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640 to 710 in a month

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640 to 710 in a month [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2013, 09:13
Here's what happened in my first GMAT: what-the-hell-just-happened-144242.html

It was a shock and I knew I could do much better. At the time I gave my first GMAT, I had only read Princeton Review and then done Kaplan practice tests. Both of these were actually awful and I would recommend people to only use Manhattan GMAT materials even though the tests are much harder than the real GMAT. What I did over the 1 month:
- Read MGMAT sentence correction
- Did 4-5 MGMAT CATs and also the official test

I don't think I improved that dramatically in that 1 month except for Sentence correction, where MGMAT had a whole different strategy which was much more useful. So I think it is a lot about luck - besides I knew I could hit 700+, the first test was just a freak performance.

What I think did not help too much: OG questions: I found these too easy! I would only get 1/10 wrong even in the hardest parts. Can't explain this because most people seem to think this is the best practice.

My general advice:
- Use OG archer (MGMAT) for OG questions. Time them and do it under pressure.
- Do all the MGMAT CATs and go through the explanation for each of the ones you get wrong / guess on. The tests are really hard and depressing, but it really helps to do this I think.
- Read the MGMAT guides for weak areas.
- Take caffeine in any form before test!!

Let me elaborate a bit more on the last point. I was OBSESSED about controlling my state of mind and the way I feel for the exam. In my initial experiments, it seemed that I would score much better without caffeine than with caffeine, but I would always be sure to have slept 8+ hours. But for some reason, for the first time in my life I had exam anxiety on both the tests and could not sleep properly at all both the times! The first time I took a tiny bit of caffeine (40mg, I take caffeine pills) but tried to avoid it. Second time I was fully loaded on caffeine (around 100mg). I think that had a lot to do with my performance. So: experiment a bit with caffeine; if you don't sleep well before the exam take some caffeine for sure. But never overdose, that will make you crazy.

Anyway, hope I helped! Questions/comments welcome.
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Re: 640 to 710 in a month [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2013, 09:41
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Congrats! That sounds like a lot learned in the process - studying in timed pressure is exactly what you should be consistently doing so that's great. Your caffeine experiment sounds interesting, I wonder what the effect would be for caffeine vs snacks vs 5-hour energy drinks lol

OG questions are supposed to be easy but that is surprising that you said even the harder sections were all easy. Going through harder questions as you did is helpful - you'll more critically understand the nuances in the more difficult types of questions.

Seems like you solved your SC and RC problems so that's fantastic news!
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Re: 640 to 710 in a month   [#permalink] 31 Jan 2013, 09:41
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