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2nd Attempt - 780 (Q50, V46) 3/1/07 up from 710

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2nd Attempt - 780 (Q50, V46) 3/1/07 up from 710 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 00:15
I just took my GMAT again and scored 780. I am very happy with the results. I want to thank all the people who posted advice on how to increase scores already in the 700's (HongHu, artshep, ashaker, pelihu, etc.)

I am not going to do a lengthy post simply because everything I have to say has already been said by one of the above mentioned members. Those are simply get the right study materials- OG11, Green, Purple, GMATPrep, Manhattan SC, some extra math practice (either Gmatclub challenges or Manhattan CATs will do; however, they are harder than the actual GMAT, and in the case of Manhattan math problems, much much harder), dedicate time everyday, don't ever lose hope, and get good rest (I couldn't sleep well a couple of days before the test, and I think, albeit a little greediy, that I may have had a shot at 790 if I slept well.).

My only useful additions (things people have not stressed that much) are a couple of DONT's:

1) Don't waste your time trying to get too many resources and over complicating things. Spend your time on the materials guaranteed to help you on the GMAT. I see a lot of posts from people trying to get every single possible practice set. One extremely funny, or sad, example involved a person sending the other a Korean practice set, and neither was Korean. There's some debate among various people whether the SC1000's and other 1000's are indeed real. I don't know. I didn't practice with them because I didn't like some, actually many, of the answer choices, as compared to the OG, where all the answer choices were clearly correct. If you want to use them, make sure you read advice (3). I never finished my Princeton Review CATs or 800score ones b/c I thought they did not represent actual harder bin questions well.

2) Don't do odd SC's; make sure they are official GMAT ones. The awkward and odd SC's and their explanations are worse than not doing them at all. There are so many crappy SC practice out there that will hurt your SC skills rather than help them. Manhattan SC is good b/c its main work problems are from directly from OG. In other words, you need to have OG to go through the Manhattan SC lessons.

3) Don't worry too much about one single problem in practice if you're stressed for time. In math, if you do a lot if problems, sooner or later you will understand it when you come back to it. Again, this is truer for SC. English has so many rules and exceptions on top of those rules. You don't have to know the exact reason for a sentence being "awkward" (OG's favorite reason for wrong answer choices); just do more practice to learn patterns. This is only for people who have a limited time for studying. I know that many people study close to a year. I studied one month, so I didn't get a chance to post questions on this forum regarding any specific problems. I mainly studied directly from the books I mentioned above, doing 70-100 problems per day (the only exception being the 3 days I went through Manhattan SC and those that I took practice CATs).

4) Don't practice with just pen and paper. I actually bought testdayscratch's pad for $25. It was a little pricey, but well worth it for me. If you don't want to buy it, that's fine too. At least experience the pad or something similar before you take the test. To me it was a huge difference.

5) Don't despair. Know that GMAT doesn't have a brick wall. Any studying, using the right resources, gets you closer to your goal.

I hope that helps, even if only a bit. This will most likely be my final post. I just wanted to give a little back to this site, which has given me a lot of good direction. If anything in this post helps a future Gmat-taker get a few more points or even one point, this post would have fulfilled its purpose. Good luck everyone!

Update (3/14/07): I am SELLING almost all my Gmat study materials. I don't think that I will be needing them anymore =). Hopefully they will be of good use to the next person. I want to let them go for relatively low prices, preferably all together so I don't have to make multiple mailings. Please note that they all have writings and answers in them, mainly the hard problems, but they are in excellent condition and still helpful as a starting point. Please PM me if you are interested.

1. Official Gmat Review - 11th Ed. Orange
2. Official Gmat Quantitative Review - (latest ed.) Green
3. Official Gmat Verbal Review - (latest ed.) Purple
4. Kaplan Gmat Course Book (w/ Practice CD) - My starting book; got it from the actual Kaplan Gmat course. Great for concept learning for people scoring under 700.
5. Princeton Review - Cracking the Gmat 2007 (w/ 2 online CATs; I never use these 2 CATs) - A great starting book. Some nifty tricks for scores under 700.
6. Replica Gmat eraseable notepad from Testdayscratch - this one is mint condition. I can easily sell this one separately.
7. In case you were wondering, I am keeping: Manhattan SC, Strunk and White's Elements of Style.

Again, PM me if you are interested, especially in all the books together. Good luck!

Last edited by farseer on 14 Mar 2007, 19:49, edited 4 times in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 01:44
Excellent Score! Congratulations and all the best in the next steps!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 02:02
Wow, congratulations! What a score!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 05:26
Congrats! That is awesome.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 06:00
Congratulations on an amazing score!

Some great advice there too. I couldn't agree more that practicing crappy SC's is a waste of time and can actually be a detriment. I really didn't like the Kaplan 800 SC's at all even though some people talk about how great they are because they're so difficult.

I also agree that keeping things simple is a good idea. OG all the way.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 08:18
Thanks for the info about the scratch pad! Just ordered one...
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 08:47
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Cheers!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 10:36
Quick question: Can you write a debrief about the differences from your first exam and the second in terms of prep/test day experiences.

Great score, btw!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 11:08
kidderek wrote:
Quick question: Can you write a debrief about the differences from your first exam and the second in terms of prep/test day experiences.


Differences between first attempt and second attempt:

1) More use of the OG materials the 2nd time around. My Quant was 47 the first time. Although not a bad score, I labored through the section, and I felt exhausted and frustrated at the end, setting up a bad start for Verbal. This time, I never thought any questions were really hard. For verbal (46 up from 40), CR and RC were easy because I had done so many practice problems. Those became extremely predictable; I probably missed 1-2 total. I still had to work on SC, but with everything else much easier due to practice, I felt very relaxed and confident through the whole test.

2) I put less emphasis on the AWA. This may not apply to foreign candidates and those with AWA's near the cutoff of their schools. I put too much energy into the AWA the first time (got a 5.5). That resulted in making the more important Quant section harder. This time around I just used a super-generic template and filled it in. Rule of thumb is this: If you can get over a 4, then don't put too much more time and effort into it.

3) I didn't drink a Frappucino during the break. That made a huge difference. I usually love caffeine, and it doesn't hinder my thinking one bit. But the Gmat is different. You need every single brain cell/compartment working clearly. I truly believe it when anyone says that the test makes your brain work at 110% capacity. In other words, don't try to use anything that may alter your brain power. This time I drank some water and ate a Wonka bar (chocolate and graham cracker) for fast carb energy. My opinion is that a Wonka bar is great; it has both fast, simple carb and slower, complex carb. (That was the comic relief for this post.)

4) I practiced thoroughly with the scratch pad. Again, I am not endorsing any one product, but the one I got was an exact replica. Part of the difference was psychological, but that was important when you're trying to get every last extra point. Some people may not think it makes a big difference. My advice is to find out for yourself by at least trying out something similar first. Oh, by the way, it's not eraseable during the test. (If you don't know what that means, then you definitely need to find out.)
Also, I don't know if the different centers give out different markers, but my marker was not a Lumocolor superfine, it was a fine.

5) I didn't ever freak out over one problem or let anything get to me. That comes from practice and training yourself. Also, I didn't do any studying the 2 days before the test. That helped also.

Good luck guys! I hope the info given will get you a few more points. If you use the Wonka bar advice, please credit me...lol!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 11:28
What do you think is the optimal way to improve the Quant score? My test is in July and I am currently scoring in the low 40% in Quant and low 80% in Verbal.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 11:34
Tajik4GMAT wrote:
What do you think is the optimal way to improve the Quant score? My test is in July and I am currently scoring in the low 40% in Quant and low 80% in Verbal.


If you're at 40% Q, then you need to use materials designed for that range. I love Gmatclub and Manhattan, but the challenges and practice, repectively, will not help you much at this point. Many of us don't like Kaplan or Princeton Review, but we're talking about high levels. Kaplan or TPR would really be beneficial to your Quant studying. If you have the money, you should enroll in a course rather than just buy their books. Those classes are designed just to help people in your profile. OG would help also, but limit yourself to the first 2/3 of the practice problems for now.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 11:59
I see by your other post, it was nearly 10 months between your exams. What was your gameplan in between? It's a pretty long time period.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 12:23
kidderek wrote:
I see by your other post, it was nearly 10 months between your exams. What was your gameplan in between? It's a pretty long time period.


Relax, mainly. I don't think I had the fuel to immediately start studying or even planning for another Gmat right after my first attempt. I just pretty much congratulated myself on a decent score and gave myself some time to forget about the Gmat until 2007.

Then, as I had promised myself, as soon as New Year's day passed, I started seriously considering retaking the test. My main reason was that I knew I could do better, not just in the self-motivating sense but in a guaranteed sense, if I took it again.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 13:10
farseer wrote:
Then, as I had promised myself, as soon as New Year's day passed, I started seriously considering retaking the test. My main reason was that I knew I could do better, not just in the self-motivating sense but in a guaranteed sense, if I took it again.


So you prepped for a little under 2 months? Would you say all that you learned the first time around came rushing back or did you have to relearn a lot of the material?
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 13:20
kidderek wrote:
farseer wrote:
Then, as I had promised myself, as soon as New Year's day passed, I started seriously considering retaking the test. My main reason was that I knew I could do better, not just in the self-motivating sense but in a guaranteed sense, if I took it again.


So you prepped for a little under 2 months? Would you say all that you learned the first time around came rushing back or did you have to relearn a lot of the material?


Definitely rushing back. Gmat is definitely a concept-based test rather than a content-based test. So I was back to my first attempt level in a week or so. I actually studied a little over a month, but I one of the things I'm proud of is that I actually build up more motivation, and thus put in more effort, as I go along. There are too many people that get a full head of steam at the beginning and then lose it all by test date.

I've realized from other post a month ago that you're thinking about retaking the gmat? Have you set a date yet, or are you still thinking about it?
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 13:35
farseer wrote:
There are too many people that get a full head of steam at the beginning and then lose it all by test date.


This is so true. That's why it's better for people to study intensely for no more than 3 months and then take the test, rather than drawing it out for months.

farseer wrote:
I've realized from other post a month ago that you're thinking about retaking the gmat? Have you set a date yet, or are you still thinking about it?


Still contemplating. I have a decent enough score that might kill my desire to re-test. But even if I did, it's based on a couple of facts:

1) I thought the actual test was a whole lot easier than I expected and I underperformed.
2) After bschool apps, I'd have plenty of time to kill, and pretty much nothing to lose (except being red faced if I score lower)
3) For employment/resume purposes -- apparently, it will be brought up.
4) Personal satisfaction -- if you score in the 99th%, no one can say they did better than you. An 800 cannot gloat straight-faced to a 760.

Great score, farseer. Even more important (at least for us), great debrief and tips!
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 15:33
kidderek wrote:
Still contemplating. I have a decent enough score that might kill my desire to re-test. But even if I did, it's based on a couple of facts:

1) I thought the actual test was a whole lot easier than I expected and I underperformed.
2) After bschool apps, I'd have plenty of time to kill, and pretty much nothing to lose (except being red faced if I score lower)
3) For employment/resume purposes -- apparently, it will be brought up.
4) Personal satisfaction -- if you score in the 99th%, no one can say they did better than you. An 800 cannot gloat straight-faced to a 760.

Great score, farseer. Even more important (at least for us), great debrief and tips!


Looks like you are on the exact same boat I was on. Our reasons are pretty much identical. Therefore, I wish you not good, but great, luck if you do decide to give it another shot. I have no doubt that you can get 780 or 790 by the things you have posted and by your previous score. I look forward to hearing from you again. By the way, please send me a pm when you get your new score because I will no longer be checking this site as often by then. Talk to you later!
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Congratulations [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2007, 15:45
Heartiest congratulations on the brilliant score. Hope you get admission in your dream school. Thanks a lot for the suggestions. I have my GMAT on 14 Mar, and will definitely go by your good advice.

Thanks again and Congratulations

Regards and Best Wishes

Harpreet
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2007, 18:35
What I like best about this story is that the first score was already excellent, yet farseer was confident enough in his own abilities to try again and attempt to get into the 99th% range.

Very nice job! Keep me/us updated on your application process.
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Re: 2nd Attempt - 780 (Q50, V46) 3/1/07 up from 710 [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2007, 18:58
farseer wrote:
Those are simply get the right study materials- OG11, Green, Purple, GMATPrep, Manhattan SC, some extra math practice (either Gmatclub challenges or Manhattan CATs will do; however, they are harder than the actual GMAT, and in the case of Manhattan math problems, much much harder


What are Green and Purple materials? Are these very good? For which sections?
Re: 2nd Attempt - 780 (Q50, V46) 3/1/07 up from 710   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2007, 18:58
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