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5 weeks prep-time for GMAT - too short ?

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5 weeks prep-time for GMAT - too short ? [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2005, 12:48
Based on my research (on this site and otherwise) , it seems like the average prep-time seems to be 2-3 months with 2 being an aggresive estimate . Due to a number of reasons (which I won't go into here , for the sake of brevity ;) ) , I've decided that I need to take my GMAT exam in the 1st week of Dec. :-( . This would give me 5 weeks to prepare . I'm targeting a 700+ score ... is that even a reasonable expectation :? ... I'm hoping that I will be able to manage 2-3 hrs / wkday and 6-8 hrs /wkend-day.

FWIW , I had thought of giving the GMAT a couple of years ago but apart from figuring that I need more help in the verbal scetion , I didn't progress much :oops: . Now for my strategy , assuming the above timeframe is reasonable ;)
My planned reading is :
a) Kaplan 2005
b) Kaplan 800
c) PP tests/CD
d) OG 11th ed.
e) ETS paper tests.

Is this too much given my available time or is this a must-do list ?
Any suggestions/opinions/rants :)
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2005, 13:25
There are different lengths for different people. Take a diagnostic first and see where you stand. Difficult to say how much time you'll need with such limited information.

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2005, 13:40
bsmith75 wrote:
There are different lengths for different people. Take a diagnostic first and see where you stand. Difficult to say how much time you'll need with such limited information.

B.


Well , I was under the impression that one doesn't take the diagnostic till one finishes PR & Kaplan 2005/800 (acc. to http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=11176 ) . Is this not accurate i.e. can/should one take a diagnostic (the PR one or the PP test1 ?) right at the beginning ?

I can appreciate the "one size doesn't fit all" theory but I guess I was looking to see if this is even feasible given an 'average' score .
For eg. if I got a 400 on the diag , can I do this 5-week prep. ?

Also, I need some help with my study strategy assuming 5 weeks and targeting a high score .... would the approach I put together work ? or is it too ambitious ? .......... any ideas

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 [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2005, 17:04
Whether you take a diagnostic up front is up to you...given that you have only 5 weeks to prepare, I would just open the books, start reading up on the test, learn strategies, and start doing practice questions. By the end of the first week, take a full practice test (I would do practice questions on weeknights and tests on the weekends). Then see how you do. With only 5 weeks to prep, if you take a diagnostic before studying, you might freak yourself out with a low score.

If verbal is a concern, focus on Princeton Review's strategies and tests, and the official questions and tests. Their verbal strategies are very effective, and their verbal questions are a lot more realistic than most other simulated tests. I would do the PR tests instead of the ETS paper tests. You need to be extremely comfortable with an adaptive computer test in order to reach your goal; the paper tests are no better than practice questions.

It can be done if you're dedicated and are pretty good on the fundamentals already. Go for it!
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2005, 18:36
By the way, if you have a specific deadline for the GMAT, book your test now. Don't wait, or else you might not get a test date available.
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2005, 18:36
I agree with the approach to study for a week then take the diagnostic. 5 weeks is enough time overall if you dedicate several hours every night to studying. Ultimately, you need however much time it takes you to learn the concepts behind the questions. This is best done by endless repetition and error logging. Once you start cranking through problem sets you see the patterns of GMAT traps. This is when you are ready.

Once you get a handle on the basic format and concepts, you need to start hanging out in the advance math & intel disc forum. That forum was absolutely key to improving my Quant score. You should be shooting for a 48 Quant and to get a score like that you need the advanced concepts discussed in that forum. You should be acing the Powerprep practice sets, that is basic stuff. You will see problems on the real GMAT very similar to those in the advance math forum.

Also after you get a handle on everything start taking full length practice sets. Simulate the testing environment, look at it like endurance training. Try and build up to where you can take a full length test 3 or 4 nights in a row or even two in a night back to back. Most importantly spend the time to adequately review what you got wrong, why you got it wrong, keep an error log detailing the type of problems you miss and find the pattern. Do not simply look at the right answer, say "doh", force yourself to understand where you mistake was made.

And use this forum to the fullest, the systems on here work. You only need to look at the string of 700+ scores and endless improvement stories. Everyone here will try to help and answer any questions they can.

Good luck.

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 [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2005, 11:05
Thanks everyone , for the feedback :)
Its encouraging to know that it is feasible and not unheard of for such a short prep-time to actually work .

Was planning on doing some reading during the week and then taking my 1st test over the w/e , if I'm lucky . Based on the advice , this seems like a good start .

bsmith75 wrote:
I agree with the approach to study for a week then take the diagnostic. 5 weeks is enough time overall if you dedicate several hours every night to studying. Ultimately, you need however much time it takes you to learn the concepts behind the questions. This is best done by endless repetition and error logging. Once you start cranking through problem sets you see the patterns of GMAT traps. This is when you are ready.

Once you get a handle on the basic format and concepts, you need to start hanging out in the advance math & intel disc forum. That forum was absolutely key to improving my Quant score. You should be shooting for a 48 Quant and to get a score like that you need the advanced concepts discussed in that forum. You should be acing the Powerprep practice sets, that is basic stuff. You will see problems on the real GMAT very similar to those in the advance math forum.

Hopefully I can get to the stage soon where I can start attacking the tough questions 8-)

bsmith75 wrote:
And use this forum to the fullest, the systems on here work. You only need to look at the string of 700+ scores and endless improvement stories.


Yeah , I see the list of awesome scores but what I haven't been able to find is an experience where someone was able to go from start-to-finish with a 700+ score in 5 weeks or less . Maybe I haven't looked hard enough ........
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2005, 17:04
I studied for a little over 4 weeks total (nights and weekends, while working full-time) and scored a 770. So yeah, it's possible. It depends how solid your concepts are in the first place. In my case it was mostly refresher. If you're learning them from scratch you may want to leave more time.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2005, 15:04
Pack your bags and spend as much time as possible in the library :-D

I tried studying at home but there were just too many distractions, e.g., college football Saturdays, phone calls, the Mrs., etc. The libray will allow for complete and total immersion.

Study hard!
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2005, 15:20
coffeeloverfreak wrote:
I studied for a little over 4 weeks total (nights and weekends, while working full-time) and scored a 770. So yeah, it's possible. It depends how solid your concepts are in the first place. In my case it was mostly refresher. If you're learning them from scratch you may want to leave more time.


Wow ... thats real awesome !
So , when u say refresher ... do you mean u had taken the GMAT recently or that you haven't spent too much time out of school and hence the concepts weren't too rusty ;)

Now , I get the part of slogging for the next few weeks (and living in the library ... nay , my-nose-buried-in-my-books is more like it :( )but it will help immensely if you can provide some details on how you went about u'r prep .
For eg. how many hrs /day /weekend-day and more imp. what books / papers did you go thru' .
Here's my plan based on some input :
1) Kaplan 2005 - theory and questions only - no tests yet
2) Do Diag. test
3) Kaplan 800 - all q's
4) CAT Tests (2-4)
<<5) Kaplan Verbal Workbook --- iffy >>
6) 1st PP test
7) OG
<<8) AWA ------ iffy>>
<<9) LSAT Verbal Coverage , SC from MGMAT , Challenges from here --- iffy>>
10) CAT Tests (2-4)
11) 2nd PP
12) ETS Paper Tests

The iffy part is if I have the time , and if I need to focus on that particular section :)

While this list seems kinda complete and others do something similar , what I'd like to know is with severe time restrictions , is this study list (needed)/sufficient ?
It seems to me that you are in a good position to provide some input given your very relevant experience ;)

Any feedback will be much appreciated .
Thanks.
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2005, 22:03
sachinh wrote:
So , when u say refresher ... do you mean u had taken the GMAT recently or that you haven't spent too much time out of school and hence the concepts weren't too rusty ;)


No, it was my first attempt at the GMAT (and evidently now the last). And I've been out of school for quite a bit of time now - especially where it comes to math. What I meant was, the verbal "refresher" was really just a matter of learning the question types and the common traps, because I guess I'm lucky that it comes fairly easily to me (I can speed-read, and a good part of my daily job involves editing copy and correcting grammar.) The math part was more a matter of refreshing myself on concepts I hadn't seen since high school. Luckily, I discovered that with a bit of practice and reading up, it was kind of like riding a bicycle. I never really forgot; I just thought I did.

Despite that, I was really shocked when I saw my score. I was writing the GMAT a little bit on a lark, and I'd never expected to do so well.

Quote:
Now , I get the part of slogging for the next few weeks (and living in the library ... nay , my-nose-buried-in-my-books is more like it :( )but it will help immensely if you can provide some details on how you went about u'r prep


This thread has my prep details, if you're interested.

Anyway, it sounds to me like you have a pretty solid study plan. Just don't forget to spend as much time as possible on this board in the math and verbal forums, answering questions, reading and posting explanations of how you got to the answers, and posting your own questions. [/url]
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2005, 23:00
Coffeelover, I would like your advice on something:
My main problem w/ RCs (and to some extent CRs), is that I have trouble staying focused while reading and take a while to read an entire passage. I often end up reading the same sentence over and over for it to make sense (mainly due to focus). Do you think reading a book on speed reading can help the cause? Any other suggestions?

Thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Oct 2005, 22:11
yb wrote:
Coffeelover, I would like your advice on something:
My main problem w/ RCs (and to some extent CRs), is that I have trouble staying focused while reading and take a while to read an entire passage. I often end up reading the same sentence over and over for it to make sense (mainly due to focus). Do you think reading a book on speed reading can help the cause? Any other suggestions?

Thanks


It might help, but you should also develop a strategy of attack for RC questions.

Read it the first time just skimming it, with the question in the back of your mind being "what's the main purpose of this passage"? Most of the time, there's at least one question in the series that asks something along those lines, so you'll get the answer to one question that way, plus you'll get the contextual frame of reference in what they're talking about.

Then reread the passage again in more detail. As you go through, note each paragraph's main point. Is it an example illustrating something? A counter-argument to the main point? A comparison?

Once you have the structure of the passage on your scratch paper, you'll have a sort of "cheat sheet" to know where to look to find answers to each question as they come up.

Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2005, 17:00
Thanks coffeelover.... Just to clarify, are you suggesting that I skim the passage once, then read it again in more detail, and after that look at the first question? How long should this take on an avg. length passage?

Thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2005, 18:37
Definately look at the first question after skimming hte passage - after all, you'll have it in front of you. But since you don't know what the other questions are, it's better to prepare.

On average you should take about 2-3 minutes to read the passages (skimming and in detail) before attempting any of the questions. If you're a slower reader, maybe slightly longer. But not *too* much longer or you'll start to run out of time.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2005, 00:16
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2005, 11:35
coffeeloverfreak wrote:
No, it was my first attempt at the GMAT (and evidently now the last). And I've been out of school for quite a bit of time now - especially where it comes to math. What I meant was, the verbal "refresher" was really just a matter of learning the question types and the common traps, because I guess I'm lucky that it comes fairly easily to me (I can speed-read, and a good part of my daily job involves editing copy and correcting grammar.) The math part was more a matter of refreshing myself on concepts I hadn't seen since high school. Luckily, I discovered that with a bit of practice and reading up, it was kind of like riding a bicycle. I never really forgot; I just thought I did.

This thread has my prep details, if you're interested.

Anyway, it sounds to me like you have a pretty solid study plan. Just don't forget to spend as much time as possible on this board in the math and verbal forums, answering questions, reading and posting explanations of how you got to the answers, and posting your own questions.

Wow ... your prep. , effort and of course , result is super-encouraging ;)
770 in 4 weeks ... now thats the kinda dream I wanted to be shooting for :-)

Seriously , it gives one the impression that it can be done ... of course there's always the poss. that u'r a whiz-kid :wink:

So, when would be a good time to start spending time on the boards ... am guessing as soon as you are done with firming up u'r basics , i.e. finish book #1 (whichever) ?
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2005, 12:34
I started right away. And you're here now...

P.S. I'm no "whiz kid"; I'm just someone who cracks the books.

Admittedly, having English as a first language is a built-in advantage for the verbal section, and I really admire people who ace the verbal section with English as a second or third or fourth language.

Aside from that, though, you don't have to be a genius to crack the GMAT. You just have to learn the question types, build up stamina, and practice practice practice.

It can be done!
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2005, 14:06
coffeeloverfreak wrote:
I started right away. And you're here now...

Okay then ... am outta here ... phew ... talk about a taskmaster ;)
  [#permalink] 31 Oct 2005, 14:06
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