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# Best path to take from here?

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Intern
Joined: 15 Jan 2013
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Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 07:54
Edit: I had to take out all links because I don't have enough posts. My apologies.

Hey guys,

Firstly, I love the community that has been built here. Great job to bb and all of the users and moderators!

A few days ago, I knew very little about the GMAT, other than that I had to take it to get into a good MBA program. I've learned a lot reading topics on this forum and I thank you guys for that.

I downloaded v2 of the GMATPrep software from here (because the link for the latest version was not working). I wanted to see what type of score I would get without having any GMAT-specific prep. Literally, I didn't even know about the types of questions on the GMAT when I went to take the practice test. I wanted to see my "natural" score. Based on my own evaluation and the chart on this forum, I predicted I would get a 45Q, 31V -> 630 total.

To my surprise, I got a 48Q, 38V for a score of 710! This score is probably inflated because I had to split up the Q and V into two different days. Based on the calculators and accounting for other errors, I'd say my real score would be in the range of 660-720.

My question is, where do I go from here to maximize efficiency? I've read a ton of the posts (such as this one and this one), but I'd like your specific suggestions. I bought an LSAT book so I can get a better score on the verbal by tackling tough questions (a strategy I saw recommended by someone - gmatninja? - in some post).

My goal: At least 750 total score. Where I'll be applying: Harvard Business School, Stanford University, UPenn Wharton, and MIT Sloan.

Are solutions to the GMATPrep questions published somewhere? The software only allowed me to see the correct answer; seeing the solutions would be far more useful. I don't want to have to type out each question online to see the solution...

Also, I didn't get stumped at all by any of the vocabulary... Does the GMAT not really test vocabulary? I've seen a bunch of sites offering GMAT flashcards with words I definitely don't know, so I was curious. When I took the SATs, vocab was one of the biggest reasons for my sub-700 score on the critical reading section (680).

Since this was the first time I've ever taken a GMAT practice test, I didn't know much about the timing... I just went quickly throughout the whole thing. I ended up with 15 minutes extra in the quant section and 22 minutes extra in the verbal section... I might've been able to do better if I knew I'd have so much time left.

More detailed breakdown so you could perhaps guide me in the right direction...
GMATPrep v2.0
48Q
37 questions
12 incorrect - 8 of which were data sufficiency questions (this was the first time I saw a question of this type)

38V
41 questions
10 incorrect
--> 6 Sentence Correction (SC)
--> 1 Critical Reasoning (CR)

Time to prepare: At least six months or so. I'll take it sooner if I'm ready.

Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you for reading! I hope to be able to help out other test takers one of these days...

P.S. I know there's a new section on the GMAT now. These current sections aren't affected by it though, right?
VP
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 10:22
1
KUDOS
Mentalist wrote:
Edit: I had to take out all links because I don't have enough posts. My apologies.

Hey guys,

Firstly, I love the community that has been built here. Great job to bb and all of the users and moderators!

A few days ago, I knew very little about the GMAT, other than that I had to take it to get into a good MBA program. I've learned a lot reading topics on this forum and I thank you guys for that.

I downloaded v2 of the GMATPrep software from here (because the link for the latest version was not working). I wanted to see what type of score I would get without having any GMAT-specific prep. Literally, I didn't even know about the types of questions on the GMAT when I went to take the practice test. I wanted to see my "natural" score. Based on my own evaluation and the chart on this forum, I predicted I would get a 45Q, 31V -> 630 total.

To my surprise, I got a 48Q, 38V for a score of 710! This score is probably inflated because I had to split up the Q and V into two different days. Based on the calculators and accounting for other errors, I'd say my real score would be in the range of 660-720.

Yes your score might be in that range. My advise would be not to do this again. At least, not on the GMAT prep tests. I did this when I took the GMAT first and its basically a waste of the best tests out there. GMAT prep give you a very accurate picture of where you stand. Try and use them judiciously.

My question is, where do I go from here to maximize efficiency? I've read a ton of the posts (such as this one and this one), but I'd like your specific suggestions. I bought an LSAT book so I can get a better score on the verbal by tackling tough questions (a strategy I saw recommended by someone - gmatninja? - in some post).

If you are just starting, I will recommend you to go through the official questions. OG 13/12, OG supplements and question pack from mba.com. These are created by GMAC, the people who create the GMAT tests. Once you are comfortable with these move on to LSAT material (tougher than GMAT material). Also, you would do well to use GC quant and verbal forums. They have questions across all topics, difficulty level and sources.

My goal: At least 750 total score. Where I'll be applying: Harvard Business School, Stanford University, UPenn Wharton, and MIT Sloan.

Are solutions to the GMATPrep questions published somewhere? The software only allowed me to see the correct answer; seeing the solutions would be far more useful. I don't want to have to type out each question online to see the solution...

No they are not. But have been discussed countless number of times on the internet forums. Type in the first 2-3 words of the problem and google will pop up the link.

Also, I didn't get stumped at all by any of the vocabulary... Does the GMAT not really test vocabulary? I've seen a bunch of sites offering GMAT flashcards with words I definitely don't know, so I was curious. When I took the SATs, vocab was one of the biggest reasons for my sub-700 score on the critical reading section (680).

Nope. GMAt doesn't test vocab. If you are a native, you should not find a lot of trouble comprehending the language.

Since this was the first time I've ever taken a GMAT practice test, I didn't know much about the timing... I just went quickly throughout the whole thing. I ended up with 15 minutes extra in the quant section and 22 minutes extra in the verbal section... I might've been able to do better if I knew I'd have so much time left.

timing will only come through practice, doing tests and questions under timed conditions, executing a well planned strategy that works for you. Will happen eventually

More detailed breakdown so you could perhaps guide me in the right direction...
GMATPrep v2.0
48Q
37 questions
12 incorrect - 8 of which were data sufficiency questions (this was the first time I saw a question of this type)

DS is more often than not tricky. Take some time out to review your mistakes. Once you attempt a few (hundred! ) problems you will get to know the common traps.
In fact, always document your mistakes and revisit them. Review each incorrect and correct answer.

38V
41 questions
10 incorrect
--> 6 Sentence Correction (SC)
--> 1 Critical Reasoning (CR)

This was pretty much expected. People new to the GMAT often falter on the SC. But SC is fun to learn and is relatively easy to master. Your will see a jump in your performance after a few days for sure.
Let me state the obvious, the relationship between the number of hours you put in and your improvement is pretty linear.

Time to prepare: At least six months or so. I'll take it sooner if I'm ready.

don't linger too long with it. There will be a time when your performances will peak. Take it when you are comfortable.

Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you for reading! I hope to be able to help out other test takers one of these days...

P.S. I know there's a new section on the GMAT now. These current sections aren't affected by it though, right?

Yes, they aren't. My advice would be to take your practice tests with the essay and the new section (IR). Gives you a better picture of where you stand and helps build stamina for the real thing.

you have started out strong and I wish you good luck for the test !

Best
Intern
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 11:36
Hey jumsumtak,

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions and provide good feedback! I've started with the MGMAT SC book since I feel that'll be the easiest place to improve which will also have the greatest impact on my score if I can get those mistakes down to 0 or 1. I was looking at the charts and noticed that trying to get 51Q might not be worth the effort. I enjoy the Q section though, so I might fit some of those in there for fun.

Is OG 13 different enough from OG 12? I usually only see the links for OG 12. (Maybe the forum does this automatically?) I ordered OG 11 because Khan Academy has solutions for all the math answers of that edition and from the looks of it, people said there weren't significant differences between OG 11 and OG 12. However, if OG 13 is worth the upgrade, I might consider purchasing that too.
Edit: Nevermind, just saw this in a review: "4. There is an 83% overlap with the previous edition (12th edition). Compared to 66% overlap between OG 12 and OG 11"

Do you know if this guide includes additional CAT exams? I remember reading somewhere that OGs included 6 CAT exams, but the description on Amazon makes no mention of this for OG 13.

What order should I go through the prep books? I want to make sure I get in enough 700+ questions so I can get closer to my 750 goals. Kaplan doesn't seem to be good for 700+ questions according to the forums. I was thinking maybe this:
MGMAT SC -> MGMAT Verbal -> Quick review of some problem areas in Quant/DS -> Learn overall strategies for IR and AWA -> Go through OG 11 -> Do LSAT material -> Take some CAT exams available online (not sure which order yet) -> Review incorrect answers and learn from the mistakes -> Take Exam 2 from the GMATPrep to get a fairly accurate representation of my possible GMAT score -> Take the actual GMAT exam

Thoughts? Suggestions? Improvements?

Thanks again!

P.S. Just gave you kudos for your help
VP
Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 1113
Concentration: Healthcare, Strategy
Schools: Duke '16 (M)
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 12:15
1
KUDOS
Mentalist wrote:
Hey jumsumtak,

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions and provide good feedback! I've started with the MGMAT SC book since I feel that'll be the easiest place to improve which will also have the greatest impact on my score if I can get those mistakes down to 0 or 1. I was looking at the charts and noticed that trying to get 51Q might not be worth the effort. I enjoy the Q section though, so I might fit some of those in there for fun.

Is OG 13 different enough from OG 12? I usually only see the links for OG 12. (Maybe the forum does this automatically?) I ordered OG 11 because Khan Academy has solutions for all the math answers of that edition and from the looks of it, people said there weren't significant differences between OG 11 and OG 12. However, if OG 13 is worth the upgrade, I might consider purchasing that too.
Edit: Nevermind, just saw this in a review: "4. There is an 83% overlap with the previous edition (12th edition). Compared to 66% overlap between OG 12 and OG 11"

Do you know if this guide includes additional CAT exams? I remember reading somewhere that OGs included 6 CAT exams, but the description on Amazon makes no mention of this for OG 13.

What order should I go through the prep books? I want to make sure I get in enough 700+ questions so I can get closer to my 750 goals. Kaplan doesn't seem to be good for 700+ questions according to the forums. I was thinking maybe this:
MGMAT SC -> MGMAT Verbal -> Quick review of some problem areas in Quant/DS -> Learn overall strategies for IR and AWA -> Go through OG 11 -> Do LSAT material -> Take some CAT exams available online (not sure which order yet) -> Review incorrect answers and learn from the mistakes -> Take Exam 2 from the GMATPrep to get a fairly accurate representation of my possible GMAT score -> Take the actual GMAT exam

Thoughts? Suggestions? Improvements?

Thanks again!

P.S. Just gave you kudos for your help

First things first, official questions are 'always' worth your time, money and effort. I can't lay more stress on being thorough with the OGs and the concepts it tests.
IMO, you should purchase the $25 question pack from mba.com. (the pack has around 400 questions) The 6 CATs you are talking about come with any of the MGMAT books. If you have purchased a new book, you would have got the access. If not, I recommend purchasing an MGMAT book from Amazon (read the description; some of them don't have access to the 6 CATs). In my experience MGMAT CATs are the next best thing to the GMAT prep tests. So you will definitely need them during your preparation. for AWA - just use this how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html and you will be good to go for IR - don't fret too much over it, but do understand the type of questions asked. OG and the pack from mba.com are enough for IR. Quant and verbal prep is very subjective and has to be tailored according to your needs. for SC: Manhattan SC would do and I'm sure you will improve once you get a hold of the pattern of GMAT questions. Similarly for DS questions as well. for quant: OG should be the start. But if you are aiming for a Q50/51, I will recommend to solve questions from the forums as well. I'm not sure why you say Q51 is not worth the effort. Did you mean it does not add to your overall score significantly or it would be difficult to reach there? You will need to switch back and forth between quant and verbal, and also between taking tests and studying concepts. Most of us took tests at regular intervals (weekly) and spent a day to review the test. Make sure you do this; it adds a lot of value and that is how you make the most out of your mistakes. Try to squeeze a process, trick, trap, concept - as much as you can from each question you attempt. and you may PM any one of us if you require help with the specifics. Best Intern Joined: 15 Aug 2012 Posts: 12 Location: United States Concentration: Finance, Economics Schools: HBS '15 (D) GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V40 GPA: 3.4 WE: Account Management (Mutual Funds and Brokerage) Followers: 0 Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 3 Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 15 Jan 2013, 12:36 Dude, GMAT prep is strange. I took a test and only missed 8 in quant and I got a 45. My misses were very spread out too! How can you miss 12 and get a 48? VP Joined: 23 Mar 2011 Posts: 1113 Concentration: Healthcare, Strategy Schools: Duke '16 (M) Followers: 78 Kudos [?]: 496 [0], given: 463 Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 15 Jan 2013, 12:42 jdough wrote: Dude, GMAT prep is strange. I took a test and only missed 8 in quant and I got a 45. My misses were very spread out too! How can you miss 12 and get a 48? you can't really track the algorithm with number of rights and wrongs. I've seen people getting a Q51 with 4-5 wrong answers. It really depends on what is the level of the questions that are attempted incorrectly. But, yes, it can get weird at times if you consider that statistic alone. Intern Joined: 15 Jan 2013 Posts: 14 GPA: 3.94 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 4 Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink] ### Show Tags 15 Jan 2013, 13:00 jumsumtak wrote: First things first, official questions are 'always' worth your time, money and effort. I can't lay more stress on being thorough with the OGs and the concepts it tests. IMO, you should purchase the$25 question pack from -removed-. (the pack has around 400 questions)

Okay, will do, thanks!

Quote:
The 6 CATs you are talking about come with any of the MGMAT books. If you have purchased a new book, you would have got the access. If not, I recommend purchasing an MGMAT book from Amazon (read the description; some of them don't have access to the 6 CATs). In my experience MGMAT CATs are the next best thing to the GMAT prep tests. So you will definitely need them during your preparation.

Oh, you are right. I must've confused this with OG. Thanks for the clarification.

Quote:
for AWA - just use this -had to remove link to post- and you will be good to go
for IR - don't fret too much over it, but do understand the type of questions asked. OG and the pack from -removed- are enough for IR.

Good recommendation! I have bookmarked and saved it for the time when I will review the AWA.

Quote:
Quant and verbal prep is very subjective and has to be tailored according to your needs.
for SC: Manhattan SC would do and I'm sure you will improve once you get a hold of the pattern of GMAT questions. Similarly for DS questions as well.
for quant: OG should be the start. But if you are aiming for a Q50/51, I will recommend to solve questions from the forums as well.
I'm not sure why you say Q51 is not worth the effort. Did you mean it does not add to your overall score significantly or it would be difficult to reach there?

Thanks. From looking at a lot of different people's scores and efforts, along with the scaling chart, it seems like the jump from Q48 to Q51 requires a tremendous amount of effort that doesn't necessarily reflect in the final score. I enjoy the Q section so I might try to improve it significantly anyway, but I think it would be better to try to get my verbal to 45 before really fine tuning my quant. Maybe this isn't proper thinking?

Quote:
You will need to switch back and forth between quant and verbal, and also between taking tests and studying concepts. Most of us took tests at regular intervals (weekly) and spent a day to review the test. Make sure you do this; it adds a lot of value and that is how you make the most out of your mistakes.

Good tips. I remember seeing a post that showed where to get lots of different tests from many sources. I will try to compile those first and build them into a regular test taking interval (weekly sounds good).

Quote:
Try to squeeze a process, trick, trap, concept - as much as you can from each question you attempt.
and you may PM any one of us if you require help with the specifics.

Best

Thank you again!!! Kudos given.
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 13:07
jumsumtak wrote:
jdough wrote:
Dude, GMAT prep is strange. I took a test and only missed 8 in quant and I got a 45. My misses were very spread out too! How can you miss 12 and get a 48?

you can't really track the algorithm with number of rights and wrongs. I've seen people getting a Q51 with 4-5 wrong answers.
It really depends on what is the level of the questions that are attempted incorrectly.

But, yes, it can get weird at times if you consider that statistic alone.

I was also really skeptical of this at first. Then I started reading the forum posts and saw multiple reports of similarly strange scores. I took screenshots for my own reference in case you're interested. They are attached.
Attachments

File comment: 48Q, 38V -> 710

First-Practice-Test-2013-01-14.png [ 30.64 KiB | Viewed 878 times ]

File comment: 37 questions, 12 incorrect (Missing #12 - not in screenshot - was also incorrect)

First-Practice-Test-QResults-2013-01-14.png [ 54.26 KiB | Viewed 877 times ]

VP
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 13:12
Mentalist wrote:
Thanks. From looking at a lot of different people's scores and efforts, along with the scaling chart, it seems like the jump from Q48 to Q51 requires a tremendous amount of effort that doesn't necessarily reflect in the final score. I enjoy the Q section so I might try to improve it significantly anyway, but I think it would be better to try to get my verbal to 45 before really fine tuning my quant. Maybe this isn't proper thinking?

It is actually about how you design your game plan. If you feel you are strong in verbal and want to hit the ceiling there first - absolutely go ahead. You can always come back and improve your quant. Obviously, once you take a few tests, you will know what areas you should focus on.

Q48 to Q51: effort - yes, does not reflect - no.
Let me take my example. I knew a score below Q51 would not be reflective of my capabilities and it is the 'only' way for me to get a good score. I'm not trying to suggest anything here. I'm just saying, that I somehow developed a notion that if I don't get Q51 I will not do justice to myself and that is in fact, the only way to get a good score. Needless to say, I saw a huge final score difference between Q50 and Q51 with similar verbal splits.
It was a pretty nerdy (and not very holistic) approach, but I think it paid off in the end.

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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 13:43
jumsumtak wrote:
Mentalist wrote:
Thanks. From looking at a lot of different people's scores and efforts, along with the scaling chart, it seems like the jump from Q48 to Q51 requires a tremendous amount of effort that doesn't necessarily reflect in the final score. I enjoy the Q section so I might try to improve it significantly anyway, but I think it would be better to try to get my verbal to 45 before really fine tuning my quant. Maybe this isn't proper thinking?

It is actually about how you design your game plan. If you feel you are strong in verbal and want to hit the ceiling there first - absolutely go ahead. You can always come back and improve your quant. Obviously, once you take a few tests, you will know what areas you should focus on.

Q48 to Q51: effort - yes, does not reflect - no.
Let me take my example. I knew a score below Q51 would not be reflective of my capabilities and it is the 'only' way for me to get a good score. I'm not trying to suggest anything here. I'm just saying, that I somehow developed a notion that if I don't get Q51 I will not do justice to myself and that is in fact, the only way to get a good score. Needless to say, I saw a huge final score difference between Q50 and Q51 with similar verbal splits.
It was a pretty nerdy (and not very holistic) approach, but I think it paid off in the end.

I know exactly what you're saying. I also feel the same way, but the posts/chart I went through convinced me otherwise. I actually have plenty of time to prepare, so I guess there's no harm in adding more prep to the mix I got an 80 in the PSAT math, a 790 on SAT math, and an 800 on SAT II Math II, so I definitely feel like I could also hit Q51 if I put in the time. Thanks for your boost. I am now a follower

Revised plan (implied review of all exams and questions/answers/solutions if available)...
MGMAT SC strategy
->GMATPrep SC problems
Slingfox Quant Notes
Forum Quant Questions (have to figure out where/how to use this)
->GMAT Pill eBook Quant Section (Ch. 6)
--->MGMAT CAT Test 1
Edit: By jumsumtak's suggestion, I should add the problems from gmatclub . com/forum/members/member-73391.html here.

MGMAT Verbal
->GMATPrep CR and RC questions
->Review possible essay prompts and try writing answers
IR review from official MBA question pack
--->MGMAT CAT Test 2
(Identify core weaknesses and revise strategy/approach)
Following is tentative at this point...
OG 11 Quant or Verbal
Limited LSAT material (The Official LSAT SuperPrep)
--->MGMAT CAT Test 3
GMAT Pill eBook other sections
--->MGMAT CAT Test 4
(After that, really depends on how much I have to improve... The following may change order.)
More LSAT prep
->GMAT Club 700+ quant questions
Specific MGMAT for quant (Fractions? Geometry? We'll know later.)
Slingfox Verbal Notes
--->One more MGMAT CAT Test (5)
Relax...
--->Practice Exam 2 from GMATPrep
-------->REAL EXAM!

Anything else you would add in there or change up? Thanks again jumsumtak!

Last edited by Mentalist on 15 Jan 2013, 18:39, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 13:48
sounds good.

hate to say this, but this will obviously change in coming weeks, as you explore more. Good to plan out none the less
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Re: Best path to take from here? [#permalink]

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15 Jan 2013, 18:41
jumsumtak wrote:
sounds good.

hate to say this, but this will obviously change in coming weeks, as you explore more. Good to plan out none the less

You are absolutely right. I just wanted to have an overall plan together so that I have measurable goals and a sort of mini checklist. It'll definitely help me during my prep and if I have any other questions, I will post or PM! Thanks again jumsumtak! You certainly deserve the member of the month award! :D
Re: Best path to take from here?   [#permalink] 15 Jan 2013, 18:41
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