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Just started studying

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Just started studying [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2010, 11:59
Hi guys!

So I'm new at everything! I've just stared reading all of your experiences and recently created my GMATCLUB account.
Also new at GMAT preparation. I've read the post about study methods, but I feel beggining is the worst step! It's really overwhelming and don't know if I'm doing OK.

I'm an architect trying to get an MBA in order to make a career change. My goal is to prepare all my applications for the 1st rounds in order to start in Summer 2011.
Before even reading or joining any forums, it seemed logic to seek help in a GMAT PREPARATION COURSE. In my city, Princeton Review was the only choice, so I signed up and it's been 3 weeks of preparation.

And as time goes by... I get a lot more scared! First, on the diagnostic test (the one from Princeton Review) I scored 350... 350!!!! I have a GPA of 3.6 and... I really didn't even try! School was always a piece of cake for me... I never was first in my class... but I was definitely on the top 20... and never really made an effort.
So... what's the deal with this diagnostic test????

Am I condemned to get a 500 on my GMAT... or... in order to get a 700... am i condemned to study 40 hrs a week for the rest of the year?

Ill tell you what I've been doing...
1) I go to Princeton Review courses 2 days a week.

2) Spend all week, including weekends reviewing notes from the course, and doing the homework assigned by PR. Homework comes from PR preparation material and OG12.

3) I've recently started my Error Log :P , which I fill in during my homework sessions

3) Before each class, I go through the lesson Prework.

4) On weekends I make a CAT (also from the PR).

5) Finishing the course, which lasts 7 weeks, im planning on taking the 1st of GMAT preparation material CAT, to see where I stand and in order to make a "before taking the GMAT" schedule.

The question is...

- Am I missing any step?
- Should I be doing anything differently?
- Any suggestions?
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2010, 12:44
Have you looked at this? everything-you-need-to-prepare-for-the-gmat-revised-77983.html

This was very helpful to me when I first started studying. I really focused on the fundamentals at the beginning. It sounds like you are studying hard. Have you try taking another practice test to see where you stand right now? Hang in there, it will get better.
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2010, 13:26
pay attention to BB's introduction email which has plenty of information in it that you should consider and tailor.
create adequate check points by taking tests when you are ready
Have Faith in your efforts...
Not every day is Sunday... so raise your focus on a down day with what gets you going...!

finally you are among the finest here... so clock in your time at GMATClub... Help & be Helped...!

ATB & Good Luck...!
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2010, 17:11
Hey, thanks for the links and the pat in the back.

I've just completed a 2nd. CAT, my score was 440. V25 and M25... 90 pts more than the 1st CAT I took.
I kind of feel a little disappointed BUT if every time I make a CAT, I score 90 more, then I could definitely reach 700... I just hope it works that way :?

My biggest challenge is Problem Solving. Time wasn't enough! Besides, I compared my answers with the official answers, sometimes I got it right, I just entered in the computer the wrong answer! Nonetheless, mistakes. I was missing at least 10 questions, when the time was up, so by the end, I had already lost my temper.

I'll work first on my fundamentals, to later continue with timing.

Thanks, I'll keep you posted. 8-)
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 11:19
pclg,

I too am an architect that is just starting the GMAT and MBA process. I have a question fro you since you are a month or so ahead of me. After passing the ARE how do you rate the GMAT? Also, what are you attempting to do- totally change your career or augment your architecture license with an MBA?
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 11:30
Barium:

There's something I didn't post... I'm an international applicant! I'm from Mexico, so, we don't have the ARE. Another thing... I still don't know how I'll approach the career-change thing... First, I think I should really focus on getting a good grade in the GMAT, to then start thinking in possible options.

But, after taking the GMAT, I'll keep you posted. :-D
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 13:22
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Hi pclg, one thing Princeton Review will teach you is ,for math problems, to work your way back from the answer choices. Since the answer has to be one of the 5, you can work your way back and see which one will fit into the original question stem. There are other techniques that Princeton Review focuses on such as plug-in, PITA (plug in the answer), finding sequences, etc. To be honest with you, as I am with my students (I'm a Princeton Review teacher), you need to put in double the work to get a better score. Why? Because you're starting at a lower point (score-wise) than most other testees. Having said that, an up-side to this is that you'll see your improvement more dramatically; hence, the improvement will be a HUGE confidence-booster when you're taking your diagnostic exams.

Also, keep in mind that Princeton Review (believe it or not) does "rank" its test. The first one you take will be towards the harder type of the test, and it'll get a bit easier. One reason behind this is the obvious - a low score on the first test prompts students to either sign up with Princeton Review or work harder for the second one.

Error log is a GREAT choice to really get down to what you're missing. Some people enjoy having an error log, while some prefer not to have one. Either one is fine, as long as you really understand why you miss a particular quesiton. With a quantitative score like yours, I would get my hands on any basic math questions I can and just start working. A score of Q25 pretty much indicates to me that you forgot your basic algebra, arithmetic, etc. This can be easily covered if you truly pay attention in class and be honest to yourself on your homework. Homework is the biggest part of the game through the course because you can only lead the horse to the water, but you can't make the horse drink. You have to practice and practice - practice the techniques learned in class with your homework questions. Once you finish the course, you should take a GMATPrep test and see where you're at (it seems to me as you haven't taken one yet). GMATPrep can be downloaded directly from mba.com and it's free! It gives you 2 free GMAT CATs published by the GMAT writers themselves! Use that to your advantage. Once you take the first test, you will be able to know what your weak areas are. Princeton Review can also help you with this; be proactive and ask your teacher questions - stump the teacher in any way you can. I'll post more info as I think of more...
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 13:42
Thanks pclg,

The ARE comprised of 9 exams so i'm trying to gauge how the prep will be for the GMAT compared to each of those tests. Does anyone out here know of anyone with an undergrad in Architecture, or even with an Architecture license, who has gone down the MBA path? If so, how has it benefited them?

The Architecture profession in America is broken and a huge reason is because the project architects are asked to manage projects and make important decisions that affect everyone in the firm. They are asked to do this while they themselves posses virtually no business training on how to do this.

I am attempting to augment my architecture and urban understanding with the MBA but if I find resistance within the industry (probable) I'm not against a career change to make myself more marketable. This constant thing about starving architects, and it being a front line job that is affected by downturns every 5-7 years is not a smart career path for me to follow.

So, if anyone knows of the Architect+ MBA combo I would definitely like to know how they are doing.
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 15:37
Bakfed,

I really liked your post! Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm actually a little better in my scores... I don't remember them now but I will keep you posted; my PR courses finish next week so I'm gonna need a lot of help stuyding, and solving all of my previous doubts.

I did notice that it was a matter of practice! A lot of the concepts I don't use on a daily basis, and they're just a lot to memorize. My brain was super math-rusty, but I feel I'm getting there...

So, we'll talk later!
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 16:16
pclg wrote:
Bakfed,

I really liked your post! Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm actually a little better in my scores... I don't remember them now but I will keep you posted; my PR courses finish next week so I'm gonna need a lot of help stuyding, and solving all of my previous doubts.

I did notice that it was a matter of practice! A lot of the concepts I don't use on a daily basis, and they're just a lot to memorize. My brain was super math-rusty, but I feel I'm getting there...

So, we'll talk later!


rusty is okay, as long as you're doing something about it, and it seems like you are. Don't be afraid to ask questions on this forum either; most people here are more than happy to help others out because they gain the insights through helping. I lurk around the many sections provided on this forum, so you'll see me posting answers and questions from time to time. At any rate, practice is definitely the key! Just by doing sentence corrections and knowing why you get some wrong, it sticks to you after you see the same concept 10 or 20 times. Eventually you'll become a guru of sentence correction. This goes with any other section as well. Good luck! :-D
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Re: Just started studying [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2010, 16:28
I just wanted to toss in some thoughts I have acquired through my own prep and reading this board and others.

1) First off- dont have the attitude of fear of the test. The GMAT is as much a psych game as it is an aptitude test- going in with fear will lead to awful results. Go in to your studying and the actual test (and your prep tests!) that this mofo isnt gonna stop you from attaining your dreams!

2) Keep going with the practice- practice practice practice. Retraining brains that are rusty from a few years in the corporate world takes some time but eventually you will see your pace pick up as you begin to recognize problem constructions and know how to solve. Working problems (once you have a solid foundation of the basics) consistently and strongly is the best way to really get under the skin of the GMAT. Working practice tests in a timed situation are critical as well- the more you know your rhythm, the way the test is constructed, and the mental strain and how to overcome it, the better you will do.

3) Dont forget to maintain some practice with your strong aspects. My verbal is strong- but I work one set of verbal to two sets of maths every day and rotate (SC/CR/RC) every day. I dont have many errors in verbal, but there are some here and there and they serve as reminders- read closely, watch your answer, remember this and not that.

4) Building a routine for each type of problem can help take away the "fear" quotient as well. Someone on here listed out how they approached each section- I just came on here tonight to look for that post actually!

5) Finally- make sure you practice one or two tests WITH the AWA so you can get used to the mental lifting required to go the distance. Someone on another board also pointed out that the AWAs are listed on the GMAC website- I havent checked that out yet, but she went and checked them out and wrote out a quick outline for each one so that it was easier on test day to not be going into the AWA completely blind!

Im not up to bat for another 4 weeks, but Im cranking along and watching my score inch up on each section (or take a huge leap as it did on the un-CAT Kaplan I took a month ago), the number of mistakes go down, and the speed I do the problems go up. I have another practice exam to do on Friday so hoping more progress has been made!


As an aside- I know what you mean Barium- this is more a realignment for me, but my most recent experience has been in resort and leisure development. This recession took out over 20 ppl in in-house development, and I cant imagine the knock-on effect it would have had on architects and other attendant professions that helped us stick up resorts around the country. I took a look at my skills and background and where I was headed and figured an MBA would be the best move to consolidate everything and go a more stable route. Im sure development was fun back a few years when they were putting up resorts left and right, but I realized about three months after I started that development had to slow down or stop completely, for a variety of reasons.
Re: Just started studying   [#permalink] 03 Mar 2010, 16:28
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