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Suggestions for planning my next 14 days

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Suggestions for planning my next 14 days  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 04:09
Hi,

I just took my first mock exam after studying for about 2 months. I felt like my performance during the test was bad, but the score ended up OK (not quite my goal though).
Total: 720 Q: 49, V: 40, IR:7

Mistake percentage out of total mistakes:
CR: 22%, RC: 33%, SC: 44%
PS: 37.5%, DS: 67.5%

My real exam date is Oct. 8th and I'm thinking about how I should plan ahead and what topics I should focus on. I know that I need to review the test and analyse specifically where my weaknesses are, but in general, would you suggest focusing on the verbal and leaving the Q as it is or strengthening my Q still a bit more?

It's important to note that I am not a native speaker, and that I need to leave at-least 1 day for AWA.

Thanks!
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New post 29 Sep 2018, 18:02
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Hi elti,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First, 720 is an awesome score, so keep up the good work. Based on your breakdown, it appears that you are weakest in SC for verbal and DS for quant, so certainly you could spend some extra time studying those areas. Looking at your mistake breakdown, it’s clear that Sentence Correction is your biggest weakness, so consider spending a significant amount of your study time reviewing and practicing Sentence Correction to find and fix weaknesses in that topic.

For quant, although your Data Sufficiency seems to be weaker than your Problem Solving, I actually recommend that you spend your time improving in your weaker quant topics rather than focusing just on Data Sufficiency questions. I say that because the reason you struggled in DS could be that you were simply weaker in the topics tested in DS questions. For instance, let’s say you got a rate DS question on your practice exam and rates is one of your weak topics; it would not be shocking that you incorrectly answered that question, right? So, rather than spending time reviewing just Data Sufficiency questions, spend time reviewing all GMAT quant to find and fix any large topic weaknesses. The best way to discover these weaknesses is with focused practice. For example, if you are reviewing Number Properties, be sure that you practice 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. Once complete, do a thorough analysis of each incorrect question. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By properly analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to more efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant knowledge.
Please reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!
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New post 30 Sep 2018, 04:48
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi elti,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. First, 720 is an awesome score, so keep up the good work. Based on your breakdown, it appears that you are weakest in SC for verbal and DS for quant, so certainly you could spend some extra time studying those areas. Looking at your mistake breakdown, it’s clear that Sentence Correction is your biggest weakness, so consider spending a significant amount of your study time reviewing and practicing Sentence Correction to find and fix weaknesses in that topic.

For quant, although your Data Sufficiency seems to be weaker than your Problem Solving, I actually recommend that you spend your time improving in your weaker quant topics rather than focusing just on Data Sufficiency questions. I say that because the reason you struggled in DS could be that you were simply weaker in the topics tested in DS questions. For instance, let’s say you got a rate DS question on your practice exam and rates is one of your weak topics; it would not be shocking that you incorrectly answered that question, right? So, rather than spending time reviewing just Data Sufficiency questions, spend time reviewing all GMAT quant to find and fix any large topic weaknesses. The best way to discover these weaknesses is with focused practice. For example, if you are reviewing Number Properties, be sure that you practice 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. Once complete, do a thorough analysis of each incorrect question. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By properly analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to more efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant knowledge.
Please reach out with any further questions.

Good luck!


Thanks a lot Scott. I took two more tests since I posted this question (740 on both, improving my quant to 50 but the verbal stayed at 40, which is fairly disappointing). I noticed that most of the mistakes I make in quant are careless mistakes in simple algebraic expressions (40% of my mistakes in all 3 quant sections). I do not really know how to minimize the careless mistakes, especially since the stress level during the real exam will be much higher.
The careless mistake vary - getting answer A but choosing B, substituting 15 for 13 etc.

In Verbal section - SC is by far my weakest field. Most of my mistakes are due to knowledge gaps (idioms mostly). There is a lot to learn here, especially since I'm not a native speaker.

Thanks again,
Amir
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New post 04 Oct 2018, 16:03
A 740 with a quant 50 is awesome! If you find that you are making careless mistakes, then to fix those mistakes, simply try to slow down. Often we make careless mistakes when we are moving too fast. Since you scored a Q50, I’m guessing that timing is not an issue, so let’s track what happens when you slow down a bit.

Another way to avoid careless mistakes is to stay in the moment. Again, it’s clear that you are VERY GOOD at GMAT quant. However, if when solving a problem, your focus is on the next step, or the next questions, or even your next break, then you are apt to make a mistake, right?

Certainly, there are other reasons why you may be making careless mistakes, so check out this article I wrote about improving your accuracy on the GMAT, which covers this topic in more detail.

Regarding Sentence Correction, there are three aspects to getting correct answers to GMAT Sentence Correction questions: what you know, such as grammar rules, what you see, such as violations of grammar rules and the logic of sentence structure, and what you do, such as carefully considering each answer choice in the context of the non-underlined portion of the sentence. To drive up your Sentence Correction score, you likely will have to work on all three of those aspects. Furthermore, the likely reason that your Sentence Correction performance has not improved is that you have not been working on all three of those aspects.

Regarding what you know, first and foremost, you MUST know your grammar rules. Let's be clear, though: GMAT Sentence Correction is not just a test of knowledge of grammar rules. The reason for learning grammar rules is so that you can determine what sentences convey and whether sentences are well-constructed. In fact, in many cases, incorrect answers to Sentence Correction questions are grammatically flawless. Thus, often your task is to use your knowledge of grammar rules to determine which answer choice creates the most logical sentence meaning and structure.

This determination of whether sentences are well-constructed and logical is the second aspect of finding correct answers to Sentence Correction questions, what you see. To develop this skill, you probably have to slow way down. You won't develop this skill by spending under two minutes per question. For a while, anyway, you have to spend time with each question, maybe even ten or fifteen minutes on one question sometimes, analyzing every answer choice until you see the details that you have to see in order to choose the correct answer. As you go through the answer choices, consider the meaning conveyed by each version of the sentence. Does the meaning make sense? Even if you can tell what the version is SUPPOSED to convey, does the version really convey that meaning? Is there a verb to go with the subject? Do all pronouns clearly refer to nouns? By slowing way down and looking for these details, you learn to see what you have to see in order to clearly understand which answer to a Sentence Correction question is correct.

There is only one correct answer to any Sentence Correction question, there are clear reasons why that choice is correct and the others are not, and those reasons are not that the correct version simply "sounds right." In fact, the correct version often sounds a little off at first. That correct answers may sound a little off is not surprising. If the correct answer were always the one that sounded right, then most people most of the time would get Sentence Correction questions correct, without really knowing why the wrong answers were wrong and the correct answers were correct. So, you have to go beyond choosing what "sounds right" and learn to clearly see the logical reasons why one choice is better than all of the others.

As for the third aspect of getting Sentence Correction questions correct, what you do, the main thing you have to do is be very careful. You have to make sure that you are truly considering the structures of sentences and the meanings conveyed rather than allowing yourself to be tricked into choosing trap answers that sound right but don't convey meanings that make sense. You also have to make sure that you put some real energy into finding the correct answers. Finding the correct answer to a Sentence Correction question may take bouncing from choice to choice repeatedly until you start to see the differences between the choices that make all choices wrong except for one. Often, when you first look at the choices, only one or two seem obviously incorrect. It may take time for you to see what you have to see. Getting the right answers takes a certain work ethic. You have to be determined to see the differences and to figure out the precise reasons that one choice is correct.

To improve what you do when you answer Sentence Correction questions, seek to become aware of how you are going about answering them. Are you being careful and looking for logic and details, or are you quickly eliminating choices that sound a little off and then choosing the best of the rest? If you choose an incorrect answer, consider what you did that resulted in your arriving at that answer and what you could do differently in order to arrive at correct answers more consistently. Furthermore, see how many questions you can get correct in a row as you practice. If you break your streak by missing one, consider what you could have done differently to extend your streak.

After learning a particular Sentence Correction topic, engage in focused practice with 30 questions or more that involve that topic. As your Sentence Correction skills improve, you’ll then want to practice with questions that test you on skills from multiple SC topics.

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out.

Let’s do this!!
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Re: Suggestions for planning my next 14 days &nbs [#permalink] 04 Oct 2018, 16:03
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