## 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Study and Strategy questions relating to the GMAT.
bharathdarsh
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### 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Hello Stacey,

Yesterday I took my 1st MGMAT CAT and scored a 490(Q43, V15). I was not very happy with my performance, but at the same time I am not disappointed, since I took the test without learning majority of the content.

Below you can find my detailed analysis of the test data for quant and verbal. Towards the end, I have posted around 10 questions, where I need some SERIOUS HELP, ADVICE and GUIDANCE from you. I need YOUR SPECIFIC INPUTS to re-orient my study plan and hit 700+. I know it will be tough, but not impossible - I am confident that I will see a 700+ soon.

Before taking the 1st MGMAT CAT:
=========================

1) I did spend around 3-4 weeks reading through the MGMAT study guides : Number Properties,Geometry & Reading Comprehension, excluding the advanced chapters. After this period of study I had some impending personal issues to attend and did not study anything for 10-12days.Then I took my 1st MGMAT CAT on 22/March/2012.

2) My MGMAT went like this:

- First wrote the 2 essays, 9mins break, timed quant, 6mins break and timed verbal. I did not use the pause button at all during the test.

3) Overall Score: 490(Q43, V15), Estimated Percentile Rank: Quant 70%, Verbal 7% and Total 35%.

My detailed analysis of the MGMAT CAT data - QUANT SECTION:
================================================
1) Quant Problem List:

I had two strings of 3 consecutive incorrect questions.

a) Q8-Q10 was Incorrect

For the Q9( PS, 600-700 level, Rates&Work), I did spend too much time, thereby impacting the Q10(DS,300-500 level,Inequalities but rushed it in 1min 15secs). Also until Q7, my estimated percentile was 73%, but at the end of Q10 it dropped significantly to 18%.

Also from my data, I could see that for Q5(PS,600-700 level,Quadratic Equation), I had spent around 4mins,34secs - more than double the normal time, but got it right. This could have negatively impacted my timing sense for the subsequent questions, by making me rush through. Also at Q10 my actual cum.time spent was 23:14mins Vs 20:00mins Target Cum.time. I have already lost more than 3mins when I was nearing Q10 itself.

b) Q13-15 was Incorrect

Here important point to note is that I am not well versed in the DS type of Qs(my main weak area in quant) and also for Q13 it had spent more time(2:36mins). Again here I could see a pattern - the topics were related to Inequalities and Word Problems.

c) Also from Q33, I was really rushing and was spending only around 1min-1.2mins for each question and finally did not have time to attempt Q37(PS,500-600 level, Fractions).

d) Too Slow Qs:

- Had a total of 6Qs where I had spent more than 3mins in quant.
- Total time spent = ~21mins, Incorrect = 2 and Correct = 4.
- All the 6Qs were PS type Qs.

e) Too Fast Qs:

- Had only one too fast(<1min) incorrect question(DS,600-700 level, Overlapping Sets).

2) Quant Assessment Reports:

a) In Quant, DS was only 33% correct( 5 out of 15 Qs). Avg.time right was 1:39mins and Avg. difficulty level for right answers was 610. Avg.time for the wrong answers was 1.55mins. So I think, I did not spend too long to get it wrong. For I need to improve on the content for DS, more than the timing.

b) Analysis by Question Format:

- In PS I am OK, but need to improve on the timing to get it wrong faster, since for 2 600-700 level Qs, I had spent 3:20mins to get it wrong.

c) Analysis by Content Area:

- Word Translations is my biggest weakness as I had only 33% right, but Avg.time for getting it wrong was only 1:57mins. So need to focus on the content.
- Algebra though I have 63% right ( 5 out of 8 Qs) - I have taken more than 4mins, for 2Qs here. Also need to read Inequalities since I had no clue on this.
- Number Properties 63% right, but the Avg.time for the right answers is 2:38mins. Need more practice here, to strengthen this area.
- FDPs 63% right - but too much time spent to get the Qs wrong.Avg.time for wrong answers is 2:41mins.
- Geometry is OK, but need to improve on Triangles.

So overall for Quant its clear that I need to read the Word Translations, Algebra and practice more of NP. More continuous practice on DS is needed here for quant improvement.

My detailed analysis of the MGMAT CAT data - VERBAL SECTION
=================================================

1) I don’t want to much analyze here, since from the overall score it’s clear that I need to read and improve a lot here.

2) I had strings of 3-4 incorrect Qs both in SC,CR and RC as well.

3) Way Too Slow:

- Not many in terms of way too slow for CR( >3mins) and SC(>2mins), infact none.
- For some RC 1st question, I have taken >5mins( 300-500 and 600-700 levels).

4) Overall in terms of % right : SC 27%, CR 50% and RC 42%. It clear that in CR and RC I am struggling beyond 500 level and SC is a complete white wash, no data required to justify it.

Way Forward:
===========

a) I now feel that I need to invest and prioritize on the SC and CR content first and practice RC questions for speed simultaneously.

b) For Quant - Word Translations and Algebra & Inequalities.

But overall I am NOT CLEAR on how I should further study from next week.

Please give me YOUR ADVICE & GUIDANCE on how I need to repair & re-structure my STUDY PLAN :

1) Which MGMAT study guide should I start with and please let me know for how long( atleast approx length of time)?

( I study 1-1.5hrs/day on weekday and 4-5hrs/day during the Sat & Sun).

2) What should be sequence of my study guides e.g SC, RC, Word Translations etc - any permutation & combinations to make the study much more effective?

3) How & when should I structure my next MGMAT CATs? I don’t want to take the next one, unless I make a good progress in the content in the next 3-4wks. Please let me know?

4) Please suggest a robust study plan that I can apply?

5) Also I felt that I wasted too much in the Geometry guide, taking notes, doing the inaction probs, question bank etc. There were hardly 3-4 Qs from geometry. Now I feel that , if I had read only the few pages of Geometry content from OG12 it would have been sufficient for me.

Like this, I don’t want to waste studying all the content from the MGMAT study guides for the areas that will be least tested.

Based on this, are there any MGMAT study guides that I can totally skip and read only the content given in OG12? This will help me to save a lot of time and use it much more effectively on the subjects that will be tested in depth.

6) Also if I look into the MGMAT guides; each study guide is too huge and the content is overwhelming. For e.g. SC has around 300 pages, it looks like it will take me at least 3-4wks to read it end to end.? Is there a better strategy to handle this effectively & read the content in the least possible time? Please let me know.

7) Do you suggest any other short guides or books for any of the study areas? Please, this will be very helpful for me.

8) Please let me know - a split of the content areas that I need to study in detail Vs that I can skip or touch very lightly ( based on what will be tested in depth Vs what will be tested at minimum). This will help to plan my study sessions optimally.

9) Do you have any excel based error logs, that can be used?

10) Finally, I have fixed my test date on May 23rd. But I am looking at a score of 700+. May be I need some more time, but I am confident that I can hit 700+. What do you think could be a realistic time frame for me to hit 700+? Offcourse I will use the subsequent MGMAT CATs as milestone to see my performance trend. Does June last week looks a realistic target? Please suggest.

Please give me your advice and help. I am eagerly waiting for your feedback, to see how I need to plan my study routine for the next 8-12 weeks.

As always many thanks for all your help.

Best Regards,
Bharath S
StaceyKoprince
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Situation:
490(Q43, V15)
Strong starting point for quant. Verbal is more problematic, obviously.

Good analysis. So, clearly there are timing problems (as with everyone!). You need to start following the advise in this article:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/blog/index ... anagement/

On DS, I think your bigger problem is that you didn't spend enough time to get things right! You were spending too much time on PS, and so you likely made mistakes that you might not have made had you not been rushing on DS.

And on PS, if you need 3.5 or 4m to get something right, I'd rather that you get it wrong in 2m. Losing 1.5 or 2m on one problem means possibly getting 3 or 4 other problems wrong, since you're likely going to try to "save" around 30s on multiple problems in order to make up the time deficit.

So, you're not okay on PS - you have a significant timing problem right now, and timing is just as important as accuracy. Don't discount it. :) It looks like you've got an idea of what content areas you need to cover for quant.

Agree on verbal - start with SC. If part of your trouble for RC and CR is reading speed and reading comprehension, then know that this can take a while to improve, and you need to do a little bit of reading from GMAT-like sources every day.

Here are some ideas:

http://magazine.uchicago.edu/
http://harvardmagazine.com/
http://sciam.com/
(use the last one especially if you don't like science topics)

In one study session (defined as a 2-hour block of time), concentrate on either quant or verbal. Don't set an absolute time limit or deadline for a particular chapter or book. Do what you need to do in order to learn the material (but recognize that you will have weaknesses, and it's okay to say "I'm not going to learn this as well," as long as you're pushing yourself most of the time and not just giving up).

Start with the first few chapters of SC. Then do some quant, then go back and do some CR, then SC, then some quant again. You're obviously going to spend more time overall on verbal - plan about 2x time (or a little more) on verbal.

SC can really be done chapter by chapter - you don't have to do the whole book before you go to another verbal topic. For CR, do the intro / strategy chapters together, and then you can start going chapter-by-chapter when you get to the problem chapters. For RC, again do the intro and strategy chapters together, then do short passages, then do long passages.

I agree that you don't want to take another CAT till you've made good progress - and that's a qualitative judgment. Plan to take a good 3-4 weeks and, when you feel like you've made good progress, schedule yourself for another CAT. Don't worry about your overall score after you take it - worry about whether you got better at the specific things you were studying in the preceding 3-4 weeks.

Geo is not that commonly tested - it's the least commonly tested of the 5 quant books. Of the rest, NP is probably the most important, as well as algebra. In Word Translations, the most important areas are algebraic translations and statistics. Fraction and Percent problems are also pretty common.

If you want 700+, you pretty much have to do all of SC; the only chapter of lesser importance is the "odds and ends" chapter. But note that there are some Advanced chapters in all of the books. You don't need to do all of the Advanced material - only do the Advanced chapters for your areas of strength. Otherwise, ignore those chapters.

I don't have an Excel file for an error log, but I describe how to create your own error log here:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/articles/error-log.cfm

You may also want to search online for one created by another student.

You're currently at 490 and want to hit 700+, or 210+ points. Most people would need a minimum of 3-4 months for that, though it obviously varies from person to person. May 23rd is less than 2 months from now - most people would not be able to pick up 200 points in 7 weeks.

So you probably will need more time, though there's no way to predict for sure. It sounds like you have already booked that date in May, but that's fine - just leave it and you can reschedule later on if you decide that you need more time.

Note: the GMAT is changing on 5 June: after that date, you will write only 1 essay but you will also have to take the new Integrated Reasoning section (which means you will have to study for that new section). So if you take it after that date, you will have to plan for some extra study time to study for the new section - I just want you to be aware of that.
Stacey Koprince
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trapanister
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

hello Stacey

useful tips in your comment.

But , of course, the entire guides set are good as well, even with the new IR section, right ???

sorry, maybe is a trivial question, you know but here we are to share opinions :) Thanks
StaceyKoprince
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

I'm not 100% sure I understand your question - but if you're asking whether the current versions of the Strategy Guides are still good, the answer is yes, absolutely. The quant and verbal sections aren't changing at all - they're just adding this new IR section (and dropping one of the essays). So all of the material out there for quant and verbal is still good and completely valid.
Stacey Koprince
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bharathdarsh
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Hi Stacey,

Thanks for the inputs and feedback. I have now started with the following :

1) SC from Aristotle SC grail.
2) Review of the MGMAT CAT 1, Qs - understanding and redoing each & every question again.

That's my focus for the next 2 weeks or so. After this I am planning to take the 2nd MGMAT CAT, to see the improvements.

I started with Aristotle SC grail since it was well structured & to the point. I was a bit overwhelmed by the content, size of MGMAT SC guide.

Will Aristotle SC grail enough for crack the SC aspects? If not what additional chapters/portions should I read from MGMAT SC guide? Please advice.

I also feel that I need to read SC atleast 2-3 times go get a firm grasp of the SC concepts and its application. Looks like it would take more than 3-4weeks for this alone. Pls suggest how I should plan it to make derive more value from the SC sessions.

Thanks a lot.

Best Regards,
Bharath S
jnelson0612
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Hi Bharath,
Stacey is away this week, so I am posting in her place. I have read this entire thread and it's clear that you are a hard worker and very motivated. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the Aristotle materials. I know that ours are good and am more familiar with ours. Stacey gave you so good advice to make Sentence Correction less overwhelming . . . just work chapter by chapter. Work on Chapter one, do some practice problems, then do some math. Do some CR and RC along the way too. I'm going to repost her advice because it is so good, and this really *IS* the way to make the SC less overwhelming.

Wishing you all the best!

Stacey said:
Start with the first few chapters of SC. Then do some quant, then go back and do some CR, then SC, then some quant again. You're obviously going to spend more time overall on verbal - plan about 2x time (or a little more) on verbal.

SC can really be done chapter by chapter - you don't have to do the whole book before you go to another verbal topic. For CR, do the intro / strategy chapters together, and then you can start going chapter-by-chapter when you get to the problem chapters. For RC, again do the intro and strategy chapters together, then do short passages, then do long passages.
Jamie Nelson
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bharathdarsh
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Thanks, I am following this approach to tackle SC.

I will come back once I make considerable progress.

Thanks a lot.
Bharath S
StaceyKoprince
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

good luck!
Stacey Koprince
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bharathdarsh
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### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

Hi Stacey,

I am now working on my SC along with the quant( word traslations,Inequalities) for the last 1 month.

For the SC part - I read the Aristotle SC Grail book and currently reading the MGMAT SC guide, until chapter 9. But when I attempt the OG 12 questions referenced at the end of each chapter, my accuracy is around 33% to 40% only - only 1/3rd of the questions are right.

1) How should I focus my studies to improve the SC accuracy?

2) Moreover, when I attempt the questions at the end of each chapter, I am unable to recall the concepts/strategies that should be applied to weed out the wrong options? Does it take time and come only by practice?

3) After reading the MGMAT SC guide, I find it very much intimidating, with only a collection of rules and grammar protocols. The book does not offer any structured strategy on how we should approach the questions, how we should read the answer choices and eliminate the wrong options. This is my personal opinion.

4) When should I go to the advanced chapters? I am planning not to read the " Chapter 10 - Odds & ...", since I remember that you indicated that its less important.

Please advice, how can I improve my SC. Does it need reading the MGMAT SC guide at least 3-4 times, reviewing the wrong questions and repetitive practice?

Thanks for your help.

Best Regards,
Bharath S
StaceyKoprince
ManhattanGMAT Staff

Posts: 8450
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:05 am
Location: San Francisco

### Re: 1st MGMAT CAT 490(Q43,V15) : Need your ADVICE and GUIDANCE.

For whatever reason, the way in which you're studying SC is not translating into a good performance on the actual test questions. Now you also need to make sure that you're studying the actual test questions.

The overall question is: WHY did I miss this? Was there some rule I just didn't know? Or do I think I know a rule but I don't understand it correctly? Did I get sucked in by a trap? What was the trap? What was my faulty reasoning for picking a wrong answer or for eliminating the right answer (or both)?

When you can answer the "Why?" question, that then tells you two things:
(1) What you need to study or learn, or what skills you need to develop, in order not to make that same mistake in future, and
(2) How you need to study and practice in future so that you are learning more of what you need to learn before you get to the OG questions.

Realize, though, that your goal is never to get all the OG questions right. If you can get them ALL right, then either you spent way too much time studying before trying the questions or you aren't doing hard enough questions. :) Part of your learning process involves learning from the OG questions themselves - which means you should expect to get some of them wrong!

Re: your point #2, obviously practice does help, but how are you studying in order to be able to recall stuff later? Are you taking notes? Using flash cards? Quizzing yourself periodically on the rules or concepts that you need to know?

Re: your point #3, yes, the guide is really a grammar guide. The strategies are taught in class, and you can also find them in articles that we publish online. Here are some resources:

Overall strategy for SC:
http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2010/06/ ... on-problem

When the underline is especially long / the sentence is especially convoluted:
http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2011/03/ ... sc-problem
http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/2011/03/ ... -problem-2

How to analyze SC (or any) problems:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/articles/a ... roblem.cfm

An SC example of the above analysis:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/articles/GMATprep-SC.cfm

Re: advanced chapters, if you're aiming for an 75th+ percentile score in either quant or verbal alone, then you will want to review at least some of the advanced chapters for that section. If you're closer to the 75-80 end, review only the advanced chapters in your areas of greatest strength (which might not involve SC at all; it might be CR or RC). The higher you want to go, the more you'll have to do - if you want 95th+ percentile in verbal (or quant) alone, then you'll have to review most or all of the advanced material.

Does it need reading the MGMAT SC guide at least 3-4 times, reviewing the wrong questions and repetitive practice?

All of those activities are important, but the most important is your review and analysis of your own work - and not just the wrong questions. All of them. Constantly ask yourself WHY and HOW. Why does the sentence work that way? Why is that one okay and this one is not? Why did I mess that one up? How can I not make that same mistake next time? How will I recognize a similar error or sentence structure when I see another one in the future? Etc.

That's where you're really learning the most. :)
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Director of Online Community
ManhattanGMAT