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First try after around 2 months – 460 of 660, what next?

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First try after around 2 months – 460 of 660, what next? [#permalink] New post 02 May 2014, 11:07
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Hi guys,

Today I did my first practice exam (one of the official GMAT ones) after around 2 months of study (actually after about 4 weeks, for the first month I was still working in consulting and had just limited or no time to practice, except late at night in my hotel room which didn’t pay of too much) and as you already know, I scored a pretty bad 460 out of the around 660 I need.

So, currently I am a bit scared if I am already lost. Therefore, I thought it would be wise to ask you guys for some advice regarding the remaining around 4 weeks, my strategy and chances.

My study approach: I am just studying with the Official Guide and the MGMAT Sentence Correction Guide

[Reveal] Spoiler: My math background:
I started with almost no knowledge and practice in math, due to the fact that I left school around 9 years ago and didn’t study any science which is related to math. So for the first month (March) I solely concentrated on the basics and summarized all the required information available. After I did all the official quant questions (the hard way, with real understanding of the theory behind) I think my learning tools (cards, summaries etc.) are sound in this area. I also prepared an error log. Currently I did every question (official ones) just once and didn’t practice any others. Clearly, this is my weak part (DS and PS). I also started studying timed just 2 weeks ago.


[Reveal] Spoiler: My verbal background:
I am not a native (as you probably already recognized) and I didn’t practice verbal too much so far. I just worked through the MGMAT Sentence Correction book and did around the half of the official practice questions in each area. SC and CR are pretty well, for RC I definitely need to work on my strategy (I am using bb’s strategy and could see a real improvement during the two days I studied RC, but it really also depend on the topic of the text).


[Reveal] Spoiler: The test results:
IR: 4/12 (never practiced before) Quant 21 incorrect (26) Verb 21 incorrect (27)
After I went over the first shock and had a beer, I started to analyse my first test. I can clearly state: time was my biggest problem. I tried to finish on time (in which I succeeded) but with a lot of guessing and, especially in the end, I was totally exhausted, not even able to get any of the last verbal questions, so I guessed them right away, which led to about 13 wrong answers (almost in a row) in the end. Also at the Quant part I had a lot of problems to become confident of answers within the time.


So summarized, in Quant I clearly need more practice on timing and confidence, whereas in verbal I really need to work on my timing (from my perspective).

My questions:
- Based on the information given, what do you think about my chances to reach my 660 within the next around 4 weeks?
- In which way should I continue to practice? Currently I am concentrating on just one area per day. What do you think? Should I mix the topics? (Didn’t find a lot information about this)
- Do you think it is necessary (not helpful, because I know it would be ;) ) to take a course?
- What would you recommend regarding the work-life balance? I am currently still working part-time which forces me to work all day long (either on the Gmat or my projects). I also do at least around 2 hours of sport every week. Currently I am not sure if I am exhausted, or if I can handle it. From my consulting experience I am used to hard work, so basically I am feeling healthy but I also recognized some problems with a lot of tension in my jawbone muscles and situations in which I am not able to speak as clear as I am used to
- How did you handle the panic factor during the exam? Of course practice, but what else? Even without any knowledge about my time I was working like the devil hounded me (I really got a lot of trouble with it). I think there are some strategies, like missing on question immediately, but how did you get back on the track?
- How did you time your RC study? I know there are recommendations like 6 minutes for 3 questions, 2 minutes for 30 lines and so on, but what about a 30 lines and 9 questions?
- Related to the RC question: bb calculated his time as to safe 40 minutes for RC. How the hell is that possible? All the time I looked at the watch I just got panic :D.

Sorry for the amount of text, I also know there is a lot of information on the internet about how to tackle some of this problems but I feel that I just need some personal guidline, not one of the general approaches which differ a lot sometimes. Maybe I should also reschould my exam?

With kind regards,
holdem
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Re: First try after around 2 months – 460 of 660, what next? [#permalink] New post 06 May 2014, 07:43
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You can't study with the official guide - it has no knowledge or information. The review section it does have is a joke!
Get decent books and get into gear. Don't waste your time with OG. It is just a bunch of questions.



holdem wrote:
My questions:
- Based on the information given, what do you think about my chances to reach my 660 within the next around 4 weeks?

If you need 100-200 points, your chances with your current setup are close to zero.
Quote:
- In which way should I continue to practice? Currently I am concentrating on just one area per day. What do you think? Should I mix the topics? (Didn’t find a lot information about this)
It does not matter. Take notes and review your progress every day when you start (review what you did yesterday, what you had a hard time with)
Quote:
- Do you think it is necessary (not helpful, because I know it would be ;) ) to take a course?

Generally no but based on your prep strategy yes :-)
Quote:
- What would you recommend regarding the work-life balance? I am currently still working part-time which forces me to work all day long (either on the Gmat or my projects). I also do at least around 2 hours of sport every week. Currently I am not sure if I am exhausted, or if I can handle it. From my consulting experience I am used to hard work, so basically I am feeling healthy but I also recognized some problems with a lot of tension in my jawbone muscles and situations in which I am not able to speak as clear as I am used to

That's probably stress causing some of the jaw issues. Once you get better materials, and feel more confident with the GMAT that should go away
Quote:
- How did you handle the panic factor during the exam? Of course practice, but what else? Even without any knowledge about my time I was working like the devil hounded me (I really got a lot of trouble with it). I think there are some strategies, like missing on question immediately, but how did you get back on the track?

You take one question at a time. Isolate them. LIke a ship or a submarine - if there is a fire in section 4, there is peace and quiet in section 30. Make sure you time every single question you do with practice - that OG book you fancy so much. Get a timer.

Quote:
- How did you time your RC study? I know there are recommendations like 6 minutes for 3 questions, 2 minutes for 30 lines and so on, but what about a 30 lines and 9 questions?

Usually there is a certain formula you want to fit into - e.g. 3 mins for short, 4 mins for medium and 5 mins for a long passage and then 30 secs per question. You want to time yourself on both the reading and the individual questions.
Quote:
- Related to the RC question: bb calculated his time as to safe 40 minutes for RC. How the hell is that possible? All the time I looked at the watch I just got panic :D.

Different for different folks... I can't remember that i had 40 mins for RC. Maybe. It really depends on your RC, SC, and CR skills. My RC sucked so I had a choice of getting really fast on SC/CR or getting better on RC, I chose to get really fast with SC and CR. I calculated I needed 30-45 secs per SC and 1-1:30 per CR or something like that. The rest of the time would be allocated to RC. Remember that on the test nothing goes as planned. Your first question may be uber hard (being an experimental for example) or something else may happen - try to think and plan what you will do in those cases. Will you move on in a certain amount of time. How will you handle paralysis, etc. Most of all you need to be calm and focused on the "battlefield". The test center will have plenty of other distractions - people typing next to you, clicking, AC noise, people coming in and out, proctor walking around and seating people.... there will be a lot of things going on. Just saying..

Sorry for the amount of text, I also know there is a lot of information on the internet about how to tackle some of this problems but I feel that I just need some personal guidline, not one of the general approaches which differ a lot sometimes. Maybe I should also reschould my exam?

With kind regards,
holdem[/quote]

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Re: First try after around 2 months – 460 of 660, what next? [#permalink] New post 08 May 2014, 15:32
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Joined: 21 Jan 2014
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Location: Germany
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Strategy
GMAT Date: 05-28-2014
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Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 9

Re: First try after around 2 months – 460 of 660, what next? [#permalink] New post 10 May 2014, 03:43
Hi guys,

Thanks a lot for your feedback. As recommended I started overthink my strategy, would you please recheck?

bb wrote:
You can't study with the official guide - it has no knowledge or information. The review section it does have is a joke!
Get decent books and get into gear. Don't waste your time with OG. It is just a bunch of questions.


Regarding this advice I want to make a bit clearer, what I actually did. Hopefully it was not just a waste of time (I definitely wasted time here, since I read the GMAT Club Math Book):

I didn’t just practice this questions, I took them to see what theory is actually asked on the GMAT. It took me almost 2 months to do all the problems, because I always ensured to understand the theory by additional sources like boards, videos (also from the gmat consulting companies) and so on (an adivce which I took from GMAT Club "the hard way").

As I downloaded the great GMAT Club Math Book and read it, I almost already knew all the things mentioned. Do you still think another book would be necessary to get further knowledge? I had a good feeling so far due to understanding all the questions quit quick at least after looking at the solution (not the description).

What I will change: For the reason that I scored above 48% on verbal I will greatly increase my quant practice and just go on reading NYT articles and other science release. At least from my perspective I would easily conquer the GMAT verb. part in my own language- therefore a better grasp on the language will hopefully allow me to reduced my effort in this area.

I also decided to take one of the courses in quant. Which one would you recommend me regarding the fact that my exam is on the 28th of May?

With kind regards,
holdem
Re: First try after around 2 months – 460 of 660, what next?   [#permalink] 10 May 2014, 03:43
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