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740+ Study diary

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740+ Study diary [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2012, 10:19
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Hi guys,

I'm the next of the long list of people, who would like to sit for the GMAT until June. I have already had some research (as you have probably noticed in the forum). It was July-August last year that I decided to take this step. I have already got the last editions of the following books:

Books:
OG12
OG Verbal
OG Quant

MGMAT Foundations Maths
MGMAT Foundations Verbal
MGMAT 8 Strategy Guides except CR, where I got Powerscore CR Bible
MGMAT Advanced Maths

Still unsure about - MGMAT Roadmap, Aristotle SC Grail and Aristotle RC99 (Interested if, in your opinion, they would be a good addition)

Background:
Non-native speaker, English level of around TOEFL 100-110. BSc in Business & MSc in Finance (in English). I suppose Quant and Verbal will be equally weak. I just scored 19 out of 45 in the GMAT Club Diagnostic Test This score can still be inflated in some way.

Target score:
I will start next week. While I probably won't apply for BS this year, I just want to put the check on exams as GMAT and TOEFL. My target G-date is End of May/Beginning of June prior to the switch. I would have about 3,5 months in which I will be able to dedicate at least the entire weekends and most of the weekdays. S about 5-7 hours on the weekends, and around 3-4 hours per day during the week. Concerning my goal - well, I would be somewhat happy to score above 700, but honestly, my real goal is somewhere 740 and above.

My strategy:
I will start with both MGMAT Foundation Books, which I hope to complete in about two weeks (till the end of February) and then perform a CAT Test (GMATPrep or MGMAT), and gauge my knowledge and define the sequence of the MGMAT strategy guides. I expect to be equally weak in Quant and Verbal, but let's see. Generally I want to mix Quant and Verbal in order to keep them fresh and will pass all MGMAT Strategy Guides first doing every chapter, then the MGMAT problems, and finally, the related OG problems. I will keep an error log with all problems (guessed and wrong) in order to revise them daily/weekly. Here I won't measure time, but build strong basics.

Once I have completed MGMAT Strategy Guides I will do another CAT(MGMAT) in order to see where I am and try to improve my weak areas through re-reading of MGMAT Strategy Guides. Once I feel ready with Quant, I will complete the Advanced Maths book as well.

The final stage of my preparation will include CAT's (GMAT Prep, MGMAT and GMATClub), error log analysis and working for speed and stamina -> perform morning CAT's (hope to get a morning GMAT date) and develop some speed strategies.

While studying I aim to also watch "Thursday's with Ron" and other similar GMAT-related seminars online, BTG and GC workshops, questions of the day etc. I will furthermore buy GmatClub's iPhone app ;)

Some questions:
What do you think about my general strategy?
How would you mix Quant and Verbal in order to keep both fresh?
Would you suggest buying the Aristotle products - SC and RC?
Would you recommend Jeff Sackmanns Total GMAT Math for further Quant problems or will MGMAT Advanced Math and GMATClub CAT's be enough?
What are the best stamina & speed rules for the final stage of the preparation?
Which other CAT's would you recommend?
How often would you revise your error log? Daily or rather Weekly?
Should one do OG problems as going through MGMAT books, or leave those questions for later?

Thank you in advance for your help!
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Last edited by bgpower on 19 Nov 2012, 14:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2012, 10:58
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bgpower wrote:
What do you think about my general strategy?
How would you mix Quant and Verbal in order to keep both fresh?


you are comfortable time wise and prep material wise, i would suggest you to structure ur plan little different (though u must suit ur convenience)...Many people recommend mastering one concept at a time and then moving on to the next while doing some practice problem of the previous subject..i am currently following this plan and it has shown tremendous improvement( jumped from 600 to 710 in mgmat prac tests in 2 months :) ).
http://militarytobusiness.blogspot.in/2 ... -gmat.html
bgpower wrote:
Would you suggest buying the Aristotle products - SC and RC?

Aristotle SC or mgmat SC, either is ok...must see free concept videos of egmat(also download this file..
5-strategies-that-gmat-uses-to-distort-meaning-124296.html#p1011027
..very helpful).. i feel the structured approach of egmat is good, yeah supplemented with Ron's videos :) )
bgpower wrote:
Would you recommend Jeff Sackmanns Total GMAT Math for further Quant problems or will MGMAT Advanced Math and GMATClub CAT's be enough?

once ur done with mgmat foundation + 5 books + mgmat advance + 25 gmatclub tests, then u must check ur standing and what score ur getting at that moment...i think these books are more than sufficient..if u have time , Jeff's book is worth it's value...
bgpower wrote:
What are the best stamina & speed rules for the final stage of the preparation?

If i have to answer in one word, my answer will be

PRACTICE

we all know it.
bgpower wrote:
Which other CAT's would you recommend?

take gmatprep as many times( until u start seeing too many repeats)
there are a number of other tests available, u can check out their reviews here
all-gmat-cat-practice-tests-links-prices-reviews-77460.html?fl=menu

bgpower wrote:
How often would you revise your error log? Daily or rather Weekly?
Should one do OG problems as going through MGMAT books, or leave those questions for later?

once ur ok with the concept, u may revise after a month, but initially it's better to revise every week till one understands the concept..again that's totally my opinion
og questions are the BEST and there is no comparison , do them as many times as possible( till u actually remember the question)
i would recommend to do them along with mgmat topic wise and subsequently sequentially..
i hope this helps.
regards.
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2012, 12:22
Hi, rajeevrks27!

Thanks for the tremendous answer.

First, you won't believe it, but this approach, which suggest using, was one,w hich I really wanted to apply (I read it in one debrief), but had just forgotten it. Therefore it 100% will be utilized in my strategy. The questions is rathermore in what sequence to start. I'll read the entire article in the Military2Business Forum, but think, I'll do it thath way. After both Foundations books I'll use one GmatPrep CAT to gauge my level and will start then with my weakest area, dedicating one week (or more) for one Strategy book respectivelly area. Then I'll just move to the next book/area, but still practice 1 day of the week questions from the preceeding area. This will still allow me to mix Quant and Verbal on a week basis.

Second, concerning Aristotle SC - I already have MGMAT SC and just wanted to know if it makes sence to buy the Aristotle as well. As time might be an issue and I don't want to buy books, which I am not going to use, I will buy the book only if I need some more materials in SC. Thanks for the E-GMAT links. Will have a look on them - especially the free videos and their 5 strategies. Have you used some of their paid serviced?

Third, I think what I've written about SC applies with Jeff Sackmann's Total GMAT Math as well. I still have plenty of materials. If I have time, I might concider this book as well. It seems worth it, depends on time again.

Last, but not least - it's a very good suggestions of yours to revise the error log weekly, maybe later in the months - monthly! Utilizing the approach from the Military Forum, it makes sense to complete a part of MGMAT and OG problems related to every chapter (include mistaken/guessed in error log) and just check the error log for questions from this area next week as repetition and still add some new questions from MGMAT and OG as well. Otherwise one might run out of questions in the end. Even better would be to do MGMAT and OG questions once with the respective chapter and then re-do the error log and some of the other questions again the following weeks.

Thanks again!

Will be happy to hear many more opinions and siggestions about my preparation strategy! Give me your suggestions and tips about 740+!
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2012, 18:43
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bgpower wrote:
Thanks for the E-GMAT links. Will have a look on them - especially the free videos and their 5 strategies. Have you used some of their paid serviced?

Not yet, though i intend taking their SC course once i am through with quant( may be after couple of weeks)..Although they are new in the market, but they are really structured and organised ...Also their concept pattern is generally on the lines of mgmat( IMO)..but really cheap..
one thign about OG, i am going through all three OGs( 10, 11 and 12)...there are a number of question which are not repeat, so that gives a good amount of prac of official material..Also there are files that are compilation of all gmatprep question( CR, SC,PS and DS), worth downloading because u never know tomorrow the link may be removed(it's there on gmatclub download material)...again they are a great compilation , but do them only after u have exhausted the gmatprep software by giving the test multiple times
If u can't find them, lemme know.
All d very best ...enjoy ur gmat journey..it's only then our best performance comes out....
regards.
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Fire the final bullet only when you are constantly hitting the Bull's eye, till then KEEP PRACTICING.

A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html

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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 09:46
Your input was very important to me, rajeevrks27! Thanks again!

Unfortunately, i don't have OG 10 and OG 11, but hope, that the 12 will make it! Of course, I'll try to find additional questions as well, once I complete those once and now them cold. But as I said, I will need "some" time to complete all the books, mentioned above. If I still have some free time, I'll definitely buy some more materials as Aristotle and Total GMAT Math by Jeff Sackmann.

I'll be very happy to hear other opinions on the above-mentioned questions as well! Thanks!

Regards,
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 11:18
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I'm following a similar plan to the one you have detailed out. I have finished all five of the main MGMAT math books. Now, I plan to study for the verbal out of the MGMAT books (except substituting the Critical Reasoning Bible for MGMAT, just as you are) while using Total GMAT Math on the side so as to keep the math concepts fresh. Once I finish my initial verbal prep, I will try to target my weak areas as to strengthen that particular raw score, and it will be time to target CATs for stamina/endurance at the end. Good luck on your quest for a 740!
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 11:33
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I would go like this:
-start with VERBAL section first, 1 guide
-2 guides quant (i believe you should pick here FDPs and Geometry, at least the two chapters seem easiest to me)
-1 guide verbal
-2 guides quant
-1 guide verbal
-1 guide quant

Note that it is probably better to start with verbal rather than quant because the guides will better distributed and the material will be more fresh. As far as the rest of your questions are concerned, I do not have anything to add. Your strategy seems great, you are ready to dedicated enough time and you got some nice answers from people.

One last thing, I recently discovered the advantage of reading non-gmat stuff to improve my verbal skills. The only thing I regret in the past two and a half months of studying is the fact that I did not start reading english books/articles as soon as I start to prepare for GMAT. Therefore, I recommend you either GMAT Fiction or any other material written in good English, preferably books. Three to five months of reading will definitely help you out. I would not count time spent reading as actually studying for GMAT. Here is the GMAT Fiction thread:

books-to-read-improve-verbal-score-and-enjoy-a-good-read-76079.html

Hope it helps :)
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 12:05
@Laker7: Thanks man! Really interesting suggestions, but definitely makes sense! I mean starting with verbal! Generally, I think that while I could hope to refresh some strong basics in Maths/Quant, Verbal would be the area in which I just have to learn much things. My English level shoudl be pretty strong (~TOEFL 100), but from what I've seen, GMAT Verbal is another thing! So it makes sense! It's just the question - if to arrange the sequence of the MGMAT books according to some CAT (resp. weak areas first) or really do it as you suggest - start with Verbal and then just mix them. Maybe your approach is better, because currently every CAT should suggest that all areas are equally weak ;)

Concerning Reading to improve Verbal - a very good point which I wanted to tackle here. Are fictions really the best? In my mother tongue, as well as in both foreign languages, which I speak fluently, I really don't read that many fictions. I know it's a weak point, but I rather prefer reading professional literatura. As an example I'm an Harvard Business Review subscriber and enjoy reading HBR, but NYT, Economist etc. Can they in some whey compensate for fictions? I really should try some fiction books and will do it, but just wanted to know your opinion?

@cecilpaladin32: Your plan sound very good! I have also read that Powerscore CR Bible should be slightly better than MGMAT CR. Would be interested in your opinion Total GMAT Math as an addition to the 5 MGMAT guides? Are you going to use the MGMAt Advanced Math as well?

And one additional question - Does one really need a kind of book like MGMAT Roadmap?

Regards!
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 12:46
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I know that the depth of knowledge within areas vary among every person but to more accurate, I will provide some extra insights based on my experience. Go as follows:

-RC guide
-FDPs and Geometry
-CR guide
-Number Properties + Equations, Inequalities & VICs
-SC guide
-Word Translations guide

I did not follow this strategy but I wish I did. If I were at the beginning, I would start with RC because it is a section hardest to improve, especially for non-native speakers like you and I. You will probably go through this guide much faster than other ones because there are not too many details in it, just general strategies. But you will know on what to work on and that is where the GMAT Fiction kicks in (more on it later). The next two math guides are IMO easy and there should be less stress in them than in other guides as these two guides are more basic (at least to me). Then, move on to CR which is easier than RC but harder than SC. By moving on to CR you will also gain some benefit from reading outside material because you would hopefully try to find an argument, strengthen/weaken it, find the assumption etc. in the material you read. After that, move to NP because it is not very hard, though it has many details. The guide with VICs is IMO starting the challenge because that is when I started to struggle. However, by following these steps you will probably get extra benefit from previous material (algebra especially). Sentence Correction will be tough but easiest to improve in. It has many details but they will be fresh in your mind when you get done with all the 8 guides. Plus, by reading outside material you have developed an ear for English grammar. Finally, word translations is the toughest guide because it requires good reading and good algebra.

As far as GMAT Fiction is concerned, the outside reading does not need to be limited to fiction but it MUST be limited to English. I am from Serbia and you and I speak languages that are very similar. Thus, as someone who has graduated in US and speaks a similar language like you, I can tell you that reading in Bulgarian will have no advantage in your GMAT efforts. It should be noted that reading good articles such as WSJ, NYT, HBR and other similar stuff will help you if, while reading, you pretend that you read an actual GMAT problem in verbal section. There is only one thing that you need to keep in mind. Outside reading is a tedious process; BB recommended in the topic whose link I posted, that one should read around 2000 pages (probably much more within 3-5 months). So it might be kind of hard to stay engaged while reading tons of random articles. That is why GMAT Fiction seems as a better choice. If you are confident that you actually can stay focused on reading so many articles, go for it! If not, I would recommend you to combine them.
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Feb 2012, 13:02
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That's unbelievable ;) Thanks very much!

Concerning the sequence of books - it really makes sense to me! To have SC in the end and have it fresh, also start with things, which are not going to discourage you! Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely incorporate them in my approach!

And about GMAT fictions - I'm pretty sure I will be able to find something, which is interesting to me! You're right that staying focused for 2000+ pages will be tough. Even more - why not mix fictions and high-quality sources as WSJ, NYT, HBR etc. But again - all will be in English that's for sure. It was more than a coincidence that you turned out to be from Serbia (a country that I praise high), the world is quite small nowadays!

BTW: I very much like your signature - "Set your aims high, carpe diem"! That's true!
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2012, 12:53
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@bgpower: I just ordered the Total GMAT Math book. I am awaiting shipment on the book, but as of now, I plan on using it to keep doing math problems/review weak areas while I target the verbal section of the exam. I have just finished going through all 5 of the math books in MGMAT, so hopefully, extensive review won't be something I need, other than what I know are major weaknesses of mine (VICs, advanced geometry and especially similar triangles, and combinatorics)...

I have been debating whether or not I want to buy the Advanced Quant book from MGMAT. I may order it as I get closer to my exam, but as of now, I don't plan on it. I am hoping Total GMAT Math in addition to the completion of the normal MGMAT books will be enough...(and hopefully some GMAT Club Diagnostic tests, if I can get enough kudos/posts by mid-April ^_^)
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2012, 02:55
Donot gather too many books. Rather read one book and finish it before buying another. MGMAT Advanced Quant and GMAT Club Tests. It would need 100+ hours to finish them all.

Make a hourly plan for each topic and post again in this thread.
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2012, 11:42
@cecilpaladin32: Sound like a very good plan! Both books MGMAT Advanced Math & Total GMAT Math seem to be equally good! I'll definitely post a review of all books I use, so stay tuned.

@AbhiJ: You're hitting a very important point. Maybe that's the reason I don't want to rush into buying additional books, as the ones from Aristotle (RC99 and SC), a grammar book (Doing Grammar or GMAT Grammar) and Jeff Sackmann's one! I have plenty of materials and might concider ordering something else only if those books turn out to be insufficient. In the end of the day, it's also a questions of money.

Just in a few minutes I'll come back with a more detailed plan.
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2012, 12:06
I'll be very happy if you again provide me with your feedback. So...

Study plan total length: 14 weeks until the 28th of Mai
Target Exam date: 21st of May - 28th of Mai
Hours per day: 3-4 hours on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekends

[February] Weeks 1-2: Foundations with MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Math and Foundations of GMAT Verbal
[March] Weeks 3-4:
[March] Weeks 5-6:
[April] Weeks 7-8:
[April] Weeks 9-10:
[May] Weeks 11-12:
[May] Weeks 13-14: Review (error log and notes) and CAT's. EXAM

Military Forum: Destroy the GMAT wrote:
In order to mitigate losing skills over time, incorporate at least 10-20 questions each day from previous subjects just to stay fresh. This is why you do your strongest subjects last - you will actually be spending a lot of time reviewing previous subjects as you get further along in the program. After studying a subject intensely for two weeks, it should become ingrained in you and not perish in a matter of weeks.
http://militarytobusiness.blogspot.in/2 ... -gmat.html


Tools: Error log, Notes on things I don't know cold, etc.

Along this - Some fictions, HBR, NYT, WSJ, The Economist, several GMAT related video seminars as Thursday's with Ron!

The question resp. problem I currently have is the sequence of the topics/books. Unfortunately, the terrible score of my GMAT diagnostics exam doesn't give me a clue how to arrange the topics. I do have one suggestion by Laker7 (thanks dude), although I'm not sure if this arrangement doesn't compromise the strategy of the Military forum, I want to implement. Maybe the simple and only solution will be to take one CAT after both Foundation books and then decide on the sequence. Do you agree? Until now, I just wanted to save my CAT's for the last phase of my preparation. Furthermore, as a GMAT novice I had problems with the easy GMAT Club diagnostics and can't imagine what it would be to tackle an entire GMAT CAT.

While the solution of the sequence question is rather clear, I have another one concerning the types of questions I will use in the different stages of my preparation. Here I would be very much interested in your opinion. If I complete the questions MGMAT provides after every chapter as well as the OG questions of every chapter, which questions should I do the following weeks in order to have 10-20 questions per day from the previous topics? One suggestions still is the error log (re-do old questions), but what about others - maybe OG Quant and OG Verbal?

Regards,
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2012, 20:11
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bgpower wrote:
I have another one concerning the types of questions I will use in the different stages of my preparation. Here I would be very much interested in your opinion. If I complete the questions MGMAT provides after every chapter as well as the OG questions of every chapter, which questions should I do the following weeks in order to have 10-20 questions per day from the previous topics? One suggestions still is the error log (re-do old questions), but what about others - maybe OG Quant and OG Verbal?

You can do og 10 , og 11( many questions are not repeat) , og verbal , og quant , 1000 series( they are official questions) and repeats of og 12
Best would be to exhaust the official material.
they are the ones most close to what ur likely to see on D day. :)
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A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html

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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2012, 10:13
Thanks, rajeevrks27! Official questions are the best questions, I agree! So I'l tackle it this way - do all MGMAT and OG12 questions while completing the Strategy Guides. All mistaken/guessed one will be included in my error log, which I'll re-do daily (no matter if I'm on the same topic or have moved to the next one). New practice questions will come from the old OG's.

What about my first question about the sequence of the topics/books. Unfortunately, the terrible score of my GMAT diagnostics exam doesn't give me a clue how to arrange the topics. I do have one suggestion by Laker7 (thanks dude), although I'm not sure if this arrangement doesn't compromise the strategy of the Military forum, I want to implement.
-The first possibility is to follow the logical sequence offered by Laker 7 some posts earlier
- The second solution - take one CAT after both Foundation books and then decide on the sequence. As a GMAT novice I had problems with the easy GMAT Club diagnostics and can't imagine what it would be to tackle an entire GMAT CAT.

Would love to hear your opinion on that. Thanks!

Regards,
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2012, 19:21
bgpower wrote:
The first possibility is to follow the logical sequence offered by Laker 7 some posts earlier
- The second solution - take one CAT after both Foundation books and then decide on the sequence. As a GMAT novice I had problems with the easy GMAT Club diagnostics and can't imagine what it would be to tackle an entire GMAT CAT.

Laker7 is correct in saying that RC is the hardest section to improve in verbal, but there is nothing much u can do about RC besides doing 3-4 passages daily or reading GMAT fiction ...choice is totally yours.
As far as giving CAT at an early stage Vs later stage debate is concerned, in my opinion CAT can be given at an early stage to gauge ur level as it's the most accurate in telling you about ur weakest area and ur strongest area. Actually, the sequence of books should be drawn on the basis of the comfort factor in subject, weakest subject being the first one to be addressed.
moreover, if you give CAT ( gmatprep 1) now, there will be hardly any question that u will remember after two months of studies, the time when u sit again to check ur progress with gmatprep. Trust once u will give the CAT now, you will realize that it was not as difficult as u had imagined. :) . so cut out the initial inhibition , give a CAT right away and post the score, only then u will come to know ur standing.
Regards.
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A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html

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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2012, 19:30
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bgpower, I'm also using the MGMAT guides. My strategy for these has been to do all the OG guide questions at the end of each booklet, but save the OG Quant questions for when I want to diagnose myself after completing all of the Quant booklets. It's a similar strategy that I hope will help re-enforce the concepts that I have trouble with.
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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2012, 21:27
hi bgpower,
great to see ur thread figuring in the weekly news letter of gmatclub , may it provide valuable inputs to the starters.
+1 kudos for starting this discussion.
Regards.
Rajeev
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Fire the final bullet only when you are constantly hitting the Bull's eye, till then KEEP PRACTICING.

A WAY TO INCREASE FROM QUANT 35-40 TO 47 : a-way-to-increase-from-q35-40-to-q-138750.html

Q 47/48 To Q 50 + the-final-climb-quest-for-q-50-from-q47-129441.html#p1064367

Three good RC strategies three-different-strategies-for-attacking-rc-127287.html

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Re: 740+ Study strategy [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 00:28
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Hi guys!

Thanks again for the valuable support! I think the thread made it in the GMATClub newsletter, because of your awesome answers! You contributed 99% to all this! Again, thank you!

@Yekrut: That's a good suggestion you have here! Saving the questions from OG Quant might help you have real GMAC questions afterwards to keep the knowledge fresh! I might think of doing that as well!

In a nutshell:
Thanks to your wonderful suggestions, I will complete by the end of this month both MGMAT Foundations books, install GMATPrep and see the devil in the eyes! The results will help me understand which sequence of the 8 strategy guides to follow! I'll then start with the weakest area, continually move forward towards the area, where I feel strongest, and every day dedicate time to revise my error log and do new questions for the already passed sections! Hope that works! I'll definitely keep you updated on this!

In the meantime, I'll be happy to hear some other opinions as well. Or why not questions from people who need help?

Regards,
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Re: 740+ Study strategy   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2012, 00:28
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