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took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently

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Affiliations: Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow, Class of 2012
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took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2009, 16:16
Hi all,

I have heard about this forum but never used it. This is my first time using it so first of all "hello" everybody!

I took the Gmat for the first time today and was really sad. Well, I still am. I scored a 520. Miserable.

Just a bit about myself: I am a marketing professional from Germany and have been living here in the US for 3 years. I received my undergad in International Business Administration from a German university and would like to get my MBA. Both in high school and college, I was amongst the best students, and in fact graduated second best from my class but today I really feel stupid.

I have been preparing for the GMAT mainy with the Kaplan books, and the 11th and 12th edition of the OG. I also used the Kaplan CATS, and GMAT and ETS Powerprep softwares and scored between 520 and 640 on the tests. The Kaplan scores were never higher than 550, in fact. The ETS Powerprep had a few overlaps...

For some reason, I don't understand why I can't apply the concept to the test. I can't figure out what my mistakes are even though I understand the concepts.
I have been studying really hard during the last few months, and I know that English is not my mother tongue. But I still believe I can score somewhere in the lower 600s. I just need to figure out what my major setbacks are...Maybe some of you can tell me what additional books or practice tests are useful so that I can finally crack that test. I know I have the intelligence and dilligence to do it but it seems that I cannot figure out my weaknesses!!! I am really sad and can't believe that I scored so low....It is hard for me to accept this score because I always score high on tests...other that the GMAT!

Any advice is highly appreciated!! I am planning to retake the GMAT in a few months so I really need to know some better strategies...

Thank you so much

Mimi
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2009, 18:10
Welcome--don't beat yourself up too bad, there are a lot of stories here about people who found the site because they weren't getting what they wanted in terms of GMAT results. If you read on far enough, you'll also find a large percentage of them go on to get the results they need.

Give yourself enough time, do hundreds and hundreds of OG practice questions. Get the Manhattan GMAT SC guide. Buy the online CAT tests from Manhattan GMAT. Try the challenge questions here, look for the GMAT Hacks Math Bible--there are a lot of go-to resources you'll find if you spend a few hours reading posts here. If you invest the time, you can move your score up more than it might seem possible.

As a good first step, Nink has written a post that's just for you:
nink-s-guide-on-how-to-navigate-through-gmatclub-for-newbies-76938.html
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 14:41
scorcho,

thank you very much for your motivation and useful hints....I feel better than yesterday and will take a break for a few days before I start my GMAT study journey....

I ordered the 8 series MGMAT strategy guides (with access to online tests you recommended) and will definetely spend some hours on this website both for practice and advise.....

Thanks again!

Mimi
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 15:50
Hello

I m also preparing for GMAT and hopefully next month I m gonna face my test. U took the right decision. I think with 8 strategy guides of MGMAT, u will get the proper guideline how to proceed. I spent around two months just trying to solve OG without any other material and I feel I wasted that time.

Now I m preparing with MGMAT guides. GMAT Club tests r also very helpful especially for Quant.

Good luck. Hope u can reach to your goal.
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 17:17
ZobayerZahid,

thanks for the advise and the link to the math questions. I am new to this website and thus will need to spend some time with it! I will definetely check the sections out and prepare accordingly. Yes, I know how you feel. I did the OG 11th guide with no strategy books either and wasted time that way.....The Kaplan books didn't really help me to tackle the OG 12th edition. I hope this time I will be on the right track with MGMAT, though....

Good luck and all the best for your test next month!!

If you have other GMAT suggestions and useful learning strategies, please feel free to share them with me...

Take care

Mimi
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 17:59
Don't feel bad, pressure adds additional stress to you while you're taking the test. If you've never been in that type of environment before (testing center), it's natural that you will feel the pressure/stress; hence, it will definitely show on your score. I would say practice hard, do a tons of questions, and just keep at it. Here's a positive story (true as well): My cousin scored a low 500 as well the first time he took it. He was, of course, depressed. It's not his normal score to score lower than 600, but the pressure from just the fact that you're taking the ACTUAL GMAT is overwhelming. Anyways, he kept at it and did more questions, he scored a 720 second time and got in Columbia. So keep at it and you'll be fine. Be honest to yourself when you're studying and you'll get what you deserve.
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 18:19
I (almost) know how you feel. I haven't taken the GMAT yet, hence the "almost". But in my studying the first test I took for the GMATPrep. I scored a 610 and was reasonably happy with my score. That was without any prep. Then I took the Kaplan paper and pencil diagnostic. I got a 660. I was through the roof. I thought that I'll easily get a 700. Now a couple of tests later and it seems like I have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a 700. I took another GMATPrep, when I was still feeling high after the 660. Granted for the English I was pretty tired and had a hard time keeping my eyes open, I got a 590. Then I did a bunch of problems in the GMAT guide and didn't do that great in math. Did decently in English. But the math really had me down. I always thought I was good in math. I took the CAT 1 for Kaplan today and BOMBED. I ran out of time in both sections. I even started guessing early for quant when I saw I had little time, but then got stuck on a question that I thought I could solve and time ran out and I didn't even answer on 4 questions. For verbal, although I attribute part if my slowness to my dejection over the quant (my mind was blank for like 2 minutes, until I paused it), I bombed again. For a while it seemed fine. But the damn reading comp was ridiculous. I'm not going for a PHD in natural science, stop giving me these ridiculous passages that might as well be in a different language! There's a reason I went for business. No science. My worst subject. I hate it. I don't understand a word. They use technical terms. I read the 2 scientific passages and had zero idea what I read. I was completely blank. At one point I just started guessing. I didn't even read the question and just I picked a choice randomly. I STILL didn't have time to guess on 5. My grade was a 510. I was actually shocked it was that good. I have not felt lower in a long time. I always figured I was pretty smart. Now I feel quite stupid frankly. A huge reality check.
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2009, 04:08
The Kaplan CATs aren't very good imo. Everyone scores poorly and it contorts the way you practice the test. With the exception of doing some of the Kaplan 800 book problems to get a feel for some more challenging problems, I'm not sure if any of the Kaplan content is useful.

I hadn't done the relevant math in a decade.

I bought a lot of books. Were I starting over, I would do the following:

1. Get the MGMAT strategy guides. I found all of them to be good except for maybe RC.
2. Buy the GMAT Hacks Math Bible
3. Buy the MGMAT CATs
4. Buy the OG

Then I'd proceed as follows. Jumping around is fine, but you need the fundamentals to practice the OG the right way, imo (focus on timing and execution, not problem solving):

  • Work through the MGMAT SGs, do their problems. Now you have the basic techniques and tricks required (particularly for Q)
  • Work through the GMAT Hacks Math Bible - more good Q practice
  • Start pounding out the OG questions. If you need more to practice, GMAT Hacks some and there are the OG supplements for Q/V.
  • Start doing the MGMAT CATs about once a week. Work back through every wrong and right questions, the explanations are good.
  • If you're testing well at this level and having problems with the 700-800 level questions, the GMAT Club challenge questions are indeed challenging and will work you over well.

Hunt around here, there's virtually more good tips than you'll be able to leverage. Two key things to keep in mind:

1. Quality practice > quantity practice. Work small sets but know everything you did right and wrong therein. Blasting through 50 OG questions without understanding if you got it right intentionally or why you got it wrong... well that's sort of useless.

2. Be mindful of your energy levels/frame of mind when taking CATs. Test day has a stamina/energy component. It has a mindset component. You want to be rested and relaxed when you start, the test will make sure that's not the case later. So don't practice when you're tired--it will impact your score, and then you get a confidence hit, etc. Being at your mental best has to be a given to practice well.
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2009, 15:38
scorcho,

are you referring to the GMAT hack bible by Jeff Sackmann or something like that? Just wanted to make sure it's the right book...Never have heard about it before and don't want to buy the wrong book.

Thanks for sharing a possible gmat prep plan. I like it a lot, and will incorporate your ideas into my new study plan. You are a great source of wisdom and I appreciate you sharing your GMAT knowledge with me. I feel the same way about Kaplan, and I believe a wasted too much time on Kaplan, thinking it would help me score high.....

All,

thanks for your positive stories and GMAT experiences. I am happy to read your stories as I was really feeling lonely and depressed last Saturday. I need to be rested, relaxed and motivated for this second round and will try to be most efficient in my studies. It is good to know that I am not the only one feeling bad about this GMAT experience....I just want to go back to school!!

I am glad I have found this forum......Thank you all.....

Mimi
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2009, 11:07
That's the one, Mimi. It looks like he's revised/repackaged it.

http://totalgmatmath.com/

You can read a bit of what I thought about his book vs. MGMAT SGs here:

690-q39-v45-surprised-likely-retake-73916.html#p573973

The nutshell version is the MGMAT SGs were good synopses, but for my retake Sackmann's book seem to line up more with the types of problems I saw on both my GMATs. Not specifically the type of question, but the actual question content (the specific math domain area) seemed more aligned. I think both are good tools.
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2009, 16:37
thank you, I've read your post. it is very helpful. I just ordered the total gmat math book....

One more question: As I was navigating and reading different posts, I realized it is probably not useful buying the verbal powerscore books since I already bought the MGMAT series....

but I really need to improve my CR and RC. I am good at SC for some reason, but weak at CR and RC...do you think that the MGMAT verbal books will suffice or should I buy particular books for CR and RC? I see that you didn't think MGMAT RC was very useful.....

have a good evening

Mimi
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Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2009, 04:21
The MGMAT CR study guide was pretty decent. I didn't get much use out of RC and I didn't end up using their approach.

Others may have better recommendations on the V side for books--I was in decent shape to begin with on verbal, so I put probably 80% of my effort into Q.
Re: took my gmat test today; need gmat prep advice urgently   [#permalink] 05 Aug 2009, 04:21
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