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GMAT Study Strategy Help

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GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2012, 14:40
Hi Everyone,
Thanks in advance for anyone who reads and posts advice my strategy to study.

Background Info
-I'd say I am fairly decent at doing quant questions.
-I am still struggling a little in both verbal and quant sections
-I have completed the Manhattan GMAT Prep Course.
-I had taken the GMAT and scored a 650.
-Goal is to break 700's

Study Strategy
-I have completed all 6 CAT exams on the MGMAT, completed 12th Ed OG verbal and quant.

-Currently, I am reading over the Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible. Also, while I am reading I am typing notes on the side, and when I answer the problem sets I give a description of why the answer choice is right or wrong.

-I am also reading Aristotle Sentence Correction Grail. I am also writing notes as I read the book. (Haven't gotten to problem sets yet)


-I am on BeatTheGMAT daily newsletter for GMAT questions and try to go through and answer as many as I can. I am up to day 37. I take note in an excel spreadsheet of the questions I got wrong. (How am I taking note?) Column 1 is link to the question, column 2 title of question, column 3 is what did I miss in the problem or how was the problem solved.
Example: TITLE: shades of grey Comments:"3x + 5x = 8x the mixture needs to be at least 2 liters so min of white would be .75 and black would be 1.25. easiest to find this would be to divide entire equation by 4. 3/4x + 5/4x = 8/4x to make entire solution equal to 2.
since you can only buy in halves. you would need 1ltr of white and 1.5 of black for a total of 2.5"

-Previously I have jotted notes down on a concept I had missed on an exam or problem but it never wrote down what problem it referred to. So it was just notes on concepts.

-I just retook a MGMAT CAT exam and got a 680. and going through each problem i got wrong and taking note.


Strategy going forward
-I was thinking of going through the problems again I have answered already and seeing if I can answer them correctly.
-Redoing the 12ed OG questions.

Thoughts?? especially from those who went from a 650 to past 700
-What am I doing wrong here? I feel I am not getting anywhere.
-How are you analyzing questions you have missed? What questions go through your mind when reworking a problem?
-What kinds of notes are you taking?
-Should I improve the notes I take on questions I have missed? Should I put them in some sort of category?
-When you attack a problem what goes through your mind? I have a tendency to try and do everything algebraically and set everything up in formulas. Trying to break away from this habit and think about "What is the test taker trying to test me on. Can I somehow solve this problem very quickly?"

-For verbal how are you breaking down SC questions do you look straight for S-V agreements, then pronouns, etc.
-Any suggestions you have I am all ears. I just want to demolish this :2gunfire:GMAT and get it over with. It's been a grueling 6 months of studying. I forgot what my life used to be without the GMAT.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2012, 06:36
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Hi calreg11!

I can understand your frustration... many of our students study for a long time and feel like they just aren't getting anywhere! May I ask where you live? Perhaps you need more personal attention to see if there is a problem with the way you are approaching the test.

Without knowing you personally, I can give three tips:

1. Test prep companies' tests aren't as accurate as the GMATPrep software. We do our best, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that there is realistically no way to ape the sophistication and precision of the GMAT CAT algorithm and difficulty levels!

2. Quality over quantity! You need to get the most out of each problem you work. So do the same problems again. Understand them. Do them a different way. Think about how you would solve similar problems on the real test. Think about how you would solve a completely different problem that played on one or two of the concepts mentioned.

3. Once you're in with a company or a brand set of materials, stick with those books plus the Official Guide. Most GMAT guides aren't, unfortunately, as focused on skill development as they are on sophistic "strategy-tipping" and so, once again, greater quantity will not always be tantamount to higher quality.

4. Skill building isn't just about learning how to "work practice GMAT questions." Drill on basic math facts and common formulas. Read heavy academic materials to get used to the style. Brush up on deductive logic with some good exercises. Work on sentence structure and diagramming.

Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.
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Last edited by rustypolymath on 13 Feb 2012, 06:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 25 Jan 2012, 19:37
Thanks rustypolymath. I guess I needed some pep talk on motivating me to keep on truckin.
I am in Los Angeles.
I guess it will be best if i start going over my practice problems again and see if i can solve them and solve them again.

When you take practice exams how many times did you look over them? I just went over an exam that I took with MGMAT. Should I wait till I go back and look at it again or just go through it once more?
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2012, 02:42
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calreg11 wrote:
Thanks rustypolymath. I guess I needed some pep talk on motivating me to keep on truckin.
I am in Los Angeles.
I guess it will be best if i start going over my practice problems again and see if i can solve them and solve them again.

When you take practice exams how many times did you look over them? I just went over an exam that I took with MGMAT. Should I wait till I go back and look at it again or just go through it once more?


I would say look over the Quant questions until you have so thoroughly fried them that you can't learn anything new. The Verbal, however, is a much less-than-precise imitation of its GMAT counterpart (I'm not picking on MGMAT; most test prep companies have a rougher time turning out good home-grown Verbal questions by default; we have experience in this area, too), so there's less you can learn from a non-GMAC Verbal review.
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2012, 14:25
Expert's post
calreg11 wrote:
Thanks rustypolymath. I guess I needed some pep talk on motivating me to keep on truckin.
I am in Los Angeles.
I guess it will be best if i start going over my practice problems again and see if i can solve them and solve them again.

When you take practice exams how many times did you look over them? I just went over an exam that I took with MGMAT. Should I wait till I go back and look at it again or just go through it once more?


If you're looking for a peptalk, make sure you read this article on GMAT psychology & timing strategies: http://www.gmatpill.com/about/studying- ... trategies/

Cognition: Think extreme positivity and confidence.


In a way, this is a chicken and egg problem. You need to do well on GMAT questions in order to be confident. And you need confidence in order to get the tough GMAT questions correct. But you should develop a little of each and have them grow upon each other.

Bad thoughts:
1) I suck at math.
2) There’s no way I’ll finish the exam.
3) English is not my first language, I can’t do it.

Good thoughts:
1) Math is not my strong point, but this math isn’t rocket science. Sure, I get some wrong, but looking back at them–the questions are actually pretty easy. I just need become familiar with the different ways that the GMAT can test me on these relatively simple concepts that I learned in high school. I can do that! No problem!

2) GMAT is a timed test. I’ve had tons of timed tests before. I just need to come in with the right thought process and get enough practice that I have the confidence to know when I am positively sure about a GMAT question. By being super confident in an answer in as little time as possible, I know know I’ll be able to nail the super easy ones in less than one minute and the harder ones in less than 2-3 minutes. Confidence = less double checking/rereading = less time.

3) Although idioms are a part of the GMAT, a lot of the questions actually don’t test the idioms. A lot of times there are other concepts tested alongside the idioms and as long as I focus on that portion of the question, understand the key frameworks, and recognize how those concepts can show up in test questions, I’ll be fine.

Extreme positivity:

I’m going to kickass on the GMAT. Sure, I’ve been to college and failed tons of exams. But the GMAT is so much easier–it’s high school material repackaged in fancy, awkward questions. I just need to get used to it. My goal is to follow a study plan. I’ll stick to it and keep pushing myself. Heck, I’ll even visualize the questions that I got wrong and see myself think through it correctly as if I were sitting in for the real exam.

My strategy will be to first get as many correct lGMAT practice questions as I can. Then I’ll try to get those questions correct in as little time as possible. Any question the GMAT throws at me will be answered correctly and tossed away as I wait for the next one. Bring it!
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2012, 20:44
gmatpill wrote:
Extreme positivity:

I’m going to kickass on the GMAT. Sure, I’ve been to college and failed tons of exams. But the GMAT is so much easier–it’s high school material repackaged in fancy, awkward questions. I just need to get used to it. My goal is to follow a study plan. I’ll stick to it and keep pushing myself. Heck, I’ll even visualize the questions that I got wrong and see myself think through it correctly as if I were sitting in for the real exam.

My strategy will be to first get as many correct lGMAT practice questions as I can. Then I’ll try to get those questions correct in as little time as possible. Any question the GMAT throws at me will be answered correctly and tossed away as I wait for the next one. Bring it!


Wow, what a great and inspiring post!! Love the "high school material repackaged in fancy, awkward questions" bit. This is a great way to visualize the test and boost my confidence. Thanks!
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2012, 08:05
One thing you should try to do with verbal, especially sentence correction is take a lot of time to reflect on all of your missed practice questions. Set a goal to never make the same type of mistake twice. Verbal is harder to get better at than Quant, so you really need to reflect deeply on why missed a question and think about what you can to not miss a similar question going forward.
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2012, 10:22
Little known fact: If you are scoring in the 70th percentile on your GMAT exams and have taken their course, email student services and request their advanced question bank for quant.

This should give you some new practice material.

Last... positive thoughts... trick yourself in thinking you are a 700 performer and you will be :)

I have not taken the actual exam yet so I cant offer specific things of my story... but I will in a few months :-D
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2012, 18:15
wallstreetbarbie: thanks for the advice. I just called and they added the feature on my account.
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Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2012, 00:26
Could you suggest some books which contain drills and problems in the range of 760 and above. And yes, I heard that besides Manhattan books, Total GMAT Math is also not enough. U have to go through Extreme Maths Challenge (by the same Author). And what do people think about the EZ solutions..?
And yes, any good verbal books..?
Re: GMAT Study Strategy Help   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2012, 00:26
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