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Tight Study Plan

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Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 09:30
Hi there

I have been preparing for some time and did the 2 free official GMAT prep exams plus one from Kaplan thus far.

I have 3 weeks left until my exam.

1) What is the best resource available immediately (I am willing to purchase) if I want to refine specific Quant topics? I already have the official guide (3 books) but want something topic specific and difficult.

2) What is the best online CAT's to do (Official vs Kaplan vs Manhattan?) - My first free Official GMAT CAT test score was 540, first free Kaplan score was 710 and second free Official GMAT CAT test score was 640 (quite a variation given that I did these 3 within a week of time- but note that I was unprepared for the first and didn't finish properly). So... which is best given tool given that the official GMAT CATS don't have official answer explanations?

3) Any other general preparation tips? I was thinking of just doing and reviewing more CATs and learning that way.

Thanks!
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 10:23
Hi Roccaboi710,

To start, taking a lot CATs in a short period of time is NOT a good idea.

A CAT is really a 'measuring device' - when used correctly, it will give you a realistic score and help define your strengths and weaknesses, but it will NOT help you to fix any of those weaknesses. To raise your scores, you have to learn the necessary Tactics and put in the proper practice and repetitions. The CAT will show you whether your studies are helping you to improve or not. In addition, the process of taking (and reviewing) a CAT requires a significant amount of energy and effort - and takes time to 'recover' from. This is one of the reasons why you typically shouldn't take more than 1 CAT per week - and your last CAT should be taken about 1 week before Test Day.

Before I can offer you any additional advice, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Official Guides?
3) What were the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH of your CATs?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When is your Official Test Date?
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 10:43
Hi Rich

Please see my responses below. I am looking for online questions/resources (paid is fine) that are topic-specific and looking to learn through practicing in those areas of weakness.

Studies:
1) How long have you studied? On and off for the last 2 months (about 5 hours per week)
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Official Guides? Just the official guides (but the printed ones) - I am looking for more topic-specific practice material/questions
3) What were the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH of your CATs?

First official GMAT (bad as I did not finish): Q(41), verbal (27), IR (7) overall = 560.
Second official GMAT: Q(44), Verbal (34), IR (4), overall = 640
Kaplan (free test): Q(47), Verbal (40), IR (4), overall = 710
***These were all taken within 1 week i.e. one every 2-3 days**

Goals:
4) What is your goal score? 710 overall
5) When is your Official Test Date? 10 January (I am able to work each day until then)
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School? By 1 March 2019
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to? Not sure yet but top 20 worldwide only

Please let me know what you think my best approach is going forward. I believe I can do it within the next 2-3 weeks, but I need to hone in on the weaker areas. I am looking for tough, topic specific resources (online is best as there is no time to ship books etc.) - and I will pay if need be (but looking for mainly e-books, topic specific questions, and the best CAT's though official has no answer explanations so I use GMAT club for that).

Thanks so much!!
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 10:52
Roccaboi710 wrote:
Hi there

I have been preparing for some time and did the 2 free official GMAT prep exams plus one from Kaplan thus far.

I have 3 weeks left until my exam.

1) What is the best resource available immediately (I am willing to purchase) if I want to refine specific Quant topics? I already have the official guide (3 books) but want something topic specific and difficult.

2) What is the best online CAT's to do (Official vs Kaplan vs Manhattan?) - My first free Official GMAT CAT test score was 540, first free Kaplan score was 710 and second free Official GMAT CAT test score was 640 (quite a variation given that I did these 3 within a week of time- but note that I was unprepared for the first and didn't finish properly). So... which is best given tool given that the official GMAT CATS don't have official answer explanations?

3) Any other general preparation tips? I was thinking of just doing and reviewing more CATs and learning that way.

Thanks!


Hi I am quite relatively new to the whole GMAT prep world but I would recommend the gmatclub tests for quants. You can get a short term membership for free if you redeem your forum profile points!

Best wishes :)
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 11:10
Hi Roccaboi710,

Since you took these 3 CATs over the course of just 1 week - and we have no other comparable data - the immediate issue is that it's not clear what your current 'ability level' actually is. By extension, it might be a bit tricky to define the exact areas that you need to work on - especially if you're going to limit yourself to just another 2-3 weeks of potential study time.

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your last CAT (the 640). While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 20:15
Read the following thread :-
https://gmatclub.com/forum/all-gmat-pra ... ml?fl=menu

Official GMATPrep mocks on the mba.com are the most accurate mocks.
After that I would suggest manhattan and veritas.
For Quant Gmatclub has one of the best mocks.
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1.Collection of ALL 775 Verbal GMATPREP Questions 2.Aristotle RC-99 The Definitive RC Guide 3.Aristotle SC Grail 4.Vocabulary List 5.Kaplan 800 Advance Studies

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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2018, 20:34
Roccaboi710 wrote:
Hi there

I have been preparing for some time and did the 2 free official GMAT prep exams plus one from Kaplan thus far.

I have 3 weeks left until my exam.

1) What is the best resource available immediately (I am willing to purchase) if I want to refine specific Quant topics? I already have the official guide (3 books) but want something topic specific and difficult.

2) What is the best online CAT's to do (Official vs Kaplan vs Manhattan?) - My first free Official GMAT CAT test score was 540, first free Kaplan score was 710 and second free Official GMAT CAT test score was 640 (quite a variation given that I did these 3 within a week of time- but note that I was unprepared for the first and didn't finish properly). So... which is best given tool given that the official GMAT CATS don't have official answer explanations?

3) Any other general preparation tips? I was thinking of just doing and reviewing more CATs and learning that way.

Thanks!
1. You could take a look at this post to get an initial idea of some of the resources available.

2. The official tests are the best (but not for analysis).

3. Make sure the basic things (like a timing strategy) are in place. You have enough time to work on some of your weaknesses as well. Try not to go overboard on the number of CATs you take now (2-3 should be a good target).
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New post 23 Dec 2018, 02:08
Hi Rich

Regarding your questions, I just reviewed the full paper and responded to your sections, adding 2 categories for "got right but was a lucky guess" and "did not do as I ran out of time"

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake? 9
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do? 7
3) Because the question was too hard? 9
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess? 2
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong? 1
6) Got right but was a lucky guess: 2
7) Did not do as ran out of time: 6

I must stress that I searched the answers and understand all of the answers to this exam (except 1) - so I can definitely learn quickly, I just want to buy materials that will allow me to "practice" specific topics of weakness (e.g. properties of numbers or abstract algebra involving inequalities) under timed circumstances and provide proper explanations. I learn well in this way.

Please let me know which resources allow one to build custom practice tests under timed conditions focusing on quantitative questions of your choice (I am not too concerned with verbal)? And any other thoughts you may have?

Thanks so much!

P.S. Thanks for the other suggestions too!
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2018, 11:35
Hi Roccaboi710,

Based on what you have described, what you are looking for - and what you actually need - are likely not the same thing. From your analysis, you have issues with your accuracy, organization and efficiency and a potential issue with your overall pacing. In simple terms, you need to work on more than just a few individual content areas - you need to work on how you 'see' (and respond to) the entire Exam.

On a 'good day', you could potentially hit your Score Goal right now, but on a 'bad day', you might score in the low-600s. There does not appear to be a reason for you to rush in to take the Exam if you're not consistently performing at a high level. Thus, if you have the flexibility to push back your Test Date, then I suggest that you do so - so that we can gather more data and make sure that you're honing all of the necessarily skills to score 710+.

1) What are the exact application deadlines for each of the Schools that you plan to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 24 Dec 2018, 07:27
Hi Rich

The deadlines are between 1 March and April so I could push it out - I was hoping to write on 10 Jan and if not happy, to reschedule one a month later so that I'm still within the deadline. I know it takes 20 days for the results to reach the schools, but surely I can just submit the provisional score (if I accept) with my application deadline until they receive the official score?

Based on this, which resources would you recommend. And if I pushed out the deadline, what is best? I really don't want to just continue doing CAT's and don't want to spend a fortune on resources, but want to do what's most effective between now and 10 Jan (or a month after that).

Please advise.

Thanks!
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Re: Tight Study Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2018, 11:21
Hi Roccaboi710,

I sent you a PM with some suggestions.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 28 Dec 2018, 12:10
HI Roccaboi710,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, given that you are still 70 points from your score goal (based on your latest official practice exam), I agree that you should push you GMAT to a later date.

Regarding HOW to study moving forward, to improve your score to 710, your preparation needs to be more complete, meaning that you have to go through GMAT quant and verbal carefully to find your exact weaknesses, fill gaps in your knowledge, and strengthen your skills. The overall process will be to learn all about how to answer question types with which you currently aren't very comfortable and do dozens of practice questions category by category, basically driving up your score point by point. When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type. As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. 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 carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let’s say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a Weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you had to know to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

In order to follow the path described above, you may consider using an online self-study course, so take a look at the GMAT Club reviews for the best quant and verbal courses.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Good luck!
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Re: Tight Study Plan &nbs [#permalink] 28 Dec 2018, 12:10
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