I first took the GMAT as a college senior (studied Liberal Arts and Economics) in 2013. I remember using a brute force approach to studying: weekly practice tests, reviewing all my questions at once, practice questions during the week, repeat. I got a 710 the first time, not quite good enough for the top programs.
I took the same approach this time around but was stuck around a 660-690. Verbal remained strong (39-41) but quant lagged. I tried the practice tests from Manhattan Prep, the unlimited question bank at Veritas, practice sessions with Magoosh, and the Economis course. I took practice tests on a semi-monthly basis and did 20-30 practice math problems each day. I was consistently getting 35-40% of the math problems wrong, evenly spread across both question types and all topic areas. I thought I was struggling in one specific area but that just wasn't the case.
None helped the content click. TTP had exactly what I was looking for - well organized content, progressively challenging questions, short practice sessions, and a continuous feedback loop. Before TTP, I was keeping track of all the questions by hand - content type, why I got it wrong (didn't understand content, stupid mistake, etc.) in a Google Sheet. When I saw that TTP had incorporated that concept, I knew it would be a good fit for me. Their tools were built to learn, not just practice.
After going through some of the modules, I concluded that I needed to focus on one subject area at a time, repeatedly, and with questions that were increasingly difficult before moving on. I think this is a big mistake I made before picking up TTP. I had actually tried this approach before with the individual Manhattan Prep Study Guides, but I didn't do as many practice problems as I needed and sped through the content. The Study Guides were really good for formulas though, which I highly recommend using for flashcards.
The study plan worked well for my needs. I started near the end of November and had 30 days before my next test. I started working with Jeff, who was instrumental in helping get my score up. I combined working with Jeff with the short study plan online. He reinforced the content, taught me new ways to approach problem, helped me identify the areas where I made mistakes, and was highly adaptive to my strengths and weaknesses.
In general, my experience taught me a few things:
(1) It's ok if you don't know all of the content. This was actually really hard for me, and I think one of the key reasons I struggled early on. I was trying to understand all potential content, which was untenable. It took some time, but I finally came around to accepting that I would not know everything, but that I would know a few subject areas very well. On test day, this worked well.
(2) This is really tactical, but it helped me get into the mind of the test takers. Be aware of the "C Trap". If you look at the answer choices and C seems like it has exactly what you need, and you reach that conclusion a little too quickly, it's likely a trap. Identifying this and following up with "What is the test taker testing me on here" really helped me avoid some of the stupid mistakes I was making before. This approach worked well for questions that looked "scary", i.e. very long, lots of formulas, shapes, etc. When I saw one of these, I switched my mindset to "This question looks really hard, which means the test maker is asking me for something really simple".
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