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How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in?

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Intern
Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 16
How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2009, 18:49
I work 40 hrs/full-time. Exam scheduled for Oct and MGMAT materials on the way. This gives me around 3 months to prep.

Right now, I am studying a Kaplan book to sharpen up my basics. Its pretty basic and I don't really get too in depth because I read a post saying "it's better to focus on MGMAT guides" since the material is more GMAT exclusive.

How true is this?

Ideally, I try and put in at least 8 hours on weeknights and 4/4 Saturday and Sunday (16 hrs a week total).

I know this is going to vary by individual but I am still interested to know how much time people have calculated to fit their study goals...

Thanks
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Joined: 18 Jun 2008
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2009, 20:14
1
RichXXV wrote:
I work 40 hrs/full-time. Exam scheduled for Oct and MGMAT materials on the way. This gives me around 3 months to prep.

Right now, I am studying a Kaplan book to sharpen up my basics. Its pretty basic and I don't really get too in depth because I read a post saying "it's better to focus on MGMAT guides" since the material is more GMAT exclusive.

How true is this?

Ideally, I try and put in at least 8 hours on weeknights and 4/4 Saturday and Sunday (16 hrs a week total).

I know this is going to vary by individual but I am still interested to know how much time people have calculated to fit their study goals...

Thanks

Heres what I would do:
1. figure out what schools you want to apply to, and look up their GMAT range
2. Go through the kaplan book and have an idea of what the GMAT is about - take a GMATprep test and see where you stand.
Then, it'll be more clear how much studying you need to do.
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Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 290
Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2009, 21:31
Hi Jasonc,

I don't mean to thread jack (sorry RichXXV), but would you be able to tell me how much I need to study?

6/14: Gmat Prep 1 (no studying): 680
6/20: MGMAT CAT 1 (1 week studying): 680

My goal is 750+.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2008
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2009, 23:49
topher wrote:
Hi Jasonc,

I don't mean to thread jack (sorry RichXXV), but would you be able to tell me how much I need to study?

6/14: Gmat Prep 1 (no studying): 680
6/20: MGMAT CAT 1 (1 week studying): 680

My goal is 750+.

in order to get to 750+, you'll need an above average understanding of all the sections. The best way to prep for that is to start an error log (I can't stress this enough) and do a bunch of OG problems. Figure out what you're missing, and make sure you know all the concepts.

How much you need to study depends on which sections you need to work on.

For verbal - LR and SC usually doesn't take more than 15 hours of effective studying each for you to become proficient enough to score a 750. If you're weak in RC, then that may take a longer period of time.

For quant - hopefully there are only be a handful of concepts that you're not as familiar (I don't know your breakdown, so I'm assuming you have ~46-48 quant), and if you use an error log you'll be able to identify what these are, and learn them.

So, I'd say 40-60 hours of smart studying should get you to 750.
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2009, 05:23
RichXXV wrote:
I work 40 hrs/full-time. Exam scheduled for Oct and MGMAT materials on the way. This gives me around 3 months to prep.

Right now, I am studying a Kaplan book to sharpen up my basics. Its pretty basic and I don't really get too in depth because I read a post saying "it's better to focus on MGMAT guides" since the material is more GMAT exclusive.

How true is this?

Ideally, I try and put in at least 8 hours on weeknights and 4/4 Saturday and Sunday (16 hrs a week total).

I know this is going to vary by individual but I am still interested to know how much time people have calculated to fit their study goals...

Thanks

This is probably what I did for about 2 months. My time was not necessarily well spent though. Much of my time was making sure I had the attention span to get through the test. So I did a ton of practice tests start to finish (I repeated the entire set of MGMAT tests for example, on top of all the other practice tests). It's probably not a strategy I would recommend unless you're relatively confident you'll score well. I had an engineering background and was actually always better in English, so I was more worried about my lack of concentration.

I didn't find Kaplan too helpful for review. If you really feel you need help with basics, I still advocate GRE books, because I think they don't presume the same baseline of knowledge. Start out with the Official Guide and figure out where you're weak - if you are missing questions in the beginning, those are focus areas because those questions are easier. I found that if there were topics I was stuck on, I was better off going to the web and finding online tutorials on those specific topics and then doing those problems (stats & some geometry problems I did this for).

For verbal, I am a strong believer that writing things out and paraphrasing in your own words is critical. Eventually, you won't need to write it out and you'll gain speed. And read everything you can between now and then. Just reading will help improve your score.
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2009, 06:30
i am also working 40/week and basically using the evening to go over the material. usually 7-12 or so at night. Over the weekend it is a little more and i pretty much cancel plans until then... i am still trying to find a good balance for not overloading my head with all the techniques..
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2009, 08:16
i'd suggest first taking the OG diagnostic and one of the free practice tests out there just to see where you stand on your own merits.

the first 2 months i spent focused on learning the content and how to solve the problems or identify part of speech. i also practiced some of the techniques the guides taught just to see if they worked for me, those that did, i adopted, those that didn't, i developed my own style.

the last month i worked on problems under timed conditions to assure speed.

i studied for about 3 months. for the most part, i did 2 hours a night m-th (anything past two hours on a weeknight resulted in a decreased level of comprehension) and about 4-8 hours over the sat and sun. depending on your natural aptitude, anywhere from 8 - 16 hours a week sounds reasonable.

@ shaselai - i think 5 hours in the evening after a full day of work is going to be overkill and may result in burnout. the nights i worked on the gmat for more than 3 hours resulted in almost twice the number of errors than nights i worked for 1.5 - 2.5 hours, the brain just becomes fatigued. i'd suggest you trim that down to no more than 3 hours a night, and put in longer hours on the weekend.
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2009, 11:01
I work >40hr/wk + doing my masters. Currently I am off from school due to summer but I have a ton of work, still, I am trying to dedicate at least 2 hrs during the weekday and 8 hours during the weekends. I started my prep around the first week of June and was able to complete PR's Cracking Gmat and took a practice test (530 - not in timed conditions). So I purchased the entire MGMAT set and today I should be done with Guide 1/7. My plan is to complete the MGMAT set which includes the OG w/ Verbal and Quant review by July 17. And then I have a one week euro vacation , after that I will start with Powerset's CR Bible and do ~20 real CAT's under timed conditions. I am planning to give my CAT around the first week of Jan 2010, but I wont be able to study once the fall semster starts due to work and MS classes.

Let's see how that goes. I will update my progress and start answering some questions in the Math and Verbal forums once I am done with the Mgmat guides.

Btw, Good Luck with your prep!
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2009, 20:19
megafan wrote:
I will start with Powerset's CR Bible and do ~20 real CAT's under timed conditions.

This is WAY too many. Divide that by 4.

It's definitely important that you get comfortable with the test to reduce your anxiety, but taking the test 20 times is a waste of time. I'd suggest that you take the test 5 times and spend the 60 hours you have have spend taking the remaining 15 CATs on something more structured. If you want a variety of challenging practice questions, use the GMAT Club Math Tests.

I think we all get pretty carried away with the number of practice questions we feel obligated to complete, but Jeff Sackmann says it best. It's quality of studying that increases GMAT scores, not quantity of studying.

Even if taking 20 CATs was a a good strategy, you'd have a hard time finding that many

Good luck on the journey!
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2009, 01:54
Avernusaur wrote:
megafan wrote:
I will start with Powerset's CR Bible and do ~20 real CAT's under timed conditions.

This is WAY too many. Divide that by 4.

Not necessarily, depends on someone preparation style. I felt somehow incomfortable with this test and desperately needed to improve my stamina so I took over 30 CATs (mostly Power Prep and GMAT Prep) over some 4 or 5 months preparation. I used to take at least two each week simulating real testing conditions. I followed the pattern of 2-3 days of study and than a CAT, that was my regular circle. Sometimes I used to take one CAT at Saturday and then another tommorow. There is no general rule, it is really individual.

For me, study time of 1,5 - 2 hours a day was optimal. GMAT is packed with different concepts and your brain needs some time to process them. 5 or more hours of study per day might fry your brain and lead you to nothing but confusion. But again, it is individual - everyone has his own learning style.
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2009, 13:23
I haven't been studying long so I can't say which method is best, but in general, I also think volume sometimes overcomes quality. Of course you want to use your time as wisely as possible, but doing thousands of questions, and just repeating them over and over sometimes forces you to learn the concept. In the beginning you may not understand, but by repeating it, you eventually do.

I plan on doing about 8 - 10 CATS during a 10 week study period.
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Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in? [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2009, 14:11
topher wrote:
I haven't been studying long so I can't say which method is best, but in general, I also think volume sometimes overcomes quality. Of course you want to use your time as wisely as possible, but doing thousands of questions, and just repeating them over and over sometimes forces you to learn the concept. In the beginning you may not understand, but by repeating it, you eventually do.

I plan on doing about 8 - 10 CATS during a 10 week study period.

I agree the brute force method works - but there are usually more efficient ways of learning/understanding. However, sometimes we don't have the resources to help us learn/understand in the most efficient method (no tutors/no one to explain concepts - but people on this forum are exactly this type of resource), and in which case brute force may suffice.

8-10 CATS during a 10 week study period sounds perfectly reasonable - 1 practice test every week.
Re: How many hours a (week - weekend) should I be putting in?   [#permalink] 24 Jun 2009, 14:11
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