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700 plus or bust!

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700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2013, 22:08
I am going start my logging my study and experience here to show the evolution of my progress and thinking as I go. The end Goal is 700 plus. If any mods think this thread is in the wrong spot, feel free to move it.


A quick bit about me. 29/M/Australia - 5+ years exp in Sales/Product Management, currently Bus Dev for large-cap chemical company - I specialise in Mining and Unconventional Gas. Economics undergrad - GPA a flat 3, from a reasonable, but not prestigious Australian university.

Target school Insead - I like their program, and feel I fit culturally with the alumni I have met from the school. I am hoping to get in on basis of my career achievements, international experience and some interesting life stories I have to tell (I rode a motorbike through 40 different countries, trained in MA in China etc.). Obviously I have to make up for the low GPA and thus targeting 700 plus. Alternatively I will take an MBA in the US at a school that is close to the HQ of the company I work for.

I have not put an exact time frame yet on when I will sit the GMAT. Suffice to say some time around late April. Giving me about 16 weeks to study.

I bought the MGMAT self guided program at the start of November and needed to do a math refresher. I went through the Foundations of Math book and have been working on my areas of weakness. Work has been extremely busy up to the Christmas period and I find that with most things in life I need to approach them slowly and build up to a sustainable level of motivation. Now that I am at that point I am going to go hard for the next 3-4 months.


Today I sat the MGMAT Cat for the first time (as recommended by many) and scored a 580 (Q32, V37). Verbal is obviously an area of strength and does not need a significant amount of time. Quant on the other hand requires my focus. I really fell down on DS having really only encountered this type of Q for the first time today (DS was at 30% whilst PS was at 50%). Also need to address Geometry which was lagging at 20%. I feel with a better strategy there my result will come up but it really needs some time. In addition I ran out of time, finishing at question 33.


Going to make a cup of tea now and put together a full study plan for the next 12-16 weeks.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 28 Dec 2013, 07:05
actionj wrote:
I am going start my logging my study and experience here to show the evolution of my progress and thinking as I go. The end Goal is 700 plus. If any mods think this thread is in the wrong spot, feel free to move it.


A quick bit about me. 29/M/Australia - 5+ years exp in Sales/Product Management, currently Bus Dev for large-cap chemical company - I specialise in Mining and Unconventional Gas. Economics undergrad - GPA a flat 3, from a reasonable, but not prestigious Australian university.

Target school Insead - I like their program, and feel I fit culturally with the alumni I have met from the school. I am hoping to get in on basis of my career achievements, international experience and some interesting life stories I have to tell (I rode a motorbike through 40 different countries, trained in MA in China etc.). Obviously I have to make up for the low GPA and thus targeting 700 plus. Alternatively I will take an MBA in the US at a school that is close to the HQ of the company I work for.

I have not put an exact time frame yet on when I will sit the GMAT. Suffice to say some time around late April. Giving me about 16 weeks to study.

I bought the MGMAT self guided program at the start of November and needed to do a math refresher. I went through the Foundations of Math book and have been working on my areas of weakness. Work has been extremely busy up to the Christmas period and I find that with most things in life I need to approach them slowly and build up to a sustainable level of motivation. Now that I am at that point I am going to go hard for the next 3-4 months.


Today I sat the MGMAT Cat for the first time (as recommended by many) and scored a 580 (Q32, V37). Verbal is obviously an area of strength and does not need a significant amount of time. Quant on the other hand requires my focus. I really fell down on DS having really only encountered this type of Q for the first time today (DS was at 30% whilst PS was at 50%). Also need to address Geometry which was lagging at 20%. I feel with a better strategy there my result will come up but it really needs some time. In addition I ran out of time, finishing at question 33.


Going to make a cup of tea now and put together a full study plan for the next 12-16 weeks.


1. Not finishing a section in the stipulated 75 mins has a severe penalty. If you had just spent the last 30 secs to randomly pick an answer for each of the 4 questions that you missed, your score would have been more than 33 in Quant. This is a fact. You get more points that you would if you finish a section by answering the last few questions wrong than if you fail to complete the section.

2. MGMAT Quant questions are generally on the tougher side. So don't feel down that you've scored less. And DS can be improved with practice. I'd also suggest that you download the pdfs that our resident Quant expert 'Bunuel' posted here on the forums because his collection of questions is more representative of the kind of questions that appear on the GMAT than MGMAT's are. I went up from 49(83%) to 51(97%) solely because of that. You can definitely see an improvement of 25% to 30% if you pick the right resources to practice from.

3. Good luck. PM me if you need anything else related to Quant.
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580 to 640 in 7 weeks (91.5 hours) [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2014, 00:32
So I have been studying hard'ish for the past 7 weeks.

I have done an average of 13.07 hours study per week, adding up to a total of 91.5. Increase of score of 60 points is in line with about 1.5 hours per point increase, based on that I have to do another 90 hours to get to 700. However, planning another 100 just to make sure.

My second CAT was Q37(44%) V39(88%), an increase of 5 on Q and 2 on V. At this stage I am in the 7th week of the Manhattan Gmat course. I am satisfied with that increase in score as I had read elsewhere that some students had seen no increase from their 1st to 2nd cat on the MGMAT course - psychologically I prepared for no increase.

On the test this time, I was more familiar with the types of questions, particularly in quant, yet I could not remember the MGMAT strategies for answering them.

A plus 700 seems less far away than what it did previously and I feel encouraged to push harder.

About another 9 weeks before I plan on sitting the test. I'd say given my verbal, once I complete the MGMAT in two weeks I will most likely split my Q/V study time 3:1, as that is obviously the area that needs the highest level of focus, and I am only a few % points shy of 90% barrier on verbal.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2014, 20:32
A bit of analysis with some data from yesterday to identify my weak areas and what needs focus.

Image
Time studied over the past 7 weeks. Earlier in January before work got busy I had a lot more time. Since then my study has become more sporadic. I really want to get my average hours back up to 13+ over the next few weeks.

QUANT

Image
You can see that my quant is really all over the place. There are no real areas to work on, however I am still making silly mistakes in questions, I went too slow in my first cat and so sped through this second cat. As a consequence I got questions wrong because I missed details in the question stem.

Still there are some real areas where I need to pick up my game; Exponents and Roots, Word Problems - I find translating blocks of text into algebra a slow process, fraught with mistakes. Additionally I am yet to master 'thinking outside the box' to manipulate equations. Actually linear equations are not a strength for me.

VERBAL

Image

My average question right on difficulty in SC is 720. I got 86% of the SC questions correct. I am only half way through the SC theory though in the MGMAT guides, and so a fair bit of this is 'going by ear', but I have improved significantly over my first CAT in this area, so the theory is paying off.

My real area here to improve is in RC, specifically inferences. As you can see above I only got 1 of 5 inference questions correct. This contrasts with the previous CAT where I got all 5 inference questions correct. The difference, this time ALL of my inference Q's were in the 700-800 difficulty range, compared to the first cat where I only got 1. If I can scrub up my inferences and a bit of the critical reasoning, then I think I have a real crack at 41 or 42 on the verbal. Though someone on a forum did say that MGMAT Verbal section tends to be easier than the real test.

Either way I still need >80% on the Quant to satisfy adcoms that I can make up for my poor quant performance in undergrad. If I get Q47 V39, I should crack the 700 barrier. A Q47 V41 would get me around the 720 range.

Sound like I've got summit fever... enough analysis for now, back to the study.
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3rd CAT - Gone backwards [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2014, 18:44
After seeing the gain from my first to second CAT from 580 up to 640 I was really happy that the effort I had put into studying had directly translated through to results. Over the past 3 weeks I have put in about 55 hours of study, which I hoped would translate into another 20-30 point gain to around 660-670.

So this time around when I only got 600, understandably I was pretty gutted.

I sat down to do my third practice CAT yesterday, in my living room, as my girlfriend was out for the afternoon. She came home early however, half way through Quant, making a lot of noise, and it really threw me out and put me in a bad mood. I got stuck on quite a few questions, spending too much time on them, and was on question 31 at the 70 minute mark. I rushed through at the end, guessing many questions. Lesson learnt, next time I will go into my office in the city where there will be no chance of interruptions.

Having said that, when I sat down to pick the bones on my poor result this morning I noticed a few things that show progress sine the last CAT.

Image

You can see that the average question difficulty correct has come up from 510 to 610 on PS, and from 590 to 640 on DS. Additionally the number of questions in the 600-700 and 700-800 difficulty range was much higher this time around. Possibly explaining the timing issues that I had. Either way, I am at least happy that these numbers are progressing, even if the overall score dropped.

Image

When I got to the Verbal part, the poor performance on timing in the quant was getting to my head. It isn't shown in the numbers but I got to about the 30th Question hovering at the 99th% level from questions 10-30. It was about the 30th Question that i realised I was about 2-3 minutes behind on time. I panicked a bit and tried to increase my pace. Subsequently I answered a few questions incorrectly in the <1 minute time and got them incorrect. Only to be left with 5 minutes to spare at the end of the exam. One other thing I noticed is that I am quite fatigued by the last 10-15 questions on the verbal and it becomes harder to parse the sentences. Particularly when I get those scientific RC passages at the 700-800 level.

I did however, get much better at the RC inference questions, answering 4/5 correct compared to 1/5 last time. MGMAT CATs seem to favour inference q's at the higher level. Also, still having issues with CR - really need to nail down on that topic area.

Additionally, I had not studied much Verbal in the past 3 weeks as I felt Quant needed more focus. For this reason I felt I was rusty on the CR questions.

Overall I think the performance in this third CAT reflects poor timing and strategic decisions. I have a few quant areas with some gaps, that need serious focus. There are areas that I have covered before but just cannot remember the theory fast enough to answer the question in a reasonable time - such 3 overlapping sets. I think flash cards could really help with this.

I really need to push my quant up to >70% to get in the safe zone for my target schools and prove that I have that level. My natural skills on verbal could be honed to deliver me a Verbal result in the region of 42-44. So a Q of 44-47, and a V of 42-44, should get me in the 720-730 region. I'd really like to hit Q47, V44 - I think the Quant target is going to be the harder one.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2014, 00:13
Q:41 V:36 - 640

My analysis at the moment is that I have some gaps still in certain knowledge areas and this is holding me back from getting to the higher scores.

Not going to sit another CAT for at least 3 weeks. Very glad that I cracked the 40 mark on the quant. My lack of focus on verbal is showing in the results. I scored 39 on my second cat, giving me the idea that I would be able to easily score 41-42 after addressing a couple of areas. However, it is proving to not be that easier.

QUANT
Image

You can see from above that I am getting a much higher number of 700-800 level questions, showing higher accuracy at lower levels than in the past.

Further analysis below shows that I am just as accurate at the 700-800 level, as at the 600-700 level indicating that there are gaps in my ability that are bringing me down. I have listed those areas to review over the coming weeks.

Image

Below you can see that my SC is poor. In the test where I got V39 I got 12/14 700-800 level SC questions correct. I think this is dragging me down and giving me less 700-800 questions to answer in other areas - resulting in a lower overall score. It seems in verbal, that the difference between 80th percentile verbal and 90th percentile verbal, is significant. I will get stuck back into studying verbal over the next 3 weeks.

Image

In 3 weeks I will sit another practice GMAT. I have 5 weeks until I have to sit the GMAT. If I can get my verbal performance back up, add a few points to the Quant I think I might be able to crack the 700 barrier. The next 4 weeks will be a very hard push. I have the easter break that I will be able to put a fair bit of time into. I leave for a holiday to Japan/Singapore on the 8th of May, and in order to crack this point I really need to get that verbal up.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2014, 02:23
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great thread! The data might be really helpful for other students...
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690 on GMAC practice test, constantly improving... [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2014, 23:14
Stoked today. I sat the GMAC practice test 1 and got a 690 Q:44 V:40

I definitely found that Quant on the GMAC Cat was easier than the MGMAT cats, I had heard that verbal is slightly harder - either way I punched out my best performances on both sections - so stoked with this.

QUANT
I am still making silly mistakes on quant, for example, on one rate/work q, trying to calculate an individual rate for a machine I punched in 1/w +1/1.5w = 1 pool /2 hours. When the question had actually said 4 hours. By the time I had the working out done and got back to the results I has looking for 10/3, but that was not in the choices - I wasted time checking my working out, without looking back at the question to see if I had copied anything down wrong. I made 3 or 4 silly mistakes, which may have cost me 1-2 points overall on the quant section.

VERBAL
On the verbal section I need to speed up on reading comprehension. I got about 4 questions wrong at the 24-25th Q and the 34-35th Q. None of the questions were beyond my grasp - I had just looked at my timing at that point and saw that I was 2-3 minutes off pace, so purposefully sped up - really scanning the questions and panicking, really picking the answers without scrutinising them. In the end I finished with 2 minutes to spare. I found the fear at Q36-37 is that you don't know if you have a reading comp coming up, or if you have some hard CR questions that will require >2 minutes. So you want to finish with a bit of spare time. Either way, over the coming weeks I am really going to hammer the RC preparation prior to sitting the test.

I also found with verbal that 3 or 4 questions that I got wrong were questions were I was second guessing the answer - what turned out to be the correct answer seemed to be a trap - and I reviewing the answers I feel I could argue the point - more importantly I need to review GMAT club for the answers to see why the choices I made WERE wrong and why the answers I was second guessing were right.

OVERALL
I really feel now that 700+ is within my grasp, possibly even a 730-740. I am going to book to sit the exam 2 weeks from now. I am planning on sitting the exam twice, I am in Japan for 10 days in May, and so will have a slight break after I sit the exam for the second time. I have resigned myself to a sub-par performance on the first exam. From previous experience, I feel that if I have a back-up plan i.e. a plan to take the exam a second time, I put less pressure on myself.

STRATEGY AND PREP LEADING UP TO LATEST PRACTICE CAT.
For the past 3 weeks I have really honed my weak areas, and implemented a few strategies.

- at least 5 SC questions every day
- reviewed CR weak areas - really honed this - I did the MGMAT CR question bank and only got 2 questions wrong - which were a manner of semantics.
- reviewed all Quant weak areas - I have now completed pretty much every OG12/OG13/Quant 2 question - plus I have gone back and reviewed all the questions I got wrong or took >2 minutes on; I created flash cards of those questions and the principles behind them and I take them everywhere with me - the gym, the ferry, the plane - everywhere.
- Purchased Jeff Sackman question banks on some of the topic areas where I am having fundamental issues - and run through those questions.
- Moreover, I am looking for new ways to answer problems, and I am answering level 500-700 questions much faster than before <1 minute on average for the 500-600 questions and sub 2 minutes on the 600-700's.

An area that I am still under performing on is the IR section, and the AWR - I need to learn the latter, and the most I have scored on IR is 5. I have literally been ignoring those sections.

Anyway, here is my study table showing how much time I put in, and how regularly I study, plus the review chart I did for the past 3 weeks of review.

Image

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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2014, 18:19
So going over the last practice test I have noticed that 'silly mistakes' seem to be my main issues. So my next 2 weeks will be focussing on targeting this. I plan on buying a few more of the Jeff Sackman sets for extra questions to run through. I will set out 5 x 75 minute sessions - doing 37 questions in each session, and my sole focus will be to minimise/eliminate silly mistakes. I tend to hit a hard question and then panic, when I panic my strategy from studying goes out the window.

how-to-improve-your-quant-from-q44-to-q50-141670.html - this was a really good thread for me, as I am looking to take my Q44 up to a Q47-48. I think that with a bit of precision practice on improving my speed on RC questions, and getting through those passages will free up some time for me on the verbal. I think I can hit a V42, V43 with the Q48. If I can hit those numbers, I can get the 720-740 mark.

Here is my study plan for the next 2 weeks;

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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2014, 20:47
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actionj wrote:
So going over the last practice test I have noticed that 'silly mistakes' seem to be my main issues. So my next 2 weeks will be focussing on targeting this. I plan on buying a few more of the Jeff Sackman sets for extra questions to run through. I will set out 5 x 75 minute sessions - doing 37 questions in each session, and my sole focus will be to minimise/eliminate silly mistakes. I tend to hit a hard question and then panic, when I panic my strategy from studying goes out the window.

how-to-improve-your-quant-from-q44-to-q50-141670.html - this was a really good thread for me, as I am looking to take my Q44 up to a Q47-48. I think that with a bit of precision practice on improving my speed on RC questions, and getting through those passages will free up some time for me on the verbal. I think I can hit a V42, V43 with the Q48. If I can hit those numbers, I can get the 720-740 mark.

Here is my study plan for the next 2 weeks;

Image


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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2014, 21:39
Thanks Karishma,

I am yet to sit the GMAT test for the 1st time. I am looking to book an appointment 14-18 days from now. That will be around the first week of May.

The plans is to sit it a second time (assuming I don't get the score I want the first time) around the 2nd week of June.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2014, 01:40
So I just hit Q46,V42; 710 on GMATPrep today. My test is a week from now. I have got 5.5 on GMATWrite, so confident in that area.

Really hoping to nail that 700 plus...
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2014, 11:31
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actionj wrote:
So I just hit Q46,V42; 710 on GMATPrep today. My test is a week from now. I have got 5.5 on GMATWrite, so confident in that area.

Really hoping to nail that 700 plus...



I see quite a bit of effort here. Good luck, sir!!
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2014, 01:31
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actionj wrote:
So I just hit Q46,V42; 710 on GMATPrep today. My test is a week from now. I have got 5.5 on GMATWrite, so confident in that area.

Really hoping to nail that 700 plus...


You have put in lot of effort in analyzing your progress and mistakes. All the best. Hope you nail the 700 + score.

I have also PM'ed regarding attaching the Spreadsheet you are using. Please attach the same here in the 1st post. It may help many people on the forum for their preparation. :-D
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2014, 23:23
So blerg, not a disaster, not what I wanted...

Okay so official;

650
IR:7
Q:38
V:41

As mentioned before, if I scored sub 650 then I would resit, particularly with that Quant under 40 . So that is now on the cards, just have to work out a strategy and a date.

As for the debrief. Well, the AWA and IR I felt I did really well in both. If the AWA comes back under 4.5 I will be surprised.

Analysing it, I rushed the Quant section, which was why the 38. To be honest, it felt really easy... too easy, I recall heaps of pos/neg questions. I was already at question 20 by 45 minutes, and so I consciously thought to slow down. However, every question I got, I just felt it was easy and that I had the correct answer - perhaps I just got nailed by the GMAT's trap answers. In the end I had 2-3 questions left with some 12 minutes to go, and that really shook me - I didn't think I had been churning through the questions that quickly. I really only recall guessing 5-6 questions that I felt were out of my league. It certainly didn't seem any harder than the GMAT Prep I did last week where I got Q:46.

The lead in was:

Week 1: MGMAT Cat 1 (Q:32, V:37) 580
Week 7: MGMAT Cat 2 (Q:36, V:39) 640
Week 11: MGMAT Cat 3 (Q:37, V:36) 600
Week 13: MGMAT Cat 4 (Q:41, V:36) 640
Week 16: GMAT PREP 1 (Q:44, V:40) 690
Week 21: MGMAT Cat 5 (Q:37, V:32) 580
Week 23: GMAT PREP 2 (Q:46, V:42) 710
ACTUAL : (Q:38, V:41) 650

Now I am wondering what to do next in terms of study planning? Is it just a timing issue separating me from a Q38 and a Q46, or do I have some fundamental gaps in my knowledge that are leading to the ups and downs in my quant performance - perhaps that highlighted quant score wasn't an anomaly. It's a shame I have no way of reviewing the Quant section on my GMAT exam.

How could I go from Q:46 in the GMAT Prep (full test conditions), to Q:38?

What plan of attack should I put in place to get that up?

I need to give it a rest for 4 days and then come back at it.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2014, 00:28
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actionj wrote:

Now I am wondering what to do next in terms of study planning? Is it just a timing issue separating me from a Q38 and a Q46, or do I have some fundamental gaps in my knowledge that are leading to the ups and downs in my quant performance - perhaps that highlighted quant score wasn't an anomaly. It's a shame I have no way of reviewing the Quant section on my GMAT exam.

How could I go from Q:46 in the GMAT Prep (full test conditions), to Q:38?

What plan of attack should I put in place to get that up?

I need to give it a rest for 4 days and then come back at it.


whoa!! So much difference in Quant part. Hard luck mate :( .

May be try once again :). All the best.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2014, 23:15
Cheers, yeah I'll give it another crack in 6 weeks or so.

Got the AWA back today, 5.5 - happy enough with that. Cracked the 80th percentile on all parts of the exam except for Quant... frustrating.
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Re: 700 plus or bust! [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2014, 21:20
So I thought I'd come back and cap off my 700 plus or bust thread - there is nothing worse than reading a thread on a forum on someone's story and then it seems to go nowhere. I had mentioned above that I was going to resit the test as I only got 650 - I identified a couple of areas for improvement and did a session with a MGMAT tutor.

However at the same time some negotiations I had been having with my work came to a head. Subsequently I was offered a promotion which involves moving to the US and taking an expat package there on a minimum 2 year assignment. It was an awesome opportunity, at the same level I could hope for if I did complete an MBA.

It's been 6 weeks since I sat the GMAT and the entire time has been non-stop. I'm glad I made the decision not to resit. Between moving house, visas, finishing all my ongoing projects at work and trying to take time out to avoid burnout, there really has not been any time for study. I have resolved that, given the opportunity in front of me, an MBA will no longer be worthwhile and I am better off looking toward an Executive MBA program in 3-4 years time. On the question of 700 or bust - I guess I went bust, but I'm okay with that - given that I'm about to fulfil a dream to work in the USA!

Maybe I'll be back in 3 years to get that score up. Thanks for reading, good luck with your own journey... remember it's not always MBA or bust.
Re: 700 plus or bust!   [#permalink] 31 Jul 2014, 21:20
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