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My one-month GMAT Preparation

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My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 26 May 2013, 15:21
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Hi,

I am a non-native English speaker, who lives in Geneva (Switzerland) and would like to apologize in advance for mistakes I could make.
I recently graduate from a french university and want to pursue my studies with a master (have applied for 10 different schools). To that end, I have to take and pass the GMAT with a score of at least 550. However, I settle my goal to 600. I was impressed to read amazing experiences from GMAT Club members so I decided to write mine and by the way ask some useful advices. :)
One-month is a really short time period for the GMAT preparation but I don't have the choice. I already read all the key parts of the GMATClub and it provides me with some useful information and tools (error log, gmat timer, schedule, online courses, ...). I want to thank the GMATClub staff and active members for that!

I have already taken:

[2 days ago] The diagnostic test of the OG 13th edition (PS: average; DS: average; RC:above average; CR: above average; SC: below average)
[1 day ago] The GMAT Prep Test 1 ( Quant:35 Verbal:20 IR:4) and got 470


Is one-month of hard-working (i'm willing to study 8hours/day everyday) enough to improve by 130 points?
My biggest weakness as a non-native English speaker is the sentence correction questions where I always pick the wrong answer.... I read that it is better to start with the quant part and some other times with the weakest part, which is in my case SC ?! Which one I need to start studying with ?
I am willing to pay for online courses but am a bit confused between MGMAT, Kaplan and other companies for the quant part(best choice?). Concerning the verbal part, Egmat looks really interesting to me. However, is it worth it to pay to have access to their content if I have only one month? For information, I already have the 13th edition OG Review + Quant OG Review + Verbal OG Review and have also created trial accounts with The Economist (GMAT Tutor) and Egmat.


ED
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GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 28 May 2013, 06:42
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My suggestion would be not to study more than 3-4 hrs/day or at least without a good break (e.g. 7 am - 10 AM; then 1-2 hrs of exercise/walking/etc and then review of what you just covered and another 2 hours perhaps).

if you are not a native speaker, you can try to also improve a bit by reading a few hours a day (last thing you do). See GMAT fiction.

Your improvement should be doable. The most important advice/goal - DO NOT move on from a topic until you feel comfortable and are hitting 90% of your exercises correct. If you are not up there, you need to know why and figure out how to fix it!

Good Luck!
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Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 28 May 2013, 07:43
Alright bb, I really appreciate your response and will take full advantage of it. I am already reading The Economist since 2 weeks.
I also decided to subscribe to GMAT Pill Program which looks finally more adapted to my situation.

ED :-D
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Joined: 14 Oct 2012
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GMAT 2: 740 Q49 V42
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Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 28 May 2013, 16:03
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Hi!

I agree with bb's post, above, regarding the daily workload. I personally found that the effort/reward equation only worked in my favor until my fourth or fifth hour - which is to say that I was entirely too exhausted to actually learn anything after I hit the 4hr mark. It's really good to work for long stretches in order to build stamina (i.e. solving quant problems for 60-90 minutes, continually, followed by 60-90 of verbal) but anything more is really beyond the scope of the GMAT. Of course, only you can determine at what point you're increasing your stamina and at what point you've overshot your mental sweet-spot.

A couple of things about your experience thus far:

1. It's a little strange that you received a rating of "Average" in both of your quant diagnostics, and followed that up with a 35 in your first practice CAT. Similarly, being "Above Average" in both RC and CR indicates that you should be scoring 30-35 in your V fairly easily. I would recommend working on the psychological aspect of the exam - either you were nervous (consciously or subconsciously) when you took your CAT, or else you had a bad day, or you became fatigued from doing a test as long as the GMAT. In all likelihood, you will see some improvement in these categories as you do more and more practice problems and find your groove. I scored "Average" in both of my Q sections on the diagnostic on OG13 and wound up with a Q49 on the real thing - mostly due to the building up of stamina and becoming familiar with the different topics that are covered (more on that below).

2. SC is difficult. Even for native speakers, it can be absolutely horrible, because the colloquial English language (wherever you may happen to speak it - whether it be the UK, US, or any other part of the world) is FULL of ambiguities and mis-expressions. If you are good with grammar and the parts of speech, you should look at the MGMAT books (there is a Sentence Correction one) and see if it can help. On the most atomic level, SC is about the rules of grammar and idioms. If you know the grammar, you have won 75% of the battle. The good news is that RC and CR are significantly harder to learn in a short amount of time - so, being Above Average in those is to your benefit (although you shouldn't get complacent and not review these topics, even if you feel that you are good at them).

Ok - continuing the first point I made above:
I like to characterize the Q section in the following way - it is made up of two parts. The first (and most important) part is the fundamentals of mathematics. That is to say - are you reasonably good at translating word problems into mathematical expressions? If given a geometric diagram, can you fill the missing pieces using the geometric axioms? Can you do basic probability and statistics? If the (honest) answer to those questions is "yes", then you may want to work on strategy more than the actual mathematical operations (part 2, below). If the answer to the above questions is "no" (and if the answer is "I'm not sure", it should be treated as a "no") then that's no problem. There are plenty of books (my favorites have always been MGMAT, but I'm sure there are other quality publications out there) that can teach you the fundamentals. It won't take long - oftentimes, all you need is a refresher. Nevertheless, learning the fundamentals really well should guarantee your a score of 35-40 on Q.

The second part of Q is the refinement of your thought. There are a lot of smart people out there who have no idea how to begin solving for a math problem. You need to develop your thinking to the point where you group and sort information mentally, foregoing the process of manual calculation (long multiplication or division) in favor of simplifying the expressions and formulas on your piece of paper to come up with easy answers. In my mind, that golden 40-51 scale on Quant is nothing more than a measure of the quality of your mental work between the moment you read the problem and the moment you start performing actual calculations.

As for taking an online class? It all depends on how you learn best. If you enjoy having an instructor and a more structured setting, then you should go for it. If you're more of a free spirit that enjoys following a less conventional learning pattern, it may be best for you to do without the official class. In any case, I would recommend the MGMAT books, and every OG13 practice problem you can tackle.

And yes - I'm convinced that with a combination of hard work and smart work, you will obtain your goal of 600!

Good luck to you!
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Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 29 May 2013, 08:07
Hi daedalus1989,

Thank you for your contribution.
As I said above I have decided to pursue an online course program with GMAT Pill and am currently following their one-month schedule. However, I will also take more time to study on the RC part and do the Manhattan's RC book too. Concerning the quant, I already know all the concepts asked for the GMAT but had to back-up my knowledge and spent one full-day on the fundamentals of mathematics (on the OG Quant Review).
The practice exercises from the OG are ordered by level. I am wondering if I have to take them in order or mix them (choose some easy, middle and hard questions) ?

Thank you,
ED
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Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 29 May 2013, 19:46
You can get your desirable 600 in one month like no problem). Your math is 35, you should go through OG math and you can buy additional app in their store for additional 200 questions. These bunch will guarantee you at least 40-42 at math. To get 600 you need approximately something like 43math and 30 verb. Math +8 and verbal +10 in one month is achievable.
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Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2013, 08:53
Hi GMAT Members,

I have 20 days left before the GMAT day. I only went through the SC part (my weakest part). On the GMAT Pill RC Exercices, my accurancy is around 75%. However, when I try the hard (93 to 140) SC questions on the OG, my accurancy goes really low (about 25%).
My target of 600 is reachable but I don't have too much time left.
Do I have to struggle and understand the concepts of these long SC questions? Or move on to the following weakest part?
Please I really need some advices in order to study efficiently :)

ED1290
Re: My one-month GMAT Preparation   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2013, 08:53
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