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# Need advice/ need some help on how to start...

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Intern
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15 Jul 2010, 12:10
hey everyone, I'm new to the forum (waves hi).

I'm a journalist currently based in Afghanistan. I'm back in the US on a short break and took an online practice CAT last week.

I didn't score very high (420), which worries me.

I can handle living and working in a war zone, but critical reading and probability kicks my ass. I think time-wise too I didn't realize how much of a time crunch I'd be in during the test.

I'd like to hear from folks who started with low scores and managed to climb the ladder to a 700+ score. What is it that mattered the most? Practice?

The couple threads I've read so far are people looking to improve on high scores already (or maybe 100 points at most here or there. Which makes me wonder - is it possible to improve a lot more that?

I'm taking a ton of study materials back with me. I have spotty internet access abroad but I hope to be able to access the questions (especially for math) on here. I'm going to carry lots of CR questions with me to do everyday.

Let the games begin!
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15 Jul 2010, 13:19

There are definitely a few stories in the "battle forum" share-your-gmat-experience-8/

I have started with 540 and ended up with 750, so you can do 200 points too

The key to getting a high score and mastering the test is to obsess about it - love it, be paranoid about it, investigate everything about it, and live it. It sounds like you may not have too many distractions where you are, so when you are in a quiet place and have a few hours, just dive into it. The ultimate inside desire for MBA/change of careers (you of all the people), usually are the big motivators.

However, if you need a 600 or smth like that, just run through the MGMAT guides - it usually is enough. If you are a journalist (verbally minded person), you usually just need to figure out the CR's to make sure you are on top of it. Really depends on where you want to go with it.

Good Luck. Hope to see you around.
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15 Jul 2010, 13:23
3
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Hi, and welcome to the forums! Here is a good place to start: best-gmat-books-reviews-recommendations-for-your-prep-77703.html

And here is a list of guides and question sources that will help you to perform well on the GMAT:

QUANT:
1. Manhattan Math Series - Purchase all five math books. This is all you need to grasp the concepts.

VERBAL:
1. Manhattan SC - The best SC guide available.
2. Powerscore CR - The best CR guide available.

QUESTION SOURCES:
1. GMATClub Tests - Simply put, the hardest practice questions available.
2. Jeff Sackmann's math sets - Questions of the highest quality.
3. OG Quant, Verbal, and 12th edition - Necessary, but not enough for a 700-plus score for most people.
4. GMATClub Forums - Thousands of high-quality GMAT and LSAT questions, along with explanations. For free too!
5. Test Simulations - The best are GMATPrep and Manhattan, in that order. If you purchase any Manhattan book, you can access six online CAT's for free.

1. Powerscore LR - Only for those who are truly weak in CR and can spare the extra time and money.
2. Powerscore RC - Only for those who are truly weak in RC.
3. LSAT SuperPrep - Excessive, but this book contains 100 RC and 150 LR questions for a reasonable price.

Your dilemma, however, is internet access. This may pose a problem for GMATClub and Jeff Sackmann's resources, as well as the CAT's. One thing for sure, though, is to save the GMATClub Tests and one GMATPrep test for last. And while I love Jeff Sackmann's questions, if you find them too expensive or difficult to access, don't worry. The OG and GMATClub Tests should be enough.

I also included some LSAT material, but these are not necessary for a high score. However, the SuperPrep might appeal to you if internet prohibits sufficient online practice at GMATClub.
_________________

Last edited by BM on 15 Jul 2010, 16:23, edited 1 time in total.
Intern
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15 Jul 2010, 14:15
bb -

Thank you very much for pointing me in the right direction -- the "battle forum" and your story were exactly the encouragement I needed right now.

May I ask - once you mastered the content (or with CR, figured out how to get the right answer) - what strategies did you employ to become faster? Time was a huge issue for me when I took the practice CAT. Even now, going over CR questions, I get them right when I'm able to spend a lot of time on a question (I realize I'm just starting though).

"The key to getting a high score and mastering the test is to obsess about it - love it, be paranoid about it..."

Or hate it? Is that acceptable at this stage? I kid.

Thanks again.
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15 Jul 2010, 14:18
bmillan01 -

Thanks! I actually just bought a couple of the MGMAT books - they are super tough though. Seems like they specifically use really tough q's in their problem sets (I bought the one for probability). Would you recommend looking at any of the Kaplan or PReview books for math at all? No? Not helpful?

And should I be using the OG books as practice tests? Don't waste the questions when just reviewing, right?

Thank you so much. Really helpful.
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15 Jul 2010, 16:43
journo123 wrote:
Would you recommend looking at any of the Kaplan or PReview books for math at all? No? Not helpful?

I wouldn't recommend Princeton Review to anyone whose goal is to score above 600. Kaplan receives mixed reviews. Some score quite well with that company's products, while others have only negative things to say. I don't consider Kaplan guides a bad choice, but can't say much either way since I never used them. I used MGMAT and can vouch for its quality.

journo123 wrote:
And should I be using the OG books as practice tests? Don't waste the questions when just reviewing, right?

MGMAT has a list of suggested OG problems to do for each section. But I ignored the OG until after finishing all the Manhattan math guides. This strategy didn't work for me. There are four more math books after you finish the first one, so you are likely to forget some of the material. I say go ahead and use the recommended OG questions alongside the MGMAT books. This will reinforce the material just learned in each section. Finish off any remaining questions afterward.

However, this is assuming that you will use all of the MGMAT math books. If you're asking in general whether to use the OG before, or as a substitute for, studying a math guide, then no. If you want to take a diagnostic test, use one of your GMATPrep Test simulations.

Some people attempt the OG questions as a practice test in order to mimic actual test conditions. That's acceptable if it works for you. Everyone is different. But if you choose that route, study the math guides first.
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15 Jul 2010, 22:40
First and foremost, declutter your mind with worries. With the right study habit and schedule I am sure you would be up in 700 in no time. This won't be a quick fix, I have seen people hurdle a 12hrs 3 weeks study habit and they did great in the exam. I am sure you would find a comfortable and suitable study habit too.
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16 Jul 2010, 07:13
Thanks bmillan! Really appreciate the insight... I've bought the Powerscore CR as well now... Looking forward to cracking CR and doing better this time.

byanmorales - thanks for the encouragement!
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17 Jul 2010, 14:10
My suggestion.
Review your CAT Scores. and recognize weak areas.

Get yourself Manhattan GMAT Prep Guides, GMAT Official Guide, OG Verbal, OG Quantitative.
Get yourself access to Manhattan Online OG Companion. Though word says OG Companion it is quantitative companion and not verbal companion.

Get access to Manhattan Online class recordings. / Enroll into such a class.

Be sincere. Be genuine. Do not rush through the schedule Manhattan Study Tracker will help you in schedule. Do not try fool it, you will fool yourself.

Good luck. On average takes about 3-4months preparation. Too long a preparation spoils your effort because you can not remember things for very long... Cook a hot preparation and while its HOT... Make a good throw
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22 Jul 2010, 09:14
Thanks cebenez - I'll definitely look into the Manhattan online OG companion (though my internet here is pretty crap).

bmillan01 - going through the CR Powerscore right now. Thanks for this! Great book. Very helpful.
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22 Jul 2010, 21:39
1
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I am also a former journalist who scored in the 400s as well the first time I took GMATprep test. I found GMAT testing is very different from the type of work you do in J-school and in the field. So I think the first month or so...it will be about training your brain to think the GMAT way with practice questions from OG supplemented with Manhattan GMAT books or Kaplan Premier(I found this very helpful). It also comes with practice tests.
I am also taking an online course which I believe is helping me hone in on the math...which was my weakness.

I'm not sure if you have started an error log...but I would highly recommend it...and whatever happens don't get discouraged by scores...I have gone through ups and downs with the GMAT, but I know it's possible to get the score you want. I wish you the best...and good luck
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Status: Nothing comes easy: neither do I want.
Joined: 12 Oct 2009
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Concentration: Technology, Entrepreneurship
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22 Jul 2010, 21:47
bmillan01 wrote:
Hi, and welcome to the forums! Here is a good place to start: best-gmat-books-reviews-recommendations-for-your-prep-77703.html

And here is a list of guides and question sources that will help you to perform well on the GMAT:

QUANT:
1. Manhattan Math Series - Purchase all five math books. This is all you need to grasp the concepts.

VERBAL:
1. Manhattan SC - The best SC guide available.
2. Powerscore CR - The best CR guide available.

QUESTION SOURCES:
1. GMATClub Tests - Simply put, the hardest practice questions available.
2. Jeff Sackmann's math sets - Questions of the highest quality.
3. OG Quant, Verbal, and 12th edition - Necessary, but not enough for a 700-plus score for most people.
4. GMATClub Forums - Thousands of high-quality GMAT and LSAT questions, along with explanations. For free too!
5. Test Simulations - The best are GMATPrep and Manhattan, in that order. If you purchase any Manhattan book, you can access six online CAT's for free.

1. Powerscore LR - Only for those who are truly weak in CR and can spare the extra time and money.
2. Powerscore RC - Only for those who are truly weak in RC.
3. LSAT SuperPrep - Excessive, but this book contains 100 RC and 150 LR questions for a reasonable price.

Your dilemma, however, is internet access. This may pose a problem for GMATClub and Jeff Sackmann's resources, as well as the CAT's One thing for sure, though, is to save the GMATClub Tests and one GMATPrep test for last. And while I love Jeff Sackmann's questions, if you find them too expensive or difficult to access, don't worry. The OG and GMATClub Tests should be enough.

I also included some LSAT material, but these are not necessary for a high score. However, the SuperPrep might appeal to you if internet prohibits sufficient online practice at GMATClub.

This list is comprehensive and you guys can follow it blindly.
+1

Those who feel Mgmat books are tough, ignore advance topics initially.
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27 Jul 2010, 19:40
journo123 wrote:
Thanks bmillan! Really appreciate the insight... I've bought the Powerscore CR as well now... Looking forward to cracking CR and doing better this time.

byanmorales - thanks for the encouragement!

my pleasure dude! I hope that your soon post would be updating us that things went well for you and your GMAT score...
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27 Jul 2010, 21:14
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greetings from kabul -

sosogmat - good to hear from other journalists on the same journey!

You are SO right about needing to train your mind to think differently. Its a challenge for me to sit with a bunch of books, tackle problems and not feel like something's missing or that I'm missing something!

I'm still tackling verbal at the moment, but will switch to math soon. Can I ask which online course you're taking? I bought the Mgmat books and OG guides along with me and will start cracking those soon.

gurpreet-ji - congrats on becoming a moderator! I look forward to reading more posts from you. When I get to math I'm definitely starting with basics - the mgmat book on probability has given me a bit of a scare (I find it way too tough).

bmillan01 - the Powerscore CR is the best! I have you to thank for my boost in confidence with CR questions (though the "weaken" ones still give me a run for my money).

byanmorales - fingers and toes crossed! Even if it takes me years...

Hope you are all well.
Am going to do my best to tune in more often (internet gods here permitting of course).

Thank you again for all the great advice & posts.
It's made the biggest difference with how I now view and approach this test.
CEO
Status: Nothing comes easy: neither do I want.
Joined: 12 Oct 2009
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Location: Malaysia
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28 Jul 2010, 05:31
concentrate more on important topics : namely number properties, inequalities, venn diagram, co-ordinate geometry, word problems etc.

Combination and probability are not much asked. So just do the basics of both the topics.
_________________

Fight for your dreams :For all those who fear from Verbal- lets give it a fight

Money Saved is the Money Earned

Jo Bole So Nihaal , Sat Shri Akaal

GMAT Club Premium Membership - big benefits and savings

Gmat test review :
http://gmatclub.com/forum/670-to-710-a-long-journey-without-destination-still-happy-141642.html

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28 Jul 2010, 06:03
journo123 wrote:
bmillan01 - the Powerscore CR is the best! I have you to thank for my boost in confidence with CR questions (though the "weaken" ones still give me a run for my money).

Thank you!

If a particular question type still poses a problem, make sure to read that chapter again. Trust me, rereading is one of the best things you can do for the GMAT. I did so for almost every guidebook.

The Powerscore CR Bible truly is a fantastic guide. The same can be said for Manhattan SC, though most recommend reading that book at least twice. But right now you're off to a great start. Just keep building confidence and learning the concepts.
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28 Jul 2010, 08:57
Hi bb, Can you send me the link for your GMAT experience thread? your story seem really interesting. May be it will inspire me to reach above 700.

bb wrote:

There are definitely a few stories in the "battle forum" share-your-gmat-experience-8/

I have started with 540 and ended up with 750, so you can do 200 points too

The key to getting a high score and mastering the test is to obsess about it - love it, be paranoid about it, investigate everything about it, and live it. It sounds like you may not have too many distractions where you are, so when you are in a quiet place and have a few hours, just dive into it. The ultimate inside desire for MBA/change of careers (you of all the people), usually are the big motivators.

However, if you need a 600 or smth like that, just run through the MGMAT guides - it usually is enough. If you are a journalist (verbally minded person), you usually just need to figure out the CR's to make sure you are on top of it. Really depends on where you want to go with it.

Good Luck. Hope to see you around.

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29 Jul 2010, 17:43
gurpreetsingh wrote:
concentrate more on important topics : namely number properties, inequalities, venn diagram, co-ordinate geometry, word problems etc.

Combination and probability are not much asked. So just do the basics of both the topics.

yes, do this ^^^^
Re: Need advice/ need some help on how to start...   [#permalink] 29 Jul 2010, 17:43
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