Nice Advice

June 14, 2007
Checking the Manhattan Gmat site, I found at the Gmatters series a good piece of advice about preparation, I found this extract the most important or meaningfull to me, but if you want to check the complete information, go to the attached link.

Okay, I know my strengths and weaknesses. Now what?

Once you've gone through the above exercises, you should have a pretty good idea whether you want to take a class, hire a private tutor or prep on your own. In addition, you should be able to determine a couple of other things:

The total amount of time you're going to need for primary studying (that is, the first time you learn the material). If you take a structured class, the schedule will already be pre-determined.

The amount of time to set aside for review, after you finish your primary studying and before you take the test for the first time. Most people take the test between 2 and 6 weeks after instruction ends.

The amount of buffer time you need to ensure that you can take the test a second time, if necessary. You are only allowed to take the GMAT once in a 31-day period (and 5 times a year).

The application deadlines of your preferred schools. You will, of course, have to work backward from these drop-dead dates. If you have the time, it's preferable to get the test out of the way before you have to start filling out the applications themselves. Keep in mind that your GMAT score is valid for 5 years! If you know you will apply to b-school within 5 years, get the GMAT out of the way as soon as possible.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Studying

Okay, now let’s talk about what to do during an individual study session. At the beginning of each study session, take a few minutes to decide what you’re going to accomplish; prioritize these items so that, if you can’t get through it all, you’ll have done the most important items first. You can choose to focus on one of three main areas in a given study session:
(1) learning content/concepts
(2) developing strategy
(3) preparing yourself for the CAT experience.
(4) doing exercises (this is an addition of mine)

For sessions focused on learning content (facts and rules), structure your study so that you learn a related set of concepts. Then, put those concepts into practice via actual problems from you’re the 3 Official GMAT guides. When you can successfully apply concepts to actual GMAT problems, it’s time to graduate to a new set of concepts. As you complete problems, check the answers. If you get a problem wrong, try to figure out why. When you get it right, you’re still going to examine the explanation! First, make sure you got it right for the right reason (i.e., you didn’t just get lucky).

Second, examine the explanation to see if you could have done it more quickly or cleanly. For every problem, whether you got it right or wrong, ask yourself whether you’ll do a similar problem the same way or a different way the next time.

For sessions focused on improving strategy, first review the lesson or lab that covers a particular strategic technique and decide how best to assess yourself on that technique. To gauge your progress on particular problem types, such as critical reasoning, do a set of problems all of that type using a particular strategy; check the answer explanations after each one, make sure you understand why you got it wrong or right, and assess whether you successfully implemented the strategy you were studying.

Finally, for sessions focused on your CAT preparedness, try the following exercises:

*The 30/30. Choose 30 problems of one type. Allow yourself 30 seconds per problem to eliminate as many incorrect answer choices as possible. Give yourself one point for every correctly eliminated incorrect answer choice. A score of 60+ indicates you are learning how to make effective educated guesses.

*Time log. Keep a log of your practice problems; list the book and problem number, problem type, time spent, result (right or wrong) and, if applicable, content / knowledge being tested. Review the log once a week to spot good and bad patterns; talk to your teacher about how to remedy the weaknesses.

*Appraise the scrap paper you’ve been using for practice problems. Is your work legible? Clean? Concise? Pretend that you have limited scrap paper whenever you do homework. Never erase anything. This will train you for the laminated scrap paper you’ll have to use on the actual test. (Take it a step further: have Kinko’s laminate some legal-sized graph paper, buy some dry erase markers and use these to do your homework!).

*Ask your instructor for other “tests” to address any of your particular weaknesses.
One last point: when you hit a wall, stop. If you’re so tired that you can’t keep your eyes open, or so stressed you can’t concentrate, take a 15-minute break. After that, if you still can’t pull it together, reschedule your study session for later that day or the next day.

Second test:

People do often see improvement on a second exam simply because they know what to expect the second time around, but this improvement, by itself, usually isn’t enough to justify taking the test again. Now that you have the experience of one test behind you, though, you can use your knowledge to focus your prep for next time – you just have to ask yourself the right questions:

Did you think you had scored higher or lower or were you about right?
Was your pacing good or did you feel pressed for time?
Did the test seem harder or easier than your practice tests?
Do you remember any particular concepts or problems that really threw you off track?
posted by Catalina at 6/14/2007, |