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Jing's Journal: Quest for 800

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Jing's Journal: Quest for 800 [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2007, 03:19
Hey guys,

I've decided to start a topic to track my progress in preparation for the GMAT. I hope the added public accountability will keep me focused on my studies.

My Background
I just graduated, and my current goal is to get accepted at a top Masters program in quantitative finance. Because most of these programs take GMAT in place of GRE, GMAT seemed more practical because taking it would also knock out the test for B-School in the future.

So, a week ago, I committed myself to taking the test.

Current Progress
Princeton Review - Cracking the GMAT - Great primer! Gets you started with the right mentality of how to tackle the GMAT. Reading this guide raised my target score from 720+ to 800, because they show you that all the elements of the test can be learned. I was scoring about 50% in Verbal before reading this! Recommended read.
- Finished strategies and tips sections
- Completed practice problem sets (Q: 17/20, V: 18/20) [Careless mistakes]
- Easy and Medium Questions
- - - 50/53 Quant (1 bad assumption PS, 2 misread questions PS&DS)
- - - 44/52 Verbal (6 SC, 2 RC)
- (Medium-Hard and Hard Questions)
- (Take practice tests)

Kaplan GMAT Premier Program - So far so good, but I heard a lot of negatives about this program.
- Online Diagnostic Quiz (95%) [2 careless mistakes: 1 DS, 1 RC]
- CR Practice Quiz (41/50) [Wow, made some dumb mistakes especially close to the end. Really disappointed in myself. Note-to-self: Read CR answers more clearly.]
- SC Practice Quiz (43/50) [Learned mistakes as I went, 100% on last 20]

Strunk & White: The Elements of Style - Great reference for the fundamentals of good writing. Clear understanding of the fundamentals is key for SC.
- (Finish book)

Barron's GMAT CD - Crap; completely unrepresentative of the real GMAT questions.

OG11: GMAT Review
- Diagnostics Quiz - T_T
- - - Quant: 43/48 (1PS, 4DS)
- - - Verbal: 46/52 (2RC, 2CR, 2SC)

(Kaplan GMAT 800)
(1000 SC, RC, CR)
(1000 DS, PS)

Weaknesses to Fix
1. Spending too much time on Quant questions (Having 2-3 questions left when time runs out)
2. Reluctance to reread RC and CR passages when unsure of answer
3. Only around 80% confident of answer to some SC
4. Careless errors! Need to work on mental stamina!

Conclusion
GMATPrep1: 760 (51Q, 41V)
GMATPrep2: 770 (50Q, 45V)

GMAT Test: 780 (50Q, 48V)

Detailed write-up here: http://www.gmatclub.com/forum/t55399

Last edited by JingChan on 12 Nov 2007, 23:03, edited 16 times in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2007, 09:58
you are doing super well so far! :) Kaplan is trash and Princeton Review is good start although not enough for a higher score. i would recommend all of the Original Guide books (11th ed/ math/verbal) and the MGMAT books to your list. The GMATclub math challenges are also great once you have mastered the basics. I like Powerscore for CR and of course gmatclub forums for stimulating discussions. as for timing, have you looked into the GMATPrep / PowerPrep CAT's?
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Re: Jing's Journal: Quest for 800 [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2007, 11:24
JingChan wrote:
Hey guys,

I've decided to start a topic to track my progress in preparation for the GMAT. I hope the added public accountability will keep me focused on my studies.

My Background
I just graduated, and my current goal is to get accepted at a top Masters program in quantitative finance. Because most of these programs take GMAT in place of GRE, GMAT seemed more practical because it would also knock out the test for B-School in the future.

So, a week ago, I committed myself to taking the test.

Current Progress
Princeton Review - Cracking the GMAT - Great primer! Gets you started with the right mentality of how to tackle the GMAT. Reading this guide raised my target score from 720+ to 800. Recommended read.
- Finished strategies and tips sections
- Completed practice problem sets (Q: 17/20, V: 18/20) [Careless mistakes]
- (Take practice tests)

Kaplan GMAT Premier Program - So far so good, but I heard a lot of negatives about this program.
- Online Diagnostic Quiz (95%) [2 careless mistakes: 1 DS, 1 RC]

Strunk & White: The Elements of Style - Great reference for the fundamentals of good writing. Clear understanding of the fundamentals is key for SC.
- (Finish book)

(OG: GMAT Review)
(Kaplan GMAT 800)
(1000 SC, RC, CR)
(1000 DS, PS)

Weaknesses to Fix
1. Spending too much time on Quant questions (Having 2-3 questions left when time runs out)
2. Reluctance to reread RC and CR passages when unsure of answer
3. Only around 80% confident of answer to some SC
4. Careless errors! Need to work on mental stamina!


Bro u seem to understand the GMAT very well. Showin us old Gmatclubbers, newbies can still own :P.

Id def. stay away from Kaplan. Its just not very good material.

Try MGMAT materials.
GMATPrep.
OG 11
OG Verbal
OG Quant.
GMATClub Challenges

CR in the OG's will seem like kindergarden to you though.


Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2007, 11:30
Thanks for the suggestions so far! I will make note of them.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2007, 18:16
I went through a "practice test" consisting of the easy and medium question sets for both Quant and Verbal in Princeton Review to gauge my performance.

50/53 Quant (1 bad assumption PS, 2 misread questions PS&DS) - 69 minutes (1.3 min/q)
44/52 Verbal (6 SC, 2 RC) - 75 minutes (1.4 min/q)

Really need to focus/relax more during SC. Grammar is much harder to evaluate when you have time pressure. RC mistakes were from the same line of thought, I should have went back and looked at the passage.

Time was pretty bad, especially since these were the easy and medium questions. It didn't help that people were chattering in the bookstore that I was in. Though, I suppose it's probably a good way to train myself to better ignore distractions.
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2007, 21:53
Again a good one from a GMATClubber...thanks for sharing this!
Keep us updated!
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2007, 14:39
Nice work Jing, keep it up.

I would recommend eventually just going to OG + Paper Tests + GMATPrep before you write the real thing. Once you start doing a lot of OG you will notice that a lot of Kaplan, Princeton, McGraw, etc questions are formulated incorrectly and fail to properly eliminate subjectivity in the answers (which really, really pisses you off!). Anyways just a tip.

Also if you find you get tired, try doing 150 questions in 150 mins and simulating the same mix of questions (a few DS, then a few PS, a few DS, few PS, then RC, etc) (or just doing 2 paper tests in a row as fast as you can).

Best of luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2007, 13:30
Just finished taking the diagnostics quiz at the beginning of OG11.

Kinda iffy scores, need to work on consistency.

Quant: 43/48
Verbal: 46/52

Breakdowns:
PS 23/24
DS 20/24
CR 15/17
RC 15/17
SC 16/18

When I score each section there are always a couple questions where I'm like "how did i get that wrong?"

Consistently scoring about 9 out of 10 questions no matter what type of question. I think my flaw is concentration.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2007, 10:46
Hi JingChan

i've jotted down some points on prep-materials i'm following and few concerns if u would share ur thoughts on that, it will really b helpful! Below is the link...

http://www.gmatclub.com/forum/t53976

Thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2007, 12:39
JingChan wrote:
Just finished taking the diagnostics quiz at the beginning of OG11.

Kinda iffy scores, need to work on consistency.

Quant: 43/48
Verbal: 46/52

Breakdowns:
PS 23/24
DS 20/24
CR 15/17
RC 15/17
SC 16/18

When I score each section there are always a couple questions where I'm like "how did i get that wrong?"

Consistently scoring about 9 out of 10 questions no matter what type of question. I think my flaw is concentration.


JingChan, you're going to do very well. If I remember my diagnostic scores from OG11 correctly they were very similar to yours, and I did that in my final week of preparation. I remember the diagnostic being a fairly good representation of how the mix of problems will be on the test. If you keep working like you are, you very well could join the elusive 800 club.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2007, 15:00
Jing -- that's the main problem, focus. I find that as you do more and more questions, you progressively get more and more tired. Do you get the 'brain buzz'? That fuzzy/warm feeling in your brain? That's what I get, then nothing makes sense and it's hard to focus... I find doing a lot of questions in a row helps (like 150 in a row, in 2 hours) helps train the brain.

Keep up the good work
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2007, 19:56
Wow, haven't updated this in a long time.

I've been going through the OG11 and doing about 60-80 questions a day. Have to really step up my studying hardcore because I need to write the test soon to be able to work on applications.

Here's my scores so far:

PS: 165/170 (97%)
DS: 88/90 (98%)
RC: 50/57 (88%)
SC: 79/100 (79%)
CR: 64/70 (91%)

I'm not sure how this will translate exactly to a percentile score on the GMAT.

I'm hoping to push all the percentages up to at least 90%, my biggest obvious flaw has been SC. Do any of you guys have suggestions on how to rock the SC? I have a feeling that my approach to answering those questions is flawed, and that I'm missing the fundamentals.

Best,
J
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2007, 20:01
StartupAddict wrote:
Jing -- that's the main problem, focus. I find that as you do more and more questions, you progressively get more and more tired. Do you get the 'brain buzz'? That fuzzy/warm feeling in your brain? That's what I get, then nothing makes sense and it's hard to focus... I find doing a lot of questions in a row helps (like 150 in a row, in 2 hours) helps train the brain.

Keep up the good work


Yeah man, I always get that burnout after I do about 50-80 questions. I's zone out while reading passages and I'd have to mentally kick myself back into concentration mode to get through it. The bright side is that the actual test itself only has about 80 questions, so as long as you can do 80 without your eyes glazing over, you're probably okay.

Doing 150... is nuts. Lol. But I'm sure it's great for training stamina. I'll probably do a few marathon question rounds as I start winding down to test day.

-J
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Nov 2007, 15:36
GMATPrep 1: 740 (51Q, 39V)

Although this score is lower than I'd like. I actually ran out of time on verbal with ~8 questions to go, getting them all wrong (which is supposedly really bad for your score). Haha, I'm usually very fast with verbal (~1 min a question), but I was distracted by my parents during that section.

Math section was fine, I finished with 11+ minutes to go.

So, even though my score is lower than great, I'm feeling pretty confident about the test.

I purposely did not review my answers, and will go and retake the test in a more isolated environment to hopefully get a better approximation.

And I'm saving GMATPrep 2 for the day before the test.

Scheduled my GMAT for this Sunday at 9am. (Only time available within the next two weeks at my closest center.)

---

Edit: So I retook the GMATPrep 1 test after my family went to sleep. :lol:

Score: 760 (51Q, 41V)

Missed 2 questions on Quant (careless errors), but 11 on Verbal! Score is still too low for my liking.

And I believe 9 of the ones I got wrong were all SC!

I pretty much got all the SC wrong, but did fine on every other type of question. It seems that some days I can go 20-30 SC questions in a row and not miss a single one, but other days I miss 1 out of 5. On this test, however, I probably missed 2 out of 3. Horrid.

Really need to step up my SC game if I am to write this test on Sunday... 3 days away. Gonna do straight SC1000s for the next 2 days.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2007, 07:14
JingChan wrote:
StartupAddict wrote:
Jing -- that's the main problem, focus. I find that as you do more and more questions, you progressively get more and more tired. Do you get the 'brain buzz'? That fuzzy/warm feeling in your brain? That's what I get, then nothing makes sense and it's hard to focus... I find doing a lot of questions in a row helps (like 150 in a row, in 2 hours) helps train the brain.

Keep up the good work


Yeah man, I always get that burnout after I do about 50-80 questions. I's zone out while reading passages and I'd have to mentally kick myself back into concentration mode to get through it. The bright side is that the actual test itself only has about 80 questions, so as long as you can do 80 without your eyes glazing over, you're probably okay.

Doing 150... is nuts. Lol. But I'm sure it's great for training stamina. I'll probably do a few marathon question rounds as I start winding down to test day.

-J


I think the Powerscore Sentence Correction book is better than Manhattan GMAT's-it starts from the beginning and gives examples/problems throughout and explains the concepts in more depth. Definitely worth the $$$..I am a native English speaker and never learned proper grammar-never really counted for me in school since I was in a honors classes-teachers focused more on content ideas than correct form.
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Nov 2007, 18:46
jamesrwrightiii wrote:
I think the Powerscore Sentence Correction book is better than Manhattan GMAT's-it starts from the beginning and gives examples/problems throughout and explains the concepts in more depth. Definitely worth the $$$..I am a native English speaker and never learned proper grammar-never really counted for me in school since I was in a honors classes-teachers focused more on content ideas than correct form.



Yeah, that must have been my problem, too. I never remember rigorous training in correct grammatical form, and I'm a native speaker who went to a Governor's school.

Thanks for the advice, but it's a little late for me; I'm taking the test in 1.5 days. I've just decided to use the SC1000 and ram the question type into my head by doing as many as I can each day. After studying, I know all the rules, I just need to take what I know and apply it to the questions.

Cheers,
J
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2007, 22:37
GMATPrep #2: 770 (50Q, 45V)

Disappointed at the 50Q, I missed 7 questions!

Verbal was kicking, I'd be happy with a 45V anyday.


Practices have been okay, tomorrow is game day- going to sleep early tonight.

-Jing
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Nov 2007, 23:20
good luck :-D
  [#permalink] 10 Nov 2007, 23:20
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