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Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!!

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Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 01:55
Hi guys,

I'm a new member here and currently prepping for the GMAT test due in 2 months exactly. I just wanted to thank you all for the insightful posts and the sense of encouragement around these forums. Great motivation!

Admittedly, the last week has been very rough as I've started to realise how much of a gap I have to bridge for the quant section if I were to have any chance of getting my desired score (700+).

A bit of background - I'm 24 and currently working in investment consulting for a large asset management house. I'm interested in pursuing a MSc Finance overseas (I'm Australian) or wait a few years and apply for top MBA programs in the UK/US. A 700+ score is a prerequisite as my undergraduate GPA is rather low (about 3.0) even though my experience to date has been solid.

Now on to my preparation:

In the 2 months thus far, I have completed Kaplan Premier, OG Verbal Review, and the Manhattan SC book. Granted my attention has largely been focused on verbal but my scores in that area have been quite steady (consistently hitting 85 - 90%). Sure, I feel like improvements can still be made, particularly in SC but I'm not too worried about verbal given that I've still got time and 6 test papers to complete. So hopefully with more practice I can get even better.

Now the problem area = Quant. I am very good with the basic PS questions but as the questions get harder my brain just can't handle it. At the moment, I'm going through the OG quant review and scored 72% on 176 questions (keep in mind I timed myself with 2 mins per question, made silly mistakes on quite a few, and didn't guess on the questions I had no clue about... so in actual fact I probably could raise that score to 80% without too much trouble). The worry I have has to do with the last 1/5 of the problem solving section. Out of 35 questions, I got half wrong! And the worst part is, as I went through these wrong answers, the explanations in the book made very little sense to me. And even after understanding the logic, I just can't fathom being able to think creatively enough to solve these difficult problems under exam condition. Data sufficiency is perhaps even worse. I haven't completed that section yet but expect a score around 50 - 60% as that's the score I got on the Kaplan Premiere book. My weaknesses in quant centres around trigonometry, combinatorics and probability, and number properties. My arithmetic skills in dealing with exponents also need to be addressed.

In terms of planning for the next 2 months, I will finish off the OG quant review, Kaplan Advanced, do 8 test papers, go through Manhattan number properties book, and do all 800 questions in OG12. On top of that, I've hired the services of a GMAT tutor (guy who scored 780 and is a Maths Phd) to help me with maths every week. Basically, I'm targeting those tutoring sessions as a forum to discuss the maths topics I find most difficult and get help dealing with at least the medium to hard level questions.

Overall, I think my study habits are pretty good. I can stick to schedules and be disciplined, plus I'm tracking all my wrong answers and analysing patterns on different types of questions. I also actively learn from my mistakes which are in my opinion one of the best approaches.

I would really appreciate people's comments/suggestion on how I should best tackle the medium to hard quant questions over the next 8 weeks. I'm targeting a GMAT score of 750 but know that I probably won't get there, that said, even a score over 700 would be a reasonable outcome.

Some specific questions I hope others can answer:
- Is the last 1/5 of the OG quant section really that difficult? Does it imply that assuming I don't improve at all over the next 2 months I will not hit 48-49 (>80 percentile) in quant on the actual exam?
- What good posts/links are there on data sufficiency?
- Is the approach of targeting my weak topics in quant individually a good approach or should I spend my time dealing with broad subjects and hope I won't see too many of those questions on the exam?
- And this will sound desperate but what are my chances of getting a 750, 700 in 2 months time? Where do I stand? Should I postpone the thing?
- Any ideas on how I can best utilise a tutor as I've never really had one before for anything?
- What other materials would help me with improving quant? Perhaps the GMAT Club tests...

I will keep updating this thread and keep you posted with my progress with journal entries every few days. I really hope with the help of GMAT Club I can conquer the beast!
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 02:39
Further evidence of the specific topic weakness I mentioned in the earlier post -

I just analysed the wrong answers from PS and the vast majority are Number Properties and Geometry. I guess the Manhattan Number Properties book couldn't arrive soon enough! I will be asking my tutor to go through geometry, combinatorics, and probability in great detail over the coming weeks.

One other question I had... do I need a different set of maths knowledge to master the data sufficiency questions? By that I mean different concepts not tested on PS?
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 02:59
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Hi Romaster,

Welcome aboard, I hope you will be having a great time (despite of the Q mess). I was just curious that have you taken any CAT?? like free MGMAT CAT or anyother?? Secondly, just remember that you are a lucky guy to score high on verbal, this is a difficult task. To get 48-49 in Q is not so tough. To illustrate one can get 48 in Q despite of getting 12-15 questions wrong in real GMAT. So man you can do it. Believe me.

Now coming to your queries,

Romaster wrote:
Some specific questions I hope others can answer:
- Is the last 1/5 of the OG quant section really that difficult? Does it imply that assuming I don't improve at all over the next 2 months I will not hit 48-49 (>80 percentile) in quant on the actual exam? Yes the last 1/5 of OG 12 questions are difficult as compared to initial problems, but with practice you can solve these easily.
- What good posts/links are there on data sufficiency? Kindly use the "tag list" function on DS forum. This will help you a lot.-
Is the approach of targeting my weak topics in quant individually a good approach or should I spend my time dealing with broad subjects and hope I won't see too many of those questions on the exam? I opted to solve combinatorics, probabilty questions with a best guess. By leaving one topic, one dont minimize his/her chances of a Q 50.
- And this will sound desperate but what are my chances of getting a 750, 700 in 2 months time? Where do I stand? Should I postpone the thing? You are on right track bro, keep up the fight. Practice a lot & take a diagnostic CAT.-
Any ideas on how I can best utilise a tutor as I've never really had one before for anything?
- What other materials would help me with improving quant? Perhaps the GMAT Club tests.... GMAT Club tests are best to boost score from 46 to 50. Use them once you are done with Q 46. These tests are the best in town.

I will keep updating this thread and keep you posted with my progress with journal entries every few days. I really hope with the help of GMAT Club I can conquer the beast!


Keep us posted.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 07:25
Romaster wrote:
Further evidence of the specific topic weakness I mentioned in the earlier post -

I just analysed the wrong answers from PS and the vast majority are Number Properties and Geometry. I guess the Manhattan Number Properties book couldn't arrive soon enough! I will be asking my tutor to go through geometry, combinatorics, and probability in great detail over the coming weeks.

One other question I had... do I need a different set of maths knowledge to master the data sufficiency questions? By that I mean different concepts not tested on PS?


Hi Romaster,
I think one suggestion I could make is to practice the DS even more. The concepts in DS are pulled right from other materials. If you had the set of MGMAT books, every concept would be covered somewhere.

If you don't have the MGMAT set, I would make a slightly different suggestion: there is a YouTube channel by Khan (just search Khan GMAT) where he goes over 155 DS questions from the OG 11th. Now, this is the old text, but the questions are similar, if not exactly the same. Khan covers them, explains them, and just through his calm delivery illustrates how to tackle the problems. He also goes over a couple hundred other questions from OG 11th in another section, which is just additional Quant help. I understand somewhat of where you're coming from as Quant is my biggest weakness. I am really just starting out on the Khan stuff but he's already helped me see some stupid errors.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 07:33
Hussain15 wrote:
Hi Romaster,

Welcome aboard, I hope you will be having a great time (despite of the Q mess). I was just curious that have you taken any CAT?? like free MGMAT CAT or anyother?? Secondly, just remember that you are a lucky guy to score high on verbal, this is a difficult task. To get 48-49 in Q is not so tough. To illustrate one can get 48 in Q despite of getting 12-15 questions wrong in real GMAT. So man you can do it. Believe me.

Now coming to your queries,

Romaster wrote:
Some specific questions I hope others can answer:
- Is the last 1/5 of the OG quant section really that difficult? Does it imply that assuming I don't improve at all over the next 2 months I will not hit 48-49 (>80 percentile) in quant on the actual exam? Yes the last 1/5 of OG 12 questions are difficult as compared to initial problems, but with practice you can solve these easily.
- What good posts/links are there on data sufficiency? Kindly use the "tag list" function on DS forum. This will help you a lot.-
Is the approach of targeting my weak topics in quant individually a good approach or should I spend my time dealing with broad subjects and hope I won't see too many of those questions on the exam? I opted to solve combinatorics, probabilty questions with a best guess. By leaving one topic, one dont minimize his/her chances of a Q 50.
- And this will sound desperate but what are my chances of getting a 750, 700 in 2 months time? Where do I stand? Should I postpone the thing? You are on right track bro, keep up the fight. Practice a lot & take a diagnostic CAT.-
Any ideas on how I can best utilise a tutor as I've never really had one before for anything?
- What other materials would help me with improving quant? Perhaps the GMAT Club tests.... GMAT Club tests are best to boost score from 46 to 50. Use them once you are done with Q 46. These tests are the best in town.

I will keep updating this thread and keep you posted with my progress with journal entries every few days. I really hope with the help of GMAT Club I can conquer the beast!


Keep us posted.


I have to agree with Hussain on this one. I recently took a MGMAT test and I scored a Q41, yet I missed 17 questions!!!! If percentages were all that counted I would have been killed. Now, one big saving grace was hitting some of the big tough ones to boost my score, but looking over it I can see how a CAT arrives at its score. I would definitely suggest taking a CAT. You might be very nicely surprised at the score you earn. Honestly, there really isn't an expectation of you answering all of them right.

Also, as you are so strong in Verbal, I'd take heart in my own score. Now that I've looked over things in detail, I can see that Verbal might heavily weight the final total score. I scored in the 94% in Verbal and 77% in Quant, yet my overall score was 92% and a 710 on the practice test. I've read on here that other GMAT debriefs suggested this rumored weighting. I'm still not absolutely sure of it, but some of the other scores posted on here seem to be evidence of some weighting. Good luck!
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 15:34
Thanks guys.

Hussain – I’m going to take the GMAT Prep exam 1 this Sunday to get the most accurate measure of where I‘m at. Anything below a 650 will be a wake up call. I’ll post my score in the coming days and do a proper breakdown.

Vince, thanks a lot for the heads up on Khan videos. I’m slowly getting through the DS questions from OG and am curious to see what sort of score I’ll end up with. Regardless, this is definitely an area of concern and I could do with extra help.

Now regarding verbal, I do feel fortunate that RC and CR make a lot of sense to me intuitively. The years of reading long passages at work of boring Financial Times articles and research papers sure played a vital part (come to think of it, they cover topics like economics and other areas of social sciences just like the GMAT does). SC I’m less comfortable with but the peculiar thing is that I almost score 100% correct with the so called ‘hard questions’ from Kaplan but trip up on the medium level SC questions. I’ve read that SC is like pattern recognition and practice makes perfect so I plan to tackle 20 SC questions everyday in the final 4 weeks of my preparation.

From what I can gather, 80 percentile in both verbal and quant should push you over the 700 mark or get you very close so yes 94% in Verbal and 77% in Quant = 710 makes sense. My target for Verbal is 40 (I’m quietly confident) and 48 – 50 for quant (less optimistic on 50 but hopeful on 48). I can’t wait to take the gmat prep exam and see if I’m completely delusional!

Lastly, I’m contemplating doing dozen or so of the GMAT Club maths tests instead of the Kaplan practice exams. I think 3 or 4 practice exams should be enough to simulate the real experience and my time is better spent honing in on my weak areas in quant. Any thoughts?
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 03:25
Update -

I finished the OG Quant Review today but haven't yet gone through my wrong answers in DS. Scored 67% overall in 124 DS questions. Again I didn't take any guesses on the questions I didn't know so that score would probably rise to 70 - 75% if I had done that. I only scored 72% in the 1st half so lots of mistakes no doubt with the easy questions and silly errors too. That's both a good and bad thing, good cos I know I can quite easily improve my score, bad cos I thought I had put more effort into avoiding careless errors!

I'm reasonably pleased with the progress I've made in quant and do think I'm improving albeit slowly. More and more, I'm starting to realise how little concepts like permutations or seriously advanced geometry are tested. Perhaps I'm much better off doing the medium to hard bin questions and mastering those rather than attempting to tackle the super hard questions. I read on this forum over and over again that the key to getting 48 - 50 on the quant section is about consistency.

The alarm is set for 9am tomorrow morning. I'm going into work on a Sunday to do the 1st GMAT Prep test. It's a simulation for the real thing and I figured what better place to do it than my quiet office. I will post my scores tomorrow.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 04:07
The score in gmat prep appears only once & after going to next screen, the score cant be reviewed again. So do take a snapshot of your gmat prep score using printscreen,
if you wanna document your scores.

Keep us posted.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 18:36
Ok the score is in.

Quant - 40
Verbal - 40
Overall - 650

A couple of things to note:
- I started badly on the verbal section and got the first 2 SC questions wrong!! I am certain that this killed any hope of getting a really fantastic score.
- Out of the 9 wrong verbal questions, 7 were SC (other 2 were CR although 1 of them I had to guess as time was running out fast)
- Timing in Verbal is more constrained than I anticipated, rushed through the last 8 or 9 questions in under 10 mins
- Quant questions got very difficult very quickly (perhaps due to getting the easy ones right to begin with), I think by the 8th or 9th question I was thinking Oh GOD!
- No particular areas of weakness in quant, I'd rather see it as ALL areas are weak
- My last 3 or 4 questions on the quant section were so easy that I just knew my score wasn't going to be great (and sure enough 60 percentile is just pathetic)
- The wierd thing with quant was that I finished with roughly 7 or 8 mins to spare so maybe I just didn't try hard enough and gave up too soon on the tougher questions

I will go through the wrong answers soon to get an even better understanding of where I went wrong but clearly the areas I need to focus on are
- SC, particularly the easier questions and simple idioms
- Quant is weak and perhaps the concepts are not fully grasped yet, I will get MGMAT number properties book soon and tutoring starts next week
- Purchase GMATClub tests and get working

The positives:
- aiming to get 700+ in 2 months time is a realistic goal
- plenty of easy marks to be had in quant but must work diligently
- SC is weaker than expected but overall well positioned with verbal

I was planning on going through the Kaplan Advanced book next week but will instead read over my notes on maths concepts and key in on some specific areas. I will also take a copy of my SC notes and begin memorising the important sections.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 18:50
On a side note, I spent a few mins looking into score breakdowns and here are some real examples

700 Q43 V41
710 Q47 V41
710 Q47 V41
710 Q46 V41
710 Q48 V39

Clearly if I can improve my verbal score by just 1 or 2, that takes the pressure off my quant score massively. I will focus on SC again and make sure I dominate SC on the next CAT test!

In terms of quant, it seems even Q45 is probably enough to carry me over the line of 700+. Q45 is the 75th percentile and I'm pretty confident I can work my way into the 80+ percentiles.

Alright, back to it!
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 19:23
Good luck Romaster.

I am in the same situation. My test is 1.5 month away and I am failing.
I just took MGMAT 1 today and ended up with 590 (Q42, V31).
Two months ago I scored 590 (Q40, V27) on Kaplan CAT.

So basically I spent two months studying quant and only improved by 2 questions :(
And I am targeting 730+!!!!
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 22:21
Romaster wrote:
On a side note, I spent a few mins looking into score breakdowns and here are some real examples

700 Q43 V41
710 Q47 V41
710 Q47 V41
710 Q46 V41
710 Q48 V39

Clearly if I can improve my verbal score by just 1 or 2, that takes the pressure off my quant score massively. I will focus on SC again and make sure I dominate SC on the next CAT test!

In terms of quant, it seems even Q45 is probably enough to carry me over the line of 700+. Q45 is the 75th percentile and I'm pretty confident I can work my way into the 80+ percentiles.

Alright, back to it!


You can refer to the attached table for more detailed anaysis of 700 bifurcation.
Attachments

700 Score Calculator.png
700 Score Calculator.png [ 26.27 KiB | Viewed 2026 times ]


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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2010, 17:57
Hussain15,

Thank you very much. This table is really helpful.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 16 Aug 2010, 20:00
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2010, 01:19
Indeed very useful! Thanks Hussain

I just looked over my wrong answers from the DS section of OG Quant Review and retook them. The results baffle me.

Out of the 41 questions I got wrong, I scored 50% accuracy on them second time around without having done any further studying! I think this shows too many silly errors were made on my 1st attempt and I definitely gave up too quickly and didn't persist with the tougher questions. My "laziness" was also evident in the 1st test I did as I had 10 mins to spare on the quant section. For a guy struggling a bit in quant, that should never happen! Has anyone got some tips on avoiding the silly mistakes? I still find myself jumping into the maths too soon and often missing the point of the question and what it's really asking...

Now my attention turns to the Manhattan number properties book which I hope to finish by the end of this week.

Surprisingly, motivation hasn't been much of a problem lately. I'm slightly ahead of schedule and will try to keep it that way. Browsing some courses I want to apply for also helped to spur me on!

Not sure if I mentioned this but programs I'm considering:
- MSc Finance @ Bocconi
- same course @ Warwick, Cass, RSM and SSE
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2010, 00:47
After a week away from studying and GMAT Club due to work commitments in Sydney, I thought it was fitting to begin the final phase (6 weeks left!) of my review with an update.

I have finished the Manhattan Number Properties book with fantastic results. I am no longer intimidated by complicated equations, roots, exponents and prime numbers. Since my experience with MGMAT was so positive, I have decided to order the inequalities and geometry books also.

My study plan for the next 6 weeks:
- 2 MGMAT maths books mentioned above
- Kaplan Advanced
- OG 12
- 5 Practice Tests (including AWA)
- GMAT Club tests (at least a few of them?)

My verbal skills continue to be an area of strength, so far scoring 80% accuracy in the Kaplan Advanced book. I have decided to save the Kaplan Advanced verbal section until the final weeks and only do the final third of the OG12 RC and CR questions seeing as they are largely taken care of and only the difficult questions are worthwhile doing IMHO.

Logically speaking (and I'm usually a glass half full type of guy), even if I'm not a 700 yet I shouldn't be far off right? My maths skills have definitely improved a lot since that 650 couple weeks ago and will only continue to get better while verbal was always very intuitive to me. I still think my approach to taking the test is poor though, ie I don't know how to get the best out of myself on the test in terms of timing the questions, taking reasonable guesses etc. I'm aware of some of the basics ie it's important to start well and finish strongly, avoid taking consecutive guesses, but if anyone knows a good post on test taking strategies/guessing please let me know! I definitely intend on employing these strategies on the practice tests to get a feel of the real thing. Also bought the Manhattan writing board and marker for the best possible simulation of test day. I'm itching to get to the finish line now, need to remain focused and not burn out over the next few weeks...
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 18:34
Hi all,

Here is another update with exactly 4 weeks left till test date!

I have managed to do a fair bit these last few weeks. Kaplan advanced maths, MGMAT number properties, geometry and inequality. I liked the geometry material a lot and can now confidently tackle even the really hard geometry problems. This is a massive improvement! For anyone struggling in geometry, refer to MGMAT. It’s only 100 pages and you can tackle it in 2 days. I find myself getting more and more of the harder maths questions correct now even though timing is still an issue. More practice is needed!

Yesterday I took time out to read the AWA guide by Chineseburned and feel pretty good about what’s required to get a good score. I mean a 5 out of 6 is barely 60 or 70 percentile and that is more than enough for my purposes.

The next 4 weeks - I’m going to concentrate mainly on OG. I also have the free MGMAT test, 2 Kaplan CATs and GMATPrep 2 to practice with. When I did Kaplan Advanced maths, I deliberately left out the verbal section for last minute verbal training because I feel my verbal is largely taken care of. I will also go through MGMAT SC one more time. In addition, I’ve put in 10 hours to practice the questions I got wrong in past tests as well. The last day before my test, I’m going to read my notes and get a massage to help me relax. Game day is just around the corner and I must finish strong!
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 18:51
Romaster,

Thanks for the update. That is a good plan to just use OG. Don't forget to use OG 10 too for more problems.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 19:01
Did you take any tests lately? You are making great progress. After I completed mgmat geometry guide - i felt the same. I could tackle more geometry questions quite confidently. I hope there is some book which teaches rcs also like that.
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Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!! [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 20:18
I haven't done any tests since GMATPrep 1 (scored 650). I do plan on taking a Kaplan CAT this Sat though. I will no doubt share my results on this forum.

Thanks Dawgie. I have OG 11 so will practice with that as well if I have time.
Re: Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!!   [#permalink] 14 Sep 2010, 20:18
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Experts publish their posts in the topic Hitting a "Quant Wall" m990540 7 06 Mar 2011, 14:59
I hit the wall this morning MeddlingKid 3 09 May 2008, 07:14
WHEN YOU HIT A WALL? golfpro20050 5 18 Jan 2007, 13:09
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Gmat Prep - Hit A Wall!!

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