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Overwhelmed? What GMAT Materials to Choose!

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Overwhelmed? What GMAT Materials to Choose! [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2017, 06:08
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What GMAT Materials Should I Choose?

Everyone has had this question and everyone makes that decision for themselves. There are many many good options available and I get this question a lot, so What is the best materials and what should you choose to prep for the GMAT?

The short answer is fairly simple - many books and courses do the trick - there are no secret books or magic potions. It is about dedication and hard work. You can check the Share GMAT Experience Forum for the latest list trends and what the 700+ scorers have used. I have seen people use Kaplan or MGMAT 2nd, 3rd, 4th editions, or even high school math books and get 750. It is not as much about the book as the "hard work" part. Don't get overly fixated on the resource - it is just a tool.



The long answer is..... longer. Here is how you do it:


  • Get the Official guide - that's easy

  • The guide is not enough, however. It is just a collection of questions. You will need a book or a course that will refresh concepts tested and provide you with strategies for the test. Consult several sources - GMAT Club Recommended Books and GMAT Club Recommended Courses, Check what is used by others in the Share GMAT Experience forum, and ask some friends. Your toolset will depend on how much you need to improve and how much time you have.

  • Prep Material Research should be done within reason but if you want to spend days and months on it, sure, you can knock yourself out. Tools such as books and courses are mostly about efficiency and saving you time and effort as well as style.
    • Tips: Nothing is perfect in this world. If reviews are not praising a particular course's CR or SC aspects for example, it does not mean it is a bad product; keep an open mind when reading reviews - some people are overly positive and some are critical. Find the criticisms and see if you can live with it

  • Understand what works for you - what will motivate you? I often get comments from people who they thought a particular resource was great and other mention how it really did not add value to them. I rely a lot on visual memory, so for my prep I picked the books with cleanest and most organized pages. I also picked the book that had the best paper quality (I could not handle for long the recycled paper of Princeton Review books). You may like a particular instructor or hate an accent of a certain tutor, and on and on. Many materials are good and solid and will get the job done and the secondary factors are almost as important in choosing your materials. Find what will motivate you the most and give you the most satisfaction.
    • Tip: Be careful with obscure resources. There is usually a reason they are obscure and sometimes you learn those reasons a bit too late.

  • Very Important: Pick one set of books/course and follow it. At most, pick one for each section and no more than 2 overall. For example you can pick e-GMAT for verbal and Math Revolution for Quant but if you pick MGMAT books, don't take an Economist Course on top of that. I see so many people who think that using 2 sets of materials is better than all those "silly" people who just get a set of books and stick to them. The multiple materials strategy just does not work - this is one of the most common mistakes and not a very obvious one. Get one set of materials and stick to it, don't make zig zags or run all over the place - set a course and follow it. Covering one resource from A to Z is more effective than 2 done half-way.
    • Tip: Follow the instructor strategies exactly as they are written and practice only with a timer. Don't take shortcuts
    • Tip: Review yesterday's material at the beginning of each day
    • Tip: If you are a visual learner, make notes for the hardest and most frustrating topics

  • Check Your Performance and Adjust Course if needed. The materials you picked (hopefully were used by many people before you) are likely sufficient to give you the score you need but you need to check yourself after each chapter/section of your book or course. You don't need to take CATs. Generally, for 700+ score, you should be hitting 80% of the exercises that come with the section/chapter and for 750, you want to hit at least 90% correct. If you are not hitting those numbers, don't move on hoping you will hit. Pursue your mistakes - understand why you made them, and review what needs to be reviewed. Perhaps you did not follow the strategy or maybe you missed some material. There is a topic on How to Analyze your Mistakes

  • Dedicate the time for studying. Find the time every or so day (ideally) and try to finish your prep in 3 months.

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Overwhelmed? What GMAT Materials to Choose! [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2017, 07:25
bb

This post is as pure gold as OG Questions. It is truly inspirational that you still find time
to write such a detailed post to chart best resources and strategy for aspirants.

I just like to add my two cents on this
Quote:
Tip: Follow the instructor strategies exactly as they are written and practice only with a timer. Don't take shortcuts


It is essential to put timer aside especially in the learning phase while practicing OG Qs
so that one resonates with the leanings by online courses / books. I personally have learnt
hard way that more we allow to struggle ourselves to think "outside" the box, helps us
to embrace the application part more efficiently. It is imperative to take starting 'hint' and then
connect the dots to the solution when completely clueless to proceed / approach a question.

There is absolutely no substitute for qualty of OG Qs be it in Verbal or Quant but I guess
most of experts including GMATNinja and egmat would agree that OE do not communicate
solutions that are understood by one and all. This is where posts with maximum kudos help fellow community members to
search less and help in effective learning.
_________________

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Founder
User avatar
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Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 15585

Kudos [?]: 28499 [1], given: 5114

Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member CAT Tests
Overwhelmed? What GMAT Materials to Choose! [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2017, 07:44
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KUDOS
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adkikani wrote:
bb

This post is as pure gold as OG Questions. It is truly inspirational that you still find time
to write such a detailed post to chart best resources and strategy for aspirants.

I just like to add my two cents on this
Quote:
Tip: Follow the instructor strategies exactly as they are written and practice only with a timer. Don't take shortcuts


It is essential to put timer aside especially in the learning phase while practicing OG Qs
so that one resonates with the leanings by online courses / books. I personally have learnt
hard way that more we allow to struggle ourselves to think "outside" the box, helps us
to embrace the application part more efficiently. It is imperative to take starting 'hint' and then
connect the dots to the solution when completely clueless to proceed / approach a question.

There is absolutely no substitute for qualty of OG Qs be it in Verbal or Quant but I guess
most of experts including GMATNinja and egmat would agree that OE do not communicate
solutions that are understood by one and all. This is where posts with maximum kudos help fellow community members to
search less and help in effective learning.


OG is a great resource but don't worship it or speak in absolutes about it. For one, it becomes a false hope as you think you will see those questions on the test. Two, it is pretty basic and outdated - it has questions retired from the GMAT 20 years ago! Moreover, we have had editions riddled with errors in the past years. People have gotten 99th percentile without ever seeing a copy of the OG. It is not a must have and it won't give you a big bump in a score but it helps to see the official questions (no doubt in that) and it is very helpful for tuning your ear for the verbal part. There are many opinions... but OG is not a magic potion that is for sure.
_________________

Founder of GMAT Club

Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... or use our Daily Study Plan


Co-author of the GMAT Club tests

Kudos [?]: 28499 [1], given: 5114

Overwhelmed? What GMAT Materials to Choose!   [#permalink] 28 Sep 2017, 07:44
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