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510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years

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510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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*Disclosure: My original account was not "PeterHAllen" I changed it a few months back.
---

I am writing this to help you avoid making the same mistakes I made. And also to help you narrow your focus and help you use the right material.

I spent a lot of time on the GMAT. For those of you who do not remember the area of a triangle, or even what a triangle looks like, with a good study plan, you only need 6 months max of dedicated daily study time. Spend 3 months mastering the basics. And the other 3 months mastering tougher material.


Below is a list of CATs I have taken. I took a few practice CATs that I haven't listed. After receiving the 710 I took 6 MGMAT CATs and 4 GMAT Prep CATs, before then I barely took practice CATs (dumb mistake).

510 28Q 32V - MGMAT CAT
620 35Q 39V - Actual GMAT 1
690 47Q 38V - Actual GMAT 2
640 42Q 36V IR7 - Actual GMAT 3
710 43Q 44V IR7 - Actual GMAT 4
770 49Q 46V IR6 - Actual GMAT 5


The advice below I only began to follow once I dropped from 690 to 640 on the actual GMAT. I began to religiously change my Verbal practice (outlined below) after the 640 and then I continued that verbal practice after the 710 but also added the quant practice. Prior to the 710 I pretty much just studied study guides and the Official Guide 13. What got me from the 510 to 620 was attending a live Manhattan GMAT course.


SENTENCE CORRECTION
First, as many have said before me, the Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT) Sentence Correction workbook is the only book you need for theory. I read it so many times that I lost count. I believe this is what got me to score in the 30's in Verbal.
Second, what got me from the 30's in verbal to the 40's was ONLY using official GMAT problems as test material and reading Ron Purewal's explanation to every answer. The GMAT writers have a unique way of writing problems and you only notice this when you begin to ONLY use their material. Ron Purewal is a Mahattan GMAT instructor and is legendary. If you don't know of him I am surprised, you should.
Third, I would study Sentence Correction under stressful conditions, i.e. on the train or trying to solve 5 problems at work in 7 minutes. I believe these scenarios tested my brain in stressful ways that helped me control my thoughts on test day.
Fourth, I said that I only used official material and the GMATClub was ridiculously helpful in supplying that material. there are some members that compiled a few documents that contain official problems that were essential to my prep. I have attached these documents. The first is called "GMATPREP COMP---- SC." This document contains a large amount of official questions from various sources, Official Guides, GMAT Prep CATs etc. The second document contains some overlap but is the most important set of questions I came across. It is called "GPSC." Why is it the most important? Because I believe these questions are very hard and very representative of the actual GMAT verbal. Once you get beyond the basics (master the basics first) these questions touch on 'meaning.' I couldnt solve many of them based off 'rules' alone. I had to ask myself 'what did the author mean to say.' (*Note: I believe I changed the name of these documents, the original downloads may have been named different. Also, in "GPSC" I often copied and pasted answer explanations under the question itself. I would delete these explanations and look them up yourself.)


CRITICAL REASONING

First, the ONLY prep book you need is the GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible by PowerScore. Do not open any other book. This is all you need. It does not teach you trick it teaches you GMAT logic.
Second, more so for Critical Reasoning that Sentence Correction, ONLY USE OFFICIAL Questions. Once again GMATClub and its users were essential here. I have attached 1 document "GMAT Prep CR" Beware that you may see some of these questions in a GMATPrep CAT. I actually practiced these so much that I began to memorize the questions. I believe this actually helped because it deeply ingrained the types of correct answers in my head. There is another CR question list somewhere on the GMATClub called GMATPREP COMP - CR. I cannot upload it for some reason so please Google it or PM me and I will email it to you. I found the link to the original post, download it here the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-cr-140375.html
Third, buy the LSAT Logical Reasoning Question Type Training II by PowerScore. I practiced these in loud environments and stressful situations. These questions were often very tough and if you can do these the GMAT ones seem like a piece of cake.
Fourth, Ron Purewal explanations to critical reasoning questions are pure gold. He is a genius. Google his responses.

READING COMPREHENSION
First, I do not think you need a prep book for these. By studying Critical Reasoning you will get better at reading comprehension. My approach with Reading Comprehension was to spend A LOT of time reading the prompt (like 4 to 5 minutes which is not recommended--although I recommend it) and then by the time I got to the questions the answers were clear as day. This strategy suited me, it may not suit you. I found it easier this way then to skim the prompt and look at the question and then go back to the prompt and search for the answer. The only outlining I did was write down random things that stood out to me.

Quant
First, all you need is the Manhattan GMAT quant guides. I read these over and over and always found something new.
Second, once you get through the MGMAT guides solve all problems in the Offical Guide and the Official Guide workbooks. Make sure you can solve these very easily.
Third, GMAT Focus and GMAT Prep are mandatory. Be able to solve these problem with easy. Although, I only attempted about 1/4 of the Hard questions in GMAT Prep.
Fourth, GMATClub Tests, these are essential. Some of the best material out there. Make sure that you can solve the 500 and 600 level problems with ease.
Fifth, Manhattan GMAT Question Banks are great sources of tough questions.
Sixth, Manhattan GMAT CATs. I would only do the Quant section of these CATs. (Remember only use official questions for verbal.) I strongly believe that these CATs put got me from the low 40's in quant to the 49.
Seventh, once again GMATClub was essential. Many users supplied lists of questions that were very helpful. I strongly advocate solving problems at different times of the day and in different scenarios. I believe it puts you in the right state of mind to be able to tackle any problem. I have attached a question list called "198 Level 700 questions." This was provided by some other user whom I cannot remember. The problems are definitely not all 700 level but they are certainly mixed levels and I believe that practicing all different levels at the same time is essential.
Eight, I almost forgot. GMATQUANTUM.com and Dabral. This guy Dabral is a life saver. I highlight his name because I feel like he doesn't get enough credit on here. What helped me on the verbal section was learning how the testmakers think. For quant, Dabral has posted video solutions to all official questions. Listening to him and watching him solve problems totally changed my approach. HE taught me how to think when approaching quant problems. Whereas prior I would solve problems by picking numbers he taught me how to be more confident using algebra. He showed many different ways to solve the same problem. I loved his free solutions soo much that I purchased his course. It was well worth it, I didnt go through the course I just purchased the course so I would have access the the entire library of answer explanations. At the very least check out this guys site. Its free for official guide problems. He posts on GmatClub (I am following him).

IR
By studying Quant and Verbal you are studying for IR. You just have to be energized for the section and ready to dig deep and 'research' each answer. This section is only challenging because they throw so much info at you. I am very disappointed that I received an IR of 6 the last itme. I got 7 twice before. I contemplated retaking the GMAT because of it but think I wont. Any opinions on this?

I almost gave up many times. If it means that much to you then don't give up. You can get there. What changed for me after my 640 score was I got serious and I got pissed anytime I got any problem wrong. Before then I thought it was okay to get one or two or five wrong here and there. Once I decided I wanted to not let anything past me was when i started to make improvements. That being said--I never studied combinatorics or probability. I hated those and refused to spend time on it. I hoped that I would see those on test day, funny thing is I saw 4 of them, probably got them wrong.


I hope this will help some of you.

***EDIT: I used an admissions consultant and was super successful (the infamous Paul Bodine) Check out my post here:
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255
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_________________

"Never, Never, Never give in."

From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255


Last edited by PeterHAllen on 01 Mar 2015, 19:30, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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Awesome debrief . thank you so much . This is what I need at this moment . I was scared to take second mock test , fearing that I will lose my heart if I fail to secure 700+ , but now I have changed my way of thinking after studying your debrief .

In first diagnostic test , I got 580 (V27, Q43) without reading a single rule in verbal and any formula in math ( all math concepts I forgot ) .

now after studying 3 months , even I get around 620, I will not lose my heart . If you can go from 520 to 770 steps by steps , I can also go from 580 to 700+ .


your debrief has inspired me a lot .

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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2014, 20:01
shiblee wrote:
Awesome debrief . thank you so much . This is what I need at this moment . I was scared to take second mock test , fearing that I will lose my heart if I fail to secure 700+ , but now I have changed my way of thinking after studying your debrief .

In first diagnostic test , I got 580 (V27, Q43) without reading a single rule in verbal and any formula in math ( all math concepts I forgot ) .

now after studying 3 months , even I get around 620, I will not lose my heart . If you can go from 520 to 770 steps by steps , I can also go from 580 to 700+ .


your debrief has inspired me a lot .

Posted from my mobile device Image


Absolutely, if it is what you want then don't give up. Fear was a big thing for me to overcome. I think that is why i did not take more mock tests in the beginning. However, that was a mistake on my part, better to face it earlier on mock tests than later on real tests. One way to get more confidence is to re-take CATs you have already taken. And after taking a CAT make sure you know how to solve every problem. Even if you got the answer right STUDY the approach.
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From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2014, 08:59
Great debrief and congrats for the awesome score. ATB for the apps.
I too second the part -- "what got me from the 30's in verbal to the 40's was ONLY using official GMAT problems as test material and reading Ron Purewal's explanation to every answer"

"I never studied combinatorics or probability. I hated those and refused to spend time on it. I hoped that I would see those on test day, funny thing is I saw 4 of them, probably got them wrong." -- I had my own justification to this. I believed that the algo attacks your weakest areas as it zeros in on ur level. Imagine, you were doing brilliantly and then got a P&C, got it wrong, level went down, after some problems that you got right (at a 49,50 level this is very believable) you got another P&C and got it wrong. If you continue getting all rights, the easiest way for the algo to make it harder would be to dish out another P&C. Just my make belief theory so that I covered everything :)
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2014, 09:06
rohanGmat wrote:
Great debrief and congrats for the awesome score. ATB for the apps.
I too second the part -- "what got me from the 30's in verbal to the 40's was ONLY using official GMAT problems as test material and reading Ron Purewal's explanation to every answer"

"I never studied combinatorics or probability. I hated those and refused to spend time on it. I hoped that I would see those on test day, funny thing is I saw 4 of them, probably got them wrong." -- I had my own justification to this. I believed that the algo attacks your weakest areas as it zeros in on ur level. Imagine, you were doing brilliantly and then got a P&C, got it wrong, level went down, after some problems that you got right (at a 49,50 level this is very believable) you got another P&C and got it wrong. If you continue getting all rights, the easiest way for the algo to make it harder would be to dish out another P&C. Just my make belief theory so that I covered everything :)



hehe.i recently gave gmat. even i was amused to see 2-3 probability questions and 1-2 permutations and combinations questions. the spread of the questions was good , yet it surprised me :roll:
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2014, 10:42
rohanGmat wrote:
I had my own justification to this. I believed that the algo attacks your weakest areas as it zeros in on ur level. Imagine, you were doing brilliantly and then got a P&C, got it wrong, level went down, after some problems that you got right (at a 49,50 level this is very believable) you got another P&C and got it wrong. If you continue getting all rights, the easiest way for the algo to make it harder would be to dish out another P&C. Just my make belief theory so that I covered everything :)


...ahhh very interesting that would make sense.
_________________

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From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2014, 12:14
Peter, where I can find Ron´s explanations to SC? I´ve been looking for those but I couldn't find them. Thank you.
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New post 21 Aug 2014, 17:05
alsu wrote:
Peter, where I can find Ron´s explanations to SC? I´ve been looking for those but I couldn't find them. Thank you.


Ron Purewal posts a lot on Manhattan GMAT forums. He also answers questions every Thursday. If you google "Thursday's with Ron" he will come right up at the top of the list.
He does not have a list of explanations, rather, if you have an official sentence correction question, google that question and you will find him responding to the questions on the Manhattan GMAT forums. I am not sure if he is active on gmatclub.

Also, in the GPSC document I provided I copied and pasted much of his responses in the document.
_________________

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From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2014, 16:49
Thank you so much. What are your thoughts though on the PowerScore LSAT LR Question Type Vol. 2 though? I've finished studying the CR Bible already. Does the LSAT LR complement the CR Bible? And If so, are the LSAT LR Question Types in the same GMAT-language?
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francoimps wrote:
Thank you so much. What are your thoughts though on the PowerScore LSAT LR Question Type Vol. 2 though? I've finished studying the CR Bible already. Does the LSAT LR complement the CR Bible? And If so, are the LSAT LR Question Types in the same GMAT-language?


I think that the "PowerScore LSAT LR Question Type Vol. 2" is a must have. It is my number 3 point under Critical Reasoning. The book is a collection of official LSAT questions and although I say to ONLY practice official GMAT questions I believe that practicing official LSAT questions is the exception to this rule. I found the questions to be very similar and often much harder. I think that if it weren't for this book I would not have performed as well on the GMAT Verbal section.

Yes there are question types that are not found on the GMAT such as the "Point At Issue/Point of Agreement" questions but the book breaks up each question type by chapter and so you can just avoid these questions.

I would absolutely purchase the book. About a week before the exam I would stop using the book and go over about 50 to 100 official GMAT questions again just to make sure your ear is tuned to the right channel (official GMAT questions).
_________________

"Never, Never, Never give in."

From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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New post 23 Aug 2014, 18:09
PeterHAllen wrote:
francoimps wrote:
Thank you so much. What are your thoughts though on the PowerScore LSAT LR Question Type Vol. 2 though? I've finished studying the CR Bible already. Does the LSAT LR complement the CR Bible? And If so, are the LSAT LR Question Types in the same GMAT-language?


I think that the "PowerScore LSAT LR Question Type Vol. 2" is a must have. It is my number 3 point under Critical Reasoning. The book is a collection of official LSAT questions and although I say to ONLY practice official GMAT questions I believe that practicing official LSAT questions is the exception to this rule. I found the questions to be very similar and often much harder. I think that if it weren't for this book I would not have performed as well on the GMAT Verbal section.

Yes there are question types that are not found on the GMAT such as the "Point At Issue/Point of Agreement" questions but the book breaks up each question type by chapter and so you can just avoid these questions.

I would absolutely purchase the book. About a week before the exam I would stop using the book and go over about 50 to 100 official GMAT questions again just to make sure your ear is tuned to the right channel (official GMAT questions).


Got it! Thanks a lot, Peter. And good luck to your future endeavors. Congratulations!
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2014, 23:52
Hi Peter, when did you schedule your exam?
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New post 24 Aug 2014, 10:48
pretzel wrote:
Hi Peter, when did you schedule your exam?


I took the exam in the last week in June.
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From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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New post 25 Aug 2014, 01:33
Great score Peter!! Congratulations!!! How did you approach the verbal timing, when it comes to pacing in verbal? I always rush on the last 5 questions on the verbal section and it lowers my score. Thank you for sharing your debrief and good luck!
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rlita1103 wrote:
Great score Peter!! Congratulations!!! How did you approach the verbal timing, when it comes to pacing in verbal? I always rush on the last 5 questions on the verbal section and it lowers my score. Thank you for sharing your debrief and good luck!


Great question.
I feel like verbal timing is a very important issue and what helped me score well on the section.
I didn't see any improvement until I began practicing daily on the train and during work. On the train, I would time my ride, 30 minutes and shoot for solving 25 problems within that time frame. Also, in work I would try to solve 5 problems in 5 minutes. The train was very loud and it was stressful to be doing problems in work when I should be working.

I think that timing myself combined with testing myself in high stress environments caused me to replicate test day experiences and got me great at timing. The train is also very loud so it got me to be able to focus better.

Also, this is another weird suggestion, but I strongly feel that reading questions in different formats, on the computer, written on paper, or in different font sizes on a pdf caused me to do better. Sometimes I would do worse on problems I knew how to solve simply because it was written in a different font. This made test day seem easy when I didn't have to squint to solve the problem.

Verbal is definitely a section where tons of practice makes perfect. I think even more so than quant—at least for me.
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From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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rlita1103 wrote:
Great score Peter!! Congratulations!!! How did you approach the verbal timing, when it comes to pacing in verbal? I always rush on the last 5 questions on the verbal section and it lowers my score. Thank you for sharing your debrief and good luck!

And if you were looking for specifics, I tried to keep SC and CR to a minute per problem, give or take. And devoted 4 to 5 minutes to reading each RC passage and 30 seconds to 1 minute to solving RC problems.
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From 510 to 770:
510-to-770-49q-46v-7ir-what-worked-for-me-2-years-176580.html#p1394349

From 2 dings to multiple admits (use Paul Bodine):
best-admissions-consulting-companies-2015-season-190156.html#p1492255

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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2014, 06:21
Peter,

I rarely post on here, but let me just say, your debrief is the best I've heard to date (and that's saying something since I've read countless beathegmat, manhattangmat, and gmatclub posts. You're list of resources is overwhelmingly incredible, I sincerely appreciate it. After reading your post about 3-4 times, I feel as though we're similar in many ways to our approach, and that is why I feel your approach and study methods would suit me. I am also studying for the GMAT again (try #3 for me, try 1: 560, try 2: 670), and your extremely candid post and more so, you're never giving up in face of adversity speaks to me as a similar individual who is hungry to Destroy the GMAT. I studied hard for 4 months with Manhattan GMAT (full course), and was somewhat disappointed with my 670. Yet, I see that you had similar scores, and that didn't stop you from ultimately achieving a 99th percentile score (much congrats btw). I simply need to adjust my approach to Quant (already have a decent Verbal score), and your outlook provides great references. This just fueled the fire for me, and gave me hope that I too, can achieve a 700+ score and a 47+ Quant score. Today, I will begin looking into your methods of study (I've already downloaded all your resources, thanks! lol). All the best getting into B-school and getting the job of your dreams! Thanks again
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2014, 11:18
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lmcelduff wrote:
Peter,

I rarely post on here, but let me just say, your debrief is the best I've heard to date (and that's saying something since I've read countless beathegmat, manhattangmat, and gmatclub posts. You're list of resources is overwhelmingly incredible, I sincerely appreciate it. After reading your post about 3-4 times, I feel as though we're similar in many ways to our approach, and that is why I feel your approach and study methods would suit me. I am also studying for the GMAT again (try #3 for me, try 1: 560, try 2: 670), and your extremely candid post and more so, you're never giving up in face of adversity speaks to me as a similar individual who is hungry to Destroy the GMAT. I studied hard for 4 months with Manhattan GMAT (full course), and was somewhat disappointed with my 670. Yet, I see that you had similar scores, and that didn't stop you from ultimately achieving a 99th percentile score (much congrats btw). I simply need to adjust my approach to Quant (already have a decent Verbal score), and your outlook provides great references. This just fueled the fire for me, and gave me hope that I too, can achieve a 700+ score and a 47+ Quant score. Today, I will begin looking into your methods of study (I've already downloaded all your resources, thanks! lol). All the best getting into B-school and getting the job of your dreams! Thanks again


That is awesome! Thank you for the kind words! 670 is a great score but I understand wanting to reach 700+. I normally would have stopped after the 710 but I knew I was capable of better quant and plus I have a low gpa so I felt like I needed a gmat score higher than the medians.

At times it was tough, especially when you read things that say "most people only increase their score by 33 points on the second try and not much afterwards." I also was discouraged when I read things that said things like "the GMAT is an aptitude test and at a certain point you cannot go any higher."

Deep down I knew that I was capable of a great score and so I had to block out all the naysayers and hold onto that. Honestly, my favorite quote is from Winston Churchill and at times when I would get multiple quant questions wrong I would want to give in but all I told myself was "that cannot be your favorite quote if you give up." But believe me when I say that I wanted to quit--after all if everyone says something isn't it right most of the time?

If it means that much to you, don't give up. The fact that you got a 670 shows that you are of higher intelligence and with the right practice you can score 700+. What got me into the 700's was formulating my own approach. I stopped doing what people suggested and only held on to the suggestions that I thought applied to me --similar to what you are doing.
Best of luck!

And
“Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about.”
― Winston Churchill
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 18 Sep 2014, 19:31
Congratulations. 770 is a super score. 8-)
Thank you for the debrief.
All the best with your applications.

"I hoped that I would see those on test day, funny thing is I saw 4 of them, probably got them wrong."
Guess you are not that bad in probability. :-D
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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2014, 23:24
Great Read, and I hope to accomplish the same.
I scored a 570 after scoring 710 on a practice the night before. Dissapointing to say the least.
Wondering if you could offer some wisdom on why you didnt jump from your 510 to 710 the 2nd round. and maybe some tips on how to kill it the 2nd time around.


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Re: 510 to 770 49Q 46V 6IR - What worked for me - 2 Years   [#permalink] 03 Oct 2014, 23:24

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