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First of all, I'd like to point out that what you are about to read will not be a fluffy happy go-lucky account of how a college slacker over-achieved on the GMAT. This is all true, but not helpful. The story that may be helpful is how I went from a journalism and economics double-major with only remedial math classes to a solid score. I decided last summer that I wanted to take the GMAT and that two months would be enough time to study for the test. My first Princeton test score was a 620, and my highest a 670. I learned about the GMAT's format while I studied and scored a 700 (45, 41). I considered the 700 to be a threshold score for me at the time and took a break.
Then I realized that with decent grades (3.5 with easy courses), and no work experience I was going to need a better performance on the GMAT. This is where the story changes from background info to study techniques. I bought a new version of OG on Amazon and decided to study it dilligently. The math questions in OG are variations of what you will see on the test. On the test, some questions will remind you of particular problems you studied, others appear to be near carbon copies (this time anyway), and some can be answered because the analytical skills developed studying OG can enhance a non-math majors quant ability (for others the analytical skill might be in place). For the math, I didn't find anything nearly as useful as the OG. At the 49 level, perm and comb problems are going to be easy enough to answer with only the formulas and some intuition.
The verbal section I didn't improve my score at all. In fact, it went down a point, which surprised me. I was scoring in the 43 and 44 range on the powerpreps. I have no advice on verbal because my final score was the same as the score I received on both my first Princeton and first PP tests.
I think that the best advice I could give would regard pacing. I realize that this is a controversial issue (since nobody knows what pace is best) so I urge you to only consider my suggestion. When I took the test the first time, particularly on the math, I worried about getting the first ten questions right. The first ten or so are supposed to be greater determinants of final score. I agree 100 percent. However, some might overstate this. When I took the test I checked the first ten twice (even when I was 99 per. sure I was right). I wasted a total of appr. 10 minutes on the first ten because I changed none of my answers. This extra time is crucial to scoring well later in the test. Having greater self assurance is not reflected in the score. The score does not calculate how confident you are. I improved my math score 4 points by moving on when I was confident with my answer. I imagine there are other people who need to learn to move on.
I realize that this post is long, but I am not self-absorbed. Others at this site have scored better, and some worse, but we all have credibility in saying what is best for us personally. I'd like lots of questions, because I would like to try to answer them (in detail LOL) and help if I can. I'd also like to thank Akamai Brah for his passion, Stoolfi for his inspirational scores, and everyone who has posted a score they're not happy with for their character. _________________
Thanks a million for the kind words. As far as improving reading comprehension, I would like to respectfully disqualify my advice. Not because I'm unwilling to offer it but because my score decreased in that category. Any conscious effort I made to improve the score was clearly to my detriment. Basically, I'd like to spare innocent bystanders.
However there was something bizarre about this months' verbal. I obviously have a conflict of interest in saying this, but it seemed awfully easy and yet I scored as low as I ever have on any practice test. Someone else mentioned that they felt great about verbal, had averaged 720's on powerpreps and scored a 29 on verbal. I've never been so confident about my answers, and been so far off in predicting my own score. _________________
However there was something bizarre about this months' verbal. I obviously have a conflict of interest in saying this, but it seemed awfully easy and yet I scored as low as I ever have on any practice test. Someone else mentioned that they felt great about verbal, had averaged 720's on powerpreps and scored a 29 on verbal. I've never been so confident about my answers, and been so far off in predicting my own score.[/quote]
Could you please point out specifically which portion (CR/ SC/ RC) seemed surreptitiously innocuous? Or was that a general observation? I am taking my test in a week's time and am just curious.
Hi there. I kind of regretted saying that because in retrospect, I might have started off poorly and received easy questions because I didn't build to a high enough level of difficulty to score well.
Alright the RC's seemed easy, and the first one I got was very short as well (40 lines). The general themes were easy to spot, and the answers were in plain sight. The problem with knowing which section was surreptitiously easy is that I don't know what I missed. If I got an answer right, and the question seemed easy then there was nothing deceptive about the level of difficulty.
I also thought I was doing very well because I got bold-faced CR's toward the end (two in a row), and figured that suggested a higher level question. Obviously not. I think that the theme to take away is that two of three February posters have gotten scores lower than they had on previous practice tests (the other guy shockingly lower). Stay intense all the way through verbal and you'll have more success than we did.
I thought the OG math was very much in line with what I saw. _________________
Hi Mirhaque, I studied for two months the first time I took the test and scored a 700. I took some time off and studied for one more month before re-taking and scored this.
I think that it's a lot easier to improve the math score, so I spent a lot of time studying Kaplan's basic math book. I then did hundreds of data sufficiency questions to make sure that I could answer the toughest math questions. I got some of them anyway. I think going through the last 75 data sufficiency questions in the official guide is a tremendous help. Read the explanations carefully and repeat.
There are some good problem solving questions as well but they really don't seem to be nearly as hard as the real thing. For these I recommend the all-purpose kaplan book which has some really thought provoking and tough questions. Ultimately I think a comprehensive math review is the quickest and most reliable way to improve one's score.
I should be getting my AWA's soon. It's been ten days. I'll share them when they arrive. Any other questions I'll be happy to offer my two cents. _________________
On the 18th day I get my official scores! A 5.5 AWA, which is okay I suppose. I wonder whether the computer or the person gave me a 6, hmmmm. I think that difference should matter.
I now have to finish college and make sure I don't botch my grade in linear algebra. But it's good to get this out of the way so that I can work for a while and apply in a couple of years. Hopefully the GMAT averages at the top schools won't be 750 at that point. I'll save my books just in case.
Moma, I don't remember how many RC questions I got. I had about three passages though. Assume it's the normal amount. _________________