My endless journey with 380 :(

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My endless journey with 380 :(

by lapanika » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:23 pm
I am a post graduate student in HR. My high school Math sucked totally , to the extent I just managed to pass my exams . Initially I thought Verbal would be exciting,but I no where feel it reflects in my scores . I also subscribed to the 60 day BTG Study Guide, but couldnt cope with it .Every problem took a lot of time for me to solve, which ended in a huge backlog.
I have been studying for 4 months now and my score does not go beyond 380. I have also enrolled myself for Knewton Tutoring Service.
My scores so far
Knewton diagnostic : 370
Knewton Practice GMAT 1 : 370
Princeton GMAT : 240
Knewton Practice GMAT 2: 380
GMAT Prep 1 : 300

The books that I have used so far are OG , Knewton for brushing up my concepts, Kaplan Math Foundation, Manhattan SC and CR, Princeton for Practice Questions , Mc Graw GMAT . I feel scattered with my study material all over the place . I also have my own flashcards .
I have postponed my GMAT date twice and even Prep tests make me nervous. I would like if you guys could throw some light and changes that I need to make to improve my score .

It would be nice , if you share a compulsory cram list ( like SC rules or pointers for Math )and timing advice also.

Thanks a tonne in advance .

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by singalong » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:29 pm
I know exactly what you mean.Though I haven't taken the GMAT yet, my first practice test yielded a score around the score you have.Even I am bad at math compared to verbal.

Overall, from 2 months of prep, and from numerous resources, I have understood that foundation is the key here.Once we are good at the basics, then everything will fall into place with a good plan and constant practice.I have started with the Manhattan strategies(5 books) for quant and Manhattan SC presently.they are all excellent books.
In the beginning take your time to understand the question, decode it and try to solve it.Then refer the key and the explanation and figure out how your approach differed from what is prescribed.Do not try to stick to the 2 minute timing for each question here.
I know I am not an expert here but this is the route I am following.If basics are not the source your problem, then I guess someone else, probably an expert, would come along to help you out.
Hang in there:)

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by shapht » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:39 pm
i know how you feel. And I feel it too. perseverance.

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by fitzgerald23 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:46 pm
If you are going to raise your score you have to really focus on fundamentals and build up from there. Right now I think you are just jumping into too many things, with too many subjects, from too many companies. Taking practice exams doesnt really help you any right now especially since seeing the low scores over and over probably just makes you more nervous and is hurting you more than helping you.

Id focus on math first and just do that exclusively until you see improvement. I personally like the Numbers Properties book from Manhattan as a starting point, but ask around and see what some others say.

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by thebigkats » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:39 pm
First of all, don't despair or give up. Write on a piece of paper that you can do it and post it some place where you will see it every single day first thing in the morning.

then get to the basics... trust me it is NOT hard. You are not taking school / college maths here. It is more to do with technique than content. Work on the basics - geometry, number property etc. Go through OG intro's at the beginning of sections and then do more reading on internet on those topics. Go through BTG every day for a few Qs and explanations.

When you feel that you have learned enough (enough... not everything) then start working on problems on that topic. One by one. Always go back and read the explanation to make sure you are doing it with the right technique.

Every time you see yourself doing better, treat yourself. With 10 extra questions that day of harder difficulty level.

Soon, you will see the difference - positive one.

Good luck and keep it up,
Everything is possible in this world. Even the word Impossible says - I'm possible

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by lapanika » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:12 pm
Thank you singalong, shapht, fitzgerald 23 and thebig kats for rekindling my desire to push myself.
Im starting again with basics and have also bought OG Verbal and the quant book.
Anybody , who could share their point improvement process with study schedule would be great .

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by maus » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:16 pm
Hi Lapanika,

Sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with studying! I found that for me, short 1-2 hours of very FOCUSED studying does more than 3+ hours of scattered studying. Have you thought of maybe rearranging the length of your study sessions? I know how you feel - I am not a quantitative person either. No doubt you know the material, maybe you are stressing out a little too much. I found that sometimes you need to give yourself breaks, check yourself (before you wreck yourself ;P), and then continue going. God knows I've had to stop and shake myself up a little to make sure my mind is in the right place.

Good luck to you! Keep on keepin' on! :)

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by singalong » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:54 am
maus, I am with you on the qualitative 2 hours sessions.But if one can find the time he/she should also make the habit of solving GMAT questions for 3-4 hour straight since the GMAT is a 4 hour long. A lot of people who have aced the GMAT recommend this.'Course this has to happen once you have confidence with your basics.

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by lapanika » Sun May 15, 2011 8:34 am
Thanks again for your inputs .
I have been breaking up my study time 4 hrs quant and 4 hrs verbal , solving from OG REVIEW (Green and Blue Books ) . I have also arranged a personal tutor , so that I cut down on my time and zero down on the most accurate answer.

I would like some more suggestions on time management, this time.

PS : I did read the article on BTG on time management .

Thanks in advance

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by Aashna K » Tue May 31, 2011 3:13 pm
Hi Lapanika,

Sorry for the late reply. Though it's better knowing you've got people in the same boat as you rather than not knowing at all.

I've been a silent observer on all the BTG forums for the last one year and always told myself that the day I crack the test will be the day I write on a forum. Nope, I haven't reached there as yet, far from it, but I do want you to know that my math is quite lousy as well. I was supposed to take my GMAT almost eight to nine months ago (i even took classes from a small prep company which did not help at all since I went for the math, and they went at the pace of lightning!) My fundamentals are weak (the last time i did math was eight years ago in grade 10) and i feel far more confident about doing and even studying for verbal than looking at a math book. My boyfriend is an engineer and is fairly comfortable with Math. I wish that helped but it really doesn't since that intimidates me! Many classes in India assume that you're either an engineer or from a science background and hence quicken the pace for the Quant section. Their 'slow and measured' pace was 'super fast' for me!

Like you, I did a practice test quite randomly and scored a 490. I literally clicked the first answer choice i saw for the last 15 math questions because i kept running out of time. Moral of the story as some have suggested above : take. it. slow. Everyone's different and has different strengths. I gave up on the GMAT so many times in the last eight months that I am now cramming in 25 days to give my first attempt or else I will never do it. Use the MGMAT Geometry book (i started with geo. coz it's easier for me to relate to diagrams) and sentence correction book. I tried using the foundations book but realized that takes up too much time. Also, depending on your attention span, do quant on one day, and verbal on another or else you may feel like you're ignoring verbal completely! (It also helps to boost your confidence when you see yourself doing better in verbal)

Don't give up! Your story made me realize that there are people like me on this forum that need as much motivation and encouragement like I've been in need of all this while. Let's crack it together! :)

PS - Doing a little a day really well is better than cramming for hours and not remembering much.

Cheers and chin up!


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by karanrulz4ever » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:43 am
I would advice you to just brush aside the eagerness to give tests after tests and concentrate on the basics for a while. This alone should take you to the 650-level. After that it ll be just practice. But till then concentrate on basics.

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by lapanika » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:36 am
Thanks karanrulz4ever and Aashna K

You guys make me feel I am not alone, on this GMAT path.

My GMAT Updates : I am currently working with a Math Tutor who is helping me solve hard problems (Probability ,Series, DS -Integer problems ) I come back and resolve the same problems and a couple of new ones too.

Verbal : I read through my flash cards, concepts and solve RC ,SC, CR everyday , plus AWA's too ..
As they say when a ship is sinking, you want to plug all the holes at the same time. That kind of describes my state of mind right now .

As far as the tests are concerned, I am taking it slow and haven't taken one in a while.

Aashna : Have ordered the Manhattan Geometry book and I already have SC .

I am super open for suggestions and will tweak my schedule, if I find something interesting here .

Thanks again guys .. its chin up and war time !!!

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by singalong » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:09 am
lapanika wrote:As they say when a ship is sinking, you want to plug all the holes at the same time.
Excellent quote!

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by timmy d » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:29 am
Thanks Aashna,

It is nice to read a post from people who didn't start with a 650. All I really want to do is crack 600! I've been at it for 5 months and my practice tests have remained constant (490). I know I'm improving but it is hard when you take a practice and you see no gain in score. I am going to keep at it though. I have invested way too much time to quit now! Good luck with you prep!

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by lapanika » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:46 am
:)Today I took a Peterson's test , after a long time and to my surprise I have inched my score to 460. It may not be WOW score , but for me it took a lot of time to figure out , to invest time and execute. So from 380, the jinx has been broken.However , I am not done yet because there is a lot to do .. Anybody here , who has moved those "Static scores" ? Please do share,its infectious to share , I believe so !!