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I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep

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I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2010, 12:44
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Hello to all,

Where to begin in this post is somewhat troubling. I thought I could crack the GMAT in just a few weeks of serious prep but I am terribly wrong.

My exam is scheduled in a little over 2 weeks from now and I although I thought I could have been ready, I really am not. I believe the main reason is because I really am not focussed. Although I have all the MGMAT guides, I have yet to even read the geometry and FDP guides. As well, I did not fully complete the word translations guide. For verbal, I went through the RC guide (just reading) and did about half of the SC guide (did not even start the CR guide). Of course, not of the 'advanced sections' have been read either. I've been going through the self-study classes but the last 3-4 I've done in succession without even doing the required homework (just by reading what I'm typing for my prep so really sounds like a disaster).

I did GMATPrep. I knew I had some work to do in quant.. but verbal really threw me off. Some of the RC passages I was barely reading and guessed on a bunch of them. Even the SC and CR seemed weird.

Here are my results from GMATPrep 1:

Total Score: 430 (Q29, V20) --> OUCH!


I was planning to do 50 hours per week of studying for the next 2 weeks. However, having already studied the last couple of weeks (not even getting close to 50 hours per week), I have already been feeling burnt out.


All is not lost
I believe I am going to postpone the exam until late September/early October. My school's R2 deadline is mid-October. I need to do the exam before the R2 deadline which makes a lot of sense. From now until then I will be busy with certain things (have another exam to study for and run my own consulting business which varies in how busy it actually gets).

I believe I can spend an average of 25 hours per week on GMAT studying from now until then (take out 1 week in August where I will be on vacation). Some weeks I will be able to spend more (i.e. 35 hours) while others may be cut down to 10-15 hours. I am about 12-13 weeks away from my exam date.


I have gotten very good advice from people on this forum thus far. I think I need to develop a very clear study plan which is achievable and realistic for my time frame. I'm open to anyideas.

Here are materials I have:

All MGMAT guides (5 math, 3 verbal)
MGMAT OG Companion (for 12th edition quant only)
MGMAT Foundations of GMAT Math (completed April/May 2010)
MGMAT Guided Self-Study Prep Course (completed 8/9 lectures)
6 MGMAT CAT tests (none attempted)

OG 12th edition
OG Math 2nd edition
OG Verbal 2nd edition

Kaplan GMAT Premier Live strategy guide
Kaplan GMAT Advanced guide
6 Kaplan CAT tests (none attempted)

Target Score: 700 (although I can live with 670-690)

Considering signing up to the Master GMAT course if the price makes sense....


Let me know

Thanks!

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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2010, 12:53
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Two things:
If you're going to reschedule do it soon. If you wait and will lose the entire sitting fee, I'd say just take the test. No sense is throwing your money away. The reschedule fee is $50 if you get in before the cut off.

I don't see any mention of an error log. You have sufficient materials, but prep without a guide (an error log) is like having an ikea desk in pieces without the instructions (anyone who has shopped at ikea will understand the reference).
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2010, 13:02
@mohater: Good point about the error log. I haven't been keeping track as much as I should have. Any tips of what kind of 'notes' to put in the error log (more directed towards verbal than quant). And you're right about simply re-scheduling rather than cancelling and then scheduling. It would save me some money.
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2010, 13:05
mohater wrote:
Two things:
If you're going to reschedule do it soon. If you wait and will lose the entire sitting fee, I'd say just take the test. No sense is throwing your money away. The reschedule fee is $50 if you get in before the cut off.

I don't see any mention of an error log. You have sufficient materials, but prep without a guide (an error log) is like having an ikea desk in pieces without the instructions (anyone who has shopped at ikea will understand the reference).

i saw error log mentioned here. i wonder how the error log looks like. i've been doing a collection of questions that i did wrong, is it considered error log?
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2010, 15:24
tt11234 wrote:
i saw error log mentioned here. i wonder how the error log looks like. i've been doing a collection of questions that i did wrong, is it considered error log?


An error log is YOUR means of tracking your progress and creating benchmarks.

Incorrect answers is probably the single biggest piece of an error log. You should also track the difference between problems you guess entirely on (no idea what to do), problems you are able to narrow down, etc..

Back to Bltiz:

If you read my debrief, you'll see I could NOT overcome certain shortcomings UNTIL I focused on my error log (specifically: the SC portion). You can see the error log competition thread and the error log thread
competition-for-the-best-gmat-error-log-template-86232.html
(click on error log for the error log thread).

I posted my error log as a joke in the competition. It was just a piece of paper and a legend (diff marks for each type: ones I guessed on (different marking for entire guess vs narrow down) and marking for ones I solved incorrectly). This helped me overcome the anxiety of the test (SLOW DOWN WHEN READING PROBLEMS. Yes, I yelled at myself in my head in all caps). By using active monitoring (as opposed to passive monitoring) I was able to reduce the # of "duh" mistakes and figure out the "why" for other problems (why I was routinely getting certain problems incorrect).
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2010, 15:53
Expert's post
Don't try to rush it and just cover the material - try to enjoy it (so to speak). Make sure you understand all points/strategies - write them out or create some kind of notes (very helpful for most).

I'd put a target of 20-25 hrs/week with one day off so you don't feel guilty and have a chance to relax and get your mind back in order. I studied without any breaks for 2-3 months and see what happened?
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2010, 07:40
@mohater: hopefully the error log will help me!

@bb: thanks for your advice it is very realistic. I need to study for another exam in the process and run my own consulting business but I believe that 20-25 hours per week works.


Does anyone else have any suggestions?
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 07 Jul 2010, 10:23
You may also want to employ flash cards to help retain critical data? They work for me! :-D
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2010, 15:04
I have been told some excellent advice. I'd like to share it with the rest of the community.

Since my new exam date is going to be in approximately 12-13 weeks, I've set a study schedule which I will study for the GMAT approximately 20-25 hours per week. This allows me to complete 1 MGMAT guide per week (starting with the Math guides). The format would be as follows:

MGMAT math guide (for example: Number Properties):
Read the whole book (including advanced sections) and take notes. Taking notes is time consuming but it is important as it will help remember. Once the book is complete, re-read notes and important examples and then (and ONLY then) do the OG problems in OG 12th edition and OG quant (2nd edition).

Same process to repeat for all 5 MGMAT quant books.


For verbal: do 1 MGMAT guide per week. Take notes, study them and then do the OG problems 12th edition and OG verbal (2nd edition).


Assuming all goes well, that should take up 8-9 weeks of my prep. Then, the last 3-5 weeks will be focussed on doing MGMAT CATs (6), GMAT Prep 1 & 2 and many problems from the OG which I had difficulty in (or got wrong).

Have gotten mixed reviews about an error log. Need to see which type of error log will work best for me as some people have told me it is very time consuming and may add little value (700+ scorers).


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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2010, 15:31
Hey I got a 430 too! Join the club =)

nah just kidding. Study hard. This website is great because people usually post the challenging more critical questions up for discussion so it really works your brain muscles. Don't try to cram 10+ hours a day. For me, I can probably do about 3-4 hours of intense studying depending on how well I rested the night before. However, don't let that slack you. If you keep it up, like I have, you'll start to feel more and more confident as you get more questions right. Leave yourself 3-4 months of intense studying as I am pretty confident you will see improvement.
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2010, 03:46
error logs error logs error logs!!! learn all the formulas etc. too applicable to each section, and memorise all the stuff MGMAT tells you tp memorise. just my thoughts on this anyway - doing that has improved my question-taking ability a lot
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2010, 07:29
You need to set a realistic goal (target score, time dedicated to preparation, real-life limiting factors etc). You see, you set a goal and a study plan. You are exited and motivated to achieve it and you honestly think that you'll do whatever it takes to make it. But in a few weeks you discover that you the study plan is not even close to your original expectations. Your real life starts interfering into your study. You feel burnt out and struggling.

In short, be realistic.
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2010, 09:56
You are absolutely right. I'm going to re-schedule my exam in the next few days. It's about 13 weeks away. I know some weeks I will be able to do more than others but the average of doing 25 hours per week makes a lot of sense.

Here is the plan:

Study time frame: 12-13 weeks

Hours per week (on average): 20-25 hours per week

Target score: 700

study plan per week for 1st 8 weeks: 1 MGMAT book per week (starting with math+take notes for BASIC and ADVANCED, skipping in action problems, OG problems 12th edition and math/verbal 2nd editions ALL)

study plan per week weeks 9-12/13: MGMAT CATs (6), GMAT Prep (2), and combination of OG problems (12th edition)



nonameee wrote:
You need to set a realistic goal (target score, time dedicated to preparation, real-life limiting factors etc). You see, you set a goal and a study plan. You are exited and motivated to achieve it and you honestly think that you'll do whatever it takes to make it. But in a few weeks you discover that you the study plan is not even close to your original expectations. Your real life starts interfering into your study. You feel burnt out and struggling.

In short, be realistic.
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2010, 03:02
25 hours per week are almost 4 hours a day, every single day. One day you have a huge work load, a headache or whatever, you miss the preparation and the next day you'll have to study 8 hours to compensate for the missed day. It also means that if you come home say at 6 pm, you'll have to study until 10 pm without any breaks (no dinner, no TV, no rest). You have to ask yourself honestly if you can do that without taking a leave from work for 12 weeks?
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2010, 04:17
I appreciate your concern. I currently am self-employed. My schedule and clients is what I make of it and also somewhat not in my control. It's a rather unique situation for the next couple of months. For instance, this week I know I will be fully booked on my business Thursday and Friday (i.e. no GMAT). However, I am free this afternoon, tomorrow and Wednesday all day as well as a couple of hours this weekend. I don't see how I won't get those 20-25 hours in with that type of schedule.

However, I do have another "issue." I have another exam to study for (and that one can't be delayed). The good news is the amount of hours studying isn't too bad and I should be writing that exam about 1 month before the GMAT. The 2 weeks leading up to that exam I will likely do no GMAT studying. Other than those 2 weeks, the rest of the time will likely resemble my schedule of this week (with probably more hours dedicated to the GMAT). The last month of studying my self-employment will not be an issue so I will fully be dedicated to the GMAT as well.

I'm also going on vacation around the end of the month for 1 week.

So the 20-25 hours a week is more of an average than anything. Some weeks I'll likely be able to do more (say 35 hours a week) and some less (say 10 or 15 hours per week)

Any thoughts?



nonameee wrote:
25 hours per week are almost 4 hours a day, every single day. One day you have a huge work load, a headache or whatever, you miss the preparation and the next day you'll have to study 8 hours to compensate for the missed day. It also means that if you come home say at 6 pm, you'll have to study until 10 pm without any breaks (no dinner, no TV, no rest). You have to ask yourself honestly if you can do that without taking a leave from work for 12 weeks?
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2010, 18:55
Good luck on the exam!
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2010, 21:38
I am in your same boat...but i have given up all vacations and social life...lol.

I have spent the first two months studying and learning gmat concepts and now reviewing my error log and taking gmat tests. my advice is just focus on the official GMAT book and keep taking tests. it will help you figure out where to spend most of your time.

If you have to go on vacation, I will say this...I did that and skipped four days and I felt like I hadn't studied in a month. take your flash cards with you if you can and try to study when you have downtime or on the plane.

Good Luck!
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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 12 Jul 2010, 23:46
Like the previous poster wrote, if your preparation is not continual, its benefits will be much less than if you don't interrupt your studyings. So reconsider your vacation. I don't think it's a wise decision (if it wasn't of course a part of your study plan).

Maybe you can postpone your test day as I personally don't think it's realistic to reach your target score in these circumstances.

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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2010, 05:27
My test is still scheduled for next week. I still have to postpone it (I have until tomorrow to do so). I'd like to do it close to mid-October (I'd end up doing the test a few days before the deadline). They said they are fine with it. I may or may not have a work contract from mid-October to the end of October and that would be long days (10-12 hours per day).

Is there a reason why you think I can't reach my target score? If I were to revise my target score to 660 (rather than it being at 700 now) do you think it makes sense (I probably can live with 650 as well).

Here's how I see it, if I don't get a good score (i.e. let's say below 650), I'll simply re-do the exam. I'll have the time to study and even should get the re-do in before their R3 deadline. I already submitted all of my documents. They are just waiting for my GMAT score.

As for the vacation, I appreciate the last 2 posts concerns. However, it's the only time that I 'realistically can go.' I know it will disrupt some of the flow of my studying. In a way, it's built in to my study plan like that. I have been busy with a lot of things the last month (maybe that's why I wasn't focussed) and my organization has not been ideal... I'm looking forward to some downtime.

Another thing, I have been studying (as you can see from my first post). I may not have been as focussed, but I did do something. I'm not exactly a beginner.


Would like some feedback

Thanks again



nonameee wrote:
Like the previous poster wrote, if your preparation is not continual, its benefits will be much less than if you don't interrupt your studyings. So reconsider your vacation. I don't think it's a wise decision (if it wasn't of course a part of your study plan).

Maybe you can postpone your test day as I personally don't think it's realistic to reach your target score in these circumstances.

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Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2010, 10:26
wish you the best..so what is your study plan and how do you plan to be more organized...This has been the toughest part for me.
Re: I screwed up... and now I want to fix my GMAT prep   [#permalink] 13 Jul 2010, 10:26
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