Debrief (my road from 640 to 740 in 5 weeks):
After my initial flub on 9/26/05 in which I scored a 640 I was pretty disheartened. I don't remember the Q and V breakout but I know that my Q was 73% and my V was 77%. Overall, 640 was in the 80th percentile. I decided to take 1-2 weeks to determine whether I wanted to attempt the test again and how to modify my study strategy.
Up to that point I had used the following test prep materials:
My practice exams had been as such:
PPrep 1 - 660 (prior to any studying--nearly 1 year earlier)
PPrep 1 - 710 (after going through the OG)
PPrep 2 - 760 (after going through the OG)
Kaplan - 6** (can't remember the exact score)
Reflecting on what I did wrong, I realized the following:
1) Although I am not a math guru, I knew that I had not lived up to my potential on the math section. My nerves as well as the timed nature of the quant section had gotten the best of me. For the next 3 weeks, I attempted the hardest problems that I could find in these forums as well as the hard bin questions from the OG (especially DS questions--inequalities/number theory/etc...) I tried to do all such problems within 2 minutes--always under timed conditions.
2) I was really disappointed with my verbal score as well. I knew that I had probably missed my second sentence correction which had put me in a lower bin. Even though through all the practice tests, SC had been my strong suit. I determined that the potential reward for studying a lot of RC and CR questions was just not there. Even though I was weaker in CR and RC, I knew that with only a few weeks to study, there was no way that I could prepare myself for all the various types of RC passages and CR questions that might appear on the actual test. Thus, I determined that acing the SC questions would be the easiest approach. (even though this was my arguably my strongest verbal area). Over the next 3 weeks I did probably 400-500 SC questions, to the point where I was confidently getting 90-95% right. In addition, I knew that on the first exam the first 3-5 questions had been SC questions which meant that these were used heaviliy to identify from which bin my CR and RC questions would be pulled. Thus, by acing the SC questions I hoped to ensure that I would land in the hard bin.
3) I also tried to review all concepts in more detail. I used these forums heavily, but I particularly used TickTackToe's post with the numerous links that helped him prepare for the exam http://www.urch.com/forums/showthread.p ... ge=8&pp=10
. In addition, I used another sight I found for some basic verbal concepts with practice questions. http://aliscot.com/bigdog/index.htm
4) I actually did not do a single full practice exam between my first and second GMAT. Instead, I only did the math section of the Kaplan
CATs and practice exams. I figured that Kaplan
had the toughest math questions and I knew that I needed to be able to quickly handle tough math questions.
Finally, the day of the re-take arrived 11/08/05.
I did not sleep well the night before and only got 2 hours of sleep. I was worried that I was going to once again flop, but I took a 20 minute walk just before the exam to clear my head and had a Starbucks coffee, 2 cokes, and a sudafed to help keep me awake.
I still don't know my results yet, but after scoring a 6 on the first exam I was not too worried and did not prepare for this at all. I don't think that I got a 6 this time, but maybe I will be suprised.
I only got a 49 on my quant, which pales in comparison to most of the people in this forum--so I will not elaborate too much. I tried to make sure that I did not miss any of the first 10 questions. Did not see any really difficult questions until around question 20 or so. I think I only had 1 or 2 probability/combination problems. I guessed on 1 or 2 DS questions that I knew I could figure out if I had 5-10 minutes, but the answers just weren't coming to me.
By this point, I was really tired, but just as I had hoped, the first 4-5 questions were all SC. I about had a heart attack on the second question when it took me 3-4 minutes to figure it out. I hope that I nailed these all of these which started me off in the hard bin of questions. I think I had 4 RC passages, 2 Bold CR questions, but nothing unexpected. I found myself already thinking about my score when I still had 15 verbal questions remaining.
I was really elated when I saw the 740 score pop up, knowing that I had joined the 700 club. It helped solidify that my strategy had worked. My wife was equally thrilled because it meant that I could start spending more time with her.
I just want to say a big thank you to all the avid posters in this forum. I won't name names because there are too many to name, but I found the quant questions especialy helpful in my trek to 740.
Now I have to figure out where to apply. . . .