Why you should use 21st Night as your GMAT error log

Related: How to use 21st Night to study for the GMAT

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There are a couple problems people tend to run into with the GMAT.

  1. The GMAT is a deep exam. It tests logic, grammar, reading comprehension, and math to an extent that no other exam does. It is difficult to get the skills needed to address the topics in the depth required.
  2. The GMAT is a broad exam. You need to remember parallelism, standard deviations, and contrapositives and have them at the tips of your fingers.
  3. The GMAT is a heavily time-pressured exam. You need to be able to do all the problems within a very short time span, with little time for planning or remembering.
  4. Because of the above, the GMAT is unpleasant to study for, especially if you’re working full-time.

21st Night addresses each of these problems. If you use it correctly, you will find that your scores increase more in a month than they have in all your time of studying before.

Deal with the depth of the GMAT

Some of the problems of the GMAT seem impossible at first glance. But, that’s not the case.

The problems of the GMAT are solvable, and, more importantly, they are formulaic. In other words, the hard problems of the GMAT are essentially the same as the easy ones, but with details changed.

In order to realize this and get the skills you need to solve an unfamiliar hard problem, you need to master problems sequentially in a category, from easiest to hardest. As you master an easier problem, the harder problem becomes doable.

21st Night is designed to make both categorization and mastery straightforward. Problems that you add can be easily organized by category and subcategory.

Start with easy questions, then go to hard ones. Build your knowledge category by category, until you’ve mastered a section.

Then, the algorithm encourages you to repeat a problem until you’ve proved you’ve mastered it. You continue through, mastering problems in a subcategory, then mastering problems in the parent category.

As you become totally proficient in the subcategories of, say, problem solving, you’ll find that problems that seemed impossible before are now doable.

Much like the Mystery Gang unmasking a Scooby-Doo monster, you’ll realize that those difficult problems are just the problems you already know in disguise.

Bridge the breadth of the GMAT

The GMAT is a wide exam. There are a lot of subcategories that you’re supposed to master and bring up at a moment’s notice.

That’s hard, because you might have to instantly recall something on the exam that you learned 4 months ago. Humans naturally forget over that time span.

That is, unless, you’re periodically reminded of what you’re supposed to recall. Then you remember for much longer, as the information passes into your long term memory.

21st Night is based around a spaced-repetition algorithm. You mark the difficulty that you have with questions as you review them. This measures your proficiency on that question.

Spaced repetition helps with remembering

Questions you find especially difficult are ones that you’re on the verge of forgetting, so 21st Night will present them to you more often to review.

On the other hands, questions that you repeatedly find easy are already in your long-term memory, so 21st Night will present them to you less often, and, eventually, no more.

This way, you’ll be just as fresh on a difficult concept that you learned in week 1 as you are on the difficult concept that you learned in week 8. Everything is on the tips of your fingers.

Eliminate timing issues

Once you’ve mastered questions, it’s still a feat to do a new question in the short time span that the GMAT allots you. Many people run out of time, or are reduced to guessing.

The common approach is to try to solve this just by speeding up. It seems like the obvious approach, right?

The trouble is that how quickly you do the problem isn’t actually your issue with timing. Your trouble can be summed up in one word: fluency.

If you’re proficient in a question, you’re fluent in it. If you’re proficient in all the questions in a subcategory, you’re fluent in all the questions in that subcategory.

The most amount of time you’ll spend on a problem is when you stare at it in the beginning, wondering where to start.

The second most amount of time is when you stare at in the middle, wondering where you went wrong.

Both of these point to a lack of fluency: the inability to do the problem from start to finish without pauses. Once you know the steps of a problem, speeding up is easy.

It’s like how it’s easy to speed up a pre-written speech, but very hard to speed up an improvisation (without long pauses and “uh….”).

21st Night’s mastery system promotes fluency. As you become more proficient in a question, you’ll be able to do similar questions without pausing.

Once you can do that, you can simply choose to speed up, and practice your new speed on timed sets and practice tests.

Solve the unpleasantness of studying for the GMAT

You know you need to study for the GMAT. So why don’t you?

You probably don’t study because it’s unpleasant. It’s easier to not do it, and to watch TV, sleep, or otherwise relax.

Of course, that’s understandable. In fact, that’s human.

But, it’s not a good way to get the score you need on the GMAT. In order to get that score, you need to study 10+ hours per week, ideally every day.

21st Night has a streak system to encourage continual studying and avoidance of procrastination. It’s a carrot, not a stick: 21st Night won’t bombard you with threatening or annoying messages for not sticking to studying.

We will, however, encourage you to do so, and celebrate your studying accomplishments as you achieve them. Our ultimate goal is your success on the GMAT.

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