I just finished my gmat and got a 740, Q48, V42
A quick shout out to the awesome community at gmat club! Thank you! In my opinion, this community is more valuable than any single prep book published. As I was studying, I found other people's debriefs very helpful. Hopefully this will be helpful to you!
If you like this debrief, please KUDOS Debrief:
After 5 weeks of intensive study, I took my GMAT and scored 740 (Q:48, V:42). I was feeling a little apprehensive as I clicked the button to report the scores and was feeling relieved to see my score. At first I was a little disappointed because I made a mistake in Quant, but after telling my friends and family about my results - it hit me that I did score pretty well (97th percentile) and my heart started beating really fast! The most exciting part was that I was finally done with the GMAT – I had almost not met anyone during the 5 weeks of study. Time to head off to grab dinner, meet friends and party!
I’ll break my debrief into a few parts:
2) Books and materials used
3) Prep Strategy and Experience
4) CAT results
5) Takeaways and personal opinons/advice
6) Debriefs and Resources1)Background
I studied quite casually for 2 weeks and then decided to prepare full time for 4-6 weeks. I was aiming for a 700+ score.
I've worked in consulting for 2 years and ran a startup for 1 year.2)Books and materials used - a quick review USEFUL
*GMAT Club Math Book
– AWESOME! This is the best math book out there because it is simple and condensed. Makes the study process much less daunting. For any concepts that were not clear to me, I would refer to the MGMAT guides
*GMAT Club Tests
– The best practice material for your quant. The user interface looks just like the official GMAT exam and this helped me to get comfortable with test day UI.
*GMAT Prep & GMAT Prep Exam Pack 1
– Absolutely the best way to measure your performance.
– A must have for its 600-700 level quant questions and sentence correction explanations.
*GMAT Club Forums
– For amazing explanations of GMAT Prep quant problems. Bunuel and VeritasPrepKarishma provided some of the best answers that broadened my conceptual knowledge.
– Accurate explanations for Verbal by MGMAT staff Ron and Stacey
*Veritas Free Verbal Lessons
(Video – 2 hours 10 minutes) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8YVymgVTcg&list=PL8IRdvEjAM5IDE8qDQgfi98xEbDtgts_L
-Awesome lesson to get the right perspective on sentence correction.
*MGMAT : Sentence Correction 4th edition
- This book helps you to learn the rules of the game. The MGMAT SC
book coupled with the OG and Veritas
Verbal lessons, are a good way to master the ropes of sentence correction. The layout in the 4th edition is much better the layout in the 5th edition
*MGMAT: Math Guides
– Number properties is the best book, a must have if you’re a little weak with the math concepts tested on the GMAT. The others was not so useful, but I’d refer to them if I was confused by a concept in GMAT Club Math Book.
*ChineseBurned AWA Template
– useful to get an insight into AWA writing. I didn’t use it as a template but rather, as a guide.
– AWESOME, a list of sentence correction problems from GMAT Prep, compiled by someone on this forum (I can’t remember who). Good practice with official material.
*GMAT Club Guide to the Official Guide 13th v6
– Good tracker for OG practiceNOT SO USEFUL
– A good introduction into GMAT quant but is too basic. If you have a solid quant background, this is a waste of time. The critical reasoning section is good, better than MGMAT’s offering in that it is concise and easy to understand.
*MGMAT : Reading Comprehension & Critical Reasoning
– Not very useful, too much diagramming. I used my instinct and experience with case studies for these sections.
– Didn’t use this, I think that they are flawed: with quant questions being too long and verbal not representative of the real GMAT.
*MGMAT Advanced GMAT Quant
- Bought it and returned it. Tries to teach you how to think. I didn't find it useful as I had already streamlined my thought process from many hours of practice and reviewing approaches by Bunuel and VeritasPrep
Karishma on this forum. It might be useful for someone looking to get a jump start on streamlining his or her thought process. I feel strongly that the natural process of learning is better.3)Preparation Strategy and Experience
I wanted to get a 750. I had planned to take 4 weeks to prepare and then sign up for the GMAT if I was ready. I ended up taking 5 weeks as I wanted to be absolutely confident of my scores. I called the test center to find out how many days in advance I’d need to book the exam and they assured me that, if there were slots available, I should be able to register for an exam slot just one day in advance.
I studied at Starbucks during the day and at McDonalds late at night. It was much easier to lose concentration when I was studying at home. (Hmmm should I eat something or take a nap?)
Other people’s debriefs were very useful in planning my studies. I looked at what material they used and their experiences, especially those with abnormally high quant or verbal scores.
For all CAT’s, I used exam conditions and timing. I also did it outside of my house, at different places in order to simulate the noisy and distracting environment that might be at the test center. If I could score well at a noisy café, I should be able to do it in the test center.
I took a multivitamin supplement to keep my energy levels high. Kordel's Executive B was good for me.Week 1:
I started out with Kaplan 800
quant and then moved to OG13. After going through the last 80 PS and DS problems in the OG, I felt that I needed more content knowledge and started using the GMAT Club Math Book. This book is amazing and gave me all the content knowledge that I needed. Some of the topics were a little hard to understand, so I referred to MGMAT Math Guides or looked up online content in order to better understand the material at hand.Week2:
After completing the GMAT Club Math Book, I started out with the GMAT Club Tests
. These questions are awesome and very useful for making sure that you get used to the timing of the GMAT. The secret to getting a 700+ score is being able to answer most of the 600 range question correctly. This translates to having an 80% answer rate for 600 range questions and 100% answer rate for 500 range questions. I finished all the questions in the 600 range and half of the questions in the 700 range. The 700 range questions are really hard and will challenge your thinking! I often found myself running out of time for the 700 range questions and getting 20 – 30% correct. I would console myself by doing the 500 range questions just to reassure myself! Haha.
If I didn’t understand anything, I’d look up the forums and look for alternative solutions.
I then did GMAT Prep 1 to understand my current level. Hmm, 720 (Q47, V42). Okay, maybe its time to do some verbal.Week 3:
I moved on to studying the Kaplan 800
CR and MGMAT SC
book. My progress through MGMAT SC
was excruciatingly slow. Maybe it was the new terminology or the dense material but I wasn’t making much headway! After 4 days, I finished the book and moved on to do the last 80 questions from OG13. My understanding of sentence correction was much better but my hit rate was still about 70%, not where I wanted to be with SC. Time for another test! 740 (Q49, V42) …oh no! I didn’t improve my verbal at all.
Throughout the week, I still practiced math by going through GMAT Club Questions – around 40 questions a day.
I was getting a little tired of studying and I hadn’t met any friends in 3 weeks. Being an extrovert, I was getting very drained. I wrote on a paper “750” and stuck it on my room for motivation.Week 4:
Planned to take my GMAT this week. Did 3 CAT’s to judge my current state of readiness and get used to full length exams. Retook GMAT Prep 1 - 770 (Q50, V44) with 30% repeated questions. A new GMAT Prep 3 - 740 (Q48, V42) which felt harder somehow! I wasn’t satisfied with my results and decided to push my exam back by a week, hoping to hit the 760+ threshold.
I had to do something different with verbal. So I looked through the forums and found a recommendation for Veritas Prep
verbal lesson. This was really helpful and helped to solidify my approach to SC. The MGMAT guide was so comprehensive that it was hard to remember what to apply. The Veritas
approach helped to simply it into “IMPACTS”, an acronym for the key areas to look at. Veritas
also focused on understanding the MEANING of the sentence, using MEANING and not grammar as the way to determine the answer. This approach worked really well for me.
I topped it up by going through questions in GPSC.
Finished the week with another CAT – Retake: GMAT Prep 2 760 (Q47, V48). Wow!
Time to take a break over the weekend.Week 5:
I entered the week feeling a little sluggish. I hadn’t been doing any GMAT prep on the weekend as I needed a break. Decided that I would take the exam on Friday. I’ve had enough of studying and the law of diminishing returns had hit me really hard. Still, I hoped to reach the 760+ threshold.
Did more GPSC and GMAT Club Questions on Monday and Tuesday. I took my final CAT on Wednesday and got a 740 (Q48, Q44). I logged on to MBA.com and signed up for my GMAT.
On Thursday, I redid my incorrectly answered problems on all GMAT Prep Tests, looked through the GMAT Club Math book one more time and did 8 SC problems. By the time I was finished, it was 6am and time to rest.GMAT DAY:
My test was scheduled for 2pm and I woke up at 12pm. I ate some congee and one large banana, took a shower and headed to the center. I didn’t bother much with warming up because the IR was sufficient warm up in my previous CAT’s.
It was all quite surreal and felt like just another day with a CAT. I blasted through the AWA and moved on to IR. The IR section was quite tricky, with lots of questions about Mins, Modes, and Medians. Finished it in time and took a quick break to use the restroom, eat a banana and drink some red bull. Went back in after 3 minutes as I felt that I didn’t need to relax for so long. Quant started pretty well but I rushed just a little too much and finished with 4 minutes remaining. At #35, I got question which asked- rectangle with sides 5 and 12, what is the diagonal? Wow.
I was a little bummed as I made a mistake on one question, a mistake I realized just as I clicked ‘next’. I told myself to forget it and focus on the current questions. Another short break with a banana and redbull.
Finished verbal with no problems and clicked through to report my score. Boom – 740. 4)CAT results
*720 (Q47, V42) - GMAT Prep 1 - 5 May
*740 (Q49, V42) - GMAT Prep 2 - 15 May
*770 (Q50, V44) - Retake: GMAT Prep 1 - 20 May
*740 (Q48, V42) - GMAT Prep 3 (Exam pack) - 21 May
*760 (Q47, V48) - Retake: GMAT Prep 2 - 23 May
*740 (Q48, Q44) - GMAT Prep 4 (Exam pack) - 28 May5)Takeaways and personal opinons/advice
A. Be honest with yourself – focus on your weaknesses in order to get past the 700 bump.
B. Take the time and effort to understand the concepts behind the topics and questions.
C. Sign up for the GMAT Club Tests
and get familiar with the 600 range questions.
D. Recognize that its not a Math and Verbal test, it’s a game. You have to make sacrifices (letting go questions) to move forward! Big picture, it’s the final score, not the question that you have to beat. (Probably different for the IR section though, answer everything well!)
E. Every question can be answered in 2 minutes! Find out the most efficient way to tackle a problem! This is especially true for quant – search the GMAT Club forums for more perspectives.
F. Take full length CAT’s at noisy places to learn how to focus.
G. Don’t hope for a lucky day for the GMAT, try to make sure that your worst performance will get you the score you want. The GMAT has a 30 point standard deviation. You could be at a 740 level as a baseline and score a 710 or 770. Prepare well enough to be get the score that you want to achieve, instead of hoping to score better than your baseline.
H. Use only official material for SC practice
I. Eat well and sleep well
J. GMAT prep is the best predictor of your score and Exam Pack 1 is the best way to get the latest questions. I scored 720,740,740,740 on each fresh GMAT Prep and scored 740 on the real GMAT.
K. Take bananas,red bull and isotonic drinks with you into the test. Consume in medium portions for energy during the breaks. Also splashing cold water on my face and neck helped me to calm down and focus.
L. Keep your energy high. Take multivitamins during your study period and exam.
Finally, don't give up! All the best 6)Debriefs and Resources:
*GMAT Study Plan: go from 650 to 700+ - http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-study-plan-go-from-650-to-80235.html
*How to improve your quant from 44 to 50? - http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-improve-your-quant-from-q44-to-q50-141670.html
*GMAT Prep Software Analysis and What If Scenarios - http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-prep-software-analysis-and-what-if-scenarios-146146.html
*Patterns Among Those Who Scored 750+ What did they use? - http://gmatclub.com/forum/patterns-among-those-who-scored-750-what-did-they-use-157979.html
*770- My strategies that helped me ace GMAT - http://gmatclub.com/forum/770-my-strategies-that-helped-me-ace-gmat-156653.html
*TEN ESSENTIALS FOR GMAT 660 to 740 - Its all about strategy! - http://gmatclub.com/forum/ten-essentials-for-gmat-660-to-740-its-all-about-strategy-168560.html
*750 (Q49, V42) by guptaji - http://gmatclub.com/forum/750-q49-v42-85824.html
*GMATClubbing Administered: 770 (50Q, 45V) by Slingfox - http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmatclubbing-administered-770-50q-45v-86239.html
*760- This peaceful, easy feeling, GMATClub material rocks! By Santanu76 -http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-760-50-q-42-v-satisfied-124675.html
*770 (Q:50, V46) Detailed Debrief by CharmWithSubstance - http://gmatclub.com/forum/770-q-50-v46-detailed-debrief-94193.html
File comment: Original answers for GPSC
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GMAT Club Guide to the Official Guide 13th v6.xls [1.11 MiB]
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File comment: Answer tracker for GMAT Prep Sentence Correction, made by Shannon.
GPSC Answer Tracker.xlsx [15.93 KiB]
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AWA GUIDE.docx [17.72 KiB]
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File comment: GMAT Prep Setence Correction with some corrections made as I went through the document. This was compiled by someone else
GPSC - with corrections.doc [298 KiB]
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