I'm excited and relieved that I finally crushed this test and made it to the 700 club! I've come to realize that I'm not naturally good at many things and that it often takes me several attempts at a thing in order to master it. Now I know that a 730 isn't considered mastery to some folks who get 770's and 780's and crap like that but for me this is epic. I dreamed of doing this and saw people who I thought were much smarter than me do it (really they were just as smart as me). So I thought it was impossible. Let me tell you a little about myself.
Here's what I did differently:
1) I determined that I would do every single problem in the official guide.
This is important. When I took it before, I did many problems but not all. I once figured that since the Manhattan Gmat
math problems were tougher, I should do them and they would make me kill the official guide problems. The only problem with that thinking is that they are two completely different tests. They use many of the same principles and one is very predictive of the other but if I want to beat the test, then I need to STUDY TO THE TEST!!! Doing every single problem from the actual test writers is a critical step to beating this test! Manhattan Gmat
math problems tend to have many more tricky steps than the real GMAT and I think that they take longer. Also, I don’t know how to describe it but the sentences on MGMAT tend to be written differently than the ones from the test writers.
2) I got organized.
Since I knew that there are five sections of the test, I got a bunch of regular printer paper (maybe 600 sheets), and seperated it into five sections for each of the five sections of the official guide. Then I went into MS Excel and made a table for each section with my answer, the right answer, and a brief comment. I then went to Kinkos and bound these papers with a spiral for $5. I learned this trick for all the 7 million cases that Darden gives you in the first year of its MBA. I didn't use the answer sheets to answer the questions but I used them to gather all of my answers of several hundred pages. And I looked at my percentages over time to see how I was progressing or regressing. I used the pages behind those tables I wrote my scratch work and wrote my answers.
3) I USED THE ARCHER!!!
OH MY GOSH!!! If you hear nothing else that I say, then please hear this: The best tool for GMAT studying is the Manhattan GMAT
Archer!! The practice tests and classes are great. Don't get me wrong but I saw the most improvement in my scoring when I began to use the Archer. It's worth it to go and buy a Manhattan Gmat
book for $26 just to get access to this thing. Here is a link. http://www.manhattangmat.com/ogc-plus.cfm
I bought the Official Guide 12th
edition companion just to access the practice tests and the Archer with explanations came with it. But they had explanations (many times better than the ones in the official guide) in the Archer that sometimes were explained over 10 minute videos. It times you. It shows you where you're weakest. It gives you real time feedback. And that immediate feedback helped me to correct wrong thinking that I didn't know I had.
4) I REVIEWED MY ANSWERS!
The Archer is pointless if you don't sit and learn from your mistakes. I went back over my scratch work for both the OG 13
questions and the practice test questions and wrote out the correct way to do the problems with a red pen. I'm a very visual learner. So I knew that "if I could see it then I could do it" to quote R. Kelly. And I burned the image of my mistakes in my mind until I stopped making many of them. It is that serious.
In summary, I liken the GMAT to my favorite video game, Halo Reach. Navigating the virtual environment of both requires that you know the rules cold and then that you apply them a lot in practice. And once you apply them over and over they become a second nature to you and you're actually able to use the constraints to your advantage. For instance, when I first began playing Halo I didn't know the patterns that the aliens I fought moved in. This made it terribly difficult to shoot them while dodging their bullets. As a result I hated precision weapons... because I wasn't precise. But once I determined that I loved this game and was going to put my heart and soul into mastering it, I was actively learning without making it a conscious chore to learn. And I got better and better until the precision weapons became a major strength of mine. Likewise, in the GMAT everything that you learn is a tool. You just have to learn to leverage it to your advantage. And experience with careful review and study of that experience will teach you exactly how to do that. So be encouraged, folks. If I can do it then anybody can do it. And hopefully this 730 opens doors for me but we'll see.
Lastly, I don't mean to offend anyone but if this next thing offends you then kindly get over it. As an MBA you'll have to work with people of all sorts of backgrounds. I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for encouraging my spirit when my soul was in utter despair. He gives me hope and the same way that He taught king David's hand to make war He taught my mind how to beat the Golaith of the GMAT. I will not boast in anything else (not even a good GMAT score) but Him because I got whatever I got from Him anyway. Be easy, folks!! I wish you the best!
He that is in me > he that is in the world. - source 1 John 4:4