). While there's nothing *wrong* with retaking a CAT for general practice purposes, the score results from a retake are almost always "inflated" (and as such, are unrealistic). To properly train for the Official GMAT, you have to take your CATs in a way that mirrors Test Day in every detail that you can reasonably control (time of day, day of the week, new FULL CAT, away from your home, etc.).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

# Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests 60-point improvement guarantee www.empowergmat.com/ Manager Joined: 27 Jan 2015 Posts: 132 Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51 Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink] 30 Mar 2015, 16:14 EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote: Hi sabineodf, You mentioned something that I'm hoping that you can clarify. Since you've studied before and now you're studying again, are you taking NEW CATs or CATs that you used before? I ask because re-taking a CAT almost always leads to seeing some repeat questions (and that is NOT realistic). While there's nothing *wrong* with retaking a CAT for general practice purposes, the score results from a retake are almost always "inflated" (and as such, are unrealistic). To properly train for the Official GMAT, you have to take your CATs in a way that mirrors Test Day in every detail that you can reasonably control (time of day, day of the week, new FULL CAT, away from your home, etc.). GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made, Rich Hello, I am taking brand new CATs that I haven't seen before. If I were to repeat a CAT I am pretty sure I would have memorised all the answers Thanks to both of you for comments and well wishes! Manager Joined: 27 Jan 2015 Posts: 132 Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51 Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink] 03 Apr 2015, 20:08 CAT taken April 4th under test conditions: GMATPrep Score 640 Verbal 41 Quant 37 Goal for next CAT (in exactly one week): Get that Quant up to 40 as well. If anyone has any tips for boosting that quant... give me a holler. EMPOWERgmat Instructor Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat Joined: 19 Dec 2014 Posts: 5585 Location: United States (CA) GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49 GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170 Followers: 224 Kudos [?]: 1588 [0], given: 152 Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink] 04 Apr 2015, 11:02 Expert's post Hi sabineodf, Most Test Takers get questions wrong in the Quant section for one of a handful of 'common' reasons. You should review the Quant section, taking notes (use a Mistake Tracker or Error Log) and focus first on the following: How many questions did you get wrong.... 1) Because of a silly/little mistake? 2) Because there was some math that you just didn't know how to do? 3) Because the question was too hard? Once you can define WHY you're losing points, you should be able to focus on those problems and fix them. GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made, Rich _________________ # Rich Cohen Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin # Special Offer: Save$75 + GMAT Club Tests

60-point improvement guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  04 Apr 2015, 20:44
Thank you Rich,

Several of my mistakes were absolutely avoidable. One of my main takeaways from reviewing this previous CAT was that I have to stop being an idiot (haha). I'm not being hard on myself, I had some mistakes that were just plain stupid, I'm clearly not always reading the question fully.

Other than that my takeaways were to work on exponents and combinatorics<--- my worst nightmare, and also strengthen my sentence correction which is my downfall verbally.
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 5585
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170
Followers: 224

Kudos [?]: 1588 [0], given: 152

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  05 Apr 2015, 13:58
Expert's post
Hi sabineodf,

Once you've reviewed those questions and defined the silly/little mistake(s), it's often helpful to physically redo the ENTIRE question (and practice going through each 'step' in the process). You will obviously already know what the correct answer is, but the 'mechanics' of going through the work should help you to eliminate the silly mistakes that hurt you the first time around. The level of 'precision' in your work is almost always due to what you write down - while you don't have to write down lots of information, you do have to write down enough (necessary facts, calculations, labels, etc.) to help you to guarantee that you're working correctly.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

# Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

# Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests 60-point improvement guarantee www.empowergmat.com/ Manager Joined: 27 Jan 2015 Posts: 132 Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38 Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51 Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink] 11 Apr 2015, 20:32 EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote: Hi sabineodf, Once you've reviewed those questions and defined the silly/little mistake(s), it's often helpful to physically redo the ENTIRE question (and practice going through each 'step' in the process). You will obviously already know what the correct answer is, but the 'mechanics' of going through the work should help you to eliminate the silly mistakes that hurt you the first time around. The level of 'precision' in your work is almost always due to what you write down - while you don't have to write down lots of information, you do have to write down enough (necessary facts, calculations, labels, etc.) to help you to guarantee that you're working correctly. GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made, Rich Thanks Rich, did a new CAT today after a week of slacking study-wise because of a busy work schedule. My score didn't suffer too much but I will absolutely go through my silly mistakes later today, and try to improve during the week. My score wasn't amazing today but I will keep at it, a month and a half to go! Plenty of room for improvement.. EMPOWERgmat Instructor Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat Joined: 19 Dec 2014 Posts: 5585 Location: United States (CA) GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49 GRE 1: 340 Q170 V170 Followers: 224 Kudos [?]: 1588 [0], given: 152 Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink] 12 Apr 2015, 14:29 Expert's post Hi sabineodf, What were your scores on this CAT (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores)? And did your little mistakes fall into any specific categories? I'd be curious to see how a busy work-week and lighter studying impacted your performance. GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made, Rich _________________ # Rich Cohen Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin # Special Offer: Save$75 + GMAT Club Tests

60-point improvement guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
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Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  12 Apr 2015, 17:36
My score was 620, 36 Quant and 38 Verbal using the Manhattan GMAT CAT. This is the highest verbal I have achieved on the Manhattan GMAT CAT yet, but my quant suffered. On this test I felt like there were certain problems that I just didn't know how to solve: will be spending some time this week filling in those gaps.

I really struggle with word problems that have to do with work/rates, when I get them on a test I almost feel like giving up because I get so confused! I get them when they are explained but setting them up for myself is something I spend way too much time doing and get extremely flustered.
Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  12 Apr 2015, 19:25
Having some extra focus on sentence correction has paid off, my errors in verbal are now evenly spread: 4 mistakes on each. My level remained pretty high and my mistake were not because of rushing. That's the good news.

The bad news: my quant. I can't blame it all on silly mistakes this week, there were several questions that I was clueless on. Looked at the solutions for these problems today and will try to solve them on my own tomorrow. For the rest of today I work on quant on the forum.
Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  04 May 2015, 00:03
CAT 1 March 18th (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 580 Q37 V33
CAT 2 March 22nd (MGMAT without IR and AWA): 610 Q37 V36
CAT 3 March 24th (VERITAS without IR and AWA): 620 Q41 V34
CAT 4 March 30th (MGMAT incl. IR and AWA): 620 Q39 V36
CAT 5 April 4th (GMATprep, inlcl IR and AWA, test conditions): 640 Q37 V41
CAT 6 April 12th MGMAT (incl IR and AWA) TERRIBLE CONDITIONS: 620 Q36 V38
CAT 7 April 26th MGMAT incl IR and AWA: 620 Q37 V37
CAT 8 May 3rd MGMAT incl IR and AWA: 620 Q39 V36

My score is literally stagnant. With the +-40 points that occur during the real thing I really cannot afford the "-40" scenario. I have 26 days left. I need to get better.

I'm re-sitting MGMATs CAT 1 and 2 this week, and doing a fresh one this Saturday.
Manager
Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 132
Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 670 Q44 V38
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 51

Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy [#permalink]  04 May 2015, 19:53
640 Q37 V40

Results from resit of CAT1 ->

Weirdly, I hadn't seen many of the Q questions before. Probably because I received more of the easy questions on my first attempt (?). Will review the test later on today.

Verbal: I had seen a few of the questions. I knew that would happen since my verbal skill is relatively consistent. I don't know how I feel about expecting and inflated score and only increasing by 10 points.

After some lunch I'll look the whole thing over: I have to keep in mind that I only did this CAT for stamina purposes. The fresh one is on Saturday.
Re: 2 Month mark – Study plan/Strategy   [#permalink] 04 May 2015, 19:53
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