Actually I still cannot believe that I reached my goal and that I belong to the Club of 700ers. I read so many debriefs about how other people reached their goal and I always thought how great it would be to write about my own successful experience. Now its my turn.
I took the GMAT a week ago and scored 700 (Q48/V37) AWA 5. I want to share some insights about my person, study plan, material used and final test experience and hope that this will give some people the necessary motivation to pursue their studies (something that was crucial for me during the bad times). What is most important is that the GAMT is doable for everybody (REALLY EVERYBODY) if you put enough heart, passion and hard work into it.Background
I have a rather different background than most of the guys here. I am a german business-student in my final year of my undergraduate program (In Germany). I would consider myself a decent student, but not a total brain. During school I was not more than an average student. Did two internships in investment banking and do a lot of extracuricullar stuff. I am looking for different finance/economics MSc in Europe (SSE, LSE, Rotterdam ....).The journey
Decided to take the GMAT last year since I knew that I would have enough time to study at the beginning of this year. Originally planned to study for 2 months fulltime (semesterbreak) and then to take the test at the beginning of the semester. First of all I did the Diagnostic test in OG12
on the first pages of the book. I was "average" in CR,SC and PS, "below average" in DS and "above average in RC. Was not too enthusiastic after this results, but thought that it could have been worse.Then I started with Kaplan Premier
(as recommended by bb) and went through the whole book to get a understanding of the test and the different concepts tested.
Going through Premier somehow took me longer than I planned and I already spent 3 weeks of my study time on nothing else. After this I took my first GMATprep1 and got 580 (V31/Q39). I was devestated since I read in this forum that it is pretty hard to improve 100 points in 2 months (and I only had one month left). So I decided to extent my study time for another 2 months and to focus my study in doing actual question from OG12
. I started to do all the questions in OG 12
and used also some other material to get some different and tougher questions.
These books were:
- Kaplan Advanced
(did all questions besides RC. A lot of tougher questions, which cover most important areas)
- GMAT math workbook (This was the least helpful book for me. Nothing new compared to Kaplan Premier
- GMAT Verbal Bible (MOST important book to get better in Verbal. After doing some questions in OG12
I realized that I was really weak in CR and SC. This book gave me all the tools necessary to attack the questions in the right way. This book is CRUCIAL for the success in Verbal I think. Kaplan Premier
lacks to give the important things to know when facing SC and CR)
After I was through the whole OG 12
I thought I might give GMATprep1 another shot and to see if I improved a bit. I did not want to use GMATprep2 in order to have this test in the final weeks of my studies.
GMATprep1 (2nd attempt, 4-6 repeated questions)
Well, i improved at least a little bit but it was still a long way to 700+, since I knew that this will be tougher than to improve from 580 to 640. I also knew that I faced some repeated questions, thus my score being a bit inflated.
I had 4 weeks left and I knew that I have to push even harder to reach my goal. During all my prep I maintained an ErrorLog and I started to review the questions I got wrong and also did more questions in this forum. It is really a very good training to see the ways other use to attack the questions and furthermore you get involved ACTIVELY in answering the questions -> CRUCIAL. I also started to retake GMATprep several times. This were my results up to the exam.
GMATprep1 (3rd attempt) - 730 (Q48/V42) At least I knew that it was possible although several repeaters
GMATprep2 (1st attempt) - 650 (Q45/V34) DISSAPOINTED - Realized that it is something different to do a whole set of new questions.
GMATprep2 (2nd attempt) - 650 (Q48/V32) Very few repeaters but Verbal felt horrible. Felt that I was guessing allover.
GMATprep1 (4th attempt) - 740 (Q47/V44) (4 days before exam) Same feeling as it was after the 3rd attempt. But 20 questions in verbal repeated
GMATprep2 (3rd attempt) - 720 (Q47/V42) (2 days before exam) Again, several questions repeated but I felt quite confident during the test.
On the last day before the exam I tried to relax and not to do anything. Went out for a drink, did some sport and went through some notes that I wrote down during my prep time. (400 cards or so)D-day
Everybody says that it is important to have a good sleep the night before. Well, I could not sleep until 2 A.M. and then slept for some 4 hours. I was just too nervous. I thought that I was studying for this test for some 3 - 4 months now and that this test decides about my future opportunities. My test was scheduled for 1.30 P.M. in a city 150 kilometers away from my hometown. I was a little bit worried that I would be tired and exhausted from the long drive. I arrived 2 hours early and had somehow to kill time. I drank a coffee and tried to relax myself. I went to the test center early and then saw a girl coming out the center crying. Felt like a kid going to the doctor and seeing another kid crying because it got an injection or something. Listened to my favorite song and motivated myself that I will do great and that all the hard work will pay off. Then I went in and started. Luckily there was only one other girl and I thought that I will not be too distracted. Essays went pretty well and Math also. Just felt like in any other test I did before. But when I started Verbal I somehow got tired. I drank a red bull before this part and thought that this will push me for the next 75 min. But I started to read the questions 3 times since I could not focus. Took a deep breath and tried to calm myself. It got a little bit better but I still had the feeling that especially the RC questions were TOUGH (usually my strength). Of course I ran out of time and had to guess the last two questions. I said myself, well this will be some 6X0 and and your dream of going to the great universities of the world is over. Didn´t care about the survey and just clicked through and then it popped up: 700 (Q48/V37)
I couldn`t believe it. I felt like superguy619 (Thank you for your great post): DEFEATING THE 800 POUND MONSTER….CONQUERING THE GMAT LAND…INVADING AND CAUSING HAVOC AT THE DEATH “GMAT” VALLEY..AND PROVING WHAT I M REALLY CAPABLE OF!
This was everything I was dreaming of!! I did it!! This is the moment I was looking for 4 months. This is what it feels like to be part of the winner`s circle. I went to the person in charge and told here that I did it. I said that she experiences this probably everyday. But she said: No! I asked her if she knew what that would mean! That I belong to the top 10% of the people who do the test and that I worked my ass off!!She said: Great, but I actually have no idea what you are talking about. Accepting that other people might not be as happy as I, I left the center, called all my friends and family and celebrated hardcore My personal tips
- OG12 and GMATprep are the BIBLE!!
This are the only sources with official questions. You should at least go through OG12
once and then review your mistakes. As you have seen I did GMATprep several times. This was so important since I got new questions everytime in a timed environment. Although some people say that you should use one GMATprep at the beginning I think that this would be a wasted test. First of all get familiar with how the test works (e.g. Yes/No or value questions in DS etc.)and brush up some basics.
- Keep ErrorLog.
Keep track of the mistakes you did. You need to know where you make mistakes and why. Understand the concept behind the mistake. Once you realize why you did the mistake, you won`t do some mistakes again and this will consequently boost your scores.
- Time yourself.
I downloaded the excel sheet of HOC PHAN, which I used for any question set I did. Even if I only did a set of 10. I used it ALWAYS. It will give you a feeling of how much time you have for each question and will train your mind to work effectively under pressure. You will be thankful during the test that you forced yourself to do this drill again and again.
- Focus on the important topics.
During one week I only did Permutations and Combinations and did exercises way off!!!! I dug deeper and deeper and after this week I realized that I totally lost track. I only faced one combination problem during the test and it was a really easy one. So if you face something that is tested only seldomly try to understand the basic concept and that´s it. Don`t waste your time on something unnecessary.
- WORK HARD and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
This was so crucial for me. I posted some sayings on my desk such as: I hated every minute of training, but I said, ''Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
. I watched a commercial of adidas "impossible is nothing" whenever I was tired of studying which boosted me to go the extra mile. During my school time my mum always said that I have to study more and not just to go out everyday but during the GMATprep she said that she would be worried since I would sit at home everyday studying. If you really want to achieve something: Go the extra mile!! It will pay off!!
I hope I could give you some insight in my personal experience. I am not a native speaker and not a quant crack!! I achieved my goal with hard work and so will everybody else who really goes this extra mile. The GMAT is not a easy test, but it is manageable. Get yourself the tools to attack this test and when you say that you did everything possible -> Go out and kick ass!!!!
Finally I want to thank everybody in this forum!!BB for this forum and for putting my feet back on the ground at the beginning of my studies. superguy619 for his inspiring post, which kept me believing, juliagoessler for giving me important tips on how to study and for telling me that I am on the right way. Walker and Bigoyal for giving me advice for the final weeks.
I am so happy that I did it and I would be more than happy to help others since I know how important this is. If you need anything please let me know!! Time for the next challenge!!