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720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience!

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Manager
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Status: Celebrating!
Joined: 08 Oct 2011
Posts: 71
Location: United Kingdom
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 720 Q47 V42
WE: Operations (Manufacturing)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 19 [6] , given: 11

720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2013, 13:50
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Start & Study Period


I began back in Oct 2011 with a burst of enthusiasm. I even found my first post on this forum! http://gmatclub.com/forum/wk-1-gmac-practice-questions-and-practice-test-result-125731.html I took a GMATPrep test just to give myself an idea of my level and what I was potentially able to manage. I scored 610 after a few days of reading up on the structure of the test and taking a few practice questions. After taking it, it was clear I had forgotten most of what I knew about grammar, and was very rusty on Quant questions despite graduating with an engineering degree 5 years ago.

After this test I don't really remember starting to study again seriously until August last year when I bought a Kaplan book and started studying some light math but mainly SC. I DID NOT study for a full 16 months. I think my main motivation to start again was because of achieving a promotion at work, and realising everyone around me was much more senior than me and suddenly had MBAs... I didn't.

I've never been a great studier. I lack concentration and staying power. I can rarely study more than 2 hours at a time. I tried to allocate a morning at a time to studying, with two 2-hour blocks and other stuff in between. Because of my job I can't really do any during the week so mainly studied on weekend mornings.

Study Materials


[*]Kaplan Premier - mainly for the 5 practice tests
[*]Kaplan Math Workbook - not used too much, but my background meant I had a good grasp of Quant topics already.
[*]Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction - I CANNOT recommend this enough, I bought this after reading reviews on this forum and I agree wholeheartedly. I'm sure this book was worth 20-30 pts for me.
[*]Official Guide 12th Ed - last but not least!

Practice Test Results


GMATPrep 1 - 610 (10/11)
Kaplan 1 - No score - I managed to abort this mid-test such was my incompetence!
Kaplan 2 - 600 (8/2/12)
Kaplan 3 - 620 (11/4/12)
Kaplan 4 - 650 (11/25/12)
GMATPrep 1 - 710 (reinstalled software 1 year later)
Kaplan 5 - 660 (1/6/13)
GMATPrep 2 - 680 (2 days before test)

GMAT - 720 (!!!)

I took the test yesterday and I'm so pleased. I really wanted a 7 at the front. I think my scores showed me three things;
[*]1) I progressed pretty steadily. Regular practice tests helped me to track progress and a trend gave me confidence.
[*]2) Kaplan tests are HARD. I googled this a lot, consensus seems to be Kaplan is about -20 on the official test. I actually think its slightly more, 30-40 pts maybe.
[*]3) Test performance is REALLY important. The last two weeks, I ate well, slept well and made sure during the test I was well hydrated, took all the breaks and stretched out. Its difficult to concentrate after 3 1/2 hours so you need to practice this.


My Own Bits of Advice


Focus on your weaknesses. My job involves analysing data, spotting weaknesses and addressing them. I did the same with myself, with the error logs elsewhere on this forum. They're a pain to do, but it pays off. In the last week, I went through and re-did every question I'd got wrong in a practice test, and any I still got wrong I read the explanation in detail. This helped a lot.

Be prepared for the lows. I almost gave up a few times, I was concerned about how I'd pay for business school etc... Go get a pizza or something and start again tomorrow.

Don't worry too much about this forum. There's loads of great advice and information here, but it can be demoralising - everyone seems to get 750+, standing on their head. I'm sure for every superstar there's 99 others struggling through like you using it for advice.

Take 1 question at a time. I had tests where I thought I'd done well and was disappointed, and had tests where I thought I'd screwed up and surprised myself. You simply cannot predict computer-adaptive tests, a hard question you can't answer normally means you've moved up a difficulty level and is often a good sign. Tests on paper can be read through and you get a feel for how you're doing - these are different.

Finally:
PS = problem solving
DS = data sufficiency
SC = sentence correction
CR = critical reasoning
RC = reading comprehension

It took me ages to find that out.

If you made it this far, well done. I'm off to put my head in ice to get rid of my hangover. Hope this was useful!

_________________

My blog: http://timbob101.wordpress.com/

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Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2013, 16:18
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This is officially one of my all-time favorite debriefs. I love it partly because of the "I'm off to put my head in ice to get rid of my hangover" line (hilarious), and partly because you're an awesome story for people who don't think they have what it takes to improve their score.

Quote:
I've never been a great studier. I lack concentration and staying power. I can rarely study more than 2 hours at a time. I tried to allocate a morning at a time to studying, with two 2-hour blocks and other stuff in between.


Awesome. Plenty of people aren't naturally obsessive about studying, and they often get intimidated by the stories of guys who did 8,000,000 hours of practice questions. It's good to see a guy like you kick ass on the GMAT. You clearly suffered for that 720, but you deserve serious props for finding a way to get it done.

Quote:
Don't worry too much about this forum. There's loads of great advice and information here, but it can be demoralising - everyone seems to get 750+, standing on their head. I'm sure for every superstar there's 99 others struggling through like you using it for advice.


Plenty of people read the success stories, and get the impression that everybody is crushing the GMAT with no effort at all. But for every loud "I just clobbered the GMAT!" story with 40 comments, there are at least five (mostly unnoticed) forum posts that begin or end with "please help!!!" And I'm sure that there are exponentially more GMAT Club "lurkers" who have been demoralized by the GMAT, but choose not to post on the forum.

So yeah, this GMAT crap can be really, really hard, and tons of people really struggle with it. Thank you for reminding the struggling masses that success doesn't come easily for most GMAT test-takers... but it comes eventually if you stick with it.

Congratulations, and thank you again for the great debrief!

_________________

Helping students kick the GMAT in the nuts since 2002... www.gmatninja.com.

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Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2013, 18:24
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Hi Massey,

Congrats for the "Bingo...!!! stuff" :-) . You made us remind the pain that one should take to achieve such a huge GMAT score. Will definitely take it down. Your story was like 100 volts inspiration especially to me.

Thanks again,
Chakri.
Manager
Manager
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Status: Celebrating!
Joined: 08 Oct 2011
Posts: 71
Location: United Kingdom
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 720 Q47 V42
WE: Operations (Manufacturing)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 11

Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2013, 08:15
Thanks for the positive comments, its nice to know its of use to someone!

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Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 04:26
Great debrief and congrats!

can i ask what kaplan tests were you using?
The online tests?
They have like 9 tests online and i find it wierd how they calculate thier overall score.
I had a test where i started off really well and then later on had 3 wrong 2 right 4 wrong 2 right etc... and overall score was 710.

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If my answer helped, dont forget KUDOS! :)


IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING

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Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 158
Concentration: Strategy, Technology
GMAT Date: 08-01-2013
GPA: 3.7
WE: Consulting (Consulting)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 40 [0], given: 29

Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 16:09
Great debrief! Really motivational.......

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http://gmatclub.com/forum/collection-of-articles-on-critical-reasoning-159959.html

percentages-700-800-level-questions-130588.html

700-to-800-level-quant-question-with-detail-soluition-143321.html

Manager
Manager
avatar
Status: Celebrating!
Joined: 08 Oct 2011
Posts: 71
Location: United Kingdom
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 720 Q47 V42
WE: Operations (Manufacturing)
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Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 11

Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 13:24
Hi Roygush

Quote:
can i ask what kaplan tests were you using?
The online tests?


Correct the online tests. You get an online account with some practice questions and then 5 practice tests free with Kaplan Premier http://www.amazon.com/Kaplan-Premier-Online-Practice-Tests/dp/1609780930/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359580962&sr=8-1&keywords=kaplan+premier

The book isn't great but a few useful pointers. I really only got it for the tests. The tests are hard, the scoring is a little off as I've said (I think around 20-30pts too low) but still a useful guide - I found more than anything it a good morale boost to track my score with regular practice.

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Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2013, 18:58
I also bought the Kaplan premier book, and I also believe that the CAT scoring is weird. Anyways, nice score, what was the split?

Its nice to see someone else who is terrible at studying succeed on the GMAT, gives me some hope.
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Joined: 03 Apr 2012
Posts: 10
Location: United States
Concentration: Operations, Strategy
GMAT 1: 750 Q48 V44
GPA: 3.8
WE: Engineering (Computer Software)
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Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 0

Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2013, 11:17
tmassey101 wrote:
[*]Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction - I CANNOT recommend this enough, I bought this after reading reviews on this forum and I agree wholeheartedly. I'm sure this book was worth 20-30 pts for me.


Definitely the best Sentence Correction book out there. Without it I would have been so lost.

tmassey101 wrote:
[*]2) Kaplan tests are HARD. I googled this a lot, consensus seems to be Kaplan is about -20 on the official test. I actually think its slightly more, 30-40 pts maybe.


I feel you on this one. I got a 650 on my Kaplan CAT and a 750 on my GMAT, but that 650 scared the crap out of me.
Manager
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Status: Celebrating!
Joined: 08 Oct 2011
Posts: 71
Location: United Kingdom
Concentration: Operations, General Management
GMAT 1: 720 Q47 V42
WE: Operations (Manufacturing)
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 11

Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2013, 02:59
Louisdudley:

I found Kaplan not too bad overall, but I read your debrief - you're right about topics. It seems to focus on slightly different topics compared to the GMAT. I also know the feeling of during the Quant section feeling like you've messed up and are actually just on high difficulty questions. Its so important just to focus on the question in front of you.

Moneymango:

Split was Q47 Q42. I just got the complete score report too, with a 7 on I.R. and 6.0 on AWA.

_________________

My blog: http://timbob101.wordpress.com/

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Joined: 03 Apr 2012
Posts: 10
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Concentration: Operations, Strategy
GMAT 1: 750 Q48 V44
GPA: 3.8
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Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 0

Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience! [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2013, 08:02
Timbob wrote:
Its so important just to focus on the question in front of you.



Most definitely. If I had to do it again I would make sure to keep this in mind more. I was able to let go between sections, but held on to some of the worry between questions, which is just unneeded stress during the test.
Re: 720 First attempt, but a drawn-out painful study experience!   [#permalink] 18 Feb 2013, 08:02
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