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The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest!

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The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest! [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2012, 06:50
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What is the ONE thing you wish you would have known or done before starting your GMAT prep?


Your response can deal with any aspect of your GMAT journey that turned out to be a critical, helpful, or damaging piece of information that you wish you had known from the very beginning. Please reply with a sufficient amount of information in order for members to fully understand the context. There is no need, however, to submit a dissertation. Remember: quality over quantity!

Please limit yourself to one post. All participants are guaranteed to receive a minimum of one kudos point for their contribution. An additional three kudos points will be awarded to the two runners-up, while the winner will receive an additional five kudos points. The GMATClub tests, GMAT ToolKit mobile app, and some merchandise (see here) will also be offered to the winners.

The contest will last until 20 October 2012. The winners will be announced shortly after that.


Good luck!!! :)


And the winners are:

First Place: windofchange

Runner-up: lclausen0108

Runner-up: rajeevrks27

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Last edited by BM on 22 Oct 2012, 14:26, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: GMATClub Contest!!! [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2012, 07:08
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Definitely e-GMAT verbal course.

I've already taken GMAT more than once. I used to get good scores on mock test's verbal sections. But never did good in verbal on actual test. My grammar is pretty solid and I immediately understand my mistakes. Though something in the concept of implementation was holding me off before. Now, after registering to e-GMAT verbal course (completed SC, RC and CR halfway) I feel difference in the way I approach the questions. My accuracy had improved a lot and I'm sure I'll do best in my next GMAT attempt.

Thank you e-GMAT, wish you had met me before!! :)
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Re: GMATClub Contest!!! [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2012, 08:52
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If one be honest, the real reason for one's doom is known to the person himself/herself right from the very start. Often we are just too sluggish to act even after knowing it. For me it was my procrastination.

Even though i knew what lay in front of me, and that I had little time before my attempt at GMAT, I slacked out often. I really wish I could have studied with the same intensity from the start, with which I studied when the days drew closer and when the 'realization' forced it's way through my thick skull.

I'm trying hard not to repeat the same mistake with less than a month left for the retake. :oops:
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2012, 12:32
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What is the ONE thing you wish you would have known or done before starting your GMAT prep?

I have made many mistakes in my prep, so it is hard to list just one but I will try :-)

  • Not using the Official Guide. I know - it is a basic one and you may be surprised to hear this, but yes, I did not use the OG in my prep. I relied solely on the Kaplan materials (Kaplan Premier, Kaplan Math Workbook, and Kaplan Verbal Workbook) which had its consequences. My verbal ear was not as in tune with the CR's as it should have been and I also did not expect to find a probability question on the test (which stumped me and ate 3.5 mins of my time) (Note the earlier version of Kaplan's book did not include Probability, Stats, combinations coverage)

  • Taking GMAT too late - I took my test in Feb and it was just poor planning on my side - do not do that. I could only apply in R3 for most schools (and some already had cut off their deadlines at that time) so I had to choose (apply to lower ranked schools the same year or to wait another year). Make sure you plan well ahead and do not wait until the last minute - you may have to retake so build at least a month of leeway. P.S. You can take the GMAT even the day before the deadline to the school.

  • Studying at the pool (in my first wave of studying I just sat at the pool and thumbed through the book). That was not effective at all and I have barely gone through about 200 pages in 2 months. Not surprisingly my GMAT prep was 540 and my roommate's was 530 (except he has not wasted his time on 200 pages of that book). This was an eye opener that told me I should be much more methodical in my prep and probably use a diff book.

Hope these give some pointers. Anyone else has any suggestions?
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Re: GMATClub Contest!!! [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2012, 21:05
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harshvinayak wrote:
If one be honest, the real reason for one's doom is known to the person himself/herself right from the very start. Often we are just too sluggish to act even after knowing it. For me it was my procrastination.

Even though i knew what lay in front of me, and that I had little time before my attempt at GMAT, I slacked out often. I really wish I could have studied with the same intensity from the start, with which I studied when the days drew closer and when the 'realization' forced it's way through my thick skull.

I'm trying hard not to repeat the same mistake with less than a month left for the retake. :oops:


Absolutely! I second that. For me, the top 3 things I wish I knew during my prep were a couple of things (and cost me a 640 twice.)

  • I wish I knew how bad my procrastination was killing my efforts. I just didn't respect the exam enough to give it my best.
  • Not doing enough practice questions to really understand what's going on in my head during solving and also not analyzing properly after I made mistakes. Specifically, pondering on the traps or common patterns of wrong answers and not thinking about multiple approaches to solving a problem.
  • Not studying Verbal as another pure reasoning area, methodically like the Quant section. It's only once you truly understand that Verbal is not just English/grammar, can you really break out of a 650-680 score.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2012, 20:02
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bb wrote:
What is the ONE thing you wish you would have known or done before starting your GMAT prep?

I have made many mistakes in my prep, so it is hard to list just one but I will try :-)

  • Not using the Official Guide. I know - it is a basic one and you may be surprised to hear this, but yes, I did not use the OG in my prep. I relied solely on the Kaplan materials (Kaplan Premier, Kaplan Math Workbook, and Kaplan Verbal Workbook) which had its consequences. My verbal ear was not as in tune with the CR's as it should have been and I also did not expect to find a probability question on the test (which stumped me and ate 3.5 mins of my time) (Note the earlier version of Kaplan's book did not include Probability, Stats, combinations coverage)

  • Taking GMAT too late - I took my test in Feb and it was just poor planning on my side - do not do that. I could only apply in R3 for most schools (and some already had cut off their deadlines at that time) so I had to choose (apply to lower ranked schools the same year or to wait another year). Make sure you plan well ahead and do not wait until the last minute - you may have to retake so build at least a month of leeway. P.S. You can take the GMAT even the day before the deadline to the school.

  • Studying at the pool (in my first wave of studying I just sat at the pool and thumbed through the book). That was not effective at all and I have barely gone through about 200 pages in 2 months. Not surprisingly my GMAT prep was 540 and my roommate's was 530 (except he has not wasted his time on 200 pages of that book). This was an eye opener that told me I should be much more methodical in my prep and probably use a diff book.

Hope these give some pointers. Anyone else has any suggestions?


Hmm, what about for schools that ask for your AWA score too? I understand that you can take it the day before and report your 800 number...but what would you do for the IR section and AWA section? estimate them? I have everything done for my applications, just waiting to take the exam. I built in a month to get my scores (for AWA and IR), but if I can push it back a bit, I wouldn't mind that at all.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 07:28
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Ok, I wish I had not rushed into taking the GMAT to take it out of my way. That was the most awful mistake in my GMAT journey. Thus, please, do not rush to take to GMAT out of your way quickly. GMAT is unique exam that requires patience, diligence and try to enjoy it whilst in your journey!
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 09:51
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I think the one thing I should have done is collated all the materials, weeded the useful from the non-useful ones..
And based on this designed my study plan..

Hopefully I don't pay the price for this when i take my GMAT.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 11:06
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I wish I had known about Ron's videos -- I even recommend them to my GMAT students as a supplemental source.

I also wish I had known that DS was all about listing all options and quickly plugging in to find the exceptions. Of course, I emphasize this heavily to my students nowadays. Test takers now have so many options to help boost their scores.

The e-GMAT articles on the Verbal Advantage thread can help improve hit rate on SC to around 95% if studied seriously and practised consistently. Here's the link: gmat-club-verbal-advantage-133953.html

Hope this is helpful.

Cheers,
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 13:59
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I wish I could focus on my weaknesses first at the beginning.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 17:00
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My piece of advice would be to concentrate on essays while you prepare for GMAT.It requires good 2 months to write and compile essays if you are doing it for the first time.I took my GMAT in Nov'11 and I haven't thought about essays,which took me 1.5 months to compile, proofread and finalize.This left me only to apply in less competitive rounds r2 and r3.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 19:32
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I wish I would take a GMATPrep test to get an idea of my starting point in the beginning of my GMAT preparation. I took my first GMATPrep too late, one month before my real exam and was really nervous to find that I was way too far from my targeted score.

I wish I would take the AWAs more seriously. I didn't practice the AWA during my preparation and on my real GMAT it took me a lot of brain energy to deal with the two essays, thus affecting my quant and verbal performance.

I wish I would know that doing tons and tons and tons of problems without spending sufficient time to review would not lead me to anywhere. I didn't analyze thoroughly why the correct answer was correct and why the incorrect answers were incorrect. So here quality vs quantity. To beat the GMAT, hard work is just not enough. I should have studied smarter, not harder.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 20:12
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Preparing a proper study plan and sticking to it. Spending a couple of days planning the study plan helps a great deal to ensure that I don't waste my time browsing/using too many resources for prep.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2012, 21:28
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I wish i knew that the Performance Vs Time (number of correct answers/set of questions attended) is not a linear curve. It rather improves like a staircase. 2 years back i started my GMAT prep but chickened out because i did not see my score improving over a period of study. Now i can see that the score jumps a quantum leap with diligent preparation.

I also wish i stumbled on this forum (gmatclub) 2 years ago. :(
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2012, 19:48
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The one thing you wish you knew during Preparation:


Prepare in the right way.


Faulty method of preparation:

Solving more and more problems each and every day from multiple sources without reviewing the mistakes will not help you in improving your score. In my first attempt at GMAT I also wasted a lot of time in hunting for resources online.

Right way to prepare for GMAT:

Quality is greater than quantity. Solving a small set of questions, reviewing them periodically and redoing the wrong ones helped me improve 110 points. Stick to retired GMAT questions from OG quesstions and GMATPREP collection. Learn from each and every question. This will definitely help in verbal. In CR and SC you can see that the testmakers use a definite pattern in making the questions. Also work on your stamina. GMAT is 4 hrs long exam. If verbal is your weak area this is even more important as verbal is at the end. Ways to improve your stamina : ensure that your study sessions are 1 hr in length(1 hr of study without any break or interruption), solve 40 questions of one type in 1 hr like 40 PS in 1 hr, 40 DS in 1 hr, 40 CR in 1 hr ( as you are expected to solve 37 in 75 min (quant) and 41 questions in verbal), and take full length tests with AWA and IR. DO NOT SKIP the AWA and IR.

The one thing you wish you knew for taking a test date:


If you are taking the GMAT for the first time, take the test date 3 months ahead.
If you are retaking the GMAT (which you will be doing for considerable point improvement), take the test date only when you feel you are ready. When you feel you are ready take the test date for the next month and use the 3-4 weeks to work on your strategies and to work more on your weak areas.

The one thing you wish you knew for the TEST DAY.


1. Relax the last week before your GMAT Test day. Do small set of questions and work on your strategies. Do not do anything related to GMAT the day before GMAT. Your brain has be fresh and relaxed on the test day. If you are a working professional take a break for atleast 7-10 days before the test day. This is one thing that definitely helped me in my 110 point increase. Also EAT WELL ON THE TEST DAY. In my first attempt I had a light/normal breakfast and took the GMAT. At the start of the verbal session, I was too tired and I just could nt read the words from the screen. My empty stomach was making all sorts of noise and the words were flying on the screen. For a moment I thought that there was some problem with the computer screen. I looked at the ceiling and I knew that it was a problem with me and not the computer screen. On my second attempt I had a heavy breakfast and 1 can RED BULL before the start of Quant section and another can before the verbal session.

Use the 8 min break to relax your mind, write down the time chart for time management, the prime numbers between 1-100. Also the 8 min break is a short break, make sure you return to your desk in time.
Time chart for Quant:
q---Time
0 75
5 65
10 55
15 45
20 35
25 25
30 15
35 5

You can prepare a similar one for verbal with 9 min decrements ( 75, 66, 57 ...)
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest! [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2012, 11:48
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10 things i had known before preparing for the GMAT


1. Unaware of gmatclub : It was very difficult for me to get the details about GMAT related study materials such as books, courses, practice tests etc..Through GMAT club i got a clear idea about :

a) Books:- Best books with pros and cons along with the reviews of the real users are present ( rather than reading fake reviews of many people meant for promotion other websites)it cleared my dilemma of choosing the best books from a wide range of books available in the market and also to choose the ones about which i have not even aware.( Thanks to bb)
b) Free and the one of the best resources:- The free resources such as Ultimate gmat grammar book , Ultimate gmat grammar book , plenty of questions available on forums and the explanations from the experts.
c) Motivation:-" Real test-takers with real GMAT prep stories has always inspired and motivated not only to prepare in a better way but also to overcome the depression during the preparation journey.
d) GMAT club tests :- They are just awesome !!! I redeemed my favorite kudos to get them and i believe that, the "feel" these tests give are the almost the same as the feel of real test.
e)Bunuel's OG Quants projects :- Prompt reply from bunuel and his "easy" and "more- than- one" way to approach quants teaches more than anything in the world
.
.
.
(I can quote many more but oveall GMATCLUB was the one major thing i missed during the previous prep)

2.Local coaching centers : Many local study centers have fake or maybe unreal data of candidates and promise you a good coaching which can be dicey . Manhattan gmat is the one of its kind which keeps its instructors up-to-date by making them face the real exam every year.So, guys (specially in INDIA) don't get trapped in coaching classes with outdated or un-experienced/unqualified instructors, do some basic inquiry before joining.I joined one and have suffered a lot, it spoiled my time,money,and energy ! I wish i had known courses like magoosh , veritas etc..

3.Unaware/considering on-line course a bad-idea:- I always considered the on-line prep courses a waste of time and got fooled by the local prep coaching center.After when i read the various reviews on gmatclub i chose e-gmat for my verbal prep and i am very much satisfied. I tried Knewton and magoosh and found them amazingly good, i wish i had enough time to join the full course.The prep companies which provide such online courses are very good( almost all, which are here remarked on gmatclub ) one should take the trail period for free and then decide the best according to him/her.

4.Ofiicial guides/materials :- OG bores us ? Trust me , without OG it is very very difficult to ace the GMAT (i've read the debrief of many good students mentioning OG in their prep)and im my opinion OG gives the true sense of preparation, one should never miss the OG 12/13, OG for verbal and quants(seperate books) and the $24.99 stuff from GMAC . More than the questions, the explanations are important while studying the OG. Rathar than figuring out the right answers one should thoroughly go through the explanations of wrong questions especially in the verbal.

5.Grockit :- This is fantastic !!! After you have brushed your basics just join grockit !!! you can customize your your test and learn lot more while taking the tests.

6.Mock tests :- Lastly i would like to add that , i never took sufficient mock tests to track my weakness. mock tests should be taken between the preparation not only to track the weakness but also to given the mind a mental stamina - This is a very important aspect of GMAT exam.

7. FUN: - Have enough fun to relax but don't exceed it because i found it difficult to focus for next few days after every party-night :roll:

8. Reading challenging English :- For non-native speakers of English it is very important to read 6 passages or more of competitive english articles NOT related to the area of interest .I thought that verbal is grammar and learning rules.Verbal is way beyond mere grammar and rules,its the overall comprehension, the application and stamina can only be developed with time , so reading good materials helps.

9. Thursdays with Ron :- Nothing can beat the live classes from one of the best guys known in the GMAT prep world.I started watching the recorded videos on the Manhattan Gmat website and i found them of great use.

10.Continuity in preparation :- I used to take a break from work to visit the offsite workplace and holiday destinations with friends .Avoid such trips(at least for few months 1 or maybe 2 until you take the GMAT, you may end up ruining your prep.Or even if you have to go out of station then you must keep the gmatclub app on you android/i-phone to practice problems and brush up the theory part using the gmat club flash cards.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest! [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2012, 07:33
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The biggest thing I wish I would have known was how serious I needed to take it. I had all summer to prepare and you know what I failed at that. I did on the weekends pick up my OG for a couple of hours and as the date got closer I started to study more, but I wish from day 1 I would have put 120% into my studying, and I wish I would have realized that 2 months of hardcore studying just doesn't cut it. I am now at the point where I need to retake the GMAT because I did not do well at all. I'm now studying M-T an average of 2 hours a night and an average of 4 hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I also have a wonderful tutor helping me tackle head on my biggest issues, she keeps me focused, on task and always is there to encourage me when I feel down or overwhelmed.

My advice - don't put off studying, make sure you give yourself at least 3 months to study, and give those 3 months 120%. Keep track of what you're studying, always always always, go over your answers even the ones you did right, it keeps the brain going!!
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2012, 07:36
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windofchange wrote:
I wish I would take a GMATPrep test to get an idea of my starting point in the beginning of my GMAT preparation. I took my first GMATPrep too late, one month before my real exam and was really nervous to find that I was way too far from my targeted score.

I wish I would take the AWAs more seriously. I didn't practice the AWA during my preparation and on my real GMAT it took me a lot of brain energy to deal with the two essays, thus affecting my quant and verbal performance.

I wish I would know that doing tons and tons and tons of problems without spending sufficient time to review would not lead me to anywhere. I didn't analyze thoroughly why the correct answer was correct and why the incorrect answers were incorrect. So here quality vs quantity. To beat the GMAT, hard work is just not enough. I should have studied smarter, not harder.




TOTALLY - STUDY SMARTER NOT HARDER!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest! [#permalink] New post 18 Oct 2012, 20:41
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After having scored 620(Q49 V24) and evaluating my mistakes, I realised that the biggest mistake( I actually Wish I knew this mistake before) was solving more and more questions rather than doing less and reviewing more.
I feel this is the most common mistake that most of the test takers make. YES, THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE!!! :wink: ( Surprisingly, we all know it but still we act so different, gotta give away quantity over quality)

I must have done atleast 10, 000 problems in total but look at my dismal performance. This approach is linked with the approach we used during the school days, an approach not applicable to gmat. The gmat is actually a test of how we think and by doing hundreds of thousands of problems , we learn NIL, i repeat NIL. we learn only when we start analyzing the problem, thinking and reviewing the problem, trying to find the alternate solutions, trying to rectify our mistakes and taking lessons away and so on...
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest! [#permalink] New post 19 Oct 2012, 19:42
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rajeevrks27 wrote:
I must have done atleast 10, 000 problems in total but look at my dismal performance. This approach is linked with the approach we used during the school days, an approach not applicable to gmat. The gmat is actually a test of how we think and by doing hundreds of thousands of problems , we learn NIL, i repeat NIL. we learn only when we start analyzing the problem, thinking and reviewing the problem, trying to find the alternate solutions, trying to rectify our mistakes and taking lessons away and so on...


+1 on that.
I wished I had reviewed my mistakes better rather than solve hundreds of problems from various sets.
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Re: The One Thing You Wish You Knew - GMAT Club Contest!   [#permalink] 19 Oct 2012, 19:42
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