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Bombed it! (Cramming: Less than 1 week to study (need 450+)) [#permalink]
26 Nov 2006, 19:04
I need 450 or better to get into a regional MBA program. I just read TPR's "Cracking The GMAT" book, did the non-CAT warm-up test and scored in the target 450-550 range. I'll be working my butt off in the next few days. Apart from "Cracking", I also have OG 11th handy. Should I even waste time on the more difficult questions in OG if I'm aiming for 50th percentile on the actual test? Or should I just keep working on GMATPrep CAT test? I'm concerned that timing will be an issue during the actual GMAT.
Last edited by a529612 on 02 Dec 2006, 16:30, edited 1 time in total.
Well, with one week to study, you're only going to get through so many practice questions and tests. I would say definitely use the Cracking techniques and take their tests and GMATPrep (if you haven't downloaded them, they're free at http://www.mba.com), and do the questions in the OG.
How much time can you spare each weeknight? Do a solid hour at a time for each question type, reviewing errors so you can pick up on mistakes. You truly don't have to work too hard to hit your target score, but if you focus on one type at a time, you'll see improvement nonetheless.
I have the whole week off just to study for it. Suggestions? I don't want to get complacent and get a 440 or 430 and have to start all over again.
What's your opinion on the TPR Cracking questions? Are they not very authentic and would I be better off just focus all my resources on OG and GMATPrep? For OG, should I just focus on the medium questions and not bother with the difficult ones and lose confidence?
I would learn as many strategies as possible that are in the PR. Learn these strategies will boost your score the fastest, esp on the quant section.
With a week left, don't waste too much time with the difficult level questions in the OG, if they are beyond your ability/score range. Concentrate on reviewing questions (med level) that you will be able to answer in time to complete the exam.
Finally, and most importantly, take at least 2-3 practice CAT's to get a feel for the exam and develop a pace. Don't be discouraged by scores on the exams as I scored 20 points higher on the real exam than on the practice CAT's.
I thought the PR Cracking questions were really good, and on par with what I saw on the real thing.
Since you're off for the week, spend a few hours in the morning doing practice questions for each type, a block at a time. Maybe do just verbal in the morning. Then take at least an hour break to mentally and physically recharge. Go for a walk or a run, eat some lunch (protein, not primarily carbs so you stay alert), get completely away from a desk and computer.
Then, in the afternoon, do a different block of questions, say all quant, for 2-3 hours.
Then take a longer break. Do something mindless, like laundry or cleaning. Stretch out. Watch some tv or read the paper while you eat dinner. Change your mental and physical focus for a bit. That can help you keep your stamina on such a grueling cramming schedule.
Eat a good dinner with a decent amount of protein (chicken, salmon, tuna salad) but at least some carbs to sustain you. Take a full, timed practice test, and compare how you did to how you were doing on your practice questions earlier in the day.
The next day, focus more of your time on the problem areas you saw from your test the night before. If you were getting certain problem types right during your practice sessions, but not getting them right on the timed test, then review the strategies in your Cracking book and work on timing, process of elimination, etc.
Do this each day, gradually working through weaker areas. Just don't abandon altogether stronger ones, so that you're still sharp on those on test day.
Good luck!! Let us know how it goes!
P.S. Definitely do the practice questions in the OG. There are more in there than any other book, and they're the best ones. Between PR and GMATPrep, you'll have plenty of tests for the week.
Oh, sorry. I was looking at the book itself! The medium-hard ones would likely be more than you'd need to practice to get a 500ish score. Easy and medium questions would get you there.
Where are you on taking practice tests? Depending on the scores you've gotten so far in your tests, that should give you an idea of the level of difficulty you should be working on for the questions. i.e., you should be able to tell which questions in the bins are on par with how you did. Make sense?
No excuses. Basically, my score is a reflection of my crappy preparation. I just worked through the TPR's "Cracking The GMAT 2007" book plus 1 GMATPrep the night before (the 320 score was pretty accurate). I didn't even have time to work on OG 11th. After GMATPrep last night, I pretty much knew I would bomb it today and need a miracle to get 450 anyway.
Now GMAT is my top priority. I need to keep working on this until I can comfortably score in the high 500s to give myself some margin of error on the real test. I'm looking to take the test again in early Jan and have no choice but to put in the hours. I know I can do this but I need a realistic study plan so I don't burn myself out. Any advice? Would you recommend buying more books like "Math / Verbal Workout", Kaplan, etc? Thanks!
Just "buy more books" doesn't sound like a wise approach. You can't just buy brains, you know. Books will not help if you don't know how to make use of them.
Take your time to identify what are your areas of weakness. Why did you score bad? Was it time management? Or some specific type of problems? Or just nerves? Conduct a thorough analysis of your performance, and you will be able to understand what (and how) should be improved.
Basically, I just didn't put in enough hours to study. Should have worked on OG, taking CATs, etc. on a daily basis.
Time management during the test is a problem. The pace is just not there. Maybe it will come with more practice. I just can't spot the obvious wrong or "Joe Blog" answers with confidence and wasting time doing unnecessary calculations or trying to figure a way to solve the PS.