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Advice getting back after six month hiatus

This topic has 4 expert replies and 1 member reply
NYC4LIFE Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
04 Dec 2013
Posted:
2 messages

Advice getting back after six month hiatus

Post Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:28 am
Hi Everyone,
I don't think my situation is entirely unique but certainly far from ideal. I took the GMAT back in mid-October 2016 and received a 650 (I don't have my score report so I don't have V/Q breakdown handy), but I know I performed far better on verbal than I was expecting and far below what I was hoping and capable of for quant. I aced both the essay and integrated reasoning, and in hindsight probably should not have invested as much time and mental energy on test day for scores that are of less significance.

Here I am now, nearly six months later beginning to dust off my materials and get back in the game. Between work obligations, family matters, and a personal illness requiring hospitalization I haven't been studying or engaged with GMAT whatsoever. I am tentatively planning to apply next fall so I have plenty of time. What review and studying planning strategy should I put together now? Last time around I felt I spent a lot of time studying but became stressed and only slept about four hours because of anxiety (not staying up studying).

My thinking is:
1) Take a CAT next Sunday
2) Review score report and perhaps purchase ESR
3) Identify areas for improvement study concepts and do a CAT every Sunday. (Saturday is not possible since I am Shomer Shabbos)
4) Continue CATs until I can constantly achieve desired score (75-100+ points above current score)

Right now work obligations are minimal and hours will be a very manageable 9-10 hours/day which allows for several hours of studying each day.

Materials:
1) Manhattan Prep Strategy Guides
2) eGMAT Verbal and Quantitative
3) Materials from coworkers containing practice problems and notes from classes they attended.

Any thoughts or pointers would be much appreciated. I had great success retaking the ACT four months later my score went from a 28 to 33.

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Post Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:42 pm
Hi NYC4LIFE,

If it's really been 5 months since you've done much of anything GMAT-related, then we cannot take it for granted that you're at the same skill level as you were back in October. As such, that CAT that you're planning to take is essential to defining your current skills and what you'll need to focus on going forward. To that end, you'll want to make sure to make that CAT as realistic as possible (so it should be a NEW CAT - one that you haven't taken before, and you should take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you think you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.).

Raising a 650 by 70-100 points will take some considerable effort - and you'll almost certainly have to make some fundamental changes to how you 'see' (and respond to) the Test. Simply doing lots of practice questions and taking CATs in the same ways as you did before will likely not be enough to get you to that higher scoring level.

1) How long had you studied before taking the GMAT in October?
2) What materials had you used?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Thanked by: NYC4LIFE
NYC4LIFE Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
04 Dec 2013
Posted:
2 messages
Post Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:15 pm
Thanks for the reply.

1) I had been studying since mid-June, several hours five days a week and did about a half dozen CATs. All of my CATs were done in as close to testing conditions as I could replicate at home. Every time I completed both the essay and IR, only took approved timed breaks, and completed all sections in one sitting and the entire test over one sitting.

2) I purchased the official guide, the full set of MGMAT strategy guides, eGMAT online, and used materials a colleague supplied me with problems and outlines from their review. I also created several outlines, notes and flash cards for myself.

In the end, I did score within 20 points of my highest CAT. Towards the end my CAT scores did fall slightly, which lead me to not take another CAT within one week proceeding the exam. I do feel I hit a score plateau, but am committed to spending the time and effort necessary to get over this climb. I very much agree that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is not a plan for success. I could fit in an on-site live class with some adjustments to my work schedule and could also do a reputable online course. Do you think a more structured review would be beneficial in my case?

Post Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:07 am
Hi NYC4LIFE,

Yes, I think that you would find it beneficial to invest in a GMAT Course of some type (either Guided Self-Study or instructor-led) - especially one that focuses on Tactics, patterns and all of the little 'secrets' to the GMAT. Your next CAT result, and your general timeline, will help to define your options:

1) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Post Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:28 am
NYC4LIFE wrote:
My thinking is:
1) Take a CAT next Sunday
2) Review score report and perhaps purchase ESR
3) Identify areas for improvement study concepts and do a CAT every Sunday. (Saturday is not possible since I am Shomer Shabbos)
4) Continue CATs until I can constantly achieve desired score (75-100+ points above current score)
Yes - dive right in and take a CAT right away to assess strengths and weaknesses. And yes, order the ESR. It won't give you topic-by-topic information, but it will give you information on your timing and relative breakdown by question type.

You don't necessarily need to take a CAT *every* week. See the explanation I just posted here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/study-plan-help-restarting-studies-t294638.html#791052

The most important thing about taking CATs is REVIEWING in depth!

If you have the Manhattan Prep books and the OGs, that's more than enough to work with! Here's what you should do:

1. Take an adaptive Practice Exam (CAT). (As noted above). If you bought the Mprep books, you'll have access to our entire suite of practice exams. Don't prep first - just dive in and take the test, accurately timed.

2. Analyze the practice test you've taken in a lot of depth. Which areas were you weakest? Strongest? Fastest? Slowest? Decide which topics and question types need more of your time and attention. Be very aware of timing issues as well.

3. Study topic-by-topic, going chapter by chapter in the Mprep guides, then practice each topic with OG problems. For example, read the chapter on SC subject/verb agreement, then go do a set of 8-10 problems in the OGs that relate to that subject. You can find problems by topic using GMAT Navigator: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/store/online-resources/gmat-navigator/
Do this for each chapter in the Quant and Verbal strategy guides. Aim to do this in 8-10 weeks.

4. Make sure you are tracking all of the OG questions you do, and timing yourself while you practice. Hold yourself to strict 2-min time limits per question! (I highly recommend using Navigator to track your OG problems)

5. Alternate between Quant and Verbal. Don't just focus all on quant, even if it's what you need the most of. You may even be misinterpreting your quant score: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2016/02/11/heres-why-you-may-be-misinterpreting-your-gmat-score/
Either way, boosting your verbal will also help to boost your overall score. Spend no less than 30% of your study time on verbal, no more than 70% on quant.

6. Keep a detailed record of the mistakes you make in addition to just tracking right and wrong answers, so you can locate patterns in your errors: http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/18/the-worst-mistake-you-can-make-in-gmat-studying/

7. Take CATs regularly (though not necessarily every week), and review every single question, right and wrong.

8. Practice your skills with random timed sets out of the OGs once you've covered all of the content in the strategy guides . Set the timer for 20 minutes, for example, and do questions 1-10. The OG problems generally get harder as the question # increases (within a given question type), so questions 1-10 will be easier on average than 101-110. Start in the middle of the section if you want more challenging questions.

9. Analyze your data from the random sets and practice tests, and go back to any topics that need extra work.

10. Take GMATPrep CATs. Download the software from mba.com and take these tests as the last few before the real test. They won't have answer explanations or metrics, so we recommend using Mprep CATs for most of your study time, and saving these for last. (They're less helpful for analysis, but arguably most predictive of your real score, since they're written by the actual test-makers).

Good luck!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education


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Post Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:45 am
Great advice to get started here (and how's it going? Did you take your CAT yet?)

I'll throw in this informaiton because you put it out there:

What will you do this time.. to not become stressed and sleep soundly, because last time you had some anxiety....?

Tests don't only measure what you know...they measure how well you take tests...

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