550 to 720 in 5 weeks ? Experts pls. Help !!

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Rukz Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
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550 to 720 in 5 weeks ? Experts pls. Help !!

Post Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:20 am
Hi, I started my prep in November 2010 with a diagnostic Test - GMATPrep Test 1 from the MBA.com website.
I managed attempting 28 on the Quant and 38 on the Verbal, I thought I would end up with a 300 but got a suprising 510, Q:27 and V:34.
I was somewhat encouraged and set a target for Mid January for the real exam aiming 720.

My Quant was clearly the weaker of the two and with guidance from friends I dug out some old Math basic books and worked through it topic by topic in detail.
I'd practice Verbal each day as well for atleast 30 mins but majority of my study time was dedicated to Math.

GMAT books I was working from:
OG 12
Priceton Review - Cracking the GMAT
Kaplan Premier
MGMAT SC

I set my exam date for Jan 18th 2011.

My plan was to work on the basics and practice as much upto Dec 31st and Jan 1st onwards attempt a test a day my test results as follows:
Jan 1st: Princeton Review Online Test: Q:36, V:28. 540
Jan 4th Kaplan CD: Q: 28, V:29. 530
Jan 8th: GMATPrep Test 1: Q: 39, V:25. 540.

I was devastated, after 2 months of rigorous practice all I see is an improvement of 30 points ?
However, what was encouraging was to see my Quant score jump from 27 to 39 (given that I ran out of time and guessed the last 10 q's without even reading).
My Verbal is a shocker which has dropped from 34 to 25. I cannot explian why other than the fatigue factor.

Anyhow, I have pushed my date out to Feb 14th, I have exactly 5 weeks and I want to come up with a wiinning strategy. I work FT and have decided to dedicate no more than 3 hrs a day on weekdays and 4 hrs each on Sat n Sun. I say so because in the last 2weeks, last week of Dec to 1st week of Jan I was putting in atleast 8 to 10 hrs daily and saw absolutely no improvement in my score. I was burnt out and could not bare to look at my books for atleast 3 days.
Then I read in Ron's post that it can be detrimental to study too much without break. I guess that is what has happened to me.

I am restarting from tommorrow and have decided to do 20 Problem Solving, 20 DS, 20 SC, 20 CR and 20 RC daily. I will go back to the OG as it has been a while since I touched it.
Sat for test and Sun for review.

To all the experts out there, please advise how I should use my time daily and what books to work from. I also intened to work through the Verbal and qUANT og SUPPLEMENTS.

Another point to note is that if I practice SC today then tomm. I perform well in SC and bad in other areas of Verbal. If I practice CR today then RC and SC will inevitable fall.

Experts, your advise and comments PLEASE !!!

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eternal_optimist Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:02 am
It's good that you realized on time that you're burning out yourself more than required.
I think that you should have devoted more than 30 minutes everyday to Verbal. It's an area which takes quite sometime to master. If you ask me 20 questions each from PS,DS, SC,CR and RC is way too much work in a job. Since I have been through your kind of situation ,so I can tell you from my own personal experience that this strategy is fatal.
It'd be not possible to cover these many topics and questions in a study period of 4-5 hours. You may wanna read my post and learn from the mistakes I made that doing more questions will make you better. You'd have read Ron's post also that it doesn't matter how much time you take in analyzing a question as long as you're able to apply the concept learnt in similar questions in future.
Secondly, regarding your question that you perform inconsistently on Verbal on a day-to-day basis, that's an indication of the fact that your Verbal concepts aren't either very clear(especially in SC) or you've haven't done enough practice(especially in RC) . So you may need to work on these areas first and then automatically, you'll see your score improving.

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Post Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:12 pm
I agree with eternal_optimist. The wild fluctuation in you score is an indication of the fact that you need to improve your conceptual clarity. If I were you, I'd NOT use Cracking the GMAT as it is only good for those above between 500-600. You can read the reviews about the book on the forum.
I'd suggest you to use specific books for each of the areas on Verbal. For SC, you may use, SC Grail. For CR, PowerScore CR bible is a very good option and for RC, you may wanna look at MGMAT RC Guide for strategies and RC99 for practice.
I'm sure that you'll be able to improve if you study systematically,using the right material

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Post Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:35 pm
@ Eternal optimist:
Quote:
It'd be not possible to cover these many topics and questions in a study period of 4-5 hours. You may wanna read my post and learn from the mistakes I made that doing more questions will make you better. You'd have read Ron's post also that it doesn't matter how much time you take in analyzing a question as long as you're able to apply the concept learnt in similar questions in future.
Thanks, eternal optimist, I'm glad you pointed out that the above will be too much to cover on a day to day basis. I have read your post (Its an amazing story of perseverance, I salute you) and what particularly struck a chord with me was that studing harder does not necessarily mean getting a better score. I have taken that quite seriously Smile

Quote:
Secondly, regarding your question that you perform inconsistently on Verbal on a day-to-day basis, that's an indication of the fact that your Verbal concepts aren't either very clear(especially in SC) or you've haven't done enough practice(especially in RC) . So you may need to work on these areas first and then automatically, you'll see your score improving.
I personally believe its the practice that I lack, concept wise I don't see there to be such an issue. Esp. because when I practice from the OG and drills from MGMAT I mostly get it right, say 90% of the time. It's on the test under time constraints that I mess things ups. What do you think ?

@ Rishi Raj:

Thanks for your response.
Quote:
I agree with eternal_optimist. The wild fluctuation in you score is an indication of the fact that you need to improve your conceptual clarity. If I were you, I'd NOT use Cracking the GMAT as it is only good for those above between 500-600. You can read the reviews about the book on the forum.
I really don't know what concepts or how to improve those. I personally found the Princeton Review very easy. And, did very well on the Prac exercises.
Pls. comments.

Both, I have thought through the following Study Plan starting today, pls. comments and advise.

What do you both think of the following study plan:
30 mins daily: Revise Rules and Formulae (alternate between SC and Math)
1.5 hrs. daily: Problem Solving and DS (from OG, in Math I believe the more I wil practice the better I will get as is evident from my score improvement)
1.5 hrs daily: Verbal (Mon - SC from OG and MGMAT, Tue - RC from OG, Wed - CR (OG and powerscore bible), Thu - SC, Fri - CR, Sun - RC.
Saturday: Prac Test
Sun: Review Test and practice a few RC

Many Many Thanks !!!

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Post Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:05 am
CR Powerscore is not available in Mumbai. An online oder will take 2-3 weeks to deliver, I really can't wait that long. Can I use the MGMAT CR as a substitue instead ?

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Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:18 am
answering a pm

Rukz wrote:
I am restarting from tommorrow and have decided to do 20 Problem Solving, 20 DS, 20 SC, 20 CR and 20 RC daily. I will go back to the OG as it has been a while since I touched it.
Sat for test and Sun for review.
100 problems a day?
*five* days of just doing problems for every *one* day of review?
this is not good... not good at all.

if you're studying properly, you should be spending substantially MORE time on review than on doing problems. if you can do even close to 100 problems per day, that indicates that you're just doing problem after problem after problem after problem after problem, and not spending nearly enough (if any) time reviewing.

here's what you should be able to do:

for EVERY quant problem:
* don't concentrate on the solution to that actual problem, since you can be sure you aren't going to see that actual problem on the exam
* instead, try to find TAKEAWAYS from the problem, which you can then APPLY TO OTHER PROBLEMS. this is key - DO NOT LEAVE A PROBLEM until you have extracted at least one piece of information, whether a formula, a strategy, a trick/trap, etc., that you can apply to OTHER problems.
do not leave a problem until you can fill in the following sentence, meaningfully and nontrivially:
"if i see _____ ON ANOTHER PROBLEM, i should _____"
* notice the SIGNALS in the problem that dictate which strategy to use. if you miss the problem, then notice the strategy that's used in the book's solution (not always the best solution, in the case of the o.g., but better than nothing), and go back to see if there are any signals 'telling' you to use that strategy.

for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

if you're doing these things, there's no way you'll be able to get through even half that number of problems.

quantity ≠ quality.

Quote:
Another point to note is that if I practice SC today then tomm. I perform well in SC and bad in other areas of Verbal. If I practice CR today then RC and SC will inevitable fall.
this doesn't seem reasonable; if this is really happening, then the result is 100% due to psychological factors -- i.e., you're telling yourself you're going to do worse at topic X, so, surprise!, you do worse at topic X.

barring things like brain lesions or memory disorders, the kinds of skills that are necessary for this exam can't reasonably be forgotten in less than a month or two.

--

also, DO NOT STUDY FOR SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.
do not do it.
you need at least 1 day OFF per week.
you also need at least 1.5-2 hours of FREE TIME each day.
if you don't have these rest periods, your brain will not make lateral connections, as i've mentioned in some previous posts.

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Last edited by lunarpower on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:30 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:24 am
Hi Ron,

You truly are the GOD of GMAT.
I Believe your analysis of my situation is as accurate as it can get.

Thanks for your study advice, it makes complete sense to me.

Can't thank you enough Smile

Cheers !!!

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Post Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:58 am
Wow! What wonderful insights by Ron! Kudos from my side!

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:00 pm
Insightful as usual Ron. Thanks for the sound advice and words of wisdom. Clearly, your mastery comes from a lot of hard work and dedication over the long haul. It's clear to me now that there really is only one approach to tackling the Official Guide. Your comment about quality over quantity resonated with me. I am a convert. Looking forward to more from you...

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Post Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:54 pm
Having read millions of posts at manhattan forums and other sites, i need to say: Ron - you rock. Is GMAT your last name?

cheers!

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Post Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:41 am
mba_from_iim wrote:
Having read millions of posts at manhattan forums and other sites, i need to say: Ron - you rock. Is GMAT your last name?

cheers!
nope, just my middle name.

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Post Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:42 am
Ron, Thanks for this great insight. I had not seen such a composer from anyone on any site. I have a question though. From your below quote, how is it possible to get everything from all the answer choices. The OG explanation is very short, giving one or two explanation for right and wrong choices sometimes saying even only saying awkward. Also, even if I do some analysis by my own, how can I make sure it works and I understood correctly to apply to next question. Is this comes from just practice or I am missing some very basic concept here.


lunarpower wrote:
for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

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Post Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:19 pm
Brandy - It does not come from practice but the way you approach a problem.

Many things cannot be put in words - Check this link -
http://gmatclub.com/forum/statistics-and-logic-73630.html#p949314
Compare the solution posted by all and Karishma - You will realize what Ron is telling you

OG - may have 2/3 word solution - But the gist is will you have some takeaway that you can apply when you see a similar pattern ?
I infer what Ron meant to say is :
1) You should be able to eliminate wrong question with right reasons - This will be your takeaway
2) While eliminating every wrong sentence - You should be in a position to justify your elimination with correct reasons
3) Have a takeaway for every problem - Quant/Verbal - This can come only if you follow steps 1 and 2 for all the wrong answers Wink
In Verbal - I can vouch for SC - Rest assured - 80% of the wrong answers have multiple errors - Only 20% may have a single error
So even one proper takeaway will allow you to eliminate multiple wrong choices

Ron is the boss here. Ron - Please throw your thoughts.
brandy96 wrote:
Ron, Thanks for this great insight. I had not seen such a composer from anyone on any site. I have a question though. From your below quote, how is it possible to get everything from all the answer choices. The OG explanation is very short, giving one or two explanation for right and wrong choices sometimes saying even only saying awkward. Also, even if I do some analysis by my own, how can I make sure it works and I understood correctly to apply to next question. Is this comes from just practice or I am missing some very basic concept here.


lunarpower wrote:
for EVERY verbal problem:
* you should be able to give SPECIFIC reasons why EVERY wrong answer is wrong, and why EVERY right answer is right. ("i just know that it's wrong/right" is NEVER acceptable -- you need to think carefully about the problem until you have discerned a specific reason.)
* you should GENERALIZE these lessons in ways that could conceivably apply to future problems (e.g., "on this problem type, any answer choice more general than the passage = wrong").

for EVERY SC problem, in addition to the above:
* you should be able to go through the CORRECT sentence -- including the non-underlined part -- and justify EVERY construction in that sentence.
e.g.
-- if there's a modifier, you should be able to explain exactly what it modifies, and exactly why that modification makes sense.
-- if there's a pronoun, you should be able to explain exactly what it stands for, and exactly why that makes sense.
-- if there's a verb, you should be able to find its subject. you should also be able to justify the tense in which the verb is used, and/or the tense sequence of multiple verbs.
-- you should be able to explain the exact meaning of the sentence.
-- if there are parallel structures, you should be able to explain (a) the grammatical parallelism AND (b) the parallelism in meaning.
etc.

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Post Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:57 am
brandy96 wrote:
Ron, Thanks for this great insight. I had not seen such a composer from anyone on any site. I have a question though. From your below quote, how is it possible to get everything from all the answer choices. The OG explanation is very short, giving one or two explanation for right and wrong choices sometimes saying even only saying awkward. Also, even if I do some analysis by my own, how can I make sure it works and I understood correctly to apply to next question. Is this comes from just practice or I am missing some very basic concept here.
there are a few ways in which you can glean this information if you find the answer explanations inadequate.

* first, you can post here! after all, that sort of thing is the main purpose of these forums.

* second, you can always research the topic by looking through other problems. i.e., if you are unsure whether a particular type of construction is wrong, then you should flip through a bunch of other problems and try to find the same construction in those problems; if the construction is indeed incorrect, then it should be called out as incorrect in the other problems, too.

* finally, don't forget the value of CORRECT answers.
as i said in the previous post -- in SC, you should be able to go through the CORRECT answers, and JUSTIFY EVERYTHING in the correct answer. i.e., if there is an underline, substitute in the correct answer to make a complete sentence, and then make sure that you understand everything in that correct sentence.
the good thing about this sort of strategy is that you can figure out most things by yourself. for instance, even if you've never seen a particular type of modifier before, you know that it's used correctly -- so you can just deduce its proper use from the context. etc.

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brandy96 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:57 am
lunarpower wrote:
there are a few ways in which you can glean this information if you find the answer explanations inadequate......
.
.
Thanks a ton!!! you are a R O C K STAR. I must say you have been a great help for many on these forums.

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