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700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story.

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700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2011, 21:01
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Note: I originally had been writing this post as a reply to a post from another forum member, but I felt it eventually warranted a post of it's own as I didn't want to dominate his/her story. Anyhow, my apologies if some comments seem directed towards a reply to that post but here's my story

Test #1.

I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when I began my journey to conquer this damn GMAT. Not many of my friends or peers had taken the exam yet and those that did were not looking to attend premiere schools. So I began just by purchasing a Kaplan book because that's the brand I was most familiar with. After wiping through that, I found myself needing a lot more based on practice exams (I think I was scoring around 630's-640's) at this time. So after going through book after book (I have Kaplan books, Manhattan books, Princeton Review... everything :) ), I found that the most helpful were the Manhattan books. This I found rather late in the game, but nonetheless, I think they played a key part in my 700 (Q42, V43) for the first test.

Though I thought 700 was a decent score, I knew it wasn't what I needed or better yet, what I wanted. I broke 730 on some GMAT Prep exams, so that was my goal. Even more frustrating was that I completely blew it on my timing for the quant. Not having my handy GMAT timer beeping in my ear to keep my on pace really killed me... I found myself with about 8 or 9 questions left on the board with only time left to guess for them. So while driving back home from the test center I came to the conclusion that I needed to retake the exam. I KNEW if I just perfected my timing that I would dominate this test.

Well... prior to my first exam I signed up for a trial of Knewton's GMAT Course. Mainly because they had some deal that if you take one of their practice exams 7 days before their test and send them your actual results, that they would give you $100 (by the way, I never got that $$$ from them. Where is my $100 Knewton?!?! :lol: ). ANYHOW, I decided I'd take Knewton up on their 50 point guarantee. Well, 3 months later after going through their course, I found that it really didn't help much at all for my quant. Knewton just isn't designed for the 700+ test taker, at least in my opinion.

Where it may have helped though was in my verbal. I wasn't focusing on verbal at all in any of my studying because it was quant that I felt I had to improve on. However, I suddenly found myself just destroying the verbal of my practice exams... 44-48's. So I decided to strictly focus on quant problem areas (as identified by Knewton) moving forward. I then grabbed some Manhattan books on two areas that I felt I needed the most help on, probability/combinations and number properties.

Mind you, this is only a week and a half prior to my exam. So I'm completely focusing on these two areas and I get an awesome handle on them. Here's where I made my mistake though, I believe I focused on my problem areas too late in the game. In my opinion, those last few weeks I should have just been nailing problems out to work on that timing! Well, low and behold, I do the EXACT SAME THING in regards to my math timing... only worse. My heart dropped when I was at question 27 with 3 minutes left. I didn't even get to guess on problems past 33. :shock: Overall, my problem on this exam was not a matter of content, it was just a matter of me refusing to skip a problem. There were 2 problems that I must have taken 8 minutes on each, and that was my dagger.

At the end of the exam, I was not going to register my score. With that poor timing on the quant, I was imagining scores around 610-620. For some godforsaken reason, I decided to just let it roll and see what I got. I had been through so much studying, I had to at least see the damn thing. Well, to my surprise it was a 700.... my verbal came through for me at a 45 (98 percentile). Though my quant, a miserable 39.

Yep, the one thing that I tried to focus on, I actually dropped in. I think it goes without saying that I'm pretty upset with myself. However, I feel a bit enlightened now because I think I have a valuable weapon in my back pocket, the verbal score. I know very well that I can improve my quant because my main problem was strategy, nothing else. I know the content, now I just need to get it so ingrained in my mind that I can handle it in a timely manner. So I will be taking the GMAT for the third time in about a month or so from now. That I will be accomplishing with the following plan:

1) Read over each of my basic overview books (I have a Princeton and Kaplan one, with Princeton seeming to be the better of the two)

2) Get the rest of Manhattan's books for quant. These things are great and I wish I would have just bought the whole set from the get go. I'll go through each of them, one by one. Note: For permutations/combinations/probability I also HIGHLY recommend the book from Veritas Prep

3) Problems, Problems, Problems.... while using a timer of course!
I'm going to run through all of OG 11 and OG 12, mixing in GMAT Club Questions until I have all of those completed as well. Obviously, I will have a focus on quant here but won't disregard verbal. I'm going to learn to love quant problems like an emo kid loves his sisters jeans 8-) !

4) Get a score that will have me laughing my way out of the test center. I know a 690 is a decent score, but I want a score that will have me applying to schools with complete confidence. That I will have after my third exam! :-D

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my story. If you have tips for me, I will take them with open arms!

Last edited by tarn151 on 12 Jan 2011, 20:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 690 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2011, 23:25
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All the best man [Extra Credit for making fun of Emo Kids] ;)

Anyway, I am re-taking the test this Feb (maybe in the third week) and I'm following the same strategy. I don't think Princeton is any good if you're looking for 700 plus. But Manhattan is pure gold. I'm reviewing each book thoroughly now. I'll start taking the mock test the week before the final week. Take 6 of them back to back to determine the pattern of errors I make. Then I'll spend the final week preparing for AWA and consolidating my weaknesses and improving my strengths.
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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: 690 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2011, 11:11
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Yeap I'll be taking my GMAT for the third time in March and focusing on Quant too. Thanks for this awesome post!

Good luck!
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Re: 690 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2011, 13:20
Great post! Good luck!
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Re: 700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 12:30
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dude i am also battling with the decision of taking GMAT again after scoring a 710 !!
I used to do well on the quants section 48-49 consistent ..but scored a 47 on the test day though i felt i was doing well !!
Wht exactly did u practice for verbal ..especially the RC's?
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Re: 700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2011, 13:42
You have a very high verbal score. Is English your primary language? Also, can you share with us on how you study for the verbal sections? Thanks.

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Re: 700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story. [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2011, 09:40
I took the GMAT in (Nov 2008) my senior year of college and scored 760 on the multiple choice part and 2.5/6.0 on AWA. I made the mistake of not putting any effort into the essay portion of the exam and paid the price on exam date. Given that I will be applying to the top 5 schools this year, I decided that it would be worthwhile to retake the exam and prove that I can write well by scoring >5.0 on AWA, and while at it, might as well aim for that elusive 800. I welcome this opportunity to take on the GMAT challenge again. I will be happy to share any insights I stand to gain from my experience.
Re: 700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story.   [#permalink] 03 Mar 2011, 09:40
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700 the first time... so I take it again. Here's my story.

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