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My plan of attack: 50 days of hell...

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My plan of attack: 50 days of hell... [#permalink] New post 14 May 2006, 22:06
hey everyone,

I finally decided to intro myself and show the pros my plan for beating the @^&% out of this GMAT... I have looked around this forum for a while now, mostly reading people's experiences and great achievements. It seems that most of people tell only successful stories and I was intimidated to post anything seeing people with 700+ every day... But then I read a sticky by sg8899 "500 to 700... my road to MBA" and was very inspired by the story. I recommend it to anyone who is struggling in 500s or lower to get some positive vibe and successful vision.

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=5919

I found other very inspiring stories here and decided to participate and get some support from people who are definitely going through this dreadful and stressful experience.

Anyway, I took the GMAT once in January 2006 and did not do so well at all... in fact, I did so bad in my verbal I was ashamed to use the excuse that I am not a native speaker... However, there were other reasons I didn't do well at that time... I had many personal doubts about my future in career and relationship and could not focus very well... When I went into the testing room, I kept telling myself that "I don't care" (trying to keep calm)... the kind of attitude I usually had on the first test of a tough undergrad course... (despite the fact I graduated magna cum laude in BS finance). I think it was definitely my mental state that dragged me down back then. I came out of the room with 500 (q35,v24). No sorries... no feelings... I felt I knew that was going to happen... in fact my practice scores were in 500s, but I had to take the test because of the apps deadline.

This score was achieved with some studying and completing of Veritas course... which I thought was total waste of money by the way. They changed the instructors in the middle of the course and you hardly got anything from the lectures, because everything was in their books... I felt like I was paying for the interaction with classmates and not the teaching.

Now, gearing up for the 2nd round...

I decided to put my 1st attempt behind me and start from scratch. I know my strengths and weaknesses and that is all I am going to take from it... so here comes the plan:

I plan to study intensely for 1.5 months or more if needed (subject to GMATPrep tests after studying)

Materials and Order of Studying:

Week 1: Basic Review of the strategies, quizzes in the book, compiling the notes.
Kaplan Premier 2006
PR 2005
Weekend: 1-2 CATS

Week 2: Studying and practicing quizzes.
NOVA's GMAT Prep Course Book
Solving/Reviewing/Studying
Weekend: 2-3 CATS

Week 3: Review, Studying, Learning pacing with CATS
800Score Tests
ARCO's Master the GMAT (only practicing selected math and verbal questions)
MGMAT Guides Review
Weekend: 2-3 CATS

Week 4 & 5: Practicing questions
MGMAT + OG 11
Weekend: 2-3 CATS

Week 6 & 7: Practicing questions/Review mistakes
OG Quant/Verbal Reviews
1000 RC/SC/CR
Kaplan 800
Weekend: 2-3 CATS

Analysis of Math:
My math skills are about average, but I believe I can inflate those with some serious and focused studying.
Strengths: 90% accuracy, but at the expense of time... don't see the shortcuts very fast...
Weaknesses: (easier to list, so seems like a lot of those) Word problems (rate and age kind tend to solve slow), number property and !@#$%^& DATA SUFFICIENCY... oh... How I hate that... especially number properties/inequalities kind - so time consuming to think of all possibilities...

Analysis of Verbal:
My verbal needs most improvement... but I think that time is the most difficult factor for me... I tend to read slower with a lot of comprehension, but as soon as I speed up I lose it right away, especially with science stuff.
Not very much bothered by history and business/economics topics though.
Strengths: I think SC is the easiest for me, but sometimes it is rather tricky. I only get those wrong that involve unknown to me idioms, but I would study MGMAT SC anyway.
Weaknesses: CR and RC... While RC is hit and miss for me... depending on the topic, CR is a stupid logic that I don't get sometimes... I usually "infer" or "assume" too much from the argument, but could quickly see how to weak the argument... All in all... both RC and CR need some serious work.

Other Details:
I plan to study every day for at least 8-10 hrs (privilege of not working at the moment), so my full attention should be on my prep. I plan to eat/sleep/dream GMAT for the next 1.5 months to fully immerse myself to get focused. The only concern is a burnout... but I thought I would do some yoga/swimming about 3 times a week and skip practicing questions on Fridays (study notes anyway)... so basically become a nerd for a while... luckily, I have a full support of my friends and family, so they should not give me any troubles for disappearing from their radars.

During my practice I should be able to see any other troubles, and I will see if I am ready to take the real test after those 45-50 days of hell. I do plan to utilize the error log posted on this forum and time myself all the time (time gives me the biggest problem of all... even in college I was in the last 5 to leave the room, but get a good score on the test... I really admire people who finish any of the sections with spare time)

So how is my plan? AMBITIOUS? May be... but my ambitions are usually the reason I get to the top of things... and besides I happened to read "On Intelligence" by Jeff Hawkins a couple of weeks back where he argues that a human brain can be trained to do anything... It was a good motivation and reading practice, and I would recommend this book just for the sake of thinking about how your brain really works.

Wow... seems to be a long post... I hope anyone from the pros would read and make some comments about it! And for those in same shoes (I am more than 100% sure that there are people with similar stories), I would hope that my structure helped you to created your own studying plan or follow this one... I also hope that you post your experiences on this forum, so we can motivate and support each other... after all GMAT is not about the intelligence, it is about how you handle pressure and stress (proven from my own experience) I think I didn't handle it right and was inconfident about my prep, so I got what I deserved at that time...

In conclusion, (ready for AWA :lol: ) I would love to achieve a high score just like anyone else on this forum, but I would not kill myself if I wouldn't get into 700+ (hey, life is too much fun for that and I want to see U2's next album anyways and may be have an intelligent conversation with Bono one day (who knows?!) :wink: ) I also would not think about retaking the test if I get 740 like some others in this forum... I just thought those kind of posts were ridiculous...

I would welcome any comments and answer any questions that I can about my prep...

Thank you all, and I am glad to be part of this incredible group,
u2lover

PS I got 5.5 on AWA with no studying, so I would only review this section the day before the test.

Last edited by u2lover on 19 May 2006, 17:42, edited 3 times in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 May 2006, 14:26
Seems like I am going to add to this post alone... that's fine... it will be my GMAT diary... :)

Ok... I finished reviewing Kaplan and PR today (week 1)... feels like I didn't get anything new out of it...

My score on Kaplan book test was 550 (q32,v27)... don't really know what to make out of it... but I will take it for now. However, I spent extra 5 min on quant and extra 10 on verbal... Made most SC & RC mistakes (surprise, surprise... SC is supposed to be my strongest area in Verbal)

The hit rate on the quizzes was (all Kaplan Premier 2006):
CR 76%
SC 86%
RC 86%
PS 88%
DS 84%
This was all timed and in most of the sections I spend way more time than allowed, but I am trying to work on accuracy in the first couple of weeks.

I was contemplating on taking GMAX online course, so I would have more structure to my studies... I did register and will let you know how it went and whether it helped.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 May 2006, 20:37
Hey u2lover,

I just wanted to encourage you to hand in there... it already seems like you have a solid study plan and you are hard at work :)

If it's any comfort to you I took my GMAT this week and scored 590. I can totally relate to you about the self-doubt and the negative thinking that I got myself into just before, during, and of course after the exam :P I felt like my entire life plans was coming crashing down on me...8| But luckily with a support of my amazing girlfriend, she was able to reassure me that it's not the end of the world and that she was still proud of me... cheezy i know :P So, much like you, I'm going to regroup and retake this darn exam in a few months.

I'd love to hear how you end up progressing... it will be a boost of encouragement for me to know someone else in a similar boat as me... what's the ol' saying? misery loves company? hahah :)

Cheers,

jjhko
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 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2006, 13:12
hey jjhko,

Thanks for your words of encouragement! Mysery does love company, so we are in this together :wink: I decided that I won't let GMAT rule my future, so that is why I am attacking it now, while I have some time... I really don't want to wake up one day and guess what would my future have been like if I studied and focused a little harder... a little more! Ouch...

And I will not give up until I get a decent score even if it will take me more than two attempts... If the school is going to reject me for the number of attemps that show that I was working harder every time, then do I really want to go there?

I am studying and somewhat following the plan, but I signed up for online course (GMAX) and going through their lectures right now... so far so good... I think it helped me with Number properties a little bit (my weakest link)... they advice to focus on accuracy first (which is what I thought before I even entrolled)... I feel like I am great with strategies, but it takes me longer to implement those, because my attention is just all over the place, unless I have my coffee and sugar pumped into my body. That is why I have a rough idea of when I want to take the test, but it will depend on the progress...

Now... you can do it too!!! Trust me... if you have any doubts, then read J.Hawkins' book "On Intelligence"... even though it has too many details (don't bother reading ch.6) about the brain, it will boost your confidence by the fact that you can really "train" your brain!!! And it is great that you have someone beside you for emotional support as well... I do feel the same... and my friends/family never loved me for my scores and grades... they love me for who I am...

And remember one most important thing: GMAT and business school is not everything... it is just one of the many roads you can follow... if you are persistent enough to overcome the obstacles of getting onto this ramp, then you will succeed!!! I strongly believe it is about the efforts... it may take you longer than others, but you should never compare yourself! Don't feel that the world comes down crashing on you... just turn around and go back at it... once, twice... hundred times... until you get what you want... it might be difficult, but possible... and not only applicable to GMAT!

Hope this helps and hang in there as well!!! We can do it! I will definately keep my experience updated! Helps me to have a bird's eye view on the situation 8-) as well as documenting some history...

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 [#permalink] New post 25 May 2006, 15:36
Look at this link it may be kind of group you need...

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=29645

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 [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2006, 15:07
I have things I want to say, but don't have time right now. Just posting so I can put notify me when a reply is posted to yes, so I dont forget to come back.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2006, 16:44
hey rhyme... thanks for reading my post! can't wait to see what a pro like you might advice! :)
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2006, 10:30
U2lover,
Thanks for putting some of my thoughts into words. I took my GMAT the first time back in 2004 and haven't had the courage to take it again. I just lost all the confidence that I can do better. But then again I didn't spend any time studying seriously which is why I am giving it a shot this year once again.
The main question I had was about the practice questions. Where can I find a large set of Verbal/Math/Logic questions for the GMAT? I plan to work on these during the first 2-3 weeks and then take a CAT diagnostic to figure out my weakeness. Any recommendations?

Thanks and good luck on this journey.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2006, 15:22
the biggest sets of practicing questions for verbal are SC/RC/CR1000... which is a document posted as a sticky on the verbal questions forum.
I heard LSATs are good for logic, but I haven't got to those yet and not sure if it is necessary... feels like I already have plenty to practice with.

as far as quant... I am practicing with OG 10 at the moment, but plan to try challenges on this website several weeks before the test... there is a lot of questions there! I also have plenty of CATs to practice math with, but nothing as big as 1000 document for verbal. I am not sure if such document exists for math.

and great that you became a part of this forum... it is a great place to get some support and practice questions!

all the best!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2006, 15:55
U2lover,

I agree there is more materal than one can actually finish. The key is to become comfortable with the concepts tested in GMAT and also develop the speed to solve the questions. No need to complete all of CR1000/SC1000/RC1000.

Try to focus on your weaknesses. Lets say for CRs, I feel the weaken/assumption/strengthen questions are easy, but sometimes the INFERENCE questions are tricky. So I focused on solving several "inference" type of CRs..

RCs.. God save me from history passages. I got one today and it was my second RC.. I ended up wasting a lot of time re-reading it and hence couldn't complete the test... So focus on what you don't like. If something is your weakness, it will remain your weakness unless you fix it!

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 [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2006, 17:23
u2lover wrote:
hey rhyme... thanks for reading my post! can't wait to see what a pro like you might advice! :)


Ok here's my two cents.

First, I applaud you for putting forward this kind of effort.

Second, I warn you against doing so. What you have laid out is a ridiculous schedule of non-stop studying. You WILL burn out. You cannot study 400 hours in 50 days. You will just loose steam 20 or 30 days in. Come up with a more realistic schedule.

Some recommendations:

(1) Find a study partner. This has a HUGE benefit. First, if you dont get something, he/she can maybe explain it. Second, if you do problems together, there will be an implicit competition of "who finishes first" or "who keeps getting them right?"... whether the two of you admit or it or not, in the back of your mind you will be noticing who finishes first. It pushes you to stay focused and work quickly - an important skill on the GMAT. Third, if you both agree to "homework" you will have motivation to do it. If you try to do it just by yourself, its far to easy - especially after a couple weeks of the kind of schedule you are talking about - to just say '!@#@! it' and not finish what you had intended to do. If you have someone else doing the problems with you ... well, then you dont want to be the one who was slacking.

(2) Reduce your hours to something more manageable. It just isn't going to work. 4 hours a day is more reasonable. Give up your weekends and find a study partner. If you are unemployed, you'll have plenty of decompression time anyway.

(3) Your approach seems a little hokey. I get the impression you are just throwing darts at everything to see what sticks. There's no reason to do 1000 CR if you don't have a CR problem. You are trying to do it all, but its unfocused. You need to figure out a few things: - (1) Weaker in math or in verbal? (2) If math, what material? (3) If verbal, what material - then tailor the studies to this material, with the rest of it thrown in. Be prepared to accept some topics that you may not be able to improve in.

For example, in my case, I knew I was particularly weak in ratio problems, number properties, and particularly DS. I also knew I was weak in probability and very weak in combinatorics. I therefore forced myself to focus in on these areas first. I knew I was strong in SC, strong in CR, and very strong in RC - but I didnt want these skills to go away, so I forced each of these on myself each week.

(4) OG11, OG11, OG11.
You mention all the 1000 questions - while I don't think they are BAD problems, no one really knows for sure what quality they are and how many incorrect answers exist therein. They also lack explanation!!! So how do you start learning from your mistakes if you dont know what your mistake is???? The OG guide, and the two supplement books from MBA are your best friends. The Manhttan guides are great too.

(5) Never, ever, ever, go past a problem until you understand why you got it wrong. Get into the habit of forcing yourself to stop and see how each problem was solved.

(6) Just because you got it right, doesn't mean you got it right. Not sure if you got it right, but you did? Did you get it right by doing it correctly, or did you STUMBLE onto the answer? Just cause you checkboxed the "right" answer doesn't mean you get to skip looking at their solution.

(7) Come up with a schedule and stick to it. It's very easy to say "I'm gonna do this for 4 hours !" and then 2 hours into it you find yourself hanging out with a friend who brought over his marijuana smoking monkey and now instead of studying, you are watching a monkey get high. Or whatever you British folk do, assuming you are british, which you may not be.

(8) Related to 7, buy a stopwatch. Set a pace and a schedule. It works very nicely and keeps you motivated. 45 minutes of work, 15 minute break. If you do this, you'll be motivated to keep going when you hit the 40 minute mark, and you'll be motivated to come back to it at the 15 minute mark. Without a stopwatch, its too easy to do an hour and a half, get tired, say you'll take a break, and before you know it, that break became an hour of fudging about on gmatclub.com. Then you dont feel like going back to it.

(9) See attached excel files. They will help you identify where you are weak and where you are strong. They break up the OG11 guide by question type (Geometry, Number Property) PS and DS - they have multiple tabs - they take care of timing for you too, as well as give you estimates to completion. There are more of these files in my thread (see gmatclub main page, its linked off there).

(10) Learn to accept some defeats. I knew that, given enough time and enough energy I could probably get pretty good at combinatorics, but the reality of it was: The odds of getting one of hte problems during the exam was relatively small, the odds of solving it in time was also small, the odds of getting it right was also small, combined, the odds of getting the problem, solving it in 2 minutes, and getting it right were so miniscule that I realized my time was better spent focusing on number properties, ratios, and other weak areas.

(11) Your Rate Problem and Age Problem solution.

For rate problems, set everything up in a table.

For example:

If machine A can make 6 widgets in 3 hours and machine B can make 12 widgets in 4 hours, how many widgets can they both make in 8 hours?

Start with this:

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | | | |
T | | | |
W | | | |

Fill in what you know, where R = rate ,T = time, W = work (or distance)

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | ? | ? | ? |
T | 3 | 4 | 8 |
W | 6 | 12 | ? |

Now you know RT=W

so: Machine A R(3)=6, so R =2
Machine B: R(4)=12, so R = 3
Together, their combined rates are 5 per hour

So... for teh goether piece:

RT=W
(6)(8)=40

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | 2 | 3 | 5 |
T | 3 | 4 | 8 |
W | 6 | 12 | 40 |


This works for anything... for example if they said: How many hours would it take them to make 90 widgets?

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | 2 | 3 | 5 |
T | 3 | 4 | ? |
W | 6 | 12 | 90 |

Just solve.

It also works for three machines, or four, or five.

It also works when they dont tell you what W is. For example: Machine A makes X widgets in 3 hours, machine B makes 2X widgets in 4 hours. How long does it take them to make 5X widgets together?

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | ? | ? | ? |
T | 3 | 4 | ? |
W | X | 2X | 5X |

Pick any number for X. Doesnt matter what it is.

Ideally pick a number thats a multiple of the other numbers.

So say X was 6...

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | ? | ? | ? |
T | 3 | 4 | ? |
W | 6 | 2(6) | 5(6) |

now solve for Rates

| MACHINE A | MACHINE B | TOGETHER |
R | 2 | 3 | 5 |
T | 3 | 4 | ? |
W | 6 | 2(6) | 5(6) |


So whats Together RT=W?

(5)(?) = 5(6)
(5)(?) = 30
? = 6
It would take them 6 hours.

This also works for those problems where they want you to find the rate... For example:

Tommy walks 10 miles in 2 hours on his way home, on the way back he walks there in 4 hours, what was his average MPH?

| ON THE WAY | THE WAY BACK | COMBINED |
R | ? | ? | ? |
T | 2 | 4 | 6 |
W | 10 | 10 | 20 |

Fill out what you know, then combine THE TIMES. Cause all told, it took him 6 hours. Now, just solve 20/6, thats his average rate.

Usually they'll give it to you this way:

Tomy walked to the store 10 miles away at 5 miles per hour, then walked back at 2 miles per hour. What was his average speed?

It takes one more step - you have to find out how long it took him on each path... but its the same basic thing:

| ON THE WAY | THE WAY BACK | COMBINED |
R | 5 | 2 | ? |
T | ? | ? | ? |
W | 10 | 10 | 20 |

Solve the TIME for each way.
On the way 5(?)=10 .... ? = 2
on the way back 2(?) = 10 .... ? = 5

Total time = 7

| ON THE WAY | THE WAY BACK | COMBINED |
R | 5 | 2 | ? |
T | 2 | 5 | 7 |
W | 10 | 10 | 20 |

Solve for the combined rate ... = 20/7

note that its not the same as (5+2)/2 .... you cant average rates like this!

Now for age problems...

the trick is similar.

ALWAYS WRITE DOWN THE VARIABLES.

This means that for a question like: Tommy is now twice as old as janice. In four years janice will be 28 years old, how old will tommy be in 7 years?

make a similar table:

| NOW | NOW + 4 | NOW + 7 |
Tommy | T | T + 4 | T + 7 |
Janice | J | J + 4 | J + 7 |

This is where they get you - getting the variables right.

So, just USE THE VARIABLES IN THE TABLE TO NEVER MESS IT UP.

So first statement: "Tommy is now twice as old as janice"

Look at the "NOW" column.

T = 2J

Second statement: In four years, Janice will be 28 years old. USE VARIABLES FROM THE NOW + 4 COLUMN FOR EVERYTHING.

J + 4 = 28

Third statement: How old is tommy in 7 years? USE VARIABLES FOR THE NOW + 7 COLUMN.

T + 7 = ????

Now solve. J + 4 = 28, so J = 24.
T = 2J so T = 2(24) . So T = 48
T + 7 = ????
48 + 7 = 55

Tommy will be 55 years old in 7 years.

They want to trick you by getting you mixed up on the variables.

A common mistake is writing something like J = 28

More commonly they'll say something like: "In four years, tommy will be twice as old as Janice."

How would you write that based on the table above?

T + 4 = 2(J + 4)

Thats how they get you. They want you to write: T + 4 =2J , BUT THATS WRONG CAUSE CAUSE JANICE IS ALSO FOUR YEARS OLDER!

Hope that helps.

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 [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2006, 13:55
rhyme,

nice 2 cents from you! and thanks for the error logs! you are very benevolent to the people in this club! and watching monkey get high would be a great entertainment too... yet I am not sure if that's British... never been there before!

I reread my plan, which was outlined sometime in mid May and I must tell that it is, indeed, very general... some things have changed since then...

I never have planned to go through all the material, because I really do have A LOT! Would never imagine in my wildest dreams to solve all these questions... And all the books I listed I only use those to practice the weakest areas... DS, CR and sometimes PS... I would go crazy if I go from cover to cover, which I tried to do before... they just repeat each other... instead, if I don't understand explanation of the concept in one book, I refer to another one and so on...

Yet, one book that I am practicing with cover to cover is the OG 10... (those supplement books that you used are part of the OG 10). I have OG 11 from my friend as well and these are quite similar.

In the first couple of weeks, I did try different things to see what approach sticks, and finally decided to work with OG and GMAX course, which is built around the OG... It just gave me the needed structure and a mission to brush up on the strategies and basics. I also started to participate in the verbal forum, but it seems to eat up a lot of time and I am not sure if I learned anything yet... the forum, in my opinion, is good for practice a couple of weeks before the test, as people post random questions and you need to recall what you have learned yourself! I don't know if you agree with this.

OG seems to be taking enormous amount of time, since I don't move on from a problem that I got wrong or correct w/out a reason, like you mentioned. So I study the explanations (if they are good) as much as I study the concept if I have an issue with any question.

Math weakness... your explanation of the age problem really helps... I do fall into that stupid trap of who is older than who and how old they will be X years from now... I guess it's because I didn't learn my math in English... and it so hard to translate it into manageable terms... but whenever I do so I never fail to create the correct equation... this table approach of yours ROCKS! The other problems with the average speed I don't have an issue with. What I struggle with is when they give you the ratios before (for work problems) and then change those and ask what new outcome is... I just want to fall asleep when I see those.... may be I would solve it/get it faster if I knew that monkey is going to get high and I would miss it if I don't solve it on time. :)

Timing issue is a whole different story... I would solve the first 15 question correct, but I would use at least 40 min... it is ridiculous... I am very frustrated about this... the timer works, but as soon as I get this one problem I refuse to give up on it and mess up the timing... now that you told me I have to accept the weaknesses, I will sure skip/guess on those and come back later for the full lesson... Also do you think it is better to try to solve the problem yourself or go straight to the explanations?

and finally about the number of hours... it probably does seem ridiculous to others about how much I plan to spend on this, but the truth is the hours are not that bad… and no, I don't sit at the desk for 8 hrs straight... these are just the general hours I spend at the office... during those I watch the lectures, study, search the web, etc...

as far as CATs, I plan to take those closer to the exam date, as I am trying to bang on the strategies at the moment (for CR, RC) and learn the basic grammar rules, so that my mind doesn’t go blank like it did in my last attempt…

thanks for the input… I really appreciate it!!! Please stick around and throw your jokes into this boring stuff… really entertaining…

best,
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 13:22
u2lover wrote:
rhyme,

nice 2 cents from you! and thanks for the error logs! you are very benevolent to the people in this club! and watching monkey get high would be a great entertainment too... yet I am not sure if that's British... never been there before!

I reread my plan, which was outlined sometime in mid May and I must tell that it is, indeed, very general... some things have changed since then...

I never have planned to go through all the material, because I really do have A LOT! Would never imagine in my wildest dreams to solve all these questions... And all the books I listed I only use those to practice the weakest areas... DS, CR and sometimes PS... I would go crazy if I go from cover to cover, which I tried to do before... they just repeat each other... instead, if I don't understand explanation of the concept in one book, I refer to another one and so on...

Yet, one book that I am practicing with cover to cover is the OG 10... (those supplement books that you used are part of the OG 10). I have OG 11 from my friend as well and these are quite similar.

In the first couple of weeks, I did try different things to see what approach sticks, and finally decided to work with OG and GMAX course, which is built around the OG... It just gave me the needed structure and a mission to brush up on the strategies and basics. I also started to participate in the verbal forum, but it seems to eat up a lot of time and I am not sure if I learned anything yet... the forum, in my opinion, is good for practice a couple of weeks before the test, as people post random questions and you need to recall what you have learned yourself! I don't know if you agree with this.

OG seems to be taking enormous amount of time, since I don't move on from a problem that I got wrong or correct w/out a reason, like you mentioned. So I study the explanations (if they are good) as much as I study the concept if I have an issue with any question.

Math weakness... your explanation of the age problem really helps... I do fall into that stupid trap of who is older than who and how old they will be X years from now... I guess it's because I didn't learn my math in English... and it so hard to translate it into manageable terms... but whenever I do so I never fail to create the correct equation... this table approach of yours ROCKS! The other problems with the average speed I don't have an issue with. What I struggle with is when they give you the ratios before (for work problems) and then change those and ask what new outcome is... I just want to fall asleep when I see those.... may be I would solve it/get it faster if I knew that monkey is going to get high and I would miss it if I don't solve it on time. :)

Timing issue is a whole different story... I would solve the first 15 question correct, but I would use at least 40 min... it is ridiculous... I am very frustrated about this... the timer works, but as soon as I get this one problem I refuse to give up on it and mess up the timing... now that you told me I have to accept the weaknesses, I will sure skip/guess on those and come back later for the full lesson... Also do you think it is better to try to solve the problem yourself or go straight to the explanations?

and finally about the number of hours... it probably does seem ridiculous to others about how much I plan to spend on this, but the truth is the hours are not that bad… and no, I don't sit at the desk for 8 hrs straight... these are just the general hours I spend at the office... during those I watch the lectures, study, search the web, etc...

as far as CATs, I plan to take those closer to the exam date, as I am trying to bang on the strategies at the moment (for CR, RC) and learn the basic grammar rules, so that my mind doesn’t go blank like it did in my last attempt…

thanks for the input… I really appreciate it!!! Please stick around and throw your jokes into this boring stuff… really entertaining…

best,
u2lover


Hugely late on this but....

are we talking about those problems that say something like...

"Machine A can produce widgets at 1/3 the rate machine b can and 3/4 the rate machine C can? The ratio of widgets produced by machines B and C together to machines A is ... "

If so, the table works for those too - just pick multiples of the numbers that eliminate the fractions...

I.e. machine A widgets = 1/3 of b
machine A = 3/4 of C

ok well, what if machine A's rate is 3 ... lets pick a number here. Any number. then 3 is 1/3 of 9, so b's rate =9 (that is 3 = 1/3 of B, simplify, B = 9)
similarly if machine A = 3/4 of C...
3 = 3/4*c ...... 12/3 = C thus C = 4

so A = 3
B = 9
C = 4

Put it in the table.... pick some amount of time... any amount of time.. and solve... you'll get a ratio but without having to work with 1/3, 3/4, 2/3, etc...
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 14:22
There is agood minute timer on this website that I use:

http://www.pc-tools.net/

It has got a feature that the timer only starts after you minimize the window.. gives you more precise time :)

I agree with rhyme.. OG is a must.

And if you want to improve math.. try out the Kaplan GRE/GMAT Math workout. And kaplan 800 workout. They did have a few problems that if you try to time them to solve in 2 minutes, get harder to solve in 2 mins...
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2006, 18:37
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000E ... &n=3375251

I used this.... love the heavy feel of it, sturdy, and well constructed (helpful if you are hitting start / stop every 2 minutes for hours and hours and hours and hours a day over days and days and weeks and weeks...)

Plus the heavy metal feel gives it a really satisfying CLUNK sound when you get to hit the stop buttom and drop it on the table.
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 10:38
Quote:
Hugely late on this but....

are we talking about those problems that say something like...

"Machine A can produce widgets at 1/3 the rate machine b can and 3/4 the rate machine C can? The ratio of widgets produced by machines B and C together to machines A is ... "

If so, the table works for those too - just pick multiples of the numbers that eliminate the fractions...

I.e. machine A widgets = 1/3 of b
machine A = 3/4 of C

ok well, what if machine A's rate is 3 ... lets pick a number here. Any number. then 3 is 1/3 of 9, so b's rate =9 (that is 3 = 1/3 of B, simplify, B = 9)
similarly if machine A = 3/4 of C...
3 = 3/4*c ...... 12/3 = C thus C = 4

so A = 3
B = 9
C = 4

Put it in the table.... pick some amount of time... any amount of time.. and solve... you'll get a ratio but without having to work with 1/3, 3/4, 2/3, etc...


yes rhyme... this is the very kind I am struggling with... in the end I can solve it myself, but it definitely takes me more than 2 min... table seems like a good time-saver, yet it takes time to get it into my brain...

also... an update on my studying... I am working hard on this GMAT s%*)^... but focusing more on verbal since that is the weakness... I tried your RC approach and it was helpful with your passages, but once I started to do it on my own I made so many mistakes and ended up reading the whole thing again... So now I just read 1st and last sentences of each paragraph (although I read the whole 1st paragraph) and just run through the sentences (not reading) to get some key words... seems to work, but then again surely depends on the topic! I try to do 4 RC a day, but the mistakes don't seem to go away.... the main problem is inference kind (also in CR this is the problem as well)

For math... I am just working with OG 10... it takes longer because 10th edition has more questions than 11th... (more than 1400) After those I plan to work only with MGMAT Word Problems book and Challenges on this site.... oh... and yeah... any DS questions I can get my hands on...

willget800... I already did Kaplan math workout book a while ago... I agree it isn't bad, in fact if you know zero about math it would help, yet it seemed easy... it helped me with some geometry and other math terms though.

about the timer... I also have one from a friend... she used "silent timer"... it is ok... you have to click the button every time you finish the question, and sometimes I forget :roll:

thanks for the input you guys!
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2006, 14:02
Ahh inference .... I forgot to talk about this...

Every RC question that asks you to infer something is a trap. It's really quite unfair of them. They don't actually want you to infer anything. They want you to RESTATE what is said. I constantly found myself stumped by infer questions cause I would get down to two answers... inevitably, the choices would boil down to:

1. Something that was said in the passage with almost no change at all.
2. Something that could be true based on what the passage said.

Technically, (2) is inferring something, and (1) is just restating something. I would get caught up and think (1) must be wrong because, yes, the passage says that, but I'm not actually inferring anything new... so it cant be (1). So I'd pick (2), despite being a little unsure whether or not that was a fair inferrence to make.

I can't prove it to you, and I don't have any examples to quote, but the next time you see an inference question, rephrase it to say:

"Which of the following did the author say?"

Then try answering the question. Usually there's only one answer that the author actually SAID. The others are logical extensions (or sometimes illogical extensions) of what the passage said, but only one choice will just repeat what the author said. This is almost always the right choice.

Try it on the next inference question you see.

Or, if you prefer, post your passage and your inferrence question and we can put the theory to the test.

While we are on the subject of rate problems that involve ugly fractions....

(1) Let me know if the above explanation made sense. The trick is to eliminate the fractions so you end up with something simple: like what is 4 + 3 divided by 4 + 3 + 7 ? vs what is 1/3 + 2/3 of 1/3 divided by 1/3 + 2/3 of 1/3 plus 1/4 of 1/3 ? Let me know if that makes sense, if not post a problem and I'll go through it with a comb.

(2) This trick of eliminating fractions is important on other problems too.
I.e.

A piece of paper has a bunch of tick marks on it. One set is every 1/5th of the page. The other is every 1/7th of the page. What is the smallest distance between two tick marks?

The ugly way of solving this is doing something like:

1/5 - 1/7 = ?
2/5 - 2/7 = ?
3/5 - 3/7 = ?
4/5 - 4/7 = ?
5/5 - 5/7 = ?
5/5 - 6/7 = ?

And then figuring out which ones is the smallest...

1/5 - 1/7, well thats 7/35 - 5/35 so thats 2/35.
Ok 2/5 - 2/7 thats 14/35 - 10/35 or 4/35...
3/5 - 3/7 is 21/35 minus 15/35... thats 6/35..

Yech. Not only that but odds are you'll guess 2/35 cause the numbers seem to be getting bigger. There are two problems with this approach:

(1) It isn't exhaustive.
(2) It requires a bunch of fraction work

Eliminate the fractions

1/5 = 35/5 = 7
2/5 = 70/5 = 14
3/5 = 105/5 = 21
4/5 = 28
5/5 = 35

1/7 = 35/7 = 5
2/7 = 70/7 = 10
3/7 = 105/7 = 15
4/7 = 20
5/7 = 25
6/7 = 30
7/7 = 35

What have I done? I multipled by 35 because 35 can be divided by both 7 and 5. So 35/5 = 7, 70/5 = 14... 105/5 = 21... hopefully you see the pattern, it just increases by 7 each time. Do the same for the 1/7, 35/7 = 5... 70/7 = 10... again, simple pattern.

Now just compare the numbers... what are the two closest figures? 20 and 21. The answer is going to be 1/35 NOT 2/35.
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U2LOVER [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2006, 20:23
I hope you are doing well with your studying plan. I am in the same boat. Recently started planning for my serious try to )_*(*&^%$% the GMAT and since I am priviledge to have the time I am dedicating 8 hours daily with Yoga/Pilates/ total body conditioning and plenty energy drinks to make this REALITY !

Love your post Motivational ... If you feel discouraged I will be here for you ! It is Our Journey!! I hope you will be there for me :lol: . great AWA...

WE WILL MAKE IT happen !
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2006, 08:29
PATMBA,

welcome to the club and thanks for reading my LONG post... when I wrote it, I really thought that it should help someone besides me and inspire others not to give up (and many of them are silent here :cry: , judging from more than 650 views)

you hang in there as well... it is a long journey for many people, and it is very stressful!!! we are all here for the support!

just a quick update on my studying and other thoughts...

It has been almost a month and a half of many sacrifices and studying, but I don't feel to be ready quite yet (wonder if I ever will :stupid )... and forget the yoga and swimming part... I had time to do it once in 1.5 months and stopped, mainly because I don't get rid of the negative energy that way... what I do to achieve that is turn my IPod on (not to brag, U2 Special Edition :wink) and hit the track at the nearby high school... really feel better after "elevating" my mood with some physical exercise... I wish I did it more often, but it is so freaking hot that I can't bear it very often...

Thoughts... this past weekend I hit the bottom... starting Friday and well into Saturday night my friends were calling me one after another to go wine tasting, hang out, dance, plan the bridal shower, b-days, etc... if that wasn't bad enough... when I got home my roommates were sitting outside sipping wine as well... that isn't bad, I know... life goes on around me, but it was really hard to cope with the idea that everyone around is enjoying summer and I am stuck in the office with my nose in the boring OG book... you might say, oh... you should of taken the day off... do fun stuff... but the truth is... at least for me, the day I take off, I feel so guilty that I could be doing more productive things, and it is really HARD to drag my a&* back into the office on Sunday morning and start studying again...

so my approach is... stay home and relax, sleep if you feel you had enough of studying, but don't go out jumping out of airplanes (did that once) or "tasting" the wine... that is the sacrifice... NOT the worst sacrifice though... (others have to sacrifice spending time with kids, etc) but since I am not a mom yet (yes, I am a girl :wink: ) I have to deal with drawing the line b/w fun and NOT SO FUN... at least for this summer... Luckily my breakdown didn't last that long and Sunday morning I was back to sipping my coffee and working on GMAT stuff... saw a nightmare about GMAT that night, so was very motivated to go back in the morning... :P

now to studying... I am wrapping up the GMAX course... which I feel was very helpful for verbal part... The math was ok... I wasn’t bad at it, I just needed to understand the terms, but need major work on Word Problems...

I also decided to postpone taking CATs until I am finished with the basics and strategies, that being said... I do 800Score tests for timing one section per day and the scores are all over the place depending on difficulty level (I can select the difficulty level on those)... What I like about those is that I don't get the final score, only the score for the section... otherwise it would rattle me...

Now, I plan to finish all the H/w and lectures by this Friday/Sat and start taking CAT from July... I also will do 5 challenges/week and take full CATS... also review mistakes I made in OG 10 and attack RC from OG 11 and LSATs

My days up to now consisted roughly of 4 hrs of H/W and 4-6 hrs of lectures, BUT I took about 5 days off in June for various reasons (1 day/week) and did no studying at all... Those ~8 hrs include the GMATClub time, which is the best part of my typical GMAT day... :wink:

I have the following CATs
4 GMATPrep + PowerPrep
9 Paper Tests from ETS
5 800Score
3 from MGMATs (will buy if needed)
3 GMAX course
4 Princeton Review
4 Kaplan

rhyme, buddy... before you think I will finish all of those, I should mention that I don't plan on that :wink: I will probably skip PRs and Kaplans as they don't seem to represent real scores and Kaplan might drag my confidence south... The official ones (GMATPrep and PowerPrep), I will save for the end and the paper tests overlap the OG, so I will handpick the problems that I am weak at from those...

The main thing with CATs for me will be timing... it is a crucial factor in my preparation... and the fact that I must quickly find the shortcuts in math and decide which problems to guess on... giddi77 said that this can be learned from the challenges... I haven't taken those yet, but did the practice one with 5 problems... did fine with PS, but DS was incorrect and on 2 PS I had to guess intelligently due to time... I think it will be a good practice... I will probably need some mental boost after completing my first ones :roll:

Also, I am trying to participate in verbal discussions on this site... in the begginng, I got many of those wrong and I still do... (feels bad to be the only one to get it wrong, especially when I thought SC isn't my biggest challenge) but then, I thought... that's ok... I am learning and I tried and explained how I got to the answer... appreciate the fact that some of you get out of your way to explain the choices to me!!! Thanks!!! SC trouble for me is with modifiers and idioms :x

ok... any thoughts are welcome... rhyme, if you are reading, I plan to kick ^&& on RC very soon (I was dealing with CRs), so I will PM you when I need some advice with those inference ?s!!!

thank you all and happy studying :!:
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Jun 2006, 11:50
U2lover,

OK I agree with most of ur plan. Couple of things to add.
1. Challenges: Yes they are difficult, I learnt a lot from them. But when I say I learned the trick of guessing. On very difficult DS questions, I essentially forced myself to decide whether it can be A/B/C/D/E within 2 minutes and if I get some leads continue for 1 more minute else click one that seems plausible and move on. Some of the challenge questions are more difficult than GMAT ones. So time management was even more critical to score high on Challenges. In DS questions you don't necessarily need to solve the entire question. As long as you know that after certain steps there's gotto be a solution, you can confidently select that choice...
For eg
2x+3y = 8
x-y = 1
No need to solve this question. Just check if one equaltion is NOT a multiple of the other. If not there has to be a SINGLE value for x and y. You get the idea right. And there's the classic GMAT DS question
Sales of x increase by 2%
Sales of y increase by 5%
Total increases by 4%
what is the ratio of x/y
The underlying concept is that you can equate the total increase as sum of individual changes and find the ratio
x(1+2/100) + y(1+5/100) = x+y(1+4/100)

This gets tested over and over and in different forms...

Now try this DS: (Will provide OA if required!)
What fraction of this year's graduating students at a certain college are males?
(1) Of this years graduating students, 33 percent of the males and 20 percent of the females transfered from another college
(2)Of this years graduating students, 25 percent transfered from another college

2. If you have trouble with certain types of ERRORs such as modifiers, Pronouns... You can check this site:
http://www.bartleby.com/64/1.html
The explanations/concepts are very much in line with GMAT Rules and you just need 2-3 pages per topic..

Good luck!

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"To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself, to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed."

- Bernard Edmonds

  [#permalink] 27 Jun 2006, 11:50
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