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740 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2003, 15:12
Friends in this forum,

I took GMAT on 9/3/2003, and scored 740 -98% with (Q-51, V-38).

ItтАЩs been a rocky summer: I started thinking about GMAT and decided to take it On 6/1/2003, the date when I finished an important research paper and wondered what to do in summer. I purchased all the books: Official Guide, Kaplan GMAT, Kaplan 800 and Kaplan Verbal in the following week.

Initially, I believed, based on my experience, that the key is to find a competent study partner. I went to Princeton Reviews offices and posted a few тАЬlook for GMAT study partnerтАЭ notes, but received no response. Perhaps, this is a country which cherishes individualism, not teamwork 

Knowing that Verbal is my weak area, I first completed Kaplan verbal book in about two weeks. I did the first PP test and scored around 650. I started Official guide by the end of June, and got through it by the end of July. Before taking the test for the first time on 8/12/2003, I scored 740 on PP2 and consistently around 620~650 on two Kaplan exams and one Princeton Review online test.

It was a terrible night before the exam. Despite taking two sleeping pills for the first time in my entire life, I couldnтАЩt sleep till 5AM. I went to take the test nonetheless. Predictably, I scored 690 (Q49, V34) and AWA 6.0.

I had thought of stopping right there. However, knowing that I can easily score beyond 700 under normal condition makes me feel like a quitter if I donтАЩt give it another shot. To avoid the insomnia problem, I decided not to register the next exam in advance but to do a walk-in. However, the devil strikes even harder this time. I couldnтАЩt sleep for any night throughout last week, perhaps because I know that if I sleep well, I will take the test. The mental game was so torturing that, finally, I decided not to take the exam and instead to rely on other aspects of my credential to build up my MBA application. I didnтАЩt touch any GMAT for the past three days and indulge myself in reading some Chinese websites. Yesterday, I burned all the GMAT books and said to myself тАЬOh, good lord, this journey is over, I will go with whatever you give meтАЭ.

I had the first good sleep last night. I woke up this morning feeling so relaxed that I almost had sex with my wifeтАФno kidding  Thanks to Lord, I took a look at the clock hanging on the wall, and noticed that it was still 6:37AM. I rushed to the testing center and performed well.

In mid June, I enrolled a GMAT test prep class (http://www.gorillatestprep.com/). It is not expensive and I did that solely to find a study partner. In the first class, the instructor talked about picking numbers as an essential strategy for math. He talked about it again in the second class, I became impatient and he told me that I just had to try and see how magical it is. I conceded. He talked about that again in the third class. That is when I decided to quit it and he kindly gave me a partial refund. For people who have similar background to mine (graduate degree in science, and strong math skills but not very good at verbal), IтАЩd suggest them not to take those prep classes because prep classes generally target American students who are usually not good at math.

Materials I have worked on:

Kaplan Verbal bookтАФone pass.

GMAT official guide тАУ one pass, then reviewed the sentence correction part which is my weak area. I didnтАЩt finish the entire math portion though because I donтАЩt have enough time.

Kaplan 2003. тАУ 50 percent of it.

Only touched the Kaplan 800 book for part of its sentence correction portion. It may be good, but I hate those тАЬexpert suggestionsтАЭ.

Kaplan simulation exams тАУ the math is harder and I couldnтАЩt finish the math portion of the first exam. Since I did that right before my first exam, I carried that тАЬrushтАЭ feeling and attitude into the real GMAT exam, as a result, I guess I made at least two or three stupid mistakes so that I only scored 49тАФa disappointing score for a Chinese student. No insult here, but the culture among Chinese GMAT takers is: if you miss one point, you fail; if you miss two, you are a loser.

In retrospect, I was correct when I decided that grammar is my weak area and I worked on it extensively. At the beginning of this summer, I thought I would use this test prep process as a chance to improve my overall English ability. Luckily, I found a suggestion from this forum that SchaumтАЩs Outlines for English Grammar is a good book.
I bought it and studied it carefully before delving into the preparation journey. It is a very good book which provides solid foundations on grammar for non-English speakers.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2003, 19:47
hey lincoln, congratulations on a terrific score. I wanted to ask you something about your math background. You say that Americans are typically not as strong mathematically. My scores mete this out. If you look below I scored q45 v41, and ironically I feel more comfortable with math as a subject. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to remedy this. What kind of schooling did you receive that helped to improve your quant skills (the ones that are applicable to the GMAT anyway).
I took a Princeton Review course and was aggravated by the fact that my teacher was incapable of performing even simple multiplication. The plugging in technique was big for them as well, only I resisted its initial charm. Any advice would be incredibly helpful.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2003, 21:20
Hi..just thought I'd share my $0.02 on the subject of superior Quant skills (I believe this applies to both Indian & Chinese students). I believe both the schooling systems emphasize the importance of Math from a very early stage. One of the "skills" from both these schooling systems that would well apply to preparation for the GMAT would be the Brute-Force preparation. Both Indians and Chinese are ruthless when it comes to Math, they will put in serious hours and do the hard work, for many there is no other option, it's this strong foundation in Math that is required to excel in Engineering, Medical fields etc. which are preferred occupations in this part of the world.

I believe Americans are not that strong, well most anyways, because the schooling prepare more well-rounded individuals with not so much a strong emphasis on quant skills and brute force preparation, and this is taken through to college too. However, anyone willing to put in the hours and do the hard work will yield good results, but a lot depends on one's foundation of aptitude for Math.
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Re: 740 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2003, 01:27
Lincoln wrote:
Friends in this forum,

I took GMAT on 9/3/2003, and scored 740 -98% with (Q-51, V-38).

ItтАЩs been a rocky summer: I started thinking about GMAT and decided to take it On 6/1/2003, the date when I finished an important research paper and wondered what to do in summer. I purchased all the books: Official Guide, Kaplan GMAT, Kaplan 800 and Kaplan Verbal in the following week.

Initially, I believed, based on my experience, that the key is to find a competent study partner. I went to Princeton Reviews offices and posted a few тАЬlook for GMAT study partnerтАЭ notes, but received no response. Perhaps, this is a country which cherishes individualism, not teamwork 

Knowing that Verbal is my weak area, I first completed Kaplan verbal book in about two weeks. I did the first PP test and scored around 650. I started Official guide by the end of June, and got through it by the end of July. Before taking the test for the first time on 8/12/2003, I scored 740 on PP2 and consistently around 620~650 on two Kaplan exams and one Princeton Review online test.

It was a terrible night before the exam. Despite taking two sleeping pills for the first time in my entire life, I couldnтАЩt sleep till 5AM. I went to take the test nonetheless. Predictably, I scored 690 (Q49, V34) and AWA 6.0.

I had thought of stopping right there. However, knowing that I can easily score beyond 700 under normal condition makes me feel like a quitter if I donтАЩt give it another shot. To avoid the insomnia problem, I decided not to register the next exam in advance but to do a walk-in. However, the devil strikes even harder this time. I couldnтАЩt sleep for any night throughout last week, perhaps because I know that if I sleep well, I will take the test. The mental game was so torturing that, finally, I decided not to take the exam and instead to rely on other aspects of my credential to build up my MBA application. I didnтАЩt touch any GMAT for the past three days and indulge myself in reading some Chinese websites. Yesterday, I burned all the GMAT books and said to myself тАЬOh, good lord, this journey is over, I will go with whatever you give meтАЭ.

I had the first good sleep last night. I woke up this morning feeling so relaxed that I almost had sex with my wifeтАФno kidding  Thanks to Lord, I took a look at the clock hanging on the wall, and noticed that it was still 6:37AM. I rushed to the testing center and performed well.

In mid June, I enrolled a GMAT test prep class (http://www.gorillatestprep.com/). It is not expensive and I did that solely to find a study partner. In the first class, the instructor talked about picking numbers as an essential strategy for math. He talked about it again in the second class, I became impatient and he told me that I just had to try and see how magical it is. I conceded. He talked about that again in the third class. That is when I decided to quit it and he kindly gave me a partial refund. For people who have similar background to mine (graduate degree in science, and strong math skills but not very good at verbal), IтАЩd suggest them not to take those prep classes because prep classes generally target American students who are usually not good at math.

Materials I have worked on:

Kaplan Verbal bookтАФone pass.

GMAT official guide тАУ one pass, then reviewed the sentence correction part which is my weak area. I didnтАЩt finish the entire math portion though because I donтАЩt have enough time.

Kaplan 2003. тАУ 50 percent of it.

Only touched the Kaplan 800 book for part of its sentence correction portion. It may be good, but I hate those тАЬexpert suggestionsтАЭ.

Kaplan simulation exams тАУ the math is harder and I couldnтАЩt finish the math portion of the first exam. Since I did that right before my first exam, I carried that тАЬrushтАЭ feeling and attitude into the real GMAT exam, as a result, I guess I made at least two or three stupid mistakes so that I only scored 49тАФa disappointing score for a Chinese student. No insult here, but the culture among Chinese GMAT takers is: if you miss one point, you fail; if you miss two, you are a loser.

In retrospect, I was correct when I decided that grammar is my weak area and I worked on it extensively. At the beginning of this summer, I thought I would use this test prep process as a chance to improve my overall English ability. Luckily, I found a suggestion from this forum that SchaumтАЩs Outlines for English Grammar is a good book.
I bought it and studied it carefully before delving into the preparation journey. It is a very good book which provides solid foundations on grammar for non-English speakers.



Hey Lincoln congrats with the great score!!! :cool :woohoo

I understand your problem with insomnia :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: before the test, I had exactly the same before TOEFL :oops:

A couple of questions regarding the real test:
1) How close was the verbal to the OG?
2) How long were the reading passages? There were four of them? Which topics?
3) Is it true that on the real test almost none of "strengthen and weakening" questions in critical reasonong section?
4) What was the most difficult problem in math? What was the difficulty of math compared to OG?
5) What were the topics for AWA?

Please answer ASAP :pray because the test-day :maniac is really close for me :smoke
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reply [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2003, 07:49
Hi,
For the question on how to improve math skills, IтАЩd suggest you get a pre-college level math textbook and spend perhaps a months to solve all the problems. I am not being cynical here. Honestly, I believe that is the best way to prepare for it. I did the same thing for my grammar: grab a book and solve the problems. In retrospect, I am glad that I did it because I have learned something beyond GMAT itself. If you prepare for GMAT solely with GMAT problems, then you wonтАЩt really improve your fundamental skills which may be carried on in your life beyond GMAT.

The Indian friendтАЩs point is well made. Yes, I think generally Indian and Chinese schooling systems put more emphasis on math training. One example is that in Chinese pre-college schools, calculators are not allowed because it discourages students from working things out by punching numbers directly. If you look at each yearтАЩs Olympic Math competition, almost every time Chinese representatives will win at least five gold medals. I am not saying Chinese educational system is superior to that of the US. On the contrary, I like US system better because it encourages creativity.

1) How close was the verbal to the OG?

Ans: Very close. But take note that my verbal score is only 38, so it may only reflect that level of difficulty.

2) How long were the reading passages? There were four of them? Which topics?

Ans: Three long ones, around 70 lines each, plus a short one 40 lines. Topics are interesting though I am not supposed to disclose them here.

3) Is it true that on the real test almost none of "strengthen and weakening" questions in critical reasoning section?

Ans: No. There are quite a few weakening questions and strengthen question, though they take different form, such as тАЬhow to better evaluate these claims, etcтАЭ.

4) What was the most difficult problem in math? What was the difficulty of math compared to OG?

Ans: It is close to those in OG. A few problems are difficult because they are of new types,
i.e., they havenтАЩt appeared in OG before, so it takes more minutes to fully understand them. Once you did, none is difficult.

5) What were the topics for AWA?
Ans: Easy topics. I have always thought that is very stupid for ETS to list those topics in advance. Guess what will most foreign students do? They write them in advance and memorize them. That is why some B-schools have students who have AWA 6.0 but canтАЩt write a simple term paper. It is just plain stupid. I didnтАЩt bother to write them in advance because I am reasonably confident in my ability to write as I have lived in US for seven years and have published many technical papers.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2003, 12:45
Thanks Lincoln. I never thought you had implied that the Chinese educational system was superior to that of the US. However, I did appreciate your candor regarding the type of training you have received in math. I am certainly not too proud to look back into old textbooks to try to improve. If this is my goal I have to do something. One more thing. You say that U.S schools emphasize creativity and that this helps provide a more well rounded education. I agree with you again, but I'd like to qualify this statement.
The best private schools in the country (high school) offer terrific classes, and some public schools do as well. However some schools across the country are downright inadequate. Teachers will try to console the students by making them feel as though math won't be important (they typically say it's not a real life science) and as a result they feel justified in not teaching it too intensively. Shortcuts such as picking numbers and estimating are offered up to help students brush over some of their shortcomings. This of course is the alternative to actually comprehending the material. As a result everyone suffers. But hey, no victims.. right. Some students have to learn how to properly use idioms in a second language (a monumental feat in my view), so maybe I'm not so unlucky. I'm sorry if I've changed focus too much. Seemed like an interesting topic to me, so thanks to lazerbud as well for clearing things up for me.
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Sep 2003, 00:31
THANX!!! :-D

Last question: What were your scores in preparation tests?
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misc [#permalink] New post 05 Sep 2003, 08:05
That has been a good discussion and I enjoyed it...
For my prep scores, they are embedded in my first post, so just read it again and find it out...

Thanks for creating and maintaining this helpful forum...I wish I could meet some of you guys again at Harvard or Stanford one day...
misc   [#permalink] 05 Sep 2003, 08:05
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