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... And Now For Another Idiot's Guide to GMAT Studying

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New post 31 May 2018, 14:07
Hello everyone,

I'll keep this as brief as possible, though with enough details to give you enough to work with.

I started studying for the GMAT in February. I took a practice exam before any sort of studying to gauge where I was and got: 540 Q32/V32 3IR. An average GMAT score. Clearly my verbal is much stronger than my quant. I took a Kaplan class, worked through the book, did a bunch of questions in their "Q Bank" and also purchased the OG 2018 and worked in there, but I didn't finish it in time for the test.

I kept an answer log for each section of the OG book. In a Word Document, I put down my answer and if I got it wrong, I marked it with an asterisk. I would then go over those questions again and keep doing them until I got them right. I should keep an error log for the Kaplan questions from now on, but I didn't think of it at the time.

Before my test, I got a 620 on a practice test at the actual testing center (It's part of the Kaplan program). When it came to test day (just last week), I got: 570 Q35/V34 2IR. Not much of an improvement than my very first practice test, and certainly not as good as my last practice test. I'm sure being nervous had at least a little to do with it.

Before my test, I knew I wouldn't get a 700. I was hoping for maybe a 630. Anyway, I plan on applying for Fall 2019 and, so I have a LONG time to study. I'll continue working with the Kaplan questions and finish the 2018 OG book. I've read that a lot of people recommend the Manhattan books for quant basics. My goal is 700. Perhaps I should go for those?

Any advice for studying would be great. I'd really appreciate it. I can provide more information, if necessary. Thank you.
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New post 31 May 2018, 20:15
Hi BlakeK,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your Official Score and initial CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 550 +/- a few points). Thus, "your way" of approaching the Exam effectively stayed the same - even after several months of working through practice questions. Raising a 570 to a 700+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. From what you describe, it's not clear what you're going to do differently during this next phase of your studies. Continuing to answer practice questions in the same ways as before will almost certainly lead you to a similar score.

You might choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

1) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 01 Jun 2018, 08:08
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi BlakeK,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, your Official Score and initial CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 550 +/- a few points). Thus, "your way" of approaching the Exam effectively stayed the same - even after several months of working through practice questions. Raising a 570 to a 700+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. From what you describe, it's not clear what you're going to do differently during this next phase of your studies. Continuing to answer practice questions in the same ways as before will almost certainly lead you to a similar score.

You might choose to purchase the Enhanced Score Report. While the ESR doesn't provide a lot of information, there are usually a few data points that we can use to define what went wrong (and what you should work on to score higher). If you purchase the ESR, then I'll be happy to analyze it for you.

1) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
2) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

Hey Rich, thanks for the reply. I believe "my way" of studying is no good. So I'd really like to ask how you guys all studied for the GMAT. I have until Spring 2019 to apply for Fall 2019, so that gives me ten months to study. I may not need that long, but I know I will need more than three months.

I will look into the ESR; I've never heard of it before. For quant, I can tell you that I don't have a "weakness". I'm just no good at quant, overall. As of now, I don't have another method of studying, so any advice in that regard would be great.

I'm applying to:

FEMBA UCI (average GMAT 600)
FEMBA UCLA (average GMAT 680)
FEMBA USC (average GMAT 620)

Right now, I'm unemployed. I can study all day. I'm actively looking for a new job and let's say I get a 9:00-5:00, I could probably study 10-20 hours a week, depending on how busy I am with other things.
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New post 01 Jun 2018, 10:26
2
BlakeK wrote:
Hello everyone,

I'll keep this as brief as possible, though with enough details to give you enough to work with.

I started studying for the GMAT in February. I took a practice exam before any sort of studying to gauge where I was and got: 540 Q32/V32 3IR. An average GMAT score. Clearly my verbal is much stronger than my quant. I took a Kaplan class, worked through the book, did a bunch of questions in their "Q Bank" and also purchased the OG 2018 and worked in there, but I didn't finish it in time for the test.

I kept an answer log for each section of the OG book. In a Word Document, I put down my answer and if I got it wrong, I marked it with an asterisk. I would then go over those questions again and keep doing them until I got them right. I should keep an error log for the Kaplan questions from now on, but I didn't think of it at the time.

Before my test, I got a 620 on a practice test at the actual testing center (It's part of the Kaplan program). When it came to test day (just last week), I got: 570 Q35/V34 2IR. Not much of an improvement than my very first practice test, and certainly not as good as my last practice test. I'm sure being nervous had at least a little to do with it.

Before my test, I knew I wouldn't get a 700. I was hoping for maybe a 630. Anyway, I plan on applying for Fall 2019 and, so I have a LONG time to study. I'll continue working with the Kaplan questions and finish the 2018 OG book. I've read that a lot of people recommend the Manhattan books for quant basics. My goal is 700. Perhaps I should go for those?

Any advice for studying would be great. I'd really appreciate it. I can provide more information, if necessary. Thank you.



Best Books

For Concept Learning

Manhattan Quant Guides
Manhattan Verbal Guides
For CR: The Powerscore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
For RC: Aristotle RC Grail

For Practice

The Official Guide for GMAT 2015-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review 2015-18
The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2015-18

Strategies

You can start with Quant or Verbal which suits you. If you have started with Quant then Start with the Arithmetic but if started with verbal then start first with Sentence correction. One month for learning Quant concepts and one month for practicing question and same practice for Verbal. During you Practicing question don't forget to make an error log to track your weak areas after practice. Once you know your weak areas revise your Concepts related to those areas and do some more Practice. 6-8 CATs are enough for practice the real tests. Make your Stamina for sitting 3 hours in the test and don't study more than 2 hours in one sit and 4 hours per day

Top CATs for Practice

1. Official GMAC CATs
2. Manhattan CATs
3. Kaplan CATs
4. GMAT Club Quant CATs

Good Luck
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New post 01 Jun 2018, 11:33
Hi BlakeK,

Many Test Takers are concerned about the Quant section, so you're not alone. It's important to remember that the Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test' - it's a 'critical thinking test' that requires lots of little math steps as you work through it (and much of that math is standard arithmetic and algebra). This is all meant to say that you CAN train to score at a higher level; you'll need to make sure that you can correctly do basic math by hand AND that you train to take advantage of the patterns that exist in all GMAT questions.

Since you have so much potential study time, you can proceed with your studies however you choose. That having been said, if you want to be 'efficient' with this next phase of your studies, you would likely find it beneficial to invest in a new GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led).

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix '). Since your Official Score is so similar to that early CAT Score you noted, I'd like to know a bit more about that CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of that CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 01 Jun 2018, 11:54
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi BlakeK,
After reviewing each section of that CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

The majority of quant questions I get wrong are simply because the question is "too hard". I don't know how to set them up. I can be forgetful with my quant. The pressure of the time limit hurts. However for verbal, I don't think I forget any rules, such as idioms. I either know them or I don't.

There are a good amount of verbal questions (of all types) that I narrow down to two and still get them wrong. I don't find any verbal questions way out of my league since I can narrow even the hardest questions I've seen down to two answers.

Timing is not an issue for verbal, but for quant, there are several problems in which I can play around with the numbers, but ultimately have to guess due to time constraints.
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New post 02 Jun 2018, 11:33
Hi BlakeK,

A Score Goal of 700+ is rather high-level (about 90% of Test Takers will never score that high on the Official GMAT, regardless of how long they study or the number of times they take the Exam). To earn that type of score, you cannot be 'generic' with your analysis. You need to learn (and hone) specific skills - and you need to be exact about defining your current skills, strengths and weaknesses. You didn't really answer any of the questions that I asked in my prior post - and we need that specific data (along with answers to some additional questions) to properly define what you need to work and to put together a proper Study Plan for you going forward. I'll be happy to help you with all of that, but you have to provide more information that you have so far.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

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New post 04 Jun 2018, 12:30
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi BlakeK,

A Score Goal of 700+ is rather high-level (about 90% of Test Takers will never score that high on the Official GMAT, regardless of how long they study or the number of times they take the Exam). To earn that type of score, you cannot be 'generic' with your analysis. You need to learn (and hone) specific skills - and you need to be exact about defining your current skills, strengths and weaknesses. You didn't really answer any of the questions that I asked in my prior post - and we need that specific data (along with answers to some additional questions) to properly define what you need to work and to put together a proper Study Plan for you going forward. I'll be happy to help you with all of that, but you have to provide more information that you have so far.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

Hey Rich,
I know that with my last score, 700 just may not be realistic for me. I'm not a quant person, by any means. However, I do have a ton of prep time, and I do have a strong work ethic. UCLA FEMBA has the highest average score of 680, so of course, I could technically score lower than that and be within the range for the program, but like everyone else here, I want to do the best I can.

I apologize. I didn't know you needed that much detail. So I went through the test, counted my mistakes, and here's what I got:

Verbal:
1) Because of a silly/little mistake? - 4
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do? - 2
3) Because the question was too hard? - 5
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess? - 0
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong? - 5

Quant:
1) Because of a silly/little mistake? - 4
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do? - 4
3) Because the question was too hard? - 9
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess? - 0

This test was in February, so the information may not be 100% accurate (I was trying hard to remember what steps I took when taking the test), but it's close. Secondly, this CAT was taken before any sort of GMAT studying, so I have learned quite a bit since then.

I hope this helps.

Thank you.
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Re: ... And Now For Another Idiot's Guide to GMAT Studying  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2018, 13:05
SajjadAhmad wrote:
Manhattan Quant Guides
Manhattan Verbal Guides
For CR: The Powerscore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
For RC: Aristotle RC Grail

I just purchased all of these. Thank you.
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Re: ... And Now For Another Idiot's Guide to GMAT Studying &nbs [#permalink] 04 Jun 2018, 13:05
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