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680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT

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680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2017, 17:41
Sorry, this is gonna be a long post... my friends say I'm being neurotic haha....

I took my first full-length diagnostic CAT (from Manhattan Prep) this weekend and got a 680 (with a 7.25 on IR, but I got lucky on that one since I was pretty much guessing on the last three questions). Q45, V37. I'd really like to get at least a 720. I'm taking the GMAT on September 8, about 1.5 months away.

These are the things I seem to struggle with:

1) Recognizing patterns/shortcuts. I think I have a pretty good grasp on the math foundations (my weak spot seems to be probability and combinations, but I've been reading Kaplan's Math Foundations), but I suck at recognizing certain patterns and shortcuts. This means that I spend a lot more time on some quant problems than I should be spending!

2) Not letting myself get psyched out. By the end of the Quant section on the practice test, I felt like I had generally given up... had trouble concentrating because I felt so demoralized lmao.

3) Not knowing when to let a question go. This has always been a problem I've had. I think I'm doing better at this, considering I actually managed to finish both Quant and IR.

4) With Verbal, I have the opposite problem. I actually finished Verbal with around 25 minutes left to spare. Clearly those 25 minutes could have been better spent thinking about some of the questions more carefully! I have to find some way to make myself slow down, but I get so impatient and convinced that I know the right answer.

5) Making stupid/careless mistakes. Sigh...

ANYWAY, with all this in mind, I was thinking of taking on mcelroytutoring's study plan (I'd link, but I guess I don't have the minimum # of posts required to post URLs). Should this be sufficient to bring up my score? Prior to actually researching how to study, I was just flipping through your basic Kaplan and PR books, although I did also score Manhattan's AWA/IR guide.

I work full time so most of my studying takes place in the evenings after work and on the weekends.

You can skip these final paragraphs, but I thought I'd throw in my goals in case you want to see what I'm aiming for:

My goal: I'm planning on getting a master's in accounting, not business. The schools I'm considering all require the GMAT; I think one or two might let you choose between the GMAT and GRE, but since a few only allow the former, I'm not bothering with the GRE. Less studying that way, haha.

Obviously accounting school isn't anywhere near as competitive as business when it comes to average GMAT scores. My diagnostic score already surpasses the average GMAT scores for all of the schools I'm considering save one. But I would still like to bring up my CAT practice scores as much as possible because doing okay on the diagnostic doesn't mean I'll do well on the actual test, right? Especially since I've only taken the one test. Plus I think I got lucky on a few questions in the CAT and I don't want to depend on luck.

Thanks for reading!
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Re: 680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2017, 23:13
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Please find my answers inline

These are the things I seem to struggle with:

1) Recognizing patterns/shortcuts. I think I have a pretty good grasp on the math foundations (my weak spot seems to be probability and combinations, but I've been reading Kaplan's Math Foundations), but I suck at recognizing certain patterns and shortcuts. This means that I spend a lot more time on some quant problems than I should be spending!
As long as you are able to finish the test on time, this should be on your priority list.
The only way to start seeing these patterns is doing extensive practice, which will enable you to see patterns and shortcuts to solve problems.
However, you could work on memorizing a few things like squares,cubes of numbers up to 30/primes till 100/common fraction-percentage conversations and so on.


2) Not letting myself get psyched out. By the end of the Quant section on the practice test, I felt like I had generally given up... had trouble concentrating because I felt so demoralized lmao.
From the several debriefs I have read of people scoring in excess of 700, i have seen a common advice that they have given. Eat some high energy food to keep you from feeling demoralized and maybe that would take care of the concentration problem as well. With the order change, you could attempt Verbal/Quant at the beginning of the test to minimize the risk

3) Not knowing when to let a question go. This has always been a problem I've had. I think I'm doing better at this, considering I actually managed to finish both Quant and IR.
I have faced a similar problem in the past, and used to make it an ego issue and refused to move on. Try and limit yourself to 2 minutes a question and spend the extra minute if and only if you feel that you can definitely answer it. Else make an educated guess and move on. You don't have to answer each question correctly to score Q51.

4) With Verbal, I have the opposite problem. I actually finished Verbal with around 25 minutes left to spare. Clearly those 25 minutes could have been better spent thinking about some of the questions more carefully! I have to find some way to make myself slow down, but I get so impatient and convinced that I know the right answer.
IMO, you need to understand which section you are making more mistakes in and if hurrying up is causing these mistakes. If not, try and spend some more time in questions you are not cent percent sure. For SC you could replace the fragmented segment in the original sentence and see if it makes sense.


5) Making stupid/careless mistakes. Sigh...
On the easier questions, where you are making stupid/careless mistakes you could double check the solution(by substituting the answers back in the question) and checking if your solution is right or not. I wouldn't recommend you to do that with every question but specifically for the question types in which you make mistakes most often.


Btw, you are blessed that you are able to score 37 in Verbal with 25 minutes to spare. Maybe you should offer some advice on how you go about the Verbal section.

Hope that helps you in some way and waiting for your approach on the Verbal Section!
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Re: 680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2017, 06:19
Thank you for your advice! I think I'm going to try to make flashcards to memorize the relevant Quant information that you recommend.

I'm not really sure what to say about my approach to Verbal. My biggest problem used to be that I'd go outside the scope of the argument/question/passage, so now I remind myself to "keep it simple, stupid." LOL.

Other than that, I don't know... I read a LOT. I've always been a huge reader and I think I read more than anyone I personally know. Not only that, but I very rarely read one book at a time. For example, I might read a chapter from one book, then a paragraph from another book, then maybe two pages from a third book, etc. At any one time there are at least 5+ books I'm actively juggling. I have no idea if this reading habit (i.e. reading multiple things at once) has helped me or not on Verbal, though! I also reread a lot. I'm a compulsive rereader.

And if I'm not reading books, I'm looking up longform articles or otherwise interesting journalism.

I should note that I'm not reading great works from the literary canon or anything. Maybe 90% of what I read is utter trash. But I think my reading habits helped me zip through RC passages much more quickly than the average test taker might have? Also, when I read a passage for the first time, I don't concern myself with getting every little detail. I give it a surface reading to make sure I understand the gist of the passage before I move on to the questions.

I don't think I have any special approach to CR. Not that it matters because I got 50% of the CR questions wrong on the CAT anyway. D:
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Re: 680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2017, 23:04
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jaewonton531 wrote:
Thank you for your advice! I think I'm going to try to make flashcards to memorize the relevant Quant information that you recommend.

I'm not really sure what to say about my approach to Verbal. My biggest problem used to be that I'd go outside the scope of the argument/question/passage, so now I remind myself to "keep it simple, stupid." LOL.

Other than that, I don't know... I read a LOT. I've always been a huge reader and I think I read more than anyone I personally know. Not only that, but I very rarely read one book at a time. For example, I might read a chapter from one book, then a paragraph from another book, then maybe two pages from a third book, etc. At any one time there are at least 5+ books I'm actively juggling. I have no idea if this reading habit (i.e. reading multiple things at once) has helped me or not on Verbal, though! I also reread a lot. I'm a compulsive rereader.

And if I'm not reading books, I'm looking up longform articles or otherwise interesting journalism.

I should note that I'm not reading great works from the literary canon or anything. Maybe 90% of what I read is utter trash. But I think my reading habits helped me zip through RC passages much more quickly than the average test taker might have? Also, when I read a passage for the first time, I don't concern myself with getting every little detail. I give it a surface reading to make sure I understand the gist of the passage before I move on to the questions.

I don't think I have any special approach to CR. Not that it matters because I got 50% of the CR questions wrong on the CAT anyway. D:


For CR, the process of pre-thinking what the assumptions of the argument are, did wonders for me.
It is also extremely important to identify the correct conclusion(which is the main point, why the argument has been written)

As for assumption questions, there is a negation technique which actually helps eliminate the wrong option.
Once, you are down to two choices, you should negate the answer choices.
If the conclusion remains after you have negated that is not the answer you are looking for
You could read the CR Bible by PowerScore which has some really useful tips.

Hope that helps!
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Re: 680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2017, 06:51
Thanks! Yeah, I ordered that PowerScore book earlier this week after seeing it so highly recommended on this site and elsewhere. It's supposed to arrive today.

I kind of regret not coming here for book recommendations from the start because I wasted so much money on other books that haven't really helped me at all, haha.
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680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2017, 09:29
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My experience with the Manhattan Prep CATs was similar to yours. I felt like the questions were so difficult (in particular the quant) that I would get damn near to just giving up in the latter stages of the test. I ended up taking all 6 Manhattan Prep CATs with the following scores:

690
690
700
680
700
730

However, my experiences on the official practice tests from GMAC and on the actual exam were totally different. I took one practice GMAC test before even starting with Manhattan Prep and scored a 750. Then I took another GMAC practice test after my 4th Manhattan Prep CAT and scored a 770. And then I ended up scoring a 760 on the actual test. I felt like the level of complexity of the Manhattan Prep questions rated 600-700 was far greater than even the most difficult questions on the actual test. This was especially noticeable on the quant, where a problem on the Manhattan Prep test might take 5 steps to solve, but a similar problem on the actual test would only take one or two.

So I'd say don't worry too much about that fried-brain, ready-to-give-up feeling that you felt during the Manhattan Prep CAT. I think it just stems from the sheer difficulty of the Manhattan Prep questions. When I took the actual test, I remember feeling mentally fresh throughout the whole thing, in stark contrast to how I felt while taking the Manhattan Prep CATs. All in all, I think you're well on your way to scoring a 720+.
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New post 21 Jul 2017, 09:44
Thank you for your insight wrt Manhattan's CATs. That is something that I had heard before in some vague fashion.

Before I took the MGMAT I was doing Princeton Review drills (this was before I read all the advice about sticking to official questions as much as possible). The PR drills were so easy that when I took the Manhattan CAT it was like a bucket of ice water over my head lol.

Oh well, better to score low on a more-difficult-than-the-real-thing CAT and then score higher than I expect on the actual test than the opposite, I guess. As long as I don't let myself get psyched out! (Which could happen.)

Oh, and congrats on your excellent score!
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New post 21 Jul 2017, 13:27
Yes that's how I felt. I was grateful that the Manhattan Prep questions were so difficult because it made the test seem like a breeze. Best of luck
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New post 22 Jul 2017, 01:16
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jaewonton531 wrote:
And if I'm not reading books, I'm looking up longform articles or otherwise interesting journalism.
That's going to help you a lot. The only way you could prepare better for the GMAT is by reading otherwise extremely boring journalism :-D
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680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2017, 14:27
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jaewonton531 wrote:
Sorry, this is gonna be a long post... my friends say I'm being neurotic haha....

I took my first full-length diagnostic CAT (from Manhattan Prep) this weekend and got a 680 (with a 7.25 on IR, but I got lucky on that one since I was pretty much guessing on the last three questions). Q45, V37. I'd really like to get at least a 720. I'm taking the GMAT on September 8, about 1.5 months away.


Excellent work! If you got a 680 on your first ever practice test, that bodes very well for hitting 700+ when you take the real thing. I'd recommend running an assessment report on your test on the MPrep site (you can find it on the same page as you found the practice tests). That'll help you set priorities. However, if you took this before studying very much, take the data from this first practice test with a grain of salt. It's hard to tell whether you were weak in a particular area because it's difficult for you, or because it's easy for you but you haven't practiced it for a long time. If you're just rusty at something, you may not need to study it a whole lot to be great at it again!

Here's a bit of reading material on analyzing practice tests: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog ... ts-part-1/

Finally, it's impossible to tell whether your score will be higher or lower on the real GMAT, or spot on. We do our best with our practice tests, but there's inevitably some error in any practice test, and that's magnified with third-party practice tests like MPrep's. (Although for what it's worth, the former chief psychometrician from GMAC - Larry Rudner - gave our practice tests his approval, and if anybody knows, he would.) The GMATPrep official practice tests might be closer to the score you'd actually get if you took the test tomorrow, so I'd recommend taking one of those in a couple of weeks.
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Re: 680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 01:18
AjiteshArun wrote:
jaewonton531 wrote:
And if I'm not reading books, I'm looking up longform articles or otherwise interesting journalism.
That's going to help you a lot. The only way you could prepare better for the GMAT is by reading otherwise extremely boring journalism :-D

But where can I find this Extremely Boring Articles??
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Re: 680 (Q45, V37) on Manhattan CAT   [#permalink] 25 Jul 2017, 01:18
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