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Work Plan, Methodology and Hard Questions

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New post 21 Jul 2019, 21:50
Hello Gmatclub community,

After one month of anarchic preparation I took a Manhattan Gmat blank Test and scored a 550 (Q38 V28), which was disappointing but deserved considering my preparation.
So I decided to change my approach and methodology to be much more rigorous regarding my preparation. After some research I found this post : " a way to increase from q35-40 to q 47" (sorry I can't post any link yet).
This post helped me a lot to develop a good methodology, basically what I do is go through the concept of each Manhattan Gmat book and time myself doing questions and then I do all the mid test and final test in easy, normal and hard mode. I also started watching Ron’s video.

I just finished the Book n2 ( Algebra ).
I have no problem with the easy and normal Tests, I finish on time or ahead of time with 100% accuracy but when I try the Hard set it really is a disaster... I have no clue on how to tackle most of the problems, I get overwhelmed by time pressure and only manage to have 50% accuracy with lucky guesses...

What is wrong with me ? I don’t understand why is there such a big difference between Hard Set and Normal Set ? What am I missing in my preparation ? Am I just to dumb to manage to get right the hard one? Is getting a 700+ is delusional ? Or is there some kind of methodology and mind set I need to develop?
How do you manage to get right the hard question for the first time you see it ?

My biggest problems are :
- No clue on how to tackle most of the hard questions
- I found Testing Case to be a huge loss of time, I know this is really important and I need to master it for the DS part but every time I need to test case it takes me a crazy amount of time to prove a point (like 3-5min) so i get confused thinking of all the time I am losing and end up skipping the question or get it wrong ... It is really frustrating

Do you have any advice on how to tackle tricky questions and DS with test case ? And also any advice regarding my prep plan, what can I improve ? (see below my detailed prep plan)
I thought that after finishing the concept book I would be able to have a good overall score but damn it is so frustrating to look at a question and be totally lost ...

Thank you very much for your help

Regards,

Coggi

PS : Detailed prep plan :

Week : 4h/day Monday- Friday : Manhattan Prep Gmat Book to get the concept + 1 Ron Video every day
Week-end : Manhattan Prep Gmat Book, Mid term and Final Test (easy, normal and hard mode) + Error Log

I do 1,5 Book / week approximately

Thanks again, I hope you guys can help me to score a 700+ ( I plan to take the Gmat at the end of September and if I am not ready/my score is not good enough I plan to retake it in mid-December)
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New post 21 Jul 2019, 21:58
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Coggi - Welcome to GMAT Club!

I would highly recommend that you enroll in a structured online course rather use materials and free tutorial videos available online. At a 550 level, you still have to study a lot of new concepts and build a strong strategy to tackle each question type. That said, I would recommend that you start with the basics. Please review the GMAT Club study plan. All the best.

GMAT Club Study Plan: https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-study-plan-217827.html
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Re: Work Plan, Methodology and Hard Questions  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2019, 16:59
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Hi Coggi,

You've brought up a number of different subjects - and they're all relevant to how much you will improve during your studies:

First, many Test Takers who use a 'book heavy' study approach end up getting 'stuck' at a particular score level. Even the best books are limited in what they can teach you; they also can't force you to approach questions in a certain way and their explanations are often one-sided. From what you describe, your studies have been book-heavy, so you'll likely end up needing to invest in some additional non-book resources to hit your Score Goal.

Second, many Test Takers become too fixated on the 'implied level' of the questions that they're working on - instead of what really matters: defining WHY they're getting questions wrong and becoming more efficient at approaching the overall Exam. It's also worth noting that just because a 3rd party describes a question as "700 level" does not necessarily make it so. The 550 that you scored on your 1st CAT had nothing to do with how well you performed on the 'hard' questions (unless you wasted a lot of time on those questions and then had less time to spend on all of the other 'gettable' ones). It's not clear how long ago you took that CAT, but you might find it worthwhile to take a NEW, FULL-LENGTH CAT (with the Essay and IR sections) sometime soon. Try spending more of your time on the prompts that you think you can correctly answer and less time on the ones that you think are too hard or too weird. Once you've taken that next CAT, you should post back here with your results and we can talk about how you might adjust your studies.

Third, many of the skills that you'll need to earn a 700+ on Test Day are skills that most people are not "born" with. It takes time to gain the knowledge and hone the necessary tactical skills, so your emphasis right now should NOT be on your speed. In simple terms, you have to be accurate before you can be 'fast.'

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

Studies:
1) How many hours have you typically studied each week?
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the books that you mentioned?

Goals:
3) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
4) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
5) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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Re: Work Plan, Methodology and Hard Questions  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jul 2019, 19:08
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New post 24 Jul 2019, 02:58
Hello,

First, thank you very much to all of you for your replies.

I will try to clarify my initial message for you guys.

At the end of June I ‘‘started ’’ the Gmat journey. I did some questions from the OG Book randomly for 3 weeks, I studied few hours per week sometimes 2h sometimes 0 for several days, it was very chaotic.
I decided to take a blank Test (ManhattanPrep Test) the 14 July and scored 550.(Q38 V28). I was disappointed but it was kind of expected and deserved.

I decided to really take this seriously and really get involved into my Gmat journey, Gmat is pretty much obsessing me right now. So I Decided to find a good study plan and as mentioned I applied the same methodology as presented in post mentioned.
But thanks to you EMPOWERgmatRichC I read the post regarding the study plan so I modified mine a little : When I have finished a book I will do sets of 10-20 questions in this specific area (for example : Algebra) and until I have more than 90% accuracy two times in a row I won’t start another book.
I focus on quality and better understanding instead of quantity.

As you suggest I will take a new CAT this week end and post my score here when it’s done but I don’t think that in 10 days my score will improve too much...

Okay for the speed and accuracy part, so focus on the accuracy for the moment. Which mean I need to stop timing myself and trying to do every problem as fast as possible? Don’t you think I will develop a bad habit of going to slow?

Regarding your questions about my studies and goals :

1) For the past 10 Days : 4h/day during the week and 6h/day during the week-ends.

2) The materials I use is :
- Manhattan Prep Books (full set of books)
- Manhattan Prep App (Lot of Questions filtered by Area and Topic )
- OG 2019
- Ron’s Video, there is a post on this forum with all of his video (Very useful for the methodology for DS problem)

I am considering buying the Gmat Club Tests.

Do you think I should have other study materials ?

3) I plan to pass it in the beginning of October but If I am not ready my final deadline is mid –December. Mid-december I need to have my final Gmat score.

4) First round : 23 October 2019 or second round : 8 January 2020.

5) I am planning to apply to a Ms in HEC (in France), it’s not for an MBA yet, but a score of 700+ is required.
I am currently in an engineering school and I want to work in a big Strategy consulting firm and this Ms is a good way to be able to pass the screening and get a chance to be short-listed for the interview sessions.

I hope it clarify few things.

Thank you, once again, for your help, it is very useful !

I am Looking forward for your reply,

Coggi
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Re: Work Plan, Methodology and Hard Questions  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2019, 19:52
Hi Coggi,

One of the reasons why you should take CATs at regular intervals is to see whether you've consciously made any adjustments to how you 'respond' to the Exam or not. For example, you now know what some hard/weird questions look like - on this next CAT, how much time are you going to spend trying to answer the hard questions (especially if they involve subject-matter that you have not learned yet)?

Focusing on learning the material/concepts and doing accurate work NOW is essential to gaining the skills needed so that you can do that same type of work in a faster fashion in the future. Assuming that you have a reasonable memory, over time you should be able to spot concepts and patterns that you know, meaning that it shouldn't take you as long to decide how to approach a prompt (nor how to work through the actual 'steps' needed to solve it).

In my earlier post, I mentioned that using a book-heavy study plan might lead to you getting 'stuck' at a certain score level. It's obviously too earlier to determine whether that will happen to you or not, but since you're interested in a Score Goal that approximately 90% of Test Takers cannot achieve, you would likely find it beneficial to invest in a GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led).

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Re: Work Plan, Methodology and Hard Questions   [#permalink] 24 Jul 2019, 19:52

Work Plan, Methodology and Hard Questions

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