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Feeling low :(

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Feeling low :( [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2007, 15:56
Hi guys,

This is going to be a rather long post so bare with me. I'm feeling quite depressed with this whole gmat. I've been studying for 5 months and the best quant score I can do on a practice tests has been a 35 :(

I really don't know how to feel here. I study everyday but it just seems hopeless. The thing about me is that I have avoided math in my life like a plague. I mean I know the basics like addition, subtraction, very simple algebra and so on, but for the most part I was horrible at the subject. I think the extent of my algebra skills was knowing the FOIL method lol :) I'm not sure how I was able to graduate high school with the scores I got but maybe it is because there are cracks in the system. Every standardized test I took in math I bombed, not because I didn't get the material, but because I refused to learn it. I was intimidated..... Math always intimidated me and I wanted to have nothing to do with it. Don't even ask how I didn't on the SAT, I guessed at every question....When I got into college I realized I wasn't going to get through the cracks, so I actually buckled down and studied for my math and economic classes, and guess what, I did well. It wasn't the easiest subject for me but I got my B's and my A's in those classes. It was at this point in my life that I started to not be scared of the subject. I actually started to kind of enjoy the subject :) Luckily for me, the math classes in college required no previous knowledge of other math classes.

So a few months ago I decided to give the GMAT a shot since I really want to go to B school. I asked my friend if I could borrow his Kaplan book to see what the test was about. When I took a look at the math and the math reference in the book, I had no idea about anything but except for the most basic things (and even some of the basics I had no idea about). I decided that I needed help so I enrolled in a PR prep course. During the course, I kid you not, I started learning for the first time what a prime number was, what a digit and a unit in a number are, how ratio's work. It is during these months of studying where I learned what a radius in a circle is, that the length of an interior angle and an exterior angle of a triangle is 180 degrees, etc... Stuff that I guess people learn when they are younger, I was learning for the first time. On my very first PR CAT, I think I scored about a 17 or 19 in quant. When we were assigned problems in the OG, I literally couldn't do maybe 85 to 90% of the problems.

Well fast forward 5 months and I know so much more than before! My hit rate on doing problems in the OG in sets of 10 are maybe 75 to 80%. In the beginning I couldn't do the most basic DS questions, now that is perhaps my strong point. Out of the 150 questions for DS, I maybe got 95 to 100 of them right. On the verbal side, the SC was a killer, I got more than half wrong. Now, I have about an 85-90% hit rate in the OG for SC.

I feel like there are still gaps in my knowledge, which is why I just bought the MGMAT series of books. I feel like all the other books are just tips and strategies, but this is an in depth coverage of all the math topics. Obviously I know a lot more than I did before, but I just cant understand why I can't break a 35 in quant on my practice CATs. Granted, I don't take them too often, but do I need to perhaps start practicing taking tests on a computer? Would that make a difference? I know when the clock is on, I make a lot of stupid mistakes...

Sorry for babbling guys, I'm just feeling really depressed at the moment :(
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2007, 17:19
That's really amazing!! In 5 months you have come so far. I think you are a really smart guy. Keep at it and you will soon be able to cross the 40's in math. After that it will take you some effort to go further. But I am sure you have it in you to score in the 40's in math. Good work so far. :wink:
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2007, 19:17
Have you tried the princeton review book? I felt it really helped me refresh my math skills. After that, I really recommend the gmat club challenges. They really pushed me and I feel they were an important part of my eventual quant success. Don't give up hope though. I started in the mid to upper 20s in quant, and a few months later I ended up with a 50 on my second real attempt.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 00:32
Hey dude! You are doing great! You're not faraway from a 40+ on quant. This is not the time to despair. Just keep practicing.

Try giving more time for the initial questions on the test. Don't give up till you absolutely have to. I'm sure you can bump your score till a 40.

I'll just say this again.... Practice! 5 months is a small period for a person who shirked Math, and your progress seems phenomenal. You are not far off from your target. Go for it!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 00:44
you have done quite well so far, congrats on this!

Secondly, STOP counting months! :) Sensitivity to time will put extra pressure, which is not going to help you.

I really think you should PUT GMAT ASIDE for a month and go though a good math book; even the best GMAT books do not cover the fundamentals in details.

Can someone suggest a good math book(NOT GMAT related) for fawreel to look at?
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 03:36
Hey buddy I know the feeling. I felt the same way about sentence correction ... Dont give up. It takes time to improve your skills in any thing you choose to do.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 04:13
I second bsd lover's opinion. Only way to deal with devil is to face it. There is no substitute for practice.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 05:52
Hi guys,

Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it :)

I just read my own post on the top of this page, and I apologize for any grammatical errors, I was just trying to write down what was on my mind as fast as I could.

I don't know guys, its weird. I can do about 70% of the math questions in the OG correctly but that 40 in quant is still something I have not achieved. I hope the MGMAT books will help me. I must say, so far so good. I am almost done with the first book in the series. I feel this is better than the PR book because it goes in depth into the topics instead of just offering a refresher.

Let me ask you guys a question. Have you guys come across the topics covered in the GMAT previously in your lives? Things such as the formula for finding the change in percent, rate problems, permutation problems, etc. Did you guys learn it before and just had to brush up? Those are just a few of the things I have never learned before. I never knew anything about how to tackle a rate problem but now I love those questions :)

And I know you guys tell me not to concentrate on the number of months I have studied, but its hard not to. I see guys on this forum who study for 2 weeks and break a 700, and I am busting my butt just to break a 600..... Granted, its hard to study full force while working full time but still, I wish I had this stuff down cold.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 10:09
fawreel902 wrote:
Hi guys,

Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it :)

I just read my own post on the top of this page, and I apologize for any grammatical errors, I was just trying to write down what was on my mind as fast as I could.

I don't know guys, its weird. I can do about 70% of the math questions in the OG correctly but that 40 in quant is still something I have not achieved. I hope the MGMAT books will help me. I must say, so far so good. I am almost done with the first book in the series. I feel this is better than the PR book because it goes in depth into the topics instead of just offering a refresher.

Let me ask you guys a question. Have you guys come across the topics covered in the GMAT previously in your lives? Things such as the formula for finding the change in percent, rate problems, permutation problems, etc. Did you guys learn it before and just had to brush up? Those are just a few of the things I have never learned before. I never knew anything about how to tackle a rate problem but now I love those questions :)

And I know you guys tell me not to concentrate on the number of months I have studied, but its hard not to. I see guys on this forum who study for 2 weeks and break a 700, and I am busting my butt just to break a 600..... Granted, its hard to study full force while working full time but still, I wish I had this stuff down cold.


For me, I have to brush up on inequalities, absolute values, but merely learn probability & combination. I think it depends on your background in math. I never take statistics course in high school or college, so I don't know those topics. Again, how fast you learn is also depends on your background in math. If you are not familiar with "!" concept, then it will take more time to learn combination concept.

I think you are doing great man. Keep up the good work. At certain point, I felt like I hit a wall in verbal too. However, after practicing for a while, I actually see higher number in verbal section from the practice test that I thought I would never achieve. I don't know if it is because I remember some of the problems or I actually got better. Regardless, it makes you a bit more confident.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 11:03
Fawreel902,

Your story sounds almost exactly like mine! As a child, I was good in math, but around the time I reached 7th grade I started going down hill. Up until January the extent of my math knowledge was about the same as you stated yours was. I despised math in high school and college because there were no shortcuts. For all of my other classes I could write a paper, or study for a test the night before and get by, but math you have to have a strong foundation, which is why so many people fall behind.

In January I picked up a book called, "Algebra Demystified" by Rhonda Huetenmueller. I started working through the book after work to build a foundation in Algebra. If you are behind in Algebra at all, this is an excellent book because it explains how to do things step by step. The next thing I did was enroll in College Algebra at the local Community College. I went to ratemyprofessors dot com to seek out a good math teacher at the college I am taking the class. This is very important because a good math teacher can make all the difference in your understanding of the subject. I am in my last week of the class, but up to this point I have gotten over 100% on every exam and quiz. My teacher always offers one extra credit question on each test. When I enrolled, I thought I was going to have to hire a tutor and spend countless hours working to catch up. All I have done is pay attention in class and do all of the homework, as well as study of exams for a couple hours. Now, this is coming from someone who took a math class in college, failed, then retook the same class and got a D. Then I took the next class in the series and failed that.

You WILL get past the 35 level on your GMAT math. Your post is refreshing for me to read though, since I know there are more people out there like me. Math is actually fun if you are good at it. And anyone can be good at anything if they really want to.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 13:36
Hi Pennywise! You have no idea how good it is to know that there is someone out there who is going through the same thing I am. I was actually thinking about enrolling at an Algebra course before you mentioned it :) Thanks for the book recommendation, I will check it out. I just finished the first in the MGMAT book series of books, and it already has taught me some things I didnt get from the other prep books. I must state, I have absolutely no connection to the company. I just definitely feel that the content information they have is superior compared to other books. But when it comes to tips and stratagies, it could use more.

So how is your progress coming along. Have you taken any practice tests yet? Where are you with quant if you dont mind me asking. Thanks again :)

Btw, for anyone out there who really has no idea about the basics, someone on this forum recommended a great site to me. You can find it at http://www.themathpage.com. So guys, do you think it is hard to make a jump from 35 to 45 in quant? Maybe I should stop studying questions from the OG and start looking at the challenges?
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Re: Feeling low :( [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 21:04
fawreel902 wrote:
Hi guys,

This is going to be a rather long post so bare with me. I'm feeling quite depressed with this whole gmat. I've been studying for 5 months and the best quant score I can do on a practice tests has been a 35 :(

I really don't know how to feel here. I study everyday but it just seems hopeless. The thing about me is that I have avoided math in my life like a plague. I mean I know the basics like addition, subtraction, very simple algebra and so on, but for the most part I was horrible at the subject. I think the extent of my algebra skills was knowing the FOIL method lol :) I'm not sure how I was able to graduate high school with the scores I got but maybe it is because there are cracks in the system. Every standardized test I took in math I bombed, not because I didn't get the material, but because I refused to learn it. I was intimidated..... Math always intimidated me and I wanted to have nothing to do with it. Don't even ask how I didn't on the SAT, I guessed at every question....When I got into college I realized I wasn't going to get through the cracks, so I actually buckled down and studied for my math and economic classes, and guess what, I did well. It wasn't the easiest subject for me but I got my B's and my A's in those classes. It was at this point in my life that I started to not be scared of the subject. I actually started to kind of enjoy the subject :) Luckily for me, the math classes in college required no previous knowledge of other math classes.


Hey man.. it's really not that bad...

Although as a kid, I was pretty comfortable with maths, in high school I wasn't too good... and in college.. Let's just say, in college I never took a single maths/stats course (though I deeply regret it). I ended up graduating in Advertising without ever doing a single maths module! So needless to say, when I started on the GMAT I had to relearn a lot of stuff. I would vaguely remember certain basics, but the more advanced stuff and even stuff like geometry etc, I had to learn them all over again. So like you, I had to learn all the basics again. The worse part was when I first started the GMAT I thought you could use a calculator - I actually used a calculator on the first diagnostics test and was pretty happy about it (I think I scored about Q38 or something) :P

I think the MGMAT books are fantastic for learning the basics. But I guess like everybody says, it's all about practice. Just put in the hours and get the basics and I think you should be sitting tight....
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Feeling low :( [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2007, 21:25
My math situation is very similar to yours too. Verbal has always been my strength and I ignored math in school. I just did not listen while the teacher was teaching math. Sometimes I think back and I don't know how I made it through school doing that. Just like you while in university - 5 years ago, I worked at it and got A's and B's. Now I am struggling too. I am not doing the math questions quick enough and I am getting quite a bit wrong but I am going to keep working at it. The website that you were referred to seems to be very good. I am going to be using it. Good luck.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2007, 05:58
Hi guys,

Glad to know that we are all going through the same thing, perhaps we could help each other get over this hurdle :)

So what are you guys scoring in the quant section of the GMAT?
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2007, 13:56
Hi Fawreel, I have not taken an actual GMAT Practice yet, at least with a scratch pad. I have read the Princeton Review book and taken the pen and paper assessment, which said I was scoring in an estimated range of around 550 overall, and I sat down and blew through the quant portion of the Princeton Review online test and got a 28. This was after working through the Algebra Demystified book I have though. I was just laying on the couch though, and anything I couldn't do in my head really fast I just guessed. I just wanted to get an idea of how the test works. I will probably to a full practice this weekend to see where I am for real, but I have just been busy with class and work.

I will check out the Manhattan book. I am planning on taking their course. Another good website is Purplemath. And if you have iTunes and an iPod check out The Mathgrad podcast. I listened to the episodes and he has a show on probability that is pretty good. It gives you a way to study on the way to work at least. I will you guys know how my practice test goes. That should lend some insight on to how beneficial taking a college algebra class has been for me. Thanks for your tips as well. This board is awesome, and I definitely plan on becoming more active as I start prepping for the test.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2007, 14:56
fawreel, first of all, I want to commend you for the hard work you've put into studying for a subject that you were afraid of. That took a lot of courage and you faced your demons head on!

With that said, I think your hit rate for Quant problems is good, but something goes a bit wrong when you go into the CATs. Did you analyze why you made mistakes on the CAT questions? What kind of mistakes are you making? If it's careless errors, then you know to always double check your work and double check tricks that they throw at you from GMAC. If it's concept problems, then go and review or learn them from Manhattan or other books again, and do some more problems in that vein.

I think you're there (getting 40+ on Quant), but something is not translating between the practice problems and the test. If you can figure that out by seriously analyzing your CAT mistakes, you will have a breakthrough!

Hope that helps!
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2007, 16:21
Hi Kryzak,

Thank you so much for the words of encouragement, it means a lot. I think you might be right about the careless mistakes I make, or perhaps I just need more practice taking CATs. Do you really believe that my hit rate in the OG is enough for me to break a 40?

But I guess I have some good news, I think......I just broke a 35 on quant for the first time :) Granted, its a pathetic score compared to many of those on this forum, but I just scored a 37 on a PR CAT. I looked over the mistakes I made, and some of them were really stupid. Some of them however I would not be able to figure out even if given the whole day. Hopefully this mountain of mathamatical slot will be conquered.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2007, 16:35
I think a 70-80% hit rate on the hard problems of the OG (the last 1/3 of the section) will get you a 40+. Just an estimate, but it should be close.

If you can fix your careless mistakes, you'll probably get to Q37-38. Then just learn the concepts and you should be there!
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2007, 06:24
Hey.

Wow, youve gone through a lot. I have Math problems as well, I still haven't gone pass Q39. Anyway, my advice is to just keep practicing. The others are right, there is no shortcut to a good score. I'm re-reading my Manhattan Math books. You should do so as well. Good luck!
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Feeling Low. [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2007, 12:31
Hey fawreel902
I read your post and could completely relate to it. So, the fact that there are others out there going through the same thing as you should be a little comforting. I've been studying a little longer than you and am scoring around the same as you in Quant. It's very discouraging of course, because you study and study and in the end it's very disheartening when you don't see an improvement. In these situations, I just keep telling myself that all this hard work HAS to pay off. It helps to stay positive and talk to others (like folks on this forum) who help you do the same. I just keep studying and studying and hope for the best. I'm sure if you continue to put in the hard work, which you are, you will definitely see an improvement. Also, I'm curious to know if you're keeping an error log. This is something I'm disciplining myself to do as well. For example, I use to miss a lot of problems in DS involving Overlapping Sets. So, I took out an hour or so and practiced just these types of probs. And now finally, I see an improvement. SO, just in case you are not keeping track of the kinds of problems you are missing- you should start. It will definitely help you.
Just keep giving it all you've got! :)
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Feeling Low.   [#permalink] 07 Aug 2007, 12:31
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