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740 (Q50 V40) - My story

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740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 22:07
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I've been reading the gmatclub forum for quite some time and through it I found lots of interesting material, so now it's my turn to give back to the community.

I started my study using Princeton Review. The book is ok, but does not go that much in depth. Possibly it's good to get the overall picture, but it cannot take you to high scores. My first practice test was the Princeton Review online one, after I finished the book. I got 610 (Q48 V26), which seemed normal, because I had an 800/800 at GRE math (quite a few years ago) and I am not a native English speaker.

So, my first priority was to fix my verbal:
a) SC: The Manhattan GMAT SC guide rocks! Immediately after finishing it, my SC went way up. I also read the Powerprep SC bible and it was quite good, however the material is also covered in the MGMAT guide.
b) CR: The Powerprep CR bible rocks! Again, after reading it my CR went up.
c) RC: I think that the only way to boost RC is by reading Wall Street Journal or Businessweek or something similar. Generally, RC was my weak point in verbal.

After finishing with all the above I used the OG 11th edition + OG11 Verbal + OG11 Math for practice. I did all the verbal exercises twice and my scores were 80-90% in each section.

After finishing with my preparation in verbal, I got around 720-730 in practice tests, so it was time for Math. I bought all the MGMAT math books (5 of them). The ones that helped me were the Word Translation (I've read in quite a few places that this boosts you from 48 to 50-51 and this is definately true) and the geometry one. I did all the exercises from the 5 books, as well as the OG11 + OG11 Math exercises that were mentioned in the MGMAT guides (I didn't do any other exercises from OG11 apart from the ones mentioned in the MGMAT books). After this, I purchased the gmatclub Tests. I scored around 80%-95% in the first 5-6 ones, but then the stats changed (because the last year's test takers were added to the calculation) and I fell to ~60-70%. At that point they mostly became a psychological handicap, so I stopped using them :) Anyway, at that point I had managed to get unstuck from 48 in math and even reach 51 in some practise tests.

After that in the MGMAT and the GmatPrep practice tests I scored a steady 740-760.

So, my target was 750 and I scored a 740. I think that if I had little more stamina in verbal I would have had a higher score there. Especially towards the end, I was getting pretty tired.

Now, I'm waiting for AWA. Hopefully I'll get a 5/6 and I'll be done with GMAT :)

The last few practice tests that I gave:
MGMAT CAT 5 (3/1): 740 (Q50 V41)
GMATPREP 1 (3/10): 760 (Q49 V46)
GMATPREP 2 (3/11): 740 (Q50 V40)
MGMAT CAT 6 (3/12): 750 (Q51 V41)
GMATPREP 1 Retake (3/13): 770 (Q51 V43) - There were many questions that I had seen before, but it was a good confidence booster.

I also tried a couple of the Pricenton Review practice tests, but they didn't correlate with the GmatPrep ones. Also, I have bought the Kaplan books and CDs, but I didn't look at them.
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 22:22
Congratulations for an excellent score. Have fun.
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 22:25
Heartiest Congratulations for the awesome score. all the best for applications part!
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 22:45
Expert's post
Please accept my congratulations and thank you very much for your post!
Any suggestions for our members as to what NOT to do?

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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 23:11
Yes, I think that there are 2 major things that should NOT be done:
1) I see many people, who become focused in having a perfect score in one of the 2 sections (more often this happens in Math, where people are after Q51), but they neglect the other section. So, in the end they have a huge difference between the 2 sections and they ask for intructions on how to increase their overall score. I think that the answer is obvious: after a specific level in math or verbal, you get insignificant results for lots of effort. For example, there is no point trying to go from Q49 to Q51, if you have V30, because the increase V30->V32 is both easier to do and more effective than Q49 -> Q51.

2) From my personal experience, I think that it is easy to get burned, if you study GMAT for a long time. After 2 months of study, we go into diminishing returns (and possibly even negative returns). The exercises become boring, studying becomes careless and it seems useless to start reading another book from the beginning, because you already know 90-95% of the material anyway (but you still want to read 300 or 500 pages, in order to cover the last details). Therefore, in my opinion, there should be either a set date (e.g. register for GMAT 2 months after you start studying) or a set target (e.g. set a target score, when you start studying and after you hit it for 2-3 times in practice tests, register to give the GMAT in the next week). If there is no target (either score or date), it's really easy to get burned.
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2009, 23:39
Congrats!!Btw, with the same 50-40 combo ppl get 750. So, You are unlucky :P
Simply awesome these 2 pointers
Quite agree with you.
I experiemented a lot with the GPrep S/w algo

Q 48 is 11-12 mistakes
Q 49 is basically when you do 9-10 mistakes in GPrep Quants(37 Qs)
Q 51 is like 3-5 Mistakes(Depending on Luck/Accuracy and also Experiemental Qs)

Also GPrep has smaller database compared to the same on the Test day S/W.So cant correlate that way

For others who are interested in RC, look at the url below(my signature)
I am posting 3 RCs daily.So come,join us. :)

river wrote:
Yes, I think that there are 2 major things that should NOT be done:
1) I see many people, who become focused in having a perfect score in one of the 2 sections (more often this happens in Math, where people are after Q51), but they neglect the other section. So, in the end they have a huge difference between the 2 sections and they ask for intructions on how to increase their overall score. I think that the answer is obvious: after a specific level in math or verbal, you get insignificant results for lots of effort. For example, there is no point trying to go from Q49 to Q51, if you have V30, because the increase V30->V32 is both easier to do and more effective than Q49 -> Q51.

2) From my personal experience, I think that it is easy to get burned, if you study GMAT for a long time. After 2 months of study, we go into diminishing returns (and possibly even negative returns). The exercises become boring, studying becomes careless and it seems useless to start reading another book from the beginning, because you already know 90-95% of the material anyway (but you still want to read 300 or 500 pages, in order to cover the last details). Therefore, in my opinion, there should be either a set date (e.g. register for GMAT 2 months after you start studying) or a set target (e.g. set a target score, when you start studying and after you hit it for 2-3 times in practice tests, register to give the GMAT in the next week). If there is no target (either score or date), it's really easy to get burned.

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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2009, 17:13
river wrote:
Yes, I think that there are 2 major things that should NOT be done:
1) I see many people, who become focused in having a perfect score in one of the 2 sections (more often this happens in Math, where people are after Q51), but they neglect the other section. So, in the end they have a huge difference between the 2 sections and they ask for intructions on how to increase their overall score. I think that the answer is obvious: after a specific level in math or verbal, you get insignificant results for lots of effort. For example, there is no point trying to go from Q49 to Q51, if you have V30, because the increase V30->V32 is both easier to do and more effective than Q49 -> Q51.

2) From my personal experience, I think that it is easy to get burned, if you study GMAT for a long time. After 2 months of study, we go into diminishing returns (and possibly even negative returns). The exercises become boring, studying becomes careless and it seems useless to start reading another book from the beginning, because you already know 90-95% of the material anyway (but you still want to read 300 or 500 pages, in order to cover the last details). Therefore, in my opinion, there should be either a set date (e.g. register for GMAT 2 months after you start studying) or a set target (e.g. set a target score, when you start studying and after you hit it for 2-3 times in practice tests, register to give the GMAT in the next week). If there is no target (either score or date), it's really easy to get burned.



My $.02 on #2...I have been studying for around 5 months, and since I am unemployed, I feel like I should be studying as much as possible, as many books as possible. I definitely am feeling burnt out a bit. I am trying to break it down to 2-2 hours sessions a day, max. In retrospect, I think I read to many vendor books with the same strategies, etc. I think it would have been more productive to have targeted 2-3 months time frame, focused on MGMAT, then started GMATprep, and probably the Challenges....
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 18 Mar 2009, 17:18
"I also tried a couple of the Pricenton Review practice tests, but they didn't correlate with the GmatPrep ones. Also, I have bought the Kaplan books and CDs, but I didn't look at them."

I just started my simulated CATs with PR...I was wondering if you could elaborate on the lack of correlation with GmatPrep....were they higher or lower..and when did you take them in relation to the other CATs? Thanks..
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2009, 01:08
spgny wrote:
"I also tried a couple of the Pricenton Review practice tests, but they didn't correlate with the GmatPrep ones. Also, I have bought the Kaplan books and CDs, but I didn't look at them."

I just started my simulated CATs with PR...I was wondering if you could elaborate on the lack of correlation with GmatPrep....were they higher or lower..and when did you take them in relation to the other CATs? Thanks..


I took 2 PR CATs. The first one was 610 (Q48 V26) and it was before I had studied anything. Anyway, that score seemed normal at the time (I had just started studying and I had nothing to compare it to). So, after that I finished the PR book, did some of the verbal from OG11 and I gave a MGMAT CAT, which was 680. After that I studied a few more days (during which among other things, I finished the MGMAT SC book, which boosted my SC quite a bit) and decided to give another PR test, but I was frustrated to end up with a 650. Immediately after finishing that test, I gave a GMATPrep test, which gave me 690 (even though I was so tired after giving 2 tests one after the other). From that point on, I decided not to give another PR CAT. I don't know, if it was coincidence or not, but my performance at the time felt higher than 650 (and both MGMAT and GMATPrep seemed to agree with that). Also, generally I saw a huge correlation between MGMAT and GMATPrep, so I didn't see any reason to try other tests. My suggestion is that you have 6 MGMAT tests + 2 GMATPrep + 2 PowerPrep (this is the previous version of GMATPrep and you can still find it in the internet) CATs = 10 CATs that have a good correlation with each other. There is no reason to try other CATs, unless you finish all 10 of them and you have additional time, so you want to prepare more. And even, if you're done with them, you can always look at the gmatclub tests, which are excellent for math (the new percentages might crush your psychology, however you'll learn how to recognize all sorts of traps).
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2009, 04:34
river, thanks, I needed that...I am just starting simulated tests with 3 PR, and feel the results don't accurately reflect my level of preparation..with scores on the low side.

At this point I am going to spend my time doing OG questions again under timed conditions, and sticking to MGMAT/GMATprep tests...I will have to look into the Power Prep. Are PP different because they came from another vendor? I do not hear many people discussing them here.....
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2009, 13:01
I don't know, why people don't discuss PowerPrep. It's just the previous version of GmatPrep. Since you have already spent that many months in preparation and you are starting to get burned, I think that the best strategy for you would be to keep it simple. Pick a good company and stick to it. For example, MGMAT is good. Use their books and their CATs. If you don't like MGMAT, then Kaplan might be good for you. Also, the OG11, the supplemental handbooks and GmatPrep are good. If you've reached Q47-Q48 and you want to go higher, try the Gmatclub challenges. You don't need to spend additional time learning the same things again and again from different companies. Don't fall for analysis-paralysis.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2009, 05:58
Paralysis by analysis...excellent perspective....
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2009, 22:52
Excellent. Congratulations!!!
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2009, 03:42
Great breakdown. Thanks! Congratulations on your excellent score.
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2009, 05:39
Well done on an excellent achievement!
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2009, 08:56
I am not a native English speaker either, your story is encouraging ! Congratulations !

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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2009, 21:41
Congrats!! and thanks for the insights.

I am currently concentrating on GMAT sets..once I get a consistent 90 I am planning to give the gmatclub tests...then I shall give kaplan tests and take a date depending on the score...

I agree with the burnout issue...So my strategy is to get a consistent target score and then take a date with a shorter span ( like one or two weeks ). Hope this works well :)
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2009, 02:22
Hello nitya,
Do you mean that from 28 Q questions in GmatPrep, 11-12 mistakes correspond to Q48?? or my understanding is not correct..

Also can you share such stat for verbal section?

nitya34 wrote:
Congrats!!Btw, with the same 50-40 combo ppl get 750. So, You are unlucky :P
Simply awesome these 2 pointers
Quite agree with you.
I experiemented a lot with the GPrep S/w algo

Q 48 is 11-12 mistakes
Q 49 is basically when you do 9-10 mistakes in GPrep Quants(37 Qs)
Q 51 is like 3-5 Mistakes(Depending on Luck/Accuracy and also Experiemental Qs)

Also GPrep has smaller database compared to the same on the Test day S/W.So cant correlate that way

For others who are interested in RC, look at the url below(my signature)
I am posting 3 RCs daily.So come,join us. :)

river wrote:
Yes, I think that there are 2 major things that should NOT be done:
1) I see many people, who become focused in having a perfect score in one of the 2 sections (more often this happens in Math, where people are after Q51), but they neglect the other section. So, in the end they have a huge difference between the 2 sections and they ask for intructions on how to increase their overall score. I think that the answer is obvious: after a specific level in math or verbal, you get insignificant results for lots of effort. For example, there is no point trying to go from Q49 to Q51, if you have V30, because the increase V30->V32 is both easier to do and more effective than Q49 -> Q51.

2) From my personal experience, I think that it is easy to get burned, if you study GMAT for a long time. After 2 months of study, we go into diminishing returns (and possibly even negative returns). The exercises become boring, studying becomes careless and it seems useless to start reading another book from the beginning, because you already know 90-95% of the material anyway (but you still want to read 300 or 500 pages, in order to cover the last details). Therefore, in my opinion, there should be either a set date (e.g. register for GMAT 2 months after you start studying) or a set target (e.g. set a target score, when you start studying and after you hit it for 2-3 times in practice tests, register to give the GMAT in the next week). If there is no target (either score or date), it's really easy to get burned.
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2010, 19:53
river wrote:
spgny wrote:
"I also tried a couple of the Pricenton Review practice tests, but they didn't correlate with the GmatPrep ones. Also, I have bought the Kaplan books and CDs, but I didn't look at them."

I just started my simulated CATs with PR...I was wondering if you could elaborate on the lack of correlation with GmatPrep....were they higher or lower..and when did you take them in relation to the other CATs? Thanks..


I took 2 PR CATs. The first one was 610 (Q48 V26) and it was before I had studied anything. Anyway, that score seemed normal at the time (I had just started studying and I had nothing to compare it to). So, after that I finished the PR book, did some of the verbal from OG11 and I gave a MGMAT CAT, which was 680. After that I studied a few more days (during which among other things, I finished the MGMAT SC book, which boosted my SC quite a bit) and decided to give another PR test, but I was frustrated to end up with a 650. Immediately after finishing that test, I gave a GMATPrep test, which gave me 690 (even though I was so tired after giving 2 tests one after the other). From that point on, I decided not to give another PR CAT. I don't know, if it was coincidence or not, but my performance at the time felt higher than 650 (and both MGMAT and GMATPrep seemed to agree with that). Also, generally I saw a huge correlation between MGMAT and GMATPrep, so I didn't see any reason to try other tests. My suggestion is that you have 6 MGMAT tests + 2 GMATPrep + 2 PowerPrep (this is the previous version of GMATPrep and you can still find it in the internet) CATs = 10 CATs that have a good correlation with each other. There is no reason to try other CATs, unless you finish all 10 of them and you have additional time, so you want to prepare more. And even, if you're done with them, you can always look at the gmatclub tests, which are excellent for math (the new percentages might crush your psychology, however you'll learn how to recognize all sorts of traps).




Thank you so much for your comments. I also took the PR online test, and I got 640, this is after I studied for almost 3 months, and I thought I really brushed up on my skills. I've been getting 690-700 on my MGMAT scores, a 660 on Kaplan (which is really more like a 700 in the real GMAT). Is this PR score understated?
Thank you
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Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2010, 20:40
Your stories are definitely encouraging. I am also pretty bad at verbal so going to concentrate full speed on it
Re: 740 (Q50 V40) - My story   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2010, 20:40
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