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Adult with ADD studying for the GMAT (long post)

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 [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2007, 17:29
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Cool,

Good post.

I think your attitude is great. You sound very determined and I'm going to bet that if you keep it up, you'll get your 700 on the GMAT.

Forget about pride and all that stuff about showing weakness by finding a tutor. Your goal is to do the best you can on this test, and if that means paying a few bucks for a learning environment that fits you well, then by all means go for it.

Forget about having ADD. I was "diagnosed" with it as well, and that fact never entered my mind while I was studying for the GMAT. Not to reduce the importance of the condition, but you can get past it. In fact, it seems like you already are.

Keep going and let us know how it turns out.
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Re: Adult with ADD studying for the GMAT (long post) [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2007, 20:24
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Coolnapz wrote:
Hi guys,

I've been studying for the GMAT since about mid January, discovered this site along the way, and found that it has been great for tips, but more importantly for realizing that I am not the only one who faces anxiety about the exam. The entries that I've read through in this site helped me realize that there is no shame in seeking help for your weaknesses. I will take the GMAT on May 12th, and again if I have to, but I feel that I've hit a turning point in my preparation that might be able to help others.

First off, I'm an adult with ADD. I actually found out about it 4 years ago during my first attempt to take the GMAT. The diagnosis of 3 separate psychologists was unanimous, and it confirmed something I kind of thought I had all along. Throughout every stage of my academic career, grade school through college, I would get into honors programs based purely on the results of IQ tests, but then proceed to underperform miserably, and consistently linger in the bottom quartile of my classes. There were occasional curve blowing performances on exams, but it was really hit or miss.

For the past several months I have trained relentlessly for this exam, and have cut just about anything not related to work, study, sleep, or working out from my life. I've done all the Kaplan Premier problems, Manhattan GMAT, and am working my way through the OG 11. I study 2 hours during the weekdays, 8-10 hours on both Sat and Sun, and of course take my medication. Last week I took my 4th Kaplan practice CAT and finally showed a 20 point improvement over my first exam, I got a 560. I was dejected, angry, and I could not understand why my brain seemed to freeze on site of hard problems. After all that study time, practice problems, 3 months of not going out or socializing, and all I can show for it is a 560?

I would read the postings of the guys who would study for one month and then blow the doors off of the GMAT and just think to myself, maybe I really am an idiot. Maybe I'm just deluded about this entire idea of going to B school. After all, if there's a guy who can study 1 month and score a 750, and I'm studying 3 months for a 560, what chance do I really have at keeping up with all the brilliant non ADD people in b-school? Is it smart to give up a high paying job in hedge funds and go into debt, just to be at the bottom quartile again?

After some deep thinking I realized that I am obviously NOT one of those guys who can study for a month and get a 700+, but that doesn't make me a complete idiot.

You see the epiphany that I came to was that everyone has their OWN style of learning. This fact is well documented, and in fact part of the reason I am a top salesperson is because I am very good at assessing the "learning style" of a prospect and adapting to how they specifically process information in order to make the sale. Some people just need a pitchbook and they are ready to buy, while others need several demonstrations and have a ton of questions. The vast majority of salespeople I see, both in my company and outside of it, approach all prospects in the same way, and get frustrated and call the prospect an idiot if they don't buy.

Being cognizant of my condition, I realized after much blunder that just reading the text books, doing the problems, and reading the explanation, HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ME. After deeper reflection and review I realized that literally THE ONLY time I really performed to my potential was during one on one instruction. The only instances in the past in which I would seek one on one instruction was when I was about to fail a class again. Then, after acing an exam, I would stop the one on one instruction and fall back into under performance.

I had been resisting idea of getting a personal tutor, because it seemed to me that to do so would be an admission of weakness, and by extension an admission of stupidity. But then I realized this is really no different from using a personal trainer at the gym. I am a bit of a fitness enthusiast, and several years ago I hired a top class trainer who taught me how to workout so that I would get lean instead of just bulky like the powerlifting guys. We are all blind to our own faults, our recurring inefficiencies, our failure to follow proper form.

Last week I evaluated several tutors, all of whom scored 780's or better, had MBA's from Ivy league B-schools, and found one whom I felt to be the best match. I sent him 10 problems which I considered to be very difficult, and had been paralyzed by during the practice tests. (Mostly data sufficiency problems with inequalities, and stuff with lots of moving parts) We met last Monday, and he showed me how I should be approaching problems, what to focus on, what not to get distracted by, the mechanics of some of the trick problems that made them solvable within 45 seconds, etc. I shall omit the specifics, but the point is that I learned more in that 1 hour than I would have on my own during 2 weeks. What I needed was a person to directly interact with, to bring life to the solution manual, and most importantly to stay focused on the task at hand.

Sure, the tutor won't be there on exam day and he can't do my homework for me, just like my trainer can't do my pushups for me or be there for me in the ring during a boxing match. However, he can help me get the most out of my preparation and serve as an objective opinion on my state of readiness.

His comments were eerily familiar to that of many teachers I have had before, who saw in me raw potential to do extraordinarily well, upper 5%, if I do the work. As a salesperson I can smell bullshit from a mile a way, but I did not feel like this was not an attempt to get me to take more lessons.

Whether you have ADD or not, if you are putting in 20+ honest hours a week studying for the GMAT and find yourself struggling, I suggest that you reexamine your strengths and weaknesses. By that I don't simply mean, do you keep missing sentence correction problems, but think about your historical academic performance and if necessary get somebody to help you. Maybe you just need a couple of pointers and you'll be on your way or maybe you need fundamental work done across the board. Whatever the case, if you've put in the requisite time and effort, and you aren't seeing results, you're obviously not doing something right. Getting poor results on your GMAT practice tests doesn't make you stupid, but continually repeating the process that gives you the same bad score does.


I took the Kaplan course in the classroom four years ago, it's a good program but it did not fit my learning style. I looked on Craigslist here in NYC and found at least a dozen tutors ranging from $50 to $120 an hour.

If you think that you might have ADD, it couldn't hurt to have yourself checked out, if you get a positive diagnostics it will come more as a relief if anything. If you know you're an adult with ADD and are getting owned by the GMAT, you have to realize that this exam attacks some of our core weaknesses, staying focused, being particular about details, and moving from one structured task to another both quickly and seamlessly. In short you are going to struggle, but it's not impossible. There is a version of the GMAT for people with documented learning disabilities, but I myself refuse to take it.

In closing, I hope that this entry provides some insight to other journeyman GMAT takers. Perhaps some of you have faced the same challenges that I have. I will keep you all posted in the weeks to come, and wish you the best in your efforts to prepare.


I have A.D.D, and I'm too lazy to read the whole post. However, you should apply for extra time on the test. I got it. You deserve it. There is no way I can read a passage quick and compete with people who don't have memory disorders like me and A.D.D. I didn't discover it till I was 20. I'm 24 now. It showed in my ACT scores.(33 in math, 17 in reading). Nothing you shouldn't get help for
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dude [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2007, 13:50
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Hey.
Everything you vented on the forum mirrors what I went through.
I am in my 4th month of studying. I was loaded up on Concerta and Lexapro. First 2 months I thought I was just stupid. Then thought I had ADD. Now, I have no doubt that I have lots of holes in my approach to the GMAT. Therefore, I got myself a tutor who scored in the 99th percentile. Just like a person who is a gym goer(I used to be a personal trainer), I was using the wrong form and injuring myself. It takes someone who is an expert to see flaws in your thought process.
No matter what I did, I plateaued between a 600 and a 630.
Overstudying without the correct approach to concepts only tires you out.
Now, I study in less time but at a more efficient level. I am taking another practice test next week and I have no doubt that I am floating around a 680 after 1 month of private tutoring. Also, I stopped taking any kinds of medication. A good tutor should be able to see holes in your thought process. In my case, I was reading from too many different sources on how to approach math problems. This inevitably distorted my understanding of the concepts. My tutor told me to not read from any other sources unless he approves of them. It does not take a 99th percentile scorer to make money selling his own GMAT book. So many books are flawed (an approach may work for easy/med questions but not work for hard questions). You want to read from a good source which gives you approaches that are "bullet proof" across all difficulty levels. Only then, will you have extra time to focus on what the GMAT traps are in answer choices. Gifted people can find clarity after reading from many sources, but I'm just not one of them...SO I learned to "K.I.S.S." (keep it simple stupid). The good thing about this test my tutor tells me is that his approach to problems is "bullet proof" enough to bring a person who has an average IQ to a 720-730 on the GMAT. He claims that IQ only matters when you are trying to break the 740/750 barrier. When you have clarity in the concepts...you will become more accurate. Accuracy will naturally drive speed.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2007, 17:12
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Currently I am going thru the same process as the OP. I took a prep course last year, while studying 20+ hours a week, for 2 months. I eventually got burnt out and scrapped my GMAT hopes. I didn't even end up taking the exam at all. I felt very frustrated by my lack of progress, especially since I know I can do better. I too was putting in massive amounts of time without seeing progress.

Two weeks ago I decided to give the GMAT another go and started with a private tutor here in NYC. The results have been eye-opening... I've been diagnosed with ADD as well, and this type of learning process is much better suited to my needs. I feel that the time I am putting in now is higher quality and I am learning more... will keep you updated with my progress as well. It's refreshing to know there are others out there like myself.
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compelling story [#permalink] New post 14 May 2007, 21:24
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your story is quite similar to mine except that i am not talking any medication for my ADD ( i m frm india & hve no medical insurence yet). i am just drinking excess coffee .i am still scoring in 570's with 4 months of preparation . wanna score in 700's . is it possible ?? what strategies shld i apply for both verbal & quant ? plz help me as i m in the same boat...
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Re: compelling story [#permalink] New post 15 May 2007, 07:45
tarunvij21 wrote:
your story is quite similar to mine except that i am not talking any medication for my ADD ( i m frm india & hve no medical insurence yet). i am just drinking excess coffee .i am still scoring in 570's with 4 months of preparation . wanna score in 700's . is it possible ?? what strategies shld i apply for both verbal & quant ? plz help me as i m in the same boat...


Not having medication for ADD is a problem. Even with extra time, I would have done horrible without adderol and my anxiety medicine. WIth the extra time, you should get 45 or higher on math and 25 or higher on verbal. Find some way to get adderol
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 [#permalink] New post 30 May 2007, 22:48
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Since there is so very much to know for this test, it may be worth your time and money to take the lessons online and do the review with the tutor.
See whether you like the GMAX Online approach by checking out the demo lessons here in the review, and on You Tube. Since you can pause, rewind, and even download the lessons, and since the lessons are taught carefully with a teacher using a whiteboard and teaching directly to you, you may be able to really follow everything being taught. Then, for extra help with the homework problems, the tutor will be invaluable.
Let me know whether this works for you.
Regards, and good luck.
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For those with extra time [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2007, 04:47
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For those with Extra time, how have you approached taking practice tests when you cannot alter the amount of time given? Its hard to replicate test-taking conditions. Any thoughts?
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2007, 05:19
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Hi boggin,

Not quite sure what you are asking mate ? Are you trying to say that there are not enough actual CATs out there for you to test yourself with your extra time ?

If so, I beg to differ. 2 GmatPreps , 25 Gmat Club Challenges 3-4 Princeton Review tests , 2 Power Prep tests, 5 MGmat tests , and 5 Mcgraw Hill tests are plenty of practice , no matter how much free time you have on your hands (note you can throw in 4 Kaplan CATs to that list too)

I will throw in an extra 2 cents here, because mental preparation by taking simulated tests was a key part of my preparation strategy.

I simulated test 'like' conditions by using a book and solving 37 maths problems (20 PS and 17 DS) and 41 Verbal problems ( Keeping a balance between RC , CR and SC) and giving myself exactly 75 minutes for each and a 10 minute break in between. In fact its very easy to simulate a verbal 'test like' condition using the GMatter software.

Its true that you wont get an accurate GMAT like score this way, but the idea is to build "mental stamina and toughness" for test day, because on test day whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong. You wont get much sleep in the night because you will be nervous, the first question will throw you off and you will end up taking too much time on it, the essay will mentally drain you, the squeaky erasable writing pad will annoy the hell out of you and the center will be too cold and full of distractions.

:)
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2007, 09:17
Hey, Thanks for the reply.

I should have been a little more clear. If you are ADD, or have some learning disability that qualifies you for extra time (typically I think they give time and a half) and you receive that accommodation, is there any practice CAT (meaning on the computer) that doesn't time you to normal testing time, ie 75 mins per section.

I'd have a tough time replicating test like conditions if I'm doing cats designed for regular time. just wondering if anyone with extra time accomodations has come up with a way around this for CATs. thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2007, 16:01
Whoops, sorry for jumping the gun there mate. Yeah it will be difficult. I would just skip the CATs and use a pure book or book + gmatter strategy.

The only downside would be that GmatPrep which is a CAT that predicts your current level very accurately, might not be useful for ya.

boggin wrote:
Hey, Thanks for the reply.

I should have been a little more clear. If you are ADD, or have some learning disability that qualifies you for extra time (typically I think they give time and a half) and you receive that accommodation, is there any practice CAT (meaning on the computer) that doesn't time you to normal testing time, ie 75 mins per section.

I'd have a tough time replicating test like conditions if I'm doing cats designed for regular time. just wondering if anyone with extra time accomodations has come up with a way around this for CATs. thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2007, 21:40
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boggin,
CAT Prep offers GMAT software that can simulate the actual options offered to students with qualifying disabilities. You can read about the software's support for ADD / ADHD on the CAT Prep blog or just visit their website for more information.

Cheers!

boggin wrote:
Hey, Thanks for the reply.

I should have been a little more clear. If you are ADD, or have some learning disability that qualifies you for extra time (typically I think they give time and a half) and you receive that accommodation, is there any practice CAT (meaning on the computer) that doesn't time you to normal testing time, ie 75 mins per section.

I'd have a tough time replicating test like conditions if I'm doing cats designed for regular time. just wondering if anyone with extra time accomodations has come up with a way around this for CATs. thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2007, 14:34
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Great post, it is good to know that there are others out there with ADD trying to crack this exam and struggling with it in the same ways. I just took it for the second time and my score actually went down from 630 to 590. I've come to the realization that I need a tutor. I also live in NYC and would really appreicate any recomendations about tutors, espeacially from others with ADD.
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Reply to orginal post [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2007, 07:41
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Just saw this, I have the same condition, though probably not as pronounced and even though the original poster did not come back after the test to give an update... I took the test yesterday and got a 710.
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Re: Adult with ADD studying for the GMAT (long post) [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2010, 09:07
Super awesome. Thanks for the inspiration.
Re: Adult with ADD studying for the GMAT (long post)   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2010, 09:07
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