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Do the writing samples on practice tests!

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Do the writing samples on practice tests! [#permalink] New post 18 Sep 2006, 12:57
Hey everyone,

I've been lurking on the board since July and am taking the test at the end of October. My scores have been mediocre:

Kaplan Diag 1: 490
" 2: 520
" 3: 510
PowerPrep 1: 570 :-D (better than the Kaplan scores, as I've learned and read from everyone here, Kaplan's scoring is more challenging)

Now here's the kicker, I was reading a suggestion by member Rhyme to do the writing samples on all the practice tests, to get a proper, true experience. Until now, I had not been doing so. I did it for the first time yesterday, and I have to say the impact is very significant. I was feeling a great deal of mental fatigue during the Verbal portion of the exam, and was forcing myself to focus and push through. Interestingly enough, the essays did get my brain flowing, as I had to think creatively for the responses. I noticed this had a calming effect before I started the Quant section. The downside, however was the extreme fatigue going into the Verbal portion. From now onwards, I plan on taking the same approach, as to build up my mental tolerance to intently focus for 3h 30 min, instead of the usual 2h 30min with the Quant and Verbal sections. I employed that method on a Princeton Revew Diag and scored a 570. I'm not impressed with my performance, in fact, I feel quite lousy that I've been studying since July and am still not seeing major improvment. My goal is to hit the 670-700 range. Do my fellow members have any good suggestions? I have the OG 11th ed, the OG Quant review book, the OG Verbal review book, GMAT 800, and the Princeton Revew book. Should I start doing the Challenges to build up my Quant skills? Any other books that can help? Or tools/techniques? So far I've been focusing on on area a day (RC, DS, PS, etc), and then on the weekend taking a full exam.

This is probably alot for a first post, but I wanted to reiterate what Rhyme and a few others have mentioned about doing the writing samples in the practice tests. Do it. You'll need to build up the mental endurance for focusing for such an extended period of time with not much of a break. I'd also help any feedback from members on how I can improve my studying/test taking.

Thanks alot everyone, Kudos to the community for sharing the information and helping each other out.

Regards,

AK
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2006, 11:34
Good point...I think this is one area I've been neglecting...I do go into all the practice exams thinking I will write the AWA, but get bored and skip it, knowing I can do it when needed. Will get serious about it now :)
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2006, 14:43
Futuristic,

That was my attitude completely. I was more focused on jumping in and doing the material that was only going to show me the 200-800 score. I didnt realize how much of an impact that extra 1 hour before has on the end.

How long have you been studying for? What are your goals? Any tips or tricks you've learned? Or anyone else too?

Thanks all,

AK
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2006, 15:01
It is worth it to try a couple (I had mine scored & critiqued by PR for ~$5), but if you are trying to use your study time as efficiently as possible, there is a diminishing marginal return to writing essays. I would argue that you are better off doing three modules in a row if you are training for endurance.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2006, 15:03
that's what i do shoob, normally hit a 2 hr math session, and then a 2 hr verbal session all timed....:)

i've done one exam with both essays, and did not feel any perceptible difference...its just boring.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2006, 16:22
I prepped and took the LSAT before this, so maybe that is why I don't care to spend too much time on the essays...focusing on the quant is a better use of my time right now. A friend of a friend who consults on the GMAT recommends doing the essays too...guess I am headstrong. :lol:

I bought & reviewed PR's 'Cracking the GMAT', took a PR test and the GMATprep test 1 and bought 5 tests from 800score.com (took about half the modules). It is hard to put the 800score.com tests in the proper frame of reference, but I felt some of them were poorly written.

Made the decision today to push my GMAT from 9/27 to 10/25...bought the GMAC OG, verbal & quant books.

My one tip is that if you feel ill-prepared, as I did, to consider spending the $50 for a re-schedule and push it out -- if you can still make secondary deadlines on your apps with the possibility of a re-test. My dog, my girlfriend, my co-workers, probably the overall application effort, are all the better for it here. Good luck...
  [#permalink] 19 Sep 2006, 16:22
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