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Second Attempt... 720! (Q48, V41)

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Second Attempt... 720! (Q48, V41) [#permalink] New post 29 May 2004, 17:07
Edit by praet : Its about time i made this a sticky post. jo1to6, you rock!
Hello,

I just finished the exam. This is my second go around. The first time I got a 670 (80Q, 81V, 5.5 AWA).

Can't believe I did so much better than my expectations... I'm in utter shock.

Similar experience to last time. Essays were pretty solid. I got some pretty easy topics so I came into the Quant section on a high.

The quat experience was about the same as in the past. Standard deviation, combinations, and probability showed up. This time I was ready for the probability. I could not gauge how well I was doing on quant because the questions alternated between really easy and really hard. The SD question was kinda hard. The probability was a no brainer. It was easier than anything on this site. So, if you can tackle the questions here, I'd say you're in the clear on that topic. I really beefed up on prob and combinations. For some reason it felt like I was getting a TON of DS questions... that freaked me out because I am really bad at those. Absolute value was tossed in the exam too... I'd say I got alot of word problems with a few equation types.

The quant bummed me out but I kept reminding myself that just becuase I think I did bad doesn't mean I actually did bad.

The verbal is where I made my greatest improvement. Still not exaclty sure how I did it... let me see if I can describe what I did.

I forced myself not to over analyze many of the questions. I have a feeling that people tend to over analyze verbal, and get messed up. I used the LSAT practices for CR (I did a test or two). RC, I felt I had in hand so I didn't study that too much. The big thing I figured out was that the PR and Kaplan strategies don't work for me. I read through the passages briskly, but did not skip or skim, I made sure I understood what the passage was saying. I also did not take notes as it would have slowed down my reading and messed up the flow. I just answered the questions accordingly. Ran out of time and had to guess on the last SC. For some reason I thought I was on the last question and totally vegged for a few minutes. I clicked the next arrow and another question popped up. Imagine my surprise when another question showed up with 5 seconds left! :shock:

As for the use of error logs... I did have an unofficial error log, in the sense that I marked down what I missed in the OG the first time around so I knew what I was weakest on (an official one might have helped out more). I did not touch the OG for 1 month and focused on Kaplan800 and the LSAT. I went back to the OG and re-did all the problems I missed. I then did PP1 and PP2 at the very end of my prep (so that I would have forgotten most of the questions). I re-did the 2 PR exams that I did the poorest on and then brushed up with the other 2 (only the first 15 questions to get my timing down).

I used this site extensively in my spare moments (at home and during lunchtime at work) to drill on various SC examples and the occasional probability/DS question. Becasue I did the test once, I was not as nervous this time around so I got a full 8 hours sleep before the exam (including a really bad nightmare where I got the exam day wrong and missed it... woke up freaking out).

More than ever, I think that this is a test of nerves (I was much less nervous this time around). Try your best to relax so that you can give it your all. Don't think about the consequences of clicking the accept answer button. Also, I think there is certain element of luck involved on this test... wether it be if you are feeling good that particular day or you just happen to get questions that you prepared for... just try your hardest and don't get discouraged!

One last thing...

THANKS TO EVERYONE AT GMAT CLUB!!!
The supportive community and top notch brain power concentrated on this site make this a very special corner of the internet!
Best wishes and Good luck to you all!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2004, 18:12
Congratulation jo1to6! You killed that GMAT beast :war
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2004, 19:29
Congratulations jo1to6!! I hope the error log idea helped.

For the benefit of everyone here, can your outline your strategy in a bit more detail. specifically, how did you study for each section for the gmat? Any specific method that you used.

Any specific advice you would like to give to guys taking gmat the second time.

Good luck to you for your applications!

thanks in advance
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2004, 21:56
Thanks for the good thoughts!

So for the first GMAT, I did the following:

PR + All the CD Tests
Kaplan + 2 of the CD Tests
Kaplan Math
Kaplan Verbal
PP1 & PP2
Then all of the OG

I did not have a specific strategy and did not use any sort of error log.

My approach at that time was sort of to bombard myself with as many sample questions as possible. It worked pretty well for the most part because it's hard to do 1,400 questions without picking up some of the concepts. I have a more detailed description of what I did in my previous post in this section.

The second time I only studied what I missed as I wrote above.

For the Problem Solving Questions:
I made sure I knew the topics covered in the front of the OG (the math review section)... also I tried to lean the rules for divisibility and any geometry shortcuts. For topics like probability, I went on the net. I basically knew next to nothing about probability (last time I studied it must have been 10 years ago). I posted 2 sites which I liked for beginning probability in the math section. Also the guide on this site was excellent and definite a must read.
The big takeaway for studying PS in my opinon, is to really learn the concepts and not try to memorize problems. My view is that you'll never see all the different ways the ETS can repackage the questions, but if you know the concepts you can tackle most of the questions they will throw at you. I only hit the concepts I was weak on or unfamiliar with. Sometimes, I have a tendency to restudy what I was strong at becasue it was more familiar and easier... I made sure not to do that the second time around.

For the Data Sufficiency:
I used GMAT800 and this site as much as possible. I found that actually working out a problem half or part way helped alot in deciding on a solution. Again I redid all the OG questons I messed up the first time around and found that any question that required plugging in answers I missed. I just never liked the idea of picking numbers so I really worked to get comfortable at it and in choosing numbers that made sense to plug in. I really didn't like to do DS questions so I realy made myself practice as much as possible. For the second time around, I re-did the last 70 questions for good measure and really paid attention to how the questions were solved. You have to get into the mode of thinking like the ETS test writer. Also the AD/BCE strategy is very useful.

For Sentence Correction:
I just had to do a TON of questions (every practice qeustion I could get my hand on, I'd do). I realized that I was missing on average 1 out of every 4 questions. I looked at what questions I missed and for the most part, they were idioms. I went down the list of ETS qeustion types listed in PR and figured out what I was weakest in. Unfortunately, there is no place where you can get practice questions on each specific type of SC topic. I just went on alot of english websites, like the ones people posted on this site and studied whatever rule corresponding to questions I missed.
The odd thing is, after a while, the more I studied, the more I missed. It got to the point where I was below 50%. I figured that I was out guessing myself so I took a break on SC pretty much up to the day of the test. It is very easy to second guess yourself out of the right answer... I felt POE was the best tactic for this section. Make sure you know the basic rules. For some questions, it helps to just block out all the phrases between the subject and verb and make the sentence as simple as possible.

For Critical Reasoning:
The LSAT is awesome. If you can do the LSAT DS, the GMAT should be very doable. I used the LSAT primarily for CR. Again POE was my ally in this. I looked for scope shifts, apples to oranges comparisons, etc. Again, I think it's really easy to outguess yourself on this section. Ig ot a bold face question in my test and the LSAT had plenty of those so I was ready for it...

For Reading Comprehension:
LSAT was also a good resource. I did not use it too much because I felt confident in RC. In my opinion, skimming and taking notes actually hurt my scores. Instead I took the apprach of reading briskly and carefully and not taking notes. I was able to answer the questions and reffered to the passage every so often. It turns out I saved more time than going back and rereading what I skimmed each time. I think each person should give both a try and time themselves and see which one is faster, and which one gives them the better score.

In retrospect, having an error log is a great idea. For people just starting to study I'd highly recommend it. The first time around, it was very hard for me to get into the habit of logging my errors because I had not ever done it. When I restarted studying, I made sure to at least have an idea of what I was missing. I have a feeling if I did that from the start, I would have been better off the first time around. Really read and understand teh OG explanations... even if you got the question right. The OG may give clues as to how the test takers think. Try to put yourself in the test maker's shoes and learn their reasoning...

Well, I think that about does it. The texts used the second time around were GMAT800, PR Verbal Workout, 10 Official LSATS, the OG, Power Prep, and PR CD. I did not give myself a set time limit per problem, but I did set time goals. For instance, I needed to get done with question 10 with at least 50 minutes remaining. I needed to hit mid way through with at least 35 minutes remaining, etc.

Another big thing is to get some rest before the exam. Treat yourself the night before and trust in your prep. Cramming might backfire if you're not careful. As others have said, a good night sleep very important. Don't understimate having a fresh mind. Between sections I'd go to the restroom and splash water on my face to refresh myself.... use the breaks to your fullest. Try not to think too hard about the exam during your breaks. Use it to relax and regroup.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2004, 23:30
this deserves a sticky post :-D thanks jo.. great great job.

great advice!
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Length for RC Passages [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2004, 07:41
Hi all,

A question for those who have taken the actual test recently. How long are the RC passages? I mean in number of lines. How common are long 75-80 line passages.

Most passages in he OG are about 40 to 50 lines long. Is that the most common pattern ?

Thanks a lot,
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2004, 21:16
Hello,

Both times I took the GMAT, my reading pasages were all in the 40-50 lines range. I guess I lucked out, as I have read other posts where the pasasges was very long. I'd prepared for and have a game plan for both short and long passages just in case. Good luck!
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2004, 09:30
"The odd thing is, after a while, the more I studied, the more I missed. It got to the point where I was below 50%. I figured that I was out guessing myself so I took a break on SC pretty much up to the day of the test. It is very easy to second guess yourself out of the right answer... I felt POE was the best tactic for this section. Make sure you know the basic rules. "

I am intrigued by your message on SC . I am myself going through the same phase. I tried to learn grammar through some websites and also a grammar book. What I feel is that it's not helping much..infact it is confusing me further. I mean I geenrally dont miss more than 10% of SC questions..but after going through some grammar sites , I havent improved at all. I realize that most of the SC questions test some basic rules , idioms, and proper elements of style. Last two things come only if you have been a proper reader of english language over the years.
I have kaplan verbal work out and kaplan 800. Now I intend to only focus on those and practice questions after that. I dont feel that studying so many grmmar rules form a grammar book or some website is going to help.
What you have to say on this? are you a non native speaker?
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2004, 09:45
crackgmat750 wrote:
"The odd thing is, after a while, the more I studied, the more I missed. It got to the point where I was below 50%. I figured that I was out guessing myself so I took a break on SC pretty much up to the day of the test. It is very easy to second guess yourself out of the right answer... I felt POE was the best tactic for this section. Make sure you know the basic rules. "

I am intrigued by your message on SC . I am myself going through the same phase. I tried to learn grammar through some websites and also a grammar book. What I feel is that it's not helping much..infact it is confusing me further. I mean I geenrally dont miss more than 10% of SC questions..but after going through some grammar sites , I havent improved at all. I realize that most of the SC questions test some basic rules , idioms, and proper elements of style. Last two things come only if you have been a proper reader of english language over the years.
I have kaplan verbal work out and kaplan 800. Now I intend to only focus on those and practice questions after that. I dont feel that studying so many grmmar rules form a grammar book or some website is going to help.
What you have to say on this? are you a non native speaker?


Guys, its so funny that the same thing is happening with me as well. It's terrible. I was doing pretty good in SC but thought would go thru some grammer websites. Due to some reason suddenly my SC score started dropping with time and I figured out that I was complicating the sentence or thinking too much and making a mistake.

So, one fine day I got rid of the notes I had taken from internet and re-read the PR and Kaplan Verbal books from start. Now I have created a flowchart of what to check for in an SC: for example -
parralellism? subj-verb agreement? Tense? Modifier? Idiom?... etc
I will look for other points only if I am not able to catch errors in the above categories.

So far so good ... I have seen that 95 percent of GMAT SC Q's have errors in one of the categories!

If you guys have any other strategy, please share with us.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Jun 2004, 17:17
Yes, you are right. And as I said, elements of style in english language are something which u develop if u had been a good reader. I mean you cannot relearn the whole english language from the start as is intended in a grammar book or website.
But my only worry is that may be those 5% of questions which check some obscure grammar rule might be coming in our way of 38+ verbal score. What you people have to say on that?
Though Iam not sure as I might be doing mistakes in RC/CR questions. My problem is that Iam stuck on 35 scaled score( 77 percentile) in my past attempts...and i dont want to take any chances this time.
What do u think about kaplan verbal work out.. I find it pretty impressive..just started it though..
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Sentence Correction [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2004, 18:10
I am reviewing the SC section of the OG. I was getting 50% right initially but as I go through a lot of practice questions from the OG, I get more answers right the next time around. I would say that practice practice and practice really makes perfect. I also have my error log and found out that I have to master Idioms. I am now working on Kaplan Verbal...I hope it does help too.

Good luck to you guys!
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2004, 08:58
I agree with Kath. In my opinion, SC just needs a lot of practice.

But, as I mentioned before, after doing a bunch of practice, my scores were actually decreasing. I had learned a number of the rules, but as I read through the answer choices, I would start to over analyze and miss the question. So, if you start to see your scores decrease even though you are doing tons of practice and study for the CR, It might be a good idea to take a short break from SC and focus on some other area of verbal.

I had a list of the common things tested from the PR book. So, when I read through the sentences, I just looked for the errors in no particular order. Having a more formalized system would probably have served me better. In doing CR practice. I usually was able to narrow the choices down to 2 or 3 (mostly 2). I noticed that most of the time, the official answer was in the choices I narrowed down. So, a useful strategy was to figure out why choices were wrong instead of trying to figure out which one was right.

Idioms are always a pain (I miss a good number of them myself). I didn't keep a formal list, but I did try to learn the idioms I missed.
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Bravo [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2004, 13:37
I think, I need to practice my SC more. Geez I wasn't paying that much attention to it, but now..... Thanks for your notes and strategy guide.
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Any examples [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2004, 14:07
Congratulations jo1to6 on your excellent score. I took the GMAT 3 years ago and scored590(Q47, V22). I KNOW my wear point is CR and RC. Lately, I have been getting 80% of SC correct. My question is regarding probability/combinations/Standard deviation types of questions that can show up on the GMAT.

I can pretty much solve the medium level probability questions posted on the GMAT club. Is it enough? Do I need to go into more detail syllabus?

For example:

"Four questions are tossed" What is the probability of getting
1. Two heads 2. At least 2 heads.

A box contain 20 machine parts, 5 of them standard. A worker takes out 3 parts at random. Find the probababilty that at least 1 out of three turns out to be standard.

Are these the types of questions that are considered "difficult" on the GMAT?

Last thing: I have no come across any Standard Deviation(SD) questions on the GMAT. Is it the basic SD? Upto what depth do I need to go to regarding SD.

I will be really thankful if someone at this thread can clarify my doubts as I really want to focus on the verbal part as the quantitative part is easy for me, except the above mentioned topics!

Thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2004, 18:21
Avtar, I would say that those probability questions are quite representative of what you could get on the GMAT. Knowing how to do them would suffice for the actual exam. SD questions are very basic. I don't have any one handy though. Maybe someone else can help you on that...
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2004, 07:32
Paul/Avtar-

Here's an example of a standard deviation question you might find on the exam:

The average (arithmetic mean) score on the exam was 35 and the standard deviation was 3. What number in the answer list below is 2 1/2 standard deviations from the mean?

5.5
27.5
29
37.5
41

I didn't see anything more complex than this...
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2004, 08:46
Thanks Avatar,

The probability question you posted, as Paul mentioned, is representative of what you'd see on the exam.

Some times they make the probability part simple, but throw in an extra step prior to mix things up. For instance they may ask you to do a calculation of some sort then determine the probability based on the initial calc.

Combination/Permutation problems did not use any complicatied formula as well. But, again something extra was added as a stumbling block.

Also, with the Standard D questions, all you have to know was what standard D is and know how it is calculated. However, I had the most trouble with that question (it was in DS form on both my current and previous exams).

Sorry about being so vague! Just be aware that difficult problems can come in the form of multi-step calculations as well...
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2004, 08:47
Thanks Avatar,

The probability question you posted, as Paul mentioned, is representative of what you'd see on the exam.

Some times they make the probability part simple, but throw in an extra step prior to mix things up. For instance they may ask you to do a calculation of some sort then determine the probability based on the initial calc.

Combination/Permutation problems did not use any complicatied formula as well. But, again something extra was added as a stumbling block.

Also, with the Standard D questions, all you have to know was what standard D is and know how it is calculated. However, I had the most trouble with that question (it was in DS form on both my current and previous exams).

Sorry about being so vague! Just be aware that difficult problems can come in the form of multi-step calculations as well...
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2004, 05:43
congrats on your awesome score...and someone help to clarify exactly what everyone puts in their error log? are you supposed to write out the entire question, or just jot down the type of problem you missed?

Thanks,
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2004, 11:01
lphiekickmydog wrote:
congrats on your awesome score...and someone help to clarify exactly what everyone puts in their error log? are you supposed to write out the entire question, or just jot down the type of problem you missed?

Thanks,

Hello,

Thanks lphiekickmydog!

I'm not sure what most people put down, but I kept score of what concepts i repeatedly missed as well as question types. For instance, I found I was very erratic on SC. When I looked at the my log for SC, I found that whenever I did a ton of SC I actually started doing worse, missing 50% or so. But, when I didn't do SC problems for a while and came back to them, I ended up getting around 80% right or more... so really backed off SC studying as the test time came close.

For RC, I kept logs on attacking those questions 2 different ways, one the PR way, and the other my way. Turns out when I try the test taking techniques, it worked out worse for me. I was better off taking my time reading the passage and then answering the questions, as opposed to skimming and such...

Hope that helps! Good Luck!
  [#permalink] 31 Aug 2004, 11:01
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