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GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying

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GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2012, 21:00
I am in the middle of my GMAT course and the work load is still pretty tough. I was wondering how should i effectively learn from my mistakes besides the regular spending a lot of time understanding my mistakes?(especially in verbal) How should i tackle this effectively with the heavy workload(homework) from my gmat class? thanks guys

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29 Feb 2012, 00:01
I am also in the middle of my GMAT prep. I have been solving MGMAT and Kaplan CATs and have scored 730, 710, 700, 700 and 710 so far. So, I am also trying to figure out a strategy to learn from my mistakes and get my score up to 760.

I have been following one strategy till now. (It has worked till now but I know I have to let somebody guide me now with a better strategy if I want to improve my score up.) I am pretty certain that the strategy I have been following till now got me up to the 700+ levels I am seeing.

I do a question set 3 times in succession. The first time, I try the question set under timed conditions. No matter what the number of questions in the set, I set a time of 2 minutes multiplied by no. of questions. So, if 25 questions then 50 minutes, and so on. I give it my best shot.

First round done, I analyze my score. In the second round, I don't set any timed limits. I just re-try each question, really trying to solve it on my own. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. If I don't, I read the solution and try to totally understand it. Then I move on.

Third try. I reset the clock back to the time limit. And do the test again. Sometimes, if I am tired, I only do the ones I couldn't solve in the 2nd round. It's funny how I can solve questions in the third round with much more clarity.

Three rounds done. I feel deeply satisfied that I have mastered this set of questions. I move on.

With this approach, I feel not only am I improving my problem-solving skills but I am also learning solutions to problems I couldn't solve in a much better way.

However, 5 weeks into my prep, I am plateauing at the 710 level. Can kindly please advise on how to get to 750 levels. Please!
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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 05:03
Wow great strategy budabiasta Im in my MGMAT class as well. I like the three round of question approach. I would usually do a set of HW problems in time conditions only and then go over each mistake trying to understand them as much as I can. I will put your approach in practice soon. Do you practice the same with verbal problems as well?

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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 05:44
CAmbitious wrote:
...Do you practice the same with verbal problems as well?

In the last five practice CATs I told you about, I have been consistently getting around 42 scaled score in Verbal. It's terrible I desperately need to get up.

But, yeah, I have been sticking to the "3-rounds" strategy.

Incidentally, I just took the day off today and read through this forum. I need a new strategy quickly. Someone in this forum said "it's just as tough to get from 600 to 700 as it is to get from 710 to 760". I don't know if that's true but if it is it means I need a new strategy quick!

I am going to put together all the tough question banks uploaded by Bunuel (for Quant) and Whiplash (for Verbal) and systematically solve each. I know I am not going to be able to cover all but my 3-rounds strategy ensures I do a good job of how much ever I do.

Good people, really, now is the time to step up and help!!! Please help me with advice on how to get from 710 to 760!
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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 05:47
Yeah, the quote was from GMATLA!

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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 09:01
Are you keeping an error log? This is honestly the best way.
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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 09:38
mohater wrote:
Are you keeping an error log? This is honestly the best way.

I am. But I think I need to focus on new, 700+ level question bansk now. Go through the toughest quant and verbal problems. Lots of help on this forum: Bunuel's quants and Whiplash's verbal materials, for example. I am going to sit tight and cover as much of this new material over the next few wks.

What do u think
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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 11:00
budablasta wrote:

I am. But I think I need to focus on new, 700+ level question bansk now. Go through the toughest quant and verbal problems. Lots of help on this forum: Bunuel's quants and Whiplash's verbal materials, for example. I am going to sit tight and cover as much of this new material over the next few wks.

What do u think

Doing problems may or may not prove useful. I replied recently on the few same issue. The whole point of the error log is to resolve why you're making mistakes. Simply doing more advanced problems rarely works (per my observations of from the replies people post on GC).

mohater wrote:
Given your relative consistency in scoring on all practice tests, my theory is you have underlying assumptions you don't know about that are causing you problems.

Are you keeping an error log? I'm going to assume you're not.

An error log helps you uncover these underlying problems that you may not be aware of. Simply reading content and doing problems doesn't always work. At this point in your life, if you consistently made verbal/math mistakes, their fairly embedded into your thought process/way of approaching problems. Your goal needs to be identifying these things and overcoming them. This is why an error log is essential.

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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 11:28
Hey guys,

Great article on learning from your errors by Manhattan GMAT instructor, Stacey Koprince: http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... ur-errors/

Best,
Matt
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29 Feb 2012, 11:38
mohater wrote:
budablasta wrote:

... Your goal needs to be identifying these things and overcoming them. This is why an error log is essential.

Mohater, I hear you. And I think I will do just that. I do have error logs for my OG12 study as well as for each of the 5 practice CATs I took (MGMAT and Kaplan). I think, like you say, I need to dust off those error logs and see precisely what I am doing wrong and where.
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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 18:31
Question for boudablasta:

When you go over your problem set 3 times, don't the questions become too familiar? If I repeat a set of questions too soon after looking at the answer (within the same day) I find that I remember what the correct answer was. So instead of solving the problem again I just choose the answer I know was right. Do you have any tips on how to avoid this?

Cheers.

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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 18:43
Try to target your exact weaknesses as specifically as possible. I know that it sounds simple, but a micro focus is fairly critical here. I was fortunate enough to know before I began my preparation that combinatorics, visual geometry, and sentence correction would be my core weaknesses. After a bunch of reading and preparation, I've come to realize that parallelism is by far my biggest weakness in the verbal section. Reviewing an error log AND finding new questions that target your weak areas are likely the way to see tangible improvement...

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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying [#permalink]

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29 Feb 2012, 18:59
Yekrut wrote:
Question for boudablasta:

When you go over your problem set 3 times, don't the questions become too familiar? If I repeat a set of questions too soon after looking at the answer (within the same day) I find that I remember what the correct answer was. So instead of solving the problem again I just choose the answer I know was right. Do you have any tips on how to avoid this?

Cheers.

Yup, good point. The questions become familiar. But when I am doing the question the third time in the same day, I resist jumping to the option that I remember is the right one and moving on.

Instead, if it's quant, I take in all of the information in the question again and try to solve it in the fastest approach. I also try to eliminate at least 2 options. In quant, the answer has to be arrived at through calculation, in most cases. So I actually solve the problem again, only faster.

In verbal, I read through all the options and eliminate all 4 wrong ones, across all sections - RC, SC and CR. Because I am doing it a third time, I catch finer nuances in the wrong options.

Yerkut, here's what: The real, ignoble reason is that I am scared that I may not have the time in subsequent weeks to come back to the question set I did today.

Anyway, now that we have talked about this and I have had the opportunity to actually think about it, I think it would be better if I did the third round two weeks later. Not on the same day.
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Last edited by budablasta on 29 Feb 2012, 19:30, edited 1 time in total.

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29 Feb 2012, 19:22
Try to target your exact weaknesses as specifically as possible...

Yup, Mohater suggested the same thing. I am going to put the brakes on my plans to plough ahead with new, harder questions. Instead, I am going to analyze my weaknesses and fix them first.

SC. I am not supposed to be weak in SC. I know all the rules. I have the "ear". It is the one section I am most "comfortable" in. Not supposed to get any wrong. But I do. I don't know. Maybe because in a live practice CAT, I don't go through all 5 options as carefully as I should. Parallelism, like you said. Exactly. I know it is not something I should get wrong but I still do. I need to redo my test-taking strategy on SC. Henceforth, I need to read through all 5 options and eliminate 4 options. I am going to do this in my future practice CATs.

CR. Again, CR is not something I am "uncomfortable" with. Like SC, I get some wrong and some right. In a live practice CAT, I don't "stay near the text". Henceforth, I am going to change my test taking strategy to do that. In CR passages, there is often a lot of cause and effect, correlation, etc. I need to be very clear on these relationships, even in the heat of a live test.

RC. If the passage is easy, I get all correct. If the passage is dense, I get worried that I am spending too much time and start skimming through the second paragraph. Then towards the end, I realize that's no way to write GMAT. So I go back and re-read the second paragraph. In that confusion, I have forgotten what the first paragraph said. Hell on earth. I go back to the first paragraph. Terrible RC strategies, I have!!! From now on, in live practice CATs, I am going to study the question stems first and then read the RCs carefully searching for answers to the stems. That'll take a lot of practice, I now.

Quant. Algebra, absolute inequalities, fractions, positives and negatives - All the question types you typically see in the first 10-15 questions. The "meat and potatoes" of GMAT Quant. I need to be rock-solid in these question types. So, I am going to improve my "application of fundamentals" by steadily and carefully solving through a large number of medium-to-hard questions.

Confession here! The moment quant starts, I panic! Seriously! I have no clue why! I look at the algebra or inequality and I freeze. I get it right but I am not calm. And later, in my analysis, I find that it was a 500-600 level question. Geez!!!!!
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29 Feb 2012, 19:34
Mohater, big shout out to you. I am going to be studying your thoughts on test-taking strategies and apply them to my weak areas!

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Re: GMAT- How to learn from mistakes effectively when studying   [#permalink] 29 Feb 2012, 19:34
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