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Preparation dilemma, what should I do?

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Preparation dilemma, what should I do? [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2003, 14:41
I am scheduled to take the GMAT in the middle of September, which gives me a little less than 2 months from now to prepare. I've already gone through PR's book, some of the OG, and a tiny bit of Kaplan 800. I'm also thinking about forking out the $40 rescheduling fee to push my date back to the beginning or middle of October as I don't feel even close to ready yet. My question is this, do you guys think I could score just as well on the GMAT using very diligent self-study until test time (in this case, I would purchase Kaplan's GMAT 2004 w/CD, and both the Kaplan verbal and math workbooks) versus taking a Kaplan or PR course? I ask because I can afford (just BARELY) to take a course but would rather save the money and study myself if it won't make much difference on test day. Motivation and work ethic are not problems. My target score is somewhere around 730-750+ but would be content with a 700+. I scored a 640 the first time I took the GMAT back in March so I'm looking to improve my score by approx. 80-120 pts. What would you guys suggest I do? Thanks!
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Hope you know [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2003, 18:16
Congrats Hugh, the best way is to come to our forums and sound off. You will teach yourself and help others. What is the best way to prepare for PS? I need something nice to happen to me. We all die and including the people from GMAC who spy on this site. Life is so short, why do these crazy people take life so serious, maybe one testtaker's mom died early or something? :lol:
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2003, 02:04
I imporved my score from 650 - 690. Where did you think you have scope for improvement? Where did you think you messed up on the first attempt?
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KSS [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2003, 08:49
Hi KSS,

Well, on my first attempt I scored a 41(Q)/36(V). I was really really shocked because %-wise, I scored better on verbal than on math, and I have always thought of myself as more of a quant jock than verbal. I guess I didn't quite prepare enough (I studied for about a month) and wasn't quite used to the "GMAT Math" style and how they go about wording their problems. Thus, I believe I can score considerably higher on math this time around (I believe my abilities lie around the 47-50 range with proper preparation). As for verbal, I don't think I have that much more room for any drastic improvement. I guess my goal for verbal is just to prepare as well as I can and hopefully score somewhere around 36-40. For example, a great target score for me is like 49(Q)/40(V). Do you have any suggestions based on this information? Also, how did you prepare between your 650 and 690? Did you self-study, take a course, etc.? Thanks for your feedback! 8-)
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thanks Curly [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2003, 08:51
Thanks Curly although I had some trouble figuring out exactly what you were trying to say! Care to elaborate? :wink:
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Hey Hugh [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2003, 08:56
This is Curly. What was the hardest PS question and what did you mainly see? In my opinion, that is the hardest to prepare for since examples in OG seem skimpy.

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Re: Preparation dilemma, what should I do? [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2003, 11:12
Hugh wrote:
I am scheduled to take the GMAT in the middle of September, which gives me a little less than 2 months from now to prepare. I've already gone through PR's book, some of the OG, and a tiny bit of Kaplan 800. I'm also thinking about forking out the $40 rescheduling fee to push my date back to the beginning or middle of October as I don't feel even close to ready yet. My question is this, do you guys think I could score just as well on the GMAT using very diligent self-study until test time (in this case, I would purchase Kaplan's GMAT 2004 w/CD, and both the Kaplan verbal and math workbooks) versus taking a Kaplan or PR course? I ask because I can afford (just BARELY) to take a course but would rather save the money and study myself if it won't make much difference on test day. Motivation and work ethic are not problems. My target score is somewhere around 730-750+ but would be content with a 700+. I scored a 640 the first time I took the GMAT back in March so I'm looking to improve my score by approx. 80-120 pts. What would you guys suggest I do? Thanks!


I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time to prepare. If all you are doing is studying GMAT (i.e., not working right now), then you should probably not reschedule.

If you are mixing GMAT study with other activities, then you are likely able to study only a bit during the week, then some on weekends. If you are not 100% comfortable with the notion of testing in 2 months based on a few hours of study per week, push it back.

I would advise allowing enough time to do 6 practice tests, 2 of which should be the official PP ones. Kaplan is great for getting your timing down -- the questions are pretty representative of the more difficult problems (in both Q and V) that you're likely to see on test day, so they stretch your mind and your timing ability. I don't think they have the scoring algorithm cracked, however, so Kaplan (as well as other test prep folks) has a hard time showing you an accurate score. My experience was that the GMAT was very similar to the 2 tests sent out by ETS.
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hi JP/Curly [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2003, 14:40
Thanks for your input JP. I work full-time so it can be hard to get as much quality time to study the GMAT as I would like sometimes. I'm still deciding whether to push the test date back or not, but I have a feeling that I will end up doing so, maybe even as far back as late November or early/mid December. We'll see though. I guess my original question revolved more around whether you thought that self-study would be sufficient enough to raise my score dramatically on the second try, or whether it would be best to enroll in a classroom course. Thanks!

To Curly, yeah I had a lot of trouble with some of those PS problems, especially the harder ones that were impossible to solve traditionally and required some sort of "trick." Basically, if I didn't see the trick, there was no way to solve the problem in the alotted time. I tended to freak out everytime I saw one of these, thinking "how in the hell am I supposed to solve this in 2 min!?" which did nothing but distract me and interrupt my concentration even more. I guess this is what is meant by "GMAT Math," being able to stray from your conventional problem-solving methods and coming up with that one creative way that will enable you to easily solve the problem. I just hope that I can master this concept before the second time around!
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Re: hi JP/Curly [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2003, 20:32
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Hugh wrote:
Thanks for your input JP. I work full-time so it can be hard to get as much quality time to study the GMAT as I would like sometimes. I'm still deciding whether to push the test date back or not, but I have a feeling that I will end up doing so, maybe even as far back as late November or early/mid December. We'll see though. I guess my original question revolved more around whether you thought that self-study would be sufficient enough to raise my score dramatically on the second try, or whether it would be best to enroll in a classroom course. Thanks!

To Curly, yeah I had a lot of trouble with some of those PS problems, especially the harder ones that were impossible to solve traditionally and required some sort of "trick." Basically, if I didn't see the trick, there was no way to solve the problem in the alotted time. I tended to freak out everytime I saw one of these, thinking "how in the hell am I supposed to solve this in 2 min!?" which did nothing but distract me and interrupt my concentration even more. I guess this is what is meant by "GMAT Math," being able to stray from your conventional problem-solving methods and coming up with that one creative way that will enable you to easily solve the problem. I just hope that I can master this concept before the second time around!



The course/self is a dilemma for sure and it seems you still have it.
I think you still have time and 2 months of time, so why move the date?
You can always do that, assuming there are spaces at the testing center.

As to the question, what did you use to prepare before? PR and OG?

Which course would you take? Kaplan or PR? Probably Kaplan is a little better since it sounds like you have gone through PR's materials.

Just think about how much time you are spending right now studying. If you are getting 2 hours a day 3 or more days a week and some on the weekend, you should be in a good shape in a few months even doing self prep. If you gonna take the course, some say you often need to take it twice since they throw a lot of stuff at you, so you have to allocate twice as much time....

I am assuming you don't have till Dec, so you would probably need to do the self thing with the books. Also based on your hesitation, it seems you are more prone to do the self prep :wink:
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thanks bb! [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2003, 09:35
You hit it on the mark bb, I pretty much decided to go the self-prep route. 8-) I also decided to push the test date back to Dec. 1, so I have a good 4 mths. to prep for it. With full-time work and everything, I personally felt that 2 mths. would make me nervous.

As for my previous preparation, it included PR and a little bit of the OG, so this time around I'm going to go with Kaplan and OG. I plan to get about 8 hrs. of study time under my belt per week, multiply that by about 16 weeks and that's approx. 128 hrs. of study time come exam day. I feel that this is sufficient enough to exploit my full potential. HOWEVER, with all these recent posts about scoring lower the second time around and the Q section being more difficult now, I'm getting really damn nervous! :shock:
thanks bb!   [#permalink] 30 Jul 2003, 09:35
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