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From 650 to 720 - Hope for non-quant jocks

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From 650 to 720 - Hope for non-quant jocks [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2004, 06:58
Just in time to get the app for my #1 choice in first round with my new score, I managed to squeak into the 700 club and I'm very pleased. Of course many of you will find my quant score low, but for me it was a real victory. I was a history major in UG and haven't taken a math class since high school (my 10 year high school reunion was last year if that tells you anything).

The first time I took the test, I had studied like crazy for months to relearn all of the math concepts I'd forgotten. I felt confident about the verbal, so I didn't work on it at all. When I went to take the test, I was very anxious and during the test I blew the timing badly. I knew it was trouble when I finished the twentieth math problem and saw that I had twenty minutes left in the section. I tried to pull myself together, but I just fell apart at that point. I guessed most of the rest of the questions and moved on hoping for the best. When I got my score, I tried to convice myself that I'd done my best. But I just couldn't believe it. My practice exams told me that I could do better. So I took a month off, then started again focusing on my speed in math. I also found this forum and it helped alot.

This forum was instrumental in helping me to recognize patterns in gmat math problems. Also the advice that members gave about their prep gave me some key ways to improve my study habits to get the most out of them. And I must confess that reading about the experiences of others helped me to stay motivated and believe that I could do it--which is why I'm writing this now. Hopefully my story will help others reach their goals.

Here is my advice for people like me who are very weak in Math.
1. Relearn basic math if you need to.
Don't try to use the shortcuts that PR and Kaplan teach for math until you have mastered basic math concepts. Do this before enrolling in one of these prep courses. They do not help you relearn this stuff. You'll have to take it upon yourself to do so. I found the Kaplan GRE & GMAT Math Workbook to be very helpful. I also went online to some high school math sites.
2. Error logs are your friend. Use them!
As many people will advise you on this site, keep an error log. I cannot emphasize this enough. It will show you what areas you need to focus on and make your prep time much more productive. There are some very good templates available on this site. Keep drilling problem types that you have trouble with. Look for the underlying concepts and make sure you understand them.
3. When taking the test, focus on good time management.
Don't get caught in the trap of wasting too much time on any single problem. That's the way the GMAT will rattle you. If you find yourself spending more that 2-3 minutes on a problem, turn to POE and cut your losses. Its better to spend time on problems you can actually solve. During the test, if I found a problem difficult, I wrote down a deadline for it. I gave myself three minutes, then I'd call it quits, make an educated guess based on my work and move on.

As I think of more stuff, I'll be sure to post. But until then, best of luck to all of you who are still in the struggle.

So, here are the numbers for those of you who like this sort of data.

Kaplan Diag: 620
Kaplan 1: 650
Kaplan 2: 660
Princeton 1: 690
Princeton 2: 640
Princeton 3: 680
Princeton 4: 740
PP1: 680 (before using OG)
PP2: 740 (after using OG)
GMAT 1: 650 (Q:38, V:42)
GMAT 2: 720 (Q: 45, V: 44)

Thanks again to everyone here at GMAT Club!
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Oct 2004, 17:31
Congrats.
  [#permalink] 26 Oct 2004, 17:31
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