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730 (Q48, V42; AWA 5.5) for 1st-timer + Hints&Tips

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730 (Q48, V42; AWA 5.5) for 1st-timer + Hints&Tips [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2006, 09:36
Hello everyone

I took GMAT this morning.

The results are: 730, 97% (Q48; 86%, V42, 95%). I finished my Verbal with 27min (yes, it's twenty-seven minutes) to go, 8 minutes on my Math, but was still checking ANALYSIS and ESSAY at 1 second.

A couple of comments:

MY BACKGROUND
I'm a native and resident of Moscow, Russia, turning 26 next week. The first degree is in Translation& Linguistics (3.98 GPA). I'm completing an Associate-level profram in Finance. Seven years of full-time experience: currently an acquisitions & marketing manager for TV studios, very much an international-environment job (+ some stat skills). Prior to that worked for a TV network and taught English in a Russian high-school.

MATERIALS (ranked by utility)

- I used the GMAT 2006 EDITION PREMIER PROGRAM from Kaplan as the core text [there's a newer edition out but not available here]. Number One tool, highly recommended, a very good review of various fields of algebra and geometry. The Verbal is way harder than what I think is necessary (but then the drill makes you prepared). For the CD companion: yes it somewhat overlaps with the paper version but do all the section exercises and the tests.

- GMATCLUB.COM!! This is an amazing, amazing place full of GMAT enthusiasts, thank you again U2lover, kevincan and others. I have found the forum to be particularly useful for Quant: if you can confidently solve and follow what's posted and discussed here, you'll do just fine on the exam. (I couldn't so I didn't))))

- I also bought and downloaded 5 "Crack GMAT" tests from Princeton: very good practice for $20but don't count on them to gauge your performance as they fluctuate wildly: I got 655/705/655/710/590.
PowerPrep gave me 710 and 730. KAPLAN CD-CAT scores were 570/590/650.

Can someone add my results to the GMAT score estimator database please?

- Princeton's "Verbal Workout". A very useful book to perfect Verbal, a must if English isn't your first language.

- GMAT 2007-2008 from Kaplan. IMHO, the questions are too hard to be practical; more importantly, the book lacks structure and the advice is too piecemeal to make sense.


Overall, it's tough to quantify but I feel that Kaplan's Verbal is 25-30% tougher than the real thing while its Quant is closer to the actual tasks but a lot more varied. Princeton's Verbal Workout is I would say 15% tougher.

NB: You absolutely MUST do the PowerPrep since it is the closest to the actual exam. Leave PP#2 as the dress-rehearsal exam for later in your preparation.

SCHEDULE

I took the first PowerPrep test on 12 June, and on August 4 scheduled my GMAT appointment for November 18, knowing I won't be able to study for 2-3 weeks in October. Save for that kind of break, I think you should allocate a minimum of 10 weeks if you are starting to prepare from scratch. It could be less if you are an educated speaker of English who is handy with high-school algebra.

A. For the first 4 weeks I spent 2 hours on each Wednesday/Thursday. I did a batch of 8-10 questions of each type (or one passage for RC), setting my cell phone timer at 90 seconds per question (ie. 10-12 minutes per batch). From the second batch onwards I finished with 4-5 minutes to spare on Verbal. I tried timing/stopwatching individual questions but it's too distracting. Also lounged around this forum.

B. After that I did a full-length test each Saturday afternoon (5 kaplan tests + 5 Princetons), occasionally doing a batch of Princeton Verbal Workout practices.

C. The last 5 days before the test I finished off the Verbal Workout in a couple of big batches and took the Kaplan diagnostic test which basically is the book & test questions rehashed.

D. I didn't write any AWA essays as a preparation - first, they aren't scored within the 800, second, I did a lot of that in college.

RESULTS
I was expecting to be in the top 1% on Quant (what do you need for that - 52?). I've been a bit overworked for the past few weeks and got rattled, but that's my fault, not the test-maker's. I do believe getting every question right on Quant is possible if you put your mind to it. I'm less sure if it's generally feasible for the Verbal (especially when it comes to Princeton/Kaplan practices, there are explanations that seem, at best, challengeable).

Also, the first 10 questions REALLY matter.

I guess I got the first Verbal Qs wrong (though they looked pretty straightforward to me) and it got me down to easier ones, hence 42. On Quant, toughies kept coming right on.

Yet 730 "beats the median" in any b-school except maybe for Stanford but I'm not applying there. I might take another shot next summer when I'm done with my Finance thing but more likely than not will save me $250.

FINALLY
It's not as tough as it may seem doing the practice tests. But you have to stay focused during the test and you need to practice (I once heard you need, at a minimum, an equivalent of 15 full-length tests before you know what you can, I think 15 is about correct).

Good luck!

Mikhail
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"Amicus Plato, sed magic amica veritas"


Last edited by Mikhail Bondarenko on 04 Dec 2006, 08:31, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2006, 10:30
Congratulations. Great score.

To answer your question, 51 is currently the highest score for either Q or V. As of the most recent report I have seen, 51Q corresponds to 99% while 50Q is 95%. For verbal, 46 and up is now 99%.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2006, 11:41
Wow.....Completed the Verbal with 27 mins to spare? Thats an amazing feat...

congratulations!! :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2006, 12:35
hey, great news!!! 730 is my dream score, so CONGRATs and yes, this scroe won't keep you out!!! BUT freaking 27 min to spare with 42 in Verbal from a non-native... what the ^(&d? :shock: :shock: :shock: I guess teaching English helped you to cut time in SC??? otherwise I have no explanation :lol: :lol: :lol:

good luck and party hard!!!

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 [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2006, 12:48
Congratulations! I hope you enjoyed the questions I posted.
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 [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2006, 20:20
Congrats dude....You should have given me those 27 min.....I scored 700 today ...guessed on last 7 of verbal....
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2006, 22:16
mate. you are a linguistics major. I am not surprised that you can finish the verbal so fast.
  [#permalink] 19 Nov 2006, 22:16
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