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7 month Journey: 670 --> 750!

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GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V44
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7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2012, 11:19
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I have never been a great standardized test taker -- I took the SAT 3 times before I got the score I needed to get into NYU - Stern undergrad. I thought that this would also end up being the case for the GMAT.

Study Plan & Materials Used:

Quant: MGMAT Guides & Advanced Quant Suppl. Guide - I went through each book one by one, completing the MGMAT practice sets and the OG & Supplement practice sets topic by topic (keeping an error log so I could go back to the questions I got wrong)

Verbal:
RC: MGMAT Guide - using the note taking technique
CR & SC: I began by working through the MGMAT Guides but quickly became discouraged as I kept getting the OG questions wrong. I did some research and discovered the CR & SC GMAT Pill. After watching all of the videos, my performance improved significantly. I highly recommend the GMAT Pill.

Essay: MGMAT IR & Essay book, ChineseBurned outline

IR: GMAT Pill, MGMAT IR & Essay book, MGMAT Free IR Video

In the end I ended up answering all of the questions in the Official Guide and the Supplement Guides.

I began by studying Math and Verbal on alternate days, but after taking my first Manhattan GMAT CAT Test and receiving a 640 with no improvement on Math and a decline in Verbal, I realized I need to focus on Math, get that down and then move on to Verbal.

5/13: GMAT Prep #1- 670 (Q 44, V 38) - I was aiming for a 700 so I figured in a few months I should be able to improve my score by only 30 points. Boy was I wrong, it took much much longer!

7/8: MGMAT Cat 1- 640 (Q 44, V 33)
9/30: MGMAT Cat 2 - 680 (Q 44, V38)
10/28: MGMAT Cat 3 - 690 (Q44, V39)
11/4: GMAT Prep #1 (reset) - 720 (Q 44, V 41)
11/18: MGMAT Cat 4 w/ IR - 730 (Q 45, V 45)
12/02: MGMAT Cat 5 w/ Essay & IR - 660 (Q43, V 37)
12/09: MGMAT Cat 6 w/ Essay & IR - 690 (Q46, V 38)
12/20: GMAT Prep #2 w/ Essay & IR - 740 (Q48, V 44)

12/26: Actual GMAT Test: 750 (Q 49, V 44) edit: AWA 6, IR 8

As you can see for a while, I saw no improvement in the Quant score, it stayed stubbornly at 44. At this point I had resigned myself to getting a Q44 and devoted my time and focus on improving the verbal score. I had read somewhere that small improvements in the Verbal score go a longer way than small improvements in the Quant Score.

Early November, it looked like progress was being made -- on 11/4 I scored above a 700 for the first time due to improvements in the Verbal Score. I decided it was time to learn how to do IR. 2 weeks later another 730! Although my IR Score needed significant improvement (I ran out of time and scored a 3), I scheduled the GMAT for the following month, figuring that I only needed a few weeks to review IR & the Essay. I also figured that around the Winter Holidays, work would be slower and I would be less stressed and have more time to study.

In early December, I incorporated the essay for the first time and my GMAT score took a nose dive -- 660! I was in complete and utter shock. :cry:
Thinking about it some more, I slowly realized that having gotten 20 - 30 points above the score I was aiming for in 2 previous practice tests, I had decreased the vigor and focus of my study. Also, I was not used to taking the practice exam with both the Essay and IR. I had 3 weeks to improve!

Every day after work I studied for 2-3 hours and on Sundays I studied for 4-5 hours. During the week I did 3 RC passages, 5 CR questions and 10 Sentence correction questions. I doubled that on the weekend. Any one that I got wrong, I made sure I knew why I got it wrong, why the right answer was the correct one and how to answer it correctly in the future.

Around the same time, I discovered the MGMAT Supplementary Advanced Quant Strategy Guide and thought I could at least try to improve the Quant score slightly... Over those 3 weeks, I slowly read each Chapter, did the practice problems in the chapter and then completed sets of 10 questions in the final chapter every other day. As I internalized those concepts, my Quant score also improved!

I had one last problem: I kept running out of time on IR. Hoping to fix this problem, I did all 50 OG IR questions twice (hard, frustrating, but worth the effort) and bought the IR GMAT pill, hoping that a video explanation of each of the concepts would help.

I took the final week before the exam off -- this way I would be solely focused on the GMAT and not stressed out and tired from work.

Final week: on 12/20 at 8 am (since my exam was schedule for 8 am) I took the GMAT Prep #2 and got a 740! During the final days leading up to the exam I continued practicing RC, CR & SC and doing sets from the MGMAT Advanced Quant book. I did not want a repeat of the 660 due to loss of focus...

2 days before exam: reviewed strategies and SC flashcards.
Day before exam: relaxed and during the evening did some easy SC, Quant, CR & RC questions.

Morning of: woke up at 6 am, ate breakfast, drank coffee, did a few easy problems (2 SC, 1 CR, 2 Quant), reviewed GMAT Pill SC flashcards, and reviewed Essay outline. I brought another double shot expresso, some chocolate, and some chocolate milk with me to the exam to take during breaks so that I could keep my energy up.

During Exam: I think the key to the 750, was treating the exam as just another practice test and staying calm. Anxiety was the enemy! I had already taken 9 practice tests. I knew that I had my Quant timing down. I knew that I had plenty of time for Verbal for I kept finishing with 5-10 min to spare. I visualized the 740 -- I knew I could do it.

IR & Essay were a breeze. My biggest worry was timing on IR, and I finished it with 1 min to spare (we shall see what the IR score ends up being). As the clocks in the center were not synchronized, I started my Quant section having lost 2 minutes. I didn't let that phase me, I knew that I had been behind on time in previous exams and I had found ways to get those 2 minutes back. With this positive energy, I solved the Quant section problem by problem. I finished the Quant just in time, took another break, ate some chocolate, drank the double shot expresso and went in for the Verbal section (this time 2 minutes early!). 75 minutes later, I was rewarded with a 750!!

What a relief. 7 months of work, rewarded.

Last edited by vgreene on 12 Jan 2013, 18:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2012, 14:24
good score buddy, way to go..
u mean u tested on boxing day?? :-D
wat a gift score
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2012, 18:50
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Congrats!! on that awesome score. Even I have a score drop when I attempt the complete test with IR and essay, mostly due to distraction/low stamina during the verbal section.
How did you improve on that after you got a 660 (down from a 740) ??

Good luck with applications :)
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2012, 19:00
Looking back, I think the improvement occurred due to 2 factors:

(1) I knew that if I had gotten a 730 before, I could do it again. Not letting the 660 completely destroy me was key.
(2) I still had 3 practice CAT tests left, plenty of practice tests to get my stamina back.
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2012, 19:06
So you feel that the more practice tests I take under official conditions the better are my chances to improve my stamina/concentration??

do you think spending a little less time on AWA and IR will help to conserve mental energy for the end ie Verbal section?
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2012, 00:12
Good Job, always inspiring to see someone get up and take a score like you did.

Do you think Manhattan advance was the reason for your high quant score?

And was Gmat pill the reason for your high verbal?
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2012, 01:13
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GREAT GREAT Debrief!
what is really inspiring is that hard work PAYS off!
Great improvement on he quant section and needless to say that you totally killed the verbal!
I am sure the IR8 awaits your email!
All the best :-)
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Current Student
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GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V44
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2012, 14:29
Shadow88 wrote:
Good Job, always inspiring to see someone get up and take a score like you did.

Do you think Manhattan advance was the reason for your high quant score?

And was Gmat pill the reason for your high verbal?


I definitely think that the GMAT Pill was a large contributor. The videos explain the SC & CR strategies in such a way that it is memorable. You hear his voice in your head as you solve the SC & CR questions. However, just listening to the videos is not enough. I think the fact that I practiced all of the SC & CR questions in the OG and Verbal supplement was also important. Overall, it was practice, practice, practice. Learning the strategies and then practicing them.

Regarding the Quant Score, it was a mix of the Manhattan Advanced Quant and the detailed effort of looking over everything I got wrong on the Quant section for each MGMAT CAT test. I took the test on Sundays, and during the week I would practice the Quant topics that I had gotten wrong. I used the 700-800 Topical Quant pdf file that is located somewhere on this website. The Advanced Quant book helped with strategies of solving hard Quant questions quickly to help on timing. I also realized somewhere along the way that Manhattan GMAT quant questions are much harder than the GMAT Prep questions and the Actual GMAT test questions. Thus, in comparison the actual test questions felt easier, increasing my confidence & timing.

Hope that helps!
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Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750! [#permalink] New post 28 Dec 2012, 09:08
vgreene wrote:
Shadow88 wrote:
Good Job, always inspiring to see someone get up and take a score like you did.

Do you think Manhattan advance was the reason for your high quant score?

And was Gmat pill the reason for your high verbal?


I definitely think that the GMAT Pill was a large contributor. The videos explain the SC & CR strategies in such a way that it is memorable. You hear his voice in your head as you solve the SC & CR questions. However, just listening to the videos is not enough. I think the fact that I practiced all of the SC & CR questions in the OG and Verbal supplement was also important. Overall, it was practice, practice, practice. Learning the strategies and then practicing them.

Regarding the Quant Score, it was a mix of the Manhattan Advanced Quant and the detailed effort of looking over everything I got wrong on the Quant section for each MGMAT CAT test. I took the test on Sundays, and during the week I would practice the Quant topics that I had gotten wrong. I used the 700-800 Topical Quant pdf file that is located somewhere on this website. The Advanced Quant book helped with strategies of solving hard Quant questions quickly to help on timing. I also realized somewhere along the way that Manhattan GMAT quant questions are much harder than the GMAT Prep questions and the Actual GMAT test questions. Thus, in comparison the actual test questions felt easier, increasing my confidence & timing.

Hope that helps!


Thank you for your answer and it helps alot ;)
Re: 7 month Journey: 670 --> 750!   [#permalink] 28 Dec 2012, 09:08
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