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Last minute re-take prep (650 to 700)

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Last minute re-take prep (650 to 700) [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2014, 20:07
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Who might find this useful - peers who are juggling numerous commitments on top of retaking GMAT. Yes, you are running out of time, but don't despair. You might have a different studying style from those who clock 30 hours a week regularly. I actually spent 30mins fretting over the likelihood of being screwed by gmat again because I did not clock 30 hours a week and proceeded to mentally debate the merits of rescheduling, before finally decided that procrastination is no better than biting the bullet and working doubly hard in the limited time.

I didn't have the luxury of time. I only had a 2 day window period to prepare for my second GMAT. Disclaimer - I did worked on some pract questions irregularly (i.e. up to 50 questions in a day when I could spare the time but could be not touching gmat for a month) during the time between my two tests. I had other commitments that demanded all my attention.

Background
First GMAT Aug 2013 was 650.
Retook GMAT Jan 2014 obtained 700.

Lesson learnt: identify your weakness and improve on that SPECIFIC part. Truth is, you might not be in time to become an expert at that area, but it is important to know which area is causing you pain. It is insufficient to say quant, it is important to drill down to - work problems? numbers? or is it data sufficiency?
If there is not much you can takeaway from my note, I hope this point gets across. Essentially, your weakness is what caused your GMAT score to be low - you need to know what you do not know. Quickly.

My problem - quants (and sigh, time management). To be honest, I still tripped over these during the real exam, but I did the best I could in the limited prep time I had.

Material used
1. Cracking the New GMAT, 2013 Edition: Revised and Updated for the New GMAT by Princeton.
If your weakness is verbal, this provides useful exam strategy. I spent 3 hours on the verbal portion. In my opinion, definitely insufficient time to go through the whole book if you are down to 2 days and it is not as useful for quants problem. I used this for my first prep and went through 1.5hours of verbal every night before I sleep.

2. 1 week before my second GMAT test, I found this free service and subscribed to the GMAT mailer which sent me 1 quant and 1 verbal question daily. Takes 10 mins max a day to try to solve it, and check the discussion online.

3. GMAT club diagnostic test (Quants).
First test I did in the intensive 2 days, useful in identifying my weak areas and good explanation provided in the forum by the team. The help I received from GMATclub is the reason why I am sharing my experience (even though mine is not an awe inspiring score of 750 and above).

4. GMAT test prep software.
I took 4 mock tests; 2 each day. Questions do repeated themselves in the mock test, bulk are new material and it instills discipline to manage my time. I skipped through the AWA and IR portion, focused on quants and verbal to get a sense of the likely score. Mine ranged between 630 - 750. Not much reassurance realistically speaking, but it got me into the "GMAT mode" and way of thinking.

5. The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review, 2nd Edition
This is the up to 50 questions a day book for me. I think the earlier questions of each portion are usually easier, so work through them more quickly than you would for the later half.

Best of luck.
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Intern
Intern
Joined: 13 Oct 2013
Posts: 10
Location: United States
Concentration: Finance, Finance
GMAT 1: 710 Q46 V42
GPA: 4
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 1

Re: Last minute re-take prep (650 to 700) [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2014, 13:02
alpsang wrote:
Who might find this useful - peers who are juggling numerous commitments on top of retaking GMAT. Yes, you are running out of time, but don't despair. You might have a different studying style from those who clock 30 hours a week regularly. I actually spent 30mins fretting over the likelihood of being screwed by gmat again because I did not clock 30 hours a week and proceeded to mentally debate the merits of rescheduling, before finally decided that procrastination is no better than biting the bullet and working doubly hard in the limited time.

I didn't have the luxury of time. I only had a 2 day window period to prepare for my second GMAT. Disclaimer - I did worked on some pract questions irregularly (i.e. up to 50 questions in a day when I could spare the time but could be not touching gmat for a month) during the time between my two tests. I had other commitments that demanded all my attention.

Background
First GMAT Aug 2013 was 650.
Retook GMAT Jan 2014 obtained 700.

Lesson learnt: identify your weakness and improve on that SPECIFIC part. Truth is, you might not be in time to become an expert at that area, but it is important to know which area is causing you pain. It is insufficient to say quant, it is important to drill down to - work problems? numbers? or is it data sufficiency?
If there is not much you can takeaway from my note, I hope this point gets across. Essentially, your weakness is what caused your GMAT score to be low - you need to know what you do not know. Quickly.

My problem - quants (and sigh, time management). To be honest, I still tripped over these during the real exam, but I did the best I could in the limited prep time I had.

Material used
1. Cracking the New GMAT, 2013 Edition: Revised and Updated for the New GMAT by Princeton.
If your weakness is verbal, this provides useful exam strategy. I spent 3 hours on the verbal portion. In my opinion, definitely insufficient time to go through the whole book if you are down to 2 days and it is not as useful for quants problem. I used this for my first prep and went through 1.5hours of verbal every night before I sleep.

2. 1 week before my second GMAT test, I found this free service and subscribed to the GMAT mailer which sent me 1 quant and 1 verbal question daily. Takes 10 mins max a day to try to solve it, and check the discussion online.

3. GMAT club diagnostic test (Quants).
First test I did in the intensive 2 days, useful in identifying my weak areas and good explanation provided in the forum by the team. The help I received from GMATclub is the reason why I am sharing my experience (even though mine is not an awe inspiring score of 750 and above).

4. GMAT test prep software.
I took 4 mock tests; 2 each day. Questions do repeated themselves in the mock test, bulk are new material and it instills discipline to manage my time. I skipped through the AWA and IR portion, focused on quants and verbal to get a sense of the likely score. Mine ranged between 630 - 750. Not much reassurance realistically speaking, but it got me into the "GMAT mode" and way of thinking.

5. The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review, 2nd Edition
This is the up to 50 questions a day book for me. I think the earlier questions of each portion are usually easier, so work through them more quickly than you would for the later half.

Best of luck.


Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. I have been using exactly the same gmat books during the last months (my exam is scheduled on the 30th of this month). My weak part is the Verbal one, but I got a really impressive score on the Princeton CAT (V 42) and now I'm wondering if I have really improved my score or is just because Princeton makes very easy tests (normally I score 31/33 on Verbal).

Do you have any previous experiences with Princeton?

Thanks a lot and congrats for your great score
Nicola
Economist GMAT Tutor Representative
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Affiliations: Economist GMAT Tutor
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 222
Location: United States
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Re: Last minute re-take prep (650 to 700) [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2014, 13:24
Expert's post
Congrats on your great score! I am a huge proponent of your strategy, and in fact we here at Economist GMAT Tutor designed our entire course on that very premise -- to focus on students' areas of weakness and not waste time reviewing topics they already know. Nice job boosting your score so much while juggling a busy schedule!
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Re: Last minute re-take prep (650 to 700)   [#permalink] 17 Jan 2014, 13:24
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Last minute re-take prep (650 to 700)

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