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690 (91%)(Q:44, V:41) -- My Thoughts and Experience

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690 (91%)(Q:44, V:41) -- My Thoughts and Experience [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 15:56
Team,
I just took the test this morning (29 May 06) in Frankfurt, Germany and scored a 690 (Q44, V41). Although I was aiming for a 700+ like everyone else on this forum, I'll take my score. After all, it is still 91 percentile and acceptable to all of the top business schools.

First of all, I want to echo what most other people have said: http://www.gmatclub.com is an incredible resource. I think it is the secret weapon for anyone who wishes to score well. Any success I had on the GMAT, I owe to this forum and its participating members. I’m writing this detailed post in hopes that it helps others who are in the same shoes I just spent the last four months in.

Here are my notes on my preparation/practice test scores/actual test. Hopefully they help. I’ll answer any questions you all may have.

Preparation:
I probably studied much harder than the average person. I studied seriously for about 4 months and spent 1-2 hours per weekday and 8-12 per weekend (Sat and Sun combined). Add that up and that's a lot of hours. I'm a weak standardized test taker, so it was a necessary evil. Rigorous study and hard work were the only ways I was going to get a competitive GMAT score.

I purchased almost every GMAT book available and found both Kaplan and Princeton to be good starting points. Either of the two books will help lay a solid foundation and identify weak areas. Princeton organized their questions according to difficulty level which helped me gauge what my abilities were. Kaplan was just full of hard questions. I used both books, but anyone can get by with just one of them.

Once I had a general idea of what my weaknesses were, I used the Manhattan GMAT books. In my opinion, these books are essential. I ended up buying 6 of the 7. They really go in-depth and teach you the concepts behind the questions. Additionally, the books give you access to 3 online practice tests. I can't talk enough about how they helped me, so if you're studying for the test, do consider. As I went through the Manhattan books, I used the Kaplan 800 book (also highly recommended), to really help me test concepts and get me thinking on a "higher" level.

After finishing the Manhattan books (as I went through those books, I still did practice sets), I transitioned to the Official Guide. I saved these books for the last 1/3 or 1/4 of my studying. Once I started the Official Guide, these were the only types of questions I solved (there are subtle differences between OG questions and non-OG questions). I did this because I really wanted to develop my pacing and test-taking skills. I found that a large part of doing well was knowing when to cut your losses on a question (ie: blindly guess) and move on. We all want to answer every question correctly, but spending too much time on a question can result in 5 wrong questions later on in the test because you were rushed. Sticking to the OG really helped me in this respect. There’s no set rule. Knowing when to cut your losses and move on is a skill that you develop only after answering tons of questions. I didn’t really pick this up until my 2-3 weeks before my test today. I guess you can call it a 6th sense.

Once I was about halfway through the OG books, I really started picking up the pace on practice CAT tests (as you can see below). I really leaned heavily on the Manhattan and Princeton Review tests. The Princeton Review test was particularly notable because I had the option of seeing my score as I was taking the test. This helped me understand the scoring mechanics and really highlighted the importance of getting the first 5-8 questions correct. I saw that my score (give or take a few points) was largly decided in these initial questions.

Of course, I saved the GMAT Prep tests for last. They are as close to the real thing as you can get. My GMAT Prep 2 didn’t go so well, but it was mostly because I worked 15 hours that day and then tried to cram a test in when I got home. I’m sure glad I got the 600 on that test than on the one today :)


Practice Test Scores:
Here are my practice test scores. As you can see, less than spectacular, and all over the board. Especially GMAT Prep 2. Because there were only two GMATPrep tests, I had to deviate from my Official Guide rule when taking practice tests.

Kaplan CAT 1 (2 months before): 520
Kaplan CAT 2 (1.5 months before): 570
Kaplan CAT 3 (1 month before): 550
Kaplan CAT 4 (3 weeks before): 550

Manhattan CAT 1 (2.5 weeks before): 580
Manhattan CAT 2 (2 weeks before): 600
GMAT Prep 1 (1 week before): 640
GMAT Prep 1 retake (1 week before): 700
PR CAT 1 (1 week before): 680 (See my notes)
Manhattan CAT 3 (3 days before): 690
GMAT Prep 2 (2 days before): 600 (I was devastated when I saw this)

Practice Set Results:
These are my results from my OG11 practice sets 1-3 weeks before the test today. The list is in chronological order, so the sets near the bottom of each category were most recent (a week ago). Generally, I saved the hardest questions till the end of my preparation. You can use my results to gauge where you're at.

Number of problems / Number WRONG / Average Time per Question

DS:
21 / 4 / 1:56
20 / 4 / 1:22
20 / 9 / 1:50
21 / 5 / 1:55
14 / 5 / 2:22
20 / 0 / 1:00 (easy questions)
20 / 1 / 1:31 (moderate)
20 / 8 / 2:08 (hardest questions)

PS:
40 / 5 / 1:22
21 / 0 / 1:36
20 / 5 / 1:52
39 / 3 / 1:12 (easy questions)
29 / 5 / 2:25 (hardest questions)
21 / 3 / 2:15 (hardest questions)


RC:
20 / 8 / 1:47
22 / 3 / 1:41
21 / 6 / 1:48
15 / 2 / 1:29 (hardest questions)

CR:
20 / 0 / 1:40
20 / 2 / 1:37
20 / 3 / 1:48
20 / 1 / 1:34
10 / 4 / 2:20 (hardest questions)

SC:
40 / 4 / 59â€
Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesKnewton GMAT Discount CodesManhattan GMAT Discount Codes
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 16:08
hey buddy,

great score!!! congrats on this and good luck with apps!

i was just wondering what was the breakdown on GMATPrep tests 1 & 2? were you consistent with quant and verbal in those?

thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 17:39
Very good score :-D

Congratulations :good & thanks a lot for very good post :)
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 18:55
x242222,

congrats buddy. you posted some grt questions.

goodluck...
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 19:11
Hey Congratulations buddy. :-D
And a very detailed and helpful post you have posted.
Best of luck for your Apps.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 19:21
Cool deal dude! Congrats!!
Awesome post too..
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"To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself, to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed."

- Bernard Edmonds

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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 20:03
Congratulations......
So your effort paid dividends!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 May 2006, 21:18
Thatz a great score....

and after this much of hard work, you really deserve it. Congratulations!

All the best for your applications!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 30 May 2006, 00:32
Congrats !! That is a gr8 verbal score, and you sure deserve it for your preparation.
This 690 is a very popular score in the club !!
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 [#permalink] New post 30 May 2006, 08:51
GONGRATULATIONS MATE!!!

:woohoo

Great score! Good luck with your apps. :)
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 [#permalink] New post 30 May 2006, 10:11
Congrats on your score.
Can you comment on the level of difficulty or similarity between

1. SC
2. RC
3. CR

on the actual test vs OG11


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 [#permalink] New post 31 May 2006, 10:49
Thanks for the support. Here's the breakdown of my two PowerPrep Tests:

CAT1: 700 (48Q, 38V) -- 13 of the 37 Quantitative questions incorrect, 13 of the 41 Verbal questions incorrect

CAT2: 600 (45Q, 27V) -- 15 of the 37 Quantitative questions incorrect, 14 of the Verbal questions incorrect

The interesting thing here is that the number of questions that I got wrong didn't really vary much, though my score did (100 points). The lesson I took from this is that you really need to double check the first 10 questions of each section.

On the CAT1 test, I got the first 5 correct and 8 of the first 10 correct on the Quantitative. On the verbal, I got the first 9 correct and missed the 10th question. After that, my mistakes were dispersed evenly throughout.

On the CAT2 test, I got the first four Quantitative questions correct and 7 of the first 10. On the verbal, I got the first 2 questions right, but then missed questions 3-9. That's really what dropped my score to a 27.

Lesson learned: The first five to ten questions matter. In an ideal world, you'll get the first 10 correct. On the real GMAT however, that is easier said than done. It is more realistic to shoot for the first 5.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 May 2006, 10:54
Between the OG11 Verbal questions and the actual test, I'd say the OG11 questions were slightly difficult. Aside from my first passage (which was short and dense) and the 4 RC questions that followed, the verbal was very straight forward. Unlike the math, I didn't see any curve balls. Of course there were a few tough CR and SC questions, but none were harder than the tough OG11 questions. On verbal portion of the actual test, I probably had to guess a couple of times, and that was usually after I was able to eliminate 2 or 3 choices.

Does that help? If not, I can elaborate more.
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2006, 09:13
x242222 wrote:
Between the OG11 Verbal questions and the actual test, I'd say the OG11 questions were slightly difficult. Aside from my first passage (which was short and dense) and the 4 RC questions that followed, the verbal was very straight forward. Unlike the math, I didn't see any curve balls. Of course there were a few tough CR and SC questions, but none were harder than the tough OG11 questions. On verbal portion of the actual test, I probably had to guess a couple of times, and that was usually after I was able to eliminate 2 or 3 choices.

Does that help? If not, I can elaborate more.


Thank you x242222 for your kind explanations.
Hope it will help, especially as to verbal.

Any words about math please?
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Jun 2006, 14:24
Yeah definitely. Here's what I recall about the quantitative part. Again, my mantra going in was "Nail the first 5 questions and most importantly stay on pace".

Question one was a PS factorial question. Something comparable to:
1. (67! - 65!)/(64!) is equal to A,B,C,D,E. Not really tough, but I double and triple checked my answer because if you get the first question wrong, you might as well go home and not take the rest of the test.

2. The 2nd question was a tricky PS coordinate geometry question about the area of a triangle. Again, I double and triple checked this one. It had a mix of positive and negative coordinates, and they weren't right triangles, so you had to think it through

3. This was the one I struggled with hard. After 3-4 mins, I still couldn't even get an answer that resembled choices A through E. I couldn't even eliminate an answer. I literally took a blind guess, and was pretty dejected when I decided to do so because I knew getting the 3rd question wrong was bad juju. Oh well, life goes on.

I don't remember the next three questions, but my first DS question was on number 7. It was mildly tough. Similar to the questions posted on the math section of this website.

The only thing I would say is that I probably answered between 1500-2000 math practice questions, so I thought I had seen most of the different types of questions going into the test, but even with that amount of preparation, I felt very challenged throughout the entire test. There were probably only 3-5 questions of the 37 that I would classify as "easy" questions. The rest were pretty tough.

After taking the quantitative section, the verbal was like a walk in the park. Very few curve balls.
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2006, 12:42
My final note. I got my official score report today and scored a 5.5 on the AWA. For what it's worth, I am not a particularly strong writer, so for people who fret over the AWA, you can relax.

Jeff
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2006, 15:51
Great scrore, and good luck with your apps
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  [#permalink] 10 Jun 2006, 15:51
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