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How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks.

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Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 99
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Concentration: Finance, Social Entrepreneurship
Schools: Insead '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V33
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WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Other)
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How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 13:41
1st Practice Exam Manhattan CAT #1 (Took 2 weeks into preparation) - 620 (Q47 V27)
2nd Practice Exam GMATPrep 1 (Took 1.5 months into preparation) - 650 (Q49 V30)
3rd Practice Exam Manhattan CAT #2 (Took today - 2 months into preparation) - 650 (Q44 V35)

1st exam - Found Quant hard but then I read online that Manhattan CAT Quant is hard. Was frustration by the time I reached Verbal so I tried to finish asap. I was left with 17 minutes in the end of Verbal. Therefore the score of 27 - also I had not practiced enough.

2nd exam - By now I had all the content covered but I had no practice test experience. I thought Math was ok, on reviewing I found lot of silly mistakes which could be avoided. On Verbal this time I took it seriously and was doing well but as I reached halfway in Verbal I realized I am doing bad on timing. So I started to hurry but and was left with 10 questions and only 5 minutes on the clock. So I ended up getting all 10 wrong and still got 30. So I figured I need to work on timing and practice more CATs to get this right.

3rd exam - I had done lot of practice between 2nd and 3rd exam. Concentrated on Verbal only. This time I started off with Math and got stuck at 3-4 questions and was doing badly on timing in Quant. Ended Quant by guessing last 8 questions as I ran out of time. I shrugged it off and decided to concentrate on Verbal. Verbal went ok and I did well to manage time and not get frustrated and lose patience.

Today I know in my heart that if I don't mess up the timing I can get Q49 ish and V35 ish... which can get me close to 700. My target score is 730 (Q49 V40). Please help and throw some light on what I should do from here on. My Exam is on April 6th, exactly 2 weeks from now. Thanks.
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 15:56
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Hi,

Great job so far! For the next two weeks I would take 2-3 more GMATPrep exams, 3 GMATFocus Exams, the MGMAT CATs BUT only the QUANT sections, and the 9 GMAT paper tests for verbal practice (only verbal, all sections takes together, 80 minutes). Keep an error log for all of this and review all of your weak areas. Beyond that I would be continuously reviewing concepts that you have difficulty with and seeking out practice questions to strengthen these concepts.

Let me know if you need more advice on this.

Happy Studies,

HG.
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"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

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[#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2013, 23:01
Hi HG,

Thanks for your feedback. Are the GMATFOCUS Exams adaptive? Also do they have GMATFOCUS for quant and verbal or only quant??
Why do you say I should do MGMAT CATs only for Quant and not for Verbal??
GMAT Paper tests that you suggest for Verbal wouldn't be adaptive - is that ok?

Knowing my situation and my target score - would you recommend that I postpone my exam by 2 weeks to be able to achieve the Target Score.

Thanks,
Rajiv
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2013, 07:28
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Hi,

Your welcome. GMATfocus is adaptive and probably the closest to a real quant section in terms off content and difficulty out of anything available at the moment.

Other people may think differently but I wouldn't suggest non-official verbal material. It is very difficult to write and I haven't found any that I really like. There is so much verbal available in the various official products, LSAT, and GRE that I don't feel the non-official is worth it. That is why I wouldn't spend time on MGMAT verbal CAT. Use the CAT for its strength as a math challenge.

The paper tests are not adaptive but the scores do translate pretty well to the real test. I have found that the biggest issue with verbal is reading on the screen so make sure to do these on the computer.

It is difficult to recommend postponing or not. There is a bunch of excellent material that you have not yet used to study so that is one reason to postpone. I would say if you feel that you have the motivation and energy to work through all of this stuff then postponing could help you. If you feel that you really need to get this over with and will not have the possibility to stay motivated in a positive way for another month then I would power through the next two weeks and take your test as planned.

Happy Studies,

HG.
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"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

Current Student
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Location: United States
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WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Other)
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2013, 19:43
Thanks. I bought GMAT FOCUS (3 quant sets) & 9 Paper tests from GMAT Official website.

I completed the 1st GmatFocus quant set and scored 46-50. They gave me this range instead of a hardcore score. I had 24 questions which I finished on time but I got 10 of those wrong, which I think is horrible.

I also took MGMAT CAT #4 today. I scored a 660 (Q45 V35) - This time I was able to finish both sections on time and I was checking my pace periodically at 60min, 45min, 30min and 15min. I was feeling very comfortable in Verbal and I thought I might reach near 40s but I didn't.

I feel like MATH is letting me down. I need to reach Q49 atleast by D-day. But I have read that MGMAT Math is much tougher than real GMAT.

2 questions for you:
1) When should I take my 2nd GMAT PREP exam?
2) Based on my history from last 3-4 posts, what would you recommend is the best use of my next 2 weeks, between now and real exam, to ensure a score of 720+.

Please advise. Thanks.
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2013, 09:29
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Hi,

I would take the GMATPrep when you have time but preferably sooner than later. The last week certainly take those other GMATFocus tests, take full quant MGMAT/GMATClub Sections, and work on the GMAT Paper Tests (for Verbal). I would avoid doing MGMAT, GMATClub, or any other Non-Official source of verbal. Also, spend a bunch of time reviewing what is left in your error log. Right now is all about consolidating your knowledge and having a good test timing strategy.

Happy Studies,

HG.
_________________

"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

Current Student
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Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 99
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Social Entrepreneurship
Schools: Insead '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V33
GMAT 2: 690 Q48 V36
GPA: 3.3
WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Other)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 15

Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2013, 19:13
Thanks HG.

I have been doing what you have suggested. I finished another set of GMAT FOCUS for quant. I am also doing the Verbal from Paper Tests. Although I find them pretty easy.

I took the GMAT PREP 2 today - First of all I was able to complete both sections in time. I got 690 (Q49 V34). I am a little disappointed with my Quant score as I thought I aced it. But looking it at later, I realized I got 4 out of the last 5 questions wrong which must have dropped me from 50 to 49 if not 51 to 49. So that I need to be careful about. But my verbal started off bad. My first CR questions felt very weird. It was a weakening question without any conclusion and it threw me off. I got the 1st 2 Verbal questions wrong. Here is my Verbal analysis (9/11CR, 11/17 SC, 9/13 RC).

I desperately need to get closer to 40 in Verbal. That is the only way I can reach 720+. I am going to finish all the remaining questions from OG13 and Verbal Guide. I don't know what else I can do. I will also review all the mistakes I made in this last GMAT PREP that I gave.

What do u suggest for someone who is kind of stuck at 34/35 in Verbal. How to do I take it up a notch?

I really appreciate your time. Thanks again.
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2013, 22:10
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Hi,

Solid work on the GMATPrep. If you can push that Quant up a bit you will be 700+. For verbal, looks like the easiest place to improve is Sentence Correction. First off, I would try to keep things in perspective. Your test is soon and you can only do so much studying before it gets counterproductive. A few things to think about with sentence correction:

1. Focus on the big 2: Agreement and Parallelism

2. If you are confused by answer choices and feel like nothing is right then you probably have the parallelism wrong or have a list structured improperly (it isn't a list or it is two lists that need to separated).

3. When you can't locate a rule or are having trouble deciding between choices think about the meaning of the sentence.

Something that can help when you are stuck on whether a certain grammar structure is correct: let it go and look for something else in the sentence because there are usually multiple errors. Forward momentum is critical. One good thing will lead to another. Keep yourself working in a constructive way.

Happy Studies,

HG.

PS: If you find the paper tests easy that's great. I would keep doing them. You can also do the SC from the GMATPrep Docs and Question Pack 1.
_________________

"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

Current Student
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Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 99
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Social Entrepreneurship
Schools: Insead '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V33
GMAT 2: 690 Q48 V36
GPA: 3.3
WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Other)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 15

Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2013, 14:24
Hi HG,

I gave my GMAT exam today. I got a 680 (Q49, V33). I am disappointed and want to attempt it again. I thought I nailed the Quant on the exam but ended up with only 49. I thought 50 was guaranteed after I finished Quant. More importantly I felt Verbal wasn't going too well when I was giving it. The score shows that it was a bad performance.

My scores leading up to the test were:

MGMAT 2: 620 (Q47 V29) February 24th
GMATPrep 1: 650 (Q49 V30) March 8th
MGMAT 3: 650 (Q44 V35) March 23rd
MGMAT 4: 660 (Q45 V35) March 25th
GMATPrep 2: 690 (Q49 V34) March 27th
MGMAT 5: 670 (Q45 V36) March 30th
MGMAT 6: 680 (Q48 V35) April 5th

REAL GMAT: 680 (Q49 V33) April 6th

So based on that my Verbal had def. improved and so I feel to maximize my score I should retake with exclusive focus on Verbal for next 1 month.

Please advice.
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2013, 15:16
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Hi,

Well that was pretty close to your last GMATPrep so that is good in a certain way. You were consistent. I agree, the way up is Verbal.

A few things that you can work on for Verbal this month:

1. Do all the official material available: Verbal Review, 9 paper tests, Question Pack 1, and the 10 FLTs (I would skip the RC in these), GMATPrep Docs.

2. Review your error log from the Official Guide and seek out content to strengthen any weaknesses

3. Challenge yourself with reading comprehension from old GRE tests and critical reasoning from LSAT tests.

For the GRE:


One thing that I like to do is one long passage and one short passage per study session. That way I am practicing for both types of passages. For days when you have time you could do two of these sets. For your first week do these un-timed. After the first week give yourself 20 minutes for the two passages.

For the LSAT:


Do sections of about 15 questions. I would focus on the last 15 questions (10-25 or so) because the first ten are usually easier. You can skip parallel reasoning and parallel flaw. Same as above for the first week. Then I would give yourself about 1:45 per question. One section of these per day is enough.

The GRE and the LSAT verbal are tougher than the GMAT but they are great practice. Do not be discouraged by the challenge. Learn from it.

Beyond official practice I would read an Economist article every day. And while you read think in a GMAT way: What is the main idea? How does the author support his point? What assumptions does the author make? What are the opinions? What are the facts? Also consider the grammar structures, especially parallelism.

With all of this verbal practice is super important to not just work through questions but to practice a process. A couple of critical points with verbal: Be predicting answers choices as much as possible. Understand the universe of the question before contemplating answers.

For Quant I would spend the next month working through all of the GMATClub tests making sure to keep an error log so that you can strengthen any weaknesses.

A lot can happen in a month! Let me know if you need more advice on this.

Happy Studies,

HG.
_________________

"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

Current Student
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Joined: 21 Jan 2013
Posts: 99
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Social Entrepreneurship
Schools: Insead '14 (A)
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V33
GMAT 2: 690 Q48 V36
GPA: 3.3
WE: Securities Sales and Trading (Other)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 15

Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 09:47
Thanks a ton HR. I will create a study schedule soon and will try to follow the advice. For now I have decided to take a 4 day break before I restart the study sessions.
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 10:47
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Rajiv, you've been the very fortunate recipient of some awesome advice from HerrGrau. Major kudos, HG!

It sounds like you're not terribly thrilled with the 49 on quant, and I just want to reassure you that 49 is a spectacular quant score. As you climb up the quant score scale, each additional point is tougher to get, so the gap between a 49 and 50 is surprisingly large. You should be proud of the 49, and don't kick yourself too hard if you don't make it to a 50 or a 51--it's unlikely to be a difference-maker when it comes to your composite score or your MBA applications.

I'm actually encouraged by the breakdown of your errors in your final GMATPrep test. At least in theory, SC is the easiest verbal question type to improve, and I suspect that you aren't 100% bulletproof when it comes to recognizing some of the mechanical grammar/usage issues on SC questions. I'm guessing that you've already studied all of the rules, but maybe some of them slip past you when you're under time pressure? Are you noticing 100% of the key words on every question, or does an occasional "marker" (and, which, that, it, they, less, few, little, either/or, etc.) go unnoticed?

If you think that imperfect mechanics might be hurting your SC score, you might want to go through the official SC questions you've already done, and identify EVERY error in EVERY answer choice, just to help train your mind to see all of the grammar and usage errors. If you don't think that's an issue, then feel free to ignore this. :)

Beyond that, HerrGrau's advice is spot-on: make sure that you think about meaning on SC questions once you've already found the grammar/usage errors, and embrace the challenge of nasty LSAT CR and RC questions. You seem like a sharp, hard-working sort of guy, and I'm confident that you'll be able to nail these last 40-60 points.

Enjoy your break, and good luck with your studies!
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Joined: 21 Jan 2013
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Concentration: Finance, Social Entrepreneurship
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GMAT 2: 690 Q48 V36
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 11:55
GMATNinja,

I agree with you. HG has been like a mentor!

I think I was misunderstood about Quant score. I am perfectly happy with 49 when I look at it from the macro viewpoint. I am only disappointed with Q49 wrt to how I felt after completing the Quant section :) I completely agree that trying to go from 49 to 50 isn't going to help my overall score much, instead the same effort would yield a much bigger improvement in Verbal.

Yes I agree that I can push my score up by working on SC. Because there are more SC questions than CR or RC, acing SC will push the score and help with timing on the remaining question types. And if I am doing well in CR then the extra time from solving SC faster would go towards RC. So its probably going to be a domino effect as soon as I improve on SC.

"I suspect that you aren't 100% bulletproof when it comes to recognizing some of the mechanical grammar/usage issues on SC questions. I'm guessing that you've already studied all of the rules, but maybe some of them slip past you when you're under time pressure? Are you noticing 100% of the key words on every question, or does an occasional "marker" (and, which, that, it, they, less, few, little, either/or, etc.) go unnoticed?"

You are right about the observation. I am not a 100% sure about all the rules. I am more like 60% sure and was hoping to get by. One of the reasons was the limited prep time. From start to finish I has 2 months and I was skimming rather than concentrating. Now that 1st attempt has put me in my place, I am going to dedicate myself to Verbal and concentrate on getting the rules etc 100% right. I will take a better approach and nail it. I can only go in one direction from here and that's upwards.

One question - Is there a particular book for LSAT CR and RC questions?

Thanks once again for the advice and kind words. I am more motivated than ever to nail the GMAT this time around!
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 13:15
Awesome, it's actually really good to hear that SC mechanics are an issue for you, because I'm 100% certain that you can improve on them with enough time and effort. And you're correct in thinking that you can expect a "multiplier" effect: as you improve your SC skills, you'll have a little bit more time available for CR and RC questions. And if you can also become a little bit stronger and RC and CR, you'll be in great shape.

There are literally dozens of retired LSAT exams in print, and they're all pretty much the same. Any of the published LSAT books will do the trick: 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests or The Next 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests or 10 More Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests. (Yes, the folks at LSAT are incredibly creative with their book titles.) If you can consistently get 80% of the LSAT questions right, you'll be on track for a substantial score improvement.

Let us know how it goes!
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 14:50
Expert's post
Hi,

You are very welcome! Ditto everything GMATNinja said. I have the Big Book of GRE and it is great. It has 27 tests (which include 108 reading comp. passages :-D ) That book is only available used. I think there is a smaller GRE book with 6 tests which is probably cheaper and easier to find but I don't know the name of it. If you had to you could do LSAT RC. That said, I prefer the GRE RC not only because it is not quite as dense as the LSAT RC but also because there are short passages along with the long ones.

Happy Studies,

HG.
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"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2013, 16:15
Wow, are you talking about the Big Book of GRE from back in the 1990s? Awesome! Wasn't that beast written back when the GRE included analytical reasoning, and weren't they still offering paper-based tests back then? Should I be embarrassed that I even remember any of that?

Great, now I feel old. :(

If I'm not mistaken, the GRE people have published two smaller official guides since the Big Book days. Practicing to Take the GRE General Test is still cheap and easy to find used (http://www.amazon.com/GRE-Practicing-Ta ... 0886852129), but it only has seven tests in it, for a grand total of 28 reading comprehension passages. The newest GRE official guide has two paper-based practice tests and another 12 (mostly short) RC passages, and probably isn't worth the money as a source of material for the GMAT.

But if you can get your hands on the Big Book, go for it.
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Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks. [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 09:39
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Hi,

Yes it is the Big Book form the 90's. There's no shame in knowing about it:) It is still an amazing resource. It was back in the paper days and does have analytical reasoning. LSAT students used to use the analytical reasoning from the GRE Big Book to get some extra practice.

Have a good day,

HG.
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"It is a curious property of research activity that after the problem has been solved the solution seems obvious. This is true not only for those who have not previously been acquainted with the problem, but also for those who have worked over it for years." -Dr. Edwin Land

GMAT Sample Questions to assess your GMAT Quant.

If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

Re: How do I improve in Practice Exams? GMAT is in 2 weeks.   [#permalink] 12 Apr 2013, 09:39
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