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I have been reading and utilizing the informational resources on this site for a couple of days after having done abysmally poor on my GMAT (510). It was a tremendous disappointment that was best paralleled by the post that describes the 7 stages of a business school application.
Without a doubt, I wish to overcome this obstacle and I have three months to enact a plan of action — one already underway thanks to the guides and reviews on this site. However, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed at the prospect of intensive GMAT study and business school application preparation. Unfortunately, I did not come across a reference that denotes a recommend path to take in this process.
Succinctly, how (and in what proportion) do I balance my application needs versus the necessary 15/weekday and 10/weekend for the GMAT. What have you found to be more successful?
Tonight I shall be taking a Diagnostic Test from Kaplan. Depending on it's length (don't know what to expect) I may take a MGMAT as well to establish a clear baseline. I will be using Error Logs from the beginning so that I can annihilate my weaknesses and flaws (yes, such a strong word was necessary ).
I would advise you to take a GMAT Prep instead of Kaplan since it's more indicative of your actual score. As for the preparatory materials I'd say MGMAT Math Guides (5), Powerscore CR and MGMAT SC. For RC, you can choose any one. Or you might want to get the set of Veritas Guides, though they have the disadvantage that they don't come with practice tests.
I would advice 2 hours per day during the weekdays and say 4-5 hours per weekend day. Balancing the application is an important part as well, but I'd probably suggest keeping a file or a notebook of some sort to jot down ideas during the week about stuff that you might want to put down in your application and working on it over the weekend for a while. That said, I would also suggest starting with your recommendations as soon as possible, if you haven't already done so.
Please take a look at the GMAT Forum and the GMAT threads stickied in the forum. I am sure they'll be of help to you. And don't hesitate should you have any further questions.
I've been trying to manage both at the same time too, even trying to make R1 for 1 or 2 schools. I can't schedule blocks of time to write essays, my thoughts just come to me during the normal course of the day, sometimes I can be extremely productive and come up with some great material in just 1 hour and sometimes I try to sit and work on them for a while and nothing sounds right. I just have been carrying around a little notebook and when I think of something I jot it down. When I'm at work and someone mentions something about a project we worked on or something like that, I'm like "oh yeah, I forgot about that, how can I use that as an example in one of my essays?" and write it down. Then when I have time, I get out my notebook and start putting it all together.
I thought about applying cause I was on a bit of a break from work, but now things are getting busy for me again.
What I have going for me is the GMAT is sorted. What I have going against me is that my average work week is 60-70 hours.
In the light of this, I think I have put off my decision to apply for R2. I think I have a good excuse to visit the US next year, go to school-visits, and decide at ease if and where I apply ... I just thought rushing things may not be ideal.
I guess most people tackle this one step at a time ->gmat -> selecting schools -> working on essay . However if you are short on time, you could do some multitasking. Selecting schools and collecting information on the schools is quite a passive job which could be coupled with studying for GMAT.
I have taken a week off and that has helped me tremendously in working on essays to catch Rd 1.
make sure you start early preparing for the aplpication... that's what i'm doing - jot down notes from each job you've had in the passt, projects you've worked on etc.etc. - anything that may help. then at some stage down the track when youve finished the gmat or during study breaks you can start to bring all of those notes together to help with ideas etc. for your applciation