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730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS?

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730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2012, 07:18
Hey guys,

I have read this forum for a while and have got a lot of useful information. So today, after my first attempt at the GMAT, I want to give back what I can to this wonderful community. It's not a stellar score, but I hope my experience can be useful for some folks out there.

Background:
I just graduated from college in New Hampshire in May, got a job in real estate in my hometown Hanoi, Vietnam in mid-September but won't start until January 2013. So I figure I would spend my few months in between studying for the GMAT.

Beginning:
I started with Barron and Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT. Blew through it since the books do not have much substance. I recommend Princeton for anyone who's lazy like me and want to get started on the GMAT quest. Don't worry about Barrons; it was terrible. I switched to OG after and soon identified my weaknesses including CR, RC and Data Sufficiency.

Target your weaknesses:
Essay: look for chineseburned AWA template on this forum. It is pure gold.
IR: use GMAT PREP, MGMAT and Kaplan CAT. Once you prep well for your Quant and familiarize yourself with some CATs, there is no reason to sweat over IR. I read from somewhere (and find this to be true) that it's better to do well on, say, 8 or 10 IR questions than to stretch yourself thin over all 12.
Quant: Yes, Data Sufficiency wasn't my strong suit (probably still not) but overall I find quant to be much more manageable than Verbal. I did not spend much time on Quant, basically just went through OG and used GMAT club tests.
Verbal: The best materials for Verbal, in my opnion, are MGMAT SC, Powerscore CR Bible, 1000 RC . For SC and CR, follow the books. For RC, read slowly and understand the whole passage instead of reading to understand the structure and skimming the rest to know where the details are.
If you want more difficult stuff, Kaplan 800 is a good source. Its logic is questionable sometimes though because I don't get some of their questions no matter how many times I read the explanation. But again those iffy questions are only a small part of the book.
I spend on average two weeks on each section. Once I move on to the next section, I tried to do 10 questions for each part that I finished prepping for every time I study. For instance, I started with CR, then RC and finally SC. By the time I reached SC, I would answer 10 questions for CR and 10 for SC. The same thing for Quant. It is my way of keeping my mind from forgetting what I studied.


Diagnostic tests:
Hult simulation test: 740-770
GMAT PREP 1: 740
MGMAT CAT 1: 720 (IR is good. Math is way tougher than the real GMAT)
Kaplan CAT 1: 720 (IR is good. Verbal is iffy since, as I mentioned earlier, Kaplan logic is not right sometimes)
GMAT PREP 2: 760 (this is a week before the test and it really got my hopes up)
GMAT PREP 1 retake: 760

Test day:
Essay was easy.
I only finished 10/12 IR questions but am quite confident about the 10 that I answered.
The Quant section is way easier than what i'm used to during prep time. I would say it's even easier than the GMAT PREP that I took. Encountered only one probability question. I had like 10 minutes left for the last 3 and finished 3 minutes early.
The Verbal section wasn't too difficult. No boldface question which I dread. My timing, however, was not very good. I had 10 or 12 minutes left for the last 8 questions so i don't think I did well on my last RC passage. For the remaining 5 questions, I had 5 minutes and used the strategy that BB recommended. He says you should devote your time to every other question. So it's better to focus on question # 41, 39 and 37 while guess on 38 and 40 than to focus on 37, 38, 39 and bomb 40 and 41. That way, you can keep your score fluctuate around a high level rather see it plumping after several guesses in a row.
Got a 730. Good effort on the first try although i am a little bummed out since I scored higher during practice.

What's next:
Well, I won't apply until probably 2015. I just want to work and make some money now.

Question: My dream school is HBS and GMAT is the only outlet left for me to quantitatively impress the Admission officers. At this moment, I think I will retake it, at least for personal satisfaction because I feel that I can do better. But what is your expert opinion? Should I retake the GMAT to improve my shot at HBS?
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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2012, 07:29
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transinhquan wrote:

Question: My dream school is HBS and GMAT is the only outlet left for me to quantitatively impress the Admission officers. At this moment, I think I will retake it, at least for personal satisfaction because I feel that I can do better. But what is your expert opinion? Should I retake the GMAT to improve my shot at HBS?


Congrats on your amazing score! you rocked the GMAT. I think it would depend on other factors like work experience etc you get a profile evaluation from various admission consultants over here. IMO it should be enough just depends on your essays.

admission-consultants-124/?fl=menu


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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2012, 22:14
Wow, congratulations on the amazing score! That's absolutely spectacular.

I suspect that most of the other admissions consultants will say something similar in that branch of the forum, but most of your admissions chances will depend on your work experience, career vision, and (to a lesser degree) extracurriculars. Your GMAT score is more than solid, and an extra 20 or 30 points might help a little bit, but it's unlikely to make or break your chances at a place like HBS, where they can get all of the 750+ scorers they want. Past a certain score (say, the low 700s), HBS is pretty agnostic about the GMAT, and focuses mostly on the rest of your profile.

It sounds like you're destined for awesomeness, so please go do some amazing things in Hanoi and do a great job of presenting those amazing things in your essays. If you're really driven to retake the GMAT as a personal quest, that's great, but now that you've already earned a 730, HBS will mostly be interested in everything else.

Congratulations again! We're looking forward to hearing you tell us about your admit to HBS in a few years. :-D
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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2012, 08:14
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Congratulations on the fantastic score and thank you for the debrief! :)

As GMATNinja and nelz007 already suggested, a score of 730 is excellent and a retake is unnecessary. For you, the GMAT isn't much of a factor anymore. It's time to move one and focus on other aspects to improve your chances.
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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2012, 10:20
Thanks guys for your input. Yes, I was leaning towards retaking at least for personal satisfaction. But now after reading more about this issue and hearing your opinions (and not to mention the laziness kicking in), I may very well take your advice and focus on other parts of my application. I will take a closer look at retaking the GMAT. May I ask another question to help my decision? Given that I was in really good condition (mentally and physically) on test day, that I exhausted all my studying materials and that my verbal raw score is 40 vs. 42 in practice (i get what i usually do for quant- 50, so not much room for improvement here), what can i do to improve my verbal if i ever decide to retake the test? some LSAT resources perhaps?
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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2012, 10:21
GMATNinja wrote:
Wow, congratulations on the amazing score! That's absolutely spectacular.

I suspect that most of the other admissions consultants will say something similar in that branch of the forum, but most of your admissions chances will depend on your work experience, career vision, and (to a lesser degree) extracurriculars. Your GMAT score is more than solid, and an extra 20 or 30 points might help a little bit, but it's unlikely to make or break your chances at a place like HBS, where they can get all of the 750+ scorers they want. Past a certain score (say, the low 700s), HBS is pretty agnostic about the GMAT, and focuses mostly on the rest of your profile.

It sounds like you're destined for awesomeness, so please go do some amazing things in Hanoi and do a great job of presenting those amazing things in your essays. If you're really driven to retake the GMAT as a personal quest, that's great, but now that you've already earned a 730, HBS will mostly be interested in everything else.

Congratulations again! We're looking forward to hearing you tell us about your admit to HBS in a few years. :-D


Wow, GMATninja, i just checked out your blog and it's incredible that you scored an 800. You are the first one I've heard of to achieve a perfect score. Mad respects.
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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS? [#permalink] New post 01 Dec 2012, 17:01
Thank you! I've been working with the GMAT for a really long time though, and it actually took an embarrassing number of years for me to get to the 800. :)

If you do decide to study for the GMAT again (though I don't think you need to!), I have a feeling that you'll improve just through getting more exposure to good, hard CR and RC questions. If you already have a 40, you probably won't get too much mileage from studying more test-prep techniques, but LSATs will really help you to hone your focus and accuracy. The difference between a 40 and, say, a 44 on verbal is usually only four or five questions, and tons of LSAT practice might help you to get those extra questions.

It'll be harder to improve on SC if you've already exhausted all of the official materials, but sometimes students can still learn from them by taking the time to identify every single error in every single SC answer choice on official questions. It's not fun, but it might help you a little bit if you decide to push for a few more points.

But seriously, you should be basking in the glow of your awesomeness right now. :-D
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Re: 730 Q50, V40- Should I retake to improve my shot at HBS?   [#permalink] 01 Dec 2012, 17:01
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