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.
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)
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.