I took the GMAT the first time in February and scored a 710 (Q44/V42) -- see my report here
. I had tested at about 730-740 so I was a bit disappointed. I had to refocus on studying for CFA LIII at that point, so I wasn't able to refocus on studying right away. Accordingly, I lost a bit of my form over the 5-6 months in between taking the test for the first time and beginning my retake study.
This time around, like the last, I used exclusively MGMAT books
, notably the 5 quant books and the SC guide. I didn't do any prep work on RC or CR as I felt pretty comfortable in these areas. I also went through the OG12
again. Ultimately I thought I was in pretty decent shape the first time around -- I just needed a little more time to polish up some of my rough edges. So my study strategy didn't differ the second time around from the first. I just poured myself into the the MGMAT series
, absorbing as much as possible.
Practice CAT history:
7/31 GMATPrep: 750 (Q49/V42)
8/14 MGMAT: 740 (Q47/V45)
8/18 (AM) MGMAT: 720 (Q42/V45) -- Was pretty upset with myself with this score so decided to take another that same day
8/18 (PM) MGMAT: 760 (Q51(!)/V42) -- Whoa! That's better!
8/19 GMATPrep: 770 (Q50/V45)
8/20 GMATPrep: 770 (Q49/V48)
I discounted these 770s a bit simply because I would recognize every 1 in 10-15 questions. Even though I usually didn't remember the answer overtly, I often would remember how I solved it, or perhaps remembered subconsciously. Therefore, I expected to test below where I was at with the CATs.
Normally my CFA/GMAT study strategy involved studying furiously up until the very last minute, but I felt pretty comfortable with my abilities and took it pretty easy the past few days. I took the last 3 days off of work, would go through the same morning routine I expected to have on test day (including eating the exact same thing for breakfast to make sure nothing upset my stomach in any way), would study in the AM a bit (which helped to fatigue me in a way that was probably equivalent to the AWA), take a CAT around noon, then run or do whatever the rest of the afternoon, have dinner, and do a bit more studying at night. Overall it was a pretty light schedule.
The first question I got on quant was a tough one. I don't think I solved it correctly and probably took 3.5 minutes -- this was exactly what I wanted to avoid. My biggest weakness the first time around was stubbornly working on problems I didn't know the answer to, then being forced to rush through or guess on questions later in the test. I feel like most of my advances have been knowing simply when to give up and move on! If you follow the problem list on an MGMAT CAT, it'll show you your score in "real time" after every problem -- almost always a wrong and then a right answer will get you back at or close to where you were before. So if you don't know the answer, move on! You'll probably get the next one right and then have another shot at it. The only time I can justify being stubborn is if it is late in the test and you have time to spare -- this is where you can reinvest the time saved on earlier problems into cracking some toughies.
The next question on quant was a bit tricky too, but after I thought I had answered it right, my 3rd question was EXTREMELY basic, which made me pretty much assume I had gotten 1 and 2 wrong. At this point I just tried not to panic and just focused on making those points back ASAP. I hunkered down and could tell that by the end the questions were extremely challenging, but I was nonetheless doing pretty well on them.
In between quant and verbal (and after AWA actually), I drank some sugar-free Red Bull (no crash!), took a leak, and tried to get my heart rate up a bit. I ran up and down the stairs of the building once and did a few jumping jacks. I had to get the blood flowing! After my heart rate went back down to resting, I went back into the testing room and proceeded.
The verbal section had some real doozies early on. Pretty quickly I could tell I was doing well. The CR problems had the double-bolded passages, the RC questions didn't ask many "overall concept" questions but highlighted passages that asked really esoteric questions, and the SC problems were often really tricky with idiomatic solutions. So I tried to keep the intensity high, but soon the questions let up a bit so I figured I must have gotten a couple wrong. That bummed me out a bit, but I kept pushing forward with plenty of time and just basically did damage control to make sure I didn't make a single marginal error. After I was done, I burned through the questionnaire and got my score:760 (99%), Q49 (86%), V45 (98%)
(Edit:) 6.0 AWA
Yes! I finally made it! The 99th percentile club! Thanks to everyone on GMATClub for all the help -- I did the QotD every day during my CFA study time to keep me sharp, so the community really helped. Thanks for the read! Now -- time for apps!!!