Da Summer Patio Studying + Twice is Nice Method

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Hi all - first of all, best of luck to all those who studying for the GMAT! You've definitely come to the right place - the posts in this forum were incredibly helpful when I first started studying and they definitely pointed me in the right direction in terms of getting the right books, developing good GMAT strategy, and preparing for test day. (I just had to correct the previous sentence so the last bits were parallel - if anything, studying for the GMAT SC section may improve your writing!)

There are a ton of posts in this forum that are thorough in describing studying techniques and tips for test day preparedness, and if you're just starting to study or need a new perspective on how to continue, you should definitely go through a few of the success stories here. In this post, though, I'd like to echo a couple points that others have said, and maybe put a fresh spin on how they helped me when I studied. And then I'll put all the usual facts and figures on my GMAT at the bottom of the post.

1. Finally, Enjoy!: Don't forget to enjoy what you are doing.
- Eric https://www.beatthegmat.com/720-96th-per ... t-t13.html

Enjoying the entirety of your GMAT experience is key to success. You've decided to study for the GMAT, no one is forcing you, so have a blast with it! I enjoyed studying for the GMAT because I truly enjoyed relearning math, reading the amusing critical reasoning passages, and digging deeper into proper sentence construction. To make the experience even more enjoyable...I studied outside on the patio in a lounge chair every day I could (ie. every day this summer that it didn't rain!). I liked having a break from sitting at my desk doing problems, or sitting in front of the computer entering my answers into the error log and watching every other cell turn up red. Studying outside under the sun was incredibly relaxing and calming, and it forced me to focus on reading and understanding the GMAT material that I picked for the day. Some days I sat outside and read a couple chapters of a MGMAT guide before heading inside, quickly reviewing what I just read, and then doing practice problems. Other days, especially near the end of my study, I sat outside and read BTG flashcards and the notes I took from reviewing tests. Overall, try to mix things up. I've heard studying in different locations may be helpful for retaining information, so pick the most comfy spot you can when you want to do some serious reading!

2. Review, review, review
- Many, many posts on BTG

The twice is nice method: I locked in concepts by reading/reviewing everything twice. I did the OG questions twice, once following the BTG 60-plan and once following the Manhattan GMAT guides. I read the MGMAT SC and PowerScore CR book twice, once when I first started studying, and once 2 months later, a couple days before my exam. As suggested by a post in this forum, I watched all the Thursdays with Ron videos, and viewed all the SC videos a second time. (Finding time to do this was challenging to say the least, but totally worth it. I watched videos while eating lunch sometimes, and on days that I took a practice exam, after taking the test I'd be super-drained so I'd just watch videos back to back instead of studying.)

Reviewing your work to isolate weaknesses and problem areas is super important. Don't worry about doing every problem you can get your hands on, buying extra problem sets or downloading all the documents floating around with thousands of questions in them. I just used the OG's, BTG daily problems, GMATPrep software and a few other guides (MGMAT and Kaplan Premier) to study.

And all the usual stuff...
Weekly Practice Tests
GMATPrep 1: 640
MGMAT 1: 630
MGMAT 2: 640
MGMAT 3: 640
MGMAT 4: 700
MGMAT 5: 740
Kaplan Online: 570
Kaplan CD 1: 530 (Soooo...the Kaplan tests were extremely hard for me, I ended up not reviewing the questions/solutions at all)
GMATPrep 1 redo: 740
GMATPrep 2, 1 week before actual test: 750
Actual GMAT: 730

Books/Guides
BTG 60-day plan with Kaplan Premier, OG12, Quant Review 1, Verbal Review 2
MGMAT SC, all Quant books + the new ADVANCED QUANT GUIDE (AMAZING book, especially if you're self-studying)
PowerScore CR Bible

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by prodizy » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:03 am
Grear. you are mentally tough. the low mock scores didn't deter you to achieve your true potential. awesome.

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by alex_katharina » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:37 am
Congratulations on this top GMAT score!!

Did you find that the actual GMAT questions were very different/more difficult than the ones found in OG 12 or GMAT Prep tests?
I've heard that the actual GMAT often is quite a bit harder than the GMAT questions in OG 12....

I am planning on taking the GMAT in NOvember and would appreciate your insights...

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by ella.mst » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:08 am
alex_katharina wrote:Congratulations on this top GMAT score!!

Did you find that the actual GMAT questions were very different/more difficult than the ones found in OG 12 or GMAT Prep tests?
I've heard that the actual GMAT often is quite a bit harder than the GMAT questions in OG 12....

I am planning on taking the GMAT in NOvember and would appreciate your insights...
Actually I found the actual GMAT questions to be about the same difficulty. The first 2/3rds of the quant section actually felt easier overall, and all of verbal was quite manageable until I let the time slip from under me. Timing due to innate perfectionism and wanting to solve every problem correctly was really the most challenging part on the exam; I definitely was under-prepared to deal with the time crunch.

What I can say for difficulty level and the compulsion to do tons of questions is that it is much more important to understand the theory and strategy for different types of questions. If you know "how" to do a certain type of question, then you don't need to practice on 50 additional questions, only a few to make sure you have the technique down. Completing the problems sets of the Manhattan GMAT Advanced Quant book (150 problems) more than adequately prepared me for the quant section - the questions in that book are far more difficult than the actual exam, and to be honest, they were quite different from all the questions I actually received, but I could use the strategy I learned from the book to help with taking the actual test. For verbal, I really stopped practicing on non-official problems because I found that problems from other sources were not at all similar to actual GMAT problems. Problems are very intricate - the official problems are the only ones that really reflect the style of what you'll get on the actual exam. As Ron Purewal says a lot in his study halls - don't worry about difficulty level on verbal because you use the same techniques on all verbal questions regardless of difficulty level.

Lastly, don't forget that the GMATPrep software has additional question banks for each type of problem on the exam if you need extra practice!

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by prodizy » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:13 am
Hey,

Excellent suggestions again. thanks. what's your quant score in the gmat?