Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Haunted by those careless mistakes? Avoid them.

This is by far the worst nightmare of anyone taking the GMAT test - The careless Mistakes. And indeed, i'm no exception. Careless mistakes are on an average costing me from 10 to 30 points on the GMAT practice tests and with a hope to overcome such disasters i'm going think aloud and write down some points that i need to keep in mind while taking the test.

1. Read a question once and read whats actually been asked twice. You might be able to solve for "x" but is the question asking for x or X-5?

2. Think before jumping in to solve. Maybe the question is way too easier that you anticipate. Yesterday i took a test and there was a question asking me to find the coordinates for a point C. I started off solving but through the mid way i figured out that C is in the III quadrant and so the value is x should be positive and Y should be negative. Guess what there was only one option matching this criteria!!! So think before you act!!!

3. Go easy when solving equations. There were more that a couple of instances when i made silly mistakes like 6/2=4 when i solved an equation in a hurry. So take it easy and concentrate. These easy questions are the stepping stones to a good score.

4. Analyze all the options vertically for SC questions. Find the differences and eliminate rather than going by the ear. A 3:2 question is your best friend.

5. Take a deep breath when the RC passage is as dry as the sand of sahara!! Do not loose focus as this is your golden chance to maximize your score!! Silly mistakes happen more often when the brain is tired!!

6. Smile when the questions become merciless!!

There maybe more ways to avoid silly mistakes but i think if i can keep these in mind I'll be able to improve my score drastically.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Great tool for GMAT Prep - An error log.

All the debriefs that i read of successful GMAT-beaters, recommend keeping a log of all the wrong answers while practicing. I never realized the significance and value of this until today. Yes, i had been keeping an Error Log and have logged all the questions that i got wrong while going thro' the Official Guides.

This week I started to re-visit all those questions that i got wrong. Surprisingly, i found that while redoing all those questions, i made the same exact mistakes as the previous time especially in the SC section. Then i went back and reviewed the answers and this time i nailed my mistakes. I now know for sure the reason that i picked a wrong answer and this knowledge is very very important. I repeat the knowledge of why I picked the wrong answer is extremely important. I also know for sure that in future i would never make the same mistake - after two times you gotta learn from them right?!!

I would have made the same darn mistakes if i faced those question in the real test. But now thanks to this excellent tool i would never again make those mistakes again!!!

Here is how i made an error log. I took a spreadsheet and made four columns and named them Question number, Reasons for mistake, Re-take - Correct/wrong and Comments. I created 4 similar spreadsheets with the same columns and logged in the data every time i solved a set of questions from the four sections - PS, DS, SC, and CR.

Hope this would help others in their prep too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Its always exciting to see a 7XX score!!!

I was getting worried of not seeing a 700 score in my prep transcript before my test day. But thank God i made it happen. Last week i took 2 practice tests. One Power prep and one MGMAT.

Last friday i took my second powerprep, not too bad. I scored a 670 (Q44, V 36). But i think i could have done better. To my surprise i made some really silly, in fact stupid, mistakes in Quant that i could've avoided them to raise my score to a 680. But thats what i did and after revising i promised myself to be careful next time. sigh!! Sunday afterternoon, i took another practice test - Manhattan GMAT CAT 5. I decided to be very careful and took my sweet time to finish the first 10 ques. Once i saw that time was sprinting away, i started accelerating and at times i saw questions which i knew for sure were typical MGMAT like - involves lot of steps and calculation. So i moved on with calculated guesses. After the Quant section i felt i had done pretty well. I turned on my rice cooker with some rice for dinner, drank some green tea and got back into business with the Verbal section.

I was relatively comfortable with the verbal section. The first RC was one subject which actually interested me - one with a cell wall enzyme and that sort. Wow another tip - Be interested in what you read. Its helps in answering ques and you'll get to learn something new. Timing was spot on and when i finished the section, the clock was still counting down - 2:45... 2:44... 2:43.... When i clicked on the view report i was so happy; there it was a nice sweet number - 700 (Q47, V39). I broke my previous record on quant and on verbal!!! yeah!!! (Does this sound like a debrief?? well cant help it i am excited!!)

With hardly 10 days to go i hope to keep up the steady improvement. This week for the first time i'm going to spend 2 days reading for the AWA. I have never touched this section, but i guess bloggers can afford that!!! :) I got to look up some templetes for the essays and note some significant events that i can point out in the essays.

This weeks plans - Study essay templetes, Take the Knewton's free Prep test, Finish the PS and DS questions from OG 11 and practice some RC!!!

(Any comments/suggestions from my esteemed readers would be greatly appreciated!! )

Monday, April 13, 2009

BTG scholarship - a blessing for test takers.

BeattheGmat scholarship is THE best of its kind for b-school applicants and test takers. With 5 scholarships, offering $500 cash prizes, a whole course with Manhattan GMAT and a chance to take the help of Stacy Blackman consulting firm's advice on your essay, these are probably the most sort after scholarships in the GMAT world today. And it goes without saying that I'm one of the thousands of aspirants applying to it. I recommend everyone planning to apply to B-schools in the near future to apply to this. Not only does it give you a chance to get this revered scholarship but also it gives you an opportunity to brainstorm and practice your essays.

More details can be found at on this link -> http://www.beatthegmat.com/scholarship.html

Its not a 700 but close.....

I was happy yesterday when i completed my 4th MGMAT Cat. I scored a 670 (Q46, V35) which is my highest score yet. Now i feel that i can actually crack the monster.

Again this time, the quant section was very lengthy and to be honest i had to pause the timer as there was now way one could have solved some of the problems in 2mins. But, the experience was wothwhile. Silly errors were limited this time as expected after taking more than 7 CATs. There were a few questions in Combinations and probability that chock me. Two things that i learnt and had applied were plugging in numbers and backsolving. Infact these techniques saved me a lot of time when dealing with complicated word problems and VICs.

The verbal was not bad at all. Thanks to Manhattan GMAT's SC guide, i have managed to bring my strick rate up on the SC. RCs turned out to be unpredictable. I usually manage to nail the easy ones but a tough RC can throw me off balance. The solution is simply - practice which i'm planning to do this week. I am going to do 4 RCs everyday of this week, hopefully that should take care of the RC section. Since i've exhausted all my CR questions from the Official guides, i'm going to rely on the CR questions posted in various forums like BTG.

With exactly 3 more weeks of prep left, I am going shift to top gear more from this week. This week would involve redoing all the questions that i got wrong from the OG. I'm glad i made an error log containing the questions that i got wrong while practice. So this week's to-do list would be:
* CR question bank from MGMAT
* 4 RCs everyday from OG
* GMATFocus test 3

Monday, April 6, 2009

Yet another 650 but this time its from MGMAT

Another 650 post.. I know its getting really boring to read my posts of me nagging over my scores but unfortunately i dont have anything better from my GMAT world. So here we go again..

I am scared of the Manhattan GMAT CAT exams. Period. Not only are they very lengthy and tough they are low scoring as well. Their quant especially is gruesome. But hey I'm fine with it. The motivation that i have is once you've faced the devil you probably wont be scared of the dark!!! I seriously hope the GMAT is not as tough and lengthy as this one. After the quant section yesterday i was so exhausted that i had to take my supper before beginning the verbal. One word of caution - never do this. Take the CATs completely before taking such breaks.

What i noticed this time was that the number of mistakes was more than the number in my previous MGMAT cat, but i managed to answer a lot of 700-800 level questions and i guess this brought my score in the 650 ball park. Else i would have been slapped with a 540!!.

Another 3 weeks to go for the G-day. Although i have exhausted all the verbal questions in the OG and the OG-Verbal book, i plan to revisit them in the next couple of weeks. My error logs is also getting in a lot of entries and by this week end i'm planning to give them a second shot.
I seriously dont want another 650 thrown at me. This week i'm determined to go thro' hell to get that sweet 7xx score!! Lets see how it goes.

This week is no different from last week with regards to prep -another mixed workout. Planning to take either the Knewton practice test or the last GMATFocus test. Haven't decided yet. And i'll wrap up this week with another MGMAT on Sunday. Will update with my progress.. Till then peace out!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Whats with me and 650?

Is it my safe place or my happy place? I have no idea. Yup i'm talking about my GMAT practice test score. Another 650!!! I recently took the PowerPrep test 1. Ya you heard it right, i took the GMAT's last generation CAT practice test. I got this software from one of my forums and i thought even if they contain old GMAT questions, thats fine; they are GMAT questions after all. I came across some questions that i have already seen in the OG 11. But atleast 80% of the questions were new and gave me something new to practice on.

Coming to my score - i scored 45 in quant (my highest yet yaaaeehhh) and a 32 on verbal :((. Now i noticed one thing with power prep software. It valued only 28 of the 37 questions in quant and 33 of the 41 ques in verbal and the rest were considered experimental. I didn't quite like that coz it was just meant for practice & i would've preferred if it would have verified those experimental ones too. But whatever.... So i got 7 wrong in quant and 11 wrong in verbal. I made some mistakes that i could have avoided. Damn it. But like always i reviewed all the questions and making sure that i understand the inside story and the technique and made sure that these mistakes wont happen again.

Now i have 2 more CATs from GMAC.. GMATPrep 2 and PowerPrep 2. Planning to take the power prep next week and the GMATPrep2 during the second last week. Oh btw I'm on to my last week of GMAT prep. Next month at this time i'll be busy biting my nails and wiping my sweat out at the Pearson center. I have made a last month game plan for my prep which i'll save for another post.

So this week (according to my last month plan) its going to be a mixed work out - 3 days for verbal and 3 days for Quant. I also have planned one GMATFocus test this week mostly i'll take that tomorrow. The main CAT for this weekend is the dreaded MGMAT CAT!!! I seriously hope to do better in that!! wish me luck...

Peace out everybody!!