One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant : General GMAT Questions and Strategies
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# One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant

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Manager
Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 78
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One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2013, 09:52
Hello all,

For the last two months I've been studying around 85% quant and 15% verbal. I have one 5 more weeks left until the exam and I really don't how to approach this last month. I want to start studying more verbal and have a 50/50 split in the studying sessions but I don't want to compromise any of my quant skills that I have learned. The most discouraging thing is when I am studying a topic and start doing really well in that topic, and then see that topic being tested again two weeks later I forget a fraction of the material. My weakness is definitely quant, however, in order for me to do really well in verbal (mostly critical reasoning and reading comp) I have to practice a lot of questions which takes up a lot of quant studying time.

Does anybody have a advice or know of any popular study methods?

I typically like to study 4 hours a day 2 hours at a time. What do you recommend?

-Split those 4 hours half verbal half quant,switch days?

-One day quant next day verbal?

or

-Two to three days quant and two to three days verbal?

Also, up to this point, I've been studying by mostly reading and THEN doing questions. I have been making an error log on the questions that I have missed. Should I change my method of studying also? Example - doing more sets and quizzes on a timely? I normally get every quant question done under 3 mins.

Any insight would be great.

Del
_________________

If my post has contributed to your learning or teaching in any way, feel free to hit the kudos button ^_^

Last edited by DelSingh on 13 Mar 2013, 09:43, edited 1 time in total.
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2013, 10:18
1
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Expert's post
Dear Del,

First of all, I would say: I believe it's a big mistake to make too much of your practice "topic specific" --- in other words, study fractions and then do just fraction problems; then study algebra then do just algebra problems; etc. Practicing only one topic when you just studied that one topic and are fresh in it is not the way to build deep understanding. Deep understanding comes from practice in mixed review, in which you could see any topic at any point and have to deal with it cold, without warm-up Here's a post on this:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/understand ... rformance/

FWIW, here's a detailed 1 month study schedule:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/1-month-gm ... -schedule/
Here's a GMAT ebook you may find helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-ebook/
Finally, here's a post about learning GMAT math that you may find pertinent:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/how-to-stu ... gmat-math/

I would say it's very important to work on verbal as well as quant ---- 50%/50% sounds good at the point in the game. I would say it's vital to abandon topic-specific practice and make all your practice mixed review. I would say you probably have work at learning math more deeply --- not just "recipes" for problem-solving, but the underling logic behind the math steps.

Here's a large collection of math practice question --- each one is on a page that explains the relevant concepts.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-probl ... questions/

BTW, here are a couple math questions for free ---- a DS question
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/970
and a PS question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/855
When you submit your answer, the following page will have a complete video explanation. Each one of Magoosh's 700+ GMAT practice questions has its own video explanation, for accelerated learning.

I hope all this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 11 Dec 2012
Posts: 313
Followers: 110

Kudos [?]: 271 [1] , given: 66

Re: One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2013, 10:34
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
DelSingh wrote:
Hello all,

For the last two months I've been studying around 85% quant and 15% verbal. I have one 5 more weeks (1.1 months) left until the exam and I really don't how to approach this last month. I want to start studying more verbal and have a 50/50 split in the studying sessions but I don't want to compromise any of my quant skills that I have learned. The most discouraging thing is when I am studying a topic and start doing really well in that topic, and then see that topic being tested again two weeks later I forget a fraction of the material. My weakness is definitely quant, however, in order for me to do really well in verbal (mostly critical reasoning and reading comp) I have to practice a lot of questions which takes up a lot of quant studying time.

Does anybody have a advice or know of any popular study methods?

I typically like to study 4 hours a day 2 hours at a time. What do you recommend?

-Split those 4 hours half verbal half quant,switch days?

-One day quant next day verbal?

or

-Two to three days quant and two to three days verbal?

Also, up to this point, I've been studying by mostly reading and THEN doing questions. I have been making an error log on the questions that I have missed. Should I change my method of studying also? Example - doing more sets and quizzes on a timely? I normally get every quant question done under 3 mins.

Any insight would be great.

Del

Hi Del, it's difficult to pin down exactly what the best strategy is for you, it depends how things are going, what questions you find difficult and how you learn best. I'll give some general tips and you can feel free to decide which ones work best for you!
1) if you're enjoying 4 hours/day in 2 hour slots, then that's great. The important part is to make progress, learn new concepts, and feel more prepared with each passing day. How many days a week are you doing this for? If the answer is 7, it's probably too much; your brain needs a break and will perform better if it's not overloaded. You can do half verbal / half math, but if you're focusing on quant, then maybe do problem solving in the morning and data sufficiency in the afternoon twice a week, or whatever breakdown works best for you.

I personally like to do both in the same day, 2 hours math and 2 hours verbal, it keeps your mind on the fact that it's an integrated test, not two separate concepts. Verbal has some math, and a huge part of quant is interpreting the question. That's me, though, if a different strategy works better for you, then go for it!

Another question is how much reading are you doing? At this point, if you've been studying for the last 2 months, you've probably learned all the material you need. You should focus on questions to see if the concepts are sticking with you or if you're falling into GMAT traps and not grasping the concepts as well as you should when they're put in the context of actual questions. Learning by doing questions is a very effective way to cement your understanding, so your focus should shift towards that gradually as the exam date draws closer.

The error log sounds useful, but again the idea is to not make the same mistake over and over, so whatever method works for you is good as long as it produces results. You also mentioned that you cover a topic, then 2 weeks later you've forgotten a portion of it... this is normal. You're not going to retain everything, but you should be learning the key concepts and getting better each time.

Please feel free to let me know how many hours you're putting in per week and what your general weaknesses are. I think you're on the right path but you always want to be maximizing the value of your study time (or your utility, to put it in economic terms).

Hope this helps!
-Ron
_________________
Manager
Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 78
Location: United States
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 91 [0], given: 137

Re: One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant [#permalink]

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13 Mar 2013, 11:31
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear Del,

First of all, I would say: I believe it's a big mistake to make too much of your practice "topic specific" --- in other words, study fractions and then do just fraction problems; then study algebra then do just algebra problems; etc. Practicing only one topic when you just studied that one topic and are fresh in it is not the way to build deep understanding. Deep understanding comes from practice in mixed review, in which you could see any topic at any point and have to deal with it cold, without warm-up Here's a post on this:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/understand ... rformance/

FWIW, here's a detailed 1 month study schedule:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/1-month-gm ... -schedule/
Here's a GMAT ebook you may find helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-ebook/
Finally, here's a post about learning GMAT math that you may find pertinent:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/how-to-stu ... gmat-math/

I would say it's very important to work on verbal as well as quant ---- 50%/50% sounds good at the point in the game. I would say it's vital to abandon topic-specific practice and make all your practice mixed review. I would say you probably have work at learning math more deeply --- not just "recipes" for problem-solving, but the underling logic behind the math steps.

Here's a large collection of math practice question --- each one is on a page that explains the relevant concepts.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-probl ... questions/

BTW, here are a couple math questions for free ---- a DS question
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/970
and a PS question:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/questions/855
When you submit your answer, the following page will have a complete video explanation. Each one of Magoosh's 700+ GMAT practice questions has its own video explanation, for accelerated learning.

I hope all this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike

That's a really good point, I did good because I was warmed up in that topic. In that article you mention level 4 learning is where one should be at least to take the GMAT, that makes a lot of sense because when I don't do as good as I suspected on some 15 question quiz - I tell myself afterward "man it felt like I needed warm up questions". I think I definitely should start mixing problems and supplementing learning materials and answer explanations afterward. I know I won't get this deeper understanding right away, but with time and progress I'm sure it will become more apparent.

Thanks for the response and resources!
_________________

If my post has contributed to your learning or teaching in any way, feel free to hit the kudos button ^_^

Manager
Joined: 25 Jul 2012
Posts: 78
Location: United States
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 91 [0], given: 137

Re: One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant [#permalink]

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13 Mar 2013, 11:38
VeritasPrepRon wrote:
DelSingh wrote:
Hello all,

For the last two months I've been studying around 85% quant and 15% verbal. I have one 5 more weeks (1.1 months) left until the exam and I really don't how to approach this last month. I want to start studying more verbal and have a 50/50 split in the studying sessions but I don't want to compromise any of my quant skills that I have learned. The most discouraging thing is when I am studying a topic and start doing really well in that topic, and then see that topic being tested again two weeks later I forget a fraction of the material. My weakness is definitely quant, however, in order for me to do really well in verbal (mostly critical reasoning and reading comp) I have to practice a lot of questions which takes up a lot of quant studying time.

Does anybody have a advice or know of any popular study methods?

I typically like to study 4 hours a day 2 hours at a time. What do you recommend?

-Split those 4 hours half verbal half quant,switch days?

-One day quant next day verbal?

or

-Two to three days quant and two to three days verbal?

Also, up to this point, I've been studying by mostly reading and THEN doing questions. I have been making an error log on the questions that I have missed. Should I change my method of studying also? Example - doing more sets and quizzes on a timely? I normally get every quant question done under 3 mins.

Any insight would be great.

Del

Hi Del, it's difficult to pin down exactly what the best strategy is for you, it depends how things are going, what questions you find difficult and how you learn best. I'll give some general tips and you can feel free to decide which ones work best for you!
1) if you're enjoying 4 hours/day in 2 hour slots, then that's great. The important part is to make progress, learn new concepts, and feel more prepared with each passing day. How many days a week are you doing this for? If the answer is 7, it's probably too much; your brain needs a break and will perform better if it's not overloaded. You can do half verbal / half math, but if you're focusing on quant, then maybe do problem solving in the morning and data sufficiency in the afternoon twice a week, or whatever breakdown works best for you.

I personally like to do both in the same day, 2 hours math and 2 hours verbal, it keeps your mind on the fact that it's an integrated test, not two separate concepts. Verbal has some math, and a huge part of quant is interpreting the question. That's me, though, if a different strategy works better for you, then go for it!

Another question is how much reading are you doing? At this point, if you've been studying for the last 2 months, you've probably learned all the material you need. You should focus on questions to see if the concepts are sticking with you or if you're falling into GMAT traps and not grasping the concepts as well as you should when they're put in the context of actual questions. Learning by doing questions is a very effective way to cement your understanding, so your focus should shift towards that gradually as the exam date draws closer.

The error log sounds useful, but again the idea is to not make the same mistake over and over, so whatever method works for you is good as long as it produces results. You also mentioned that you cover a topic, then 2 weeks later you've forgotten a portion of it... this is normal. You're not going to retain everything, but you should be learning the key concepts and getting better each time.

Please feel free to let me know how many hours you're putting in per week and what your general weaknesses are. I think you're on the right path but you always want to be maximizing the value of your study time (or your utility, to put it in economic terms).

Hope this helps!
-Ron

I totally agree above, I should definitely make question interpretation a core concept and not just dive into writing stuff down as soon as I get done reading the question.

In one week I am putting about 20 hours, which I think may be too much. There are times when I do feel like I am pushing myself too far and realize that I am getting some kind of mental fatigue but it's hard to convince myself to stop.
_________________

If my post has contributed to your learning or teaching in any way, feel free to hit the kudos button ^_^

Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor
Joined: 11 Dec 2012
Posts: 313
Followers: 110

Kudos [?]: 271 [0], given: 66

Re: One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant [#permalink]

### Show Tags

13 Mar 2013, 11:56
DelSingh wrote:

I totally agree above, I should definitely make question interpretation a core concept and not just dive into writing stuff down as soon as I get done reading the question.

In one week I am putting about 20 hours, which I think may be too much. There are times when I do feel like I am pushing myself too far and realize that I am getting some kind of mental fatigue but it's hard to convince myself to stop.

Hi Del, I understand what you mean. 20 is probably near the top of what you can realistically put in on GMAT, so maybe try scaling it back to 15. It's the same principle as weight lifting. If you don't go to the gym, nothing will happen, but if you're always at the gym and never give your body a chance to recover and grow, you won't get any stronger either. The temptation is always there to do more, and I applaud you for your motivation, but sometimes less is more.

Question interpretation is also a fundemental skill needed on this exam. So often people make all the right calculations but give the wrong answer because they fell into a clever GMAT trap. Always ensure you're answering the right question.

Good luck and please feel free to keep the community (and/or me!) posted on how things go!
For now I've convinced myself that I need to go to the gym (it's been 2 days!)
-Ron
_________________
Re: One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant   [#permalink] 13 Mar 2013, 11:56
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# One month left and can't decide how to study verbal vs quant

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