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Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.

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Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 14:01
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Hi All,

First post here in what will most likely be a proper and productive membership :)

I'm 32, native English, full time job, BA graduation ~10 years ago, and haven't taken a standardized test since 2002. While in school, I put 0 effort toward studying, so this is a new endeavor. Since entering the workforce, I've been a commodity trader and have worked client-facing jobs in fintech (read: I critically read and write about numbers constantly.) In my spare time I read quite a bit, both fiction and nonfiction.

Applications for the programs I'm looking at are due August 2018. I'd like to take my first (hopefully only) GMAT in February-ish. For the past ~5 weeks, I have been following Magoosh's 6 month study plan. It's good, but the frustrating part is that the OG and Magoosh assigned problems aren't tied at all to the videos I am watching. For problem solving I might be hitting a few simple integer questions that are familiar, but then I'll get decimated by geometry. It's really demoralizing.

At this point, I'm worried about just blindly following a set of weekly instructions. I'm a motivated self-studier, I have no problem putting in the hours and dedicating myself to the goal. However, I have never prepared myself for anything like this before, so I do not know how to create a study plan tailored to myself. There's a few posts here and there, but what I'm really looking for are study plans that are sort of adaptive. Something that keeps better track of my progress while giving me some instructions on what sections I should be studying.

I have all of the Manhattan Prep Books, OG2018 books, and Magoosh Premium. I enjoy Mike's Magoosh videos - he's a great instructor, but I worry that I listen to him and then quickly forget it. I think the Manhattan Books might be a good alternative, but just cracking open books and reading doesn't seem like a good study plan. Basically I would like my hand held for 6 months, but the thought of giving an instructor a few thousand dollars scares me.

I'll be taking my first CAT tomorrow (10/1) - I think it will tell me I stink across all of Quant and my Verbal is that of a native speaker that hasn't taken a test in a while. Any guidance about where to put my time would be appreciated!
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 16:15
Hi, I think here is what you need to do:
1) Assess 2) Plan 3) Execute 4) Evaluate 5) Reassess and go back to step 1.

1) Assess: Give official mock and see where you stand and how much you need to improve to hit target. You need to have a excel ready to list down everything for both Quant and Verbal :
1) areas you are totally uncomfortable for example, you said geometry, similarly when you are done with your mock you will have more such areas
2) areas you are moderately uncomfortable: you don’t need to spend a lot of time here
3) areas you are in the zone and can nail them time and again: you just need to brush them a little

2) Plan: based on your assessment in the above step for Quant and verbal each, have monthly,weekly and daily plan based on number of hours you have until exam date and add them to your excel.

3) Execute: work on your plan and see how much progress you are making on a daily or weekly basis. See that you are able to achieve your daily goals such as finishing a chapter in quant or doing your homework.


4) Evaluate: This could be based on accuracy in timed practice tests and also your confidence in solving them, use both statistics.

5) Reassess: Give another mock and see if you need to reassess and re-plan based on the progress you made so far.

I think you should be able to come up with an adaptive plan for yourself based on your assessment without needing any help from a private tutor, although you can do so if you like. Since you know your weaknesses and strength better than anyone, you are in a better position to do so. Also, gmat is more a methodical exam rather than test of skill, if you are able to be methodical in your practice, then there is nothing more that you need. Hope it helps, good luck.



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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 18:02
Hi jsheppa,

That first CAT score is important as it will give us a good sense of your natural strengths and weaknesses and will help provide a basis for comparison as you continue to study. A FULL CAT takes about 4 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have those scores, you should report back here and we can come up with a study plan.

Beyond that point, you've given yourself plenty of time to study - which is good. It would help if you could provide a bit more information on your overall goals:

1) What is your goal score?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 04:55
It is good you are evaluating your progress. Videos can be deceiving. They can create an illusion of progress while all you have done was sit in front of a screen and think your day while the video played.

I would highly recommend taking notes and build your own set of study notes. You can review yesterday’s notes every time you start.

PS. I am curious what your starting point is (dish test score) and what score you are looking for.


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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 10:44
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jsheppa wrote:
Hi All,

First post here in what will most likely be a proper and productive membership :)

I'm 32, native English, full time job, BA graduation ~10 years ago, and haven't taken a standardized test since 2002. While in school, I put 0 effort toward studying, so this is a new endeavor. Since entering the workforce, I've been a commodity trader and have worked client-facing jobs in fintech (read: I critically read and write about numbers constantly.) In my spare time I read quite a bit, both fiction and nonfiction.

Applications for the programs I'm looking at are due August 2018. I'd like to take my first (hopefully only) GMAT in February-ish. For the past ~5 weeks, I have been following Magoosh's 6 month study plan. It's good, but the frustrating part is that the OG and Magoosh assigned problems aren't tied at all to the videos I am watching. For problem solving I might be hitting a few simple integer questions that are familiar, but then I'll get decimated by geometry. It's really demoralizing.

At this point, I'm worried about just blindly following a set of weekly instructions. I'm a motivated self-studier, I have no problem putting in the hours and dedicating myself to the goal. However, I have never prepared myself for anything like this before, so I do not know how to create a study plan tailored to myself. There's a few posts here and there, but what I'm really looking for are study plans that are sort of adaptive. Something that keeps better track of my progress while giving me some instructions on what sections I should be studying.


I have all of the Manhattan Prep Books, OG2018 books, and Magoosh Premium. I enjoy Mike's Magoosh videos - he's a great instructor, but I worry that I listen to him and then quickly forget it. I think the Manhattan Books might be a good alternative, but just cracking open books and reading doesn't seem like a good study plan. Basically I would like my hand held for 6 months, but the thought of giving an instructor a few thousand dollars scares me.

I'll be taking my first CAT tomorrow (10/1) - I think it will tell me I stink across all of Quant and my Verbal is that of a native speaker that hasn't taken a test in a while. Any guidance about where to put my time would be appreciated!




Hi there!

We are never old to learn. Our mind grows, only our body gets old.
You say you're a self-motivated studier, thats what you simply need.

Sometimes you might get stuck in some question and other times you would sail through. Simply work easy. Never let anything make your spirits low.

simply be consistent. when required, ask help.

wish you the best.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 11:08
Hi jsheppa

Welcome to GMATClub!

Though you have a lot of sources to study, I would recommend you to use the forum in the best possible manner.
You could use the study plan which will definitely help you keep you stay on track with a schedule!

Do post your results once you take the initial CAT and the experts at the forum will be able to help you
with some insights on how you should take your preparation forward. Best of luck for this awesome journey!

These are some links which I found to be very benefitial
GMAT Club Maths Book : https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-math-book-87417.html
Quantitative Megathread : https://gmatclub.com/forum/ultimate-gma ... 44512.html
Reading Comprehension Stratergy guide : https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-club-s- ... 83101.html

Hope that helps you!
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 13:09
jsheppa wrote:
Hi All,

First post here in what will most likely be a proper and productive membership :)

I'm 32, native English, full time job, BA graduation ~10 years ago, and haven't taken a standardized test since 2002. While in school, I put 0 effort toward studying, so this is a new endeavor. Since entering the workforce, I've been a commodity trader and have worked client-facing jobs in fintech (read: I critically read and write about numbers constantly.) In my spare time I read quite a bit, both fiction and nonfiction.

Applications for the programs I'm looking at are due August 2018. I'd like to take my first (hopefully only) GMAT in February-ish. For the past ~5 weeks, I have been following Magoosh's 6 month study plan. It's good, but the frustrating part is that the OG and Magoosh assigned problems aren't tied at all to the videos I am watching. For problem solving I might be hitting a few simple integer questions that are familiar, but then I'll get decimated by geometry. It's really demoralizing.

At this point, I'm worried about just blindly following a set of weekly instructions. I'm a motivated self-studier, I have no problem putting in the hours and dedicating myself to the goal. However, I have never prepared myself for anything like this before, so I do not know how to create a study plan tailored to myself. There's a few posts here and there, but what I'm really looking for are study plans that are sort of adaptive. Something that keeps better track of my progress while giving me some instructions on what sections I should be studying.

I have all of the Manhattan Prep Books, OG2018 books, and Magoosh Premium. I enjoy Mike's Magoosh videos - he's a great instructor, but I worry that I listen to him and then quickly forget it. I think the Manhattan Books might be a good alternative, but just cracking open books and reading doesn't seem like a good study plan. Basically I would like my hand held for 6 months, but the thought of giving an instructor a few thousand dollars scares me.

I'll be taking my first CAT tomorrow (10/1) - I think it will tell me I stink across all of Quant and my Verbal is that of a native speaker that hasn't taken a test in a while. Any guidance about where to put my time would be appreciated!


It sounds like what you may need is tutoring. Unfortunately, good tutoring costs even more than taking a GMAT course. Why not study on your own for a month or two - until you have a very clear sense of your specific strengths and weaknesses? (Not just 'quant', but things like: are you stronger at logic-based problems or problems based on remembering math rules? Are you better at word problems or 'math' problems?) Then you can take that info to a tutor, and you'll end up spending less time/money since it won't take as long to zero in on what to discuss.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 18:05
Thank you all for your thorough and thoughtful responses. It will take me a few days to go through all of these suggestions, but I wanted to provide some quick responses and the results of today's CAT.

My goal score is ultimately 700+, and I would be very happy with a 720. Lofty goal for sure, but I know it is attainable with work. I am willing to invest that work. As far as schools - I am looking to England/Europe for 1 year MBA programs. Said is my #1 choice, but I certainly will be applying to LBS and Judge as well. I haven't yet put in research for the rest of Europe, as I am more worried about scoring well on this exam.

As expected, the Manhattan CAT that I just took rocked me. I felt like the ~5 weeks of "studying" I've done with Magoosh and the OG went out the window. I don't feel like I was able to recall anything I learned while studying - and honestly I can't tell if what I reviewed just didn't show up, or if I just froze and wasn't able to see what questions were really asking.

The curious part is that, by score, I did far better in Quant than expected and far worse in Verbal than expected. I expected to see ~35 in each, and instead, 40 on Quant and 31 on Verbal. Good for a 580. Insane! It's also strangely encouraging. I KNOW I am far better at verbal than 31 - at this point I am probably closer to 40. I also know that although the quant score is probably higher than reality, I missed some questions that I should have gotten correct if I remembered some of the things I learned in the past few weeks.

I tried posting a Google sheet of my score breakdowns, but I ran into the 5 posts/5 days problem. Attached are some screenshots.

So at this point, I am afraid to continue with my current plan of just watching Magoosh videos. It's just not working for me. bb, I think you are completely correct - I have the illusion of learning because I am going through them, but I don't think I am retaining enough and I am not doing targeted practice on those problems. I do the 5 quiz questions after the section, score 5/5, and then forget about them. Over the next few days while on a business trip I am going to try and come up with some sort of a new plan. I don't know what that is going to look like, but I need to shake the feeling of spinning my tires and make some actual progress.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 20:17
Hi jsheppa,

A 580 is a solid initial CAT Score (the average score on the Official GMAT hovers around 540-550 most years) - and you still have plenty of study time before you plan to take the GMAT, so you should be able to improve on this score. Since we don't have any thing to compare this 580 too, it might be too early to completely 'dump' your current study plan. As such, I suggest that you study as you see fit for the next 1-2 weeks, then take a new, FULL-LENGTH CAT. That result will help to define how well your studies are going and whether you're able to make the necessary changes to how you handle the Exam or not.

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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 08:08
Well, I took another MGMAT CAT yesterday, and was a bit disappointed. This time around I scored a 590. Although it was technically an improvement, I expected to see far better results given how much time I have put in over the past 3 weeks.

I feel like in general I am not doing enough practice problems. I'm focusing on getting through the Magoosh videos. Although I am learning quite a bit and refreshing things I have long forgotten, I am not doing enough repetitive practice so when the test came, there were mostly questions I either didn't know how to approach, forgotten how to get through them since watching videos, or not quite seeing what the question is really asking.

I still think there is value in the videos, but I need to be doing more practice problems. I think daily I will shorten the time I spend on videos in order to add more practice problems to my routine. Also, I am only going to do problems that I have watched videos on. I'm not gaining anything from failing on problems that I have not yet encountered video primers for. I'm going to continue doing Magoosh problems and try to pepper in some MGMAT problems. Once I get through Magoosh videos and run out of problems, I'll start on OG and gmatclub tests.

I didn't do great on verbal either, but that was a 4 point improvement. I think my original CAT was artificially low in verbal. In general, these are the results I expected to get 3 weeks ago.

I guess it's good that I didn't go down? Still a long way away from my goal of 720 in January/February...
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 12:46
Hi there!

So one "old" person to another (I am actually a year older than you!), after a quick look at your posts:

- You have a very good initial verbal score. A lot of us who are more confident with the verbal section are disappointed with our initial test scores in verbal
- As someone who is more comfortable with verbal, I have still found it easier to increase my quant score. So you will not have much trouble taking that 37 up once you have covered the math fundamentals
- Someone pointed out that 580 is a good initial score to start with, especially since it is on an MGMAT CAT
- Looks like you finished your test within the stipulated time! You can definitely pat yourself for that one on an MGMAT CAT

Some practice and a lot of review to find out where you are going wrong will see you getting to that score. Some oft mentioned material: MGMAT guides for quant fundamentals, Powerscore Bible for CR, MGMAT guide for SC. Wish you the best!

PS: I scored 590 on my first test but that was on GMAT prep - I would rate it easier than MGMAT. I did take the GMAT a few days back and ended up with a 660. Had to give it so did. Plan to retake in a couple of months.
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New post 23 Oct 2017, 14:20
Thank you for the words of encouragement. I've been getting increasingly frustrated with my performance on yesterday's test while sitting at work today not being able to review. Stewing over things I cannot change is FUN :)

Quant:

I have about 1/3 of Magoosh videos left, and at this point, I'm wondering if I should just ditch them in lieu of reviewing the MGMAT books and doing far more practice problems every day. I'm beginning to think just watching videos is wasting more time than improving my score. I do need to review all fundamentals for sure, there's no getting around that. However, I'm starting to think that plowing through 1.5 hours of videos every night to catch up on fundamentals is not as helpful as spending less time reviewing texts and more time on practice problems. Maybe I'll just go through the rest of the videos for sake of completion, but that would essentially be committing to another 3 weeks of doing the same thing I have been doing...I'm not sure that it's the best use of my time. I guess I just don't know what the best use of my time will be...

Verbal:

At this point, I am essentially just forgoing "studying" for this for the time being. I'm doing some Magoosh practice problems here and there on it, but I know I have far more work in Quant in front of me than I do Verbal, so I'm just focusing on the quant stuff. I read and write for my job all day, and I read recreationally often. I think my score will just improve naturally by getting used to commonly tested questions. I'll give this more attention 1-2 months out of expected test date. Which is actually approaching more quickly than I would like to admit...
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New post 23 Oct 2017, 20:04
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Hi jsheppa,

Have you taken the official GMAT prep test yet? If not, I’d strongly recommend you take the 1st one to gauge your current state.
Manhattan tests are okay for practice but I feel they can be really off compared to actual GMAT.

I’d also suggest to maybe take a break from the videos. Seems like your brain is making you do the videos to get that feeling of “completing” something. If while viewing the videos you’re getting the feeling that it is taking too much time, you may also not be concentrating completely. Maybe go for text for a bit, and do videos only for concepts you don’t understand?

More than what material you use for studying, I hope you have a complete list of all quant topics and know where you are at on each of them. Also, make an error log - list all the questions you’ve got wrong on the Manhattan tests and classify them into type of error - 1) no knowledge of concepts 2) wrong application of concepts 3) careless mistake etc (you can make your own labels).

Looking at your background, and the fact that you consider yourself good with the language, I feel confident that you’ll be able to reach 720.


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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 20:07
jsheppa wrote:
I have about 1/3 of Magoosh videos left, and at this point, I'm wondering if I should just ditch them in lieu of reviewing the MGMAT books and doing far more practice problems every day. I'm beginning to think just watching videos is wasting more time than improving my score. I do need to review all fundamentals for sure, there's no getting around that. However, I'm starting to think that plowing through 1.5 hours of videos every night to catch up on fundamentals is not as helpful as spending less time reviewing texts and more time on practice problems. Maybe I'll just go through the rest of the videos for sake of completion, but that would essentially be committing to another 3 weeks of doing the same thing I have been doing...I'm not sure that it's the best use of my time. I guess I just don't know what the best use of my time will be...
There is no getting around the fact that between a book and a video on the same topic, the book will always be the faster option. But which one do you prefer? Do you like learning from books, or do videos work better for you?
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Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 24 Oct 2017, 08:52
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I agree with stoiczoan. I have not used Magoosh so cannot comment. But, are these videos mixed up with questions that you need to answer? As long as this is the case, it should be fine. There is nothing like getting your hands dirty for quant.

On the verbal front, I would suggest that you practise a few questions every day - probably, the GMATclub questions on workbook that are recommended for you (?), or anything of that sort where you don't end up staying away from verbal for too long.

- A

Originally posted by asachi on 24 Oct 2017, 06:00.
Last edited by asachi on 24 Oct 2017, 08:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 08:23
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stoiczoan,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have not yet taken an official GMAT prep test yet. My thought has been to save those official ones until I get some studying under my belt. I think my next CAT, maybe in 2-3 weeks, will be with one of those.

I think you're totally right with taking a break on the videos. I spent most of yesterday organizing my error log like you suggested, and it confirmed quite a few suspicions I've had on my shortcomings. To be fair - they're all topics I haven't reviewed since early college, so I'm not terribly surprised. I know they can be corrected.

I'm also going to try EmpowerGMAT. I do think I need some structure and lessons in my preparation, but I'm going to make sure to plan for extra time spent on Manhattan Books/problems. Empower seems to have great reviews, and I like that the founders are active on these forums - even this topic.

asachi,

Not so much. There are a few practice problems in the video, usually 2-3 per video. Mike's instruction is great, he's a very gifted teacher and I will continue to use this as a resource for problems that I just can't grasp at a fundamental level, but I just need more practice. It looks like EmpowerGMAT lesson plans are more focused on doing actual work, so I'm going to give that a try.

Good tip on the verbal. I'll do just that.


Thank you again everyone for the words of encouragement. Just knowing there are other folks out there willing to help is going to keep me on this journey.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 08:26
AjiteshArun wrote:
jsheppa wrote:
I have about 1/3 of Magoosh videos left, and at this point, I'm wondering if I should just ditch them in lieu of reviewing the MGMAT books and doing far more practice problems every day. I'm beginning to think just watching videos is wasting more time than improving my score. I do need to review all fundamentals for sure, there's no getting around that. However, I'm starting to think that plowing through 1.5 hours of videos every night to catch up on fundamentals is not as helpful as spending less time reviewing texts and more time on practice problems. Maybe I'll just go through the rest of the videos for sake of completion, but that would essentially be committing to another 3 weeks of doing the same thing I have been doing...I'm not sure that it's the best use of my time. I guess I just don't know what the best use of my time will be...
There is no getting around the fact that between a book and a video on the same topic, the book will always be the faster option. But which one do you prefer? Do you like learning from books, or do videos work better for you?


Honestly - I have no idea which I prefer. I've been out of school for so long that I don't really remember what it's like learning out of books. And when I was in school, learning from videos wasn't even a thing. I think I will learn best by doing problems over and over, but I just haven't been able to find the right mix and forum of lessons and practice problems.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 11:40
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Wow, you and I are in a very similar situation. I just recently started studying for the GMAT with Magoosh, and then I ordered the MGMAT books, along with OG18. I took the MGMAT CAT a few weeks ago to see my starting point and scored a 590. I’m not sure how accurate this is, because I took the actual GMAT 5 years ago without a single minute of studying (All I needed was a 500 to get into my accounting program) and I scored a 650. For the real GMAT exam, I scored a 42 on the verbal, but on the MGMAT CAT, I scored a 32. When I went to analyze my MGMAT CAT Verbal score, I was at the 99th percentile half way through the exam. The second half of the questions were all 700-800 level, and I got about half of them right. Still not sure how I only scored a 32 if I was only seeing 700-800 level questions.

I started studying for quant with Magoosh lessons, and also have about a third left. Honestly, I don’t feel like watching the videos is the best use of my time for quant. I already understand most of the concepts, my problem is applying multiple concepts to a problem. I feel like my GMAT quant ability is improving a ton by actually working through the OG problems. I created an error log with Google Sheets, and I’ve been working through medium quant problem solving questions. I use the free software included with OG18 to set up practice quizzes. If I get a question wrong, I Google the question, and the first thing that always pops up is the solution for the question in the GMAT Club Forum. It’s been super helpful for me, and I highly recommend doing that when trying to improve your quant score. Also, don’t get discouraged if you’re missing a lot of questions, just learn from your mistakes.



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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 14:11
Hi jsheppa,

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 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 580 +/- a few points). Since both of these CATs were MGMAT CATs, it would help to know how well you perform on one of the Official GMAC CATs (since those Official CATs are the most realistic ones available).

Since you already appear to be working through a Course, there's the question of whether that Course best meshes with your personality or not (and how well that Course is helping YOU to improve). There's some logic to completing the Course that you're in (since you admit that there is Test content that you are not well-versed in yet), but if your current study routine is not helping you to feel confident about your studies, then a change might be warranted.

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Rich
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question.  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2017, 14:23
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi jsheppa,

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 2 CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (about 580 +/- a few points). Since both of these CATs were MGMAT CATs, it would help to know how well you perform on one of the Official GMAC CATs (since those Official CATs are the most realistic ones available).

Since you already appear to be working through a Course, there's the question of whether that Course best meshes with your personality or not (and how well that Course is helping YOU to improve). There's some logic to completing the Course that you're in (since you admit that there is Test content that you are not well-versed in yet), but if your current study routine is not helping you to feel confident about your studies, then a change might be warranted.

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


I actually just signed up for a month of EMPOWERgmat this afternoon! I begin your course this evening :)

I am going to work through the 3 month plan, supplementing that with some MGMAT/Magoosh resources for fundamentals I might need some extra work with. I will make sure to use one of my GMAC CATs the next time for that one.

I think this will be a positive change. My enthusiasm is still high and I got into really good study habits, so I'm ready for pure learning immediately.
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Re: Another "I'm old and how do I GMAT?" question. &nbs [#permalink] 24 Oct 2017, 14:23

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