Study plan +6 months

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Study plan +6 months

by bkw » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:03 pm
I have made the first version of my study plan for the coming months. First I was thinking of 4-6 months of prep, but this got beyond that... :roll:

- Limit: Less than 30 hours of work per week.

I would like to hear your comments on changes that will improve preparation even more!

- Do you think there are too much for any of the weeks?
- Anything that should be added or removed?
- Are the solutions to my previous attempts OK?
- Too little for any of the weeks?
- Should I change order or mix Q/V more?
- ...

:arrow: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20309602/study%20plan.pdf
Last edited by bkw on Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by vineeshp » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:21 pm
You should know what's best for you. Like you yourself have mentioned, week 11 looks a bit too much compared to the other weeks.

Also, I personally would not recommend such a lengthy plan. A max of 4 months is enough. Otherwise, you may suffer from peaking before the exam. But again you should know your levels.

Amazing effort to create the PDF. :)
Vineesh,
Just telling you what I know and think. I am not the expert. :)

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by bkw » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:46 am
You should know what's best for you. Like you yourself have mentioned, week 11 looks a bit too much compared to the other weeks.
Unfortunately I do not know what is best for my GMAT prep. What I know is that 2-3 months of intensive studies did not work. That is why I had one condition, and that is the weekly effort. This is more a question whether the plan looks reasonable (is it organized?, should I change more often between Q/V more?, placement of CATs okay? etc.). Yeap, indeed week 11 is a killer. :?
Also, I personally would not recommend such a lengthy plan. A max of 4 months is enough. Otherwise, you may suffer from peaking before the exam.
I know this plan is a very long plan -- getting scared by only looking at it. But it also is "some kind of" structured study, no?. This rather than working with no structure/goal at all?

Peak before the end, is this a concern or a myth? (That is why I thought of CATs practice near the end to refresh)
Last edited by bkw on Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by rohu27 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:34 am
first of all, that indeed is one hell of plan. hats off for coming out with it in the first place.
though im not suited to comment on the entire plan as such, one thing i noticed abt the CATS is worth sharing.
starting week 19 you have CATS planned for evry week (and 2 in some)
CATS shud be used to knw whr u stand, strength/weak points , timing issues etc. taking them evry week i dnt thnk will give you drastic improvements.
once you analyse a CAT, get to knw areas you work upon, given urself atleast 10 days to work upon tht and then take another one to see if u have improved.
may be you can plan out CATS as a whole, start around from may be week 10 or so. 2 CATS in a week is big no, until ofcourse you have exam nxt week and no option left.

well, its my personal opinion, if it suits you no issues.

cheers,

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by rohu27 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:35 am
btw, what all CATS are you planning to use?

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by bkw » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:01 am
rohu27 wrote:CATS shud be used to knw whr u stand, strength/weak points , timing issues etc. taking them evry week i dnt thnk will give you drastic improvements.
once you analyse a CAT, get to knw areas you work upon, given urself atleast 10 days to work upon tht and then take another one to see if u have improved.
may be you can plan out CATS as a whole, start around from may be week 10 or so. 2 CATS in a week is big no, until ofcourse you have exam nxt week
I totally agree. Thanks for pointing this out! Flooding with CATs will probably not give time for repair and improvement.
Maybe as you say, better to do one CAT per week starting with week 10?

The problems moving the CATs will be:
1. There are already plenty of stuff for each week, so what will happen there, I have to move some those things to later?
2. Will impact number of days of review as well...

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by bkw » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:08 am
rohu27 wrote:btw, what all CATS are you planning to use?
It is primarily Veritas prep stuff:
5x 800score.com CATs
10x Home-brewn Veritas CATs (?)
David/[email protected] correct me if I am mistaken.

I do have the MGMAT CATs too, but I have already made them about a year ago. They do have very good analysis of one's performance weak points etc so that should not be forgotten. hmm

As usual there are GMATPrep too. Each which I have already taken twice.

rohu27: Any comments on this?

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by rohu27 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:26 am
bkw wrote:
rohu27 wrote:btw, what all CATS are you planning to use?
It is primarily Veritas prep stuff:
5x 800score.com CATs
10x Home-brewn Veritas CATs (?)
David/[email protected] correct me if I am mistaken.

I do have the MGMAT CATs too, but I have already made them about a year ago. They do have very good analysis of one's performance weak points etc so that should not be forgotten. hmm

As usual there are GMATPrep too. Each which I have already taken twice.

rohu27: Any comments on this?
well i havent taken any of the CATS mentioned apart from MGAMT and one free veritas one. the veritas free one was good actualy and MGMAT as evryone says is very good. as you have taken them once and if the score was not in ur target range, chances are you still have questions to explore form MGMAT bin. so reset it and take again.

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by [email protected] » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:58 am
Hey bkw,

Thanks for the PM invite to chime in here - I'm psyched to help. And you are, indeed, correct about those practice tests (there are also the two mba.com tests available through your Veritas account but I think you listed them elsewhere on your schedule).

In regard to your study schedule, my biggest piece of (hopefully helpful) constructive criticism is that to me it's almost "too organized" and too chronological. It's funny in a way, because it reminds me of a lot of the things I get from one of my bosses, who is an engineer by education and is very into constructing processes like these. Where I differ on this stuff is that I don't think it's terribly educational - this looks to be about "completing X number of tasks" and not as much "learning and building my skills, conceptual knowledge, and GMAT strategies".

My suggestion - break down the test based on what you already know you need to work on, and then build in some progress checks to go from there.

For example, you're going to start with the Manhattan GMAT Fractions/Decimals/Percents book in week one, and then do 30 OG math problems from there. 30 weeks or so later, you're planning to use the Veritas Prep Math Essentials (foundations of math) book. To me, you're better off using both of those books together in week one before you dive into the OG. Those OG problems won't be broken specifically into fractions/decimals/percents problems, so using those problems won't directly help you build the skills you pick up from that book. My suggestion here: Use MGMAT FDP and Veritas Prep Math Essentials in week one, and then do the exercises in each book (I know that our Math Essentials book has a couple hundred math drill problems in it to build on those skills).

Another example - you mention pretty early on in your study plan that you want to get better at Reading Comp by reading some outside magazines/journals/newspapers, but then you're planning to use the Veritas Prep RC book 25-30 weeks later. That Veritas Reading Comp lesson is one of my all-time favorites...I remember pitching the idea to a few of our top instructors a couple years ago and having all of them say some variation of "that's how I've been teaching it, too, and it works wonders". Based on our experience with GMAT RC, there are some key things that you absolutely have to take out of each paragraph, but then the rest isn't all that important at all, at least not until you've seen the questions. If I were studying, I'd devour that lesson first before I started in on just reading-for-the-sake-of-reading - get a good idea of what your strategy is and then use all your reading time to apply and perfect it.

So I guess in summary - my main piece of feedback is to look at your objectives first and to determine how to really focus in on them early. The objective really shouldn't be to complete all of these books; rather, it should be to build on the skills/concepts/strategies you'll need in a way that allows you to continually increase your comfort with them.

Then, I'd build in a monthly or so "progress check" in which you attack a set of problems on the disciplines that you've targeted to that point and analyze how you've done. Are you making the progress you want? If so, start in on the next set of items; if not, alter your program to spend at least 1/3 of your time over the next few weeks continuing to target the old stuff while you get acquainted with some new things. My bet is that, over six months or so, you'll find that a handful of question types or concept areas come pretty quickly to you and you won't need as much time as you've budgeted for them later in your syllabus; but a few concepts will nag at you and require you to really buckle down for a week or two that may not have been set aside for them. I think it's pretty tough to look ahead a couple months to know what you'll need at that time, so if you have some progress check / analysis / gameplan flexibility in there that should help you to make the best use of your time.

I hope that helps...keep us posted!
Brian Galvin
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Chief Academic Officer
Veritas Prep

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by bkw » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:48 pm
Thanks a bunch for your reply Brian!

You got me -- engineers love structured things! :wink:

I am working on a update now which became more difficult to realize than I first thought, but will post when it is ready.

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by bkw » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:17 pm
bkw wrote: I am working on a update now which became more difficult to realize than I first thought, but will post when it is ready.
Okay, I have updated with given suggestions in this thread.

- Look through Veritas RC theory early
- Move CATs to earlier weeks, and try to keep distance between them so I have a chance to repair.
So the CAT order is now:
C 2wks C 2wks C ... C 1wk C 1wk C ...

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by bkw » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:33 pm
[email protected] wrote: So I guess in summary - my main piece of feedback is to look at your objectives first and to determine how to really focus in on them early. The objective really shouldn't be to complete all of these books; rather, it should be to build on the skills/concepts/strategies you'll need in a way that allows you to continually increase your comfort with them.

Then, I'd build in a monthly or so "progress check" in which you attack a set of problems on the disciplines that you've targeted to that point and analyze how you've done. Are you making the progress you want? If so, start in on the next set of items; if not, alter your program to spend at least 1/3 of your time over the next few weeks continuing to target the old stuff while you get acquainted with some new things. My bet is that, over six months or so, you'll find that a handful of question types or concept areas come pretty quickly to you and you won't need as much time as you've budgeted for them later in your syllabus; but a few concepts will nag at you and require you to really buckle down for a week or two that may not have been set aside for them. I think it's pretty tough to look ahead a couple months to know what you'll need at that time, so if you have some progress check / analysis / gameplan flexibility in there that should help you to make the best use of your time.
My approach is still a concern and I really like this adaptive/dynamic suggestion which actually focuses on the weaknesses and spending time with them. What I fear is that it is not so easy for me to keep track of what my weaknesses are, what to study, and what to continue with etc. After e.g. 3 months or so I don't want to be in a situation where I don't really know what to do.

On the other hand, I have a more static approach which is easy to follow (and which will hopefully catch all weaknesses during the ride).
But what I do not address is e.g. if I do CAT X, then I realize oops, I need to work on Y, but the following week is something completely different. :-(
I will of course note found weaknesses when I approach CATs, but I am afraid that there will be no time to repair those.

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by ChrisBKnewton » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:20 pm
Hi bkw,

Thanks for the message, and we're happy to help you out here too! That's quite the study plan you have developed for yourself. I shared this thread with Caitlin, one of our GMAT Student Advisors here at Knewton, and wanted to give you her feedback:
Brian from Veritas gave you some great advice, most of which I'd tell you the same. I completely agree that your schedule seems a bit too organized. This may seem like a silly analogy, but I like to think of studying for the GMAT as similar to taking a trip from NYC to Miami. I'd love to fly and get to sunny, warm weather quickly, but right now that's not realistic so I have to drive. Before leaving, I set my GPS with the address for my final destination.

The GPS gives me directions and I have an overall plan as to how I'm going to get to Miami. Throughout my trip, unexpected heavy traffic in DC throws me behind a few hours, so I end up staying overnight at a hotel in Virginia to get some sleep. Then construction in Georgia re-routes my trip in a direction I didn't originally plan for. Even though I didn't plan to stay overnight, or take a different route through Georgia, I still arrived in Miami.

Bringing this all back to your GMAT study plan, it's good to have a general plan to get you to your goal test date. Throughout your studying though, you may come to find out you actually need more work in Sentence Correction and you should stop and spend some time working on this; kind of like how I stayed overnight in Virginia when I hit traffic in DC. You're still going to get to your goal test date, you're just focusing on the difficult areas for you and figuring out how to best tackle the situation. It's going to feel great when you do put your attention into these weak areas and you're able to rock the GMAT. Almost as great as the feeling of sun rays on the beach in Miami ;-).

A great point Brian mentioned to you was changing your study plan based on the areas you need the most work on. I couldn't agree more. Since you did complete the Knewton course, this is easy for you to see where you left off from your last GMAT attempt. You can always look at the Progress page and figure out the exact concepts you need work on. From here, you can then plan to start with these concepts in the Manhattan GMAT and OG books.

Again, I'm agreeing with Brian and not suggesting you complete lots of books. Rather, you should complete assignments in these books and then figure out *why* you answered questions incorrectly. I certainly understand how people think studying by doing is effective, I certainly used to think the same way. Really though, completing lots of questions and taking multiple CATs isn't the most optimal way to use your time. Instead you should take CATs and complete assignments, and then review the answers to figure out where you went wrong in the thought process. I know this doesn't sound like the most appealing study plan, because it does involve going over your faults a lot, but it is extremely effective amongst our students who have the largest score increases.

Hopefully these points help you out, and I'd love to hear how you've changed your study plan based on everyone's advice. Best of luck!
Chris Black
Web Content Editor
Knewton