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My Study Plan - Please Critique!

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My Study Plan - Please Critique! [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2005, 12:47
Hi,
I've been viewing the various posts on this forum for a while and i've finally decided to join in the discussions and possibly offer my own input. After going through the many study outlines/schedules here I've compiled my own study plan. I'm halfway through it and it seems to be helping considerably. I haven't scheduled the test date yet but plan to take it sometime mid-November. Here's what I've put together this far; I would appreciate any suggestions on how it could be improved.

Materials:
1. Kaplan 2006 Premier w/ CD
2. PR 2006 w/CD
3. Kaplan 800
4. OG 11th Edition
5. GMAT PowerPrep Software
6. Quant and Verbal workbooks (I haven't bought these 2 yet)


Study Plan:

1. Take the first PowerPrep Exam 1

2. Read the Quant Review in PR. Answer Bin 3 (and/or 4 depending on how good your quant skills are at the time). The Q Review in PR is a good refresher, but keep in mind that many that many of the tricks they teach you (eg. Plugging in and backsolving) are only sufficient in answering easy-medium difficulty questions, something I realized later. Therefore, if you intend on getting a high score, it will be more beneficial to focus on traditional algebra and concepts. (Also, the "Joe Blogg's concept" in PR seemed rather ridiculous as it rarely works when answering difficult questions.")

3. Read the Kaplan Review, followed by the Problem Solving Section. Take the PS Quiz (50 Qs - Timed). I printed out an answer sheet w/ Q 1-50. While answering any questions (w/ the exception of practice tests), draw a star next to the answer on which took a long time to solve and a "?" next to ones you didn't understand and had to guess on. Make sure to use separate scratch paper when answering questions instead of writing in the book. This will help simulate the real CAT scenario. When you are done with the quiz/question set, check the answers and go back to the questions you missed, try to solve them again to see if you can arrive at the correct answer, thereby understanding the correct method to solve the problem. Then go to the explanations and read all of them, focusing more on the ones you missed, took a long time on, or had to guess on (refer to the stars and ? marks). With the help of explanations, check to see if you can find faster ways to do certain problems. I followed this strategy everytime i answered a set of questions. Also, create a log, and use it from now on to record references to questions you got wrong and other questions that you think will serve as a good review later.

4. Repeat Step 3 for Kaplan Data Sufficiency. Read the review and take the quiz.

5. Read the Verbal Reviews in PR. Take Verbal Bin 3 (PR Verbal is pretty easy)

6. Read Kaplan Verbal Reviews and take the Quiz after every section.

[I like both the Kaplan and PR SC reviews. Begin your own list of idioms. Initially on CR, I read the question first (as instructed by Kaplan and PR) but then realized that it adversely effected my ability to fully grasp the passage and pick up the premise and conclusion. Now I read the passage first and then the question.
On RC, i read somewhere (i believe it was Paul who said) that you should take a moment between each paragraph to try and absorb everything before moving on to the next one. It helps! For me, once i've properly grasped the passage, I tend to move through the questions fairly quickly and with good accuracy. (The problem is that i tend to take long reading the passages, esp. science).]

7. Take Kaplan Diagnostic (you have to go their website: feature comes w/ Kaplan 2005). Remember that Kaplan tests are relatively harder so don't consider the score as an accurate reflection of your real score.

8. Do PR Quant Bin 4 (If you didn't do it in step 2)

9. Take PowerPrep 2. Review answers thoroughly. My score went up significantly since the first PP)

9. Begin OG and Kaplan800, work through them simultaneously. This is how I structured it: Begin w/ a section in Kaplan800, for example CR. Everyday, from Kaplan800 do 10 CR, and from OG do 15 PS, 15 DS, 15 RC, and 15 SC (basically the remaining sections). Once you are done w/ the CR in Kap800, go to another section, for example RC: start doing RC solely from Kap800 and begin CR in OG. Move through the two books in this fashion. This way, you'll be able to do all question types everyday and also capitalize on the difficult Kap800 by eventually practicing the concepts learned on relatively easier OG Questions. Time yourself(its ok if exceed the limit(esp. on Kap800): just keep a log of your speed). Depending on your daily study time, increase/decrease the # of Questions you do from each section). Kaplan800 and OG both have great explanations for all question types. The first 100 PS and 50 DS in OG are quite easy. You can choose to skip these (I did all of them just to be safe). Do all the Verbal though.

(I'm currently on my 4th day of #9. I plan to finish both OG and Kap800 in 2 - 2 1/2 weeks.)

10. At the end of the first week of #9, take a Kaplan CD test. From then on, take one CAT at the end of every week, preferably all the Kaplans before the PRs; since Kaplan is tougher than the real GMAT, it will not accurately reflect the time you will take per question on test day. Therefore, towards the end, the PR tests and PowerPrep retakes will better allow you to evaluate and improve your time management.

I will have approx. a month from the time i finish the OG and Kap800 till my targeted exam date. I would appreciate some suggestions from anyone regarding how I should utilize this time. I have considered buying Kaplan Verbal and Quant books but i am a little hesitant as I've read different things about the level of overlap b/n these and the Kaplan 2005. I plan to go back through my error log, and redo all the questions I missed, took long on, or simply guessed on. My verbal is the weaker of the two, esp. RC and CR, mainly because I am a slow reader. I also plan on doing the challenges offered on this forum and participate in the various discussions.

Everyone please feel free to critique my plan and offer suggestions on how to utilize my last month of studying. Should I consider scheduling the test earlier and then possibly retaking it after a few weeks? Should I buy the Kap quant and verbal workbooks?

I want to thank everyone responsible for putting together this forum and for including the wealth of information it contains. Sorry about the long post, hope it helps.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Oct 2005, 15:33
Hi yb and welcome to gmatclub. Your post is very excruciating in detail and I would definitely recommend anyone who is about to undertake the gmat to print it. I would have been elated had I found such an invaluable post when I first started.

What I can recommend you if you are about to take the test is to buy some LSAT material given your weakness in CR and RC. I used the Arco LSAT and Peterson's LSAT and found them very good. I believe to have improved my verbal skills by practicing LSAT questions. I would also recommend you not to buy PR verbal or Kaplan verbal as there is indeed too much overlap in the two. The best advice I can give you is to practice questions from gmatclub under timed conditions. Make sure you also go back to the questions and understand why each other wrong answer can be refuted. Participate in an active fashion and you will see how much more you will learn. At one time, I joined almost every verbal discussion in the verbal forum because I knew it was what I needed to improve. Moreover, join the bi-weekly math challenges which will obviously be beyond the gmat difficulty but will help you with stamina building. And I mean hey, there is nothing wrong with practicing tougher questions and then find the gmat relatively easy. Those questions helped me a big deal in my preparation.

All the best and do visit more regularly. Thank you for you wonderful contribution! :panel
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2005, 09:21
Thanks for the help Paul. I'm planning to get both the LSAT books you recommended. I have a few more questions.
How do I participate in the challenges offered on this forum?
What are the ETS paper tests? Do their questions come from a difference source than the OG?
Do you think i should schedule my test a little earlier, thus allowing more time to study for a possible retake? (I explained in my initial post that I'll be done w/ the OG and Kap800 in two weeks. Then i plan to do LSAT material, take practice tests, and rework logged problems. How long should i spend on that? I can study approx. 25-30 hrs a week)

Thanks.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2005, 12:29
Hey yb, if mid-november is the cut-off time that you should take the test by, then it is up to you if you want to save another try for the test. End October should give you enough time. Otherwise, just stick to that one of mid-november and you can always retake it later.

The ETS paper tests are the one advertised on the mba website at: http://www.mba.com/mba/Store
Each bundle of 3 paper tests are 25$US and there are 3 bundles in total. If you are using the 11th version of the OG, then I would suggest you to buy them as the questions could be quite different. However, there is a lot of overlap with the 10th edition of the OG, especially when it comes to RC.
As for the challenges, you can register for the free bi-weekly ones here: http://www.gmatclub.com/challenge/
You can also buy the challenges in different bundles if you want and they can be found here: http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=12588
Another way to have access to the challenges is if we find that you become a good contributor, we will grant you access to all 25 challenges for free. This usually is subjective to our decision but if we see that you have contributed over 200 quality posts, we will let you in. You can see the rules here: http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=17979

Lastly, there is no specific guideline as to how much time you should spend on studying. The more the better. I know some geniuses on this board who spent only a few hours on the GMAT but who ended up with 740. However, for the average person, 15-20 hours per week for 2-3 months is good. Your average time spent seems to be fine so I would not worry too much. Just practice those LSAT problems and as much as you can from this site! Don't worry, I'm not biased, you will see for yourself by participating :)
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Paul

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 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2005, 20:10
Thanks. I've decided to get both the ETS tests and the challenges. I'm aiming to take the test during the first or second week of November. Here's how I'm going to utilize the next month or so:
- Finish OG and Kaplan800 in the next 2 weeks
- Take the challenges for quant and use LSAT books for RC and CR (plus some SC from somewhere) - should take 2 weeks
- Week 5 and 6: ETS paper tests + remaining Kaplan and PR tests. Rework all problems in the error log.
- Take the GMAT

I guess that completes my study plan.

Thanks again Paul, u've been extremely helpful
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2005, 14:08
yb ,
Thats an amazing writeup of u'r approach .
Incredibly helpful to a newb like myself :)

Had a couple of questions tho':
Seems that you are reading the Quant sections first , from the diff. book and then the Verbal sections from the diff. books . Did you find this approach more beneficial than the more traditional that has one finish each book before moving onto the next ?

Also, why is it that you are doing PR 2006 & Kaplan 2006 ... I was under the impression that both of them are pretty much similr i.e. theory-wise . If anything , my understanding is that the q's in Kaplan are tougher and the the tips in PR are unusable on the Verbal section .
Is this not the case ?

Cheers.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2005, 15:36
Sachin,
I'm glad my post helped..
To answer your questions:

1. Since Kaplan and PR quant reviews are quite similar, i decided to do them together. These reviews are pretty basic and act simply as refreshers. The OG11 has a pretty decent quant review as well. Also, don't forget to go through the 100 concepts in the math reference section in Kaplan (found in the back of the book). These highlight the frequently occuring problem types and concepts.

2. Yes, theory-wise Kaplan and PR are very similar. Don't take these too seriously, they are just a starting point (they aren't that long anyway); your real learning will come from answering problems and going over the solutions. The reason i bought both Kaplan and PR was for the tests. (Kaplan has 4 cd, 1 diag, 1 online....PR has 4 CD and 1 paper)

Hope this helps!
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2005, 15:02
Nice plan. I'm impressed by your organization and detail!
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2005, 19:16
Thank you Valleyball
  [#permalink] 28 Oct 2005, 19:16
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