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Pls Critique my GMAT Strategy given these circumstances...

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Pls Critique my GMAT Strategy given these circumstances... [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2009, 11:18
Hey everyone,

Just by way of background, I did my undergrad in business and I have completed my CFA. Since graduating three years ago, I have spent time working in IB and PE. Given my time limitations as a result of my job, I am trying to get a sense of how best to approach my studies efficiently. Academically, I am very strong and have traditionally performed well with these aptitude tests.

Without trying to come across as arrogant, I believe I will score greater than 700 without having to invest too much time into studying. My goal is to hit 740+. With this in mind, I look to those of you who have experience with the prep materials to provide me with your thoughts on how to proceed. My specific questions are:

1) Should I use up one of the two GMATPrep tests or if I should save both till the very end. Can I do these over and over again, or is it special software that only lets you access it once and locks you out for each registration?

2) I have already purchased the official guide 12th Ed. In addition to this, I am debating whether to supplement it with the 2 other official guides (verbal/quant) or to take a more general book (ie: kaplan premier or kaplan 800 which would you recommend?) before tackling the OG to get a sense of "strategy and technique".

3) Is it a waste of time to read one of the "comprehensive" books to get a sense of "strategy/technique" or is this more of an approach for beginners? Would I be perfectly well off if my studying consisted purely of doing the 1000 questions between the 3 official guides?

I guess the question is should I:

A) Do a general comprehensive book (if so which one for someone of my background) and then the OG or
B) Do the OG straight up and then do the two supplemental OG's

Thank you for your time.

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New post 20 Apr 2009, 18:13
I would recommend taking one of the GMATPreps up front to level set where you are. If you search here a bit you'll find that they're considered to be the best simulation of real exam difficulty.

If the first GMATPrep confirms your expectations, you can do the second on your prep home stretch and validate that you're ready to go. You can do GMATPrep multiple times, but I believe they lack a deep question bank and will start to repeat. This will obviously inflate your scores and reduce their predictive value.

As part of your core efforts, do the OG questions above all else. I never made it to the additional OG guides. I did do Kaplan 800--it wasn't perfect, but I did get some value out of it. I would do small sets of questions from K800 before bed and sleep well if I was handling them well. I wouldn't feel obligated to spend the money on this book, just buy the OG and consider the 2 online resources listed below. If you're not progressing to where you want to be or want to do an extended prep cycle, you can go back to these and other sources for additional content.

The Manhattan GMAT CATs can be bought online for a $20-ish, you can use those as additional CAT work during prep. They typically score lower than the actual GMAT but they're good learning tools and considered the next best thing after GMATPrep.

Additionally, I also did the GMAT Club Tests and they're an excellent source of practice content. You can take the free sample tests to confirm that for yourself.

As far as comprehensive books, I hadn't seen the business end of an inscribed triangle in quite some time, so I did get value out of doing math review (I worked through Manhattan's Study Guides and Jeff Sackmann's GMAT Math Bible along the way). Manhattan's SC and CR guides are also pretty good imo. If you're current on the math basics used for Q., then proceed directly to the OG. Otherwise, focus on making sure you have the common question types down. The good thing about guides like the Manhattan SG's is they spell out the likely universe of question types you're going to see, so you're not inferring some sort of taxonomy on your own.

I can't say which approach will work better, but I think after you do a practice test, you'll have a sense of whether you need foundational coverage or can go straight to focusing on whatever level of practice reps you feel you ned.

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New post 20 Apr 2009, 21:16
Thanks Scorcho this is helpful.

Seeing as how the GMATPrep tests seem like such a valuable, limited resource, I think I may save them for last, and use 1 of the 2 powerprep tests as an initial diagnostic. But I take your point regarding the importance of seeing where I stand currently.

I have been debating whether or not to buy the manhattan sentence structuring book. From what I've read, there are no practice questions at all... I'd like to think that I am pretty strong grammar-wise so the time I would otherwise spend reading that book may be better utilized tackling verbal practice questions (ie: questions from the OG verbal supplement). Do most people on this forum who have achieved high scores (720+) use this manhattan book? I know it's the second most popular book on the forum next to the OG. Just wondering if it lives up to the hype.

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New post 22 Apr 2009, 04:56
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Blayze wrote:
I have been debating whether or not to buy the manhattan sentence structuring book


My grammar and my ear are typically above average, but MGMAT SC spells out the particulars of GMAT grammar and the nuances of doing so. After you do GMATPrep and get a baseline on where you are, you'll be in a better place to evaluate whether you're already an SC expert.

Speaking of which, I'll kick in the first rule for free: on the GMAT it's always "whether" not "whether or not". :)

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New post 23 Apr 2009, 07:20
scorcho wrote:
Blayze wrote:
I have been debating whether or not to buy the manhattan sentence structuring book

Speaking of which, I'll kick in the first rule for free: on the GMAT it's always "whether" not "whether or not". :)


haha point taken :)

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Re: Pls Critique my GMAT Strategy given these circumstances...   [#permalink] 23 Apr 2009, 07:20
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