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Studying smart to overcome plateau?

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Studying smart to overcome plateau? [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2013, 15:02
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Any recommendations/resources on studying smart to push past a plateau?

I'm fairly far along in my GMAT studying, having completed Veritas online course, done almost all of the problems in their books, and now taking 1 practice exam/week. Based on a lot of the posts here, I think I've come up with a solid study strategy, but I've found that my score has flattened out and more or less hovering around the 640 range for the past month.

In the spirit of re-evaluating my strategy, I wanted to check with the community for other opinions.

Here are my current study situation and tactics. All material is Veritas, GMAT prep, and I've taken one MGMAT practice exam:

    * Focus on error log - I log all problems which give me trouble and working through and analyzing all problems for 2nd or 3rd time. This is a decent size list of 100+ questions so it keeps me quite occupied.

    * Practice exams and review - At this point I take 1 practice exam a week and review in depth every question that I got wrong or spent a good amount of time on. Troublesome questions go into my error log for 2nd and 3rd review later. I take notes on timing performance to try and build good habits there.

    * Expert review of challenge questions for me - I'll check the forums here for smart solutions to problems I come upon, and I regularly check with Veritas instructors to get their perspective in solving problems. The idea is to learn new approaches and to emulate the reasoning of experts.

These activities take up most of my time now for studying. I'll add in 5-10 new problems/wk from OG also (although I'm very early in OG progress). I've started watching Thursday's with Ron also, as I think those are great for strategies on various topics.

It's frustrating to seemingly follow a solid plan and not have it pan out..! Wonder now if I'm not approaching things in the best way..

My targets are 46+ Quant, 41+ Verbal, 710+ overall. My verbal is pretty consistent and closer to my target, so my focus has been on quant as that is still a struggle. Full practice test scores below.

I've redone some of the books in specific challenge areas, and right now I think my strategy would be to focus on my error log in those challenge topics for me.

------

Test Date Completed Quant Verbal Score
GMAT Simulator Set 1 2012-11-11
40 41 640

GMAT Simulator Set 1 2012-11-18
36 42 630

GMAT Simulator Set 2 2012-11-25
42 44 680

GMAT Simulator Set 2 2012-12-03
47 26 610

GMAT Prep 2012-12-09
43 38 660

GMAT Simulator Set 1 2012-12-16
41 41 650

GMAT Simulator Set 2 2012-12-24
45 39 670

MGMAT 2012-12-30
40 36 630
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Re: Studying smart to overcome plateau? [#permalink] New post 04 Jan 2013, 05:01
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tim415 wrote:
Any recommendations/resources on studying smart to push past a plateau?

I'm fairly far along in my GMAT studying, having completed Veritas online course, done almost all of the problems in their books, and now taking 1 practice exam/week. Based on a lot of the posts here, I think I've come up with a solid study strategy, but I've found that my score has flattened out and more or less hovering around the 640 range for the past month.

In the spirit of re-evaluating my strategy, I wanted to check with the community for other opinions.

Here are my current study situation and tactics. All material is Veritas, GMAT prep, and I've taken one MGMAT practice exam:

    * Focus on error log - I log all problems which give me trouble and working through and analyzing all problems for 2nd or 3rd time. This is a decent size list of 100+ questions so it keeps me quite occupied.

    * Practice exams and review - At this point I take 1 practice exam a week and review in depth every question that I got wrong or spent a good amount of time on. Troublesome questions go into my error log for 2nd and 3rd review later. I take notes on timing performance to try and build good habits there.

    * Expert review of challenge questions for me - I'll check the forums here for smart solutions to problems I come upon, and I regularly check with Veritas instructors to get their perspective in solving problems. The idea is to learn new approaches and to emulate the reasoning of experts.

These activities take up most of my time now for studying. I'll add in 5-10 new problems/wk from OG also (although I'm very early in OG progress). I've started watching Thursday's with Ron also, as I think those are great for strategies on various topics.

It's frustrating to seemingly follow a solid plan and not have it pan out..! Wonder now if I'm not approaching things in the best way..

My targets are 46+ Quant, 41+ Verbal, 710+ overall. My verbal is pretty consistent and closer to my target, so my focus has been on quant as that is still a struggle. Full practice test scores below.

I've redone some of the books in specific challenge areas, and right now I think my strategy would be to focus on my error log in those challenge topics for me.



Responding to a pm:

You have gone through the complete Veritas set so your fundamentals must be in place (corroborated by the fact that you are consistently scoring more than 40 in Quant).
If you have hit a plateau, it means your effort is not going at the right place. You have taken quite a few tests. Use them to figure out where you are making maximum mistakes. Revisit the theory of those topics - do as many questions as you can on those topics - ensure that you are very comfortable with them. After you hammer out the kinks in 3-4 topics, you should certainly see improvement.
Also, look for logical solutions; focus on the big picture; don't get lost in the algebra of the questions (I understand you follow my blog. I try to give some ideas in that.)
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Re: Studying smart to overcome plateau? [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2013, 22:46
Figured I'd do a quick update, as maybe others could benefit. I knew I had to change and try something different, so here's what I've done now over the past week:

    Went through my previous exams and error log and identify biggest weaknesses. Picked one - Arithmetic (specifically number properties), and re-did Veritas lessons on Arithmetic essentials and Arithmetic. Then went through arithmetic questions on error log and hit up a dozen or so number property questions on the forum. This took me just over a day.

    Re-visited notes I made on exam timing and researched timing strategies. Used thursday's with Ron and MGMAT blog article as a basis to overhaul my approach to timing. I watched/listened to Ron's webcast 2-3 times.. it was that eye opening for me..!

    Kept chugging through error log on days where I got to study for smaller amounts of time. Practice my "1 minute sense" on every problem I'm doing now.

Well, I'm not ready to celebrate by any means, but on today's GMATprep exam I pulled off a Q48 V40 for 710.. the highest I've ever done in the many exams I've taken. It's quite encouraging to finally see some improvement, and break through. Glimmer of hope things have been and will continue to get better...!

While I'm skeptical that 4 days of focus could magically bring up my score that much, I would say that MGMAT timing strategy was huge for me. Much less freaking out on the exam, less stress when I had to "throw away" a question, and way more confidence when I tackled questions I knew I could take on.

Best thing I guess I can do now is to use the hit of confidence to bring new energy to my studying. Seems close now.. gotta keep going..
Re: Studying smart to overcome plateau?   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2013, 22:46
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