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740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;)

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740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 14:13
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My feedback on the preparation process is here:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/740-q48-v44-not-bad-for-a-human-100954.html#p781536

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Well, I don't think I'll be able to write a really structured debrief, so take it just as an account of my personal experience.

AWA
I understood (too lately) that this was my weak point. Actually, it took me too much energy to write the essays (that was probably the forth and the fifth essays written in English if not in whole my life, then at least in the last 10 years :), while the three others I wrote in the previous two weeks :) ).

I wish I had prepared better for the AWA, because on the real test for me it wasn't a "warm up" (as it is presented in the preparation guides) but rather a "burn out" as I was rather tired after it.

(by the way, many thanks for the chineseburned for his comprehensive AWA topic:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html

Questions on the real test today:
Quantitative:

So I felt quite exhausted at the beginning of the Quant section.

Maybe because of that, the overall impression - it was really tougher than the GMATPrep tests I took previously. Two days ago I made GMATPrep #2 and I had Q50 with 8 errors. But there were only two questions that I didn't know how to attack. Today there were surely more than 2 that really puzzled me.

I had also questions which required some shitty calculations - like dividing a four digit numbers over three digit numbers and comparing the results difference. Maybe I missed a shortcut to avoid these calculations, but the question was in the first four so it was supposed to be straightforward.

And as far as I remember, there were no "easy" questions in Quant section, while in GMATPrep tests there were plenty of them.
To sum up, the Quant section on real test was really harder than the quant of GMATPrep. And I am also rather disappointed by my performance on this section.

Verbal
SC:
As I am not a native speaker, I cant evaluate the level of SC questions. I think that there were three or four problems where I was unsure about the choice of the answer, On the other SC the choice for me was rather obvious after some analysis (that doesn't necessarily means, that it was right! ;) ) The best technique that worked for me was the wrong choices elimination.

CR
I had no "boldface" questions and no "mimic the reasoning style" questions. But there were three or four "which conclusion is best supported by the presented assumptions". For me personally, these questions are tough because they typically give you two or three possible conclusions and it is not rather simple to figure out which one is best supported.

RC
I think I had three short RC passages and one long one. One short was really short - maybe 10 lines, but it was stuffed with information. The long one was quite long - one and a one third of the screen and it was about social sciences, while I prefer business oriented or natural sciences passages (the probability that I'll encounter a subject that I know is higher, and I also think that test makers consider such passages more difficult because of scientific terms and tend to make the questions that are less difficult).

On the whole, I didn't find the verbal section much more difficult than that of GMATPrep.

My review of the Test Center:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/review-gmat-test-centers-96476-20.html#p780974

I'll add tomorrow my preparation history and some insights that I had during the process. Not today. I deserve some sleep! :roll:
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Last edited by evp2000fr on 15 Sep 2010, 03:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 08:13
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Thank you people for all the congrats :!:

Here is the story of my preparation. Sorry for the long post.
Disclaimer: As you will see, I had no time to thoroughly decorticate GMAT, I have a limited experience with it and in no way do I pretend to be a GMAT guru (like some of permanent residents of this forum). I still hope you will find some helpful info in what will follow.

To begin with, as I was not going to apply to any top American school, but only to European schools, I told myself that a score of 700 - 720 would be sufficient. An I wanted to pass the exam in October to be ready to apply for R2 in INSEAD.

Baseline evaluation


GMATPrep #1 - 710 Q48 V39

I began in June by taking the first GMATPrep test. As at that time I didn't know too much about the GMAT, I was quite surprised by the difficulty of the Quant section, to say nothing of the Verbal one. Ten years ago I had taken GRE and made a 800 score on the Quantitative ability part of the test, so I thought that GMAT would be something comparable in difficulty. Well, it was not.

I tried to solve all the questions in the Quantitative part, and finally had no time to make the last 4 questions. But overall, I was satisfied with my quantitative part result.

The verbal score was bad. I made 10 faults in total, but 8 of them were in SC, one in RC and one in CR. So I saw that my weak point was in SC.
My problem with SC was that even though I am a fluent English speaker (meaning that I can communicate on virtually any subject, but I am far from bilingual), I had a vague idea of what the good command of the standard written English really means. In other words, when I saw the answer choices for SC questions they were all good for me since they were all comprehensible, I even had a tendency to prefer the most wordy constructions as I thought they were more sophisticated and thus better :lol:

Study Plan


My first fault was that I didn't fix the exam date. I knew that I wanted to pass it in October, but the real date is better - once you have it, you can build up a study plan, you can mobilize yourself.

So the second fault was that I had no study plan. Now I understand that it is important to evaluate the available time budget and to schedule the study in order to cover all the necessary subjects. I sketched up my thoughts about time budget here:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/750-study-plan-expert-opinions-needed-100069.html#p775022
Well, I had probably overestimated the time needed to work on the questions in this post, but anyway, the conclusion is - be realistic about what time you need and what time you have!

So, since I had no study plan to discipline me, I made a long pause (summer vacations etc..), and I really began to study only in the middle of July. As I have a family and a job, I was able to spend for the preparation not more than 6 hours on the workweek and 8 hours on the weekend. I had also to schedule the exam on the 13th of September (one month before my previously planned date), as I had job constraints beginning from 15th Sept. And still up to the middle of August I had an illusion that I had plenty of time, and I wasted it :cry: .

Manuals


The manuals I used:
1.Kaplan standard manual 2004 year edition - completed.
2.Kaplan 800 - completed.
3.OG12 - made only last 30 questions in each part, except for the RC that I didn't do at all.
4.MGAMT Sentence Correction - only opened one week before the exam, had no time to really work with it.
5.MGMAT Number properties - good one, made the second part of it dealing with advanced questions.

Basically, more than a half of the preparation time I worked with Kaplan books. But these Kaplan books are not really good for the 700+ level, especially for the quantitative part! The quantitative section in the Kaplan 800 is too easy, it is about 600-700 level questions.

I think I should have worked more with MGMAT books, since the impression that I had from the Number properties book was really good. Based on this impression and even though I never read the other volumes (apart from a bit of SC), I think that these books is a must do for anyone who aims at 700+ level. The problem is price, but there are solutions (second hand, etc...)

I think that the OG12 questions are neither difficult enough to aim at the 700+ level.
In Quantitative section, I took the last 50 questions in the PS and last 30 in the DS parts and I was able to solve the majority of them in less than 90 seconds. On the real test the situation was quite different.
The verbal section of OG12 is too easy also. I made only one error in 30 last CR questions, and only 5 errors in 30 last SC questions.

So, my conclusion is that even the hardest OG12 questions do not correspond to the difficulty of 700+ real GMAT test. Those who aim at the 730+ level should try other question sources.

CAT Tests


I took two GMATPrep tests and three MGMAT tests. The results were (in chronological order):

GMATPrep #1: 710 Q48 V39 (baseline test, without any preparation)
MGMAT #1: 720 Q44 V45 (after two Kaplan books)
MGMAT #2: 720 Q47 V41
MGMAT #3: 730 Q49 V41 (after Number properties MGMAT book)
GMATPrep #2: 760 Q50 V43

The story was that after I had finished Kaplan books, especially Kaplan 800, I felt myself strong and confident :-D at least in Quant section, for, as I said, I had no problem to solve all quant section in Kaplan 800. So I was really surprised by the difficulty of quant section in the first MGMAT. I understood, that I had particular problems with Number properties, with Inequalities and with Probability and Combinatorics. I also had a big timing problem, as I tried to solve all the problems and finally had to answer the last 8 (!) questions almost randomly.

The V45 on the MGMAT #1 was a pure chance for me, I managed to answer last 8 questions without mistakes (with two or three educated guessing) and that inflated my verbal score.

I made MGMAT #3 after I worked through the MGMAT Number properties guide and that helped me to improve the Q score. I also used much more "guess and move on" on the questions that I felt would take too much time to solve.

The final GMATPrep #2 that I took two days before the real test was encouraging :) . But the score was too inflated: I had four questions from the OG12 (two in Q and two in V sections), and last questions in Q section were too easy (it seems that GMATPrep has a limited stock of 700+ level questions).

Other sources for preparation


I think the most important source are still the good manuals. But in addition to that:
1. Forums. I visited GmatClub and MGMAT forums. There are a lot of really interesting info. The problem however is that there are a lot of interesting info :wink: . So much, that the forums can easily become chronophages. So be careful!

2. Internet in general. I read some articles on MGMAT, Crack the Gmat, Beat the Gmat and others f*** the Gmat sites :) . The problem with these sites is that to maintain the referencing in search engines they have to put new articles on the regular basis, no matter what the quality of the articles is. And basically this is the same info that is in the manuals, so on my opinion it is not a worthwhile time spending.

3. Newspapers. I read somewhere that the CR and RC passages were similar to the OpEd articles in the leading newspapers. So I installed on my Android mobile phone an application called Newspapers and for two months on my daily two hours of commuting I pleased myself with the OpEd articles from NYT and IHT. That was an interesting reading, and it resembles really the GMAT texts. I think, it is a must do for the non-natives just to get immersed into the language environment of appropriate quality.

Final remarks


Well, I will add some more insights in unstructured way.

1. I actually had no special Verbal preparation strategy. My principal problem was SC, so I made SCs and I bought MGMAT SC :) But I am still far from the natural feeling of the native speaker, and the SC questions are made to puzzle even the native speakers. So I think that to have a 60%-70% success rate on the tough SC is good enough for a non-native.

2. On the RC and CR non-natives have less excuses. Even if vocabulary can pose a problem, it is more about logic and structure comprehension.

3. On RC I never used the structure diagrams - it was too time consuming for me. I preferred to read the text completely without skipping any sentences, even for the long passages. It worked quite well, I even learned some interesting info from RC passages, even if it wasn't the purpose.

4. On the CR I didn't use the diagrams. And the strategy of reading first the question never worked for me. When I tried to do in this way, I had to concentrate on the question and then to keep it in mind while reading the passage. It was rather difficult, and finally I almost always had to re-read the question wasting the time.

5. One thing about CR is that I find really important is to locate the conclusion! I mean literally to locate it, because you have to work with the conclusion which is stated in the question stem, not the conclusion that you can make yourself. I had a tendency to make my own conclusions, using those that were stated as an intermediate conclusions, and thus making errors, especially on the passages dealing with the subjects that were familiar to me. I don't know if it is clear what I'm trying to say, but you have to work with what is written, not with what you can construct. Once I understood this point, I began making less mistakes and I became more rapid in locating the right answer.

6. Of course, the point No.5 doesn't work with the CR questions that ask you to draw the conclusion while the question stem contains only the premises and evidence. I had 3 or 4 such questions on the real test, and I found them tough.

7. I don't believe in the strategy of spending more time on the first 6 or 7 questions. On the 700+ level the trade-off is really limited, you can even seriously harm your score if you will be short on time at the end of the section and you will make a row of faulty answers. Even if at the beginning I believed in this strategy, this article made me change my mind:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/gmat-uncovered.cfm See pages 18-22!

Final final remark: Time is the most precious asset on the GMAT! Both during the preparation and during the test. Don't waste it! Make a study plan for your preparation and stick to it. Adopt the "guess and move on" strategy for the real test to pace yourself. Become quick on the calculations, PS solving strategies, SC split strategies etc.

You will do it! :!:
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 15:11
WOW Great verbal and overall score.

Congrats. We are awaiting for your preparation strategy. Keep us updated.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 15:28
Congrats ! Great score.
All the best with the applications.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 17:33
Incredible verbal score, can't wait for full debrief.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 18:27
not bad at all! congrats!
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 19:33
Wow great dude!!congrats
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 19:36
Great score!! Congrats!!
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 20:33
This is a great score, and I'm waiting for your preparation strategy!
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 22:05
700 are showering these days.....:D

well great score .....although you are not native you verbal score is awesome......:)
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2010, 22:26
Congratulations...Great Verbal score !

Waiting for your detailed debrief...esp verbal.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 00:08
Congrats.All the best ahead...
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 05:31
Great score. Let us know your preparation strategy for verbal.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 08:26
Very good! I enjoyed the colour usage! Good luck with the apps.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 09:10
Thank you for such a prompt and detailed debrief !
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2010, 20:04
wow,that was a great score and a good debrief!!
all the best with ur applications.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2010, 04:25
Excellent feedback.
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Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;) [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2010, 06:18
Congrats !!!
Re: 740 (Q48, V44) - not bad for a human ;)   [#permalink] 07 Oct 2010, 06:18
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