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My exam date is in 7 weeks and I'm nowhere near prepared yet - it's taken 1 month just to cover the Number Properties, Fractions and Equations books and I haven't even started on the Verbal stuff. The books seem to take forever to go through thoroughly. I've been trying to go through them as thoroughly as possible so I can get a 700+ score. I've been putting in 3 hours a day and 12 hours or so on weekends for the past 3 weeks.
The good news is that I've almost done all the questions in those books but I still feel like I have a massive mountain to climb to get up to speed with everything. The bad news is that I got 50% of those questions wrong the first time around... Then I went back and did them again and I got around 80-90% correct.
I've been keeping an error log even just for the practice set questions in the MGMAT books and I've also been making sticky notes in the content areas of each book that I'm not sure of, i.e. some of the more obscure things covered so I know what didn't 'sink in' when I wsa studying so I can go back and focus on those areas.
I haven't done any diagnostic or practice tests as yet as I just felt that I haven't been prepared enough. I think I should be able to start doing some in 2 weeks time.
I guess it's time to start doing practice tests in between learning verbal? Do you think I have any chance of a good score in the next 7 weeks?
Any advice and help would be very appreciated... Starting to get quite stressed now
First off, 7 weeks is ample time. I think you might have to redo your studying strategy, but yes, starting to take practice tests might be a good idea. How long do you study each day? Maybe doing 2 hours per weekday and maybe 6 hours in the weekend or something like that would help?
Diagnostic tests are meant to be taken before you are thorough to get a baseline understanding of where you stand. Sometimes intuitively you might have a great understanding of the concept. I suggest taking a GMAT Prep as a diagnostic now (I've been meaning to do this myself for ages, and failing miserably to find time), and then depending on your score and weak areas, start working on verbal.
I would agree with whiplash on this one. It sounds to me like you might be burning yourself out with all of your studying! I would definitely suggest that you take a practice test as soon as you can, so that you know exactly where you stand. Make sure to use all of the analysis tools we use with the test, too, so can figure out where your weaker areas are as well as your stronger areas.
Once you've taken your first practice test, you might also want to go through the books at a quicker pace, picking up what you can from a first read-through (and doing a selective amount of problems,) and using your sticky notes to mark where you feel you should go back through if you have time later. In this way, you'll know you're at least familiar with all the content, if not yet expert in it, and it may help you feel less stressed. Then, when you take a practice exam, you can say "ah yes, I remember reading about this type of problem - looks like I need to go back and look over that part again" or "looks like that first read through was enough for me to grasp the concept."
thanks guys that made me feel a bit better about all of this - I seriously had enough of the GMAT today, I felt like throwing my books out the window and I had no motivation to keep going through the books for today's study session - a sign of burnout I'm sure!
I've probably been approaching this in the wrong way - i.e. trying to thoroughly cover every inch of the MGMAT books instead of going through them and marking the weaker points (I actually only starting doing that this week - I wish I'd thought of it before!) with sticky notes. I've already noticed some subjects sink in easily whilst others are complete mysteries to me. This would have saved me a lot of time because some of the concepts I remembered quite easily from high school and others were completely new to me.
I read that article thanks cclay. This paragraph in particular made a lot of sense at this stage of my preparation:
"The average MBA applicant works for at least a few years after undergrad before returning to school. Depending on your job, you may or may not keep up with any of the content tested by the GMAT. Most of us don't - yet we do need to have specific knowledge in order to score well on the test. Knowing how much you don't know is key to establishing your prep plan. "
So - I'm going to find out how much I do and don't know by doing the practice test like you guys suggested.
I'm also going to design a study schedule e.g 8-10 only on weeknights and 10 hours on weekends max. That way it's more effective and I won't burnout as easily.
I'm not going to focus anymore on doing every single question in the MGMAT books - I will start by doing - like you said cclay - a select amount of problems and skip the grey areas until later. I'll also do one or two practice exams and then focus on my weak points after that.
I think this is making sense now - quality over quantity regarding effective study
How much time is recommended for practice question studying - one month?
I'm glad you read the article, and it sounds like you're on a path to productive studying! Best of luck with your practice test!
In terms of length of time studying, our courses run for 9 weeks because we feel it takes at least that long to absorb everything you need, but it really is up to each individual what he or she feels is necessary in order to do well. 1-2 months does sound about right though.
Caitlin Clay | Manhattan GMAT Student Services Associate | New York
First, you certainly made the right move by incorporating the MGMAT into your math preparation. It's also good to see that, once you detected a problem, you are asking questions and adjusting your studies accordingly. Many people fail to do so, and it costs them. Kudos for doing the right thing!
While the MGMAT math guides are excellent, their end-of-chapter questions frustrated me and brought on fatigue. If you find yourself in the same position, then skip those questions and just do the suggested OG problems found in the "Official Guide Problems" section.
And try to find some time to go through a practice test. Do your best to mimic actual test conditions as much as possible. But don't get too extreme with the CAT's! As you have discovered, the phrase "too much of a good thing" applies to the GMAT, including the practice tests.
Another thing to meditate on is the whole "quantity versus quality" dilemma. It's not really about pitting one against the other; the important thing is to find the right balance between the two. This takes some time and experimentation, but you can do it. In fact, you're already accomplishing it right now!