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Aiming for 700 with 2 weeks to Prepare: What to focus on?

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Aiming for 700 with 2 weeks to Prepare: What to focus on?  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 01 Aug 2018, 21:42
I originally was supposed to take the GMAT this upcoming Saturday (4th) but seeing my CAT scores made me hesitant. Ultimately, when I decided to register, there was nothing left available for this upcoming weekend. The best I could do is August 18th, giving me approximately ~16 days to study. I see it as a blessing in disguise in some ways, as if destiny was blocking me from hastily completing the test, knowing that I personally can do better.

EDIT: 18th was no longer available. Now I scheduled for Sept 29th tentatively, but I'll definitely try to reschedule to much earlier (mid/end August) if a date gets free'd up.

Admittedly, my initial strategy was flawed. I started by doing OG problems right away - I did all 250 PS with minimal/no revision. This strategy not only yielded bad results, but also made me unable to "learn" from my mistakes. I see these first few weeks as a complete waste/sunk cost, unfortunately. I took a small break and changed my strategy - I read all the Manhattan Guides & did their suggested "Review" questions at the end before starting to do exercises again. Unfortunately though, I would say that I have completed more questions from all my CATs combined than I have completed as part of "Review/Preparation" with OG/Manhattan. That is something I still believe is sub optimal, and if changed, can unleash some untapped potential, as I am someone who learns from mistakes more than from reading theory. With that in mind, I would say that I have been "seriously" studying/preparing for ~3 weeks, and only started taking CAT's last week.

I understand that it is not advisable to do multiple CAT's in quick succession, but given my limited window to study and do the test, these are my results to date:
July 24, 2018 GMAT Prep CAT #1: 610 (Q41, V33)
July 27, 2018 Manhattan CAT #1: 540 (Q34, V31)
July 29, 2018 Manhattan CAT #2: 590 (Q39, V32)
July 31, 2018 Manhattan CAT #3: 630 (Q42, V34)

I must note that I perceive the Manhattan CAT scores to be inflated, mainly because I used the Pause function more than I should've while continuing to work on problems. With that being said, most of those questions still yielded the wrong answer or were abandoned on my part, but it nonetheless alters the score I obtained. My logic for doing so mainly lies in the fact that I wanted to determine what my raw capabilities were, rather than my capabilities under time constraint (once again going back to the fact that this should've been done through practice problems - but I admittedly haven't done enough of them).

Here is data from my Three MCATs. AVG Difficulty of Correct Answers || Avg Difficulty of Incorrect Answers
PS: 550 || 640
DS: 560 || 640
SC: 690 || 720
CR: 660 || 710
RC: 690 || 720

AVG Difficulty of Correct Answers || Avg Difficulty of Incorrect Answers
Geometry: 530 || 630
#Properties: 580 || 640
Algebra: 560 || 630
Word Problems: 540 || 620
FDPs: 580 || 670
CR: Categories Under Avg. Difficulty of Correct Answers (650): Find the Assumption (650), Weaken the Argument (600)
RC: Categories Under Avg. Difficulty of Correct Answers (690): Specific Detail (680), Main Idea (680)
SC: Categories Under Avg. Difficulty of Correct Answers (690): Connecting Punctuation (550), Modifiers (680), Comparisons (680), Verbs (650)
My objective is to score 700, although I will not cancel any score above 650. I am starting my full time job soon on Wall St, and therefore will have no time to study. However, until test date, I believe that for the next five days, I should be able to keep the rhythm I've had for the past week of ~6-8 hours/day. Following that, ~2 hours/day for the next 11 days (Maybe ~4 hrs/day during weekends) should be achievable.

I plan on using the GMAT Official Guides (Comprehensive, Verbal and Quant) for questions, and possibly Manhattan as well for the Quant.

As an Anglophone, I was quite confident that Verbal would be my strong suite, as I mostly rely on intuition to answer these questions, with a few tricks that I've learned from past question mistakes. Thus, as to maximize my efficiency during the next few days, I believe that Quant should be my priority. Despite my lower scores, I do not particularly find it "hard". Seeing the answers makes me facepalm ~70% of the time when I look at the solution, as I know that they are within the grasp of my capabilities. I would say that for the most part, my issue in Quant lies in quickly identifying what needs to be done. As someone with ADHD, I tend to read the problem, skip over parts and start working right away without necessarily knowing "what" I need to do or where I want to go.

I have saved 1 GMAT Prep CAT, which I plan to take 2-3 days prior to my official test date. I also have another 3 MCAT's remaining.

As of now, I am planning to only do OG/Mahnahttan questions with time constraints to simulate the test. 31 Verbal Questions, 36 Quant, then take a break, review/write down my mistakes, then start over again. For my previous 4 CATs and other practice questions, I always write down my mistakes and tend to review them once a day, just so they stay fresh.

What would you recommend for me? Is the above outline appropriate? Or do you believe that the aforementioned scores may indicate an underlying issue with fundamentals/theory that might be having a trickle-down effect on my scores, and should be addressed before hitting up the practice questions again?

Originally posted by Enjula88 on 01 Aug 2018, 16:10.
Last edited by Enjula88 on 01 Aug 2018, 21:42, edited 1 time in total.
Joined: 23 Nov 2017
Posts: 47
Location: Singapore
Concentration: Strategy, Other
GMAT 1: 640 Q42 V36
Re: Aiming for 700 with 2 weeks to Prepare: What to focus on?  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2018, 20:24
All the best mate, let us know how it goes.
examPAL Representative
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Joined: 07 Dec 2017
Posts: 553
Re: Aiming for 700 with 2 weeks to Prepare: What to focus on?  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2018, 01:22
Hey Enjula88,

Welcome to GMAT Club!

At the moment, your scores are all below your target of 650, showing that you still have work to do.
You mentioned learning from mistakes quite a bit in your post, but didn't mention whether you had created an error log. Are you, at the moment, capable of saying what types of mistakes you make when answering questions? This needs to be your guiding light in building a plan for the next few weeks. In particular, note that there are categorically different types of mistakes - some have to do with a problem in fundamentals, suggesting that you need to relearn some part of the material; others have to do with lack of focus/silly mistakes, which can be addressed by writing clearly and verifying your results; and yet others have do with strategy - did you approach the question in the optimal way.

So: as a first step, make sure you know what to focus on. If you like, view our (freely available) Introduction to PAL video on our website here. The PAL system is designed to select the right approach for each student at the same time as it teaches the required material. That is, the AI-supported system learns from your successes and mistakes and gives you the tools to correct, manage and improve. Even if you don't sign up for a full course, this is IMHO worthwhile viewing.

Senior tutor at examPAL
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Re: Aiming for 700 with 2 weeks to Prepare: What to focus on? &nbs [#permalink] 02 Aug 2018, 01:22
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