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GMAT - third time around

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GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2011, 18:40
I am back to the GMAT. As much as I hate it, I have no choice either!
After my terrible performance on the test last time, I have finally gathered the courage to sit for the test again. For those of you who are curious about my last GMAT journey and experience can look up my last few posts.

So what I realized is
- not enough practice in the Quant section
- did not target the basics very well in quant
-could use some more practice in RC
-could also use some more basic English grammar review
Looks like I am pretty much weak is most sections. I found it really hard to improve in my CR performance during your my last GMAT study but now I realize that I am decent in that area :-)
This is my third time and I seriously cannot afford to screw it up again. Planning to do some free-style study. I'm not even going to book the date and will give myself 4-5 months of prep.
My plan is to start with CR and complete CR review using the powerscore CR bible. Then straight to practice. Once done with CR, I'll touch some grammar rules using the MgMAT SC and SC Grail. Oh and a daily doze of some GMAT fiction ( as suggested by bb)!!! I never really had too much trouble with R. Strategy my last time but I remember bein under pressure for the last 2 Rc passages during the test. This means I need to improve upon speed.
I assume that all of this will take me about 2 months. Next will be quant. I got a couple of high school math books from my local library. Will go through these books to really gt the basics right. Follow this with the mgmat quant books

I shall make a detailed plan in another week or so but this is my high level plan

I am particularly concerned of the fact that I am done with the official guides and although I might have some concepts to extract out of this book, I'm afraid I remember most of the answers especially in the verbal section. Any ideas here??

Also I'm wondering if I should shift to th veritas books this time around.

Ok, thanks for reading and I will be very happy to read your views here
My last GMAT score taken 3 weeks ago was 480 q33 and v23

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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2011, 18:55
Wanted to add:
My first GMAT was about 8 months back and I took it with only 3-4 weeks of prep. Never scored more than 530-550 in practice tests and got a 490 q39 V 20 on the test. This time I really(well, atleast according to me) studied for 2.5 months to score a 480(duh!, I know it sucks). I do recollect being a little worn out and tired on the G-day. This was another minus. Also, I never did the AWAs during my practice CATs. AWAs are imp. in every test, it gets our mind used to 3.5 hours instead of just 2.5 hours.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 00:49
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Hello!
A couple bits of advice

1) You probably don't need to go over old high school math books. While these would be useful, they are probably not the most efficient use of your time. Stick with the Manhattan series if you've already got it, and just make sure you know their material really well. You may have to go through some of the books two or three times

2) You're right about needing to get the basics down. Everything builds on the basics

3) When studying think quality more than quantity. Make sure you really review the questions that you've done and have learned from them. After doing questions for the first time make sure you check to see if you had the best thought process and if you got the question wrong make sure you write down WHY you got the question wrong.

Good luck!
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 08:20
I have 10 days to go till G-day and I need around 660 to have a fighting chance to apply for the schools I want to go to. I'm feeling pretty sick today though... so I might take it easy and review some of my previous tests.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 09:14
Don't get discouraged or mentally prepare yourself to get a low score. If you get in the wrong mindset, it won't matter how hard you study.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 13:37
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Applauds for the spirit! I was sure you had the determination to give it again, a small advice is get a hang on the quant first, for verbal you need a different strategy, try to use different material from last time...

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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 17:25
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Well, I personally think that you should study the Verbal section first, which is much difficult to improve than Quant section.
Start practicing RC as soon as possible (by reading the fictions recommended by bb)
If CR is your weak area, you need to learn the strategies. Depending on each person, the amount of time to digest the concepts/techniques can be 1-2 week(s) or 1 month. You probably need more time on practicing to make the strategies learnt in the book become your instinct.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 18:15
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Expert's post
heygirl wrote:
Wanted to add:
My first GMAT was about 8 months back and I took it with only 3-4 weeks of prep. Never scored more than 530-550 in practice tests and got a 490 q39 V 20 on the test. This time I really(well, atleast according to me) studied for 2.5 months to score a 480(duh!, I know it sucks). I do recollect being a little worn out and tired on the G-day. This was another minus. Also, I never did the AWAs during my practice CATs. AWAs are imp. in every test, it gets our mind used to 3.5 hours instead of just 2.5 hours.


Oh yes, I remember! The essays are a drain. They love to suck a lot of energy out of you before showing you the first Quant question! (and you actually feel tired by the time you start Verbal) So it is a test of your grit and determination too, not just concepts.
To do well in the Quant section, you should know the basics cold. The reason is that they are used in almost every Quant question and if you feel yourself lacking in them, you may not do well. Say, you know how to solve a time speed distance problem and you make equations (or ratios) to solve the question. But thereafter, if you are not comfortable with solving the equation or manipulating the ratios, you will not get the right answer. So it wouldn't matter how well you knew Time-Speed-Distance, the basics will kill you. If high school books help you, go with them, else you can try something like purplemath.com or khanacademy.com
And yes, reading will not only help you improve your language but also make you feel calmer. It is a great stress buster.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 18:44
Thank you all for this support. I was overwhelmed with the suggestions and opinions that I have received here :-D .

gmatGREdan,

I had really followed this approach in my last attempt too - the review process, still I ended up making a mess of the actual test

I plan to give myself 4-5 months time, unless I pick up speed suddenly..in this case wouldn't it be better to pick up some high school math materials?

desiaggie,
thanks for ur support here...your first two sentences gave me so much motivation!!! :) :) :)
Yes, I'm considering looking at Veritas books this time especially for Quant. I'm actually quite comfortable in the Verbal portion but the tired ness on test day drained me out expecially for RC questions and CR too.

windofchange,
Yes, I was also thinking of taking up Verbal first. Because once we get a hold of the Verbal section then practice alone will take us a long way and I can get this practice going along with Quant prep. Hope that helps me.

Karishma,
That's right, the esays suck up so much energy and I actually underestimated this :-(. This time I'm going to do every single test with the essay...is there some work around this?
I actually never had problems with the algebra or arithmetic basics..my issues has been with solving word problems, Geometry, statistics and sets.Looks like all the GMAT related questions types are giving me trouble :shock: :shock: .I"ll need to get the basics right for such word problems and also learn to solve them within the time limit.
In my last attempt I clearly remember why I messed up Quant :arrow: I took each question too seriosuly..I need to work on timing and test taking strategy this time around so that I know which questions to skip and which to spend those extra 30 seconds on. Also, I'm thinking of the VEritas books for Quant(heard good things about it).

Thank You all, again :) . I have got the motivation to pick up my books again...:-)
I am yet to make a plan for myself. This plan will help me stick to deadlines. i'm not going to book the test this time until I'm consistently scoring above my target score in ever test. In my last prep, in Feb-march, I was scoring well during the peak of my prep and then the score started falling down by 30-40 points in the last 3 weeks leading to the test(may be test stress as well). I should have taken the cue but I didn't and went ahead with the test to see a score that I had never seen on any GMAT prep, including the ones before any GMAT study at all.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 18:56
Another question on my mind - How does a third attempt on the GMAT score report look to admissions? I don't know if this matters but , I am not applying to MIT,HBS, Kellogg etc and the other top ranked schools; it is pretty much my local state university.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2011, 23:27
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Hello again!
High school math materials would help you, but I'm still not sure they would be the BEST use of your time. Really, going over a OG problem should take you about 2 minutes to do and then about 3-6 minutes to review, and if you get the question wrong you need to do the question again a second time a week or a couple weeks later to make sure that you really learned from your mistake. If you get the question wrong again (or spent longer than 2 minutes doing the question) you should redo the question a third time and so on. So you see, doing this can be quite time consuming. This applies to the SC section as well.

That said, if you've already gone through all of the OG and the OG quant book then you might finish going through all of the questions (thoroughly) early. If you think this might happen and you want to use a high school math book I'd say choose your chapters with some care because some chapters will be more relevant than others (such as doing the exponents chapter).

As for taking the test multiple times- it shouldn't hurt you very much. I've talked to a couple people who are part of the entrance process and really what matters most is progression (your scores go up in between exams) and more importantly, your highest GMAT score.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2011, 07:46
GMATgreDan,
Thanks for posting back. I was kind of confused on where to start the Quant part. Actually, what you say is right , I have gone through most OG questions and this may end up in me finishing the OG books pretty early. So I'm going to leave this for my last month of prep.
I've not booked the test yet and I have a target of taking the test in July or August. so this leaves me time to concetrate on every aspect of the test.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2011, 14:54
Expert's post
heygirl wrote:


Karishma,
That's right, the esays suck up so much energy and I actually underestimated this :-(. This time I'm going to do every single test with the essay...is there some work around this?
I actually never had problems with the algebra or arithmetic basics..my issues has been with solving word problems, Geometry, statistics and sets.Looks like all the GMAT related questions types are giving me trouble :shock: :shock: .I"ll need to get the basics right for such word problems and also learn to solve them within the time limit.
In my last attempt I clearly remember why I messed up Quant :arrow: I took each question too seriosuly..I need to work on timing and test taking strategy this time around so that I know which questions to skip and which to spend those extra 30 seconds on. Also, I'm thinking of the VEritas books for Quant(heard good things about it).



Try and conserve your energy for the Quant and Verbal sections. For that, be comfortable with the template of Essays so that you just need to plug in according to your topic. You wouldn't need to think for the essays very much in that case. Make sure you take every break and eat and drink appropriately during the breaks. May be wash your fresh to feel fresher- whatever works for you. Practicing along with the essays would be great if you can pull it off. Most people find it too tiresome!

Yes, Veritas books are pretty good! Though all of them are a great value add and have good tricky questions, I especially like the Geometry, Statistics, Data Sufficiency and Advanced Word Problems books.

If you are unable to grasp what the question is asking in the first 30 seconds, it's a good idea to guess and move on and save that time. Guessing is a part of the game, it is not 'giving-up'.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2011, 18:07
VeritasPrepKarishma wrote:
Try and conserve your energy for the Quant and Verbal sections. For that, be comfortable with the template of Essays so that you just need to plug in according to your topic. You wouldn't need to think for the essays very much in that case. Make sure you take every break and eat and drink appropriately during the breaks. May be wash your fresh to feel fresher- whatever works for you. Practicing along with the essays would be great if you can pull it off. Most people find it too tiresome!

Yes, Veritas books are pretty good! Though all of them are a great value add and have good tricky questions, I especially like the Geometry, Statistics, Data Sufficiency and Advanced Word Problems books.

If you are unable to grasp what the question is asking in the first 30 seconds, it's a good idea to guess and move on and save that time. Guessing is a part of the game, it is not 'giving-up'.


thanks again.
Yes,It is definitely a good idea to have templates ready for the essay section. This is something that I did not do in my last GMAT attempt.
I need help especially in the word problems area. So , am going to go and get that particular veritas book :) . If this book works for me, I"ll consider getting the other ones,later into my prep.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2011, 22:17
Seems like your math score is fine. Focus more on the verbal and just brush up on your quants a little.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2011, 04:36
aznboi986 wrote:
Seems like your math score is fine. Focus more on the verbal and just brush up on your quants a little.

haha, IMO, Q 33 is definitely not a worthy score either :-D . Actually, my V and Q scores, both are low. This means both sections need brushing up.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 10:32
I just came back from my first GMAT and scored a paltry 530.

Quant section let me down by quite a bit. The breaks were reduced to 6 minutes from 8. I got q31 v 33

My last few practice tests were 580, 600, 640.

I couldn't quite get used to the scratch pads as well and will definitely retake once I can guarantee q40+.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 10:42
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Don't forget the forum. In addition to being free, it has some great math and verbal sections right here, often with questions. Drilling lots and lots of questions (like with Kaplan 800, Princeton Review 1012, or the OGs -- particularly 10 and 12) seemed to help me get better at it.

But also don't give up your confidence and self regard. No matter what you do, I think that's the main thing. It's very hard to learn all this, but very easy to mess up if you panic during the test (that happened to me years ago). If you find yourself at that spot, take a deep breath, reassess, and keep going. (I know this sounds silly, but it helps me to visualize a relaxing beach on a sunny day.)

Don't give up and keep trying :-)
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2011, 13:43
Thanks, I will do.

I think I will also get some Staedtler marker pens and plastic foil to practice on real paper. To be honest I think there are two pen sizes, the thinner one being easier to use during the quant section.

Having only 6 minutes during break times caused me to start with 9 seconds less, which probably broke my concentration. Anyway, I will make the official guide my priority reading companion.

I also have business week subscription to keep me entertained.furthermore I will also start reading some degree level management material to give me a broader understanding before I attend business school.

I am confident that I will be able to improve my score, regardless to if it's going to take me another two times to reach my target.
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Re: GMAT - third time around [#permalink] New post 05 May 2011, 15:00
There ya go :-) . Even a journey of 10,000 miles begins with one step (in paraphrasing a Chinese proverb).

Don't forget to create an error log or have a study plan in mind. I've found these two posts particularly helpful, use them as they befit your goals:

- Study Plan: gmat-study-plan-start-your-gmat-journey-80727.html

- Book Reviews / Plans: best-gmat-books-77703.html

Bonus: Of course, you can go through a *ton* of practice questions all on the forum too >>
- gmat-math-questions-and-intellectual-discussions-7/
- verbal-gmat-questions-11/

Keep at it! You'll make it soon enough! :-D


Frozenace wrote:
Thanks, I will do.

I think I will also get some Staedtler marker pens and plastic foil to practice on real paper. To be honest I think there are two pen sizes, the thinner one being easier to use during the quant section.

Having only 6 minutes during break times caused me to start with 9 seconds less, which probably broke my concentration. Anyway, I will make the official guide my priority reading companion.

I also have business week subscription to keep me entertained.furthermore I will also start reading some degree level management material to give me a broader understanding before I attend business school.

I am confident that I will be able to improve my score, regardless to if it's going to take me another two times to reach my target.

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Re: GMAT - third time around   [#permalink] 05 May 2011, 15:00
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