A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack)

Author Message
Senior Manager
Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 640 Q44 V34
GMAT 2: 700 Q42 V44
GMAT 3: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 4: 740 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.7
WE: Project Management (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 69 [0], given: 916

A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) [#permalink]

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05 May 2014, 05:33
Dear gmatclubbers,

it's been a while since I registered here and I have been fairly active in the past. After my first prep cycle, in which I used the MGMAT 8 Strategy Guides, this time I decided to use a video online course. Towards the end of February 2014, I bought the GMAT Pill 6-pack. As at that time I found it difficult to find enough information (I struggled between GMAT Pill and E-GMAT), I decided to start this thread and make you part of my journey. I will try to have this as objective as possible, and will give my best to be a good example of GMAT Pill as well.

Why the Pills?
+ short-term program
+ video tutorials
+ focus on efficiency - 80/20 approach of not learning theory, but learning how to crack the questions
+ previous experience - while preparing last time, I once watched a free Combinatorics/Permutations video of Zeke Lee and was impressed how he explained everything. I just loved the method!

Nevertheless, in order to be honest, I still need to be convinced that such programs (while being much more interactive and user-friendly compared to prep books) can really hold up to the expectations, which with the score improvement guarantees are very high.

Starting point
As you can see from old threads of mine, in December 2012 after studying for 3 months I scored a meager 640 (Q44, V34), so I have to focus on both sections. An official CAT exam, I completed back in February (GMATPrep), gave me a score of 650 (Q44, V35). Goal is a 730+ score.

Preparation strategy
I will do the pills in the following sequence: 1. RC, 2.SC, 3.DS, 4.PS, 5.CR and will aim for a test date in late June or early July. With regards to the GMAT Pill materials I will first watch core framework videos related to a certain pill, then complete timed quiz sets, and last, but not least utilize the GMAT Pill Practice Platform. OG13, the GMAC Additional Questions Pack, CAT's etc. will be kept for the time I have completed all 6 pills.

Time commitment
2 hrs/day on 3 week workdays, 5 hrs/weekend days

So in case you are curious to just follow the development, or have any questions, feel always free to drop them here or contact me via PM. I am happy to help!

Best of luck,
_________________

Thank you very much for reading this post till the end! Kudos?

Senior Manager
Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 640 Q44 V34
GMAT 2: 700 Q42 V44
GMAT 3: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 4: 740 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.7
WE: Project Management (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 69 [0], given: 916

Re: A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) [#permalink]

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09 May 2014, 23:44
The week has been tough, but I finally fund some time to start my live review.

Before moving on to the RC pill, I first wanted to give you a feel what I did before kicking off my prep. After having bought the GMAT Pill 6-pill-package, I again felt this anxiety of not-knowing how to set up my preparation in terms of time, intensity, and sequence of prep materials. I saw that GMAT Pill had a 1-month study plan online, but as someone who normally likes to study thoroughly, I wanted a 2 or 3-month plan. Later I mailed Zeke Lee and he returned promptly that they don't really have something like this (though expect to) and gave me advice to structure my prep in 3 day chunks, in which:

Day 1 - is dedicated to Core Frameworks
Day 2 - is dedicated to watching the application of the core framework on sample questions, solved live by Zeke Lee
Day 3 - is dedicated to revision and practice in the Practice Pill platform (in the month close to the exam -> OG13)

This made sense and I completed an official CAT in order to define which sections to do first. As a big surprise, on the official CAT I scored 650 (Q44, V35) which is above my official GMAT score from December 2012 (640). I dissected my score (dissection below):

[Reveal] Spoiler: Score Dissection
Quant:

Incorrect: 8 DS / 4 PS

DS Number properties (Number line),
DS Number properties (Factorial),
DS XY-Plane,
PS Rate/Work Problems,
DS Number properties (Primes),
DS Number properties (Mean),
PS Combinatorics/Permutations,
PS Rate Problem, DS Geometry,
DS Number properties (Positive integers),
DS XY-Plane
Flagged: PS Inequalities, PS Number properties, DS Number properties (Mean)

Verbal:

Incorrect: 5 SC / 6 RC / 3 CR

CR - Evaluating the argument
SC - Verb Tense
RC - Weaken author's argument
RC - Passage suggests
RC - Passage primarily concerned discussing...
SC - Agreement
CR - Strengthen
RC - Passage suggests
CR - Strengthen
RC - Summarizes the POV of...
SC - Agreement
SC - Verb Tense
SC - Verb Tense
RC - Passage primarily concerned with...
Flagged: SC Parallelism/Meaning, SC Word use, SC Word use

Now these results were really counterintuitive. In Quant I knew that DS is my achilles heel and, even more importantly, I had gaps in number properties, XY plane, etc.. But with Verbal the result was unexpected. It turned out that CR (a section I was always uncomfortable with) was rather OK, but that I completely bombed RC (I would have said that's my strength). As expected, SC was low.

As PS and DS have many commonalities, I thought to focus first on Quant as a low hanging fruit and then tackle RC, SC and CR in this order. Verbal seemed to be the real deal, hindering me from a 720+ score. Having discussed this in 4-5 e-mails with the GMAT Pill team, I changed my mind and decided to pursue 1.RC, 2.SC, 3.DS, 4.PS, 5.CR.

During this process, which took me approximately a week, I was quite happy with the way I could always ask people for their input and actually get it in a fast manner (the longest idle time was a day). Though this is a subjective hypothesis, I still want to point out a small detail that some people may notice. GMAT Pill and Zeke Lee (its founder) are two names that go hand in hand. As the success of the GMAT Pill program is, at least partly, attributable to his experience, many people might wanna be in touch with him personally. Well, you actually exchange e-mails on an hourly basis, you get valuable input (which is the important thing after all), but you have the feeling of a celebrity twitter account - it's supposed to be a genuine account, but you don't know if you are in touch with him or a large team of people he has picked, because the e-mails are never signed Nevertheless, I give them the benefit of the doubt, exactly because the input was extremely valuable to me.

And now... let the journey begin. I will shortly post my thoughts on the RC pill, so in case you have any questions or feedback, please share them
_________________

Thank you very much for reading this post till the end! Kudos?

Senior Manager
Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 640 Q44 V34
GMAT 2: 700 Q42 V44
GMAT 3: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 4: 740 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.7
WE: Project Management (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 69 [0], given: 916

Re: A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) [#permalink]

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19 May 2014, 02:54
RC PILL

I was just studying for the SC section when the GMAT Pill portal suddenly stopped responding (happens for the first time). As I don't know how long it is going to take, I just decided to continue with my review here.

It's already been a few weeks that I completed the RC pill. Here is what I think about it.

Structure of prep materials
The RC Pill includes 4 core frameworks that teach you how to approach every RC passage. In addition, you have about 20 (both easy and tougher) passages, in which you look over the shoulder of Zeke Lee, solving questions. You have 2 sets of questions - 600 level (short passages) and 700 level (long passages with 8-9 questions per passage) that you solve by yourself. You can also utilize the GMAT Pill Prep Platform as well as video explanations of all OG13 questions. I decided to keep those for the next stage of my preparation, when I will have covered and practiced the basic and advanced theory for all sections and will come back to work on timing and polish everything.

General information and approach
You can cover all core frameworks in about an hour and then start with the videos, in which Zeke Lee solves the questions for you. Those take time, but are actually the main learning material you get. Though they are easy to follow, they do expect some stellar concentration from your side, as you have to catch all the information that is presented to you. The individual reading passages include:

- one video with passage analysis
- one video per every question you have for the respective passage

Every video has a length of between 3 and 7 minutes.

While I found the core framework ideas helpful, the real value of the program comes with the videos, in which Zeke talks about specific passages. One can see how he tackles every type of question. As you can imagine, this has a downside as well, namely that experience-based learning and the conclusion derived sometimes seem a bit ambiguous to observers and it just takes time for you to develop this feeling of what every question is testing, if you should first read the passage or the question, etc., but it was a surprise to me as well, how I managed to incorporate the approach quite fast. When I solved the 600/700 level question, I had the mental attitude allowing me to focus on key transition words, extrapolate/prethink the idea of a certain paragraph, based on first and last sentence, etc.

Pros
+ easy to use interface
+ easy to grasp videos with visualizations
+ clear concepts
+ good explanation of theory and passages

Cons
- rare technical issues - in the 2 weeks I studied for RC, I once had a problem with the gmatpill platform, as several of my videos would not continue/load after a certain place (e.g. 3:54). The next day it all worked, but it still interrupted my prep process (it definitely wasn't a problem of my internet connection or browser)
- ambiguity of the experience-based approach

Personal Conclusion
The RC Pill expects you to follow and apply simple rules, while answering RC questions. As RC in general does't try to test you on grammar or tenses, but rather reading comprehension and related strategy and speed, I think it is the predestined section to apply the GMAT Pill to. The simplicity of the rules allows you to not only have a fast plan A, but also a plan B. This being said, learning from Zeke is not always easy and expects you to sometimes go the extra mile, watch the video 2-3 times, until you grasp why he just eliminated one of the answer choices. As a beginner I sometimes had a hard time while he was eliminating certain answer choices. And I asked myself "Wait a second, how do you know that?!". Or I would have read out loud all 5 answer choices, while he just looked for the key-words he wants to see and sometimes even didn't bother reading the other ones. This was indeed confusing to me, but in the long-run:
(1) Gives you the stimulus to pursue via a comment additional questions till you can enumerate almost all reason why a certain answer choice is wrong
(2) Teaches you to be fast and on the exam to be confident to eliminate answer choices after finding just 1 reason to do so

I think the RC Pill is perfect for people who want to be efficient. If you think about the passages, you rarely need to read them entirely. If you think about WHY RC is on the exam, it's just to test you what you would do if at Stanford GSB they would give you a 40 pages case for tomorrow morning. You can't read it, you can't digest it, but you can get the big picture. Now what you need to do here is just do the same. For this, the RC Pill is perfect. If you want to know what every single line of the passage says, it is not.

Tips
Practice is irreplaceable. I would search high-quality readings that you are interested in and read almost all articles (some interesting, some rather boring to you), so that you practice the concepts. Look for transition words, think what the opinion of the author is, this will make you perfect. I used The New Yorker and HBR, but you can use almost any source.

As always, feel free to reach out with any questions and comments.
_________________

Thank you very much for reading this post till the end! Kudos?

Intern
Joined: 02 Apr 2013
Posts: 1
Followers: 0

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

Re: A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2014, 21:36
Hi
Could you please share your experience with the DS pill. As DS is giving me jitters as of now.

Thank you

Posted from my mobile device
Senior Manager
Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 295
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 640 Q44 V34
GMAT 2: 700 Q42 V44
GMAT 3: 680 Q44 V39
GMAT 4: 740 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.7
WE: Project Management (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 12

Kudos [?]: 69 [0], given: 916

Re: A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2014, 04:57

Sorry for coming back with a delay. I am currently covering the PS pill and just had a look at the DS pill for you. In the DS pill you have a variety of core and strategy frameworks and the videos amount to over 2 hours. They seem especially helpful to me in combination with the PS materials I am currently studying.

As far as I understand you want to just buy the DS pill, which may be perfectly fine, but only if you have already studied the Quant basics. Otherwise I would go for the PS pill as well.

If you have any more concrete questions, do not hesitate to reach out. As I still have not covered the pill myself I would be glad to report what's included. Alternatively, you can give me another week or 10 days and I will try to post a thorough review here, as I am aiming to sit for the GMAT within the next 2-3 weeks.

In the next few days I will also post reviews of the SC and PS section that I have covered since my last post.

Take care!
_________________

Thank you very much for reading this post till the end! Kudos?

Intern
Joined: 03 Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Followers: 0

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

Re: A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack) [#permalink]

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14 Dec 2014, 13:03
So how did the exam go? Didn't see any review on PS/DS pills?
Re: A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack)   [#permalink] 14 Dec 2014, 13:03
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# A live review of the GMAT Pill (6 pills pack)

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