im ready to give it all..but it just doesnt seem to come!!

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i am a merchant navy guy.I started my expedition 5 months back but it seems i have not moved at all.All my resources are exhaused but i dont seem to get the score .You wont beleive i used to spend more than 5 hours a day since last 5 month and still got a 510 on the prep test i gave last week.It just doesnt come inspite of putting so much of effort.I am an average in both math and verbal.But both have been an equivalent contributors in killing my score.I have a very poor speed in math though i must have solved 0G twice, been through kaplan 800 ,kaplan comprehensive program ,manhattan,,nova, name it ,i have done it !! But still a decent score seems to edude me...(when i started i had a dream of 700+,but i guess i will have to drop that now)

I have tried with each and every strategy present on this site and tried motivating myself the best i can..still in vain!!I have been avoiding my job and infact everything for the last 6 months just for gmat n with the kind of score i see..compels me to give up my dreams...

One thing i have noticed that i have to reread the lines in almost every problem and the comprehension part doesnt run parallel with the reading speed..

I need a suggestion..Should i take a break,give up or just keep tryin(coz d time and money i have been investing doesnt seem to bear fruits,or may be its not there in me ,what it takes to beat the gmat)!!

Down & broken!!!

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by pkblaze100 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:09 am
Hey raunekk

Nice to see a military person on here. I assume by merchant navy, you are referring to the merchant marines? One of my best friends went to he merchant marine academy and just finished his training down in Pensacola.

I am going to respond to both of your posts at the same time.

Firstly, yes I do think almost anyone is capable of scoring a 700 on the GMAT so don't give up!!

That being said, every person requires a slightly different approach to studying and in your case, the method that most of us are using on this website doesn't seem to be working. My roommate had a similar problem to yours. She couldn't break the high 500's after 2 months of studying. We actually came up with a different strategy and her practices are much better now (680-730), but it’s not something you can pull off in a week.

In both of your cases I think the difficulty is not unfamiliarity with the gmat or the question types but more on a fundamental level of math and reading. Here are my general recommendations’ regarding your studying habits. I will follow that with my strategy.

1) You need to lay-off studying for a week or two- take a complete break and stop worrying over it. After 5 months, part of your problem is sheer burnout

2) In general, you are studying way too much. If you read my post on how I studied for my gmat, you will see that I rarely spent more than 3 hours studying. My recommendation is to study 6 days a week - dedicate 2 hours of uninterrupted time for 5 days and have 1 "long day" for 4 hours (the length of an exam). The only time you should study significantly more than that might be the 1-2 weeks before your actual exam. Make sure to take one day completely off from studying every week

3) Relax - it’s been proven that nerves, anger, and frustration worsen your memory and performance. If things are going badly one night or something comes up in your personal life then take a break from studying for a few days – its counterproductive to be too focused on studying. Don't let the gmat take over your life.

That being strategy for you involves not studying the gmat for about 1-2 months. Instead you need to focus on improving your base math and reading skills. Every day my friend tried to do the following
1) Read 30 minutes of English Literature NOT a regular fiction book (ask if you need ideas)
2) Read 30 minutes of a Nonfiction book - try history, philosophy, pysch, autobiographies - try getting something in which the author is pushing a theory or analyzing something instead of a book that is just a summary of concepts or events.
3) 15-30 minutes of basic mathematics: +, -, /, *: There are a couple of websites out there that will time you while doing these so just Google them. Try doing up to 2 digit *,/ and 4 digit +, - in your head (ex: 27*32 = 864) as quickly and accurately as possible
4) 15-30 minutes of algebra and factoring. You will need to find a resource or a book that just has tons and tons and tons of factoring, simplifying and solving of algebra questions
5) Add 15-30 minutes of practice problems in geometry the last week or two
6) You can also try things like sodoku, Math mind teasers etc to break up the flow when you get tired of the other practices
7) You can occasionally slip in a well written literature from - normal fiction novels, articles from a newspaper (I recommend the wall street journal), online articles, magazines (Popular science, national geographic) to add variety

You will need to do these with the following goals in mind:
English: Read faster, notice how they write, think of what ideas they are trying to present and why they are valid/invalid in your opinion
Math: Get faster with greater accuracy. I am always amazed how sometimes I can just brute force my way through a math problem with some good mental math.

Obviously you can edit this schedule a bit. If you want to read one book at a time or read only one book each day that’s fine. Whatever feels most comfortable to you. On your long day, just double the times listed above

After 1-2 months of this, you should see some progress. At this point I recommend another 1-2 months, but this time replace 1/2 your reading and math with problems from the gmat. The easy ones are fine, but I want you to approach them differently. For all of the English problems, I want you to try and answer the question before looking at the choices. See how close your answer is to the actual answer and then make sure to review the right and wrong answers. For the math problems:
1) Do some of the problem backswords (plug the answers into the data provided by the problem) – you can solve about ½ the gmat questions faster like this and it needs to be practiced so you can determine when it works best for you
2) Don’t use letters unless necessary. Fake numbers work so much better:

Example: If machine A can takes 4 hours to finish a task and machine b takes 9 hours to do the same take how long will it take them to do it together (solving using “fake numbers”)

Task is to make 36 widgets. Therefore A makes 9 widgets an hours and B makes 4 widgets an hour. Together they make 13 widgets an hour, so it takes them 36/13 hours

Yes there is a formula for this(it’s a*b/a+b I think), but its not one I want to remember. I used the above method for almost every rate problem like this

1) Try coming up with an answer in under 10 seconds in your head before looking at the answer choices – if you weren’t close, try to understand why.

Focus your other half of the time on repeating the basic exercises (#1-6) whatever you still are feeling weaker on

Spend the last 4-8 weeks getting ready to ace your gmat

Let me know if you need clarifications as this was a long and hastily written post

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by raunekk » Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:07 am
pkblaze..i cant thank you enough!!I feel Gmat prep has taken a toll on me and i seriously need a break.. i feel i m expecting too much out of me..
But as you said , go back on d basics..
I purchased Kaplan math workbook. i completed it in 3 days.Solving even the advanced catagory problems with 90% accuracy..(yes but it was not timed)..with 50% accuracy in DS.
I have seen that when eva i time my tests i get extremly stressed up and just keep staring at the questions..n ten get so scared that i quit my test!!weird but true..and if by chance i take a test and i am nt able to solve a question in the first 10 ,i feel my prep has been inadequate and i end the test and start it all my prep ova again!!( i hav lost it!!)..

my weakest areas have been number properties,permutation and combination,probability and DS.also relative speed problems...

Comprehension and speed are the 2 things i lack the most in verbal..

i just cant solve a timed!!i get 2 nervous..

I hope this will help you judge my weaknesses and whr i lack..

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by ElizabethWiggs » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:02 am
I'm no expert, but I think I had a few of the same issues you do. I would see the timer counting down on my practice sets and freeze. And I kept catching myself reading and re-reading sentences throughout the verbal sections. Here's what I did to get over these two issues:

Timing - I started doing sets of practice problems from the OG with a stopwatch. I would hit "go" and then let it run - for some reason, the stopwatch was easier on me mentally than a timer on a simulated test screen. I worked through the whole problem set as though the watch wasn't there. I wrote down the time on the stopwatch every time I wrote down an answer. When I was done with the set, I circled any answers that I got wrong or that took me longer than two minutes. I read the explanations for my circled answers, gave myself a five minute break, and then redid every single problem that was circled until I could get it right in under two minutes. I also saved these answer sheets and would occasionally go back to problems I had circled to see if I had retained what I learned. (Toward the end, I was getting about 75% of my old circled problems correct. The only ones that still gave me trouble were the hardest level.)

Comprehension - I practiced different reading styles. My instinct, especially with RC questions, was to understand every single word and sentence as I read. When I realized that this was slowing me down and causing me to lose focus, I tried skimming the passages instead, refusing to allow myself to go back and re-read. This worked better for me, and over the weeks that I was studying I got good at picking out the important points in the passage without having to ingest every letter on the page. For me, it was more important to read quickly enough to get a good idea of the "big picture," and then when I got to the questions, I had a pretty solid idea about where to find the answer if I didn't remember it. I don't know if this would work for you - it seems like such a personal thing - but you might just try different techniques and see what's best. I didn't take notes while I read, but some people swear by it. Just play around and see if you can find a method that allows you to get through the passage!

Hope that helps - best of luck!

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by raunekk » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:35 pm
thx elizabeth ..thank you so much...i have a problem with DS..CR and RC... can u give me tips on DS and CR especially...some people say for CR ...LSAT critical reasoning is the best book... i have read it twice.. n even made notes of the prob is is find 2min/CR question 2 short a time to carry out the procedure mention in that.. can u tell me wat was your approach for CR,...

thx in advance

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by khurram » Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:50 pm
google clintonn - find his notes.

He went from 460 prep to 760.

His method was simple, he kept of doing the gmat prep test till he solved nearly the whole database. Thus, he could answer all the variations.

If you get 510 gmat prep, solve those answers which you get wrong, do it again, if the questions repeat, solve them again and see if you get them right, if you do you move to level 2.

There is not one person I have seen who is getting 800 on gmat prep no matter how many times they have tried to solve it. So keep on going thru the stages.

Since you know the basics, do this and you should hit 700.


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thx khurram

by raunekk » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:50 am
thx khurram!!i really appreciate ur feels nice when someone makes an extra effort to help u,,,!!thank you

Also,i tried searchin clinton notes on google..n i am getting 2 many results 4 tat!! so m confused which r d real ones.. kindly send me d link if u know.. ..he might b d inspiration i m looking for..

thx a ton!!

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by khurram » Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:22 am
test magic. google with TM.

sec esnips.

OR easy way on this forum do search for gmat prep for each category, if it was hard it has been discussed with not 1 but many approaches, so one should make sense.

Hope this helps.


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by beatthegmat » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:59 pm
Moving this discussion to 'GMAT Strategy'
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by ElizabethWiggs » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:07 pm
can u give me tips on DS and CR especially
Sure - those were the two that I did worst on when I started studying. For CR, it was really a matter of doing as many problems as I could. I was also meticulous about timing myself with a stopwatch. My goal was to be able to finish *most* questions in under a minute and a half, just to be on the safe side. Using the stopwatch helped because by the time I went to take the test, I knew exactly what two minutes felt like. If you get hung up on a CR problem, just mark it on your answer sheet and then go back over the question again and again until you're able to have a good grasp of how to approach it. Logistically, I developed a way of working through the CR questions that was similar to my RC method: I skimmed first to get the big idea, then read the question, then went back to the passage and read in more detail.

For DS, I'm sure you've already got this covered, but memorizing the answer choices was huge for me. Then, like studying for CR, I simply did a huge volume of problems with a stopwatch. For me, going quickly on these problems involved letting go of the notion that I needed to SOLVE - once you know that you're going to get an answer, stop. Don't try to figure out what the answer is. I got good at learning little shortcuts that allowed me to look at a DS question and see where the missing pieces were without having to do much math.

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pkblaze..u there.. help needed!!

by raunekk » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:09 pm
pkblaze.. thank you very much for that excellent plan.. i am following every word that you have given me..and d best part is i have started improving in maths.. ( i sit with a timer now)...though i have postponed my date from 1st july to 1st sep(i m not regretting).. you think that much time will be enough to break the 700+ barrier..( of course wen coupled with genuine efforts).. can u suggest me some advice as to how to increase my verbal score efficiently...i need it badly..

one more problem is i m exhaused with all my material.. in og11 i can look at the question and know what is the answer!:)!From where can i practice more...which are the most accurate materials..??

i am sorry i just didnt follow only one advice of yours ..of takin a 1 month break..i m sorry 4 that coz i m just 2desperate to beat the gmat..:)

I need all the help and advice from you side..
pls do help me to chalk out an efficient plan for these two months...

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Verbal kills me everytime

by subhasis8877 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:47 am
As an engineer, I am quite good at numerical.Only thing is that verbal kills me.I have gone through OG verbal problems.I got half of them correct and half of them wrong in CR and RC.Practicing and Practicing will improve my accuracy ?

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by rajkon » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:08 am

The key to gaining expertise in Verbal is just practise. I'm an engineer too and I feel GMAT quant is much easier when compared to Verbal just like you do. After going through numerous other blogs, postings and other resources, this is what I found abt cracking GMAT Verbal: Take as many practise tests as possible and go through the reasoning for each of the answers. Once you develop techniques to deal with CR and RC, jot them down into flash cards. Refer these flash cards once every few days. This way, you can develop a winning strategy over a period of few weeks. Does that answer your question?
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