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730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score

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730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 06:54
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This is my first post after 4 months of studying and silently reading the wise words of the experts in this forum - Stacy, Ron, Karen - thanks to them for all their posts - don't think I could have studied without the help of all the forums that they frequent and answer the questions in such depth it is sooo helpful! Especially nice with all the wrong questions/answers floating around out there. Wanted to share quick debrief as I know these things helped motivate me when I was down or got a bad score on a practice test.

First words of advice: Assume nothing! I got a 1440 on my SAT back in 2001 without taking a prep class - 760 on verbal, 680 on verbal - so I figured I could get ~ 700 on GMAT without too much trouble. NOT TRUE FOR ME. GMAT is a totally different test. Its just a really difficult test to master. In January (when I started preparing) I figured I would breeze over verbal since I've always been really good at Verbal/I read fast, so for the last 4 months I studied mostly just quant, knowing it was my big weakness (as was obvious with my somewhat unbalanced SAT score). However, the verbal on the GMAT is TOTALLY different and I would have definitely benefited from spending more time focusing on verbal instead of assuming I could pick up the few sentence correction rules I needed the month before the test. Critical Reasoning is a whole different kind of beast - which definitely takes repeated practice. Reading Comp - which has always been my strong suit in other standardized tests - is actually pretty tough on the GMAT (although on practice MGMATs/Princeton Review - not very hard), and I didn't practice it hardly at all, so would have maybe helped to do that (although I don't think you can improve on it THAT much). Sentence correction is not as easy as you would think, a couple of the main rules will help you increase 3 points or so, but the smaller ones that you will see on the test in the 700 level are much more difficult to pick up quickly and definitely take repeated practice.

Second word of advice: Pick a test date! As soon as I got > 700 on a MGMAT test, I scheduled my test for a month from that date. This was truly critical in giving me a 'light at the end of the tunnel' for all the weekends I spent in my room studying. I would definitely advise doing this, as I studied much more proactively/efficiently after setting this date.

Just to set the record straight: You can do better than your GMAT Prep score by 40 points! I took a GMAT Prep (the closest to 'official' test you can take) 2 weeks before my test date and scored a 690. I took the other one one week later and got a 700. I was pretty upset and down, as my target score was 730. I read that the GMAT Prep has a range of +/- 30 and that most people actually go down in the real event, so I was freaking out. So I thought about rescheduling, but decided against it. Thanks to all the MGMAT instructors who helped calm me down during panicked office hours sessions :)

So drumroll, I got my target score of 730! So you can do it! Below are my scores to give my fellow GMAT partners hope!

ANOTHER THING: TIMING IS EVERYTHING: As you can see from my practice scores, once I figured out to stick to my benchmarks my score shot up 100 points! So this is a HUGE part of the test that you need to practice practice practice.

Side note: Even after practicing this 'diligent timing' on ~10 tests, I STILL screwed up my timing in the actual test (its super stressful and my nerves were all over the place) and I thought for some reason, that Math had 41 problems instead of 37, so I guessed on the last two problems trying to save time - but actually it was the end of the test! Woops! Talk about freaking out afterwards! Nerves do funny things some times - I had taken about a million practice tests so i can't imagine what I was thinking!!

Also i ran out of time on verbal after stupidly spending ~ 5 min on a critical reasoning question and another ~5 min on a specific detail question - forcing me to rush through the last 4 problems and guessing on 3/4 of them - so I probably could have bumped up both my math and verbal score about a point each if I had been stricter with timing - which means I could have had an even HIGHER score. SO, final WORDS OF WISDOM ON THIS: Practice the actual test taking scenario a lot (although I did this) and try to really be diligent about sticking to your benchmarks - it can really hurt you if you go off that too much. Luckily in my case, it didn't hurt me too bad, but I probably could have scored even higher had I been more strict about only spending 2.5 minutes EVER on a problem. And as much as you can give yourself the 'real situation' when taking the test do it, because nerves do funny things sometimes (like seeing #37 on math and thinking you have 4 questions left? What?)

SCORES TO GIVE MOTIVATION TO THOSE SCORING 690s: You can do it! Schedule your test as soon as you get >= 700!

Princeton Review 1: Only took quant part (my weakness): 45Q
MGMAT 1: 640 (43 Q, 35V) - 2/12/2011 (took this before I started the 9 session onsite course)
MGMAT 2: 630 (40 Q, 36V) - 3/26/2012 (Halfway through my MGMAT course - very much struggling with timing)
MGMAT 3: 730 (48 Q, 41V) - 4/9/2011 (75% through my course)
MGMAT 4: 730 (44Q, 45V) - 4/17/2011
Princeton Review CAT 2: 690 (44Q, 41V) - 4/22/2011
MGMAT 5: 730 (45Q, 45Q) - 4/23/2011
MGMAT 6: 740 (47Q, 44V) - 5/6/2011 (5 days before Test Day)
Princeton Review CAT 3: 690 (43Q, 42V) - 5/7/2011
Princeton Review CAT 4: 710 (44Q, 44V) - 5/8/2011
Kaplan Online Test: Only took Verbal: 47V

So in summary: Math on actual GMAT is WAY easier than MGMAT, but Verbal is WAY harder, so the overall score MGMAT gives you is actually pretty accurate. But plan to do better on math and worse on verbal. Kaplan Verbal is pretty tough if you want to test yourself on harder problems.

Okay hope this helps some people! You can do it - and don't freak out if you get a low GMAT Prep score, is my moral of the story. Oh, as for how I studied: took the 9 session MGMAT course, did about 1-2 hours after work every day, stayed in 90% of every weekend and studied Friday/Saturday/Sunday from January - April, and copied down EVERY quant problem I missed into a notebook for review as well as SC sentences I missed.

Wish I could tell you I had a neat trick but it is a freaking awful test and I can't believe how much work I had to put in just to get a 730, its freaking ridiculous. I wish I had a better method for getting 700+ but I pretty much dedicated EVERY weekend to this test, and did not do but 3 social activities in that whole span :( Luckily my friends were understanding but I definitely sacrificed my social life.

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 07:48
Congratulations! And all the best for your applications.

Will you also provide some feed back on MGMAT online course - separately on Math and Verbal.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 07:56
I did the onsite course, not the online course, but I hear good things about the online course. If you can get the one with Ron Purewal that would be best as he is really good. I personally think its helpful to both 'hear' and 'read' things - I think you learn the content better using both methods.

But with that being said, I know a few people who just bought the MGMAT books you followed the 9 week syllabus and did well in that method too. The thing the MGMAT course is it just keeps you to a schedule and then tests what you've learned each week so you can see where you need to spend more time.

Not sure if that helped - but if you have the $, I do recommend the course - always nice to have someone to ask questions to during the studying process, although I do think the majority of the learning/improving comes from the time you spend with the books and the practice problems.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 13:00
Congrats mandyee... awesome score ....

I know what you mean by freaking out with lower scores in practice .... am in the same boat :) ...
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 14:29
Congrats! and thanks a lot for sharing!!
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 17:58
Congrats mandyee! what material you used for Quant practice questions.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 18 May 2011, 23:54
I used Official Guide + MGMAT Strategy Guides and the MGMAT questions banks (did them twice), and also used the GMAT Prep tests. I actually took the GMAT Prep tests 6 times (after I did the first two 'mock' tests) to practice on 'real' gmat questions and the harder math questions- and I highly reccommend doing this. The questions are almost identical, and I really think that last week practicing with those questions helped me bump up my quant score from 46/47 to 49. Not sure it helped as much with verbal though - the questions are just a crapshoot.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 10:27
mandyee wrote:
I used Official Guide + MGMAT Strategy Guides and the MGMAT questions banks (did them twice), and also used the GMAT Prep tests. I actually took the GMAT Prep tests 6 times (after I did the first two 'mock' tests) to practice on 'real' gmat questions and the harder math questions- and I highly reccommend doing this. The questions are almost identical, and I really think that last week practicing with those questions helped me bump up my quant score from 46/47 to 49. Not sure it helped as much with verbal though - the questions are just a crapshoot.



i asked this question on BTG in ur debrief, asking here again, did u find the princeton tests useful ?
As i have exhausted mgmat in last attempt I am using 4 cats from princeton this time, the quant is blueberry cheesecake but the verbal is really really good especially the rc's ?

ur say ?
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 13:06
Princeton Tests actually give you a pretty good indicator of where you are (my scores were the same as my GMATPREP score, so pretty accurate), but you're right, the quant is wayyy easier. I think the verbal is a pretty good indicator of where you will score, the quant, while easier, is good to practice on because you will get questions like those on the GMAT and MGMAT quant is unrealistically hard sometimes, almost depressinly so.

So, my theory is use PR as a decent indicator of your score, really study their verbal questions, and make sure you can get most of their math questions right as they are almost all < 700 level questions. I used it at the very end of prep.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 19 May 2011, 23:59
mandyee wrote:
Princeton Tests actually give you a pretty good indicator of where you are (my scores were the same as my GMATPREP score, so pretty accurate), but you're right, the quant is wayyy easier. I think the verbal is a pretty good indicator of where you will score, the quant, while easier, is good to practice on because you will get questions like those on the GMAT and MGMAT quant is unrealistically hard sometimes, almost depressinly so.

So, my theory is use PR as a decent indicator of your score, really study their verbal questions, and make sure you can get most of their math questions right as they are almost all < 700 level questions. I used it at the very end of prep.



this is actually a dicy question, which would u rate better in verbal ? in terms of question quality ?
mgmat or princeton ? i think score predictors of both are accurate

I think mgmat CR sometimes get too mathematical and the SC's tend to make or break on a particular rule. i.e and idiom. where as gmat never does that. Princeton cannot be called 100% perfect however it has modeled verbal questions on OG-10(a most questions r pretty old).
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2011, 12:37
congratulations...info helps alot
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2011, 16:12
Congratulations mayndee and thanks for the tips..

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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 05:59
+1 Kudos from me!!!
Congrats for ur awesome success.
Your tips are really helpfull and I need some personal advise from you regarding the preparation. Please let me know about it.
Thanks again.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 06:55
Congratulations Mandyee! All the best for your applications! What books have you used for your preparation.
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 09:07
great job! I too, scored higher on real thing than GMAT Prep! 30 PTS! it really messed with my head going into the exam!
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2011, 09:06
good story, congrats
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Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score [#permalink] New post 08 Jun 2011, 10:34
congrats! i purchased the MGMAT books and online class so I'm glad to see people have success with it.
Re: 730 Debrief! (40V 49Q 6.0AWA) + 40 pts on GMATPrep Score   [#permalink] 08 Jun 2011, 10:34
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