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760 Q(44, V49) - Debrief [#permalink]
31 Oct 2013, 15:47
This post was BOOKMARKED
My profile: Full time job. I've been out of school for a few years now. Not a native English speaker but do fairly well. Good math skills (or so I thought). Do well under test pressure.
Time: I had a little over 3 weeks to prepare (Oct 7 to test day Oct 30). Mostly weekends and burned a few vacation days. I will say, there is no substitute for time. Weekends and vacation days were 12 hour days at the library.
Okay I did it. Nervous until the very end, heart pounding as I approached the score screen and I threw my hands up in the air as I read it.
Take the Kaplan test in the book. Figure out where you stand. (I got ~650 on it)
Identify question types you have trouble with.
Go through the rest of the Kaplan book. The book is neatly broken into question types and concepts with questions to test what you learn. They are a little towards the easier end, which was a problem.
Solve and Re-solve the questions. Track which ones you got incorrect, and come back to those ones a couple days later, when you don't remember the answers anymore.
Take GMAT Prep Test 1
Take Kaplan online tests for more practice. Remember, GMAT is also a test of your stamina. If you've been out of school for a while, you need this practice.
Take GMAT Prep 2. Like others have said, this is the closest to reality.
Thank Bunnel (and others like him who contribute so much)
Once you solve a question that you typically have issues with (e.g. probability, coordinate geometry) - even if you get the answer right, check on how the text is solving it. Sometimes I noticed nifty tricks in there that I had totally overlooked when solving myself.
MGMAT Sentence Correction book is great. It is especially helpful that they have questions paired from the OG. I used both, Kaplan and MGMAT for this. If you're someone like me who never learned English Grammer, don't know what an adverb is, this is the book for you. It will not get you mired in details but still get the point through.
When you get a difficult question right, check to see what the book says about the answer. Sometimes the reason I chose the right answer was very different than why the book chose it.
CR and RC:
I luckily was doing well enough in these that I never stopped to practice these.
Dont: This is a personal list but here are a list of things I think I unnecessarily got sidetracked on and wasted my time. If you find math difficult:
Don't try the GMATClubFormMath book. It is great but very concise. Go through the basics laid out in the Kaplan book. I went through the GMATClubFormMath probability section and even though I understood what I was reading, I couldn't put it together with solving a problem. Same for a couple other sections too. It reads more like a cheat sheet than text book.
Unless you are ready for them, don't just randomly keep browsing questions on this forum trying to solve them. Different people approach problems differently, and trying to learn from the solutions is not a good idea. I had trouble with probabilities and I spent couple dozen hours on here trying to solve those questions and understanding all the different ways people were approaching it. I was lost and beginning to worry. I then looked at Kaplan. They neatly lay out approaches (although basic) that help you tackle a 90% of the problems you see.
MGMAT Math questions are more difficult than you see on test day. If you have the time, use them as a practice but don't panick if you only finish 30 in 75 minutes or are guessing a few.
MGMAT English questions were great. I took a couple of their tests primarily for the English Sentence Correction part.
The best tip I received was from my cousin:
Spend extra time in the first 15 questions if you have to. Later, around question 25 if you find out you are running late: guess a question and move on. Use that time gained to solve the follow up question correctly. Then maybe another question later, repeat if you need to. The idea is: by Q25, the test has placed you in a pretty narrow bracket already. Getting a question wrong at this stage is less hurtful than getting one incorrect in the first ten.
If you see those pesky, bold-face CR questions where all five answers sound ridiculously wordy and inapplicable. Smile! You are doing well in your test. That is why you are getting difficult question like this one.
For non native English speakers: Yes, "English sucks" and Amitabh's "English is a very funny language" were my mantra through out the prep time. Keep at it though. Maybe like me, you will also surprise yourself by doing better in English than in Math. Good luck!