(This is the third in a series of blog posts in which Julie DeLoyd, a Veritas Prep GMAT alumna-turned-instructor, will tell the story of her experience through the MBA admissions process. Julie will begin her MBA program at Chicago Booth this fall. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 to learn Julie’s whole story.)
I had invested 42 hours of summer evenings learning about the ins and outs of the GMAT, and the time finally came for me to do the work on my own. I booked my test date for 5 weeks after my class ended, giving me enough time to go on tour one last time before I really hunkered down.
My band toured the Midwest for about 10 days, driving on vegetable oil fuel and breaking a lot of strings along the way. While another girl was driving, I’d pull out my Veritas Prep books and work on a few problems each day. I wasn’t absorbing too much, honestly, but it was good to keep my GMAT brain active. When I dropped off the girls at the airport, it was time to really get down to business. I set up a study schedule for myself for the last 3 weeks.
21 days to go, with 4 practice tests completed, my schedule looked something like this:
Monday Morning: Sentence Correction
Monday Afternoon: Practice Test
Tuesday Morning: Go over results of Practice Test
Tuesday Afternoon: Geometry
Wednesday Morning: Reading Comp
Wednesday Afternoon: Practice test
Thursday Morning: Go over results of Practice Test
Thursday Afternoon: Critical Reasoning
Friday Morning: Combinatorics and Probability
Friday Afternoon: Problem Solving
Saturday Morning: Practice Test
Saturday Afternoon: Go over results
Sunday: Eat good food, Ride my bike, Spend time with dogs and lovey
Yes, it was a little intense, but it wasn
Make No Mistake
(This is one of a series of GMAT tips that we offer on our blog.)
If you’re serious about GMAT preparation, you have undoubtedly taken (or will take) a series of practice tests to replicate the test experience and work on pacing, stamina, etc. (At Veritas Prep, we offer our students 15 CAT exams, and you can access a free GMAT practice exam on our web site). Most tests have some useful diagnostic features that will demonstrate the time you took on each question, your performance on major question categories, etc. But as you have read in this space previously, one true key to peak performance is to be aware of the errors that you tend to make in particular, and the software isn’t quite advanced enough to highlight those for you.
To better understand your own mistakes in your own way, a simple activity is to go back through 2-3 practice tests that you’ve taken and label each of your mistakes with 4-6 keywords of your own. Examples could include “Data Sufficiency, didn’t forget first statement” or “Strengthen argument, misread conclusion”. The tests themselves may alert you to the fact that you missed, say, 6 of 15 Data Sufficiency questions, but with closer inspection you can determine just which errors you’re making when you do miss them. Then, if you scan those keywords to find repeats (Microsoft Excel can do this pretty easily for you), you’ll have a better idea of just which mistakes you’re prone to making, and you can focus your attention on them.
Your strategy for GMAT success should certainly include become more comfortable with the various skills and question types required, but you’ll likely find that you can increase your score just as significantly by minimizing the errors you tend to make most commonly. Minimize your errors, and maximize your score!
More more help on the GMAT, take a look at Veritas Prep’s GMAT preparation course options.