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720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience

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720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2011, 18:09
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Hello all!

This is my first post, I've been using the gmat forums since about May 1, 2011 when I signed up for the GMAT. It has been an amazing tool and I thank everyone whose ever contributed as you all were instrumental in my success today!

So here's what I did to get a 720 on my GMAT:

1. I gave myself about 6 weeks - that seemed like a short amount of time, but I told myself that I'd pull about 5-6 hours per day and that should be sufficient, as I don't want to overstudy!

2. Went and purchased the following -
- OG 11 (all three books)
- MGMAT guides for SC, CR, and maths
- Kaplan guides
- Retired GMAT books (approximately 30 really old exams dating from the 1970s and 80s back when the exam was all written and significantly longer and more time restrained with respect to the verbal section)

NB: I actually purchased these in one package off someone that I rendez-vous with using kijiji. It's a great source! All in all i paid 80$ - quite the steal!

3. Spent 5-6 hours/day studying. I started the first week by looking over the OG and doing questions throughout. A couple of hours of maths and a couple of hours of the verbal. I cannot stress enough that the OGs are the best source out there for anyone. The questions are similar in a sense, but also more challenging, perhaps that's because the GMAT is a CAT. I honestly tried looking at Kaplan but honestly, its not that great. Don't bother with it. I know some think it's good, but I didn't and that's just my experience. Nevertheless, after a couple of weeks of that I wrote GMATprep1 and scored about 660..not too encouraging since my GMAT was now about 4 weeks away. Nevertheless, I kept watching my daily MAD MEN episode (great show btw, really gets you into the mood of business etc. :-D ) .

For the SC portion, I realized that trying to memorize all the grammar rules was pointless, as I had such a bad memory. Instead, I focused on how to recognize the wrong solutions and eliminate those. It's all about developing an ear for what's right and what's not. It's a bit more risky as its based more on gut (or should I say ear) rather than the rules of grammar, but it sort of worked for me.

4. Then I crack open the retired GMATs and start practicing NOTE the PS and DS on the Q section in pretty much all the retired GMATs are significantly easier that the real GMAT, while the verbal questions are somewhat harder. The passages are longer, you're more time contained, and the SC is a bit more challenging. But practicing with retired GMATs greatly improved my verbal score. I pretty much did those for about 2 weeks, and I was scoring in the 700-730 range. I did the 2nd GMATprep and scored 720.

5. After 4 weeks, I do a MGMAT (the free one) and score 700.

6. Here's where it gets interesting. After about 4 weeks, I had to do a week of fulltime shifts at the pharmacy I work at. This meant that I couldn't really practice GMAT, essentially it was a 5 day vacation from GMAT. But I strongly feel that because I took these 5 days off, my scores jumped! Let me tell you why.

7. After the 5 days of no GMAT. I decided to put my GMAT skills to the test and did the GMATprep2 again...surprise surprise I scored 760. I was shocked, as I hadn't studied for days. Moreover, I hadn't remembered much of my responses that I had done a while back so I was confident that this score wasn't too bias. After a few more days of practice, I write GMATprep1 again - scored a 740. My confidence is quite high at this point. A few days before my GMAT, I take about a 1 hour look at the structure of a 6.0 AWA, since I am a native english speaker, I didn't bother too much with practicing this part.

8. It's now about 4 days from my GMAT and while I'm practicing my verbal with retired GMATs, my V scores range from the 38-44 range, while my Q ranges from 48-50. I write GMATprep2 again and score a 720.

TEST DAY - there was a massive screw up in how I registered for the GMAT, and the birthday they had for me didn't match with my ID :| . Luckily, the woman was nice enough to pull some tricks and I wrote it. I packed a good snack but was still quite nervous. It's important to be calm when writing the GMAT.

AWA
It wasn't too bad, I just let my fingers type away :P

Quantitative section
I felt rushed through the whole section, and it was hard for me to gage my performance based on the questions I was getting because everything just seemed hard. My mind was a bit distracted and I had to guess on questions I was starting to take too long to answer. Had to guess the last one too. Wasn't too satisfied but realized that my realizing this was a difficult section was somewhat of a good indicator that I had done well.

Verbal section
I raced through it. I felt confident through it since i was getting some bold face questions and some of the CR questions that had the "______." (i.e. what logically proceeds from the argument). Finished 20 minutes early, as had been the case with my GMATpreps. This was honestly due to the fact that I was using the retired GMATs for V practice as those are much more strictly timed and much more difficult in general. This V was easy in comparison.

Had to answer some stupid survey questions and held my breath for the result...720! I was so relieved and I was thanking God!

Thanks again GMATclubbers! Here are a few tips:

1. GMATprep is THE BEST

2. Use this forum AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Look at the 700+ questions especially and do those.

3. OG >> MGMAT >>> KAPLAN

4. Retired GMAT exams are excellent practice if you want to improve your Q score because they are timed more strictly and are more difficult.

5. Relax on exam day because stress will lower probably lower your performance!

6. Don't overstudy!

7. Although this worked for me, I can't guarantee it for you. Take a few days break in the penultimate (great word eh?) week before your exam. You might be surprised at how fresh you'll come out of it.
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2011, 08:58
Let me the first one to congratulate you for awesome score..... Great buddy. Can you please advice if you completed all material first and then practiced . For e.g. completed all SC and then practiced questions or it was like each chapter then questions from all materials and then move to next topic?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2011, 09:52
congrats for the score

n thanks 4 nice brief
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2011, 11:12
PositiveSoul wrote:
Let me the first one to congratulate you for awesome score..... Great buddy. Can you please advice if you completed all material first and then practiced . For e.g. completed all SC and then practiced questions or it was like each chapter then questions from all materials and then move to next topic?

Thanks in advance.


No I mixed it up quite a bit. I didn't really study too much per se, I just did practice each day from each section. Occasionally I would focus a day's effort to, say, CR or DS, but most of the time I would just do a bit of practice everyday of everything. Didn't really study per se, I think it's mostly a matter of practice. I also read through the SC MGMAT book a couple of times, not so much studied it but just skimmed it over.
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2011, 03:59
Wonderful score! congrats :)
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 08:27
good stuff mate! congrats!
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 22:10
Great score, congrats! :)
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2011, 22:13
Androu wrote:
- Retired GMAT books (approximately 30 really old exams dating from the 1970s and 80s back when the exam was all written and significantly longer and more time restrained with respect to the verbal section)


1970s! Out of interest, were these useful? What were the questions like?
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 07:47
Do you live near Toronto? I would love to buy the retired og tests from u :D
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 10:40
Penultimate IS a great word.

BTW congrats!!
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 13:35
Wow very interesting. I got my hands on some old tests from the late 90's. I've done a bunch of the quant questions and they seem pretty good. I haven't tried the verbal yet.
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 14:41
congrats!
thanks for the debrief
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 29 Jun 2011, 23:25
congrats and nice advice
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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2011, 12:02
Congrats mate. Nice balanced score

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Re: 720 (48Q, 41V) - my experience   [#permalink] 30 Jun 2011, 12:02
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