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)
RC: MGMAT Guide - using the note taking techniqueCR & 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.
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.