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GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7??

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GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2011, 16:05
Hey all,

The first time I took the GMAT was in April 2010. I scored 680 (Q44, V38). I should have retaken the GMAT right then after about a month, but I was too lazy at that time and I was also not sure if I wanted to go to b-school. But now that I have decided to apply for admission in fall 2011 (to begin my course in fall 2012), I am retaking the GMAT.

I have booked my GMAT date for 25 July 2011.
I hope to get an overall score of 750 and individual scores of Q 49 to 50 and V 43 to 44.

Study material -

Apart from OG, I will be using the following.

Quant -
Total GMAT Math by Jeff Sackmann - I have just finished this book. I purchased this PDF about 10 days ago and I went through every problem in every section. I am using an error log and I have noted down all the problems I got wrong as well as those problems I found tough. I highly recommend Total GMAT Math. The quality of this book is top notch.

Extreme Challenge Set by Jeff Sackmann - I plan on purchasing this book eventually.

GMAT Club Tests - I have access to the GMAT Club Tests and I hope to use it extensively.

Verbal -
Manhattan SC & Powerscore CR - I need to work through both of these books again. I don't remember anything. :(
Knewton Online Prep course - I hope to use this to improve my verbal score.

I am going to try and log my schedule in this progress diary. :)

Only 54 more days to go!

Cheers
_______________________________________
UPDATE:

Official GMAT: 710 (Q48, V38)
_______________________________________

Last edited by ra011y on 25 Jul 2011, 14:10, edited 1 time in total.
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GMAT 4: 680 Q49 V34
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2011, 16:11
Good luck @ra011y. I'll be more than happy with the score that you got in your first attempt ;).
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 31 May 2011, 17:55
I will definitely be following this.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2011, 17:48
01 Jun, 2011

So i got up early today and read through the 'Manhattan SC - subject verb agreement' chapter.
I them attempted the related question in OG.
My accuracy stands at 87%.

In the evening I was able to read through the Parallelism and Modifier chapters.
I attempted the questions in OG.
My accuracy for Parallelism - 78%.
My accuracy for Modifiers - 73%.

This is not good. I will have to read through the chapters again and then attempt more questions of this type. Maybe I can use GMAT Club forums for that. :)

I can recall most of of the rules in the chapters, but I am not able to recall EACH and EVERY rule. It is tough to try to recall the exact rule when working on a problem. Should I be working towards being able to recall the exact rule that needs to be applied? I assume I am not going to be able to apply this (fast enough) at a 700+ level because questions at that level are typically a combination of various rules. Hmm. For now I think I am going to try and identify each and every rule for all the questions in the OG.

53 more days to go! :)
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2011, 17:48
rg1 wrote:
Good luck @ra011y. I'll be more than happy with the score that you got in your first attempt ;).

Thank you. :)
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2011, 04:30
Quick update: I looked at all the answers in the OG for the Parallelism section and what I found was that for ALL the answers I got right my reasoning was spot on. For all the questions that I got wrong, it was because I was comparing the wrong parts of the sentence and trying to get them to be parallel.

Note to self - (as obvious as it is) Always check if you are comparing the right parts of the sentence for parallelism errors!
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2011, 18:44
2 June 2011

So today I worked on 2 things today -
(1)Kaplan CD Problem Solving Set 4 - I got 13 out of 16 questions right. 2 out the 3 incorrect answers were because of careless mistakes. 1 of the incorrect answers was because of a gap in knowledge!! It was an overlapping sets question and I completely blanked out and forgot how to solve overlapping sets! There was not enough time for me to try to slowly derive the answer. I am not happy about this. I will need to do an ton of overlapping set questions to make sure I NEVER forget how to do them. :?

(2)Manhattan SC - Pronouns: 3 simple steps -
    (a) What is the antecedent of the pronoun?
    (b) Do the antecedent and the pronoun agree in number? (singular/plural)
    (c) Is the pronoun in the proper case?
I attempted the OG questions and I got 7/9 questions right. :?
I still need to look at all the answers, see how many I got right and make sure my reasoning was correct and also find out why I got the other 2 wrong.

edit: My reasoning for selecting the right answers seems pretty solid. My mistakes were because I found two tough and had to guess the answers.

And then sweet sleep. :)

52 days more people!

Last edited by ra011y on 03 Jun 2011, 20:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2011, 19:36
Hi ra011y,
I got the same score as you did just that the split was different . And I am aimmimng got the same score as you are 750 :) . I'll be following your post closely .
Hope you rock this time !!!

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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 20:08
vasureddy18 wrote:
Hi ra011y,
I got the same score as you did just that the split was different . And I am aimmimng got the same score as you are 750 :) . I'll be following your post closely .
Hope you rock this time !!!
Thank you vasureddy18. :)
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 20:13
3 June 2011

Today was not the most productive day in terms of my GMAT preparation. Had an early morning meeting and then many more such meetings throughout the day. And then I was invited to dinner at a colleagues house and I had to go. I managed to squeeze in 1 quick small test in the evening - Kaplan CD Problem Solving Set 5. Scored 13/16. The 3 mistakes were because of careless errors and approaching the problem incorrectly. :| Argh.

Anyway, I did very little today. I am hoping to catch up on a lot more over the weekend.

51 more days to go.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2011, 19:34
4 June 2011

I did 3 things today.

1) Manhattan SC - Verb tense, mood & voice - I am very unhappy about my performance. After solving all the related questions in the OG, I stand at 71% accuracy. Hmm. The first time I wrote the GMAT, SC was my strongest area. In my error log, I have marked the reason for the incorrect answers as: 2 - careless, 3 tough, 1 - not sure.

2) GMAT Club test - m01 - I scored 33/37. Although I score only 33, I found the test to be much easier than I expected. 4 questions were incorrect because of careless mistakes.

3) GMAT Club test - m02 - I scored 33/37. Again, I found the test to be easier than I expected. And again, all my mistakes were careless mistakes.

I am happy that there was no 'knowledge gap' and also that I was solving the questions in the most efficient ways possible. I am miffed that I made careless mistakes - not reading the question right, or reading the question half way and rushing in to solve it. I guess I need to curb my enthusiasm. :)

Also, maybe the initial GMAT Club tests are simple and they get harder later on?

50 days left.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2011, 11:17
5 June 2011

Completed 3 things on the 5th -
1) Manhattan SC - Comparisons - Accuracy of 85% from a total of 27 OG questions. Ever question that i got wrong was from the 700+ category. No careless mistakes. I did not find any single cause for the mistakes I made. I just did not do it right. More practice with 700+ questions I guess.

2) GMAT Club test - m03 - Score 30/37. Ouch. All 7 questions were careless errors. Ouch ouch. I knew how to solve all the questions. I am feeling bittersweet. On one hand I know I can solve each and every question. On the other hand I am making so many careless mistakes. :| I need to slow down.

3) Error Log - GMAT Club test - I revisited all the questions that i got wrong or had marked for review in the GMAT Club tests m01, m02 and m03.

49 days and counting.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2011, 11:19
The Error log

The error log is proving to be insanely valuable.
For quant, I note down in my error log all the questions that I find tough or all questions where I made mistakes.
I primarily use it as a tool to -

(a) Identify the leading cause of my mistakes; careless errors, knowledge gap, guess, tough, etc.
    For Quant, I do not use the accuracy % part because it is not going to be correct (since I do not note down all the questions I attempt).

    At this moment my Quant error log shows the following -

      Careless---------41%
      Guess -----------0%
      Not sure---------15%
      Tough -----------17%
      Knowledge gap---7%
      Read the Q-------4%

    My Verbal error log shows -

      Contains ALL OG questions (The ones I got right and wrong).

      Accuracy SC
      Subject-verb -- 87%
      Parallelism------78%
      Pronouns-------78%
      Modifiers-------73%
      Verbs-----------71%
      Comparison ----85%


      Log by issue
      Careless --------56
      Guess -----------0
      Not sure --------20
      Tough -----------23
      Knowledge Gap --9
      Read the Q ------5


    Careless - A whopping percentage of my mistakes are because of careless errors!
    Guesses - I consider this to be all those questions where I have had to make an outright guess. I never do this. Hence 0.
    Not sure - I consider this to be all those questions where I had to make an educated guess because I was not exactly sure of my answer. It could also be because I arrived at an answer that does not exactly match the answer choices. I almost always end up eliminating 2 or 3 answer choices, and I only ever have to make educated guesses from 2 or 3 answer choices. Questions marked 'not sure' could also potentially contain questions which I found tough.
    Tough- These also contain questions that I got right BUT personally found to be tough/tricky/confusing. It does mean that it contains only 700+ level questions. I am trying to find a pattern of question types (that transcends subject areas) that I find tough. Maybe with a larger data set I will find out something about 'how I think' and process questions.
    Knowledge Gap - I was initially facing this issue with overlapping sets and mixtures. I have corrected it now.
    Read the Q - Questions I did not read completely and ended up solving for something else. :oops:

(b) Note down all questions that are good concept testers
    I also have questions on the error log that I got right. I mark the question in the error log if I feel it is a good representation of a concept or if I liked it and it intrigued me (What? You don't think the GMAT has fun puzzle-like questions? :-D ).

I have not started working on critical reasoning. I am going to start this week.
I am not going to use the error log for RC questions.

How would I improve the error log?
1) Multiple issue types for a question - A question can be logged as (for example) both as 'tough' and 'knowledge gap'. Maybe you learnt something new from the question, but if the question makes you apply that knowledge along withe other subject areas and you find it to be at a 700 + level then I would like to note that down.

2) Your own personal nemesis GMAT CAT - A CAT where all the questions come only out of your error log. It should start off by throwing 600+ level questions at you from your error log and then increasing and decreasing the toughness depending on whether you get the answer right or wrong. You can also choose to solve questions from a single subject area. It never stops until you get ALL the answers right. :) I know - this is probably overkill. :)
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2011, 17:47
Wow!, this is one of the good posts, I am definitely going to follow closely on this...Keep it up!
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2011, 20:33
wow! i too am in the same boat(though i haven't booked the test), so i will be following this closely...hope u get that 700+
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2011, 06:04
6 June 2011

So I got my first kick in the gonads yesterday.
I scored 25/37 (68%) in GMAT Club Test - m04. Ouch. That hurts.

I got a total of 12 questions wrong.
Careless mistakes - 8
Tough - 2
Knowledge gap - 2

Knowledge gap questions -
1) 0^0 - I took this to be 1. But apparently, from all the discussion in this forum, 0^0 is considered to be undefined in GMAT.
2) Go ahead and try solving this question. I found it thoroughly interesting - http://gmatclub.com/forum/i-cant-understand-how-the-oa-is-101475.html. Once you do that scroll down to read one of Bunuel's fantastic explanations.
    INSIGHT:"No reduced fraction when squared can equal to an integer. The square root of an integer is either an integer or an irrational number." I think that at some level I was intuitively aware of this, but I was not COMPLETELY sure. Now this is the kind of question I look forward to when I sit down to solve the GMAT Club Tests. :)

Careless mistakes -
Once I got my result, I tried to solve the questions I got wrong without looking at the explanations. And I got them correct the second time around. Within 2 minutes. I had made some silly calculation error or such. I need to slow down, read the question more carefully and cross check my answer with what the question is asking.

48 days baby! Got to get harder, better, faster, stronger. :-D
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2011, 19:21
7 June 2011

Math day again.
1) Kaplan CD Problem Solving Set 6 - Scored 14/16
2) Kaplan CD Data Sufficiency Set 1 - 15/20 (This was really very fast paced. 20 question and only 25 minutes; 1.25 min/ques)

I am coming to realize the amount of effort needed to frame a question in the GMAT. Kaplan has a few questions which are worded ambiguously, at least according to me. I feel that the fewer the words in the question, the more easier it becomes to frame (like in inequality questions). But that does not mean that they are easy to create. In-fact, often the trickiest questions seem to have the fewest words.

All the preparation that must go into creating a new GMAT question - the careful consideration one must pay to every small detail, the right choice of words, the tedious analysis of figuring out how all a test taker may interpret the question, 'covering your ass' by making sure the question is not making assumptions or leaving loopholes - all this is most definitely a tremendous task! Considering all of this, I now have new found respect (I already had quite a bit before) for the GMAT Club Tests. What quality! Well done GMAT Club!

47 days left.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2011, 04:03
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10 June 2011

Reading Comprehension -
The GMAT likes to introduce a theory or work in the first paragraph, discuss its merits and influence in the second, and examine its flaws and short comings in the third and final paragraph. For these types of RC's, there is almost always a question that concentrates on the third paragraph and/or gives you an answer choice that states that the author is critical of the passage.

One key thing I have learned in the last few days is to always take a step back and examine the RC passage as a whole after I finish reading the 3rd paragraph. I tend to look at the 3rd paragraph as the conclusion of the RC. And since the 3rd paragraph is the last thing I read, it has a much stronger imprint on my mind. This is incorrect and the GMAT seems to understand that many people do this.
KEY: Always re examine the RC passage as a whole when answering questions that focus on the 3rd paragraph (questions that make the 3rd para seem like the final conclusion of the author)

45 days.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 13 Jun 2011, 03:24
13 June 2011

The weekend was spent reading up on Knewton's concepts on Subject Verb Agreement and then attempting all related questions. I also attempted all OG question for S-V agreement. I scored 100%. I have a much clearer understanding on S-V agreement now. I want to go through and finish Knewton SC sections this week .After this week I dont want to have to touch SC concepts again. I jut want to attempt SC questions. Also, I badly need to start working on CR and RC.

I revisited my error log. Still a few questions I get stuck in. Damn.

I have started working through Jeff Sackmann's Extreme Challenge Set. I finished the first 20 problems.
I got 14 out of 20 right. Thats 70%. I got 3 careless errors. Argh! I hate these types of errors. And I also had 3 questions where I timed out. They were kinda tough. But now I know how to solve questions these types of questions.

More on the Extreme Challenge set later.

42 days amigos.
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Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7?? [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2011, 09:15
16 June 2011

Alright, so what have I been doing since 13th June?

1) Knewton SC - Pronoun & OG Pronoun rework
2) Knewton SC Parallelism & OG Parallelism rework
3) Extreme Set DS - 66 to 80
4) Reviewed error logs from the Extreme Set. Now that I have finished the first half of PS section and the first half of DS section, I am going to attempt the remaining questions and see how much I have understood. The reason I have split the Extreme Challenge Set into 2 halves is because I read somewhere on this site that the second half is a revisit of the types of questions in the first half. So lets see if I learned anything.
5) Kaplan CD Sentence Correction 1 test - 21/22 questions correct. Woohoo! But, I am not a fan of the answer explanations. I guess its because I am used to such high quality verbal analysis as is done by OG and Knewton. I especially find it very off-putting when the explanations contains phrases like - 'listen for things that sound funny...' or 'you should be able to hear it...'. Come on Kaplan! Give me a precise answer.

39 days more. Holy shit!
Re: GMAT Progress Diary - From 680 to 7??   [#permalink] 16 Jun 2011, 09:15
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