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How divide my study time? Quant/Verbal

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How divide my study time? Quant/Verbal

by simpm14 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:15 am
Yesterday I took, my 4th GMAC Official Practice Test and scored:

Total: 730 (96%), 40 points higher than my last test, hope I can sustain it
Quant: 47 (63%), 4 DS incorrect, 2 PS incorrect. There were two ratio multiple variable questions I need to work on. Well within grasp, but definitely a new area of focus. I actually got 3 of the first 5 incorrect and did not even realize it, but was still able to bounce back. Had to rush the last question and did not get an answer in.
Verbal: 44 (98%), 0 CR incorrect, 1 RC incorrect, 4 SC incorrect. 10 of the first 11 questions were RC and it was exhausting. I found myself having trouble staying focused over a passage on black holes and a super dry one on seal maternity patterns...Actually finished the section with about 1:30 to spare.
IR: 7 (82%), Felt confident. I actually really enjoy the IR, its the most applicable to a real job. I would like to aim for at least a 7, but am not focusing anymore than 30-45 minutes on studying for it in between tests.

My test is scheduled for May 13th, still giving me approximately 3 weeks to study. I am taking a practice test every weekend, giving me 2 tests left. I usually then spend the rest of that week going over the questions I got wrong, creating flash cards, and trying my best to ensure if I get a similiar question again I can recognize it immediately.

In order to maximize an overall score, how should I break down my study time between Quant and Verbal?

Thanks for all of your help!

Mike

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Mon Apr 22, 2019 1:00 pm
Hi Mike,

This is a really fantastic overall performance (especially in the Verbal section), so if you took this CAT in a realistic fashion, then you're clearly a really strong critical thinker overall - and you have the potential to score at a really high level on the Official GMAT. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you're looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your overall goal score?
5) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
6) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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by simpm14 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:24 am
Rich,

Thank you very much for the targeted reply.

1) I started my studying in late December. I spent approximately 1 month simply doing problems in the Official GMAT Book. I then took a 36 hour Live Veritas Course. On average I have spent 12-15 hours a week studying for the test and completely understand it is Quality over Quantity. Since the completion of the course, I have taken 4 Official GMAC Practice Tests. My current study pattern is take a full length practice test on Saturday/Sunday, conduct some basic analysis, go over questions I got wrong (or guessed but got right), turn these questions into flash cards and go over them. I currently plan to take the official test on Monday May 13, leaving me two more full length practice tests and about 2.5 weeks.

2) Veritas Course, Veritas Books, Official GMAT 2019 Guide (including Quant and Verbal Annexes) and Official GMAC Practice Tests

3) All Tests are Official GMAC Practice Tests. Review does become time consuming since the tests do not provide answers. I spend a decent amount of time deciphering answer via Beat the GMAT and other forums.
#1
Total: 680
Quant: 44 (52%), Verbal: 39 (89%), IR: 8 (93%)

#2
Total: 640
Quant: 40 (41%), Verbal: 37 (83%), IR 7 (82%)

#3
Total: 690
Quant: 45 (57%), 39 (89%), IR 5 (55%)

#4
Total: 730
Quant: 47 (63%), Verbal:44 (98%), IR 7 (82%)

4) My initial goal overall score was 710. I understand this 730 is significantly higher than my previous scores and I need to temper my emotions with my most recent grade, but this performance has certainly increased my goal score closer to a 730.

5) I am currently an active duty Marine Corps Civil Affairs and Logistics Officer who will be departing the Marine Corps in Summer 2020. I am currently torn on whether I want to attend Business School right away or would like to work for 1-2 more years before attending. Prior to the Marine Corps I worked for the United Nations in South Sudan and find my real passion in the humanitarian sector. I am interested in returning to that work for a little longer, before entering Business School. After hopefully achieving a goal score in May, I planned to reach out to a number of consultants, take the free 15-30 minute analysis and determine if going back to work would actually weaken my admission options. My general "brand" is trying to apply business leadership and operations practices to the dynamic environment of humanitarian and disaster response. Both Harvard and MIT have Humanitarian Response Initiatives or Supply Chain Management in Disaster Response Centers, that I hope to leverage.

6) Ideally, Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Georgetown. I understand these are certainly "shoot for the moon" programs.

Thanks for all of you help!

Very Respectfully,

Mike

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by Scott@TargetTestPrep » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:28 pm
Hi Mike,

I'm glad you reached out, and I'm happy to help. So a 730 is a really nice score. That said, the best thing you can do in the next few weeks is engage in some focused quant and verbal practice to continue to find and fix any remaining weaknesses.

For example, if you find that you are not strong in answering Number Properties questions, then carefully review the conceptual underpinnings of how to answer Number Properties questions and practice by answering 50 or more questions just from Number Properties: LCM, GCF, units digit patterns, divisibility, remainders, etc. When you are working on learning to answer questions of a particular type, start off taking your time, and then seek to speed up as you get more comfortable answering questions of that type.

As you do such practice, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get right. If you got a remainder question wrong, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not properly apply the remainder formula? Was there a concept you did not understand in the question? By carefully analyzing your mistakes, you will be able to efficiently fix your weaknesses and in turn improve your GMAT quant skills. Number Properties is just one example; follow this process for all quant topics.

Each time you strengthen your understanding of a topic and your skill in answering questions of a particular type, you increase your odds of hitting your score goal. You know that there are types of questions that you are happy to see and types that you would rather not see, and types of questions that you take a long time to answer correctly. Learn to more effectively answer the types of questions that you would rather not see, and make them into your favorite types. Learn to correctly answer in two minutes or less questions that you currently take five minutes to answer. By finding, say, a dozen weaker quant areas and turning them into strong areas, you will make great progress toward hitting your quant score goal. If a dozen areas turn out not to be enough, strengthen some more areas.

You can work on verbal in a similar manner. Let's say you are reviewing Critical Reasoning. Be sure that you practice a large number of Critical Reasoning questions: Strengthen and Weaken the Argument, Resolve the Paradox, find the Conclusion, Must be True, etc. As you go through the questions, do a thorough analysis of each question that you don't get correct. If you missed a weaken question, ask yourself why. Did you make a careless mistake? Did you not recognize what the question was asking? Did you skip over a key detail in an answer choice? Getting GMAT verbal questions right is a matter of what you know, what you see, and what you do. So, any time that you don't get one right, you can seek to identify what you would have had to know in order to get the right answer, what you had to see that you didn't see, and what you could have done differently to arrive at the correct answer.
When you do dozens of questions of the same type one after the other, you learn just what it takes to get questions of that type correct consistently. If you aren't getting close to 90 percent of questions of a certain type correct, go back and seek to better understand how that type of question works, and then do more questions of that type until you get to around at least 90 percent accuracy in your training. If you get 100 percent of some sets correct, even better.

So, work on accuracy and generally finding correct answers, work on specific weaker areas one by one to make them strong areas, and, when you take a practice GMAT or the real thing, take all the time per question available to do your absolute best to get right answers consistently. The GMAT is essentially a game of seeing how many right answers you can get in the time allotted. Approach the test with that conception in mind, and focus intently on the question in front of you with one goal in mind: getting a CORRECT answer.

You also may find my article with more information regarding
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT helpful.

Feel free to reach out with further questions.

Good luck!

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
scott@targettestprep.com

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:38 pm
Hi Mike,

GMAC has publicly stated that the Official Score that you earn on Test Day is within +/- 30 points of actual ability. Assuming a similar 'swing' in how your CATs function, 3 of your CAT score results show that you essentially performed the same each time (700 +/- a few points) - and the one 'outlier' (the 640) occurred when you performed far lower in the Quant section. You appear to handle many aspects of the GMAT consistently well, but the 'swings' in your Scores are likely due to little mistakes that you either make or don't make over the course of the full Exam. At higher-and-higher score levels, the GMAT becomes really 'sensitive' to little mistakes (especially on 'gettable' questions), so regardless of what subjects you study over the next couple of weeks, your focus has to be on the 'precision' in your work. Don't worry about any questions that you think are too difficult - and make sure not to waste too much time on those prompts that would be better used on the other prompts that you CAN answer correctly.

Your Quant Scaled Scores are the types of results that a typical 'math thinker' (engineers, bankers, accountants, etc.) would earn. However, the Quant section of the GMAT is NOT a 'math test' - it's a 'critical thinking test' that requires lots of little calculations as you work through it. To score at a much higher level in this section, you need to become more of a 'strategist' and less of a 'mathematician.' All things considered, you're performing at a really high level overall, so you might be fine continuing to study as you have been. If you're interested in any new study materials, then just let me know.

1) For these next couple of weeks, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

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Rich
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by Marty Murray » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:11 pm
Hi Mike.

I want to add one thing about RC.

I realize people talk about "difficult" or "boring" RC passages, but I have to wonder how much of what's going on is psychological.

The passages aren't really that hard to read, and are only a few paragraphs long.

Looking at what you mentioned about your work, I have a hard time believing that you would have that much difficulty handling a few paragraphs of reading.

So, my suggestion to you is that take the attitude that RC is actually pretty easy. Yes, you have to concentrate and be very careful when answering the questions, but the passages are not pages long. Right?

Also, many people find that they can make reading RC passages easier by not attempting to fully absorb every detail the first time they read them. More important than fully absorbing every detail is understanding the general ideas and noting where the details lie, so that you can go back and find them in order to correctly answer the questions.

Regarding how to split your preparation time, anything you do that will drive your score higher is worth doing. If you think you can get another point in quant by working on geometry or ratios, then do so. If you think you can get a couple more verbal points by getting better at defining why SC choices are incorrect, then do so. ROI is the most important aspect of choosing what to work on at this point, along with making sure that you retain the skills that you already have.

So, as Scott said, find and address weaker areas one by one, and drive your score higher point by point. Every time you make a weaker area stronger, you make your answering a certain type of question correctly more likely, you reduce stress, and you answer questions of a certain type more quickly, giving yourself more time to answer questions of other types. So, find those types that you don't like to see, and answer questions of those types until you are psyched to see them.

To give you an example, for me, overlapping sets was a weak type. So, even though I was able to answer them, answering them would use up a lot of my time. Once I became good at answering overlapping sets questions, that ONE type, my quant performance was much better. By strengthening your skill in answering questions of ten or more types over the next few weeks, and you could see a huge jump in performance.

Enjoy the game!
Marty Murray
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m.w.murray@hotmail.com
https://infinitemindprep.com/
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by simpm14 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:15 pm
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Gentlemen,

Thank you so much for the insight. I truly appreciate you taking time out of your day to assist.

I took a 5th GMAC Practice Test on Saturday and scored:
Total: 670 (81%)
Quant: 43 (50%)
Verbal: 39 (89%)
IR: 8 (92%)

This is a significant dip from my previous test, but like Rich mentioned, within that 30 points of the 700+/- swing that I seem to be trending.

I did hit the submit button, but it did not process in time for the final Verbal or Quant Question. This has happened before, and I have now learned I need to hit the button with at least :15 left in order to make sure it processes.

One of my biggest issues in getting in my own head during the test. If I feel as though I am getting easy Quant problems I assume this is because I am doing poorly. If my CR questions are simple "What will Strengthen/Weaken this argument?" and not, Inference, Assumption, or more irregular questions stems, I assume this is because I am doing poorly. Marty is totally right and I need to go in with the appropriate mindset, especially on RC.

With your advice, I have transferred my test performances onto a more formal Excel Sheet to try and track trends.

Rationale:
I have weighted the incorrect from GMAC Test #5 x5, GMAC Test #4 x4, etc. I believe this will more accurately depict what I need to focus on. This is with the underlying assumption that I have already improved upon some of my Test #1 and Test #2 deficiencies. "Incorrect" includes number incorrect and questions I strategically "Guessed" on and got right. I weighted them equally, since I did not answer them with 100% confidence. Is there a way to post the Excel File as opposed to a screenshot so it is easier for you to view?

Trends I am seeing:
Quant: 1.44 PS incorrect for every 1 DS incorrect
Areas: Geometry & Number Properties

Verbal: Sentence Correction has been my worst Verbal Section on almost every test. RC, "What is the Primary Purpose of this Passage" have been a significant area of issue in the most recent tests.

Final Practice Test: After this 5th test, I believe I may be better off not taking a final practice test next week, and using the extra time to focus on negative trends and reinforce them. I believe my data set is large enough and I will benefit more from focusing on areas where I need improvement rather than spending 4+ hours to take the test and 6+ hours for post-test review.

Hours to Review:
I will take my first full test on Monday May 13, Two weeks from Tomorrow. With work obligations, I can on average allocate 3 hours a day for a total of 41 Study Hours between now and Test Day.

Question:
1) Do you see any additional trends of concern or worth focus?
2) Do you recommend analyzing the data another way?
3) Is there any correlation between the types of questions I am seeing as tests get tougher?
4) Do you have any good number properties, Geometry, or PS Practice Sets?

Thank you again for everything!

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by Marty Murray » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:15 am
Hi simpm14.

First off. This thing of thinking that seeing easy questions means that you are not doing well on the test is way off, for multiple reasons, including the following.
  • - What may be difficult for most people may seem easy to you.

    - The actual GMAT includes experimental questions, which can be easy even if the credited questions you are seeing are difficult.

    - The difficulty of the test questions varies even if you are getting them all correct.
For this and for other reasons, your best move is to focus on the question in front of you and seek to answer it correctly.

Regarding sets of Number Properties and Geometry questions, Target Test Prep is ridiculously strong in number properties, and strong in all of quant. You can get a five day trial for $1. Worth a look.

Regarding verbal, as I suggested before, slow way down in your training, and seek to answer EVERY verbal practice question that you see correctly. To a large degree, totally rocking GMAT verbal comes down to seeing the key differences between tricky trap choices that seem to be correct and the actually correct answers. Do you want to be someone who can get tricked, or do you want to be someone who sees the difference?

I think you can destroy verbal. You just have to become more accustomed to clearly defining why you are choosing the choices that you are choosing. Maybe in certain cases, you won't know some rule or idiom necessary for answering a Sentence Correction question, but there is no reason really for you not to correctly answer every CR and RC question, IF you are truly defining why choices are correct or incorrect, and really, I bet you could get every SC question correct as well.

For more on seeing the difference between trap choices and correct answers and on defining why choices are incorrect or correct, you could read this post. https://infinitemindprep.com/the-final-k ... ct-answer/
Marty Murray
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by simpm14 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:53 pm
Marty,

Thank you so much for the thorough explanation and clear advice.

I want you guys to know, I am seriously taking your advice to heart and adjusting my study patterns because of it.

And thank you for the suggested articles. Please push any and all article recommendations you have my way. I promise I'll read them!

Very Respectfully,

Mike