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One Month Retake Plan

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One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 02 May 2013, 06:24
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Well after two disappointing scores I am planning for another retake. I took a vacation for a week from work and studying to just relax. This gave me some time to think things over.

See my last debrief regarding my 540 score. http://gmatclub.com/forum/failed-once-again-460-to-151000.html

After thinking about how my last exam went I thought my score was a bad representation of my knowledge and preparation for the test. I also did some analysis and research to why there is such a big difference between my practice scores and my actual exam scores. I think it came down to two things test anxiety and timing. I know for a fact that I missed about 3-4 easily solvable QUANT problems as I was driving home from the exam(thinking of similar problems in the OG or MGMAT guides) due to getting psyched out by the timing. Also, for VERBAL I strayed away from my CR and SC strategy too much...

I have put together a detailed one month study calendar which includes the below. I will use the following books and study strategy. I am aiming for a score of 650+.... So about a 100 point increase.

1. Shorter Study Period: I am only giving myself one month to prepare. I already have a pretty good foundation from my previous study attempt(i.e. formulas memorized, SC error types,etc.). During my 2nd attempt I felt like the study period was too long, therefore I went through a lot of materials(see the above link for the books I went through). I should have probably taken the test 2 weeks earlier. I had about 2 weeks of review and in that time I forgot basic concepts and was focused too much on 700 level material.

2. Less materials: I am narrowing the scope of materials down. I felt like during my 2nd attempt I was all over the place with the materials I studied. (i.e. switching from GMATPILL to MGMAT to etc.). I also was getting caught up in the 700+ material when I should have been focusing on the basics. I remember two days before the test I was attempting 700+ level probability, permutations,etc. problems which did nothing but get me pysched out before the test thinking that I did not know that stuff. The problems I ended up receiving on the actual exam were more like the MGMAT Word Problems guide/GMAT Prep problems for that topic.

OG 13- Will be going through all of the problems once again. However, this time I will be using a timer to count down and doing problems in 10s or 20s at a time. This will help my endurance and timing. I will also use an error log for this book and this book only.... I used an error log for almost all of the materials I went through.. It became very cumbersome and ineffective.

Aristotle Prep SC- I have not gone through this book yet but I plan to go through it next week to tighten up my SC basics.

CR Bible- I am going back through this for a 2nd time. As I started to go through this book again I am starting to realize how far off I was with my strategy on the exam. I am going to make sure I follow this books strategy for every single problem(i.e. making sure I clearly know if its arguement vs fact set, highlight the conclusion for every problem,etc.)

RC- Completed a non-fiction(game of thrones) book during vacation. I just started the 2nd book and I will continue reading a few chapters a night to help improve my RC. Also, plan to read an economist and SA article once a day as well as doing 1-2 RC problems a day.

MGMAT Guides- For QUANT this will be my sole focus. I am going back to the basics for this exam and making sure everything is tight.

GMATPREP Exams- Will do 1 of these every weekend leading up to the exam.(4 in total). This will be done in library to mimic the actual exam conditions. I will make sure i take IR and AWA to build endurance.

IR/AWA: I focused a few days on this the last exam. I will not focus at all on this leading up to the 2nd attempt besides on practice exams. I actually got worried about these two things before the exam which also made me lose focus.


3. Mindset: I am going into this exam with a nothing to lose attitude. I have been psyched out during both of my previous exams. After talking to some of my family members I finally realized that this I have just made this entire thing personal. An MBA is something I have always wanted since undergrad. However, I have a very solid career and have been rapidly advancing since I have started as well. IF I do not do well on it... OH well.. its not the end of the world...

Also, one last thing.... I saw this in the CR bible and I felt like it was very true.

"All high-scoring test takers are active and aggressive. Passive test takers tend to be less involved in the exam therefore more prone to errors."



Any advice is much appreciated!!! Thanks!!
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 02 May 2013, 07:12
Big4Advisory wrote:
Well after two disappointing scores I am planning for another retake. I took a vacation for a week from work and studying to just relax. This gave me some time to think things over.

See my last debrief regarding my 540 score. http://gmatclub.com/forum/failed-once-again-460-to-151000.html

After thinking about how my last exam went I thought my score was a bad representation of my knowledge and preparation for the test. I also did some analysis and research to why there is such a big difference between my practice scores and my actual exam scores. I think it came down to two things test anxiety and timing. I know for a fact that I missed about 3-4 easily solvable QUANT problems as I was driving home from the exam(thinking of similar problems in the OG or MGMAT guides) due to getting psyched out by the timing. Also, for VERBAL I strayed away from my CR and SC strategy too much...

I have put together a detailed one month study calendar which includes the below. I will use the following books and study strategy. I am aiming for a score of 650+.... So about a 100 point increase.

1. Shorter Study Period: I am only giving myself one month to prepare. I already have a pretty good foundation from my previous study attempt(i.e. formulas memorized, SC error types,etc.). During my 2nd attempt I felt like the study period was too long, therefore I went through a lot of materials(see the above link for the books I went through). I should have probably taken the test 2 weeks earlier. I had about 2 weeks of review and in that time I forgot basic concepts and was focused too much on 700 level material.

2. Less materials: I am narrowing the scope of materials down. I felt like during my 2nd attempt I was all over the place with the materials I studied. (i.e. switching from GMATPILL to MGMAT to etc.). I also was getting caught up in the 700+ material when I should have been focusing on the basics. I remember two days before the test I was attempting 700+ level probability, permutations,etc. problems which did nothing but get me pysched out before the test thinking that I did not know that stuff. The problems I ended up receiving on the actual exam were more like the MGMAT Word Problems guide/GMAT Prep problems for that topic.

OG 13- Will be going through all of the problems once again. However, this time I will be using a timer to count down and doing problems in 10s or 20s at a time. This will help my endurance and timing. I will also use an error log for this book and this book only.... I used an error log for almost all of the materials I went through.. It became very cumbersome and ineffective.

Aristotle Prep SC- I have not gone through this book yet but I plan to go through it next week to tighten up my SC basics.

CR Bible- I am going back through this for a 2nd time. As I started to go through this book again I am starting to realize how far off I was with my strategy on the exam. I am going to make sure I follow this books strategy for every single problem(i.e. making sure I clearly know if its arguement vs fact set, highlight the conclusion for every problem,etc.)

RC- Completed a non-fiction(game of thrones) book during vacation. I just started the 2nd book and I will continue reading a few chapters a night to help improve my RC. Also, plan to read an economist and SA article once a day as well as doing 1-2 RC problems a day.

MGMAT Guides- For QUANT this will be my sole focus. I am going back to the basics for this exam and making sure everything is tight.

GMATPREP Exams- Will do 1 of these every weekend leading up to the exam.(4 in total). This will be done in library to mimic the actual exam conditions. I will make sure i take IR and AWA to build endurance.

IR/AWA: I focused a few days on this the last exam. I will not focus at all on this leading up to the 2nd attempt besides on practice exams. I actually got worried about these two things before the exam which also made me lose focus.


3. Mindset: I am going into this exam with a nothing to lose attitude. I have been psyched out during both of my previous exams. After talking to some of my family members I finally realized that this I have just made this entire thing personal. An MBA is something I have always wanted since undergrad. However, I have a very solid career and have been rapidly advancing since I have started as well. IF I do not do well on it... OH well.. its not the end of the world...

Also, one last thing.... I saw this in the CR bible and I felt like it was very true.

"All high-scoring test takers are active and aggressive. Passive test takers tend to be less involved in the exam therefore more prone to errors."



Any advice is much appreciated!!! Thanks!!



thats Encouraging to read , I myself scored very bad in first attempt and now lack the motivation to start again.

You have chosen exactly the right books for Verbal Part please do let me know if reading the book helped you in RC in any way ?

Also will suggest you to Maintain an error log for the same , and study it at the end of the week it really helps
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 02 May 2013, 07:47
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Big4Advisory,

I would suggest adding timing strategy to your one month plan. I mean you need to develop a solid plan about what question types you would pass if you're behind on time. Improving to 650+ is very much feasible since I just did that and got 650 (Q48, V31) on my 3rd attempt. One thing I regret the most when I look back is not spending more time on my timing strategy and applying that strategy in my mocks. GMAT is an adaptive test and most likely there will be situation in which you will be behind on time since the difficulty of the questions will increase as you do well.

I noticed that when I took GMAT Prep there were lot of repeated questions, so I didn't focus much on the scores but more on getting all the questions correct. for e.g. rather than just focusing on Q51, try and see how you can get all the 37 questions correct.

Another thing, I would suggest is purchasing GMAT Question Pack 1. They are worthy the money since they are questions from past exams.

Good luck with your preparations.
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 02 May 2013, 07:52
nt2010 wrote:
Big4Advisory,

I would suggest adding timing strategy to your one month plan. I mean you need to develop a solid plan about what question types you would pass if you're behind on time. Improving to 650+ is very much feasible since I just did that and got 650 (Q48, V31) on my 3rd attempt. One thing I regret the most when I look back is not spending more time on my timing strategy and applying that strategy in my mocks. GMAT is an adaptive test and most likely there will be situation in which you will be behind on time since the difficulty of the questions will increase as you do well.

Another thing, I noticed that when I took GMAT Prep there were lot of repeated questions, so I didn't focus much on the scores but more on getting all the questions correct. for e.g. rather than just focusing on Q51, try and see how you can get all the 37 questions correct.

Another thing, I would suggest is purchasing GMAT Question Pack 1. They are worthy the money since they are questions from past exams.

Good luck with your preparations.


NT2010,

Thank you for the response. I will also use a timing table which I used on the 2nd exam. I will come up with a list of questions I have trouble with based on my error log..

What do you think was the biggest thing that helped you from your 2nd attempt to your 3rd attempt?
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 02 May 2013, 08:03
The key thing missing was the application of my learning under timed constraints. I did not do much practice in my 1st and 2nd attempts because of my busy work life. I would read the concepts in the evenings and once comfortable just practice the exercise at the end of each chapter in MGMAT guides. As I get close to the test date, just took few MGMAT CATs and GMAT Prep exams in the short breaks before the GMAT date.
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 12:14
nt2010 wrote:
The key thing missing was the application of my learning under timed constraints. I did not do much practice in my 1st and 2nd attempts because of my busy work life. I would read the concepts in the evenings and once comfortable just practice the exercise at the end of each chapter in MGMAT guides. As I get close to the test date, just took few MGMAT CATs and GMAT Prep exams in the short breaks before the GMAT date.


Ok... Thanks for the advice..

I am almost at the end of week 1 and flying through the OG13.... I know I have already gone through these problems once... (even though I only have came across a few that I remembered the answers for).... Is it worth re-doing these problems? I have a bout a 90-95% hit rate under timed conditions so far as I am going back through... I keep wondering how I have could done so poorly on the actual exam...

Or would it be better for me to just focus on the MGMAT guides and problems to keep tightening down my concepts rather than doing problems I've already seen? Maybe just focus on GMATPREP exams and the extra question set from the GMATPREP, since I haven't seen those yet?
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 03 May 2013, 17:40
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Hi!

A couple of things that I noticed about your situation:

1. Practice vs Real Thing
I see that your GMATPreps and your MGMAT CATs are significantly higher than your real score. This may come down to a psychological issue. One immensely important aspect of the GMAT is the scheduled hour. For instance, I'm not a morning-person. Never was, never will be. My productivity at work reaches a peak at around 2-3PM. So, I scheduled my GMAT for 3PM. I took a personal day at work the day before the test (a Monday) and on the day of the test. As I wound down my study intensity (I only did 1-2 hours per day for the last 3 days) I started relaxing more and going to bed later and later. On test day, I woke up at 11AM, 100% fully rested. I was eager to take the actual thing and scored a 740. Rewind about three years, when I was still in school and (arguably) at the peak of my mental powers. I took the test on an 8AM appointment, and had to wake up at around 6ish because of this. I did not do nearly as well. Why? Because even though my body didn't feel tired (thank you, adrenaline!) my mind was working a fraction slower. At this level, that makes all the difference between a 600 and a 700.

My advice to you here? Grab a later appointment, if possible and/or practical.

2. AWA/IR Worries
This did my head in while I was taking the practice tests; I would become worried that I missed one or two IRs and then do badly on quant. I would become worried that I missed one or two easy ones on quant and would do badly on verbal. Repeat. One thing that helped me bump up my score was the ability to forget things as soon as they happened on the test. I have always been fascinated by athletes who can make an error and then come back and make an amazing play several seconds later. I've also been fascinated by the ones who make one mistake and then spend the rest of the game moaning and making more and more errors. I'd rather be the former, and I'm sure you would, too.

My thing is this: learn from your mistakes while you're studying. On test-day, forget every single question as soon as you have answered it. No good can come of dwelling on the past. You either lose concentration or start resting on your laurels.

3. Timing
The timing strategy that I used (this may not be for everyone) was to do 10-20 questions in one go and then see how long they took me. I would then see if I needed to speed up or slow down. As I got closer to the actual test date (i.e. three weeks out) I started doing 20-30 questions in one go, and then measured my success and the time breakdowns. This did two things: it built up my stamina and it gave me an acute sense of when I should be moving on. It will also help you teach yourself how to ramp things up incrementally (i.e. you'll know what to do whether you're two minutes behind schedule or ten).

Hopefully, you'll find something here that is to your liking!

Best of luck to you!
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 04 May 2013, 07:30
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Big4Advisory,

I would get the GMAT Prep Question pack right away and start using the questions in the pack to create exam like scenarios. E.g. batches of 38 questions for quant and 42 questions for verbal. You should target to get 90% accuracy in these scenarios otherwise go back to concepts on the questions you answered incorrectly. The reason I say 90% since I give 10% bump for answering the questions in familiar and friendly confines of home..

About OG13/OG12 questions, I would just refresh the approach only to ensure that if you see a similar question you know what approach to start. There is no point solving the same questions over and again. Also learn solving quant problems from the answer choices. I think MGMAT calls it VIC or back solving method.

Just make sure you have the latest GMAT Prep software since GMAC enhanced the review capability in the latest version. Earlier versions were not letting me review my responses once I close the session. Kudos to BB for points this out :-)
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Re: One Month Retake Plan [#permalink] New post 14 May 2013, 05:48
I just wanted to provide an update to my original post. I am about a little over half way through the Gmat Prep Pack 1 questions. I've also been going through the MGMAT guides again.

I took another GMATPREP exam yesterday and scored a 630. I completed this under 100% exam like conditions(noise canceling headphones, mgmat notebook,etc.) My score looked like the following:

630
43 Quant 61 percentile
34 Verbal 69 percentile
8 Integrated Reasoning

I was surprised by the verbal score because I thought I did very well on it. I missed 1 CR, 4 SC(had it narrowed down to 2 answers for a few of these- need to go with my gut more often), and missed 5 RC....

What is very interesting about the missing of 5 RC questions is that I usually do well on RC with an accuracy % of about 90%+ under timed conditions for not only my second prep but third prep as well.

I am thinking about addressing this by possibly doing 5-6 700+ passages during a problem exercise.
Re: One Month Retake Plan   [#permalink] 14 May 2013, 05:48
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