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Author Message
Intern
Joined: 26 Dec 2018
Posts: 25
Concentration: Finance, Economics

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25 Jan 2019, 19:37
Hi all,

I would really appreciate any advice or thoughts that you have to offer regarding my current situation!

Let me first begin with a few details regarding my background and my rationale for studying for the GMAT now.

I recently graduated with a degree in finance from my undergraduate university and will begin work with an investment bank in July. Having such a considerable amount of time off prior to starting work seemed to present me with the perfect opportunity for me to commit to several personal ventures of mine: one being the GMAT and the other being travel. I decided to plan a study abroad program, which I will start at the beginning of march, to scratch my travel itch, and I figured 2 months would be sufficient to prepare for the GMAT(ha...ha...little did I know). I was ecstatic to commence my studies for the GMAT(how naive I was) as I thought what better time in my life to study with no other obligations or distractions, and I desperately hoped to knock it out early and have the scores in my back pocket for 5 years...

GMAT Prep Portion:

After conducting what I thought to be an adequate amount of research, I started my GMAT journey by taking a practice GMAC Official CAT on the morning NYE 2018. The morning of the practice exam I found the quietest place in my home that I could but ultimately still ended up with the distractions of background conversations of my family. Also, I knew that I was to be picked up by a friend shortly after the completion of my exam to leave for vacation and was slightly anxious about the timing of my exam. I will note that while distractions of all kinds can have significant impacts on scores, I don't think that they likely had too big of an impact on my initial "cold" score. As for my score, I ended up making a 470(27Q 27V). I was thoroughly disappointed as I am fresh out of university, and as previously mentioned, I graduated with a math-related degree. I noticed during the test that I had forgotten many core quantitative concepts and formulas, and I struggled mightily with data sufficiency due to my unfamiliarity with the question type. On the verbal section, I struggled most with my pace and found myself guessing on several questions.

Several takeaways that I had from this first practice CAT included that I needed to keenly focus on quantitative and grammatical concepts, and I needed to work on my timing. I also concluded that my research was not nearly enough and that I would spend a considerable amount of time on this tremendous forum over the next few months.

On January 2nd, I commenced my studies by reviewing my practice exam and starting to read through the concept sections in Kaplan Verbal and Quantative books. When reviewing concepts, I quickly realized that 2-3 hrs a day for 2 months might not be enough and began studying in excess of that(4-6 hrs/day). I began to worry that I truly may not have allotted enough time to prepare for a test at the end of February. I decided to press on anyway and took my second practice CAT on the second Saturday of January. For my second practice CAT, I opted to take one of the Kaplan CAT's that was included in my Kaplan Premier purchase. Additionally, I experienced far fewer distractions from family members and NYE plan anxiety. I was also felt slightly more comfortable with the question types as I had atleast been exposed to them previously. This time around, I scored a 560 (35Q 33V). I was decently pleased with the significant score increase after such a brief period of study but also didn't give it too much weight since it was a Kaplan exam.

Following this exam, I continued my study prep by continuing to review concepts, but I also added more practice problems and more practice problem review.
I began to stress as I realized that I would have little time to focus on my timing and strategy after finishng concept review. In addition, I don't think I have reviewed the concepts as thoroughly as some of you recommend. I pressed on with my preparation and decided to take another CAT today, after another 2 weeks of prep. This time around, I used a GMAC Practice CAT to more accurately assess my progress. I scored a 610 (37Q 36V. I was relatively pleased with the score as I saw some improvement in my score and felt increasingly comfortable. I remain worried that I am running out of time, and my test preparation feels to be crammed into too tight of a window of time. I now truly see the importance of spacing the study out over 3-4 months because the concepts will be much more digestible. As I mentioned previously, I thought I had done enough research, but honestly, I have been learning on the fly, which has resulted in me adjusting my study plan several times during this short journey. I want to score a 730+ and feel that it may be a difficult task prior to leaving for my study abroad. I feel that even though I have made significant strides, I will have likely have to take the test again in the future to achieve my target score. So, I am trying to decide if it is worth my while to continue studying and attempt the GMAT for the first time at the end of February or if it would be more logical to take the test in the future(once I have started my career) after 3-4 months of paced study.

I figure the biggest potential pro of taking it right now would be to get it over with before I start work, although I predict that is unlikely at this point. Other than that I would recieve the opporunity for a real test rep(truly cannot be simulated), but is that really worth the hours spent studying and the money spent on the test if I will likely have to take it again? Also, I have no time table as I am just beginning work, but I do see myself planning to pursue my MBA about 3-4 years from after starting work.

The GMAT is truly a beast that demands respect. Being a recent graduate, I expect to answer each question right, but the GMAT truly humbles you! I am in it for the long haul though and realize it is a marathon, not a sprint!

I apologize for the length of this post, and I genuinely appreciate any thoughts that you all may have! I also really appreciate this board because if it were not for this board, I would be even more lost in the GMAT sea. Big thanks to the moderators and all who make this board so constructive! Best of luck to all on their GMAT and MBA journeys! It truly is a journey!

Best,

NCH2024
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 04 Dec 2015
Posts: 689
GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170

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26 Jan 2019, 13:20
1
I'd recommend waiting until you have the time to fully dedicate yourself to studying and you don't feel rushed. If you need to cram your entire study schedule into a month or two, you'll end up cutting corners and not giving yourself time to, as you put it, fully digest the material. A big part of studying for the GMAT is 'spaced repetition' - learning a concept, letting yourself forget it slightly, then coming back to it and reviewing it again to create a slightly stronger memory of it.

That said, there's nothing wrong with taking the GMAT more than once, especially since you can cancel a score with no repercussions. It's just that it takes time and money, as you also mentioned. If you wanted to, you could do both - study and take it now and do your best, and then if you aren't happy with your score, take it again later when you have more time to study beforehand. Or, you could study now and aim to take a 'dress rehearsal' practice test about a week before your end-of-February test date; if you didn't get a great score on that practice test, you could cancel your official test.
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Intern
Joined: 26 Dec 2018
Posts: 25
Concentration: Finance, Economics

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27 Jan 2019, 15:24
ccooley wrote:
I'd recommend waiting until you have the time to fully dedicate yourself to studying and you don't feel rushed. If you need to cram your entire study schedule into a month or two, you'll end up cutting corners and not giving yourself time to, as you put it, fully digest the material. A big part of studying for the GMAT is 'spaced repetition' - learning a concept, letting yourself forget it slightly, then coming back to it and reviewing it again to create a slightly stronger memory of it.

That said, there's nothing wrong with taking the GMAT more than once, especially since you can cancel a score with no repercussions. It's just that it takes time and money, as you also mentioned. If you wanted to, you could do both - study and take it now and do your best, and then if you aren't happy with your score, take it again later when you have more time to study beforehand. Or, you could study now and aim to take a 'dress rehearsal' practice test about a week before your end-of-February test date; if you didn't get a great score on that practice test, you could cancel your official test.

Thank you for your response! Yes, I agree.. it cannot hurt and a practice rep wouldn’t hurt. I just am conflicted because I feel that a practice rep would be valuable but may not be worth the hours that I’m putting in if I will have to take it again. I am pleased with the progress I have made but still feel that it would be a long shot for me to score 700+ With only another month of study. To your point, I feel that I may not be able to review some concepts as thoroughly as I would like and may have some holes in my study...I would be pleased as a starter score to score 650+ but ultimately, I would not be content applying to b schools with anything less than a 700

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Intern
Joined: 26 Dec 2018
Posts: 25
Concentration: Finance, Economics

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28 Jan 2019, 15:54
Does anyone else have an opinion on my situation? If so, I would greatly appreciate it!
Target Test Prep Representative
Status: Founder & CEO
Affiliations: Target Test Prep
Joined: 14 Oct 2015
Posts: 4972
Location: United States (CA)

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30 Jan 2019, 18:21
Hi NCH2024,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. To truly master GMAT quant and verbal, you need to follow a linear and structured study plan and give yourself plenty of time to study. Thus, given that you are not near your score goal and would need to take the test in about 4 weeks, I recommend stopping your prep and picking back up when you return from your trip. Although it would have been great to knock the GMAT out before starting work, you certainly can study for the GMAT while working a full-time job (as most GMAT test-takers do).

So, go enjoy your trip, my friend. I’m sure you are going to have a blast. You can worry about the GMAT when you return.

Once you dive back in, feel free to reach back out, and I can provide some advice regarding your study plan.

Good luck!
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SVP
Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Posts: 2100
Location: India
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V51
GRE 1: Q170 V169

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30 Jan 2019, 22:10
nch2024 wrote:
I figure the biggest potential pro of taking it right now would be to get it over with before I start work, although I predict that is unlikely at this point. Other than that I would recieve the opporunity for a real test rep(truly cannot be simulated), but is that really worth the hours spent studying and the money spent on the test if I will likely have to take it again? Also, I have no time table as I am just beginning work, but I do see myself planning to pursue my MBA about 3-4 years from after starting work.
I agree that there is no real need for you to take the exam right now, but well done anyway! It's great to see how your score has gone up (470 -> 560 -> 610), and it'd be interesting to see what you could do with another month of prep (you're already almost there as far as verbal goes). Quant needs some work, but I'd back you to get a good score in that section as well, given what you have been able to achieve in less than a month.

I don't know when you'll take the exam, but I wish you all the best.
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