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Review Methodology (help desperately needed!)

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Review Methodology (help desperately needed!) [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2012, 12:16
Hello all,

I have been using the Manhattan material and have done 4 practice tests. Ranging in the 530-590 area (target 720).

How I study is essentially to take a weakness area highlighted in the Manhattan tests and then study it for 2-3 weeks. This involves reading the entire book on that area, taking notes, doing all the problem sets and doing the OG questions for those areas. I then do a test.

I JUST started timing my questions and noticed that under a 2 minute constraint, I get a lot of questions wrong/guess. I can get them right if I spend about 3 minutes. I noticed my test scores declining and decided to review chapters I had already studied.

How should I best go about this?

My question is this, I have 15 chapters to review across three content areas (number properties, fractions, decimals and percents, word translations) - should I continuously focus on 1 area until I can do ALL the OG questions from that content area < 2 minutes, or cycle everything in order to retain that content?

I study 2 hours daily after work from 8-10pm and on weekends for about 5 hours.

Expert advice sorely needed!!!
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Re: Review Methodology (help desperately needed!) [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2012, 17:24
Bumping this - can anyone provide some insight??
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Re: Review Methodology (help desperately needed!) [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2012, 18:16
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Hi Oxfordbound,

That’s an excellent question :) and while I don’t think there is one magical ratio, making sure to constantly review concepts you’ve learned will prevent them from atrophying.

Your current approach – studying a specific concept and tackling all the OG problems pertaining to that concept may result in a tunnel vision. However, I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Become confident in an area, say percents, by making sure you can finish medium-level questions in < 2 minutes (you don’t necessarily have to go through every single problem in the guide the first time around).

Then move on to a different concept, say exponents, but make sure to come back to percents a couple of times a week during your study time.

Of course concepts will start piling on, but the hope is by revisiting concepts after they’ve incubated for a little while, you will need to spend less on them each time.

Also by varying up the problems you expose yourself to during your study sessions you will mirror the structure of the actual test.

Speaking of which - it is also important to do random problem sets whenever you can. That is you want to wean yourself off of a predictable problem set – you need to be ready for test day. By re-exposing yourself in this manner to problems across the board you can also determine which areas need more work and which ones you can spend less time on.

For problem sets, I would recommend doing ten random problems at a time, varying difficulty. Perhaps you can do them every other day, leaving you enough time to focus on a concept.

Hopefully, by making your study approach more dynamic you will be able to adapt to the dynamic – and very challenging – test that is the GMAT.
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Re: Review Methodology (help desperately needed!) [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2012, 06:36
Thanks a lot - that's helped me.
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Re: Review Methodology (help desperately needed!) [#permalink] New post 16 Mar 2012, 08:54
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That sounds right - randomization is key. Do one section at a time - then move on, then before you go to bed for the night, go back to the prior section and answer the questions at random. This will improve your ability to switch between problem types quickly and regear your mind mentally for the different types of questions.

If your mind is not regearing - then you do not have any mental map with which to approach the question. Critical thinking is necessary for improvement - you need to quickly grasp what you should be reading vs not reading, traps you should be able to pinpoint immediately. Use this "regearing" to tackle past questions you've done already. Target to finish answering them correctly in 30% less time.

Accuracy and efficiency is the goal - within the framework of some attack strategy.
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Re: Review Methodology (help desperately needed!)   [#permalink] 16 Mar 2012, 08:54
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