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140 point increase in 4 weeks

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Joined: 04 Sep 2012
Posts: 135
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
GPA: 3.3
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140 point increase in 4 weeks [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2012, 21:12
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Hello, first time poster here!

I just took the GMAT yesterday, 12/8, and was ecstatic with my result (I probably annoyed the other test takers with my "YES!!!"). The information in this post is NOT geared towards those who are perennially bad at standardized tests (SAT, GRE, etc). My approach will probably not help if your foundation isn't there. This is meant for people who have succeeded before, but are struggling with the GMAT.

In the past, I've done well on the SAT and GRE (both above 1400 under the old scoring system), so I thought that scoring a 700+ on the GMAT would be no sweat. My GMAT score from last month is the lowest score I've ever received on any type of standardized test, and lower than probably 95% of all the practice tests I've ever taken (including the SAT practice tests I took in high school). So, you can imagine my devastation; the score was significantly below what my historical stats would project.

Here's the study plan I used:

September 2012 - November 2012:

Veritas books (I didn't take the course)
Veritas practice tests: 700, 700, 710, 740. On one of the tests, I suspended it, but the timer kept going and ended the practice test. Veritas did not respond to my requests for assistance.
Opinion: The practice questions from the books and tests are too easy and unrealistic. Colossal waste of money if you're trying to go 700+.

Manhattan GMAT SC: Absolutely key; don't just read it and check it off your list. Make sure you understand all the concepts and memorize which verbs take command subjunctive or "to xxx" form.
Manhattan practice tests: 680, 560, 570, 640, 600. After the first test though, I stopped trying hard on math, since it seemed clear that I'll be fine on that section. My verbal scores hovered in the 30's.
Opinion: The practice tests were brutal; I don't understand how people score higher on these than the real thing. My guess is they're posting the "retakes", which will skew the scores.

OG 13th edition: I did all of the verbal questions. For the SC questions, I cross referenced them against MGMAT's SC guide and focused on my weaknesses.

800score tests: These guys are basically packaged in with the MGMAT tests. They are way, way too easy for someone shooting for 700+; I didn't get anything under 40 on their 5 verbal practice exams.

GMATPREP: 660 (start of prep), 720 (day before test).
Opinion: Must do obviously.

Test Day: 620 (45q, some low v). This score blindsided me and put me into a depression, but my wife and manager were very supportive and strongly encouraged me to retake the test ASAP (they knew about my previous scores with standardized tests). So, I signed up for a 12/8 test, but didn't expect much.

Month of November:

Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible: I learned only one thing from this book, but it fundamentally changed the way I approached those questions. Before, I would "holistically" interpret the passage and choose the answer that seems right. Now, I actively look for the passage's conclusion and premises as I first read through the passage.

Kaplan Practice Tests: 750, 700, 770, 720, 690. These tests really helped me a lot, but I confess that I only opened the book to figure out how to access the online CAT exams (they use a really weird verification method). I started doing the math sections again during my study, and Kaplan's math questions become incredibly challenging. In addition, the verbal passages are incredibly BORING and DENSE, making them the perfect practice questions!

Also, I reviewed MGMAT's SC book throughout this period.

Test day: 760 (50q, 42v); crushed it.

So that's my story, and good luck to all GMAT test takers!



TLDR summary:
620 --> 760 after prepping during November 2012. Veritas tests are too easy and a waste of money. MGMAT, Kaplan tests are good. Buy and read through MGMAT's SC book and Powerscores CR book.
Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesKnewton GMAT Discount CodesGMAT Pill GMAT Discount Codes
140 point increase in 4 weeks   [#permalink] 09 Dec 2012, 21:12
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140 point increase in 4 weeks

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