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# How to tackle that damn 1st Q ???

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How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  23 May 2008, 18:51
Ok, I know this is stupid but as this seems to happen to alot of people - getting absolutely stuck on the 1st Quant question, wasting 5+ min and losing nerves for the rest of the section.....It happened to me once, it happened twice to a friend of mine, and I've read it happen to many people here.
One would argue it is because of too much stress, being too nervous, etc.
However, my counterarguments include:
1. This happens to people who normally score 48+, hardly weak in math.
2. It happened to me on my second GMAT but on my first GMAT I had no problem with the first question.
3. The Quant section comes after the AWA, so supposedly the stress level has gone down 1 hour into the test.
4. I personally have never encountered a tricky 1st problem on GMATPrep and I have taken those tests about 10 times each.

So, is it possible that the real GMAT can play a mean game on some of us and throw us a hard question to begin with?

More importantly, what can one do to be prepared for the worst to start out with? How to manage the situation in the smartest and quickest of ways without losing focus and courage?
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  23 May 2008, 19:34
Expert's post
Maybe a short warm-up (3-4 questions) before exam could help....
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  23 May 2008, 20:18
I had this problem today on GMATPrep Verbal. Ended up with a 38. I spent about 5 mins on the first question!!!! what is wrong with me! a definite no-no. I ran out of time are the last two questions and just had to guess. I was definitely pulling a 40 - 42 before getting those two questions wrong. Basically, Manhattan GMAT states that you must give yourself 2 mins tops on a question. If you are approaching 2 mins, you need to be able to make yourself let it go. Manhattan's theory is you probably would have got it wrong anyway, so just move on and spend your time on problems you can do in 2 mins.

Long story short, I ended up getting that 5 mins question wrong anyway, and the last two on the verbal. If I had that 3 mins from the first question, I probably could have cranked those last two out with 1.5 mins each.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  23 May 2008, 20:24
I don't think you have time to do a couple of questions during the 10 minutes break time. I don't know about others, but the test center that I went to told me I to leave books and notes out in the car. The building itself was a large office building, so it took about 3 minutes to get to the car from the room, and 3 minutes back. They have lockers, but they are only for clothings, purse, phone, wallet. I did drop by the center before the scheduled test date, and I saw lockers, so I thought I could bring in books, but I was surprise that they did not let me store my books in the locker on the test day.

I don't know how other test centers do it, so you might want to call to confirm.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  23 May 2008, 20:50
Expert's post
I mean to do a few problems at home, before exam, not before quant section.
In quant it is better to spend 5 min on 1st question and 1 minutes on 2 last questions because fist question is very important!!! (Once I got Q50 making 2 mistakes (one at second question), but Q51 with 6 mistakes after half of the section)
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  24 May 2008, 06:07
totally know the feeling..i had that happened to me..the first question..just shook me off my mantle..i had never seen the question before..and before i knew it i had 7 questions left and 1 minute left...

so yeah..any advice by those quant gurus?

chineseburned wrote:
Ok, I know this is stupid but as this seems to happen to alot of people - getting absolutely stuck on the 1st Quant question, wasting 5+ min and losing nerves for the rest of the section.....It happened to me once, it happened twice to a friend of mine, and I've read it happen to many people here.
One would argue it is because of too much stress, being too nervous, etc.
However, my counterarguments include:
1. This happens to people who normally score 48+, hardly weak in math.
2. It happened to me on my second GMAT but on my first GMAT I had no problem with the first question.
3. The Quant section comes after the AWA, so supposedly the stress level has gone down 1 hour into the test.
4. I personally have never encountered a tricky 1st problem on GMATPrep and I have taken those tests about 10 times each.

So, is it possible that the real GMAT can play a mean game on some of us and throw us a hard question to begin with?

More importantly, what can one do to be prepared for the worst to start out with? How to manage the situation in the smartest and quickest of ways without losing focus and courage?
Director
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  24 May 2008, 10:16
Happened to me, 48 on Quant and I missed the first question. I had no idea how to do it, but after 5 minutes said screw it and moved on. Oh well! What can you do, right?
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  24 May 2008, 10:29
Expert's post
I see that this problem is common for many. Guys, can you make an experiment: just before you start quant section in Prep, try to solve 3-4 random problems form the forum spending ~2 min per q. It is very interesting whether this warm-up helps start your mind.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  24 May 2008, 11:07
I did a couple in the parking lot, but it didn't really help so much. I would love to post the question here, but I will not because of the confidentiality agreement I signed.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  24 May 2008, 12:11
jb32 wrote:
I did a couple in the parking lot, but it didn't really help so much. I would love to post the question here, but I will not because of the confidentiality agreement I signed.

Congrats you still managed to pull a decent Q and overall score!

Was the first question a twisted word problem involving 4 people? I know you can't post the question here, but I think explaining the type of the question is ok, no?
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  24 May 2008, 12:16
chineseburned wrote:
jb32 wrote:
I did a couple in the parking lot, but it didn't really help so much. I would love to post the question here, but I will not because of the confidentiality agreement I signed.

Congrats you still managed to pull a decent Q and overall score!

Was the first question a twisted word problem involving 4 people? I know you can't post the question here, but I think explaining the type of the question is ok, no?

guys..you are not repeating the question..you are discussing the fundementals of the question asked..so i would ask again..is the question from material not covered? or is it the wording that twisted you all..

If its the wording then lets concentrated on what gmac means when they say "XYZ are to be picked froma group of X people..etc..
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  25 May 2008, 02:53
Expert's post
my 2 cents again

Maybe it is better to speed up the solving DS questions, and still spend on 1st Q up to 5 min to avoid panic and silly mistakes.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  25 May 2008, 07:58
walker wrote:
Maybe a short warm-up (3-4 questions) before exam could help....

This is my plan. I've been studying 6 days a week and the day after my "off" day, I am REALLY rusty. But within 10 questions or so, I can tell my brain has switched in GMAT thinking mode.

On the day of my test, I plan on doing maybe 5-10 quant questions before I leave the house. Can't hurt, now can it?

Then again guys, I missed the first question on my last GMATprep and still scored a 740.

I would do what I could to prep for the exam and if you can't get the 1st question in 2 min, guess and move on.

NN
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  25 May 2008, 08:34
I ended up giving myself a time limit on the first question - said that if I couldn't get it after 4 mins, I'd just move on. That way even if the first was impossible, I wouldn't screw up the rest of the section due to no time. worked really well for me!
cheers,
ac
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  26 May 2008, 00:01
The same thing happened with me. When I saw first Q-q I was very confused. But I blame AWA hour so that I'd chose the 3d option from chineseburned post. And I agree with Walker that better to solve the first question but IMHO spend not more than 2-4 mins.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  26 May 2008, 09:46
maybe kevin..can comment on this??
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  26 May 2008, 19:36
My problem was a heavy algebra problem, probably with a trick to greatly shorten the problem. Difficulty was that I did not see the trick and was completely stumped.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  27 May 2008, 01:23
Wow! a great thread and i managed to reach to the bottom of this.

Here's my take on this... I would rather spend a few minutes to get my concentration in action than start shooting from the first question (maybe solving a few questions before the test is a great idea). In my opinion, reading questions is the most essential part of the test taking technique and answering question is secondary. If, for the few moments/first 2-3 questions, I start focusing on this essential part of the question (what is required/what needs to be worked out/what is asked), half of the difficult job is done. This will also prevent us getting tricked by GMAT.

It is very natural for us to be on the edge when the first question comes (not so much before verbal, because one is already in the test taking rhythm) but more so before Quant. These first few seconds are "the moment of truth". Getting the rhythm right, reading at the optimal speed and not really thinking about the answer, but focusing on what is required as answer from the question stem is what will be my strategy to begin with.

Once I get the tempo right, confidence level high, breezing through the questions would be easier. Getting my mind to focus on the right aspect of the question is the most difficult part.
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Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ??? [#permalink]  27 May 2008, 10:14
Want a guarantee that you will get the first question correct? If you're ok with sacrificing another minute or two and can do simple algebra quickly, then:

BACKSOLVE

Take each answer choice and run it through the problem. Do it for each answer choice. You will get one answer that fits.

My experience:
I had a simple problem. I tried to solve it algebraically (textbook method) and wasted a minute and came up with an absurd answer. Think 1+1=2,000^4.

I collected my myself and solved it backwards. I got to the answer and I'm certain I got it right. But it did take me about 4 minutes to solve.
Re: How to tackle that damn 1st Q ???   [#permalink] 27 May 2008, 10:14
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# How to tackle that damn 1st Q ???

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