I am a french research assistant currently working in a US University in NYC. I work for a professor who advised me last week to apply in fall to US programs. I have to take the GMAT by the 15th of November if I want my applications to be complete by the 15th of December (right?). That leaves me roughly 2 months of preparation.
I took a Kaplan
diagnostic paper test with no preparation last saturday. I was very rusty in quant, didn't remember many of the formulas. Here is my result:
- Quant: 27/37
- Verbal: 36/41
I did not really pay attention to time, and I feel that my Quant score is artificially low. I definitely suffered through the test. Kaplan
provides a grid that gives me a score in the range 610-660. I have worked on my mistakes in the diagnostic test, took it again with 4 careless errors (that's one of my big problems. Any advice?).
I bought OG13 and started working on the Quant section monday morning. Here is what I have started to do, and what I plan for the next few weeks:
- Every morning: I start working at 8AM for 4 hours to build stamina. My test will be at 8AM too. I plan on working only on my math skills the first month, because that's where i need improving. So far, I am doing 40 questions in a row, within 80-90 minutes, to get used to the rythm. After that, I take a break, and start correcting my questions and learning the concepts that I don't know well enough.
- Every evening: I start working at 8PM for 2 hours. I basically do again the series of questions I did in the morning, to make sure that I master all of them. At this point, there should only be 2-3 questions that I need to work on again. In OG13, there is typically one about Orange Juice that I have problems understanding. I'll get there.
- Every saturday morning: I start at 8AM for 4 hours and do a third time the questions I did during the week, with a break every hour. The purpose is to make sure that my brain knows how to process these questions without too much effort.
- Sundays: I plan on going out on saturday evenings and not working on sundays.
Here are my questions:
- I need to have a score superior to 700 to be considered to the programs I am applying to. Does that goal seem reachable to you?
- I definitely see the value of doing OG13 questions multiple times in order to make sure that I really master them. But I am not a GMAT expert. What do YOU think? Am I learning to answer GMAT questions, or am I just learning to answer specific OG13 questions?
- I don't want to take any CAT test the first month. I feel that CAT tests are useful to build stamina and getting used to the system, not to learn new concepts. I don't want to be depressed by artificially low scores. What do you think?
- People around here say that OG13 is too easy. That is making me anxious, because I am learning a lot from this book. I feel that I need to master 0G13 before I can go to harder questions, and not the other way around. What do you think? What other book would you advise me to get?
- I was originally planning on taking the GMAT on October 15th in order to have another chance to get a good score. However, I feel that one month won't be enough for me to reach 700+ and I don't see the point in taking a test without being ready. What do you think? Do people usually take the times 2-3 times before reaching their score?
- One reason people seem to like taking the test twice is that they can get used to the testing center and the interface. I am planning on regularly taking CATs during my second month of preparation, to get used to the pace. I also have to take the TOEFL in october, so I'll see the testing center. Are the conditions similar?
Thanks a lot for your help!