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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
hello, I have a question. How do I know that I spend too much time on a verbal question in real gmat because I can only see one clock?
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
hello, I have a question. How do I know that I spend too much time on a verbal question in real gmat because I can only see one clock?
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Hey guys, I am from India. Wanted to ask whether RD sharma is good book for foundation and advanced preparations of gmat. If so, which standards should i purchase?
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Hey guys, I am from India. Wanted to ask whether RD sharma is good book for foundation and advanced preparations of gmat. If so, which standards should i purchase?
Intern
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Status:Searching for something I've been searching..LOL
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Schools: Ross '20
GMAT 1: 590 Q35 V42
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Sushil18 wrote:
Hey guys, I am from India. Wanted to ask whether RD sharma is good book for foundation and advanced preparations of gmat. If so, which standards should i purchase?


Absolutely not. The methodology of questions asked in the GMAT and the questions dealt in RD Sharma are poles apart. Go for standardized GMAT texts. Either Manhattan or Veritas or any other prep company. You'll have to research their reviews to find out which one suits you.
Intern
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Joined: 14 Dec 2016
Status:Searching for something I've been searching..LOL
Posts: 46
Own Kudos [?]: 93 [0]
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Location: India
Concentration: Healthcare, Operations
Schools: Ross '20
GMAT 1: 590 Q35 V42
GPA: 3.5
WE:Medicine and Health (Health Care)
Send PM
Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Sushil18 wrote:
Hey guys, I am from India. Wanted to ask whether RD sharma is good book for foundation and advanced preparations of gmat. If so, which standards should i purchase?


Absolutely not. The methodology of questions asked in the GMAT and the questions dealt in RD Sharma are poles apart. Go for standardized GMAT texts. Either Manhattan or Veritas or any other prep company. You'll have to research their reviews to find out which one suits you.
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Hi BB

How are you?

I need some advise from you. Would really appreciate if you read below and advice.

I have been using magoosh since an year but due to personal commitment i left preparation for gmat midway. I just renewed Magoosh service (paid nominal fees of $50) and would be planning to give gmat again. I am targeting to give gmat by Mid November considering that I had already started preparation a bit last year.
For background I am not a native english speaker and I am comfortable with math. I was struggling a lot with english with around 50% accuracy. Quant I was getting around 70-80% accuracy.

Now I have following materials available:

1. Magoosh premium service
2. GMAT Club ultimate Grammar- I referred this document for learning basics of english as i am a non native english speaker. Also i was struggling a lot with sentence correction and reading comprehension so thought of picking this up. I have also started reading books as per your recommendation on blogs and suggestions on books to read. Have taken membership of a library and hiring books from there.
3. Aristotle Sentence correction and reading comprehension
4. Powerscore Critical Reasoning- Referred this book parallel to Magoosh videos for CR
5. Powerscore Sentence Correction/ Reading Comprehension
6. GMAT Official guide 2016 along with Verbal and Math books
7. MGMAT All Book Series

I was initially following 3 months beginners study schedule of magoosh last year but half way down i realised that i was struggling a lot with Verbal, which is why I went back to basics and started referring other material that i mentioned above.

I was finding verbal videos of magoosh confusing, simply because i guess I did not have proficient knowledge of Grammar.

What would be your advice to improve my verbal? Go through grammar book of gmat club followed by magoosh videos/ aristotole SC/ Powerscore CR/ Aristotle RC and then official guide?

Before starting I would want to formulate a concrete plan for GMAT so would want your input before starting as to which material I should finalise.

For Quant I am thinking of sticking with magoosh material followed with official guide and MGMAT and free material suggestion as per your blog. What is your input?

Lastly, does it make sense to buy Official Guide 2018 along with new Quant and verbal books? Or ignore them and stick with 2016 official guide set that I already have?

I am working and can devote daily 2-3 hours on weekdays and 6-8 hours on weekends.

Let me know your input on above things so that I can plan my schedule.

Thanks in advance.

Regards
Zubin
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Hi BB

How are you?

I need some advise from you. Would really appreciate if you read below and advice.

I have been using magoosh since an year but due to personal commitment i left preparation for gmat midway. I just renewed Magoosh service (paid nominal fees of $50) and would be planning to give gmat again. I am targeting to give gmat by Mid November considering that I had already started preparation a bit last year.
For background I am not a native english speaker and I am comfortable with math. I was struggling a lot with english with around 50% accuracy. Quant I was getting around 70-80% accuracy.

Now I have following materials available:

1. Magoosh premium service
2. GMAT Club ultimate Grammar- I referred this document for learning basics of english as i am a non native english speaker. Also i was struggling a lot with sentence correction and reading comprehension so thought of picking this up. I have also started reading books as per your recommendation on blogs and suggestions on books to read. Have taken membership of a library and hiring books from there.
3. Aristotle Sentence correction and reading comprehension
4. Powerscore Critical Reasoning- Referred this book parallel to Magoosh videos for CR
5. Powerscore Sentence Correction/ Reading Comprehension
6. GMAT Official guide 2016 along with Verbal and Math books
7. MGMAT All Book Series

I was initially following 3 months beginners study schedule of magoosh last year but half way down i realised that i was struggling a lot with Verbal, which is why I went back to basics and started referring other material that i mentioned above.

I was finding verbal videos of magoosh confusing, simply because i guess I did not have proficient knowledge of Grammar.

What would be your advice to improve my verbal? Go through grammar book of gmat club followed by magoosh videos/ aristotole SC/ Powerscore CR/ Aristotle RC and then official guide?

Before starting I would want to formulate a concrete plan for GMAT so would want your input before starting as to which material I should finalise.

For Quant I am thinking of sticking with magoosh material followed with official guide and MGMAT and free material suggestion as per your blog. What is your input?

Lastly, does it make sense to buy Official Guide 2018 along with new Quant and verbal books? Or ignore them and stick with 2016 official guide set that I already have?

I am working and can devote daily 2-3 hours on weekdays and 6-8 hours on weekends.

Let me know your input on above things so that I can plan my schedule.

Thanks in advance.

Regards
Zubin
avatar
Intern
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
awesome post

thank you! for the whole planning!
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
awesome post

thank you! for the whole planning!
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
bb wrote:

The Definitive GMAT Study Plan - 2016 Edition

Hope you find this study plan helpful - please PM me any of your tips or suggestions for those just starting out on their GMAT Journey You can bookmark this topic on GMAT Club by clicking the STAR button to the right[/url] or you can print it out for future reference.


Other Study Plans

Advanced Study Plan: Go from 650 to 700+
GMAT Course Study Plan
Ultimate Verbal plan
How to go from Q44 to Q50
How to improve verbal from V30 to V40[/textarea]

The decision to go for an MBA is a big one in itself. However, immediately upon decision, the big hurdle that most people face (unless you are applying for some certain Indian schools or a few online universities) is the GMAT. Unfortunately, GMAT is a beast that may need more than one attempt. However, crafting a systematic study plan with an objective focus to do better progressively will surely lead to success on the test day, and as a result the entire MBA application. The GMAT is also important for numerous other reasons

  • Recruiters, especially consultants, use GMAT scores as indicators of future performace.
  • The recently included IR section has shown to be somewhat correlated with B School GPA.
  • In the last few years, the average GMAT scores of top B Schools have risen steadily.
  • A high score on the GMAT often gets you into interesting conversation in dinner parties

While the last one may not be entirely true, the first three are good enough reasons to kick some serious GMAT butt, and I am here to collate a lot of experience in the GMAT Club forum to revise our extremely popular but slightly antiquated thread on the same topic.

At this point, before moving on, you may want to check out the GMAT Club 2-min Talk Videos. You will find several of our partners talking about basic and advanced strategies of the GMAT about topics ranging from how long you should take to prepare to whether you should retake.


Step 1: First, You should familiarize yourself with the GMAT structure and principles if you have not done so already - see GMAT FAQ for details. You can also visit https://www.mba.com and poke around. While you are there - go ahead and download GMATPrep - 2 practice tests released by makers of the GMAT. These 2 tests contain real GMAT questions, follow real GMAT principles, and are the best at estimating your GMAT score at any point in time.


Step 2: Take a practice test to find out how far you are from your target . Many believe it is a good use of one of the free GMAT Prep tests (I'll tell you to actually get more than 2 tests out of the package later). The main reason it is a good use is that you can see your starting point (now) and then compare it against the ending (taking GMAT). Alternatively you can use any other computer adaptive test from Princeton, Kaplan, Manhattan, or others and then use GMAT Score Estimator/Calculator to find your real GMAT equivalent. If you are offered to write an Essay (AWA) - skip it. For listing of all available GMAT tests - see https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmat-cat- ... 77460.html (This is slightly outdated and will be updated soon)

Step 3: Find out what GMAT score you actually need. Just to give you an idea - You need at least 700 for Top 10 schools, 680 for Top 20, and 650 for Top 50 to pass - meaning your score should not be an issue and you will need something 50 points higher to actually stand out. Most people are able to improve between 50 and 150 points - that should give you an estimate of what you can count on based on the diagnostic test you just took. You can see current average applicant GMAT scores here. To visualize the entire application process, please use MBA Timeline Tool

Step 4: Identify your weaknesses - take a look at your practice test score and note the raw score distribution (you will get one three digit score such as 600 and 2 two-digit scores such as 35, 40 - those two are your raw scores for each of the sections. They have corresponding percentiles). See how you rank in each. Also, do a basic mistake analysis and understand which question types are the most challenging for you. The options are PS, DS, CR, RC, SC and potentially even more detailed such as probability, or assumption questions, etc. Don't only look at what questions you got wrong, but also why. Why did you make a mistake? You can also take a diagnostic test - GMAT Club offers a Quant Diagnostic test and eGMAT offers a verbal diagnostic. Use this information to build your study plan.

Step 5: Design your study plan - finally!
You need to build up your toolkit and get some ammo for the GMAT. You will need books or a course (online or in person) to refresh/learn fundamentals and then test taking strategies. You will also need GMAT tests to practice those strategies and also evaluate your prep level. See these links for: GMAT course reviews, GMAT Math Books reviews and GMAT Verbal Books
Finally - chart/plot/graph your study plan - use this calendar format

Step 6: Avoid typical GMAT prep mistakes and pitfalls.
Here is the most common one I see - jumping into questions and tests completely unprepared and expecting results/miracles. GMAT consists of several layers and it is important to master each one before moving on to the next - think of it as of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. There is no use in satisfying your social needs before you can take care of basic needs such as safety and food. The same is here, if you don't know the underlying principles that GMAT is testing (such as grammar, arithmetic, etc) there is no use in solving hundreds of questions or taking multiple GMAT tests. This means that if English is not your native language, you should not work on the RC strategies if you can't understand half of the passage - you need to get comfortable reading long passages of text before moving on. To illustrate this principle, consider the following hierarchy for the GMAT:


In the General Knowledge stage cover basics for a chapter/section/area
In the Question Strategies stage start practicing questions either for the area you just covered or for an entire section but don't attempt questions for sections you have not covered yet
In the Test Strategies start taking full length tests and practice on putting questions and knowledge together

Step 7: Commit to excellence and doing the best job possible. Think about what you can do to improve your score – is it creating your own notes? Is it not moving to the next chapter until you are able to get 90% of the questions right? Is it reading a lot of fiction to get comfortable reading? Is it shifting your schedule to wake up at 5 AM and study till 8 before work? Is it investing in the right books, courses, and tests? You get the idea…


Study Plan Resources
Study Plan LevelMath ResourcesVerbal ResourcesPractice ResourcesTest Resources
BeginnerOffline: Manhattan GMAT Guides - 6th Edition (Latest), or Veritas Prep GMAT Guides, Manhattan GMAT Math Foundations. Online Resources: Magoosh, e-GMAT, GMAT Pill, EmpowerGMAT, Economist, and Optimus Prep all offer online courses, which are comprehensive and come with a study schedule by itself.Offline: Manhattan GMAT Verbal books - 6th edition, Powerscore CR (in case you do not like MGMAT’s approach), or Aristotle SC, CR, and RC bible books. Online Resources: Magoosh, e-GMAT, GMAT Pill, EmpowerGMAT, Economist, and Optimus Prep all offer online courses, which are comprehensive and come with a study schedule by itself.Official Guide 2016, Official Guide 2016: Quantitative and Verbal Review, GMAT Club Forum Tags, GMAT Toolkit app, GMAT Question pack 1GMAT Prep (free) GMAT Prep Exam Pack 1 GMAT Prep Exam Pack 2
AdvancedIn addition to the books mentioned above, you may want to go through the following Manhattan GMAT Advanced Quant, Jeff Sackman’s Total GMAT MathGo through the Thursdays with Ron videos - they deal with advanced verbal concepts, e-GMAT articles on GMAT Club are great as well. Take a look at the articles from GMAT Club Verbal Advantage as wellBunuel’s signature problems for quant, Official Verbal problems on GMAT Club, Hardest Questions on the forumManhattan CATs GMAT Club Tests, Veritas CATs


The time frame that we recommend for a start to finish GMAT Prep is 3 months. We recommend a quant heavy month 1, followed by verbal in month 2, and then getting it all together in the 3rd month.


Online Study Plan:

You can get online access to almost anything these days and self-paced options among prep companies have really gone down in price.

Step 1: Foundation Most Online courses have modules that teach the fundamentals and that will quickly help you build the foundation and come up to speed. These modules can be particularly useful for students who have not studied quant for quite some time or who are not particularly strong in Quant.

Step 2: Core concepts Once you have built a foundation, focus on mastering the concepts. Solve OG during this time and maintain an error log. Keep track of your mistakes and guesses - this will become your study guide in Month 3. This is also the time to get involved in GMAT Club’s math forum.
Determine where you stand: almost all online courses come provide plenty of CAT's. Start taking the math portion of the tests you have.
Move to Verbal only after reaching at a certain Level: Evaluate results and decide if you need to spend more time in Math and patch up certain weak areas or move on to Verbal. This decision will be based on your target GMAT score. If you are looking for high 600's and 700's, I would not move past Quant unless I was able to score around Q44 and possibly higher. Quant scores have been inflated recently with Q51 (highest possible quant score clocking a mere 97th percentile and Q49 is 79th), so make sure you are up there. Do not leave a section unless you were able to solve 90% of the questions correctly in the allotted time. Don’t run away from your mistakes – sooner or later they will catch up; the better strategy is to address them right there and then and make sure you never see them again.

If you prefer the online study option, use the Magoosh, eGMAT, Optimus Prep, or EMPOWERgmat online courses. They come with everything you need, including practice tests and quizzes. You can compare them all in the Marketplace. Online courses also provide constant feedback. Most also come with Free access to GMAT Club tests. Many self-study courses offer free trials so you can test drive them before you buy, and for most no credit card is needed. Your cost may even be less than with books ($99 - $300).

Mobile Apps:
There is a number of free GMAT Apps for iPhone and Android including GMAT Club's ToolKit. Many courses have free companion apps - Veritas Prep

Offline Study Plans


Beginner and Advanced Study Guide (Quant)



  • You may want to start off with Math guides from either Manhattan or Veritas, and as these guides are numbered, you can just follow along the progression they have. As you progress through different guides, make sure you are on top of homework problems (concept specific) in the Official Guides and the GMAT Club forum.
  • Start using an error log. An error log is one of the most crucial steps to problem solving, and it is imperative that you go back to the problems that you have missed or have gotten correctly with some level of difficulty. Error logs can range from complicated macros on the excel, or just a simple notepad. it really depends on your taste but we wouldn't recommend going overboard with the structure.
  • As you get more confident with the content of the Math portion, start familiarising yourself with the GMAT Club Math Forum. You will find thousands of people with the same problems as yours, and they just may end up becoming your business school buddies. Don't forget to follow Bunuel and his sets (mentioned in the resource table), as he will definitely add 5-10 points to your quant scaled score.
  • Optional Step: If you are feeling the load is too heavy and you are really weak in Quant get MGMAT Math Foundations; it is great in providing a more general overview of math concepts.
  • After you are done with the math section - start taking the math portion of the tests you have. (The GMAT Club tests provide ideal sectional quiz resources.
  • Evaluate results and decided if you need to spend more time in Math and patch up certain weak areas or move on to Verbal. This decision will be based on your target GMAT score. If you are looking for high 600's and 700's, I would not move past Quant unless I was able to score around Q44 and possibly higher. Quant scores have been inflated recently with Q51 (highest possible quant score clocking a mere 97th percentile and Q49 is 81st), so make sure you are up there. Do not leave a chapter or a section unless you were able to solve 90% of the questions correctly in the allotted time. Don’t run away from your mistakes – sooner or later they will catch up; the better strategy is to address them right there and then and make sure you never see them again.
  • If you need additional help in Quant - refer to the Math Resources on GMAT Club or the GMAT Math Books section.
  • If you are comfortable with Quant but want to get to Q50+, use the GMAT Club Tests - they contain only hard questions and were designed as practice for high-level math scorers. You can purchase them, earn a free subscription by earning 25 Kudos, or sign up with a partner course (almost all come with GMAT Club tests as a bonus)
  • Another worthwhile resource for you may be this quant-focused discussion: how to get from Q44 to Q50

Beginner and Advanced Study Guide (Verbal)



  • Start working on the Verbal section. You can start with any question type, but my suggestion would be to tackle Sentence Correction first as it is usually the most straightforward
  • Error Log!
  • Sentence Correction Optional Step: If you are not a native speaker, you will need a good grammar book or a verbal-intensive course such as the SC course by eGMAT that focuses on concepts for non-native speakers. Several grammar books are recommended on the Forum (https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-gra ... 79934.html). We have created a book specifically for this need - Ultimate GMAT Grammar (it covers all of the tested grammar topics on the GMAT, plus a bit more concepts that international students seem to struggle the most (articles, etc). The best thing of all is that it is Free ). Other books to consider are Kaplan Verbal Foundations and MGMAT Verbal Foundations. This is for you to decide how much help you need or how much time you have. Also, take a look at GMAT Club's Verbal Resources for many copies of study notes.
  • If you are short on time and can’t cover the MGMAT’s SC book, you can use the Aristotle SC Grail - it has good strategies and I have personally used it to prepare, so it does work, though it is not as complete as the MGMAT or Vertas Prep books.
  • Critical Reasoning Optional Step: If you need additional help with Critical Reasoning - Do not get both PowerScore CR and Manhattan GMAT CR - the books are virtually identical (not really but kind of). Instead, you can get an inexpensive online course such as SC eGMAT or GMAT Pill's CR Pill.
  • Reading Comprehension is often the hardest area to conquer. Unless you strongly feel that Reading is your forte, I would recommend you pick up a reading habit for the time being. I have written a large post on what I call GMAT Fiction and its benefits - take a look. I felt that reading books was a big contributor to my SC and RC abilities and gave me a 96th percentile in Verbal (not too shabby for a person who spoke zero English until 12). There are no downsides to this really - worst thing possible is that you would have read some great books. And yes - make sure you read them during your low productivity time (at night, during transit, etc).
  • Verbal forum should be your hobby by now and we have a great feature – GMAT Club Forum Timer. Use it! If you have not discovered it yet, you should – the timer will keep track of all your practice and even more – it will suggest you questions (every day Monday through Friday) that are at your level, and after about 10 questions in SC and CR, it will even give you a daily estimated GMAT score.
  • Verbal Advantage – you may have seen badges and posts about it – make sure you use this initiative. Every year for about 3 months, GMAT club teams up with the best verbal prep companies to bring you the best experts, articles, and questions. You can use these resources at any time and benefit from the previous years of work. Verbal Advantage 2015, Verbal Advantage 2013 and also the first season – Verbal Advantage 2012
  • Take the verbal-only portion of the tests to evaluate your progress (compare to how you did in the diagnostic test).
  • Another worthwhile resource for you may be this quant-focused discussion: how to get from V30 to V40


Last Month: Test Prep
  • This month should be spent on 2 things: taking full length tests (polishing your test taking techniques, timing, stamina) and Reviewing your error log (going through your weaknesses, making sure you understand why you keep making mistakes and how to solve every problem you encountered). You can start using Error log earlier than this by the way - the earlier the better.
  • You can also use this time to prolong your prep (we assume most will run about 4 weeks late and will need this time) or you can use it to spend on digging deeper in some areas.
  • Schedule your test if you have not done so already.
  • Start taking full length tests (including AWA and IR ) - this is important for your test stamina. Plan to spend a Saturday on this and then subsequent test review.
  • Spend a few weeks taking tests and drilling down into your areas of weakness. Create a "black list of questions" that you continue to struggle with and find a way to solve them with minimal mental effort.
  • For IR, there is always the big question of, how important is IR really, and the answer, clearly, is – nobody knows. We expect that it will be more definite in 2015/2016 years when the first IR test-takers have graduated and GMAC can trace patterns. Meanwhile, go here for IR resources and practice.

The BIG Day and Final Thoughts
Make sure you take a look at these before you take the GMAT:




!
Common Mistakes with GMAT preparation
1: Rushing to take tests before learning anything - waste of tests
2: Starting with the Official Guide - waste of official GMAT questions
3: Giving GMAT the worst time of the day - studying after a long day
4: Skipping basics and rushing to advanced topics
5: Moving through material too fast or too slow
6: Starting to prepare with poor English proficiency


Sidebar
At this time you will probably be wondering about questions such as “how many can I get wrong and still get a Q50?” and other questions which really do not have answers. If you find yourself wondering about these things at night, head over to the following discussions:

How long should you prep really?


The study plan above suggests 3 months, and that's probably 10-15 hours per week (2 hrs/work day and 5 hours on the weekend).
Over 3 months, that's about 120 - 180 hours, which includes reading some books, so the true study time is probably 80 - 120 hrs.
What if you study 2x or 3x of that and take 9 months instead of 3, can you triple your improvement? No, actually, your performance will be MUCH worse if you spread out your prep over a time period great than 5 months. Long study stretches are demotivating, hard to keep fresh, and ultimately ineffective as after 6 months, you start forgetting material faster than you can learn it and the time you will have to spend 75% of your time on refresh. It is much more effective to spend 3-4 months, and that’s what I would encourage you to do.

How do you Measure Improvement and what if you are not seeing any?


Many test-takers waste a lot of tests and precious time by taking un-needed CAT’s. As a matter of fact, you should be able to get away by taking no more than 10 CAT’s during your GMAT love affair. The question you may ask then is – how do I measure improvement and keep track of my score?
A number of ways actually:
  • Make sure you are hitting a certain percentage of the questions in each topic/subject. Set a goal such as 90% of questions have to be right in exercises, OG, or wherever. E.g. if you just covered Geometry, there is no reason to take a whole quant CAT since you will only hit 3-4 Geometry questions tops (perhaps as few as 1-2) and it will be a minimal impact on the score, while you will waste a few hours, waste a test, and more importantly, grow discouraged.
  • Use short quizzes and exercise. Let’s say you covered that same Geometry chapter in the book and only hit 50% on the quiz at the end of the chapter. Do 2 things: 1) Analyze your mistakes, read the explanations how to solve questions, and make sure you can solve each one of them 2) Go back to the chapter and using the mistakes you just made re-read/learn (make notes, create PPT, etc) of the areas you are still lacking. Then you can use OG, GMAT Club tests, Kapan Quiz bank, or whatever you want to do real short/quick checks to see if you have improved.
  • At this point in time, it does not matter what your overall Quant score is, it only matters what percentage of the types of questions ALREADY covered is.
  • You can use the GMAT Club Forum timer. As long as you take about 10 questions in PS and DS, you will get a quant raw score estimate and as soon as you do the same in SC and CR, you will get a verbal score estimate (note that RC is not evaluated). Learn more about the amazing and free GMAT Club Forum Timer and Workbook here.
  • Finally, once you have covered ALL of the quant topics, it is time to take the Quant CAT and similarly when you have finished the Verbal section, it is time to take the full Verbal CAT. (This is the reason GMAT Club tests have split quant and verbal CAT’s – we don’t think you really need to take a Full CAT until the very end when you are working on improving your stamina and test-day strategy, and at that point, you can just Quant and Verbal CAT’s with an 8 minute break).
  • What if No improvement? My suggestion would be to understand why, what needs to change, and how. You need to answer this yourself. If you can’t, post it on the forum, though I have to warn you, it is a hard one to answer from afar. A much better option is to get a tutor for an hour or two (that’s all you should need) to get you back on track. Any decent tutor can spot most of the issues after one session and you can use the second session to answer any questions and draft a personalized plan for the rest of your prep. You can also take a course – that’s become an especially popular and cheap alternative with the online offerings from EGMAT, Magoosh, and GMAT Pill, many of which have courses for less than the cost of books (as long as $59). Many of the courses are interactive and adapt to your needs. Online adaptive courses often are much more effective than books since they are audio visual, provide constant feedback, and provide instructor support.


You can bookmark this topic on GMAT Club by clicking the STAR button next to the topic name or you can print it out for future reference.


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Thank you for the post BB! I feel terrible about scoring a 660 and 650 in my two attempts without proper planning! I see that following were my problems - I did not have an error log, silly mistakes killed me and I had poor timing strategies. I am planning to give my test a last attempt for the third time and these tips are something I am looking forward to follow.
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bb wrote:

The Definitive GMAT Study Plan - 2016 Edition

Hope you find this study plan helpful - please PM me any of your tips or suggestions for those just starting out on their GMAT Journey You can bookmark this topic on GMAT Club by clicking the STAR button to the right[/url] or you can print it out for future reference.


Other Study Plans

Advanced Study Plan: Go from 650 to 700+
GMAT Course Study Plan
Ultimate Verbal plan
How to go from Q44 to Q50
How to improve verbal from V30 to V40[/textarea]

The decision to go for an MBA is a big one in itself. However, immediately upon decision, the big hurdle that most people face (unless you are applying for some certain Indian schools or a few online universities) is the GMAT. Unfortunately, GMAT is a beast that may need more than one attempt. However, crafting a systematic study plan with an objective focus to do better progressively will surely lead to success on the test day, and as a result the entire MBA application. The GMAT is also important for numerous other reasons

  • Recruiters, especially consultants, use GMAT scores as indicators of future performace.
  • The recently included IR section has shown to be somewhat correlated with B School GPA.
  • In the last few years, the average GMAT scores of top B Schools have risen steadily.
  • A high score on the GMAT often gets you into interesting conversation in dinner parties

While the last one may not be entirely true, the first three are good enough reasons to kick some serious GMAT butt, and I am here to collate a lot of experience in the GMAT Club forum to revise our extremely popular but slightly antiquated thread on the same topic.

At this point, before moving on, you may want to check out the GMAT Club 2-min Talk Videos. You will find several of our partners talking about basic and advanced strategies of the GMAT about topics ranging from how long you should take to prepare to whether you should retake.


Step 1: First, You should familiarize yourself with the GMAT structure and principles if you have not done so already - see GMAT FAQ for details. You can also visit https://www.mba.com and poke around. While you are there - go ahead and download GMATPrep - 2 practice tests released by makers of the GMAT. These 2 tests contain real GMAT questions, follow real GMAT principles, and are the best at estimating your GMAT score at any point in time.


Step 2: Take a practice test to find out how far you are from your target . Many believe it is a good use of one of the free GMAT Prep tests (I'll tell you to actually get more than 2 tests out of the package later). The main reason it is a good use is that you can see your starting point (now) and then compare it against the ending (taking GMAT). Alternatively you can use any other computer adaptive test from Princeton, Kaplan, Manhattan, or others and then use GMAT Score Estimator/Calculator to find your real GMAT equivalent. If you are offered to write an Essay (AWA) - skip it. For listing of all available GMAT tests - see https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmat-cat- ... 77460.html (This is slightly outdated and will be updated soon)

Step 3: Find out what GMAT score you actually need. Just to give you an idea - You need at least 700 for Top 10 schools, 680 for Top 20, and 650 for Top 50 to pass - meaning your score should not be an issue and you will need something 50 points higher to actually stand out. Most people are able to improve between 50 and 150 points - that should give you an estimate of what you can count on based on the diagnostic test you just took. You can see current average applicant GMAT scores here. To visualize the entire application process, please use MBA Timeline Tool

Step 4: Identify your weaknesses - take a look at your practice test score and note the raw score distribution (you will get one three digit score such as 600 and 2 two-digit scores such as 35, 40 - those two are your raw scores for each of the sections. They have corresponding percentiles). See how you rank in each. Also, do a basic mistake analysis and understand which question types are the most challenging for you. The options are PS, DS, CR, RC, SC and potentially even more detailed such as probability, or assumption questions, etc. Don't only look at what questions you got wrong, but also why. Why did you make a mistake? You can also take a diagnostic test - GMAT Club offers a Quant Diagnostic test and eGMAT offers a verbal diagnostic. Use this information to build your study plan.

Step 5: Design your study plan - finally!
You need to build up your toolkit and get some ammo for the GMAT. You will need books or a course (online or in person) to refresh/learn fundamentals and then test taking strategies. You will also need GMAT tests to practice those strategies and also evaluate your prep level. See these links for: GMAT course reviews, GMAT Math Books reviews and GMAT Verbal Books
Finally - chart/plot/graph your study plan - use this calendar format

Step 6: Avoid typical GMAT prep mistakes and pitfalls.
Here is the most common one I see - jumping into questions and tests completely unprepared and expecting results/miracles. GMAT consists of several layers and it is important to master each one before moving on to the next - think of it as of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. There is no use in satisfying your social needs before you can take care of basic needs such as safety and food. The same is here, if you don't know the underlying principles that GMAT is testing (such as grammar, arithmetic, etc) there is no use in solving hundreds of questions or taking multiple GMAT tests. This means that if English is not your native language, you should not work on the RC strategies if you can't understand half of the passage - you need to get comfortable reading long passages of text before moving on. To illustrate this principle, consider the following hierarchy for the GMAT:


In the General Knowledge stage cover basics for a chapter/section/area
In the Question Strategies stage start practicing questions either for the area you just covered or for an entire section but don't attempt questions for sections you have not covered yet
In the Test Strategies start taking full length tests and practice on putting questions and knowledge together

Step 7: Commit to excellence and doing the best job possible. Think about what you can do to improve your score – is it creating your own notes? Is it not moving to the next chapter until you are able to get 90% of the questions right? Is it reading a lot of fiction to get comfortable reading? Is it shifting your schedule to wake up at 5 AM and study till 8 before work? Is it investing in the right books, courses, and tests? You get the idea…


Study Plan Resources
Study Plan LevelMath ResourcesVerbal ResourcesPractice ResourcesTest Resources
BeginnerOffline: Manhattan GMAT Guides - 6th Edition (Latest), or Veritas Prep GMAT Guides, Manhattan GMAT Math Foundations. Online Resources: Magoosh, e-GMAT, GMAT Pill, EmpowerGMAT, Economist, and Optimus Prep all offer online courses, which are comprehensive and come with a study schedule by itself.Offline: Manhattan GMAT Verbal books - 6th edition, Powerscore CR (in case you do not like MGMAT’s approach), or Aristotle SC, CR, and RC bible books. Online Resources: Magoosh, e-GMAT, GMAT Pill, EmpowerGMAT, Economist, and Optimus Prep all offer online courses, which are comprehensive and come with a study schedule by itself.Official Guide 2016, Official Guide 2016: Quantitative and Verbal Review, GMAT Club Forum Tags, GMAT Toolkit app, GMAT Question pack 1GMAT Prep (free) GMAT Prep Exam Pack 1 GMAT Prep Exam Pack 2
AdvancedIn addition to the books mentioned above, you may want to go through the following Manhattan GMAT Advanced Quant, Jeff Sackman’s Total GMAT MathGo through the Thursdays with Ron videos - they deal with advanced verbal concepts, e-GMAT articles on GMAT Club are great as well. Take a look at the articles from GMAT Club Verbal Advantage as wellBunuel’s signature problems for quant, Official Verbal problems on GMAT Club, Hardest Questions on the forumManhattan CATs GMAT Club Tests, Veritas CATs


The time frame that we recommend for a start to finish GMAT Prep is 3 months. We recommend a quant heavy month 1, followed by verbal in month 2, and then getting it all together in the 3rd month.


Online Study Plan:

You can get online access to almost anything these days and self-paced options among prep companies have really gone down in price.

Step 1: Foundation Most Online courses have modules that teach the fundamentals and that will quickly help you build the foundation and come up to speed. These modules can be particularly useful for students who have not studied quant for quite some time or who are not particularly strong in Quant.

Step 2: Core concepts Once you have built a foundation, focus on mastering the concepts. Solve OG during this time and maintain an error log. Keep track of your mistakes and guesses - this will become your study guide in Month 3. This is also the time to get involved in GMAT Club’s math forum.
Determine where you stand: almost all online courses come provide plenty of CAT's. Start taking the math portion of the tests you have.
Move to Verbal only after reaching at a certain Level: Evaluate results and decide if you need to spend more time in Math and patch up certain weak areas or move on to Verbal. This decision will be based on your target GMAT score. If you are looking for high 600's and 700's, I would not move past Quant unless I was able to score around Q44 and possibly higher. Quant scores have been inflated recently with Q51 (highest possible quant score clocking a mere 97th percentile and Q49 is 79th), so make sure you are up there. Do not leave a section unless you were able to solve 90% of the questions correctly in the allotted time. Don’t run away from your mistakes – sooner or later they will catch up; the better strategy is to address them right there and then and make sure you never see them again.

If you prefer the online study option, use the Magoosh, eGMAT, Optimus Prep, or EMPOWERgmat online courses. They come with everything you need, including practice tests and quizzes. You can compare them all in the Marketplace. Online courses also provide constant feedback. Most also come with Free access to GMAT Club tests. Many self-study courses offer free trials so you can test drive them before you buy, and for most no credit card is needed. Your cost may even be less than with books ($99 - $300).

Mobile Apps:
There is a number of free GMAT Apps for iPhone and Android including GMAT Club's ToolKit. Many courses have free companion apps - Veritas Prep

Offline Study Plans


Beginner and Advanced Study Guide (Quant)



  • You may want to start off with Math guides from either Manhattan or Veritas, and as these guides are numbered, you can just follow along the progression they have. As you progress through different guides, make sure you are on top of homework problems (concept specific) in the Official Guides and the GMAT Club forum.
  • Start using an error log. An error log is one of the most crucial steps to problem solving, and it is imperative that you go back to the problems that you have missed or have gotten correctly with some level of difficulty. Error logs can range from complicated macros on the excel, or just a simple notepad. it really depends on your taste but we wouldn't recommend going overboard with the structure.
  • As you get more confident with the content of the Math portion, start familiarising yourself with the GMAT Club Math Forum. You will find thousands of people with the same problems as yours, and they just may end up becoming your business school buddies. Don't forget to follow Bunuel and his sets (mentioned in the resource table), as he will definitely add 5-10 points to your quant scaled score.
  • Optional Step: If you are feeling the load is too heavy and you are really weak in Quant get MGMAT Math Foundations; it is great in providing a more general overview of math concepts.
  • After you are done with the math section - start taking the math portion of the tests you have. (The GMAT Club tests provide ideal sectional quiz resources.
  • Evaluate results and decided if you need to spend more time in Math and patch up certain weak areas or move on to Verbal. This decision will be based on your target GMAT score. If you are looking for high 600's and 700's, I would not move past Quant unless I was able to score around Q44 and possibly higher. Quant scores have been inflated recently with Q51 (highest possible quant score clocking a mere 97th percentile and Q49 is 81st), so make sure you are up there. Do not leave a chapter or a section unless you were able to solve 90% of the questions correctly in the allotted time. Don’t run away from your mistakes – sooner or later they will catch up; the better strategy is to address them right there and then and make sure you never see them again.
  • If you need additional help in Quant - refer to the Math Resources on GMAT Club or the GMAT Math Books section.
  • If you are comfortable with Quant but want to get to Q50+, use the GMAT Club Tests - they contain only hard questions and were designed as practice for high-level math scorers. You can purchase them, earn a free subscription by earning 25 Kudos, or sign up with a partner course (almost all come with GMAT Club tests as a bonus)
  • Another worthwhile resource for you may be this quant-focused discussion: how to get from Q44 to Q50

Beginner and Advanced Study Guide (Verbal)



  • Start working on the Verbal section. You can start with any question type, but my suggestion would be to tackle Sentence Correction first as it is usually the most straightforward
  • Error Log!
  • Sentence Correction Optional Step: If you are not a native speaker, you will need a good grammar book or a verbal-intensive course such as the SC course by eGMAT that focuses on concepts for non-native speakers. Several grammar books are recommended on the Forum (https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-gmat-gra ... 79934.html). We have created a book specifically for this need - Ultimate GMAT Grammar (it covers all of the tested grammar topics on the GMAT, plus a bit more concepts that international students seem to struggle the most (articles, etc). The best thing of all is that it is Free ). Other books to consider are Kaplan Verbal Foundations and MGMAT Verbal Foundations. This is for you to decide how much help you need or how much time you have. Also, take a look at GMAT Club's Verbal Resources for many copies of study notes.
  • If you are short on time and can’t cover the MGMAT’s SC book, you can use the Aristotle SC Grail - it has good strategies and I have personally used it to prepare, so it does work, though it is not as complete as the MGMAT or Vertas Prep books.
  • Critical Reasoning Optional Step: If you need additional help with Critical Reasoning - Do not get both PowerScore CR and Manhattan GMAT CR - the books are virtually identical (not really but kind of). Instead, you can get an inexpensive online course such as SC eGMAT or GMAT Pill's CR Pill.
  • Reading Comprehension is often the hardest area to conquer. Unless you strongly feel that Reading is your forte, I would recommend you pick up a reading habit for the time being. I have written a large post on what I call GMAT Fiction and its benefits - take a look. I felt that reading books was a big contributor to my SC and RC abilities and gave me a 96th percentile in Verbal (not too shabby for a person who spoke zero English until 12). There are no downsides to this really - worst thing possible is that you would have read some great books. And yes - make sure you read them during your low productivity time (at night, during transit, etc).
  • Verbal forum should be your hobby by now and we have a great feature – GMAT Club Forum Timer. Use it! If you have not discovered it yet, you should – the timer will keep track of all your practice and even more – it will suggest you questions (every day Monday through Friday) that are at your level, and after about 10 questions in SC and CR, it will even give you a daily estimated GMAT score.
  • Verbal Advantage – you may have seen badges and posts about it – make sure you use this initiative. Every year for about 3 months, GMAT club teams up with the best verbal prep companies to bring you the best experts, articles, and questions. You can use these resources at any time and benefit from the previous years of work. Verbal Advantage 2015, Verbal Advantage 2013 and also the first season – Verbal Advantage 2012
  • Take the verbal-only portion of the tests to evaluate your progress (compare to how you did in the diagnostic test).
  • Another worthwhile resource for you may be this quant-focused discussion: how to get from V30 to V40


Last Month: Test Prep
  • This month should be spent on 2 things: taking full length tests (polishing your test taking techniques, timing, stamina) and Reviewing your error log (going through your weaknesses, making sure you understand why you keep making mistakes and how to solve every problem you encountered). You can start using Error log earlier than this by the way - the earlier the better.
  • You can also use this time to prolong your prep (we assume most will run about 4 weeks late and will need this time) or you can use it to spend on digging deeper in some areas.
  • Schedule your test if you have not done so already.
  • Start taking full length tests (including AWA and IR ) - this is important for your test stamina. Plan to spend a Saturday on this and then subsequent test review.
  • Spend a few weeks taking tests and drilling down into your areas of weakness. Create a "black list of questions" that you continue to struggle with and find a way to solve them with minimal mental effort.
  • For IR, there is always the big question of, how important is IR really, and the answer, clearly, is – nobody knows. We expect that it will be more definite in 2015/2016 years when the first IR test-takers have graduated and GMAC can trace patterns. Meanwhile, go here for IR resources and practice.

The BIG Day and Final Thoughts
Make sure you take a look at these before you take the GMAT:




!
Common Mistakes with GMAT preparation
1: Rushing to take tests before learning anything - waste of tests
2: Starting with the Official Guide - waste of official GMAT questions
3: Giving GMAT the worst time of the day - studying after a long day
4: Skipping basics and rushing to advanced topics
5: Moving through material too fast or too slow
6: Starting to prepare with poor English proficiency


Sidebar
At this time you will probably be wondering about questions such as “how many can I get wrong and still get a Q50?” and other questions which really do not have answers. If you find yourself wondering about these things at night, head over to the following discussions:

How long should you prep really?


The study plan above suggests 3 months, and that's probably 10-15 hours per week (2 hrs/work day and 5 hours on the weekend).
Over 3 months, that's about 120 - 180 hours, which includes reading some books, so the true study time is probably 80 - 120 hrs.
What if you study 2x or 3x of that and take 9 months instead of 3, can you triple your improvement? No, actually, your performance will be MUCH worse if you spread out your prep over a time period great than 5 months. Long study stretches are demotivating, hard to keep fresh, and ultimately ineffective as after 6 months, you start forgetting material faster than you can learn it and the time you will have to spend 75% of your time on refresh. It is much more effective to spend 3-4 months, and that’s what I would encourage you to do.

How do you Measure Improvement and what if you are not seeing any?


Many test-takers waste a lot of tests and precious time by taking un-needed CAT’s. As a matter of fact, you should be able to get away by taking no more than 10 CAT’s during your GMAT love affair. The question you may ask then is – how do I measure improvement and keep track of my score?
A number of ways actually:
  • Make sure you are hitting a certain percentage of the questions in each topic/subject. Set a goal such as 90% of questions have to be right in exercises, OG, or wherever. E.g. if you just covered Geometry, there is no reason to take a whole quant CAT since you will only hit 3-4 Geometry questions tops (perhaps as few as 1-2) and it will be a minimal impact on the score, while you will waste a few hours, waste a test, and more importantly, grow discouraged.
  • Use short quizzes and exercise. Let’s say you covered that same Geometry chapter in the book and only hit 50% on the quiz at the end of the chapter. Do 2 things: 1) Analyze your mistakes, read the explanations how to solve questions, and make sure you can solve each one of them 2) Go back to the chapter and using the mistakes you just made re-read/learn (make notes, create PPT, etc) of the areas you are still lacking. Then you can use OG, GMAT Club tests, Kapan Quiz bank, or whatever you want to do real short/quick checks to see if you have improved.
  • At this point in time, it does not matter what your overall Quant score is, it only matters what percentage of the types of questions ALREADY covered is.
  • You can use the GMAT Club Forum timer. As long as you take about 10 questions in PS and DS, you will get a quant raw score estimate and as soon as you do the same in SC and CR, you will get a verbal score estimate (note that RC is not evaluated). Learn more about the amazing and free GMAT Club Forum Timer and Workbook here.
  • Finally, once you have covered ALL of the quant topics, it is time to take the Quant CAT and similarly when you have finished the Verbal section, it is time to take the full Verbal CAT. (This is the reason GMAT Club tests have split quant and verbal CAT’s – we don’t think you really need to take a Full CAT until the very end when you are working on improving your stamina and test-day strategy, and at that point, you can just Quant and Verbal CAT’s with an 8 minute break).
  • What if No improvement? My suggestion would be to understand why, what needs to change, and how. You need to answer this yourself. If you can’t, post it on the forum, though I have to warn you, it is a hard one to answer from afar. A much better option is to get a tutor for an hour or two (that’s all you should need) to get you back on track. Any decent tutor can spot most of the issues after one session and you can use the second session to answer any questions and draft a personalized plan for the rest of your prep. You can also take a course – that’s become an especially popular and cheap alternative with the online offerings from EGMAT, Magoosh, and GMAT Pill, many of which have courses for less than the cost of books (as long as $59). Many of the courses are interactive and adapt to your needs. Online adaptive courses often are much more effective than books since they are audio visual, provide constant feedback, and provide instructor support.


You can bookmark this topic on GMAT Club by clicking the STAR button next to the topic name or you can print it out for future reference.


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Thank you for the post BB! I feel terrible about scoring a 660 and 650 in my two attempts without proper planning! I see that following were my problems - I did not have an error log, silly mistakes killed me and I had poor timing strategies. I am planning to give my test a last attempt for the third time and these tips are something I am looking forward to follow.
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Hi,
I am planning to take GMAT in 30 days, which means I have very less time. Also I go to office so most of the time I am busy.
Is it possible to crack gmat in 30 days?
If yes, then what strategy should I follow to prepare for GMAT? Also what are the free sources available to study online?

Regards,
Nidhi
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
Hi,
I am planning to take GMAT in 30 days, which means I have very less time. Also I go to office so most of the time I am busy.
Is it possible to crack gmat in 30 days?
If yes, then what strategy should I follow to prepare for GMAT? Also what are the free sources available to study online?

Regards,
Nidhi
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
nidhisinghal wrote:
Hi,
I am planning to take GMAT in 30 days, which means I have very less time. Also I go to office so most of the time I am busy.
Is it possible to crack gmat in 30 days?
If yes, then what strategy should I follow to prepare for GMAT? Also what are the free sources available to study online?

Regards,
Nidhi


well, I see that you have working experiences. Now, you need a good resume, and three or a bunch of good recommendations.
All these will make up for your average gmat score if you are unlucky in the test.

For the gmat, you can do good in SC if you learn by heart the grammar points from Manhattan, Kaplan, Official Guide.
Reading should not be too hard to you if you are native English speaker.
Limit to 2 minute per question -> skip hard questions.
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Re: GMAT Study Plan [#permalink]
nidhisinghal wrote:
Hi,
I am planning to take GMAT in 30 days, which means I have very less time. Also I go to office so most of the time I am busy.
Is it possible to crack gmat in 30 days?
If yes, then what strategy should I follow to prepare for GMAT? Also what are the free sources available to study online?

Regards,
Nidhi


well, I see that you have working experiences. Now, you need a good resume, and three or a bunch of good recommendations.
All these will make up for your average gmat score if you are unlucky in the test.

For the gmat, you can do good in SC if you learn by heart the grammar points from Manhattan, Kaplan, Official Guide.
Reading should not be too hard to you if you are native English speaker.
Limit to 2 minute per question -> skip hard questions.
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Thank you for this excellent post! :-)

I wanted to share my perspective on the GMAT data sufficiency section from my experience (Q50 recently)

Every GMAT data sufficiency question fundamentally tests one of three skills -

1. Re-framing the original question statement to a simpler question statement
2. Avoiding key ‘traps’ and avoiding inferring more than is fact based
3. Solving ‘just enough’ so you balance getting to the right place with not running off time

Once we adopt the above three as the core pillars behind solving DS question, things become much simpler.

Take for example -

A room contains 101 people, given there is at-least 1 architect in the room, how many total architects are in the room?

1. 32% of the architects are left handed
2. 71% of the architects are bongo players

The key to solve the problem is to realizee that the number of architects only can be a whole, positive number. It cannot be something like 1.7. -13! This radically simplifies the solution space. The original question is re-framed into something simpler which is principle (1). I would let you try out this question!

I have compiled all my experiences, tips and hacks in a dedicated free toolkit guide at :mastergmatds [dot] com . Advanced DS problem solving techniques for serious test takers. Please do give it a shot! :-)
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