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Â«I think that people that are just starting their GMAT practice should focus on timing before accuracy.Â»
IHateTheGMAT, ILikeThisStuff!!! My painful problem has always been PACING. I'm indeed an intelligent snail who can suffer enormously from the pride of stubburnly seeking & finding *the* right answer (5-10 minutes) too late. Now, I'd like to ask you two things:
1) Do you recommend any of these PR, Kaplan Â«strategyÂ» books? Which sets of related CAT tests are better in your opinion, by the way?
2) Have you used an error log religiously? If so, which one?
Last edited by mercierdaniel on 18 Jul 2006, 04:12, edited 2 times in total.
mercierdaniel- you know what? i'm sorry but i wrote that backwards and never even noticed. I meant to say that people that are just starting should focus on accuracy before timing (this is primarily during your first basic run through of the test material). I have edited my post. Sorry for the confusion.
The way I see it is that you need to start with a basic run through of everything the test covers using a general guide such as princeton or kaplan. At this stage you're more intersted in learning the material than you are at learning pacing and test strategy. After this initial stage you should be working on everything - knowledge of material, accuracy, pacing, test strategy, etc. To do this you will primarily use OG, a variety of practice tests and an error log. I think my long posts earlier on in this topic talk a lot about how accuracy, timing and overall test strategy are all interelated. The overall goal is obviously to get a high level of accuracy AND finish the test on time. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Now you sound like you're at a point where you've already covered the basic material so I would try out some of the strategies I've listed (if any appeal to you) and time every question. Also, you asked if i've ever used an error log religiously. The answer is ABSOLUTELY! I did this during my final month and it was instrumental in helping me break the 700 barrier. My error log was just an excel spreadsheet with the following headings: question type/topic, time spent, right/wrong and diagnosis. I think i talked about error log earlier but I'm not sure. I actually logged every question and not just the ones I missed.
I think the PR and Kaplan books are pretty similar. I think your fine with either. As far as CATs go here's my take:
GMATPrep - absolutely the best! retake these as many times as you can stand! you won't get to many repeats and even if you do you still get to see questions that are even closer to the real test than OG! This test is the most accurate in every regard (difficulty, scoring, etc). Of course, its made by Pearson so it should be.
Princeton (mine were from the course so I'm not positive their the same as the CD) - Overall pretty accurate scoring. Verbal is great. Math is to easy and it will deceive you about where you stand in terms of pacing (I had been finishing math on PR then took a GMATPrep & guessed last 6-7, it was a shock to learn i was that far behind on my pacing so deep into my studies)
Kaplan - Quant is good. Its pretty similar to the real thing and it will definitely help you work on your quant pacing. The verbal section is absolutely awful and not representative. Also the scoring is way off. Overall I still think its a decent CAT, especially if you need to work on math pacing.
MGMAT - Real tough. Harder than the real GMAT. Not adaptive. The math is pretty good. I'd say its generally in the spirit of the GMAT but tougher. I think its great practice if you're going for 700+. The verbal section is ok but CR questions are terrible. Do not worry about your performance on these. Also, the scoring on MGMAT is not accurate. I got a 620, 2 weeks before the test at the same time as I was getting 720-750 on GMATPrep. Obviously GMATPrep turned out to be the more accurate indicator as i got a 740 on the real test. Use MGMAT primarily for its math content (identify weakness understand why you missed certain questions, etc)
PowerPrep - ETS software. pretty decent. All Q's come from OG. The test is much easier than the real thing though (although scoring is still accurate because PowerPrep requires higher accuracy than GMATPrep).
Firstly, your name IHateTheGMAT is no longer valid considering you nailed the examination .
I am improving on the verbal front but quant remains one of my weak areas. I am stuck at the very thought of how to answer the question.
I have started reviewing the basics as of now.
Will remember to time the questions once I get down to accuracy building part.
willget800 - sorry never used 800score but I've heard some bad things about it on this forum. I think your at the point where you should be focusing on official questions anyway (OG11, OG supplements, GMATPrep). When is your test?
buzzgaurav - your right, i guess my screenname seems a bit out of place now. But it sure felt right when the GMAT was kickin my a--! haha
IHateTheGMAT, that reversal makes more sense indeed. My mistake was to write my GMAT (too) soon after having reviewed everything through a Kaplan prep course, without much practice (Kaplan seemingly doesn't encourage such practice) outside of its own boundaries! As a result, my pacing was off BIG TIME! And my self-esteem too, given Kaplan's eight excruciating CATs.
I was asking about the strategy books (PR versus Kaplan) mostly because each of them offers some more or less useful strategies (heard PR was best here) AND more importantly some CATs. I don't know if PR allows us to take its online tests more than once, but since Kaplan put them on a CD it's not a problem on its side. If qualities are equal, I may stay on Kaplan's turf. I've also bought the MGMAT guides that give access to some CATs online.
Now, not sure yet if I should follow MGMAT's strategy regarding RC (partly as you've just suggested) or keep on reading until the drudgery is over, but I guess I must decide if ever I intend to refine one approach or another.
PowerPrep is the older version of GMATprep. You can't get PowerPrep from the MBA.com site any more. The questions in PowerPrep are in OG 11 and 10. People reinstall GMATprep to get more tests. Some people suggest 'resetting it' but I don't know how... Hope this helps.
willget800 - I think you should go ahead and set a date for the test. You seem just about ready for it and I personally think its helpful in your studying to have a specific deadline because it will keep your studies more focused. After all, there's a lot of GMAT material out there and you don't want to study it forever! Just continue to work on verbal and stamina (without neglecting math) up to your test date and I think you'll get your score. Your practice tests certainly seem to indicate that you will.
Daniel - Definitely need to pick some strategies and stick with them. I was in a very similar position as you in that I had taken the PR course and was dissapointed in my score so I considered switching over to Kaplan (in the end I chose not to). Your best off just sticking with Kaplans strategies as a base and making your own refinements to them. For example, I used princeton review as my base and then made the refinements that I've discussed in this topic.
mbaaspirant - I don't really feel that I can give you a specific amount of time that is sufficient because its different for everyone. Taking the test in August does strike me as a rather short time frame however. You want to be sure that you have enough time to go through all the material (using general guides such as PR, Kaplan, MGMAT). After this you want time to take a lot of practice tests, do OG problems and refine your test strategy and pacing. After your first run through of the material you may also want to time individual problems, keep an error log, study weaknesses, etc. All of this takes time. For some people it takes less time than others. Its a personal judgement.
Thankyou for the advice.
It's just that I am getting advice from my peers who seem to have scored 720 in two weeks of preparation and if i dont give the GMAT now, I might miss the first round of applications and hence loose any chances of getting a scholarship.
I am making so many basic careless mistakes and facing the deer-in-front-of-light situation on basic qs that otherwise would be so easy to solve, which is putting me in a situation where I either want to get it over with or postpone it for a long time. Its little demotivating.
Is it really difficult to get good scores in a short duration?
seems like u don't hate the GMAT so much after all! [#permalink]
21 Jul 2006, 09:26
Congrats man!Your tips are very useful and will help our community.
The techniques ar egreat and the "losing focus" part is crucial. Some test-takers' minds just wander away in front of long RC questions ( no doubt others have heard that too!) Gmac knows what's up and puts in a lot of unnecessary details about this and that.
One thing that etsttakers need to realize is nto to fear the test. If you've prepared well and know the material, go in with a relaxed attitude, a positive one. I looked at some of the test-takers in my center in Pasadena and could see the anxiety. The battle can be lost fro mthe moment you're filling out your personal info or signing in at thecenter.
mbaaspirant - Of course its possible to get it done in such a short time frame if you're really really really crazy smart. It sounds like you have friends that are (720 in 2 weeks!). I know that I'm not smart enough to pull that off though. You know your own abilities better than I do so its your call.
melvynandrew - I totally agree with you on the importance of keeping your cool during the test. Of course, that is much easier said than done! I will say I was much more loose during my latest run at the GMAT (maybe thats part of what contributed to my success?). I just kept telling myself to "treat it just like a practice test". I was even crackin jokes with the test center guys during my break. As far as schools I still need to narrow down to a list of 5 schools from the following 8: Wharton, Chicago, Cornell, Yale, Columbia, Duke, Harvard (a long shot), NYU (least likely to make the final 5).
IHateTheGMAT, your series of posts is the best overall description of preparation I've read so far here on gmatclub and in prep books.
Did you study in short everyday practice sessions? Or did you do full tests all the time?
Following your suggestion, I'm planning to start an error log. You mentioned that for each problem in your log you wrote:
Question Type/Topic,Time spent, Right/Wrong, Diagnosis
Measuring "time spent" can be tricky.
I usually do 5-10 quant Q's from OG and a RC passage (my weakest section of the Verbal) from LSAT book nightly after work. I time those Q's in a batch then compute an average time spent per Q to get an idea of how I'm doing that day. This method generally works, but it's hard to say exactly how much time I spent on each question. If you have a good strategy for timeing individual questions, please share it.
Re: An Epic Battle With The GMAT Comes To An End - 740! [#permalink]
24 Jul 2006, 11:15
You took the test 4 times ....doesn't that weaken your apps? I thought schools always average out scores even if they claim not to do so? Your inputs will be helpful....i scored a 700 and am thinking if this is good enough to apply to the top schools like kellogg and tuck..
I have spent a lot of time reading the messages on these boards and never actually posted anything. My GMAT experience is a long and painful one (with a happy result). It started a year and a half ago when I took a princeton review course. I went into the test shooting for a 680+. I was shocked and dissapointed when a 650 showed up on the screen. I decided I'd go in a week later and take it again (this was when ETS ran it and you were alowed to stack test dates like that) to my horror I scored a 650 again! At this point I gave up on the GMAT. A year and a half later I decided to take it up again. This time I studied even harder and my practice test scores where higher (680-700 range). This time I was sure I would hit at least 680. Went in, took the test, felt good. My score: 650!!!!! I was DEVESTATED!! I even came close to crying (and since I'm a man of course i never cry - haha). The next morning I woke up and said, This test is not going to get the better of me! This is when I started to incorporate some things I learned on this forum. I made an error log. I timed every question. I took Kaplan and MGMAT tests because their harder. And I took GMATPrep 4 times (included retakes which had a couple duplicates). By the way, GMATPrep is exactly like the real thing. During the next month of intense study my practice tests were as follows:
Kaplan 1: 570
Kaplan 2: 600
Kaplan 3: 700
MGMAT 1: 620
GMATPrep1: 720 (include a couple repeats because I'd taken it before my last test)
GMATPrep2: 720 (2-3 repeats)
GMATPrep1: 730 (5-6 repeats)
GMATPrep 3: 750 (nearly half repeats)
I would be more than happy to share my observations on the difficulty of the real test (as well as how it compares to the ETS version) and how it compares to princeton, kaplan, mgmat, gmatprep and powerprep practice tests. I also have a ton of information on pacing strategies (which was a major problem for me on math), math content strategies, verbal content strategies, error log etc. I have studied obsessively for so long that I feel like I know this test inside and out.
So if you have ANY questions, shoot away![/quote]
Re: An Epic Battle With The GMAT Comes To An End - 740!
24 Jul 2006, 11:15