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550 to 750 - How YOU can be just as successful (long post)

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Re: My GMAT Takeaways - 550 to 690 to 750 [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 09:02
GLookup wrote:
Nice job! I can totally relate to your experience with math, not feeling like you're very smart, and being generally bad at standardized exams. I initially scored a 480 (before I began studying), then I studied my ass off under less than favorable circumstances (long hours, burnout, general unhappiness, lack of confidence, etc.) and only mustered a 530 (I scored 89th percentile :| verbal and 25th percentile on math :cry:. I felt absolutely terrible afterwards.

I'm going to begin studying again in June under better circumstances and with renewed vigor.

Anyway, stories like yours are always inspirational, thanks! :-D


It is good to hear your determination to crack this exam. Your verbal score is in pretty good shape, but it sounds like you should focus your efforts on math. As I mentioned in my post, for you, I would highly recommend going through all of the Manhattan GMAT math series until the foundations are hammered solidly in your head. No need to bother with the advanced sections, but make sure you have a very good understanding with the rest of the books. Doing this, as well as practicing the concepts with sample questions, I am certain that you can raise your score significantly.
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Re: My GMAT Takeaways - 550 to 690 to 750 [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 09:06
mmphf wrote:
Congratulations on a great score. You said you didn't finish the test though? How many questions did you not get to? I assume you just did a bunch of quick guesses before the time ran out, but how many questions was that?

Can't remember anymore. Probably 2 or 3 questions that I had to just click something, anything for. They were not educated guesses because I didn't have time. Just wild guesses.
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Re: My GMAT Takeaways - 550 to 690 to 750 [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 09:37
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If short on time, obviously the most important material to know is the stuff in the first half of the books (the stuff prior to the advance section). If you have the time, I would also review the advance material, though this is far less important. In fact, I only paid a minimal amount of attention to the advance sections in the MGMAT books.


I have a question in regards to what you said above. You said you paid minimal amt of attention to those advance sections but did you do all or most of the advance OG questions? If so, I'm guessing you just used the fundamentals you learned in the first part and transferred that over for the 2nd part questions. I just see it being difficult to approach the harder questions without going over part II. I would still like your input though.


I did every question in OG 11 and 12 on my first run through the book. By the time I was had gone through all the questions, as well as reviewed MGMAT sample questions, I kind of had an idea which concepts were frequently tested. Therefore, I ignored any advanced questions that appeared to be odd. When you see such a question, you have to ask yourself, have I seen this concept(s) tested in other questions before. If you cannot think of seeing the odd concept tested in at least one other question during your studies then I would ignore the question in future study sessions (i.e. don't bother wasting your time putting it on your error log, or whatever other method used, for future review). Chances are you've sunk enough time into that question already and it is not worth it. Also noting that advanced questions usually test multiple concepts, you have to ask whether there is a mix of good foundational concepts, and maybe one concept that is an oddity, making the question advanced and difficult. If this is the case, I would not bother focusing on the odd concept, but still note the other concepts tested.

As you correctly mentioned, I used the key fundamentals learned from the first part of the MGMAT books and was able to apply those same fundamentals to what is being taught in the more advanced sections. If I remember, correctly, there was significant overlap, with the advanced sections focusing more on some of the nuances. After studying for a while, you gain a sense of what areas are truly important and what areas you can ignore. One example of an advanced section that I thought was not worth the time was the advanced section of the Sentence Correction book. You can do fine in SC without having touched that section, which just fills your head with a lot of other nonsense that is rarely tested. You start to realize that there are even a few non-advanced sections of the MGMAT books that are not worth your time studying (e.g. MGMAT's horrible chapter on combination/permutation problems through the use of anagrams).

Also, I beg you guys not to focus on those brutal questions, hardest challenges, or whatever else they manifest themselves as if you want to study efficiently (unless you are a nerd genius who won't settle for any less than a 770+). One perfect example is the Brutal SC questions, which I have seen making its rounds through this forum. This is the biggest waste of time imaginable. At best it will waste a few hours of your valuable study time. At worse, it could be detrimental to your score, as you will be carefully studying questions that are not even from official GMAC sources and may be questionably written. I didn't go through all of the Brutal SC questions as I quickly identified this as non-value added study time, but for the questions I did do, I probably scored no more than 20%, and I did these Brutal SCs just 1 week before my actual test. In other words, I would score just as well if I just randomly picked "C" for all my answers. Keep in mind that I was able to score 97% in verbal on the actual exam.

Last edited by risys82 on 09 Apr 2010, 10:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My GMAT Takeaways [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 09:56
^^^ duly noted. I really appreciate your input. Once again, congrats on the outstanding score! Image
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Re: 550 to 690 in 6 months. Then to 750 in one month. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 10:23
DAYNE wrote:
I have the same materials you have and want to know what did you use for Data sufficiency?


I studied solely from OG and MGMAT. Believe me, on the entire exam data sufficiency was my biggest pain point. I know this is probably not the magical answer you are looking for, but I approached data sufficiency the same way I approached PS.

1) Gain understanding of fundamentals
2) Do test questions from OG and MGMAT to identify common ways that the test makers might try to trick you. (e.g. squares of numbers can be either positive or negative).
3) Rinse and repeat
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 11:49
Hi,
Great score and great discussion on the insights of the test. I have quite a few questions which are more or less answered in answering other people’s questions. But one Q? How did you manage to study 5 hrs everyday after say 14-16 hrs of work? Or are you a student?
Please reply.
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 12:14
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vaivish1723 wrote:
Hi,
Great score and great discussion on the insights of the test. I have quite a few questions which are more or less answered in answering other people’s questions. But one Q? How did you manage to study 5 hrs everyday after say 14-16 hrs of work? Or are you a student?
Please reply.


The last time I worked 14-16 hour days was when I was working in public accounting. Thank god I am not doing that anymore. I now work a private industry job, and although there are some times when I still have to work past midnight, generally I can get out before 8pm. Normally I'll take another hour or two to eat dinner, shower, or do other errands, so that puts me at 9pm or 10pm. Studying for 4-6 hours will put me at 2am to 4am. Then I will have 4 hours to sleep before getting up for work the next day, which is plenty because I generally only need 2 hours of sleep per night. This isn't as bad as back when I was in college, where for all of my finals weeks, I would not sleep for the entire duration of finals week (generally only lasted from maybe Mon-Wed, sometimes Thursday), other than a few 20 minute power naps here and there. There's no way I could pull that kind of lifestyle off now that I'm older.

If you are working 14-16 hour days then I feel for you. You could try to squeeze in an hour or two each day and more time on days off (if you get any). However, I don't think the average person studying for the GMATs works those brutal hours.
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 20:45
Very inspiring and great debrief.

Congratulations and wish you all the best with your application process !
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2010, 17:11
Thanks for such a detailed download....your story is inspriring!
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2010, 21:42
congrats for the great improvement :)
one small query from my side, is the Kaplan material suggested?
i am planning to go through OG12, manhattan SC, powerscore CR bible and the 1000 SC-CR-RC documents over the next two months.
will these be sufficient?
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2010, 09:32
How did you find the actual gmat compared to the gmat prep exams? Were they significantly harder?
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2010, 10:12
Congrats!!! I really enjoy reading your devriefing and the development. I'm in similar path, not smart although I think you're humble, but needing to improve 200 points. I hope to score high 600's but I have limitation as a non-native English speaker. I have the hardest time with reading comprehension and SC...my biggest weakness is the timing as you had talked about. I am hoping you can shed some light that somehow can breakdown my hung up. I have struggle with the flow and the staying with the passage due to lack of context understanding. Maybe I'm a bit ADHD as well...I went through all of the OG 11 and 12 and kaplan reading passage...along with Manhattan reading book. Not sure what else there's to do. I can see improvement with SC but so disappointed with RC. I hope you can help me see if there's something in the concept I'm missing here.

Congrats again...I hope to give you good news!!!
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2010, 04:43
First of all my CONGRATS! Very inspiring post!
Tell me please how would you rate verbal part of MGMAT practice tests? Did you find it difficult and have time problems or your problems finished with the beginning of verbal part?
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2010, 06:38
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Very impressive improvement. I had a similar experience, although your score is higher than mine. Congrats on your test performance!
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2010, 06:10
Thanks for your feedback and congratulations!!!

Now I konw waht else I have to do to get 700+, but I also have a question, I have just taken my GMAT and I got 530 43Q/20V, and I only have one month more to apply for European universities, do u think I should take the test again or better prepare more I wait next year.

And congrats again, you are the best!!!
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2010, 07:42
inspiring story ... thanks for the debrief...
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2010, 01:41
fivezero7 wrote:
congrats for the great improvement :)
one small query from my side, is the Kaplan material suggested?
i am planning to go through OG12, manhattan SC, powerscore CR bible and the 1000 SC-CR-RC documents over the next two months.
will these be sufficient?


Only you can answer that question for yourself, since I don't know where you're at in your studies. If your math is where you want it to be, and you wish to focus mostly on verbal, then I believe those materials should be all you probably really need to succeed.
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2010, 01:44
burnttwinky wrote:
How did you find the actual gmat compared to the gmat prep exams? Were they significantly harder?


You will hear different opinions on this, but my opinion is that they are the same. Sometimes you just get lucky with questions you know how to answer vs those that stump you, as the tests are randomly generated. That is probably where the variation comes from as far as people complaining that the real thing was so much harder than the GMATPrep. I would say that the real test is the same difficulty as the difficulty of GMATPrep the FIRST time you take it.
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2010, 01:51
pkayla2000 wrote:
Congrats!!! I really enjoy reading your devriefing and the development. I'm in similar path, not smart although I think you're humble, but needing to improve 200 points. I hope to score high 600's but I have limitation as a non-native English speaker. I have the hardest time with reading comprehension and SC...my biggest weakness is the timing as you had talked about. I am hoping you can shed some light that somehow can breakdown my hung up. I have struggle with the flow and the staying with the passage due to lack of context understanding. Maybe I'm a bit ADHD as well...I went through all of the OG 11 and 12 and kaplan reading passage...along with Manhattan reading book. Not sure what else there's to do. I can see improvement with SC but so disappointed with RC. I hope you can help me see if there's something in the concept I'm missing here.

Congrats again...I hope to give you good news!!!


Hi, you likely don't have ADHD if you are basing it on the difficulty of the reading comprehension. I am a native speaker, and I'm sure other native speaker can also agree with me that the verbal section on the GMAT is no walk in the park. The passages are dry enough to have anyone claim ADHD after reading them :) I know others have recommended reading novels and other such literature to improve reading comprehension skills. Although any reading is bound to improve your comprehension a little bit, I feel that that would be a waste of time, and inefficient way to improve reading comprehension. If you want to improve reading comprehension that would help with the GMAT, I would advocate skimming the abstracts of scientific research papers, or reading the newspaper, or magazines such as Newsweek, Businessweek, etc. Read for comprehension, and then afterwards try to explain to yourself what the main points of the article were.

I myself hate to read literary works, especially fiction. In fact, the last time I read a work of fiction was probably over a decade ago, in high school. However, I love to read newspapers, magazines such as the ones mentioned above, etc. Therefore, I did not have many problems with the reading comprehension section.
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Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2010, 12:47
Hey, congratulations! Well done! And thanks for your post, I found it really encouraging! I agree with you that study patterns differ, so I guess the tools used would differ from person...All the best with B-School
Re: 550 to 690 to 750 - My Key Points for GMAT Success   [#permalink] 29 Apr 2010, 12:47
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