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Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT

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Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 20:29
The director of the MBA program I plan on attending told me to try and complete the GMAT by the end of September at the latest, that way if I need to retake it, I have time to do so.

The first thing I did today was download GMATPrep and take the first full practice test to see where I stand. I finished with Q26 V35 530 total. The program has a 550 minimum, but I'd like to do as well as possible (an 80th percentile score would be great). I took this with no prep whatsoever, so that's where I stand starting out assuming that's a fairly accurate representation of what I'd score on the real thing.

Money is tight right now, so I can't really go out and buy a dozen books or take a prep course, but I have the full 4th edition set of strategy guides from Manhattan as well as the 12th edition of the Official Guide and the flashcards posted on the forum, so I'm hoping I can get the most out of those.

Most of the problems I missed in the Quantitative section were the ones that present you with two statements, and you need to decide if they are sufficient or not. Of the 16 I missed, 8 were sufficiency problems.

The 11 that I missed in the verbal section were pretty evenly split between comprehension and sentence correction.

As far as a plan of attack for this thing goes, what do you guys recommend? Right now I can spend at least a few hours a day studying and taking practice exams. Which free practice exams are best? Should I hit all 8 books from Manhattan, or focus on just a few specific ones? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 21:05
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CJT1983 wrote:
The director of the MBA program I plan on attending told me to try and complete the GMAT by the end of September at the latest, that way if I need to retake it, I have time to do so.

The first thing I did today was download GMATPrep and take the first full practice test to see where I stand. I finished with Q26 V35 530 total. The program has a 550 minimum, but I'd like to do as well as possible (an 80th percentile score would be great). I took this with no prep whatsoever, so that's where I stand starting out assuming that's a fairly accurate representation of what I'd score on the real thing.

Money is tight right now, so I can't really go out and buy a dozen books or take a prep course, but I have the full 4th edition set of strategy guides from Manhattan as well as the 12th edition of the Official Guide and the flashcards posted on the forum, so I'm hoping I can get the most out of those.

Most of the problems I missed in the Quantitative section were the ones that present you with two statements, and you need to decide if they are sufficient or not. Of the 16 I missed, 8 were sufficiency problems.

The 11 that I missed in the verbal section were pretty evenly split between comprehension and sentence correction.

As far as a plan of attack for this thing goes, what do you guys recommend? Right now I can spend at least a few hours a day studying and taking practice exams. Which free practice exams are best? Should I hit all 8 books from Manhattan, or focus on just a few specific ones? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Your V35 is great!! Right now, focus on your math. As you mentioned, data sufficiency is your achilles' heel, so really work on that by doing questions (and understanding the reasoning behind why you get something wrong). MGMAT is a great resource for math and I think you'll find it very helpful. At this point, I wouldn't recommend taking any free practice exams as these practice tests are precious and you'd want to keep as many available as possible. Focus on the studying part, especially data sufficiency (and also throw in some verbal from day to day). If you'd like, take just one free exam every two weeks. I'm not sure what your timeline is but you'd want to be able to have good exams to take as you inch closer to the d-day.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 21:11
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CJT1983 wrote:
I have the full 4th edition set of strategy guides from Manhattan as well as the 12th edition of the Official Guide and the flashcards posted on the forum


That is definitely ample – many a person on this forum has scored well into the 90th percentile using just those materials.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 21:13
Sorry, missed that part in the original post. Yes, I agree with pike. Your MGMAT and your OG should help you tremendously in the math part (and verbal).
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Jul 2011, 22:04
bakfed wrote:
Your V35 is great!! Right now, focus on your math. As you mentioned, data sufficiency is your achilles' heel, so really work on that by doing questions (and understanding the reasoning behind why you get something wrong). MGMAT is a great resource for math and I think you'll find it very helpful. At this point, I wouldn't recommend taking any free practice exams as these practice tests are precious and you'd want to keep as many available as possible. Focus on the studying part, especially data sufficiency (and also throw in some verbal from day to day). If you'd like, take just one free exam every two weeks. I'm not sure what your timeline is but you'd want to be able to have good exams to take as you inch closer to the d-day.


Thank you guys for the input. My timeline right now is to take it by the end of September at the latest, that way I have time to retake if I need to, but I'm hoping I won't have to. If I feel ready to take it before the end of September, that's even better, because the sooner I get my scores to the school for my application the better.

As far as getting a lot better at the data sufficiency problems, what do you guys suggest? is the Manhattan section on them pretty good?

Also, what free tests do you feel are best to take?
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 00:23
I too struggled initially with DS questions. I think they are quite a unique beast.

I have found that the more you do, the better you get. MGMAT explain the 'ad/bce' strategy, which is fundamental. I think you just develop better intuition and thought processes as you do more and more.

Initially I would just miss the most obvious conditions that had been stated, or forget to test all possible integers (negatives, 0 and positives).

Put it another way, if you do all the MGMAT books and OG12, you will feel a great deal more comfortable with DS than you do now.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 02:48
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CJT1983 wrote:
The director of the MBA program I plan on attending told me to try and complete the GMAT by the end of September at the latest, that way if I need to retake it, I have time to do so.

The first thing I did today was download GMATPrep and take the first full practice test to see where I stand. I finished with Q26 V35 530 total. The program has a 550 minimum, but I'd like to do as well as possible (an 80th percentile score would be great). I took this with no prep whatsoever, so that's where I stand starting out assuming that's a fairly accurate representation of what I'd score on the real thing.

Money is tight right now, so I can't really go out and buy a dozen books or take a prep course, but I have the full 4th edition set of strategy guides from Manhattan as well as the 12th edition of the Official Guide and the flashcards posted on the forum, so I'm hoping I can get the most out of those.

Most of the problems I missed in the Quantitative section were the ones that present you with two statements, and you need to decide if they are sufficient or not. Of the 16 I missed, 8 were sufficiency problems.

The 11 that I missed in the verbal section were pretty evenly split between comprehension and sentence correction.

As far as a plan of attack for this thing goes, what do you guys recommend? Right now I can spend at least a few hours a day studying and taking practice exams. Which free practice exams are best? Should I hit all 8 books from Manhattan, or focus on just a few specific ones? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



That's a long post. While skimming through, the things that caught my eye :
1. I need a 550.
2. Q and V scores + 530.
3. I have entire MGMAT Set and OG 12.
4. I need atleast 550.

So don't bother much, dive into the quant books and your verbal seems high for a beginner. Start practising!!!!

OG 12 problems + MGMAT CATs + Question Banks + GMATprep and its material available on this forum - will be sufficient to take you to a 650 or beyond.
Go own it!
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 09:50
akhileshgupta05 wrote:
That's a long post. While skimming through, the things that caught my eye :
1. I need a 550.
2. Q and V scores + 530.
3. I have entire MGMAT Set and OG 12.
4. I need atleast 550.

So don't bother much, dive into the quant books and your verbal seems high for a beginner. Start practising!!!!

OG 12 problems + MGMAT CATs + Question Banks + GMATprep and its material available on this forum - will be sufficient to take you to a 650 or beyond.
Go own it!


Thanks. Any free CATs you specifically recommend?
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 19:19
CJT1983 wrote:
akhileshgupta05 wrote:
That's a long post. While skimming through, the things that caught my eye :
1. I need a 550.
2. Q and V scores + 530.
3. I have entire MGMAT Set and OG 12.
4. I need atleast 550.

So don't bother much, dive into the quant books and your verbal seems high for a beginner. Start practising!!!!

OG 12 problems + MGMAT CATs + Question Banks + GMATprep and its material available on this forum - will be sufficient to take you to a 650 or beyond.
Go own it!


Thanks. Any free CATs you specifically recommend?


Sure take all the MGMAT CATs - 6
Take GMAT Prep twice each - 4

Almost every company provides one free CAT exam.
Kaplan
Knewton
Princeton Review
Veritas

That makes it a total of 14 CATs.
Should be more than sufficient, provided you take them all in real test like conditions - fully timed and not more than 8 minute gap in between. Also try taking the AWA as well. I realise that by the time I reach 34-35th question in Verbal my head starts pounding and it becomes really difficult to concentrate, but you cannot afford to lose out on those questions because they will pull you down no matter how good you are doing.

So building stamina is a must!!
But more important is what you do AFTER the test - THOROUGH ANALYSIS

How many you got incorrect?
Why incorrect?
What can you do about it?
etc. etc.

Also one more thing - keep in mind that the scoring algorithm of all prep companies other than GMATprep can be questionable. So if you see a low score and you feel that it shouldn't be so low, then ignore the score and concentrate more on practising.

Hope this helps!!!
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2011, 21:47
Thanks for all of your help, I will be sure to post more questions as they come up. I'm hoping that if I put a few hours into studying each day, I will be able to get my score up to around 650-680 on the GMATprep and take the real thing by the end of September at the latest.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2011, 15:21
I took the second GMAT Prep test exam today to see how I was doing since originally making this thread, and I scored another 530. I don't know what to do now, My quant went up up a bit, but my verbal was lower this time, and my score remained the same. I wanted to take the exam in another couple weeks, but obviously I can't do that now. I have the 8 Manhattan books and OG12 and have worked through all 5 math books (not the advanced sections) and done all the OG problems the sections recommend and I am still not doing well on the GMAT Prep test.

What can I do? I am going to run out of time and don't want to spend the money on a test I can't pass yet. Right now I am just going to put off taking this test until I am fully prepared.

I think I may need a course at this point.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2011, 20:42
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CJT1983 wrote:
I took the second GMAT Prep test exam today to see how I was doing since originally making this thread, and I scored another 530. I don't know what to do now, My quant went up up a bit, but my verbal was lower this time, and my score remained the same. I wanted to take the exam in another couple weeks, but obviously I can't do that now. I have the 8 Manhattan books and OG12 and have worked through all 5 math books (not the advanced sections) and done all the OG problems the sections recommend and I am still not doing well on the GMAT Prep test.

What can I do? I am going to run out of time and don't want to spend the money on a test I can't pass yet. Right now I am just going to put off taking this test until I am fully prepared.

I think I may need a course at this point.


It is not difficult to up your score by a 100 points at this level. You conceptual understanding is weak in some areas. You need to figure out the topics where you make the most errors and strategically work on those. If DS questions are still a nuisance, you probably do not understand the 'sufficiency' requirement. At around 600, the DS questions are not very tricky. At Veritas, we have a separate book which helps you learn how to work efficiently with DS questions. I would suggest you to get that. If it works out for you, 50% of your Quant problem will be sorted out. Thereafter, it is about making sure you understand the important topics e.g. Number Properties really well. Another thing you can do is post some questions that you got wrong (not those where you made a 'silly mistake') and why you got them wrong (you had no clue how to begin, you got lost in the calculations, you couldn't figure out how to go from Step 2 to step 3, you couldn't find the conclusion etc). We could analyze those and help you understand what it is that you need to do. Just knowing that you scored 530 doesn't help much.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2011, 20:54
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CJT1983 wrote:
I took the second GMAT Prep test exam today to see how I was doing since originally making this thread, and I scored another 530. I don't know what to do now, My quant went up up a bit, but my verbal was lower this time, and my score remained the same. I wanted to take the exam in another couple weeks, but obviously I can't do that now. I have the 8 Manhattan books and OG12 and have worked through all 5 math books (not the advanced sections) and done all the OG problems the sections recommend and I am still not doing well on the GMAT Prep test.

What can I do? I am going to run out of time and don't want to spend the money on a test I can't pass yet. Right now I am just going to put off taking this test until I am fully prepared.

I think I may need a course at this point.


It is not difficult to up your score by a 100 points at this level. You conceptual understanding is weak in some areas. You need to figure out the topics where you make the most errors and strategically work on those. If DS questions are still a nuisance, you probably do not understand the 'sufficiency' requirement. At around 600, the DS questions are not very tricky. At Veritas, we have a separate book which helps you learn how to work efficiently with DS questions. I would suggest you to get that. If it works out for you, 50% of your Quant problem will be sorted out. Thereafter, it is about making sure you understand the important topics e.g. Number Properties really well. Another thing you can do is post some questions that you got wrong (not those where you made a 'silly mistake') and why you got them wrong (you had no clue how to begin, you got lost in the calculations, you couldn't figure out how to go from Step 2 to step 3, you couldn't find the conclusion etc). We could analyze those and help you understand what it is that you need to do. Just knowing that you scored 530 doesn't help much.


I understand. Unfortunately, I was all set to post my Q and V score from the test today as well as what I missed, and I accidentally exited the GMATPrep test and now it wants me to start it over again. Since I was not able to review the questions, I may just retake the exam tomorrow to post what my Q and V scores are as well as what I am missing the most, since I will likely end up with the same score. If that's not a good idea, is there another free practice exam that I can take that will give me a fairly accurate idea of how I'd do on the real thing?

Thanks for your help so far!
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2011, 00:49
Also, are the two tests that come with the GMATPrep software static, or would I get new questions if I took them again?
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2011, 07:23
CJT1983 wrote:
Also, are the two tests that come with the GMATPrep software static, or would I get new questions if I took them again?


The questions will remain the same. Also, you may want to save these two tests for last since they use the official scoring algorithm and provide the best indication of your ability level.

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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2011, 07:41
there are tons of online resources

majortests
qliklearn
gmatclub

etc...
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2011, 09:11
Here is my new plan, please let me know what you guys think.

I am going to order OG12, OG Quant, OG Verbal, and the Manhattan OG companion for even more help with quant.

When the books arrive, I am going to take the diagnostic test in OG12 to find out which areas I am having the most trouble with. Instead of just reading through each Manhattan book like I have been doing and taking notes, I think I need to start focusing more on my problem areas and work on doing questions from each section in the OG books daily. I think the reason my verbal dropped a bit is because I haven't given it any attention in my prep, it has been nothing but quant since July.

After completing the diagnostic test in OG12, I will use the Manhattan guides to really build on the areas where I'm weak. In a couple of weeks, I will begin working on the Manhattan CATs to continue tracking my progress, since I have already taken both of the GMATPrep tests. I may retake the first one down the road a bit, because I took it back on July 5th, and I can honestly say I don't remember anything about the questions.

I found out today that I can get my scores in as late as November and still be considered for the program I'm interested in, so that has added ~6 weeks of study time for me.

Please let me know what you guys think of this plan, and if you any addition advice I would be glad to read it.

Thank you for all the feedback so far, I really appreciate it.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2011, 23:21
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CJT1983 wrote:
Here is my new plan, please let me know what you guys think.

I am going to order OG12, OG Quant, OG Verbal, and the Manhattan OG companion for even more help with quant.

When the books arrive, I am going to take the diagnostic test in OG12 to find out which areas I am having the most trouble with. Instead of just reading through each Manhattan book like I have been doing and taking notes, I think I need to start focusing more on my problem areas and work on doing questions from each section in the OG books daily. I think the reason my verbal dropped a bit is because I haven't given it any attention in my prep, it has been nothing but quant since July.

After completing the diagnostic test in OG12, I will use the Manhattan guides to really build on the areas where I'm weak. In a couple of weeks, I will begin working on the Manhattan CATs to continue tracking my progress, since I have already taken both of the GMATPrep tests. I may retake the first one down the road a bit, because I took it back on July 5th, and I can honestly say I don't remember anything about the questions.

I found out today that I can get my scores in as late as November and still be considered for the program I'm interested in, so that has added ~6 weeks of study time for me.

Please let me know what you guys think of this plan, and if you any addition advice I would be glad to read it.

Thank you for all the feedback so far, I really appreciate it.


You can re-install the GMAT prep tests and take them again. The question bank is not huge but you can re-take the test once without having a substantial number of repeats. But since you have already taken both once, I would suggest you to wait for a while before re-taking.
The diagnostic of OG12 is somewhat dated and does not simulate the computer adaptive test. Instead, try out a free test offered by one of the test prep companies (Veritas Prep's free GMAT practice test: http://www.veritasprep.com/free-gmat-practice-test/). Pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and then work on individual areas.
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Re: Need some advice on preparing for the GMAT   [#permalink] 23 Sep 2011, 23:21
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