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How To Study (Smart) for the GMATs??? [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2006, 21:30

hello everyone,

i took the GMATs back in may and scored abysmally low. my confidence plummeted when i saw my score, but i am ready to shift back into study mode again. i am not going to give up!

the way i studied: i took a princeton review course, did all the homework, and reviewed my wrong answers (sometimes). i studied for about 10 hours a week for 7 weeks. a pattern i noticed was that i kept getting the same type of questions wrong. i also didn't understand what some questions were asking, so that obviously contributed to my low score. additionally, i had problems pacing, especially in the math section. i spent the majority of the time on the first 10-15 questions, and was forced to guess on the last few questions. i took about 4 practice tests in between studying.

now that i have (somewhat) renewed my motivation, i want to tackle the GMAT using new approaches. i already have the princeton review - cracking the GMAT, kaplan book, and OG 11th edition. i've read that an error log helps -- how do i set one up??? how do i improve pacing? please share your study plans! basically, i want to know how to study SMARTER this time. i plan on taking the GMATs again in 2-3 months, so please help me out! Thanks.

Don't despair. People on this site have taken scores from the 300's and turned them into 600's. I think there was one guy who went from 500's to 780, though I cant find his post now. Another went from 540 to 680. There's a few that went from low 400's to mid six's too.

An error log is simple really -
You simply track which questions you get right and which you get wrong. However you want to do this is fine - excel is the easiest in my view, but you can do this in word or on a piece of paper. The idea is that you force yourself to come back to the questions you got wrong and understand why. This is especially true if you keep getting the same kinds of questions wrong.

The most common "mistake" I think people make - I was guilty of it too - is that you see a question, struggle with it, end up with an answer and it happens to be right, so you patt yourself on the back and move on. Problem is, you may have stumbled on teh right answer the wrong way. Similarly, a lot of times people will look at question, struggle, give up, and go look at how they solved it. They'll look an say "ah ok, yea ok, that makes sense." and move on. You really have to force yourself to stop and look at the answer and figure out why they did each step. Don't forget to track questions you get right but feel were impossible. If you spent ten minutes on a question and got it right - good - but not good enough.

Before you can realistically tackle timing, you need to start getting more right - once you are getting more right, start worrying about timing. If you try and do it together you will (a) get the problem wrong and also (b) not absorb anything from the problem because you did it so fast.

If you are struggling with the concepts on the GMAT - I.e. rate problems, geometry, sentence correction, I can't recommend these guys enough - buy the Manhattan books. If you don't buy any other book, buy their SC Book.

I share some Â«approachÂ» difficulties with rampup82 (can score between 420 and 710 in practice tests, according to my stumbling upon various number properties DS problems or science-related RC passages, situations from which stem all my pacing nightmares!).

Last edited by mercierdaniel on 14 Jul 2006, 17:51, edited 1 time in total.

thanks for the helpful tips, guys. i am 100% guilty of struggling with a problem, looking in the back for the answer, then say, "ahhh...i get it now." i need to break that habit.

i realize that OG 11th edition is an important tool. the problem is, i have trouble understanding its math explanations (i am the weaker in math than in verbal) because i'm so used to the princeton review explanations and techniques (plug-in the answers, ballparking, etc). the OG, as all of you know, uses real algebra and arithmetic equations to solve their problems. therefore, i found myself just briefly glancing through the OG explanations without truly understanding them. any advice on this???

i'll look into purchasing the manhattan guides. thanks for the advice. i really appreciate it!

thanks for the helpful tips, guys. i am 100% guilty of struggling with a problem, looking in the back for the answer, then say, "ahhh...i get it now." i need to break that habit.

i realize that OG 11th edition is an important tool. the problem is, i have trouble understanding its math explanations (i am the weaker in math than in verbal) because i'm so used to the princeton review explanations and techniques (plug-in the answers, ballparking, etc). the OG, as all of you know, uses real algebra and arithmetic equations to solve their problems. therefore, i found myself just briefly glancing through the OG explanations without truly understanding them. any advice on this???

Classic mistakes I described. Practically precognition on my part. If you are weak in math, absolute must is Manhattan guides. They are the only guides that I've seen that explain the math - they don't just show you a tip or a trick just to speed things up. They also (sometimes) show you more than one way to solve something.

For example, take algebra - the basic eq's like 3x + 4y = 7 , 5x + 2y = 8 (dont try and solve these i made em up)... what is 2x - 2y ? Option (1) substitute and solve, option 2 - realise that 5x - 3x and 2y - 4y = 2x - 2y ... they'll show you that method as well. Etc.

I personally relied solely on Manhattan + OG for studies. I had a kaplan book, but I never opened it.