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# Starting to Study

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30 May 2009, 11:35
Hi everyone,

I've read the boards the last week or so and this is my first post. After spending 3 or 4 days going through the OG and familiarizing myself with the GMAT, Took GMAT Prep 1 and scored a 680 (42V 41Q).

I've signed up to take the test in mid August. Current plan is to take an online course in addition to weekend study time. Any general suggestions? Normally I would not invest in the course, but I would really like to score as high as possible so my gut tells me it is worth it.

I'd appreciate any advice you might have. Thanks.
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30 May 2009, 11:46
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You have an excellent Verbal score. Frankly, I have no idea how one can improve his V from 42. I guess there is a couple of Gclubbers who scored 47-48 in Verbal willing to help.

What I can speak about is Quant. I improved my quant score from 42 to 48. For that, i used almost nothing but OG and MGMAT quant guides. In addition, I bought small electronic book from Indian company called 4gmat, I'm sure you'll find them easily. I don'y know much about their other products, but I adored their book on Number Properties and Inequalities.

It took me some 5 months to improve from 42 to 48, if you manage to do that and keep your current Verbal raw score, you will enter some 740-750 territory - score for the top school, definitely.
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31 May 2009, 10:35
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Hello mepnn,

Q 41 is not a very bad score and it should be easy for you to improve upon.
I think you should solve both Og11 and 10 Quant section(OG 10 has much more practice problems than OG11) , copy / print /mark all the wrong ones and resolve then , analyse them.

For probability / inequality problems Gmatclub is the best source. There are dedicated treads for these , just look around.
I am sure you will do well.
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01 Jun 2009, 11:47
To improve on verbal, I would recommend reading the economist every day for one hour. It helps with everything- critical reasoning and especially reading comprehension (a little bit of SC also maybe?).

If you REALLY want to improve on verbal, pick up Powerscore's LSAT Logical Reasoning guide. Go through the 540 pages and boom.. there's your V60!
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01 Jun 2009, 19:00
Take a look at the list of books below my post.

If you are just staring out - get a good general book such as Kaplan Premiere and use it to learn about the test and get the principles done. Also note your weaknesses, and then get more specific books.

Nink has a list here for example: best-gmat-prep-books-recommendations-74310.html. That's one approach

Don't rush into the tests - you can take one to figure out where you stand, but don't burn them. There is no reason to take them if you have not covered even the basics.
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01 Jun 2009, 23:11
Stay away from Kaplan...

Looks like we have an LSAT Wizard

And of course contribute to this forum, lots of 50/51Q's on here,

Get the 1000 files, GMATPrep/Paper Tests/OG9/10/11/12 are pretty much everything you need.
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01 Jun 2009, 23:25
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Expert's post
Stay away from Kaplan...

Get the 1000 files, GMATPrep/Paper Tests/OG9/10/11/12 are pretty much everything you need.

I disagree.
If he/she stays away from Kaplan/Princeton/MGMAT - how do you suppose they should learn? By solving thousands of questions? That's a brutal and inefficient way. I have seen a number of people use this method and it only works for a few - mostly those who only need to hone their skills and already have a strong base. If you have not done math in a while and our grammar/logic need a jolt - get books and don't touch test questions until you feel comfortable. Otherwise, your learning experience will resemble that of a mad cow running through a mine field. I have seen way too many people who have solved everything under the sun of this planet and still have 620. Don't fall for that - build up your fundamentals and focus on the basics of math and grammar - that's the most important part - basics. They take the longest to learn. Strategies are the frosting on the cake.

Sorry if I push Kaplan a bit; that's what I used (Kaplan Premiere, Kaplan Math workbook, and Kaplan Verbal workbook and not even Official Guide; Had PR but did not like it).
Got 750 after 3-4 months.
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02 Jun 2009, 00:17
bb wrote:
Stay away from Kaplan...

Get the 1000 files, GMATPrep/Paper Tests/OG9/10/11/12 are pretty much everything you need.

I disagree.
If he/she stays away from Kaplan/Princeton/MGMAT - how do you suppose they should learn? By solving thousands of questions? That's a brutal and inefficient way. I have seen a number of people use this method and it only works for a few - mostly those who only need to hone their skills and already have a strong base. If you have not done math in a while and our grammar/logic need a jolt - get books and don't touch test questions until you feel comfortable. Otherwise, your learning experience will resemble that of a mad cow running through a mine field. I have seen way too many people who have solved everything under the sun of this planet and still have 620. Don't fall for that - build up your fundamentals and focus on the basics of math and grammar - that's the most important part - basics. They take the longest to learn. Strategies are the frosting on the cake.

Sorry if I push Kaplan a bit; that's what I used (Kaplan Premiere, Kaplan Math workbook, and Kaplan Verbal workbook and not even Official Guide; Had PR but did not like it).
Got 750 after 3-4 months.

I disagree, I prefer the repetitive approach, because that is after all how humans learn, through heuristics. I've seen plenty of people who get all of the books do a few chapters from Kaplan, a few from Princeton, the Green book, etc, think they did a "good job" of studying and go write it and score 390. A lot of the books are all over the place-- by the time you go through a few chapters you forget most of the first few.

Now yes I agree 100% you need a solid fundamental base, but you should take a reactive approach, not a proactive one. If you're strong in inequalities don't waste too much time studying them, focus on weaker topics, say geometry DS. And the fundamentals for Verbal, what fundamentals? Most people have never been taught the Verbal skills in school, I know I didn't. You can't learn how to do assumption questions without actually seeing an argument and trying to identify assumptions, you can't weaken some symbols on a page, it has to be an argument that you can weaken, etc. And RC is just pure repetition-- if you haven't read a book in 3 years and pick one up chances are you're going to get a headache within an hour (brain overload), but if pick up a book after having read 5 books daily for the past decade, chances are you can read it front to cover within a few hours without getting tired.

The GMAT isn't a fundamentals or a content based exam, it's a speed/mental endurance exam. It's an IQ test, and your brain is a muscle-- you have to train it in order to think faster/more efficiently/creatively.
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02 Jun 2009, 11:30
You do realize that you are arguing that all books/tutors/prep and knowledge is of little value which is an interesting stand for a tutor... I would find it hard to buy even if I knew nothing about GMAT.

I don't see how going through a guidebook and then doing a massive number of questions is worse than just doing a massive number of questions (approach you advocated). Any map is helpful - even if you don't like Kaplan - it is better than nothing.

Am I off?
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02 Jun 2009, 11:45
Thanks for all the tips and advice.

I feel more confident about the Quantitative already, and I'm hoping repetition will yield some results. Sentence Correction is by far my weakest area in Verbal, and I'll have to make some strides there.

Here's to hoping that a few moths will generate a big improvement!
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02 Jun 2009, 12:11
bb wrote:
You do realize that you are arguing that all books/tutors/prep and knowledge is of little value which is an interesting stand for a tutor... I would find it hard to buy even if I knew nothing about GMAT.

I don't see how going through a guidebook and then doing a massive number of questions is worse than just doing a massive number of questions (approach you advocated). Any map is helpful - even if you don't like Kaplan - it is better than nothing.

Am I off?

bb no that's not what I'm arguing, I'm advocating in my opinion the most efficient approach to GMAT preparation, which is through repetition. If you are stuck on a question, or weak on an area, THEN go to the books/tutors/forums/etc and try to figure it out. But the overall theme should be drilling questions instead of purely working off tutors/books/forums/etc.
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03 Jun 2009, 09:16

bb no that's not what I'm arguing, I'm advocating in my opinion the most efficient approach to GMAT preparation, which is through repetition. If you are stuck on a question, or weak on an area, THEN go to the books/tutors/forums/etc and try to figure it out. But the overall theme should be drilling questions instead of purely working off tutors/books/forums/etc.

There are a number of assumptions here again that I would like to point out and make sure I understand you:

1. GMAT strategies found in guidebooks are not relevant
2. Repetition and doing the same question over and over increases IQ
3. Most test-takers know basics and getting stuck on a GMAT question is a rare situation

The only situation where I can see this approach advisable is if the test-taker cannot focus or keep attention for longer than just a few minutes. Otherwise, what happens is that I take an arithmetic question, then probability question, then algebra, word problems, etc, etc. A person ends up learning bits from each area, but then next day has to come back here again because he/she missed another arithmetic or algebra question. The test-taker does reactive studying, which in turn assumes that he/she will encounter every possible question during practice, which both of us know is not true - there is always a curve ball on the GMAT. There is also an aspect of insecurity because one never knows if he/she knows everything by using this method. Instead, if a person covered the full guidebook, he/she would feel comfortable that they covered the entire section/area. Finally, the approach of repetition will take significantly longer than just going through workbooks/guidebooks. Take my example - I went through Kaplan Premiere, Kaplan Math and Kaplan Verbal workbooks. That's it - no other piles or mounds of questions. I would have probably done better if I had OG (since Kaplan does not cover probability) but not by more than 10 points.

The diagnostic test is a diagnostic test - it is designed to show you where you are lacking but it is not designed to teach you. I think many people think that only by doing thousands of questions they can Ace the GMAT or that by having some tricks they can figure all questions out without actually taking time to learn and refresh their Math and Verbal. They do need GMAT Books that teach them.

Again, this approach may work in a situation where test-taker cannot keep attention, but in general, it is much faster to thoroughly and methodically cover several math and verbal workbooks and then focus on test-taking skills.
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08 Jun 2009, 06:29
I am constantly amazed at those out there that can study the OG for a few days, take a GMATPrep and score in the high 600s.....

I would have to second the suggestion on reading The Economist. The grammar is somewhat complex, and dense...very similar to GMAT. Read an article quickly, then try to summarize the main points.
Re: Starting to Study   [#permalink] 08 Jun 2009, 06:29
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