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My GMAT journey -from scratch to 550-600??

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Joined: 06 Jan 2013
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My GMAT journey -from scratch to 550-600?? [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jan 2013, 06:13
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Hey you out there!

Actually I want to use this thread to share my thoughts on the GMAT with you as I am preparing for an application at several European Business Schools / Universities. I hope this thread can help me to organize my preparation for the GMAT in a better way, but I will also give you an insight about how someone who is not the ideal GMAT candidate, can (at least I hope so) reach his goal of handing in a suitable GMAT score for admission at an European university. I will update this thread continously to show you my learning improvements as I am having a goal to reach: A GMAT score of about 550-600.

Personal experience in logic and language:

Logic - almost nothing. I´ve been attending high school in Germany for about 9 years, which leads to the permission to study at a state university. My majors were English and German, my minors Biology and History. Actually Maths was my weakest school subject in high school - a teacher once told me I do have a good sense for logic, but do miss the basics to transform this sense into countable results. Actually I had to repeat the 9th grade in high school because of really bad grades in maths.. great conditions for taking the GMAT - I guess.. After I´ve decided to study Economics at a german university in 2008 (I had my "Abitur", which is the relevant high school certificate, in 2006) I had to prepare for a math test which was necessary to take on studies in the first term. I´ve passed the test, but neither had a good grade nor had a good feeling of what was up to come during the next three years. Actually, I finally got the bachelors grade, even with my flaws in mathematics, because I´ve tried to just pass the heavy math-intense courses (finance, accounting) and put my emphasis on other subjects to reach suitable grades there. Actually i´ve never really "hated" mathematics, I just found my talents to be somewhere else.


Since I´ve been learning english since I was 10 (I am 26 by now) I do understand almost everything the english language wants me to understand. I read all the newspapers, listen to british radio and can easily follow english conversations held by natives. Maybe my writing has gotten a bit "rusty", but I will improve on this issue since I am preparing for the TOEFL test as well (hope I can reach this goal a little sooner than the GMAT). So this shouldnt be a problem, but the "sentence corrections" in the Verbal part of the GMAT are, not always, but sometimes, a mystery to me. I hope I will improve on this as well, as I am looking for a workbook on this topic, by now.

Material used:

- GMAC GMAT Review 12th Edition
- GMAC GMAT Quantitative Review 2nd Edition
- Kaplan Verbal Workbook 6th Edition (ordered)
- Kaplan Quantitative Workbook 7th Edition (ordered)
- Kaplan Premier 2013 incl. 6 CAT

Useful links / threads:

- Math Number Theory by Bunuel
- Official Collection of SC, CR and RC
- GMATClub Testcenter - Free Tests
- Question of the day Newsletter!!
- Verbal threads by whiplash2411
- RC strategy thread by rhyme

Test date:

Actually my test date is on the 10th of February, but I guess I will reschedule it to a date in mid to late February. I hope this leaves enough time for preparation, but, if I recognise I didn´t had enough preparation time, I would reschedule once more.

Time spent:

Actually I think I spent about 30 hours just to get an idea of the GMAT format, the contents of the test and a first prep Test by now. I do have approximately 3 hours after each workday (Monday-Friday) in the evening for preparation and approx. 5 hours on Saturday and Sundays, which leads to a max. prep time of 25 hours per week.

1. Week (January 1st, Tuesday - January 6th, Sunday): Approx. 30 hrs.
2. Week (January 7th, Monday - January, 13th, Sunday): Approx. 3 hrs.

Test Scores:

GMAT Prep 1: Saturday, 5th of January, 420 Pts. - Q 25 (14 Perc.) Math V 23 (29 Perc.) Verbal
Kaplan GMAT Premier, 14th of February, - Q 39 (48 Perc.) Math, 550 (Just Math)
Kaplan GMAT Premier, 16th of February, 590 Pts. - Q 42,5 (59 Perc.) Math V 31,5 (59 Perc.) Verbal
GMAT 1, 17th of February, 17th of February, 540 Pts. - Q 38 (46 Perc.) Math V 27 (43 Perc.) Verbal


My GMAT journey actually began on the first of January in the new year. I already had my books and first tried to get an overview about the test structure. Maths, Verbal, AWA - so far, so good. Afterwards I skimmed through some practice questions and instantly found out I had almost now idea about what to do in the different questions. A calculator wasn´t allowed (I wasn´t even able to calculate multiplications by hand) and I had major problems to find answers to the questions.

So, afterwards I thought about what my major problems were, so I made a list which showed the following points:

- Serious problems in understanding the mathematical terms used in english language
- Major issues with squares, roots, terms, arithmetics and algebra.
- minor problems in sentence corrections
- no idea how to approach different question types

This list led me to getting in touch with the test format again, till the end of the first week, in which I tried to accomplish easy tasks like transforming simple equations containing roots and squares, solving multiplications, divisions and subtractions by hand and forming easy equations by myself out of the text given. This showed some first results: When I tried to think about easy questions in the GMAT Review Quantitative book, I had some first results, but was really unsure about difficult questions, still.

Saturday, 5th of January:

I took the GMAT Prep test, which led me to a disappointing 420. During the test I had the feeling of catching the problem sometimes, but found myself to have the wrong approach or just not the skills to solve the problems in an appropriate manner. I´ve added another point to my To-Do list: "Basics!"

Sunday, 6th of January:

Today I´ve collected all the information useful I could find on gmatclub. I´ve listed the prep tests available for free and answered some Data Sufficieny Questions (most wrong, but with improvements). Again I´ve looked for different working material available on Amazon and bookmarked some of those books that seemed valuable for me (actually I think I will be ordering the Kaplan book because of the price, the 6 prep tests and add the workbook). In the evening, I watched some basic explanation videos for simple math questions on Youtube and reviewed some questions, again.

Monday, 7th of January:

I´ve began working on the GMATClub - diagnostic test suitable for forecasting your test score (forgot the name, thread set-up by bb) and solved the first half of the question accompanied by different explanation videos, search in different material and so on. I´m still not having an idea about how to solve some of the questions, because it seems to me like a lot of the questions are just determined by different rules or ideas how to simplify the problems. Sometimes I am sitting down with my pencil and try to make a calculation, even if I know there is a rule to use or some secret that you have to know to solve the question. Actually this left me a little annoyed before I got to bed, but I do hope I will catch up on this during the next weeks.

Tuesday, 8th of February:

Read about Integers, prime factors and geometry while sitting in the train and driving to work. Had no problem while solving some of the questions put up on the first pages in my head. The question of the day in PS was completely wrong (didn´t really knew what it was about), the CR question was right (yay!). Today I will put approx. 3 hours in the evening into ordering the remaining books and put a hand on the "Problem solving" part in the "GMAT Quantitative". I hope this leads to more insights and knowledge about my skills and lacks.

Wedneday, 9th of February:

Continued to solve PS questions for approx. 3 hours in the evening. Actually I am hoping the Kaplan books to arrive (Verbal & Quantitative) since I really want to know about the strategy those books bear for Maths & Verbal. PS went quite well today. Had a quote of about 80 % questions answered right, which is giving me some hope, even if I know those questions are low-mid level. My math knowledge is returning from the back of my brains, so I am quite satisfied. Tomorrow will be about DS, even if I am still looking out for material that covers integrated reasoning as well. Actually had some fun today => strange feeling.

Thursday, 10th of February:

First of all, I got the 4 questions on the "Question of the day Newsletter" for yesterday and today correct, which gave me a good feeling for today. Right now I´m looking forward for those Kaplan workbooks (arrival: today or tomorrow) ordered and I got an Email the Kaplan Premier 2013 is going to be in my hands sooner than originally scheduled (maybe on the 14h). Adding to this, I strongly recommend a few threads, first of all, the two threads set up by whiplash2411 about CR and SC and the thread "How to destroy reading comprehension passages" by rhyme. In there should be some useful strategies which I will try on the weekend. I´ve already read the rhyme-thread which seems to give a great strategy on on just "picking out the nuts" out of a passage and convert those pieces into the right answers.

+ The Kaplan books (except the Premier) did arrive this afternoon which led me to my desk straight and for the last 2 hrs. Did actually finish about 30 pages of the Math book and can say that this book is really "from scratch", in a positive way. If you´re lacking some skills that you lost after graduating from high school, this is the right book for you to look for. I will tell you more when I am done with all the contents in there!

Friday, 11th of February:

Actually I had a break today ;) Wanted to study in the Kaplan Math Workbook first, but just fell asleep in late afternoon, gonna go for it 2morrow.

Saturday, 12th of February:

P.S.: Again, this thread will be updated continously, please do not hesitate to send me questions or suggestions for improvements, I am thankful for any advice on this thread!

Kudos [?]: 1 [1], given: 7

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My GMAT journey -from scratch to 550-600??   [#permalink] 08 Jan 2013, 06:13
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