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# Advice on taking Kaplan, Princeton of just studying alone?

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Intern
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04 Sep 2007, 08:39
Hello! I have been studying for the GMAT for the last few months. I read all of the Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT and did most problems in the Official GMAT Guide. I took the GMAT practice test a few days ago and did just awful, particularly on quant. (The test I took was the prep test provided when you register for the GMAT.) I only got a 500 and was very disappointed. During the math section, I encountered many questions that I had NO CLUE how to do. I thought after doing so many problems in the Official GMAT book would have helped me to at least feel somewhat familiar with the test, but it did not.

I need a MINIMUM of a 600 and 650 would be ideal. (I know that so many of you have 700+ and believe me, I think you are all brillant! I am just praying to break 600 at some point!)

Would you recommend that I take Kaplan or Princeton Review or try to find a private tutor or just keep practicing? I think with more practice I can improve my verbal score but the quant is where I am really in trouble. I keep reading about the Manhattan book and maybe I should pick that up.

I know everyone learns differently so there may not be the perfect answer for me. I have heard some feedback that Kaplan and Princeton Review is really general and they teach you tricks (backsolving, plugging in numbers, etc.) but I already know those from the Princeton Review book. Others advise that I just need to keep doing practice questions over and over... I am not sure how to proceed. I am not sure if six hours a week would be better spend on problems than sitting in class.

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!!!
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Manager
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04 Sep 2007, 10:31

Personally Princeton Review was a waste of time and money for me. They teach the tricks. But if you are a math wiz and have no problems with grammar, then this may help you manage your time, and spot answers quickly.
I think working alone, and asking for advice on this site for the tough questions has worked better for me.

But thats just my opinion.
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04 Sep 2007, 11:57
If you encountered questions that you had no clue how to do, you were well under-prepared. I'm going to guess that your problem is more innate. A tutor/mgmat/Princeton course is not a magic wand; you can't waive it and presto! you get a 650.

Finish up the OG. Post any questions you have on the appropriate forum here.

Here's a valuable mantra to remember: For every minute you spend on a problem, spend 2 minutes reviewing it -- even the ones you got right (1 minute on the ones you got right).
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04 Sep 2007, 22:44
It depends on how good a learner you are. Have to learnt anything in your life by studying yourself and not going to any class?

I dont think PR or kaplan will teach you anything great in their class. Rather than spending the money on these expensive prep classes you can spend much lesser money on geting all the books and study yourself. Go to class only if you cant study due to job or whatever. Just my personal opinion.

And yes if at all you go to a prep class then PR and kaplan are not good. I have heard good reviews about Manhattan on this forum.

PS: I dint go to any classes and studied by myself. There are loads of materials on this forum and many people will be eager to answer your queries if you post them here.
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05 Sep 2007, 07:13
I also did private tutoring with MGMAT, they were the best but it just not enough time to full grasp all the material they offer.
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05 Sep 2007, 19:10
Thanks everyone! I appreciate the advice!!
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06 Sep 2007, 11:22
I would add that if you saw problems on the practice test that you didn't know how to do, then you need to go back to the core concepts and drill those until you cannot forget them. This is the what I experienced with the actual GMAT and I realized my core quant concepts were weak (I just learned a bunch of tricks which are useless for a 600+ if the foundation is not there).
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07 Sep 2007, 06:49
Quote:
I need a MINIMUM of a 600 and 650 would be ideal. (I know that so many of you have 700+ and believe me, I think you are all brillant! I am just praying to break 600 at some point!)

Don't worry, you're not the only one like that here! We still seem to be in the minority, but are becoming a more vocal minority.

I also had problems with the quant. I second qtip's suggestion on the drilling of core concepts. However, I learned here that unless you're going for 700+, don't waste too much time on the permutations/combinations. It seems that those mostly only come up if you're headed towards a really good quant. score. It seemed that no matter how much I studied those, I just could not wrap my head around them! Oh, and really, DS is my downfall.

BTW, I scored a 620 on the test with a Q35 and V40. Obviously my verbal score was my saving grace. But, the scores were good enough to get me into my school of choice, which was all I was worried about!
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07 Sep 2007, 09:39
Thanks so much everyone -- this is great. What are the best resources to learn the core concepts per qtip's suggestion?
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07 Sep 2007, 13:19
I found that the Princeton Review's GMAT math review book to be very helpful in explaining all of the math concepts. One problem that I had, that I don't really see mentioned here much, is that although I might have learned how to do most of the stuff in school, it was with a calculator. I found myself having to relearn how to do a bunch of stuff without a calculator!

The OG math workbook was good also. It has a better section on the math concepts than the general OG. I hope this helps!
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20 Sep 2007, 08:43
If you post the subscores for each section, I can probably better assist you.

If you are aiming for a 650, I would actually recommend the Princeton Review Online material, if you can spare the dough. I purchased it and it really did get me to a solid 650 fairly quickly. I had to use the Manhattan material to break 700 and my final score (1st time and last time) was a 770 (Q49, V47).

The issue with any course material, is that you really have to believe in it for it to work. You really can't adopt certain parts of a system and expect it to work. If you really feel you mastered the system and then decide to deviate from it, then of course that would be different.

Good luck.
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