Study and Strategy questions relating to the GMAT.
NaveenK951
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EA preparation

by NaveenK951 Fri May 14, 2021 4:38 pm

Hi Stacey,

I hope you are doing well.

I took EA last year and scored 154 (IR-9, V-10, Q-15). Three months back, I decided to retake EA to improve my score.
I’ve been studying for EA for the last three months, and I do not see any improvement. I took three tests of GMAC and scored as follows:
1. 153 (IR-12, V-8, Q-13)
2. 148 (IR-10, V-5, Q-13)
3. 152 (IR-9, V-10, Q-13)

I have completed all the GMAC study material except the 4th EA test.
I’m planning to retake EA something mid-June 2021 (one month from now), and my target is to get a score of 157+.

I've studied GMAT online course for concepts in verbal and quant ( prep material, e-GMAT)

My weakness & strength :
Verbal: strength -CR & weakness -RC
IR: strength: graphs and quant related questions & weaknesses: two source verbal related reasoning questions

I’m looking forward to your guidance on how to prepare and what to study, especially for IR preparation?

Thank you.

Naveen Kumar
NaveenK951
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Re: EA preparation

by NaveenK951 Sun May 16, 2021 2:37 pm

Aaddiotnal information :

In general, my weak areas are RC (verbal) and verbal reasoning-related questions in IR. Here is some analysis I've done about my weaknesses and strengths :

Verbal:

RC- This is my weak area. In the three GMAC tests that I took, I consistently marked just one question correctly (out of 4). I totally fail if the passage is related to humanities or culture. Also, I noticed that I make mistakes while picking the correct answer choice (after narrowing down to 2 options).

SC- I’m doing average.

CR- I’m doing well. This is my strongest area in the verbal section

Integrated reasoning:


Graphs, tables, and quantitative 2-part questions are my strongest areas.

MSR and 2-part verbal reasoning questions are weak areas. I mostly make mistakes on verbal reasoning-related questions.

I also struggle with time management in the IR section. So far, I’m not able to attempt more than 10 questions in 30 minutes (in any of the three GMAC tests I took so far).

I have the following questions:

1. What should be my study plan for the next month?

a. Should I follow any study-specific material to improve my weak areas (mentioned above). Or what is your suggestion for my study plan for the next one month?

b. As said, I’ve already completed GMAC’s 300 hundred question bank and additional 50 IR questions. Should I revise them and solve them again (after resetting it)? What it best course of study for me?

c. As I’ve already exhausted all the GMAC test exams (except one). Do you know if any EA mock tests that I can buy?
StaceyKoprince
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Re: EA preparation

by StaceyKoprince Mon May 17, 2021 6:56 pm

Ok, let's dive in!

First, just summarizing certain data points:
Official test last year: 154 (IR-9, V-10, Q-15)
Goal: 157 (ie, you need to pick up 3 more points across any section)
Target Date: about a month from now

Recent practice test scores:
IR peak score is 12, three points above official (but you did also score 9 on the most recent)
V peak score is 10, same as official
Q peak score is 13, two points below official

First question: Your peak IR score was on your first practice test. Were you focused more on studying IR before that test, since you knew it was your lowest score from your official test last year?

Next, you mention specific weaknesses with V and IR (Q is obviously stronger already), including time management.

Re: time management, we recommend guessing immediately on 2 or 3 problems total in each section of the exam. You may not need to do this for Q, since it's your strength, but you should be planning to do it for IR and V. So your current issue on IR (not being able to attempt more than 10 of the 12 problems) is actually fine, now that you know you shouldn't even try to do so. :D

You can look on our blog for more on time management for the EA, but I'd actually start by signing up for our free EA Starter Kit syllabus:
https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/executive-assessment-starter-kit/

Under the Learn More section, you'll see a link to a blog post that covers time management strategies. (But look through all of the sections of the syllabus / use all of the resources!)

Next, as you're noticing, there aren't a ton of resources available for the EA because it's still such a small market. (For comparison: There are something like 200,000 GMAT exams taken annually—and fewer than 10,000 EA exams taken annually.) Most people are using GMAT materials to study for the exam, except for the few official EA resources available.

The only EA book available that I'm aware of is one that we wrote—our Integrated Reasoning & Essay book. It's got GMAT in the title, but we actually wrote the IR portion equally for the GMAT and the EA, so every time the book talks about time management or other test-specific strategy for the IR section, we cover it for both the GMAT and the EA. I don't normally just come right out and recommend buying one of our products (since I have an obvious conflict of interest!), but since the verbal-focused portion of IR is also more of a struggle for you and this is the only EA-focused IR book on the market (that I know of), this might be worth getting.
https://www.amazon.com/GMAT-Integrated-Reasoning-Essay-Resources/dp/1506219675/

It also comes with access to an online question bank with practice problems. Note: The book assumes you've already learned the underlying Quant and Verbal concepts that are in our All the Quant and All the Verbal books. That's fine for you on Quant and CR, since your skills are good there. SC doesn't appear on IR, so that's moot. And that brings us to RC.

For Reading Comprehension, I would use GMAT RC materials—if you think that the eGMAT RC materials didn't teach you methods that worked for you for that section, you'll need to identify another source for RC lessons. In our own books, I'd start with the ebook version of our GMAT Foundations of Verbal guide—the Kindle version on Amazon is free. There's an entire section dedicated to RC. If that works for you, that might be enough to get you to the score you need on the EA. If you need higher-level material, then you'd have the option to buy our GMAT All the Verbal book (this one's not free, unfortunately :) ), which again has an entire section dedicated to RC.

(There are also other much more expensive options—taking a course, doing private tutoring. If you're interested in knowing more about those, just let me know.)

One big thing I'd want to address in your studies is the problems on which you did narrow down to 2 (including the correct answer) but then went the wrong way. These are your lowest-hanging fruit—you were very close to getting these right! How much time are you spending analyzing the problems after you finish working on them?

Most of our learning comes not while we're working on the problems, but afterwards, when we're analyzing them. For example, on these "narrowed to 2 but picked wrong" problems, ask yourself:
(1) Why was the wrong answer so tempting? Why did it look like it might be right? (be as explicit as possible; also, now you know this is not a good reason to pick an answer)
(2) Why was it actually wrong? What specific words indicate that it is wrong and how did I overlook those clues the first time?
(3) Why did the right answer seem wrong? What made it so tempting to cross off the right answer? Why were those things actually okay; what was my error in thinking that they were wrong? (also, now you know that this is not a good reason to eliminate an answer)
(4) Why was it actually right?

Other things to analyze:
(1) I knew how to do it and I got it right. Is there a more efficient way to tackle these?
(2) I knew how to do it and I got it wrong (aka careless mistake). Why did I make the mistake? What can I do to minimize the chances that that same kind of mistake will happen again? (This typically involves identifying and building / practicing some new habit until it becomes second nature.)
(3) I didn't know how to do it and I got it right. Was it a completely lucky guess? If so, move this down to item 4, below. Or was it not just luck but really more of an educated guess? If so, can I replicate that in future? That's good enough!
(4) I didn't know how to do it and I got it wrong. Is this something that I can learn how to do accurately and in the allotted time? If so, do what you need to do to learn and practice. If not (and there should be some problems in the "if not" category!), how would you know next time to make this one of your "guess fast and move on" problems? What are the clues that tell you, within 30 seconds, forget it—don't even try to do this one?

If you haven't been doing that kind of analysis already, then yes, I'd go back and do this for any problems in the problem bank that you did recently enough that you still remember how to do them. And then I'd reset the entire bank and start doing problems again—and this time, really dig in and analyze in the manner described above.

You have a month, so I'd give yourself about 1.5 weeks to work through the RC portion of Foundations of Verbal, which gives you time to also use All the Verbal after that, if you want to. Simulatneously, give yourself about 2-3 weeks to work through the Integrated Reasoning guide and the associated online problem sets. (And you can also redo some of the official problems, as I mentioned in my last paragraph.)

I'd save your final official practice test for a week or two before you take the official test. For additional timed practice, you've got two options. First, one of my students told me a few days ago that GMAT Club has made its EA practice tests. I cannot vouch for these tests—I haven't looked at them and my student hasn't either. (He was asking me whether I'd used them or heard of them.) But as far as I'm aware, they're the only EA practice tests besides the official ones.

If you use those, take one thing with a grain of salt. The page that describes them says they're designed to "get you to a 20"—but, in fact, the top actual possible score on the EA is 18, not 20. So I don't know whether that means their scoring scale is inflated.

Alternatively, our EA Starter Kit syllabus describes how to use GMAT practice tests to simulate an EA experience. It won't be exactly the same (for example, you can't move around among the problems on the GMAT—you have to go in order on that test), but you can get close-ish. And your Q and V scores will be very low because you'll answer less than half of the questions in each of those sections. That starter kit syllabus includes one free GMAT practice exam and GMAC makes two free GMAT practice exams available on mba.com—so that's probably enough, with your one official EA practice test still available.

I'm going to stop now because that's a LOT of information and I don't want to overwhelm you even more. :D Let me know any questions, comments, or concerns. And good luck!
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Content & Curriculum Lead
ManhattanPrep
NaveenK951
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Re: EA preparation

by NaveenK951 Mon May 17, 2021 10:00 pm

Thank you, Stacey. It is really helpful!

Appreciate your taking the time to answer my query!

Naveen Kumar
StaceyKoprince
ManhattanGMAT Staff
 
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Re: EA preparation

by StaceyKoprince Thu May 20, 2021 6:25 pm

My pleasure! Let me know if there's anything else you want to discuss!
Stacey Koprince
Instructor
Content & Curriculum Lead
ManhattanPrep