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680 first try (44Q 38V) Advice?

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680 first try (44Q 38V) Advice? [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2011, 17:17
I've been lurking and picking up study tips and bits of information since I started studying for this journey of a test. I want give a general thanks to everyone. I've gotten some genuinely great advice about specific problems, test mentality, pacing, what to wear, etc.

Here is a bit of background on my study routine (or lack of). It was pretty disjointed and the only sense of organization was going from Manhattan GMAT book to MGMAT book. I am not recommending this approach, please understand.

I only took three CATs over the course of 3ish weeks.

Free MGMAT: 640

After this I started working on my first few MGMAT Quant books (Number Properties, Equations, Fractions Decimals and Percents). The way I studied through these was reading all the subjects and taking notes on all the subjects I wasn't familiar with. The following day at work I would go through the 3-4 subjects worth of practice sheets in MGMAT books. This often resulted in some pretty late nights where I was tired and likely wasn't retaining everything I was reading.

I did this for roughly a week and took a second CAT.

1st Official GMAT CAT: 630

This worried me. I learned all kinds of new techniques and subjects (only math), but scored lower. Though I forget the breakdown between verbal and quant, I remember thinking that I needed to work on verbal if I wanted to get to my target score. So over the next few nights I began to rush my way through the remaining quant and gave a read through the verbal topics. At this point I only had a week left to go. I decided to focus on sentence correction, which was the crux of my verbal score. I was doing pretty well with CR and RC. The Saturday before my Monday test, I took my final CAT.

2nd Official GMAT CAT: 650

This made me feel a bit better but it was now clear that, baring a test day miracle, my target of 700+ was unlikely. The remaining bit of Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning was spent on targeting data sufficiency. I somehow reasoned that if I knew the principles in such a way that I could DS, I would know them well enough for PS.

Test day - wake up, exercise a bit, read through the notes I took while reading MGMAT books. Go to test. Leave test with 680.

While I fell good about a 680, I am somewhat disappointed in the score (myself) because I know that I can achieve what I want (700+) if I come up with a more comprehensive and thorough study routine.

Self observations:
- I feel like a big problem that I ran into was that I spent relatively little time doing problems out of the official guide once I had read through a given MGMAT section. I mistakenly thought that being able to answer the questions in the format given on the review sheets would be sufficient. So when I started working heavily on OG questions - only the last couple of days - I was horribly inefficient at apply the techniques I learned.

- I am surprised with how good I feel about my essays. On all the CATs I skipped the essays and did not use any of the prompts in the OG to write practice ones. That said, I did feel a bit like I had already completed a marathon after finishing the 1 hr essay section.

- In my undergrad I generally did a lot of studying late at night and I did very well at retaining the information. I don't feel like this works quite as well for me with the GMAT because I genuinely care about the subjects I studied in my undergrad, unlike the subjects on the GMAT. I really would be just fine tomorrow if x turns out to be less than y, just fine.


Advice:
I took the GMAT because I'd like to get into a good MSc Finance program. Think Vandy, BC, Columbia or maybe Duke MMS. The question I have is whether or not it is worth investing another month or two of my life in a more structured study routine to achieve a 700+ (this would have to be started....now), or if the difference between a 680 and low 700s is negligible for the level of school I'm trying to get into. (Assuming essays are well written, 3.5 cumulative gpa, 4.0 finance, good references)
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680 first try (44Q 38V) Advice?   [#permalink] 29 Aug 2011, 17:17
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680 first try (44Q 38V) Advice?

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