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Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section

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Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 07:26
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I'll try to add things that aren't usually discussed.

I had been doing much better on Q in the GMAT Prep. Come test day, I was shaking with nerves at the beginning of the math section. See, I had been very worried about Q, because I knew there were questions that could eat up a ton of time if I got dragged into a fight with any of them. Part of this feeling came from doing MGMAT challenge questions almost exclusively up until go-time.

You have to realize that the MGMAT challenge questions are 9/10 at least twice as hard as anything you'll see on the real thing.. Especially if you start at 2002 and work forward a few years. While they are great for learning the material (IMO the best), they are horribly calibrated and sometimes unclear. Don't let them convince you they are at all representative

So when I found myself up against a conceptual geometry problem for the second or third question, I automatically assumed it was much harder than it really was, and I wasted a good 4 mins on an analytical approach that got me nowhere. About 2 questions later, it hit me that the solution was a really simple visualization exercise, and I was badly shaken. It took a long string of definite "rights" to assuage my confidence, but the damage had evidently been done.

Well there's that, and there's this: test was at 8 am, and I had not been getting up that early. Further, I had a weird constipated urgency to poop the whole time. I tried to force it after the AWA but couldn't execute in 8 mins.

Verbal

Did not study. I did well on RC and Arguments because I had studied for the LSAT about 5 years ago. SC - I just went with my gut. I can't imagine having to learn the myriad rules to get through it, and I really feel for the ESL people "giving" the test.

Some "out of the box" advice for this section:

Study the LSAT; the args and RC are much harder. For these, in particular, get the "bad" books. I like Princeton Review's Cracking the LSAT (IIRC) and Kaplans LSAT 180 and GMAT 800 books. I know the Kaplan books are roundly panned for being poorly written (not talking about Q, for which they beyond useless), but that is exactly why I like them. PR's Cracking is the same way; you're never sure if you believe the book, and no answer is clearly right. PERFECT! The actual GMAT/LSAT will seem clear as day.

Another strategy for RC is to get in the habit of reading dry essays that you don't care about. You can get this stuff from Newsweek or TIME, but better yet, find a forum full of uneducated a-holes talking about politics and current events. The RC passages are very poorly written, and never really get to the point, not unlike nearly everything on the internet written by amateurs (congratulations on reading this incoherent screed, btw, hope it helps).

SC is tough. On one hand, you can memorize a ton of rules, but that will psych you out and takes a ton of time. On the other, you can read a lot. If you have time, just read read read read read different authors, preferably classics. Still, I recognize that my reading habits over my lifetime had a lot to do with making this part easy, which not everyone can emulate this late in the game.

Final note on args - get used to being really picky about logic in real-life. Find assumptions in everything people say, and force yourself to pay critical attention when you just don't care. Political attack ads, in particular, are a great place to start - they are rife with dumb assumptions.

Experimental

OMFG this was difficult. It's like the worlds most annoying interactive newsmag with a constant bombardment of picky yet idiotic questions. Again, TIME to the rescue... I am very glad I squeaked in before this thing was officially implemented.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 07:44
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Thanks! Very unique debrief ;)
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 08:48
BabyBeagle wrote:
I can't imagine having to learn the myriad rules to get through it, and I really feel for the ESL people "giving" the test.


Great job on the fantastic score! I've always wondered what the other members were talking about when they would say "give" or "wrote" their GMAT. I guess it must be a non-native English speaker thing.

Anyway, I'm doing really well in Verbal, but am trudging along with Quant. How were you doing in Quant before you started, and how long do you think it took for you to become comfortable with the material? Thanks in advance!

Good luck with the application process!!!
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 09:12
Womiwom wrote:
BabyBeagle wrote:
I can't imagine having to learn the myriad rules to get through it, and I really feel for the ESL people "giving" the test.


Great job on the fantastic score! I've always wondered what the other members were talking about when they would say "give" or "wrote" their GMAT. I guess it must be a non-native English speaker thing.

Anyway, I'm doing really well in Verbal, but am trudging along with Quant. How were you doing in Quant before you started, and how long do you think it took for you to become comfortable with the material? Thanks in advance!

Good luck with the application process!!!


Thanks. I was doing fine on Quant before writing the test, but I struggled with combinatorics and number properties. The MGMAT books are great to address specific problems, and I felt pretty comfortable after using the word translations and number properties books. Took roughly 3 weeks.

I also had some problems with geometry, not having been exposed to a few specific rules:

1. Inscribed triangles with one side as diameter will be right triangles
2. Inscribed angles are half arcs
3. External angles of triangles are sum of other angles (the whole 180 minus business, though you can pretty easily figure this one out)
4. Polygons = (# of sides - 2) triangles

But those 4 things, once memorized, are easy and pretty much cover the more advanced geometry, so I didn't use the MGMAT geometry book.

Number properties comes down to a few things too:

1. Prime factorization
2. Division algorithm (remainders and long division)
3. Consecutive integers (anytime you see (x-1)*x*(x+1) or whatever, also this factorization is huge x^2+x = x(x+1))

Combinatorics is the distinction between permutations and combinations. If you get those, these are easy.

www . mansw.nsw.edu.au/members/reflections/vol23no4yen.htm

The only other really hard category of problem is rate and work problems. The MGMAT word translations book is good for this (and combinatorics too), but you have to be hip to the fact that MGMAT totally overblows the complexity of these problems in the adaptive tests and challenge problems. They have data sufficiency problems that make you want to cry. Great for practice and learning concepts, not great as a test proxy.

All in all depends on your specific weaknesses. Those were mine.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 09:16
How long overall did you study for the test?

BabyBeagle wrote:
I'll try to add things that aren't usually discussed.

I had been doing much better on Q in the GMAT Prep. Come test day, I was shaking with nerves at the beginning of the math section. See, I had been very worried about Q, because I knew there were questions that could eat up a ton of time if I got dragged into a fight with any of them. Part of this feeling came from doing MGMAT challenge questions almost exclusively up until go-time.

You have to realize that the MGMAT challenge questions are 9/10 at least twice as hard as anything you'll see on the real thing.. Especially if you start at 2002 and work forward a few years. While they are great for learning the material (IMO the best), they are horribly calibrated and sometimes unclear. Don't let them convince you they are at all representative

So when I found myself up against a conceptual geometry problem for the second or third question, I automatically assumed it was much harder than it really was, and I wasted a good 4 mins on an analytical approach that got me nowhere. About 2 questions later, it hit me that the solution was a really simple visualization exercise, and I was badly shaken. It took a long string of definite "rights" to assuage my confidence, but the damage had evidently been done.

Well there's that, and there's this: test was at 8 am, and I had not been getting up that early. Further, I had a weird constipated urgency to poop the whole time. I tried to force it after the AWA but couldn't execute in 8 mins.

Verbal

Did not study. I did well on RC and Arguments because I had studied for the LSAT about 5 years ago. SC - I just went with my gut. I can't imagine having to learn the myriad rules to get through it, and I really feel for the ESL people "giving" the test.

Some "out of the box" advice for this section:

Study the LSAT; the args and RC are much harder. For these, in particular, get the "bad" books. I like Princeton Review's Cracking the LSAT (IIRC) and Kaplans LSAT 180 and GMAT 800 books. I know the Kaplan books are roundly panned for being poorly written (not talking about Q, for which they beyond useless), but that is exactly why I like them. PR's Cracking is the same way; you're never sure if you believe the book, and no answer is clearly right. PERFECT! The actual GMAT/LSAT will seem clear as day.

Another strategy for RC is to get in the habit of reading dry essays that you don't care about. You can get this stuff from Newsweek or TIME, but better yet, find a forum full of uneducated a-holes talking about politics and current events. The RC passages are very poorly written, and never really get to the point, not unlike nearly everything on the internet written by amateurs (congratulations on reading this incoherent screed, btw, hope it helps).

SC is tough. On one hand, you can memorize a ton of rules, but that will psych you out and takes a ton of time. On the other, you can read a lot. If you have time, just read read read read read different authors, preferably classics. Still, I recognize that my reading habits over my lifetime had a lot to do with making this part easy, which not everyone can emulate this late in the game.

Final note on args - get used to being really picky about logic in real-life. Find assumptions in everything people say, and force yourself to pay critical attention when you just don't care. Political attack ads, in particular, are a great place to start - they are rife with dumb assumptions.

Experimental

OMFG this was difficult. It's like the worlds most annoying interactive newsmag with a constant bombardment of picky yet idiotic questions. Again, TIME to the rescue... I am very glad I squeaked in before this thing was officially implemented.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 09:26
USCTrojan2006 wrote:
How long overall did you study for the test?


1 month.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 09:30
Damn, very nice score.

I'm in the same boat as you in terms of math weaknesses. I hope I'll be in the same boat as you in terms of score.

Again, nicely done.

BabyBeagle wrote:
USCTrojan2006 wrote:
How long overall did you study for the test?


1 month.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2010, 09:37
USCTrojan2006 wrote:
Damn, very nice score.

I'm in the same boat as you in terms of math weaknesses. I hope I'll be in the same boat as you in terms of score.

Again, nicely done.


Thanks, you'll be fine. It's very systematic. Just make sure your poop schedule is worked out.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 14:12
50V in one month of studying?
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 14:34
whirlwind wrote:
50V in one month of studying?


0 studying for V. Not trying to brag, just pointing out that certain habits (and the fact that I did study for the LSAT 5 yrs ago, which IMO has harder CR and RC), such as being an avid reader of both good and bad (internet) writing, will help you with V much more than trying to memorize a bunch of rules. If this sounds smug or self-aggrandizing (it does) I apologize - I'm just trying to relate my own experience.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 14:37
Hmm .. more power to you then.
By any chance, Are you in a profession which involves reading of long laborious english documents?
I remember reading a debrief by a lawyer who mentioned that years spent reading legalese had made CR and RC a cakewalk for him.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 15:09
whirlwind wrote:
Hmm .. more power to you then.
By any chance, Are you in a profession which involves reading of long laborious english documents?
I remember reading a debrief by a lawyer who mentioned that years spent reading legalese had made CR and RC a cakewalk for him.


No, not really. Sometimes I have to parse legalese, but not often. I read a lot of science and math on my own, though, which is similar in that you have to understand how every line fits in with what comes before and after.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 17:18
Reading for pleasure seems to have helped you quite a bit.

I do much of the same. I find myself getting a lot of SC questions right when I go with my gut, but then I get them wrong when I think I know an exact rule, even though my gut says with go with the right answer.

Were you just "feeling" things out on SC for the exam?

BabyBeagle wrote:
whirlwind wrote:
Hmm .. more power to you then.
By any chance, Are you in a profession which involves reading of long laborious english documents?
I remember reading a debrief by a lawyer who mentioned that years spent reading legalese had made CR and RC a cakewalk for him.


No, not really. Sometimes I have to parse legalese, but not often. I read a lot of science and math on my own, though, which is similar in that you have to understand how every line fits in with what comes before and after.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 05 Dec 2010, 17:40
This was very entertaining to read. Especially your comment about getting the "poop schedule" straight. Good job on the 770 :)

I see where you're coming from. Having studied in a system where there was a lot of emphasis on grammatical construction, I find that my SC is my strongest area as well. Personally, I just get bored during RC passages and completely guess after narrowing it down to two answers (and always get it wrong). The one GMAT Prep I took, I made sure I worked on things diligently and it helped. Nothing like active reading! :)

I had issues with the subject-verb agreement since I studied British English and the nature of grammatical construction is not exactly the same as Standard American English, but once I got a grasp on it, it was easier :)

Thanks for your debrief. And good luck with your applications!
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2010, 12:28
whiplash2411 wrote:
This was very entertaining to read. Especially your comment about getting the "poop schedule" straight. Good job on the 770 :)

I see where you're coming from. Having studied in a system where there was a lot of emphasis on grammatical construction, I find that my SC is my strongest area as well. Personally, I just get bored during RC passages and completely guess after narrowing it down to two answers (and always get it wrong). The one GMAT Prep I took, I made sure I worked on things diligently and it helped. Nothing like active reading! :)

I had issues with the subject-verb agreement since I studied British English and the nature of grammatical construction is not exactly the same as Standard American English, but once I got a grasp on it, it was easier :)

Thanks for your debrief. And good luck with your applications!


Noticed that you're in Environmental. So am I. Do you have anything posted describing your application process and what worked or didn't work wrt stressing Environmental aspirations?
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2010, 13:16
BabyBeagle wrote:
whiplash2411 wrote:
This was very entertaining to read. Especially your comment about getting the "poop schedule" straight. Good job on the 770 :)

I see where you're coming from. Having studied in a system where there was a lot of emphasis on grammatical construction, I find that my SC is my strongest area as well. Personally, I just get bored during RC passages and completely guess after narrowing it down to two answers (and always get it wrong). The one GMAT Prep I took, I made sure I worked on things diligently and it helped. Nothing like active reading! :)

I had issues with the subject-verb agreement since I studied British English and the nature of grammatical construction is not exactly the same as Standard American English, but once I got a grasp on it, it was easier :)

Thanks for your debrief. And good luck with your applications!


Noticed that you're in Environmental. So am I. Do you have anything posted describing your application process and what worked or didn't work wrt stressing Environmental aspirations?


Haha, I haven't applied yet. I know I seem like a GMAT/MBA-App veteran but in reality, I'm a noob. I sent you a PM :)
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 06 Dec 2010, 14:14
Awesome score and a great review! Makes me almost wanna go schedule my retake... :)
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2010, 07:10
Excellent debrief: kudo
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2010, 23:25
Hi Babybeagle,
Congrats on the great score. You are great proof that disciplined study in a month can get you a great score on the GMAT. have fun with the applications.
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Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2010, 05:43
Re: Some tidbits on mine, 770 48Q/50V, thoughts on new section   [#permalink] 10 Dec 2010, 05:43
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