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Potential study resources

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New post 21 Feb 2018, 04:48
Hello all,

I'm new here and this is my first post :-)
Perhaps a brief introduction is in order before I get to it:
I'm a young hospitality guy who wants to go to business school in a year or two. To this end, I am about to start my GMAT prep journey and wanted to ask you lovely folk what you think about the following resource list I have compiled, to assist me in this potentially arduous endeavor. Naturally, I have been doing a lot reading on the forums to get some opinions but, like with everyone here who asks a question that has already been posed, there is always a nuance in circumstance that calls for a rehashing of old topics. So here goes!

Quant:
  • Magoosh - for foundations and simple explanations to bring me up to speed with the basics
  • EmpowerGMAT or Target Test Prep - I have seen tremendous feedback on these for Quant and am currently leaning towards the EmpowerGMAT as I have seen a lot of interaction between Rich and forum members, and because I gather that the questions in TTP may not be close enough to what one might expect during the real GMAT. EmpowerGMAT also has deals on Exam packs.
  • MGMAT Quant Strategy guides (6 books) + MGMAT Advanced Quant guide - This is because MGMAT appears to be unavoidable from all the posts I have read on here, from most high performers. Also, I gather that the 6 tests (which are harder than the actual GMAT ones) are quite good.

Verbal + IR:
  • e-GMAT Verbal Online - appears to be the most reputed one.
  • Powerscore CR Bible - also appears to be the most reputed option for CR.

I am, like most people I've read about, targeting a 700+ score. My background is in Computer Science, so am hoping the Quant part will not an absolute nightmare. I am a native English speaker who reads quite a bit across genres and fields. I also write a decent amount. While I don't expect this to make a huge difference, I'm hoping I'll at least not want to jump off a bridge once I start.

Here are a few questions I'm hoping you'd be willing to assist with. While I don't know where I stand, please assume that I am starting from 460*:
  • What do you think of the overall combination? Am I missing something or is it sensible on the whole?
  • Is it OK that I am leaving out the Verbal books from MGMAT?
  • Any advice on the EmpowerGMAT vs TTP question?
  • My trial for Magoosh ends in 3 days. Is it worth keeping?
  • I have seen most people take a practice test right at the offset but I feel quite uncomfortable with the idea of taking a practice test now as it has been years since I have seen much of the material and don't feel that a score would be representative of anything apart from my lack of exposure to the topics. Is this precisely why I should take a test now or are my concerns valid and I should instead hold off until I am more familiar with the material?

This list was compiled by scouring the forums here and on BTG, learning from others so I hopefully hit the ground running.
Please feel free to let me know if I am nuts for considering these many resources, and if so, please do offer a suggestion.
Naturally, I do not expect resources to do the work for me and fully expect to be buried in studies while I prepare for the exam. I can only hope that this will at least be mildly helpful in my potential preparation for the CFA, once I'm done with the GMAT :-D

Thanks in advance for all the help. From spending hours over the past few days on the forums, I know for a fact that you are awesome!

*According to EmpowerGMAT, this is the global average for a cold turkey first CAT.

EDIT: I forgot to mention a timeline. I have time. Loads of it. But I am hoping that my study plan will not go beyond a five month period.
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New post 21 Feb 2018, 10:11
Hello VegasVed,
In my opinion I think that purchasing all those resources would be overkill. I would recommend buying one comprehensive material at time. Popular ones include magoosh, mgmat books, e gmat, etc. If you need more resources later you can always buy more. I know I made the mistake of buying too many resources and now I won't even use some of them. I started with magoosh and then bought powerscore cr bible and sc bible, kaplan 800, og and verbal/quant review, 10 lsat tests, and veritas tests. I can vouch that magoosh is a great comprehensive source (especially for math) and will give you all the theory you need. If I could do it over again I would only buy magoosh, watch the free thursdays with ron videos for verbal, and get a few extra practice test (gmat prep or a reputable unofficial source). In addition, if you buy one of the popular sources, look to see if gmat club offers a bundle deal where you also get the gmat club tests. I wish I knew this as I could of got the gmat club tests for free with my magoosh premium at no extra cost.
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New post 21 Feb 2018, 11:37
Hey VegasVed

First off, Welcome to GMATClub!

As for the list of resources that you have compiled with regards to your preparation you
are spot on when it comes to Verbal. Even I believe that Manhattan books are not as
necessary when you have decided to go with e-GMAT. The PowerScore CR Bible is a must
for the CR section on Verbal.

As for Quant, I would recommend starting with the Manhattan Strategy Guides to build
your concepts. Once you are ready with the concept, you should work on questions
pertaining to that concept

These are a few links which might help with your preparation for Quant.
1. Gmat Quantitative Megathread
2. All you need for Quant
Check 7. PRACTICE QUESTIONS for GMAT-style questions for practice.
You also have the Question Directory by Topic & Difficulty in both the PS/DS forums.

I think you should decide on the EmpowerGMAT vs TTP once you are done with this preliminary
stage or preparation. After preparing for a month, you could take a test to understand where
you stand. The purpose of a test is to understand from time to time if you are on the right track.

Hope this helps you!
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New post 21 Feb 2018, 20:22
1
alexmonnin, thanks for the input and for the suggestion for Thursdays with Ron!

pushpitkc, thank you for the links, they're very helpful! Good to know I'm on the right track for Verbal :-).

EMPOWERgmatRichC, hi, would you happen to have any advice based on my questions? :-) Thanks!
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New post 21 Feb 2018, 21:29
Hi VegasVed,

It looks like you've done a lot of research - which is good. Many Test Takers use a variety of resources during their studies, so some combination of the materials you've listed will likely be the right 'mix' (although you might end up needing additional materials beyond the ones you're considering.

Right now, we can't assume that you're at the '460 level'; we need an accurate assessment of your current abilities and that's really only going to happen once you take a FULL-LENGTH practice CAT Test. You can download 2 CATs for free from www.mba.com (and they come with some additional practice materials). If you want to do a little studying first, so that you can familiarize yourself with the basic content and question types, then that's okay - but you shouldn't wait too long to take that initial CAT. Based on what you describe about your background, it will be interesting to see how well you perform. A FULL CAT takes about 4 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have your results, you should report back here and we can come up with a study plan.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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New post 21 Feb 2018, 21:51
Hi Rich,

Thanks for the response!

I'll take the full length CAT to set my baseline just as soon as I am back in town (next week).
From that point on, I know I can do 20 hours per week, perhaps more, for at least a month, and then at least 15 hours per week. As for the total amount of time I have: I have loads of time. I am planning to go to B-school a couple years from now so I'm hoping that the massive lead time means I can grow substantially...

One of my problems is that I don't stay very organized, so I am not comfortable starting until I have a solid study plan I can stick to which revolved around the resources I short-list.

Thanks!
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New post 21 Feb 2018, 22:05
Hi VegasVed,

Preparing for the GMAT now - when you're not facing any immediate application deadlines - is a smart (and forward-thinking) choice.

Since you likely have your own idea of what you're looking for in a Study Plan, I suggest doing just a bit more research into the various study materials you've listed. Most GMAT Companies offer some type of free materials (practice problems, Trial Accounts, videos, etc.) that you can see how the Course is organized and 'test out' a product before you buy it. We have a variety of those resources at our website (www.empowergmat.com). I suggest that you take advantage of all of them, then choose the one that best matches your personality, timeline and budget.

If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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New post 22 Feb 2018, 18:55
Hi VegasVed,

I'll share my 2 cents.

Quant section:

I prefer TTP as it is has organized training plan that goes like tree. It build your skills in certain way. Also, each topic is organized into sub ideas that you may face under the topic. It gives almost the whole view and confidence. The questions resembles the GMAT like questions. You can get instant answers from Jeff or Scott. You can use this forum to get more ideas to solve any problem. This is how you will reinforce your understanding. There are endless tutors who offers ideas to solve problems.

Verbal Section:

The most important is to practice high quality questions and do reflection on wrong answers.

For SC, e-gmat and MGAMT are great to start with. Also, you need to follow tutors like GMATninja, Mike McGarry.

For CR, e-gmat & Power score are great. I would go with them.


For general practice, the MGMAT & Veritas questions and exams are great too. The verbal questions in Magoosh posses high quality too. GMATclub tests are high quality, especially Quant section,and can push you outside your boundaries.

I advise you to participate and share your thoughts in the forum. It will help you a lot.
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New post 22 Feb 2018, 23:02
Hi Mo2men,

Thanks for the input! Since you say you prefer TTP, I'm assuming that means you tried and did not like EMPOWERGmat as much. Were there particular things about it that you did not like?

Thanks for the insights regarding verbal, for the most part, that sounds like what I intended to do, so it's reassuring.

Fortunately, Veritas has a free question bank, so I look forward to using it.

Cheers
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New post 23 Feb 2018, 23:06
VegasVed wrote:
Hi Mo2men,

Thanks for the input! Since you say you prefer TTP, I'm assuming that means you tried and did not like EMPOWERGmat as much. Were there particular things about it that you did not like?

Thanks for the insights regarding verbal, for the most part, that sounds like what I intended to do, so it's reassuring.

Fortunately, Veritas has a free question bank, so I look forward to using it.

Cheers


Hi VegasVed,

I have subscribed in EMPOWERGmat and I learnt a lot from Rich methods like Testing values or testing answers but I discovered TTP that suit my type of learning as mentioned above. For me, it is more structured than any other provider. Also, they provide a lot of questions in certain level more than EMPOWERGmat. That being said, I still used the other techniques I learnt from every instructor. Whatever provider you choose, do not ignore other instructors techniques. My advice to is to subscribe in both trial versions to familiarize yourself with each one and choose the best for you. Then, choose with

I hope it helps you.
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New post 06 Mar 2018, 06:04
Hello again!

EMPOWERgmatRichC, I have done my first CAT, with minimal preparation and have gotten a 610 (Q41, V33). I don't feel particularly bad given what I know of people taking their first cold turkey CAT and the average GMAT score, but here are some points to note:
- I was having trouble focusing. It could be a sleep thing...
- I had 7 minutes left in Quant
- I had 20 minutes left in Verbal
- I ran out of time in IR and scored 4.43 (didn't know decimals were a thing in scores).

Oh and this might matter: this was an MGMAT CAT.

Please let me know what you think overall, and in the context of my initial question.

Thanks!
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New post 06 Mar 2018, 12:55
Hi VegasVed,

A 610 is a strong initial CAT score (the average score on the Official GMAT hovers around 540-550 most years). You also seem prepared to commit the necessary time and effort to your studies - which is also good. From what you describe, you finished the Quant and Verbal sections early; that almost certainly means that if you had slowed down, taken more notes, double-checked your work, etc., you could have scored even higher. This is all meant to say that you're clearly a strong 'critical thinker' overall, so now your real focus should be on learning and practicing the proper Tactics and training for the overall Test Day 'event.'

To that end, I'll stick with my original advice - you should work with a GMAT Course that best matches your personality. You have the time to properly sample all of the options you've mentioned (as well as any additional ones that you may come across), so you should investigate as much as you feel compelled to. If you have any additional questions, then you can feel free to contact me directly.

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 17:58
Hi all,

I am also just starting with the preparation for the GMAT and I had a similar question regarding prep material. Maybe some of you have an opinion on this one, I would appreciate it.

I am currently working with the Kaplan Prep Plus 2018, which i got from the library. However, as I read a lot of opinions here I think Manhatten would be the better choice for me personally. The only thing i was wondering is if the fact that the Manhatten books are from 2014 and Kaplan is from 2018 affects the quality of the material. After all, I read often that its important to work with up to date material. Does anyone know something about that?

Many thanks,
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New post 07 Mar 2018, 18:32
EMPOWERgmatRichC, thanks for the advice!

h9971488, through my research, I have noticed two things:

1. There aren't that many differences in the GMAT between 2014, and 2016. As far as I can tell, the biggest one is that you not get to choose the order in which you will do test sections, from three options. Older materials will obviously not mention that. It seems, however, that the rest of the content is largely the same though.

2. The 6th edition of MGMAT has been recommended over the 5th one because it is supposedly better (more logically) organized.

Following the assumption that both the statements above are true, I do not see much value in buying new books, assuming the books are all you're after.

Having said that, I see a lot of value in the online resources, all of which can be bought online for around $125 dollars.

The choice comes down, in my eyes, to using MGMAT '14 despite the minor drawbacks listed above and forking out $125 bucks ($75 if you choose to skip Navigator), or getting the full set from MGMAT for $195+shipping, buying individual sets is not recommended if you will also buy the missing online resources as it is less cost effective than just getting the whole set. You could also just buy the specific guides you want if they aren't numerous, supplemented by whichever online resources you deem necessary.

HTH,

Ved

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 20:17
Hi Alex,

To start, you would likely receive more of a response if you started your own thread (instead of piggy-backing on this one); that way, the focus can be on your situation and questions.

Since it sounds like you're just beginning your studies, then it would be a good idea to take a FULL-LENGTH practice CAT Test; you can download 2 for free from www.mba.com (and they come with some additional practice materials). If you want to do a little studying first, so that you can familiarize yourself with the basic content and question types, then that's okay - but you shouldn't wait too long to take that initial CAT. That score will give us a good sense of your natural strengths and weaknesses and will help provide a basis for comparison as you continue to study. A FULL CAT takes about 4 hours to complete, so make sure that you've set aside enough time to take it in one sitting. Once you have those scores, you should report back here and we can come up with a study plan.

I'd like to know a bit more about your timeline and goals:
1) What is your goal score?
2) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
3) When are you planning to apply to Business School?

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New post 07 Mar 2018, 20:29
VegasVed wrote:
Hello again!

EMPOWERgmatRichC, I have done my first CAT, with minimal preparation and have gotten a 610 (Q41, V33). I don't feel particularly bad given what I know of people taking their first cold turkey CAT and the average GMAT score, but here are some points to note:
- I was having trouble focusing. It could be a sleep thing...
- I had 7 minutes left in Quant
- I had 20 minutes left in Verbal
- I ran out of time in IR and scored 4.43 (didn't know decimals were a thing in scores).

Oh and this might matter: this was an MGMAT CAT.

Please let me know what you think overall, and in the context of my initial question.

Thanks!
Obviously not that much trouble focusing, given that you got a V33 with 20 minutes left. You could be looking at a V40+ with a little prep :-)

While the (current) average IR score is 4.23, IR scores are reported on a discrete scale (1, 2, 3... 8). Which test did you take?
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New post 07 Mar 2018, 20:44
AjiteshArun thanks for the encouraging words! I am aiming for a V46, so it's good to know I might have a shot as long as I put in the work.

I did the first MGMAT CAT.

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