LATE STAGE STUDY ADVICE
Where To Focus When The GMAT Is Two Weeks Away
Two weeks out, I would focus on timed practice and would make sure to have a good timing strategy for the real GMAT. It will help to get through all of the official GMAT practice tests (GMAT Prep 1/2 and the Exam Pack). It will also help to get through the medium and hard questions of Question Pack 1 (do all of this work timed).
For these last two weeks, focus on consolidating what you know rather than adding on things. Along with the timed word, keep attacking your error log!
In terms of reading comprehension: keep reading. The Economist work does help. The level of the reading is similar to the level of GMAT reading (Yes – it is probably more interesting:) But one trick on GMAT reading comprehension is to force yourself to really connect emotionally with what you are reading. Care about those boring science (or whatever passages you don’t like) and you will improve!
Advice For a Month Out
Hope you are well – it’s a privilege to help! Not to bag on Kaplan too much, but I wouldn’t use the Kaplan CAT score as an indicator of what you will score on your actual GMAT. Most (if not all) third party tests don’t get the scoring right (even though the marketing department will throw all kinds of statistics out there talking about how well their algorithm tracks the real one). That doesn’t mean that the tests are useless – they can be good practice. So the first thing you might do is take an official GMAT practice test (GMAT prep) to get an idea of where you are scoring.
For the next month I would blast through the Official Guide 2015/2013, Question Pack 1, and all four GMAT prep tests. If you need extra verbal practice, then do the verbal on the GMAT Paper Tests (not the Quant as it is too easy). For extra practice test experience, I would do the MGMAT CATs but only the Quant on those. No third party material is perfect, but these will give you some tough timed quant practice and will not break the bank. You can get away with taking each of the CATs twice. Don’t worry about the scores on these; having seen tons of results, I’ve found that the algorithm tends to suppress the score a bit. Focus on getting your fundamentals and timing in good shape. Don’t worry about knowing how to solve 100% of the questions. Get super solid on the important 80%. The meat and potatoes are what add up to a great GMAT score.
For a general outline I would suggest something like this:
Week 1: Weighted towards Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning. Really get your momentum going on these two.
Week 2: Take your first two MGMAT Quant CATs here. Start taking full practice tests at the end of week 2.
Week 3: Go full blast with practice tests. Try to take a timed section every other day (or every day if you have the time). Do a bunch of MGMAT Quant CATs here. This is the week to get intense!
Week 4: Cool it a bit with the practice tests but do still focus on timed work. Get the right amount of rest and relaxation.
Break down your HW into a daily schedule. You can see examples on the Atlantic GMAT website. Remember that review is critical so keep track of the questions that give you a tough time. A good way of doing this is to take screenshots of those questions. Keep them in a folder and visit that folder every day. I would do 5-10 review questions before starting your daily work. Take questions out of the folder once you’ve mastered them.
My quick suggestion for timing would be 25 minutes for the first 10 questions, 30 minutes for the middle 17 questions, 20 minutes for the last 10 questions. Settle in on the first 10 and skip 0-2. Be smart in the middle 17. Skip 4-6 questions in this area. Be solid on the last 10 and finish up strong. Skip 0-2.
How should I prepare with just a few days left?
My general suggestion would be to avoid any third party verbal. Good verbal questions are very tough to write and I haven’t seen consistently acceptable verbal questions from any GMAT company.
I’d suggest focusing on official GMAT verbal for the next week. I would do an AM and a PM session using questions from the Official Guide 13th or 2015 edition (same questions in these books). Starting from the end of the book (questions are in order of difficulty and we want to focus on the tougher stuff), do sets of 10-15 questions for critical reasoning and sentence correction. Also do one reading comprehension passage per session. Give yourself 1:50 per question (multiply by the # of questions to figure out the timing for the set). For CR and RC forget about the tips and tricks. Focus on good reading. Focus on understanding the passages. That’s most of the battle.
For sentence correction look for the big/easy issues: Agreement, parallelism, and modifiers. Also – think about the meaning of the sentence. What is the message? Find the answer that best conveys that message.
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