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Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside

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Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2012, 05:11
Greetings,

I am new and first of all, I want thank you guys for great information you all share on this forum.

I've been studying for te GMAT for a month now. I enrolled in the Kaplan class in Jun 11 - Jul 11, however, I don't think it helped much. Studying on my own has been a little more helpful, I am having more success I believe with Kaplan's online materials and workshops. I kind of went blindly into the class, I have been out of school for 2 years now and haven't done anything academic since then. The materials I have access to are Kaplan online materials (with 8 CATs) and a course book. I just purchased the OG 13 and have only done the diagnostic test so far. I have been hearing good stuff about this!

OG 13 Diagnostic Score: Average
--Should I go back and go over all the ones that I missed?

Kaplan CAT trends this last month were:
7/01 CAT1: Q19 V27 - 400
7/14 CAT2: Q24 V12 - 390 (no AWA) (took this on a bad day and decided to stop during the verbal section)
7/27 CAT3: Q29 V40 - 480 (no AWA)

5 more Kaplan CATs left


I really haven't studied much for the IR, AWA or Verbal portion of the test. I am pretty in confident in my reading and writing so I don't think I I will be needing much practice in these sections aside from SC and IR. My main goal right now is to get my quant score in the mid to upper 40s preferably.

I have have close to 2 months off and I really want to use my time efficiently. I do, however, have to take off one week (Aug 15-20) for a cousin's wedding. During this week I imagine I won't been getting much work done but I will definitely try to make an effort to get some studying squeezed in. The deadline for the school I am trying attend is Nov 15th.

My study strategy: I use the Kaplan online quiz bank setup little mini 10 question quizzes all quant. I usually get about 40-60% of the questions correct the first time taking a quiz. I take about 3 quizzes and then I print out both incorrect and correct questions and re-do them and write notes next to them telling myself why I got these wrong. The problem is, re-doing, writing notes the questions, and figuring out why I got them wrong is taking me a long time. It can take me up to 5 hours which takes up all my study session's time. And sometimes Kaplan's explanation of the correct answers in the quiz banks aren't always the best. Overall, I want to learn what's going on in the problem being asked in a quicker fashion and have a higher chance of getting it right.

-I hear you guys grinding through a lot of problems and taking more CAT tests than I do. Should I aim for this also? I won't be able to re-do and re-write my incorrect answers in detail like I have been and I may end up wasting my CATs.

-Are my CATs too spread out?

-What kind of additional materials should I purchase? What kind of tests? Better question banks?

-What would be the best way to incorporate the OG 13 into my studying strategy?

-My Data Sufficiency is pretty weak, should I mix them up with the problem solving questions or do them separately?

Again, I have a lot more free time than others and I wan to use it wisely. Any of your guys' insight would help. Thanks
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Last edited by DelSingh on 01 Aug 2012, 17:06, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2012, 05:32
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Your learning approach is great. Please don't change it. Its more of quality than quantity. So even if it takes an hour to review, it is fine as long as you are trying to figure out a better way to solve each and every problem. But instead of kaplan quiz problems, use OG problems. Even if you solve 5 to 10 problems a day, it will take 20 to 25 days to complete the whole book. And you can solve it once again to get a better understanding. Use OG as the main source and supplement it with kaplan problems.

What is your target score ?
Have you taken a GMATPrep mock ?

By now, you have a fair idea of what the test is all about. So start off reviewing the basics given in OG book and any other strategy books, you have and then go for a GMATPrep mock.

Give an GMATPrep mock.
Analyze the test extensively to find your weak topics i.e not just PS or SC but inequalities or probability in quant and SV error problems in SC.
Find the weak topics in all the sections - Work on improving them.
Start with any strategy books you have.
learn the concepts.
Supplement it with OG problems. Solve it topic wise.
Solve the problems in timed mode.
Take ample time to review.
Post/search the questions in forums. You will find expert solutions for every problem.
Take notes, prepare an error log.

All these will take almost 2 to 3 hours for one topic as you said. Try to finish one section a day if possible or if you have more weak topics then take more time between your mocks and try to cover all weak areas. With 1 test you won't get much topics to learn, but once you had taken two or three tests you will have solved atleast one problem in each topic and an overall analysis will give you a fair idea of your weak areas.

Once you complete 3 kaplan tests, take a GMATPrep mock again. Taking GMATPrep mock in the middle is very important as none of the other test prep company mocks are close to GMATPrep, so their diagnosis might go wrong. In short, your diagnosis of weak areas in both GMATPrep and kaplan mocks should be in sync. Different prep company uses different style and none comes as close to GMAT particularly the verbal section. So its better to be cautious and not rely completely on other test prep companies for the entire preparation period. My RC accuracy was 30% in MGMAT mocks and 90% in GMATPrep mocks and I thought I was doing pretty bad. That's why I am suggesting you this. Don't save it for last minute. After all the tests are useful only to improve your testing experience (stamina, endurance) and to know your weak areas. Proceed with strategy guides and solving problems for another three weeks, if you know your weak areas, you don't need to take tests. Keep on improving. And the last 10 days before your actual test, take the another GMATPrep. See if you are close to your target score. Then start reviewing all the daily notes, you had prepared, mock tests and flash cards etc, tough problems. This will definitely help you reach your target score.

Each GMATPrep mock test can be taken many times. The first two tests will be very close to what you will be scoring in the actual test. Generally there will be a +/- 30 point difference between your GMATPrep and GMAT scores whereas it will be more than 50, when it comes to other tests. You can repeat the tests, the first repeats will be a good indicator, but score gets inflated in the subsequent repeats.

Try to improve both quant and verbal. Concentrate on your strength more (either quant or verbal) and improve the other. Do not leave out any section unprepared, that is a very bad strategy.

If you are looking for good study materials or strategy guides, check this post.

gmat-study-plan-how-to-start-your-gmat-prep-80727.html

Hope this helps !!
_________________

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Re: Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2012, 17:13
msvel2304 wrote:
Your learning approach is great. Please don't change it. Its more of quality than quantity. So even if it takes an hour to review, it is fine as long as you are trying to figure out a better way to solve each and every problem. But instead of kaplan quiz problems, use OG problems. Even if you solve 5 to 10 problems a day, it will take 20 to 25 days to complete the whole book. And you can solve it once again to get a better understanding. Use OG as the main source and supplement it with kaplan problems.

What is your target score ?
Have you taken a GMATPrep mock ?

By now, you have a fair idea of what the test is all about. So start off reviewing the basics given in OG book and any other strategy books, you have and then go for a GMATPrep mock.

Give an GMATPrep mock.
Analyze the test extensively to find your weak topics i.e not just PS or SC but inequalities or probability in quant and SV error problems in SC.
Find the weak topics in all the sections - Work on improving them.
Start with any strategy books you have.
learn the concepts.
Supplement it with OG problems. Solve it topic wise.
Solve the problems in timed mode.
Take ample time to review.
Post/search the questions in forums. You will find expert solutions for every problem.
Take notes, prepare an error log.

All these will take almost 2 to 3 hours for one topic as you said. Try to finish one section a day if possible or if you have more weak topics then take more time between your mocks and try to cover all weak areas. With 1 test you won't get much topics to learn, but once you had taken two or three tests you will have solved atleast one problem in each topic and an overall analysis will give you a fair idea of your weak areas.

Once you complete 3 kaplan tests, take a GMATPrep mock again. Taking GMATPrep mock in the middle is very important as none of the other test prep company mocks are close to GMATPrep, so their diagnosis might go wrong. In short, your diagnosis of weak areas in both GMATPrep and kaplan mocks should be in sync. Different prep company uses different style and none comes as close to GMAT particularly the verbal section. So its better to be cautious and not rely completely on other test prep companies for the entire preparation period. My RC accuracy was 30% in MGMAT mocks and 90% in GMATPrep mocks and I thought I was doing pretty bad. That's why I am suggesting you this. Don't save it for last minute. After all the tests are useful only to improve your testing experience (stamina, endurance) and to know your weak areas. Proceed with strategy guides and solving problems for another three weeks, if you know your weak areas, you don't need to take tests. Keep on improving. And the last 10 days before your actual test, take the another GMATPrep. See if you are close to your target score. Then start reviewing all the daily notes, you had prepared, mock tests and flash cards etc, tough problems. This will definitely help you reach your target score.

Each GMATPrep mock test can be taken many times. The first two tests will be very close to what you will be scoring in the actual test. Generally there will be a +/- 30 point difference between your GMATPrep and GMAT scores whereas it will be more than 50, when it comes to other tests. You can repeat the tests, the first repeats will be a good indicator, but score gets inflated in the subsequent repeats.

Try to improve both quant and verbal. Concentrate on your strength more (either quant or verbal) and improve the other. Do not leave out any section unprepared, that is a very bad strategy.

If you are looking for good study materials or strategy guides, check this post.


Hope this helps !!



Thanks for all the info! I think that's a good idea, I do however want to take one more Kaplan CAT before I take the initial GMATPrep Practice CAT. You said that there is more than 2 Practice CATs that GMATPrep provides? Can you explain?

So I started focusing more on the OG guide today. I did 15 problems and I'm going to review and write notes (error log) on them tomorrow. I'm not timing myself on the questions yet. Do you think I should?
_________________

If my post has contributed to your learning or teaching in any way, feel free to hit the kudos button ^_^

1 KUDOS received
Manager
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Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 113
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, General Management
GMAT 1: 530 Q42 V20
GMAT 2: 540 Q43 V28
GMAT 3: 680 Q48 V35
WE: Business Development (Hospitality and Tourism)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 11 [1] , given: 18

Re: Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2012, 20:19
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DelSingh wrote:
Thanks for all the info! I think that's a good idea, I do however want to take one more Kaplan CAT before I take the initial GMATPrep Practice CAT. You said that there is more than 2 Practice CATs that GMATPrep provides? Can you explain?

So I started focusing more on the OG guide today. I did 15 problems and I'm going to review and write notes (error log) on them tomorrow. I'm not timing myself on the questions yet. Do you think I should?


You should always solve the problems in timed mode. Review = untimed. Regarding the GMATPrep tests, there are two tests available, but you can repeat them any number of times. The first repeat will be almost similar to taking it the first time with very few repeated questions, so you can use each test two times to gauge your score. After that, the repeat test scores become inflated, but you always get some new questions and can use it to improve your testing experience. Don't worry about solving only 15 problems, even if it is 5 problems and you take one hour to review, you shouldn't be concerned as long as you are learning something.
_________________

KUDOS - if my post has helped you.

Manager
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Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 137

Re: Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 03:55
msvel2304 wrote:
DelSingh wrote:
Thanks for all the info! I think that's a good idea, I do however want to take one more Kaplan CAT before I take the initial GMATPrep Practice CAT. You said that there is more than 2 Practice CATs that GMATPrep provides? Can you explain?

So I started focusing more on the OG guide today. I did 15 problems and I'm going to review and write notes (error log) on them tomorrow. I'm not timing myself on the questions yet. Do you think I should?


You should always solve the problems in timed mode. Review = untimed. Regarding the GMATPrep tests, there are two tests available, but you can repeat them any number of times. The first repeat will be almost similar to taking it the first time with very few repeated questions, so you can use each test two times to gauge your score. After that, the repeat test scores become inflated, but you always get some new questions and can use it to improve your testing experience. Don't worry about solving only 15 problems, even if it is 5 problems and you take one hour to review, you shouldn't be concerned as long as you are learning something.


Thanks for all your help. My quant has definitely been improving. Do you have any advice on DS? Would it be a good to study DS one day and PS another? What would you recommend? I've noticed my DS isn't that great.
_________________

If my post has contributed to your learning or teaching in any way, feel free to hit the kudos button ^_^

2 KUDOS received
Manager
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avatar
Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 113
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, General Management
GMAT 1: 530 Q42 V20
GMAT 2: 540 Q43 V28
GMAT 3: 680 Q48 V35
WE: Business Development (Hospitality and Tourism)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 11 [2] , given: 18

Re: Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 05:04
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DelSingh wrote:
Thanks for all your help. My quant has definitely been improving. Do you have any advice on DS? Would it be a good to study DS one day and PS another? What would you recommend? I've noticed my DS isn't that great.


DS questions are mostly to find a value or yes/no type. Be clear with what is being asked, if its find a value then we should get only one particular value there cannot be more than one, if its yes/no - it should be either one and not both. Don't try to solve the problem with all the information in the question and the statements. You will end up with C or E. Try rephrasing the question first. It is more important to know what is asked and what is needed to solve. Go through the statements one by one and try to solve. Follow the A D, B C E order. While solving problems make flash cards for shortcuts like if x^2 < x then 0 < x < 1. For percentage increase/decrease you need both the original and the increased value. Is x < y - we need to know the signs of both variables. For absolute value problems you have to split up the eqns. So the statements should have something related to this. For inequalities you need sign of both the values in the eqn. You will learn a lot of these shortcuts when you review a lot. So try to follow the AD BCE approach and review a lot to learn more shortcuts. If you have MGMAT books, try to read through the strategy guides it will help a lot. DS shortcuts can be learned only through practice. The entire quant preparation should be for DS. You will have loads to learn and you should reduce the steps in DS to minimum that you don't need to solve it till the final step. But you need not worry, just try to practice few problems everyday and you will get used to it.

As for reading one section a day, it entirely depends on your comfort level - If you can retain information for a week and comfortable revisiting the topic after a week, then you can choose that method or mix up problems of each section and revise the error log or flash cards everyday.
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Re: Need advice-Should I change up my strategy? CAT trend inside   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2012, 05:04
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