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720 (Q49 V42) on 1st attempt;satisfied & surprised

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Joined: 20 Aug 2013
Posts: 30
Location: China
Concentration: International Business, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 720 Q V
GPA: 3.63
WE: Supply Chain Management (Consumer Products)
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Kudos [?]: 7 [1] , given: 19

720 (Q49 V42) on 1st attempt;satisfied & surprised [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2013, 08:11
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I need the GMAT
I've known for a long time that at some point I wanted to get an MBA in order to improve my knowledge & skills and to venture out to new industries and jobs I haven't had much contact with yet. I'm working in a relatively stressful business as most of us on GMATClub do. So when I had five days of vacation in August I finally had some time to gather my thoughts and made up my mind that I'd start preparing to apply next year.

It didn't take me more than five minutes googling to find this website and another 10 minutes to figure out that the first thing I'd need is the official guide.
The highlight of my vacation was heading to a bookstore to purchase the 13th edition.
I set up my mind that I'd start to study after my holidays and take the test within this year.

The journey begins
Back from my holidays I knew that I had to set an appointment and give away $250 to really start studying rather than postponing.
So that's what I did: December I said, before I'm heading home for Christmas, I said.
Booked the appointment accordingly and opened the book.
After finishing the diagnostic test I downloaded the GMATprep software as I wanted to sit a full test before I started to study, in order to compare my results to those I would get with the second test after I would have finished the OG.

GMATprep 1 (8 September 2013): 680, IR8, Q48, V35

I've spent all of September and October (with an interruption of three weeks due to business trips) and the first half of November studying the quantitative section of the book.
I used printer paper for my calculations and logged all my answers on a notepad.
Question groups of 15 - 30, depending on what time in the evening it was. After each group of questions I'd check how many mistakes I've made.
I've marked all answers for which I wanted to read the official answer as I wasn't sure if my approach was the best, with an "!".
All guesses with a "*". These I would always check with the official answers, regardless whether they were correct or incorrect.
Whenever I had too many mistakes to be happy about, I would re-take the problems before reading the official answers in order to push myself to try harder.
The only other tool I've used was the daily BTG problem newsletter, which I would receive by email. One question per day, which often seemed absolutely different from the official questions and require dmd to think differently. I would often work on those during my lunch break, as the evening were occupied with OG training.

When I was finished with the quantitative section it was already mid-November and I had only three weeks left until D Day.
Hence it was time to start with the verbal section. I studied it with the same approach I've had for the first section and was done after three weeks.
I went through the verbal section much faster, partially because I felt it was more intuitive and I wouldn't take any notes to answer questions, as I did with the quantitative section.

Total studying time was two hours on average during week nights and about six to eight hours per weekend (Saturday & Sunday together).

On the last Sunday, two days before my planned test day, I took the second GMATprep test:

GMATprep 2 (7 December 2013): 710, IR7, Q48, V40

I was happy with the verbal improvement but disappointed that there was no change with my quantitative score. However, when I started the test I had a blackout, starting with the IR section, which put me down and made me think "screw this, it's not the real thing anyway".

Later that day I would go through all my mistakes and noticed, as I did so often during my regular studies of both sections, that I often just read the questions too early, not focusing on what the question actually asked for. Many of my mistakes I was able to correct.

Anyway Monday morning came and I knew I had to spend at least this day with preparing for AWA.
So I came back to GMATClub and found chineseburned's template, which I tried to memorise as much as possible.

I didn't study at all for IR as the section appeared very easy to me from the beginning.

Test Day - or not?
It's Tuesday morning, I haven't slept too much but had to get ready, make some breakfast and head to work for 3 hours before leaving for the exam.
I took work relatively easy and tried to get as much done as possible so that my mind would be at ease during the test.
When I arrived at the test center, there was a technical problem and nobody was able to take the test - it was postponed for a week :x

Trying to see it in a positive light, I told myself "well that gives you another week to improve your weaknesses".

Which...I didn't really do.
I went through some of the questions I would notoriously answer wrong and tried solving them with different approaches.
That being said, I had scheduled the original test day so that I could fully concentrate on work again afterwards since many project deadlines had to be met afterwards, this close to Christmas. Hence, I didn't spend as much time studying as I would normally have.

Test Day - now for real
From Saturday to Sunday I really had little sleep at all, which was great, because it allowed me to fall asleep early last night and sleep well and long until this morning.
Made myself breakfast, went to the office to get as much done as possible again in three hours, so that nobody in headquarters notices my absence during the afternoon (no holidays today :shock: ). Arrived at the test center, 10 more test takers were there, and we were checked in.

I had arrived an hour before the test began in order to be in a calm stage of mind. It worked well!

Checked in, put my belongings into a locker and was seated on a computer station.
These stations...I don't know if they're the same all over the world, but man, they were small!
Little 15" screens, a round short stool without backrest, which was not adjustable in height, 50cm to my right the next person was sitting, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.
I just told myself that I'd pick another test facility should I screw it up today.

Test started:
AWA: Immediately started writing with chineseburned's template in my mind. Spent about 27minutes to finish the section incl. proofreading.

IR: During my two prep tests I've always finished this section relatively quick. Therefore I decided to take my time and calculate everything if necessary. I even made use of the software calculator, which seems to have helped me.

8 minutes break: Quickly went out, had my little bit of Red Bull, ate a Snickers (read about this combination in several debriefs and decided to copy the approach :D ), went to the restrooms to wash my face (also inspired by GMATClub members!) and back to the test room with 3 minutes of my break left.
Was logged back in and the real deal began.

QS: It started off easy, became a little difficult and was then easy again. The problems that came up made me think that I really sucked since they neither seemed too hard nor to differentiate too much. E.g., there were not many geometry questions, just very few probability questions and mainly some <><>< and a lot of DS (I didn't recall that it were that many during my prep tests).
Finished the section with 3min remaining and thought that I'd really need to get a good verbal grade for a good total.

8 minutes break, same procedure: Snickers, Coke, Washing Face, back to room with 4 minutes left not he clock, as I wanted to make sure to not get back in too late. Read too many horror stories about that, as well.

VS: This is the section, which I finished way too quick during my prep tests, always with 20 minutes remaining. I tried to really take my time today and just re-read all RC questions, knowing that I normally won't run out of time on the verbal part. I believe this made the difference in my score compared to my prep scores.
Many short SC sentences, which appeared really tricky. More often than I liked I chose by "sound of it" rather than a rule I wasn't familiar with.
Finished this part with about 4min remaining :)

Click click click, additional info, blabla, report score:
GMAT 720, IR8, Q49, V42 8-)

I was happy that it was better than my prep scores and that Q wasn't as bad as I had imagined it. I was even happier about V being my best V-score to date, but I didn't like that Q was still no 50 or 51. I'm usually much stronger in quantitative skills than in verbal skills.

Anyway, I left the room, got my unofficial score printed out and spent the next three hours in traffic, trying to get home and thinking whether I would have to retake, as I am sure that I can improve Q to 50/51 with Manhattan training, or whether the score will suffice for my application.
I still haven't come up with an answer :?: :?:

What I noticed now is that many people with the same section scores got totals of 730 and 740, but nobody else seems to have 720.
Wish I would've had the chance to take the test last week; maybe they adjusted the algorithm in the past couple of days...


Finally, thank you!
I'd like to thank the community and everybody else who wrote debriefs!
During my study breaks I would take my laptop to the balcony and just read other debriefs to motivate myself "IT IS POSSIBLE"!
You don't necessarily have to attempt the GMAT too many times to reach 700+.
You just have to be consistent with your studying, clearly figure out your weaknesses and FIND THE TIME to practice, practice, practice.

I occasionally went to bed at 12am and would stay awake another two to three hours, unable to fall asleep, just thinking of GMAT, MBA, and where I'm going to be this time next year.
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Re: 720 (Q49 V42) on 1st attempt;satisfied & surprised [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2013, 05:19
Congrats !

I think U r natually talented ! In first gmat prep U got 680?? I have not got yet in my practise even though i have already taken GMAT two times :(

Gud luck ahead.. Congrats again !
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Bole So Nehal.. Sat Siri Akal.. Waheguru ji help me to get 700+ score !

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Re: 720 (Q49 V42) on 1st attempt;satisfied & surprised [#permalink] New post 27 Dec 2013, 15:12
I was going to say, how the HELL do you not get a 740 with that breakdown?! That doesn't bode well for me as Im aiming at a 720 and now it seems as if I have to account for at least a 20-point inflated score from the GMATPrep results Ill get.

And yeah, your score is really impressive given that you didn't dive into any theory at all. Just doing a bunch of questions is good but you DO miss out on so many subtle rules/tips/shortcuts that certain books give you (read: LSAT CR and MGMAT SC/Quant), your verbal score is especially impressive given that you didn't actually systematically study all the mumbo-jumbo grammar rules that apply.

But yeah, WTF about the raw score? With that breakdown..? Im guessing this is a pretty huge deal; this is the first time Ive ever encountered GMAC re-adjusting the algorithm. Im guessing people have been doing better the last couple of months than in previous periods? Let's hope for my sake they've re-readjusted it come january 15th, and put it where it damn belongs!
Re: 720 (Q49 V42) on 1st attempt;satisfied & surprised   [#permalink] 27 Dec 2013, 15:12
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