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Student Post: MBA and Basketball

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Hey everyone, say hello to Eric this week! Eric has a lot of great advice for fellow students, and even makes a basketball analogy to make it all more understandable for you. 🙂

About Me: I’m from Westchester County, N.Y. and now live in Manhattan. As an undergraduate, I studied both Economics and Chinese – and spent a year living and studying in China! I am currently applying for entry to full-time MBA programs for Fall ’15. My hobbies include golf and napping.

Biggest Challenge: For me the most difficult concepts were work-rate questions and distance/average speed questions in the math section, as well as the “hard” level difficulty critical reasoning questions in the verbal section.

One thing I discovered during my studies, especially with the topics above, was that I would often get a problem right one week, only to come back to that same problem a week later and get it wrong (this in addition to getting certain problems wrong multiple times in a row) – it showed me that the concepts were not as drilled into my brain as they needed to be.

The “flag” feature of the Magoosh platform was very helpful in this regard, because it allowed me to easily return to these questions that I knew I needed more practice on, regardless of whether I got them correct or incorrect the first time around. There’s no reason not to flag any question for which you do not feel 100% confident in the concept(s) the question is testing you on!

Helpful tips for other students: It is really important to find test prep that accurately represents the types of questions you will see on the exam. I think Magoosh’s practice questions were spot on with respect to the concepts, diction and difficulty of the questions that I saw on the actual GMAT and in the GMATPrep practice exams. I started out using a different test prep software, but after taking a practice exam realized that I needed a prep program that more accurately reflected what I would be seeing.

There is an important need to balance instruction, practice tests and practice problems – doing five or six practice problems that cover the same core concept and reviewing each problem after submitting the answer is completely different from doing 35+ consecutive questions of varied topics on a two minute per question time limit. To use a sports analogy, if you are a basketball player, shooting jump shots by yourself in the gym and getting coaching will help perfect the shooting form but not present a simulation of in-game action, which involves many different elements coming together in a fast paced setting. I took one practice test during each of the four Tuesday’s leading up to the exam, and studied approximately 30 hours in between each practice (which included reviewing practice test problems, doing more problem sets from Magoosh, and watching the instructional videos).

Also, do not put an extreme amount of pressure on yourself to solve every problem from every review book with the mentality that you can “beat” the GMAT by practicing every potential type of question. Even if you study every problem out there the GMAT will still find ways to show you problems in a novel way that you have not seen before (that’s their job!).

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