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D-Day Strategy

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D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2010, 20:07
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All,

My exam is in a few days.and this is my second attempt. From my first time experience, a few posts and some reflection, I propose a strategy list for the d-day. If anyone agrees/disagrees please let me know so I can modify if necessary (before its too late :) )
A few days before EXAM:
a) Go through those questions that you didn't get right during your tests/practice. No new things but just don't repeat those mistakes again in GMAT.
b) Go through fundamentals (like ManG SC or Comprehensive CR guide by Whiplash) to just keep those concepts fresh in the brain.
c) You need to remain very active in the exam, so do some puzzles or some tricky questions each day to flex your brain muscles. Playing some fun videogames can help improve your general skills and keep your mind alert.
d) Visit your test center and also find out how the environment is from your friends (temperature, parking space, seating arrangment, locker facility, near by bus stops etc etc)
e) Go for a small jog or exercise yourself just enough to get a good night's sleep without having aches the next day. If you are not used to such things better not.
f) Go through a few sample AWA's because I am sure many of us have ignored those while taking CATs. If you are in a hurry to take a CAT without the AWA then do yourself a favor and at least jot down the points you would write in the AWA in the answer box. Just the points so you know you have spent your mind time on the topic and will be better prepared on the exam. For me it is easier to write sentences about a few points once those are clear.
g) Keep yourself well hydrated the day before. This will avoid headaches, dry eyes and all sorts of related problems and will also keep your mind active.

On the EXAM day:
a) Go to the test center on time and take the necessary stuff. Take necessary refreshments for during the break time.
b) The most important strategy according to me - Finish your argument essay (I usually take about 25 minutes with proofreading) then move on to the issue essay (I finish this faster but say 25 minutes) and once you have written this down and proofread it, DO NOT SUBMIT. Instead take 2 scratch pads one each for QUANT and VERBAL and write down your basic stuff such as fractions, squares, cubes, any formulae (I would write down the internal angle formula in a polygon, sum of AP, sum of GP), primes in 1-100 etc etc, whatever you feel will help you. Also get your timing strategy in for QUANT and in the VERBAL scratch pad write down the timing strategy - question you should be on and the time when you should be on it. I use - 60 mins - #8; 45 mins- 16; 30mins - #24; 15mins - 33; this will leave you 3 mins per question for the last set and trust me ayou need more time for the last questions because your heart is racing. Always leave extra time for the last questions. Now submit the AWA. In my first attempt I went to the exam thinking that I will prepare my scratch pads after I come back from the break a few minutes earlier. To my disappointment the test guys didn't allow me to sit at the computer during your break time.
c) While taking up QUANT think through a problem for the first 20 seconds. Especially probability, permutations, co-ordinate geometry etc etc and for that matter any thing that does not involve straightforward arithmetic or calculations. Once you get the idea then such questions won't take any longer. If you try and jump on it from the word GO then you will stop getting newer ideas once your initial idea bombs. KEEP extra time for the last questions.
d) DO NOT GUESS CONTINUOUSLY. Instead GUESS...DO..GUESS..DO..DO..GUESS..DO ..GUESS. This gives you a better score.
e) For VERBAL esp SCs, if you can't crack it in the few first few seconds then its probably going to be difficult. Its better you don't spend a whole lot of time on it and then get it wrong. Instead use your sheet to eliminate the obvious choices and then guess according to your guessing strategy.
f) Use your scratch pads well. Mark off wrong choices as this will keep you from rereading the answer choices which you already thought were wrong.
g) In QUANT for DS in number theory, make sure you pick fractions, negatives, ZERO and positive integers. Do not miss any of this. don't forget ZERO.
h) Don't drink too much water as you don't want to twist and turn in your seat when doing problems. And if you have not tried redbull or energy drinks before ..DON't try them on the exam day.

Wish me all the best. I will try and execute my own strategy and hope to come back to give a victory debrief. The above are not all my own. No offence to those who created them but thought a refresher to all can't hurt (this has been good for me).

Thanks and may the force be with all of us
-Hemanth
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 21:15
I was under the impression that you get only 1 scratch pad (at a time). They give you a second on request but take back the first at the same time.

Last edited by akshey2021 on 20 Oct 2010, 21:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 21:27
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Good Luck Hemanth
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 21:46
Planning to plan to plan to take gmat. I think writing everything on the scrath pad is like not relying on the brain that I believe so much. Ofcourse I will scribble on the scratch pad when the calculations are hefty -

but e.g you want to multiply 1.75 * 40 * 56 = Its better to multiply 80 * 56 and then check the unit digit to match 1.75 * 40 * 56. Instead of doing the exact math. I think that what I learnt from my instructors - think critically and calculate less.

E.g lets take an example of these questions -

Q1. For integers x, y, and z, if (3^x) (4^y) (5^z) = 3,276,800,000 and x + y + z = 15, what is the value of xy/z?
(A) undefined
(B) 0
(C) 3
(D) 5
(E) 15

Q2. Find the remainder when 1^{39} +2^{39} + 3^{39}..........12^{39} is divided by 39.
A) 0
B) 1
C) 3
D) 2
E) 12

I don't think the answer is there in 2 mins if you are not thinking critically or you think the raw math can provide you the answer. High scorers rely on their reasoning than the calculations.

All the best hemanth for the exam!
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 10:39
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Hemanth,

Kudos for you.. very gud points..

i agree with you on points like Verbal SC and GUESS DO GUESS DO DO GUESS DO GUESS ...

i took a test b4 few days.. i worked on one SC q for 3.43 mins.. but it was wrong.. it happened the same in another SC also. i also felt the same point as you have pointed out...
.
Also, i did a mistake of guessing 8 q's together .. which pulled my score down drastically..

Gud luck for your test!!!! am sure u r going to get a gr88 score....
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 12:16
hemanthp wrote:
then move on to the issue essay (I finish this faster but say 25 minutes) and once you have written this down and proofread it, DO NOT SUBMIT. Instead take 2 scratch pads one each for QUANT and VERBAL and write down your basic stuff

Very clever trick! However you are provided with only one pad at a time.

Also I think that the essays come in a random order, so do the Quant and Verbal sections. So you can't really prepare the scratch pad except for writing down the time table.
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 15:22
PadawanOfTheGMAT wrote:
hemanthp wrote:
then move on to the issue essay (I finish this faster but say 25 minutes) and once you have written this down and proofread it, DO NOT SUBMIT. Instead take 2 scratch pads one each for QUANT and VERBAL and write down your basic stuff

Very clever trick! However you are provided with only one pad at a time.

Also I think that the essays come in a random order, so do the Quant and Verbal sections. So you can't really prepare the scratch pad except for writing down the time table.


what do you mean by random order of quant and verbal section?
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 16:03
akshey2021 wrote:
I was under the impression that you get only 1 scratch pad (at a time). They give you a second on request but take back the first at the same time.

I got 2 at the Chennai Pearson center. Even if they don't we still have 2 sides on a sheet. And the scratch pads weren't taken back. I can confirm this if but there is no good reason for them to take the pads back. Right?
Quote:
Also I think that the essays come in a random order, so do the Quant and Verbal sections. So you can't really prepare the scratch pad except for writing down the time table.

Same question, what is this random order? Its the ARGUMENT, ISSUE, QUANT and VERBAL. This is fixed.
Quote:
Planning to plan to plan to take gmat. I think writing everything on the scrath pad is like not relying on the brain that I believe so much. Ofcourse I will scribble on the scratch pad when the calculations are hefty -

I agree that this is not a sure shot pill to success but its just something which will help keep things in check. The timing strategy more than the formulas or numbers or some things to remember is what is going to help. You cannot write down everything and totally rely on it. At times I felt that doing this mini calculations like 1/8 or 1/7 or 8^3 gave me some mental warm up before the Quant section. I did less silly mistakes or calculation errors. But you are right, BRAIN is your main weapon and this is just a tiny weeny support to it.

One thing I realize when I think back is how rushed I felt during both Quant and Verbal. I was in some DAZED state. I cannot remember 1 question from Verbal. How the hell can that be? I was so nervous that I couldn't even properly count the time per question that I should spend.

Yesterday I took a GMATPrep test. Got 710. 50Q 35V. I got 12 questions in verbal wrong. I thought getting 12 wrong is on the lower side for me but I got only 35. When I look at the pattern, I got 4 wrong on a trot and I feel thats what took my score down because in the earlier test too, I got 12 wrong in verbal but got a score of 38. Is there anything special I should do to avoid getting a string of questions incorrect? I guess not :) but just hope my brain is active enough to read the RCs and CRs and find out mistakes in SC and stays calm through out.

Thank you for the wishes.
-Hemanth
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 16:14
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Good luck Hemanth! Hope you succeed this time (And your GMAT Prep score seems to indicate you're on your way to success as well) :)
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 16:23
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Good luck Hemant.

If you want to avoid serial mistakes, then do crack all the rc's. You can miss cr/sc anytime if you like, but you can not take any chances with RC. RC questions have to be answered consecutively.

I know where I lack and still not improving. :P
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 16:35
RC is becoming a challenge. I will try my best to do that right :). What happened in the GMAT PREP was I got 2 questions after the RC wrong too ...
I am not going to give up untill the last micro second in GMAT.. lets see whats in store.
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 16:48
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hemanthp wrote:
I was in some DAZED state. I cannot remember 1 question from Verbal. How the hell can that be? I was so nervous that I couldn't even properly count the time per question that I should spend.
-Hemanth


Hemanth
Just chillax before the exam and recollect small mental notes. Go and pamper yourself :-D in pool or spa or sleep 10 hrs a day for few days. A rested brain is an alert brain. Recollect all the notes e.g. x^3 gets smaller when 0<x<1 and gets bigger when -1<x<0

Go and kick the gmat ass ! :thumbup:
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 18:47
hi..,

it is surprising for me that with 12 q's wrong u got 38.... GMAT Prep is the most accurate one...

i got 14 wrong in Verbal in Knewton free test and score was only 24. totally disappointed :(.
in that test only i got 8 wrong continuously which might have pulled my score down...
my lesson from this test was DO NOT GUESS Q'S IN A ROW.
ur strategy shud be a gud one for guessing..

Also, i have heard RC has got more weightage compared to CR and SC. make sure u solve all the RC's correctly. u can guess CR or SC based on which one is ur weaker area.

Gud luck !!!
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 21 Oct 2010, 19:07
Even I have decided to spend more time on RC. I will guess 2-3 questions randomly in regular intervals.
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 04:57
hemanthp wrote:
Same question, what is this random order? Its the ARGUMENT, ISSUE, QUANT and VERBAL. This is fixed.

Really, uh? For some reason I imagined that issue could come before argument, and that verbal could come before quant :|

It's good to know the order is fixed. I was trying to figure out a way to get my mind buffed up. Now it's much clearer how I'll concentrate before the fights.

Thanks for correcting my belief :wink:
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 05:00
For RC I recommend MGMAT RC; the book teaches helpful strategies to avoid falling in beautifully crafted traps. Pay careful attention to the words, and what they exactly mean. It's really similar to CR once you get the hang of it.
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2010, 01:10
Ok. Its done. I got 720. 50Q+37V. It was tiresome. By the time I had 30 mins left in the exam I started getting a bad feeling. The CR's were seeming tough, the SC's were feeling weird and thankless test guys threw a weird RC on wars too. I could hear my heart beating as though I had 15 hearts pumping incessantly.

Few things about the Chennai test center - They gave a booklet of pads. It had 5 pads and on request the test center guys did not take away the one I filled when giving me a new one. the things that helped me from my strategy section were the timing ..and this big lettered "STAY COOL" that I wrote down :).

I think this is the max I could have done. I can't imagine getting more than this. And GMAT score calculator also confirmed it for me before the exam :). Thank you for all the support and wishes.
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2010, 01:16
hey gr888 congrats!!!!!

can you pls tell the difficulty level for RC was same as OG or tougher? Also, is the language of the passages very tough to comprehend...

CRs tough ?? same as last 10% of the OG or tougher?

did you use the strategy GUESS DO GUESS DO DO GUESS DO GUESS.
how many Q's did you guess?

any inputs on quants ? did u guess any question?

thanx in advance....
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2010, 03:00
hemanth

You the man ! Great job 8-) :-D . Yeah so the stress was psychological LOL
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Re: D-Day Strategy [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2010, 06:43
srivicool wrote:
did you use the strategy GUESS DO GUESS DO DO GUESS DO GUESS.

Beware of such strategies. You either know how to solve or you don't. So sometimes you may have to guess two consecutive exercises whether you like it or not.

And by the way, in Verbal you aren't allowed to make too many mistakes or you'll quickly go under the 40 mark.
Re: D-Day Strategy   [#permalink] 25 Oct 2010, 06:43
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