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GMAT Journey: Mind, Body, Soul [#permalink]
25 Mar 2009, 14:42

GMAT Journey: Mind, Body, Soul

Exec Summary: Lessons Learned

Mind: Took the Kaplan GMAT course 3 times + 15 hours of tutoring. To be eligible for the higher score guarantee- check all the boxes, switch teachers after the first class if you feel inclined, do not purchase tutoring hours.

Body: Stay in touch with family/friends and work out so you do not lower your immune system.

Soul: Stay aware in the present moment and view GMAT study to learn from rather than to get every problem right.

*If you reschedule the official GMAT, do so seven days before your test date, so you do not have to pay $250 - twice in case you did not learn the first time

Mind: I began my quest to attend a top 5 business school as a 08 New Year Resolution. I started without much information on the GMAT, resulting in 2 months of on and off studying with a Princeton Review book. From the get go I knew my challenge would be math and had to start with the basics (i.e. FOIL, exponents, etc). Knowing my P Review book was as unhelpful as my irregular study habits, I enrolled in a Kaplan Course on 4/20.

GMAT Kaplan Course April: Weekly Sunday During the first class, I felt lost since my classmates were all strong in math. Moreover, I left overwhelmed with the pre class and home work. I tried to plow through everything just to check the boxes even though I knew I was not learning. Realizing I would not be able to finish the class due to an international work assignment, I stopped studying and checked the boxes, to ensure I could retake the class using the higher score guarantee.

Bottom line: check all the boxes so you can retake the class with the higher score guarantee

GMAT Course July: Weekly Sunday Having attended classes previously, I felt more confident about retaking the class and actually learning content. I made a conscious decision to make the GMAT my number one priority (see body, soul). Again I was in a class with strong math students and felt overwhelmed. It did not help that my teacher was new and started her part time MBA while working full time and teaching for Kaplan. While she was nice, the teacher often rushed through the lessons without providing thorough explanations. There were also logistics issues, resulting in two missed classes. After completing the class, I was no where near scoring a 700 as my CAT scores ranged from 520 to 580. Providing a real world testing example, the Ultimate practice test was the best part of the course.

Bottom line: report any issues you have about your teacher / logistics to ensure you are getting your moneys worth

GMAT Course October: Weekly Saturday (Math Intensive) Scoring in the 500s, I realized I desperately needed to understand basic math to improve. I retook the class for the 3rd time using the Alumni Discount ($300) + the added cost of 3 math intensive classes. This time the teacher was strong and I finally understood the material. Having taken the CATs before inflated my scores: ranging from 620 to 660.

Bottom line: having a capable instructor is the most important aspect of the course

GMAT Tutoring: 15 hours two week before the test Test day anxiety led me to purchase $500 worth of tutoring from my October course instructor. The math intensive class came with 2 free hours, then because of the logistic issues from the second class; I received 4 hours of tutoring credit. Also my tutor was nice enough to add about 5 hours since sessions are soo expensive. However, I paid $500 for information that is free on GMAT Club. All I really needed was an error log to understand my mistakes and timer to practice timing. It was def not worth the money

Bottom line: do not pay for tutoring 2 weeks before your test and use GMAT Club's free timer and error log

Body: While taking and retaking the Kaplan courses from July-December, I focused only on the GMAT and work. Neglecting family, friends, working out, and my heath I ended up in the ER twice. As a healthy and very active person, getting sick was a direct result of stress. I got a Staph infection in September which is a gross skin infection (abysses) from the gym. The Staph infection kept coming back and I ended up taking four different antibiotics and having to see a general surgeon three times. And the kicker, the worst abysses formed three days before the GMAT! I again went to the ER and had to get back on antibiotics. I finally saw an infectious disease specialist who determined the infection was reoccurring due to stress, affecting my immune system. I was also MIA with family/friends and missed holidays, birthdays, and hanging out.

Bottom line: do not study so much that you get sick: work out and hang out with family/friends to relieve stress

Soul: Being a spiritual person, I lost the ability to be aware in the present moment. I found myself always worrying about studying and let work become my only distraction. I became cynical and unlike my bubbly self. Most important, I let getting a problem right and wrong effect me rather than learning from each problem and understanding how to improve. I went from being calm, aware, and serene to a stressed out workaholic!

Bottom line: studying is learning. Learning how to be aware in the present moment is the key to maintaining balance

To Do: - GMAT Club forum discussions - GMAT Club Challenges - GMAT Prep Tests- I plan to take one a week till the test - MGMAT SC - Power Score 1000 CR - Purple and green GMAC books to review - Retake the GMAT by May 30th

Welcome to the GMAT Club - impressive effort and a great way to structure the post around body, soul, and mind - truly comprehensive!

Thank you for sharing - your plan and takeaways. One question - why May 30th as the date? (I agree by the way that you should not wait for a very long time as you will start forgetting what you learned before) _________________

Thanks for your kind words. After taking my first GMAT on 1.10.09, I plan to retake the GMAT by May 30th. May 30th because I may be going out of the country for work and may not get as much study time in. The tough part is staying motivated and improving. I am taking a CAT tomorrow to see if I have improved by studying OG 11 with a timer and error log. Hopefully I have!

Thanks for your kind words. After taking my first GMAT on 1.10.09, I plan to retake the GMAT by May 30th. May 30th because I may be going out of the country for work and may not get as much study time in. The tough part is staying motivated and improving. I am taking a CAT tomorrow to see if I have improved by studying OG 11 with a timer and error log. Hopefully I have!

Do you feel that you have a good grasp of all the math areas test on the gmat? Quant is probably the easier of areas for most members here - at least judging from their scores - yours is the opposite, which is good and bad.

The good part is that your verbal is up already but the bad is that the math has sucked up a lot of time and effort and still not up there. I would recommend instead of going through OG and other tests, go back to a math book and re-start. I know it sounds crazy but without a solid foundation, you cannot succeed. I am actually a Kaplan materials fan, but it looks like it did not work, perhaps one of the MGMAT Guides may help? They have a general one for math - Manhattan GMAT Math.

Last question - do you hate math? _________________

I feel like I have an ok grasp of math areas tested on the gmat: exponents, combinations, probability are still ify I know the basics formulas although I need to figure how to apply while not taking too long on any one problem. I still make simple mistakes like forgetting the simple interest rate formula.

I look a GMAT Prep CAT this morning and got a 640: Q42 and V 36. I know I can def improve my Verbal so need to read the MGMAT SC book this week.

Math has never been easy for me. I wouldn't say I hate math but know it's not how I naturally think. I am more right brained.

Suggestions on math basic review besides Kaplan? I am searching the forum for exponents and interest rate concept info.

I feel like I have an ok grasp of math areas tested on the gmat: exponents, combinations, probability are still ify I know the basics formulas although I need to figure how to apply while not taking too long on any one problem. I still make simple mistakes like forgetting the simple interest rate formula.

I look a GMAT Prep CAT this morning and got a 640: Q42 and V 36. I know I can def improve my Verbal so need to read the MGMAT SC book this week.

Math has never been easy for me. I wouldn't say I hate math but know it's not how I naturally think. I am more right brained.

Suggestions on math basic review besides Kaplan? I am searching the forum for exponents and interest rate concept info.

It may only make it harder with time, but it is useful to do a quick answer check after the question - for example, if you calculated the percentage or something else. Also, often math answer choices will have a pattern to them, such as A. 1.5% B. 1.8% C. 2.1 % D. 15% E. 18%

When I see something like this, my first guess is that other people who took this question when it was experimental and tried out, may have made a mistake by multiplying by 10 or dividing by 10. Not always but often the group that has the most answers will be the one you should aim for. However, what this gives you, is an idea what to check for - for example did you forget to multiply by 10? This usually saved me. On my real GMAT I found 2 mistakes during my routine answer check procedure, which got me really scared because I rarely found mistakes in my prep process. This tool/trick is something you should try after you are already comfortable with basics and other solution methods. This will catch a few obvious errors but will not solve the problems, so I would not spent more than 5 seconds on it per question.

About formulas. You do need to memorize all formulas you are expected to know, but that's not enough - you must also memorize at least 1 problem in which you would use the formula, so that you can recreate that problem on the test and apply the formula to the question - it was not enough for me to just know the formula - I was getting confused about which item to plug into numerator and which into denominator. By memorize the problem, I mean memorize every word of the problem and solution so that you can recreate it in the middle of the night if I woke you up, not vaguely remember the problem. Kaplan math workbook had a good section at the back that I used - make sure you memorize every problem from the back of it.

It also is worth a few points on GMAT to know how percents and fractions translate into each other. For example, what is \frac{1}{12}? or 15%? _________________

Great advice - I agree I must have a solid understanding of basic math concepts.

I like your idea of understanding a formula by memorizing a corresponding problem. I am using that method and re-reviewing OG 11 by concept i.e. exponents.

I plan to re-review OG 11 until I understand and memorize formulas and problems. In addition, I plan on taking a GMAT Prep CAT every weekend till 5/30. I may purchase the GMATfix software to understand problems from GMAT Prep.

Thanks for your advice and guidance!

bb wrote:

ks2009 wrote:

BB,

I feel like I have an ok grasp of math areas tested on the gmat: exponents, combinations, probability are still ify I know the basics formulas although I need to figure how to apply while not taking too long on any one problem. I still make simple mistakes like forgetting the simple interest rate formula.

I look a GMAT Prep CAT this morning and got a 640: Q42 and V 36. I know I can def improve my Verbal so need to read the MGMAT SC book this week.

Math has never been easy for me. I wouldn't say I hate math but know it's not how I naturally think. I am more right brained.

Suggestions on math basic review besides Kaplan? I am searching the forum for exponents and interest rate concept info.

It may only make it harder with time, but it is useful to do a quick answer check after the question - for example, if you calculated the percentage or something else. Also, often math answer choices will have a pattern to them, such as A. 1.5% B. 1.8% C. 2.1 % D. 15% E. 18%

When I see something like this, my first guess is that other people who took this question when it was experimental and tried out, may have made a mistake by multiplying by 10 or dividing by 10. Not always but often the group that has the most answers will be the one you should aim for. However, what this gives you, is an idea what to check for - for example did you forget to multiply by 10? This usually saved me. On my real GMAT I found 2 mistakes during my routine answer check procedure, which got me really scared because I rarely found mistakes in my prep process. This tool/trick is something you should try after you are already comfortable with basics and other solution methods. This will catch a few obvious errors but will not solve the problems, so I would not spent more than 5 seconds on it per question.

About formulas. You do need to memorize all formulas you are expected to know, but that's not enough - you must also memorize at least 1 problem in which you would use the formula, so that you can recreate that problem on the test and apply the formula to the question - it was not enough for me to just know the formula - I was getting confused about which item to plug into numerator and which into denominator. By memorize the problem, I mean memorize every word of the problem and solution so that you can recreate it in the middle of the night if I woke you up, not vaguely remember the problem. Kaplan math workbook had a good section at the back that I used - make sure you memorize every problem from the back of it.

It also is worth a few points on GMAT to know how percents and fractions translate into each other. For example, what is \frac{1}{12}? or 15%?

I feel like I have an ok grasp of math areas tested on the gmat: exponents, combinations, probability are still ify I know the basics formulas although I need to figure how to apply while not taking too long on any one problem. I still make simple mistakes like forgetting the simple interest rate formula.

I look a GMAT Prep CAT this morning and got a 640: Q42 and V 36. I know I can def improve my Verbal so need to read the MGMAT SC book this week.

Math has never been easy for me. I wouldn't say I hate math but know it's not how I naturally think. I am more right brained.

Suggestions on math basic review besides Kaplan? I am searching the forum for exponents and interest rate concept info.

It may only make it harder with time, but it is useful to do a quick answer check after the question - for example, if you calculated the percentage or something else. Also, often math answer choices will have a pattern to them, such as A. 1.5% B. 1.8% C. 2.1 % D. 15% E. 18%

When I see something like this, my first guess is that other people who took this question when it was experimental and tried out, may have made a mistake by multiplying by 10 or dividing by 10. Not always but often the group that has the most answers will be the one you should aim for. However, what this gives you, is an idea what to check for - for example did you forget to multiply by 10? This usually saved me. On my real GMAT I found 2 mistakes during my routine answer check procedure, which got me really scared because I rarely found mistakes in my prep process. This tool/trick is something you should try after you are already comfortable with basics and other solution methods. This will catch a few obvious errors but will not solve the problems, so I would not spent more than 5 seconds on it per question.

About formulas. You do need to memorize all formulas you are expected to know, but that's not enough - you must also memorize at least 1 problem in which you would use the formula, so that you can recreate that problem on the test and apply the formula to the question - it was not enough for me to just know the formula - I was getting confused about which item to plug into numerator and which into denominator. By memorize the problem, I mean memorize every word of the problem and solution so that you can recreate it in the middle of the night if I woke you up, not vaguely remember the problem. Kaplan math workbook had a good section at the back that I used - make sure you memorize every problem from the back of it.

It also is worth a few points on GMAT to know how percents and fractions translate into each other. For example, what is \frac{1}{12}? or 15%?

BTW..I used ARCO Petersen's GRE/GMAT workbok..it has many different variations of question types per formula...such as different D=RT, mixtures, etc....helped me feel less panic if I was familiar with variations...

I am going to start my GMAT preparation. As of now, I am doing Job in manufacturing company.So I just want to ask if i keep on studying for an hour daily will it be sufficient?(Definitely, I will do detail planning for my studies so that this hour will be utilized properly.) Apart from this, Can you suggest appropriate Books and course that can help me out??