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Help on 500 to 700 how

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Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2009, 17:04
Hi to all,

I have sat GMAT 3 times, while it does sound ridiculous, I underestimated the strength of the exam the first two times, thinking I could just wing it in the exam, as I did when I was at uni years ago, with a months worth of swat, and then just turn up to the exam with little previous prep.

However after going throgh a lot of threads in this club and reading about others, I decided to take a serious attempt for my 3rd GMAT Test. Devoted 4 months of study, did all the questions from Official Guide, quant review & verbal review, took 4 exams from the GMAT club and two from the actual mba.com. Ended up with a final score of 500.

I have decided I dont wish to chuck in the towel, and i believe I can get 700 after reading some inspirational posts from others. But I need help on how to attack it this time? What sort of strategy material? Or, how to structure a study plan?

As my last plan for study involved doing for example:
Maths - monday, tuesday, wed
English mainly Sentence Correction - Thursda & Friday
English ; reading commprehenson & critical reasoning - saturday

Generally i would just keep going through the offical or main GMAT books questions...
Can someone suggest a more concrete study plan and how to attack GMAT I would be very much grateful, as I live in NZ, and we have no GMAT coaches, classes. less then a handful of people even know what GMAT is... Explaining to my friends that Im studying for some obsecure exam where you pitted against a comp that decides your next question based on the your last question just gives me blank faces...

Help would be much appreciated I have about 6 months to study, and would really to have a crack at 700.

Many thanks
J
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2009, 00:21
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Hey Forrester,
I'll have some thoughts for you early next week - traveling this weekend and typing on iPod. Remind me if you don't hear back.

One thing though - can you post your raw scores?

What books did you cover other than og?

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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2009, 21:39
Hi BB,

Mate help would be much appreciated, I have used the following books & schedule in my past attempt to study (see below). Also in my last attempt at GMAT in March got the following score:

Verbal 27. Quant 31. AWA 5.5 total = 500

Books used:
- GMAT 11th Ed. Official Review
- 800 Kaplan advanced prep
- GMAT Qunatitative Review
- GMAT Verbal Review
- Manhattan GMAT - Critical Reasoning 2007ed
- Manhattan GMAT- Reading comprehension 2007ed
- Manhattan GMAT - Word Translations 2007ed
- Manhattan GMAT - Sentence Correction 2007 ed

For studies & Studying schedule:
- Monday to Wed - used to Maths review using OG & Quant Review, went over all questions in both books like 3 to 4 times, over space of 3 months
- Thursday to Sunday - used to do Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning and Reading comprehension. I used to try and do 4 passages every morning from Reading Comprehension, and then do 30 critical reasoning questions and then spend time working on Sentence correction. Went through OG & Verbal Review books 3 to 4 times over space of 3 months
- 800 Kaplan I used near the end of my studies as the questions were a lot harder.
- also did 4 maths challenges from GMAT Club for maths. Got about 50% to 65% in most of them.

If you can give any tips, would be great help think I have about 6 months under my sleeve and would like to have a crack at 700, well I have to now given 3 previous attempts.

Many thanks

Forrester
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 04:46
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Forrester,

I was in a similar bind. I would study study study study, and then not see any improvement. I did the following to resolve it:

Figure out WHY you're getting problems wrong. Chances are there is a flaw in your approach.
Don't jump around on topics on different days. Focus on one subject until you resolve the issue. That being said, there is a fine line between benefiting from studying and just stressing out. Sometimes it will be beneficial to take a break from one subject and work on something else (or take a break), but you really need to buckle down and focus on your weaknesses.

With your quant score that low, you should address how you set up the problems. Regardless of the type of quant problem, there should always be a setup phase to the problem (both mentally and on your GMAT provided pad/pen). Setting up the problem is THE most important factor in ensuring you finish the problem within a reasonable time frame and ensuring you are on the right path for the right answer. It doesn't matter what type of problem it is, the set up is key every time.

Verbal is a bit different, as the different structure of the problems can require various different approach methods (again, that's how I looked at it).

Have you taken the free MGMAT practice exam (or have you purchased the practice exam package from MGMAT)?

If not, before you go on, I suggest you take the free online MGMAT practice test. The results of the test show you the type of problem, the difficulty, and MGMAT's approach to the problem. This will provide you with a good "game plan" (i.e. what topics you need to spend the time on).

Hope this helps.

-Muhamad
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2009, 18:08
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Thanks mate,

I see what you mean. Perhaps I might be doing something wrong in the set-up phase of the problem, will try and tweak my intial attempt at questions, and will take the MGMAT tests, to see if they can point weakness. Might need to get more study material as I dont all the questions so many times, that answers without solving seem obivious a lot of the times.. a Bit annoying.

As given the hours I have put in, surely somethings got to give. 3+ hours a day after work and then 16hours in the weekend, and little improvement in scores, is heartbreaking...

Forrester
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2009, 07:57
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Forrester300 wrote:
Thanks mate,

I see what you mean. Perhaps I might be doing something wrong in the set-up phase of the problem, will try and tweak my intial attempt at questions, and will take the MGMAT tests, to see if they can point weakness. Might need to get more study material as I dont all the questions so many times, that answers without solving seem obivious a lot of the times.. a Bit annoying.

As given the hours I have put in, surely somethings got to give. 3+ hours a day after work and then 16hours in the weekend, and little improvement in scores, is heartbreaking...

Forrester


That's one of the reasons I really like the MGMAT practice exams. You walk away with the following for each question:

Subject/Question Type
Difficulty
Approach and solution.

Granted, I didn't find ALL the MGMAT strategies useful, BUT, the ones I did find useful enabled me to break the 700 mark.
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2009, 15:45
Thanks Mate,

Are you able to recommend a study plan? Like what sort of plan did you use in order to get the 700, questions per day? As I believe I must have a rustic system that doesnt work. Like do you alternate between Maths/Verbal component, or do you try to cover all the in a day everyday?
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2009, 16:57
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Forrester300 wrote:
Thanks Mate,

Are you able to recommend a study plan? Like what sort of plan did you use in order to get the 700, questions per day? As I believe I must have a rustic system that doesnt work. Like do you alternate between Maths/Verbal component, or do you try to cover all the in a day everyday?


SC was one of my big struggles (primary struggle on verbal and overall). This was the game plan that worked for me:

need-help-on-strategy-from-gurus-80206.html?view-post=602766#p602766

mohater wrote:
Your prep materials appear sufficient to tackle your goal.

I had the same problem with verbal (SC). I did the following after completing the Manhattan GMAT SC book:

1. Using the Official Verbal Guide (GMAC), I split the SC questions into blocks of 10, and went through as many blocks in a given day as time would allow (budgeting the 2 min/question).

2. When guessing on a problem, I would mark that problem.

3. When grading the completed blocks for the day, I would mark the ones I got wrong (different marking from the guessing). I would NOT mark the correct answer.

4. After completing the entire set, I didn't study SC the following day. The day after, I would go through the ones I missed and the ones I guessed on (using a new sheet of paper).

5. After completing those in one sitting, I would then review and figure out why my approach was wrong.

I felt this method helped me a LOT. I could not break 700 for the life of me, due to verbal (most notably SC). I was scoring in the upper 40s in quant, no issues there.

After figuring out why my approach was wrong on the more difficult SC questions, I was in a better position to score higher on the verbal section overall. I found certain strategies for SC (split/re-split) could not be used on all questions, thus I had to have more than one approach to the problem.

Note: I REALLY had to learn the material to effectively apply the strategies. Other GMAT prep books/programs might tell you to "listen and answer with your ear". If you're like me and think the same way you speak, that approach will lead you to wrong answers more often than right answers. Focusing on the material (tense, pronouns, agreement in #, etc.) is key.

Hopefully this helps.

-Muhamad


My main issue with quant was needing a refresher. Just had to memorize the info on polygons, triangles, 3d shapes, number properties, probability, etc.. General rules for perimeter, area, surface area, volume, circumference, etc.. Once I rehashed on the basics, I began to score much higher on the advanced problems. The key with quant is being able to set up the problem to solve (knowing what question to answer).

The overall game plan: rehash on the basics, then take a practice. Use the practice exam results to establish a game plan for studying (what are my weaknesses). Focus on the weaknesses, and then take another practice when I felt like I've improved. I did NOT move on from one subject to another subject until I addressed the deficiency (there is, however, a limit. Sometimes you need a break from one topic).
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 15:10
Thanks Mate,

I will use your tips, so will do the following:
- re-learn the basics for Quant & Verbal this week, will go through the books I have to attempt as many questions.
- Then we sit a MGMAT exam, to see where Im weak,
- Then we focus on those problem areas.

Tips on error logs? I know there's been a lot of discussion in GMAT forum on them, but I think my error log might be wrong or perhaps not keeping it properly.
- For example if Quant I was going to do Number Properties to Geo today, all the questions I get wrong on both in Promblem Solving & Data Sufficiency, by topic I would jot down.
- Then the following day, I go through the questions the one's I got wrong again?
- Any advise on best way to approach error log?

Also, when Im doing quant I know I burn out after doing it for 3 days in a row, as mind gets overwhelmed by just doing questions for 3 days so tend to switch to verbal after that.

So your saying after my exam, If for example it said that Im weak on Geo, I should focus solely on Geo questions? As OG & even Quant books only have so many Geo questions in it? Where do I go to get the extra questions?

Thanks again, you have been superb in helping me fine tune my next attempt for GMAT.

Forrester
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2009, 15:30
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The main key with wrong answers/error logs is figure out why you got the problem wrong.

Following your example:

If you got a lot of Geo problems wrong, figure out WHY you got them wrong. Simply doing more problems will not address WHY you're missing problems. No matter what, you NEED to invest the time to ensure you understand the material. The material is what gets you in the 600+ range. If you're a high performer to begin with, breaking 700 isn't always tough. For the rest of us, the strategies supplement the material and will assist you in getting more of the 700-800 problems correct, thus getting you past the 700 mark.

You'll burn out on a topic either way: Doing too many problems or doing too much material review. That's why I broke my SC problems into sets of 10.

I really like the OG Guide, Offical Verbal Guide and Official Quant guide for problem banks.

MGMAT has flash cards you can print out for free. It's a bit of a pain to print, cut, and fold all of them but it was worth it

http://www.manhattangmat.com/gmat-flashcards.cfm

The GMAT Club question banks are also very useful (read the testomonials by the people here for feedback)

Jeff Sackmann(whom I've personally met), used to offer free challenge questions online. He still has some posted with solutions (he stopped posting free stuff a while ago):
http://groups.google.com/group/gmatdaily

His question banks and guides are useful (but a bit pricey)
http://www.gmathacks.com

What worked for me:

#1: Strong foundation in material. No way around this
#2: Figure out which strategies best supplement your foundation. Use these strategies to stick to the average of 2 min/problem and eliminating options you're sure are incorrect (improve guessing).
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Re: Help on 500 to 700 how   [#permalink] 29 Jun 2009, 15:30
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