Remembering Content & Strategies

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Remembering Content & Strategies

by mattnyc15 » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:00 pm
I just started heavily diving into my GMAT studies and I'm now starting to get the full picture of how much content I'll need to immerse myself in.

Does anyone have any tips for how to best remember/memorize the sheer truckload of content and concepts that need to be mastered in the process?

Outside of formulas on flash cards.

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by ceilidh.erickson » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:24 pm
I think you're asking a really excellent question here! A lot of students pour dozens of hours into studying, but they might not be studying in the most effective way. I wrote an article recently about what learning science teaches us about the most effective study / memorization techniques: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/ ... -studying/
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Harvard Graduate School of Education

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by ReasonGMAT » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:29 pm
I like to have my students create a binder so that there is some logic to how things connect (rather than flashcards, which tend to end up as a huge pile without much organization).

You can create a Math section and a Verbal section and then for the Math section even divide it up into general strategies (for PS and DS separately) and content (Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, etc.). And then the content categories can even be further broken up into sub-categories (like circles, triangles, etc.).

You can add rules and formulas, etc. to the binder and even add exemplary questions that you come across and want to be able to go back over in the future.
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by [email protected] » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:18 pm
I take a tack somewhat different from what you are asking about in that I don't see all that much to memorize.

Where I am going with this is that rather than memorize things, one can seek to truly understand the logic behind them.

For instance, in combinatorics, there are formulas one can apply when answering the questions, but one can readily answer the questions, possibly more efficiently, without really using those formulas, if one really understands how combinations and permutations work.

Also, if you really get how something works, any formula or strategy for handling a question incorporating that concept becomes pretty much unforgettable.

If you do somehow forget something, generally you can find what you forgot via an internet search, by the way.

So anyway, while maybe there are some concepts, strategies, or formulas the memorization of which makes sense, for the most part memorization may not be the best approach for rocking the GMAT.
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by ReasonGMAT » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:26 am
I would agree with that completely. First of all the test is much more about understanding the concepts and applying them in strategic and creative ways than it is about just memorizing facts and formulas. And I would also agree that logically understanding things is the key to remembering them. A great example of this is the formula for 3 overlapping sets - it's a pretty annoying formula to try to remember but if you understand it logically then you can pretty much derive it yourself every time.

That said, in my experience people just tend to forget things over time, especially if the process gets drawn out over several months or more. It's pretty frustrating for my students when they learn something (let's say, for example, how to approach factor/multiple questions) and really truly understand it and then forget it a month or 2 later. So I think it is helpful to have a system in place that allows you to maintain the gains that you make over time.

That is why I recommend the binder for those people who are organized enough to really make use of it. First of all there is a logical progression from one area to the next so that it becomes more than just the memorization that tends to happen with flashcards. For example fractions, ratios, and percents are all very related so the fact that those concepts could be near each other in the binder aids in logically understanding how they connect. And again one can put questions and solutions and even content specific strategies in there so that it is not just about memorizing formulas. Again I think of factors and multiples here because although there isn't a lot to "memorize" in that area, there is a lot to remember in terms of how to approach those questions effectively and there is enough variety within that content area that having a handful of exemplary questions to refer back to can help.
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by [email protected] » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:27 am
Hi mattnyc15,

I think you've started to become aware of how much of a challenge the GMAT is, and with that, you'll soon learn for most parts, there isn't a whole lot of "memorizing" you can do. Since the exam is adaptive and computer-based, it's more of an event that you can train for with a combination of an understanding of concepts and test-strategies.

I'm curious to know more about the materials you're currently using. If you're focusing primarily on book materials, consider adding a few online resources to train yourself on test-taking strategies that will put you over the top. Most online resources offer free trials as well, so there won't be any financial commitment until you decide one (or more) works for you. To help you get started, here's a link to try Economist GMAT Tutor for 7 days: https://bit.ly/1bPAHuW

Best of luck,
Rich