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My GMAT Journey [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 02:07
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Dear GMAT Club members and Experts,

I have created my study plan for a 750 score and need your comments. I have already given the GMAT twice and scored a 540 (V26, Q38) first on Jan 4, 2009 and a 460 (V24, Q30) on March 19, 2009. I have now set to down to score a massive increase through a determined study plan. I am currently out of a job and so can devote a lot more time but also am spending time in my job search and other part time jobs. Current plan is to attack the GMAT in 10 weeks from now.

Target Score: 540 to 750
Time Period: 1 Sept 2010 – 15 Nov 2010

Primary Concepts Review & Practice- 7 weeks
Comprehensive Practice Review- 3 weeks

Books:
1. Kaplan 2011 Premier Live Online
2. Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide
3. Manhattan Critical Reasoning Guide
4. Manhattan Reading Comprehension Guide
5. Manhattan Number Properties Guide
6. Manhattan Geometry Guide
7. Manhattan Equations, Inequalities, & VICs Guide
8. Manhattan Fractions, Decimals, & Percents
9. Manhattan Word Translations Guide
10. The Official Guide for GMAT 12TH Edition


Practice Tests:
6 Manhattan GMAT online
5 Kaplan CAT online
2 GMAT Club test
2 GMAT Prep

Phase 1- General Overview & Diagnostic
I plan to study an overview of all sections before giving my Diagnostic test and am planning to use Kaplan Premier for doing that. This will entail going through all the sections of the GMAT using this book to give me a good overview. And then I plan to do a diagnostic from either Kaplan or Manhattan GMAT. I am choosing to do this, as I want a higher diagnostic start for my mental preparation since I don’t have much time.
Kaplan Premier- Introduction & overview of all areas
• Diagnostic Test (Manhattan GMAT or Kaplan)
• Setup of Error log
• Schedule of Study and Timer

Phase 2 - Verbal Preparation Plan
I know I want to start my study with verbal and will vary the weeks of preparation based on the diagnostic test. The planned study order may change depending on the results.
1. Sentence Correction
2. Critical Reasoning
3. Reading Comprehension
I plan to work through each section one by one methodically by going through all books explaining that particular verbal subsection and practicing questions at the same time for them.
Books Used
Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide
• Manhattan Critical Reasoning Guide
Manhattan Reading Comprehension Guide
• The Official Guide for GMAT 12TH Edition- Verbal Practice qs
Kaplan 2011 Premier- Verbal Practice qs
Partial Verbal CATs
• Use verbal sections of CAT once all 3 areas are completed.

Phase 3-Quantitative Preparation
I plan to follow a similar methodical pattern for my quantitative preparation and go through specific areas starting with the Manhattan guides.
Quantitative Preparation
1. Problem Solving
2. Data Sufficiency
Books Used
Manhattan Number Properties Guide
• Manhattan Geometry Guide
• Manhattan Equations, Inequalities, & VICs Guide
• Manhattan Fractions, Decimals, & Percents
Manhattan Word Translations Guide
• The Official Guide for GMAT 12TH Edition- Math Practice Qs
Kaplan 2011 Premier- Math Practice qs


Phase 4-Practice CAT tests
Initially I would have used a few of these tests for section specific practice rather than completing entire tests. But as soon as I am comfortable I will be practicing complete tests with essays.
2 GMAT Prep- taken multiple times
6 Manhattan CATs
5 Kaplan CATs
2 GMAT Club tests
Other recommended CATs.

I would like the opinion of members on this plan of execution. What would you recommend to change for each of the phase I have highlighted and if the time is realistic for a 750 score. Thanks for taking the time to offer your comments and advice.

Last edited by mhasan on 07 Sep 2010, 04:52, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 03:50
Below my comments based on what I've read on this forum and my own preparation thus far. I haven't taken the GMAT yet, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

- I think you are listing too many books. The 8 GMAT guides plus one strategy book (Kaplan 2011 Premium) will provide you with enough of a theoretical foundation to crack the exam.

- I would focus on just one critical reasoning book (i.e. Powerscore or MGMAT). Most members on this forum seem to prefer Powerscore.

- I would focus on GMATPrep, and MGMAT tests as they are generally considered to be superior to KAPLAN. Maybe mix things up by doing 1 or 2 KAPLAN tests, but to do all five of them might be overkill. Also, at least with the old KAPLAN tests the scoring alogrithm was somewhat flawed (i.e. the test was socring you too harshly compared to scores of GMAT Prep). Beware of that when judging your progress.

- If you plan on studying full-time (i.e. 5h+ per day) ten week should be more than enough time. Don't burn yourself out i.e. I'd suggest to take at least one or two afternoons per week off.

I hope the comments are useful. Overall I think the study plan looks pretty thorough. I wish you a lot of success. Keep us updated about your progress.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 06:17
I agree with Stanford....Dump the kaplan stuff, i studied about as long as you using mainly MGMAT stuff and the OGs (got 720)
dont do too much thinking your on the right path, it could start doing the opposite effect! MGMAT is enough, perhaps think about a course online with them.
You only have 10 weeks, i would do the MGAMT and come here for help with specific problems.
I love your ambition, keep your head up!

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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 09:34
Do you think MGMAT Quant Strategy guides are better than Kaplan Premier with CD?

I am with you all on the MGMAT SC, CR, and RC, but somehow I am finding it hard to conceptualize the methods that are described in the MGMAT Quant guides.

I am also in the same boat time and target score wise. I am looking to give GMAT around the first week of Nov and want to score around 750. I know it is hard, but I am willing to work for it.

My Strategy: (Opinions/Feedback appreciated)
- 5hrs a day and about 8hrs on weekends.
- Finish Kaplan Premier and OG12 for concepts and finish all the OG12 problems for practice. GMAT Quant Review book too.
- Finish MGMAT SC, CR, RC guides for Verbal. Practice OG 12 and OG Verbal book. Additional practice if time permits.
- Kaplan Practice tests > MGMAT Tests > GMATPrep tests (before the real test).

And by the way, I plan to complete all the GMAT Club tests and practice problems as well.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 22:32
I would suggest you to buy gmatclub tests for Quant section, these tests are wonderful.
Also as said above by friends, dump the Kaplan, choose the MGMAT or Knewton.

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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 22:40
Expert's post
Wow - this looks very serious. I salute your efforts. However, I think sometimes less is more - if you can spend more time on fewer books, you may get a better return. Have you seen my study plan? gmat-study-plan-for-gmat-novices-start-your-gmat-journey-80727.html

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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2010, 02:32
stanford2012 wrote:
Below my comments based on what I've read on this forum and my own preparation thus far. I haven't taken the GMAT yet, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

- I think you are listing too many books. The 8 GMAT guides plus one strategy book (Kaplan 2011 Premium) will provide you with enough of a theoretical foundation to crack the exam.

- I would focus on just one critical reasoning book (i.e. Powerscore or MGMAT). Most members on this forum seem to prefer Powerscore.

- I would focus on GMATPrep, and MGMAT tests as they are generally considered to be superior to KAPLAN. Maybe mix things up by doing 1 or 2 KAPLAN tests, but to do all five of them might be overkill. Also, at least with the old KAPLAN tests the scoring alogrithm was somewhat flawed (i.e. the test was socring you too harshly compared to scores of GMAT Prep). Beware of that when judging your progress.

- If you plan on studying full-time (i.e. 5h+ per day) ten week should be more than enough time. Don't burn yourself out i.e. I'd suggest to take at least one or two afternoons per week off.

I hope the comments are useful. Overall I think the study plan looks pretty thorough. I wish you a lot of success. Keep us updated about your progress.


Hi stanford2012, thanks for your reply. I will take your comments in mind.

Yes the 8 GMAT guides, with OG12 and Kaplan Premier seem to be the best books to focus on which I will be doing.

I will focus on the MGMAT CR book since I had not purchased the Powerscore CR book so far.

For CATs, I do want to practice a lot so will be using as many as I can fit in my schedule. But yes GMATPrep and MGMAT tests will be key.

Yes a full-time studying plan has been put in place and I have already started of on it. thanks for your comments and I will keep you guys updated.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2010, 02:38
jordanhendrix wrote:
I agree with Stanford....Dump the kaplan stuff, i studied about as long as you using mainly MGMAT stuff and the OGs (got 720)
dont do too much thinking your on the right path, it could start doing the opposite effect! MGMAT is enough, perhaps think about a course online with them.
You only have 10 weeks, i would do the MGAMT and come here for help with specific problems.
I love your ambition, keep your head up!


Hi jordanhemdrix,

Thanks for your comments. I have already ordered the books so I do have all of them. But yes the less is more plan seems better and I will probably be removing most of the Kaplan books from the list except the Premier. Yes too may have the opposite effect as you mentioned. Plus I am focusing only on 10 weeks so it is important to keep them very focused on certain books.

Thanks and yes I will come to the forum for practice and advice on problems.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2010, 02:51
jap767 wrote:
Do you think MGMAT Quant Strategy guides are better than Kaplan Premier with CD?

I am with you all on the MGMAT SC, CR, and RC, but somehow I am finding it hard to conceptualize the methods that are described in the MGMAT Quant guides.

I am also in the same boat time and target score wise. I am looking to give GMAT around the first week of Nov and want to score around 750. I know it is hard, but I am willing to work for it.

My Strategy: (Opinions/Feedback appreciated)
- 5hrs a day and about 8hrs on weekends.
- Finish Kaplan Premier and OG12 for concepts and finish all the OG12 problems for practice. GMAT Quant Review book too.
- Finish MGMAT SC, CR, RC guides for Verbal. Practice OG 12 and OG Verbal book. Additional practice if time permits.
- Kaplan Practice tests > MGMAT Tests > GMATPrep tests (before the real test).

And by the way, I plan to complete all the GMAT Club tests and practice problems as well.



Hi jap767,

I am still new to the forum but from all the research I have done on posts here I have come to the conclusion that MGMAT Quant Strategy guides are a lot more detailed and in depth than Premier. So one should definitely be working on the MGMAT guides. Although that does mean going through 5 books rather than 1 Premier. The novices plan by bb does recommend to pair that along with Kaplan Premier for overall strategy. Your Quant plan is using the Kaplan Premier and Verbal plan is using the MGMAT books. If you have the option, go for all the MGMAT guides along with the OGs.

Yes the daily schedule of devoting hours with dedication is impt and especially to use the hours effectively with a game plan.

Best of luck to you.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2010, 02:58
bb wrote:
Wow - this looks very serious. I salute your efforts. However, I think sometimes less is more - if you can spend more time on fewer books, you may get a better return. Have you seen my study plan? gmat-study-plan-for-gmat-novices-start-your-gmat-journey-80727.html


Hi bb,

Thanks for replying. I had been reading the GMATclub forum for a while before I decided on the books to buy and the Study plan. I think I was overzealous in buying the books. But if you are planning to go from 540 (scored in 2009) to 750 this year, you do want a serious plan of attack.

But I do see that less is sometimes more and would allow you to focus on strategies by one company and use them to effectively attack. I actually copy pasted all of your 3 plans, the Novices Plan, 650 to 700+ plan and the Ultimate Verbal plan to come up with mine. So thanks a lot to you for having those plans available to us.

I will edit my post to remove most of the Kaplan books except the Premier. Thansk for the review.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 16:03
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Hi mhasan!

I'm definitely not an expert here, but I think that I can also give you some info worthwhile to consider.

My advice - be realistic in your time management. As you have a definite date limit you can estimate your total time budget and make some simple calculations.

For example, there are a little bit more than 800 questions in the OG12. Even if you take 2 min per question on answering it and 5 min on revision (check the answer, analyze the solution, draw the conclusions and memorize the strategy) that gives you 6000 min budget or 100 hours of PURE WORK TIME. On three hours a day basis it makes one month only to work through the OG12.

Each CAT that you will take is 4 hours of test (it goes without saying that you have to take the full format CATs with AWA part to put yourself in the real test conditions) plus at least 3 hours of revision (you have to analyse EACH question, even those that you answered correctly). So, if you plan to make 2 GMATPreps + 6 MGMATs, that will give you 70 hours more of PURE work time.

Put in the time that you'll have to spend on theory reading (you bought all the MGMAT manuals, didn't you?) and the 10 week deadline that you have will seem to you really too close! :)

Just from my personal experience, three months ago I began my preparation by getting old Kaplan GMAT and Kaplan 800 (old editions but for free). I also bought OG12 and MGMAT SC as I had real problems with SC. And I thought that I had plenty of time to go through of all these manuals and to do all the MGMAT CATs. I even planned to buy OG Quant & Verbal as I thought that I was going to have some spare time.

The result is that...
Well, of course I had my job and my family (so, not more than 12 hours of study time per week), and I had also those two weeks seaside vacations (where I took the OG12 but never opened it ;) ), but anyway...

So, I have the real exam in one week, and up to date I have only done through the both Kaplan manuals (quantitative part of Kaplan 800 really sucks! :( ), MGMAT Number properties, and I've done some 100 quant problems from OG12, and 3 CAT exams (GMATPrep #1 and MGMAT #1 & #2).

I still haven't opened the MGMAT SC guide, nor have I done any verbal problem from OG12. That's what I call a bad time management! ;)

So, to stick to the structure of the AWA essay, my CONCLUSION: Be realistic on the time that you have, plan your workload through the phases that you defined, and do not postpone the work with the OG problems!

Good luck!

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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 17:30
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First off, good job! Your determination is impressive and I am sure you'll be able to achieve what you wanted. My comments are below. I am not really an expert or anything, but I just thought I'll tell you what I think anyway.

mhasan wrote:
Dear GMAT Club members and Experts,
I have created my study plan for a 750 score and need your comments. I have already given the GMAT twice and scored a 540 (V26, Q38) first on Jan 4, 2009 and a 460 (V24, Q30) on March 19, 2009. I have now set to down to score a massive increase through a determined study plan. I am currently out of a job and so can devote a lot more time but also am spending time in my job search and other part time jobs. Current plan is to attack the GMAT in 10 weeks from now.

Target Score: 540 to 750
Time Period: 1 Sept 2010 – 15 Nov 2010

Primary Concepts Review & Practice- 7 weeks
Comprehensive Practice Review- 3 weeks

Books:
1. Kaplan 2011 Premier Live Online - I don't think this is necessary at all. I'd say dump this
2. Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide Excellent Study Guide - Definitely worth it!
3. Manhattan Critical Reasoning Guide Once again, there are varying opinions on this, but I'd advise you to get Powerscore CR. MGMAT's CR method involves drawing this CR tree which a lot of people I've talked to felt to be extremely time consuming. Powerscore gives you a better understanding of how to approach the topic
4. Manhattan Reading Comprehension Guide Once again, there's only so much you can improve upon on your RC by reading books, but yes, get one book and stick to it.
5. Manhattan Number Properties Guide
6. Manhattan Geometry Guide
7. Manhattan Equations, Inequalities, & VICs Guide
8. Manhattan Fractions, Decimals, & Percents
9. Manhattan Word Translations Guide
10. The Official Guide for GMAT 12TH Edition

The MGMAT books are excellent for Quant and you should definitely get them.

Practice Tests:
6 Manhattan GMAT online
5 Kaplan CAT online
2 GMAT Club test
2 GMAT Prep

Phase 1- General Overview & Diagnostic
I plan to study an overview of all sections before giving my Diagnostic test and am planning to use Kaplan Premier for doing that. This will entail going through all the sections of the GMAT using this book to give me a good overview. And then I plan to do a diagnostic from either Kaplan or Manhattan GMAT. I am choosing to do this, as I want a higher diagnostic start for my mental preparation since I don’t have much time.
Kaplan Premier- Introduction & overview of all areas
• Diagnostic Test (Manhattan GMAT or Kaplan)
• Setup of Error log
• Schedule of Study and Timer

Phase 2 - Verbal Preparation Plan
I know I want to start my study with verbal and will vary the weeks of preparation based on the diagnostic test. The planned study order may change depending on the results.
1. Sentence Correction
2. Critical Reasoning
3. Reading Comprehension
I plan to work through each section one by one methodically [highlight]by going through all books[/highlight] explaining that particular verbal subsection and practicing questions at the same time for them. Don't do this. One book will be good. Stick to one strategy. I think that picking one strategy and sticking to it is better than going through a lot of books, since these books will have different tactics to approach the problems. Like MGMAT does the tree, Powerscore is more elaborate, Veritas has SWIMMER and so on. Don't waste your time on multiple books for the same subject, unless you already have them, in which case you can use them for practice.
Books Used
Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide
• Manhattan Critical Reasoning Guide
Manhattan Reading Comprehension Guide
• The Official Guide for GMAT 12TH Edition- Verbal Practice qs
Kaplan 2011 Premier- Verbal Practice qs
Partial Verbal CATs
• Use verbal sections of CAT once all 3 areas are completed.

Phase 3-Quantitative Preparation
I plan to follow a similar methodical pattern for my quantitative preparation and go through specific areas starting with the Manhattan guides.
Quantitative Preparation
1. Problem Solving
2. Data Sufficiency
Books Used
Manhattan Number Properties Guide
• Manhattan Geometry Guide
• Manhattan Equations, Inequalities, & VICs Guide
• Manhattan Fractions, Decimals, & Percents
Manhattan Word Translations Guide
• The Official Guide for GMAT 12TH Edition- Math Practice Qs
Kaplan 2011 Premier- Math Practice qs


Phase 4-Practice CAT tests
Initially I would have used a few of these tests for section specific practice rather than completing entire tests. But as soon as I am comfortable I will be practicing complete tests with essays.
2 GMAT Prep- taken multiple times
6 Manhattan CATs
5 Kaplan CATs
2 GMAT Club tests
Other recommended CATs.

I would like the opinion of members on this plan of execution. What would you recommend to change for each of the phase I have highlighted and if the time is realistic for a 750 score. Thanks for taking the time to offer your comments and advice.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 07 Sep 2010, 04:32
evp2000fr wrote:
Hi mhasan!

I'm definitely not an expert here, but I think that I can also give you some info worthwhile to consider.

My advice - be realistic in your time management. As you have a definite date limit you can estimate your total time budget and make some simple calculations.

For example, there are a little bit more than 800 questions in the OG12. Even if you take 2 min per question on answering it and 5 min on revision (check the answer, analyze the solution, draw the conclusions and memorize the strategy) that gives you 6000 min budget or 100 hours of PURE WORK TIME. On three hours a day basis it makes one month only to work through the OG12.

Each CAT that you will take is 4 hours of test (it goes without saying that you have to take the full format CATs with AWA part to put yourself in the real test conditions) plus at least 3 hours of revision (you have to analyse EACH question, even those that you answered correctly). So, if you plan to make 2 GMATPreps + 6 MGMATs, that will give you 70 hours more of PURE work time.

Put in the time that you'll have to spend on theory reading (you bought all the MGMAT manuals, didn't you?) and the 10 week deadline that you have will seem to you really too close! :)

Just from my personal experience, three months ago I began my preparation by getting old Kaplan GMAT and Kaplan 800 (old editions but for free). I also bought OG12 and MGMAT SC as I had real problems with SC. And I thought that I had plenty of time to go through of all these manuals and to do all the MGMAT CATs. I even planned to buy OG Quant & Verbal as I thought that I was going to have some spare time.

The result is that...
Well, of course I had my job and my family (so, not more than 12 hours of study time per week), and I had also those two weeks seaside vacations (where I took the OG12 but never opened it ;) ), but anyway...

So, I have the real exam in one week, and up to date I have only done through the both Kaplan manuals (quantitative part of Kaplan 800 really sucks! :( ), MGMAT Number properties, and I've done some 100 quant problems from OG12, and 3 CAT exams (GMATPrep #1 and MGMAT #1 & #2).

I still haven't opened the MGMAT SC guide, nor have I done any verbal problem from OG12. That's what I call a bad time management! ;)

So, to stick to the structure of the AWA essay, my CONCLUSION: Be realistic on the time that you have, plan your workload through the phases that you defined, and do not postpone the work with the OG problems!

Good luck!


Hi evp200fr, Thanks your review of my study plan and the excellent insight into time management through calculation of individual practice questions of each of the books. I do intend to estimate the time needed to complete the questions and theory from each of the books to use in my Study Schedule budget. Your comment did cause me to think about my daily schedule and time management for the future.

I will be creating alerts on my ical system to advise of the various work & study that I need to do for my GMAT study and conquer.

And thats for your AWA format conclusion which makes things so easier to define and plan.
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Re: 750 Study Plan- Expert Opinions Needed [#permalink] New post 07 Sep 2010, 04:44
Hello Whiplash2411,

Thanks for taking a look at my entire study plan and offering your comments and review. I also looked at your GMAT journey to get an idea of what your were doing to prepare. And really like the colorful triangle that you used to chart your phases. I think I will modify my plan to utilise that.

I agree that one book per topic is sufficient for the Strategy & Concepts to conquer that area. I initially had listed a lot more books but have taken them off the study plan. But since I already ordered them I will be using them for their practice qs rather than the concepts.

For instance I have all these below that are not listed in my study plan:

Kaplan Math Workbook
Kaplan Verbal Workbook
Kaplan 800
OG 11

Also I am still not sure of the Critical Reasoning. I only have an Ebook for Powerscore CR but the actual book for MGMAT CR. Which one should I go ahead with??
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Re: My GMAT Journey [#permalink] New post 07 Sep 2010, 05:37
Personally, I find the diagramming strategy followed by MGMAT too time consuming but it's not to say that it might not work for you. Take a look at the CR document I put together (link in signature) should you need further help for CR.

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Re: My GMAT Journey [#permalink] New post 15 Sep 2010, 03:53
Hello mhasan!

I'm glad to see that you have found my time management calculations insights helpful.

I passed my test two days ago.

You can find my debrief of the test here:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/740-q48-v44-not-bad-for-a-human-100954.html#p781024

And my thoughts about the preparation process here:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/740-q48-v44-not-bad-for-a-human-100954.html#p781536

Hope that you will find some interesting info for you, even though you seem to be already quite well informed.

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Re: My GMAT Journey [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2010, 23:56
Hi Guys & Gals, just checking in on the original thread that I had written for my GMAT Journey. I have still yet to give the GMAT, although I am very actively studying for it everyday. It is difficult when yo have been out of college for more than 10 year. The initial date range was mid Nov 2010 but it has now moved to Late Dec 2010. I have finished my entire Verbal prep which took longer than expected and am now focusing on Maths preparation.

I also am keen to get access the GMAT club tests for free, given that I am still out of a job and need to save for my application fees. So am maybe considering creating a new forum post to ask for required Kudos to get me the 50 needed to access the tests. Do you guys think that will work? I do see that the Math sets are really valuable to get excellent practice. would appreciate your help on this.
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Joined: 07 Dec 2010
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Re: My GMAT Journey [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2010, 16:25
Hi friends..
I am planning to give test in mid march 2011.I have been started my preparation since mid november 2010.firstly I read whole Manhattan chapter wise for sentence correction and then i start to solve problems regarding SC but still not able to do questions.I found most of my answers wrong.I study 5-6 hours daily.now really very confuse what to do next
Re: My GMAT Journey   [#permalink] 08 Dec 2010, 16:25
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