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Will I ever beat the gmat?

This topic has 2 expert replies and 3 member replies
Brittany5284 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
29 Dec 2014
Posted:
4 messages

Will I ever beat the gmat?

Post Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:53 am
Hi! My GMAT journey has been long and pretty grueling. I have been studying for about a year and a half with dreams of getting into a top business school. I have been through the extensive Princeton Review Course (twice) and have worked with a tutor as well. I recently stopped working with my tutor because we both felt that she could not help me. My problem lies in not necessarily a lack of understanding of the material but in making careless errors, swapping signs, mixing up numbers, etc. and where I am getting the questions wrong in the exam in the quantitative section. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Were you able to overcome it? Any helpful strategies? I have come a long way from a 480 to a 640 where I currently sit. Quantitative score is mid 40s (45) and Verbal score is high 30s to 40 (37-40). My goal is to get at least 70% on the quantitative section.

Thanks!

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Post Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:52 am
Quote:
My problem lies in not necessarily a lack of understanding of the material but in making careless errors, swapping signs, mixing up numbers, etc. and where I am getting the questions wrong in the exam in the quantitative section. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
I promise, you are not the first person to experience this Smile It's actually quite common.

Two tips: First, when test-takers make a lot of careless mistakes, it's sometimes because their pace is a little too aggressive. We want to be mindful of the clock, but it's better to take those extra few seconds to check our work and re-read the question. If that extra time investment means you need to guess a few times later on, that's fine. It's most important not to miss the questions you know how to do.

Second, give mindfulness meditation a try. The research shows that a regular practice leads to improved focus and attention, which would help to cut down on those careless errors: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/study-meditation-improves-memory-attention/275564/

(And here's another great article, courtesy of Marty:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/)

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Brittany5284 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
29 Dec 2014
Posted:
4 messages
Post Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:47 am
Hi David,

Thanks so much for your response! It is good to know that others have this problem as well. I am definitely going to try what you have suggest. Thank you again for your help!

Post Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:09 am
Hi Brittany5284,

The improvements that you've made so far have been substantial and a 640 score on the Official GMAT would be just shy of the 80th percentile overall, so you'd be a decent candidate for most Business Schools.

Silly/little mistakes are almost always due to 'mechanical' problems in the physical work that you do. The solution is almost always to take more notes, label your work, do NOTHING "in your head", etc. Think of the work in these terms: if you had to hand your notes to someone else, would that person understand what you had just worked on? Would that person even know what question YOU were trying to answer?

Now, before you argue that "that sounds like too many notes...", you are not expected to write a thesis on every question you work on, but you do have to write down the things that matter (the information that applies to the question that is asked AND the question itself). Silly mistakes happen because the notes aren't there to remind you of the details. Time gets wasted because you have to go back and reread a prompt again and again (because you haven't put the info you need on the pad).

The issues you've described are 'fixable', but you have to make a conscious effort to fix them.

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

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Post Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:02 am
One last thing - make sure you differentiate between the kinds of mistakes you make. If the last step of a question involves simple arithmetic, such as 17 + 9, and you quickly call that sum '28,' that's an easy fix, and the meditation will help.

But if you have a question in which you simplify "ax > ay" as "x > y," this is a content mistake, because we don't know if 'a' is positive or negative, and therefore cannot know if the inequality sign will flip or not when we perform this operation. In this case, after the exam, you'd want to jot down a reminder that "When multiplying/dividing both sides of inequality by a variable, I need to know whether that variable is + or - before I know what happens to the inequality sign." Make it a point to refer to this list of axioms on a daily basis until they're all second nature.

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Brittany5284 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
29 Dec 2014
Posted:
4 messages
Post Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:42 pm
Hi Rich, this is really helpful. Thank you for the advice. I do write most stuff does but I think I am making mistake when I copy it over and am not giving myself the time to make sure I wrote the problem down correctly. Definitely going to take your advice moving forward. Thanks again!

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