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750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling. UPDATE AWA 5.5, IR 8

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GMAT 1: 750 Q48 V44
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750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling. UPDATE AWA 5.5, IR 8 [#permalink] New post 21 Jun 2012, 13:57
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UPDATE: Got the official report today and I got a 5.5 on AWA and an 8 on IR. Happy with the AWA score and a bit baffled about IR. On MGMAT I got around 5-6 in preparation exams so I guess YES, the real IR is easier than MGMAT.

What concerns me a bit is that apparently Q48 is no longer 80% but 78%. Hope this won't be an issue since there are rumours about an "80%-rule"... Well, retaking is not an option here so I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi guys,

I took the GMAT today for the first time and wanted to give a debrief about it so that someone hopefully will learn something from my endeavours. I have been rather "passively active" in the form, in that I read many topics but did not contribute as much. I have to say GMATCLUB is by far the best forum about the GMAT that I know - thank all of you guys for sharing your experiences and bb for creating this wonderful thing.

Here it goes:

Why GMAT
I am a non-native speaker from Europe, currently working at M/B/B. As some of you know we have this thing where you leave the firm after 2-2.5 yrs of work to attain some additional sort of degree (MBA, MPA, Phd...). My plan is to apply to an MBA fulltime program this fall, starting Mid 2013. Obviously to get access to the MBA programs you need to tackle the beast aka the GMAT.

Study materials used
MGMAT guides (all 8) --> Number properties and SC were by far the most helpful
OG12/13 --> Simply a MUST for everyone who takes preparation seriously
Kaplan GMAT 800 --> in my opinion pretty useless, most questions are far from 700+ level and awkwardly phrased, a bit off from the real thing
GMAT Club Tests --> I think it's an amazing resource I should have spent more time on (only did around 100-150 questions)
GMAT Club App

Practice Scores
GMAT Prep 1: 660 (43/38) (Diagnostic):
MGMAT 1: 700 (45/40) (Diagnostic 2.0, no serious study involved)
MGMAT 2: wasted (just did Quant part)
Kaplan CAT1: 640 (I think the Kaplan Scoring algorithm is completely off)
GMAT Prep 1: 700 (47/39) (No repeat Qs as the first one was 6 months ago)
MGMAT 3: 740 (47/45)
MGMAT 4: 680 (46/37)
GMAT Prep 2: 730 (47/44)
GMAT Prep 1: 770 (50/44) (Some repeat Qs)

Preparation
I first thought about taking the GMAT September 2011 when I decided to get an MBA. I took an initial diagnostic test and scored 660 (GMAT Prep 1). Since I knew I still had loads of time until the serious phase of applying would start, I did not do any studying whatsoever until finally in May 2012 I took time off work to seriously prepare for the GMAT. Took another "Diagnostic Test" and scored 700 on the MGMAT 1.

I started off my preparation by building up the basic understanding of concepts tested on the GMAT. I ran through all the MGMAT books 1-8 and completed all the questions in OG in the MGMAT logic. I think this is a great way of building the foundation to master the GMAT but another really important factor is missing - PRACTICE. When I finished those books after around 2.5 weeks I took the next practice exam and guess what - 700 again. I got a bit frustrated as to why I had put so much effort into studying these books if it didn't affect my performance at all. Then it occured to me that while studying the MGMAT helps you build an understanding of the basic concepts it cannot substitute for PRACTICE. Upon reviewing my practice exams I saw that I made many mistakes which resulted either from carelessness (even integer, consecutive integer...) or could be eradicated by practicing the question types. So I started to do many questions and got adept to most of the question types. This really helped me boost up my practice scores as at some point you just start to see the solution jumping at you. I continued doing practice questions (e.g., GMAT Club App, GMAT Club tests, OG, Kaplan GMAT 800) and came closer and closer to the test date. The day before test day I did not do much, mostly reviewed the notes I had taken during my studies and some problems from the OGs.

Some tips that might be useful:
QUANT
- MGMAT guides can only get you so far - if you need the extra push (49+) go for the GMAT club tests (unfortunately I did not spend anough time here)

VERBAL
- SC: Use MGMAT SC to learn the rules and then practice, practice, practice. I increased my hitrate from around 50% in the beginning to around 90% in the end by practicing many questions
- CR: Hard to practice in my opinion since it is mostly logic. I think the strategies in MGMAT may be useful for some but I did not apply them (T diagram...). What helps is to first read the question and then go into the text. It helps you focus on what's asked
- RC: Again, really hard to practice. I guess reading fiction can help to understand difficult passages, but it just takes time. What I think helps most is trying to get excited for the topic - make yourself get interested and it's going to be an easy task.

IR:
- Don't stress yourself out. If you're applying this year I think they won't care too much about the IR anyway as they will receive apps from ppl with and without IR and also they will not really know how to evaluate the scores by then.
- IR on test day was a lot easier than the practice questions (did the 50 on the OG13 HP) - again, don't stress yourself out

OVERALL
- What really helped me get my timing straight was the following: In quant I used the logic that after 25 minutes I have to be done with 13 Qs, after 50 min 25 Qs and after 75 min 37 Qs (13/12/12). In verbal I did the same thing with a 14/14/13 split. This strategy really helped me as I stopped having to rush through the last couple of questions and forced me to keep the time in focus.

Test day
The day before the test I went to the test center to just see what I was up against. I would recommend this - it takes off the pressure of the unkown on test day. When I got in, the lady from the center told me to wait a couple of more minutes until the test would start. Did so and 15 min later I sat in front of the screen. The first thing I did was putting my grid for verbal on the scratch pad, since in the beginning the test is not timed. After clicking next for a while I started off with AWA. Breezed through, having in mind the Instructions from chineseburned (read. his. post.). Next up was IR. Honestly in all my practice tests I was struggling with timing issues (had to guess the last 1-2 questions). On test day though I finished in time and was pretty happy with my performance (seemed easier than the practice Qs). After IR I took the break and ate a snickers + had a bit of orange juice.

Next up was quant. I felt good throughout the entire section although I oftentimes had the feeling that questions were too easy and spend some time second-guessing I probably could have saved (prbly experimental Qs). Still, finished Quant with 3 mins left, pretty happy with myself.

After the second break (splashing water in my face) I went back in and started off with verbal. From the beginning I felt I was struggling. The SCs were tougher than the ones I knew: no easy splits, many times I had to half-guess between two options and spent much time on SCs when I would usually spend around 1 min per Q. The RCs were also horribly boring and one was among the longest I had ever seen about a topic I did not AT ALL care about. What I did was trying to pull all that's in me together and fight through. Did so but at the cost that in the end I almost ran out of time. Had 9 mins and around 6 Qs left, so I rushed through the last ones a bit and finished the section not quite happy - at that point I would have evaluated my performance at around 39/40. One more thing: No boldface question at all, just some questions of the type "finish the argument" or "which evidence"... Maybe they are on to this "tell sign" of good performance and start to take it out of the test.

After the excruciating part of answering the survey I finally clicked on "Report my scores" and saw... 750 (48/44). I was superhappy and suppressed a loud scream of excitement (pumped my fists though :) ).

Some tips for the test day:
- Make sure you get there rested. I can't stress this enough - it will kill you if you get a headache during the exam
- Get in the right mood: I AM THE GMATKILLER; I WILL GUN YOU DOWN BI*CH
- Don't drink too much: I think many ppl drink a whole bottle during their break and - surprise - have to pee later. This can affect your performance in 2 ways: you lose time when you go to the toilet OR you can't focus 100% thinking about peeing all the time.

I hope this debrief helps some of you guys out there just as the debriefs have helped me.

Best regards
Gwydion

Last edited by Gwydion on 08 Jul 2012, 09:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 22 Jun 2012, 23:40
Great debrief. Question for you. I noticed that you didn't mention case skills. Give me some insight into how much you prepared for your case interviews and how well you think those skills apply to what the GMAT tests. Thanks very much, and congrats on doing well. Looking forward to emulating your success, I hope.
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 23 Jun 2012, 15:51
Hi vandygrad11,

thanks for your wishes!

I am not entirely sure if I understand your question correctly but I think you want to know how I prepared for the case interviews for the job and how this preparation ties to the GMAT, am I right?

I think case interviews and GMAT are very different but have some similarities. What you need for both is fast calculation skills such as long division. I did the case interviews quite a while ago (ca. 2.5 years) and it did not really help my GMAT performance to my knowledge. I could imagine it working the other way around though: If you prepared for the GMAT and have case interviews after, you will be quite comfortable with numbers and logic questions.

Does that answer your question?

BR
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2012, 18:07
Great debrief.
Congrats for a good score!!!

I just want to know that apart from OG 12/13 which other material did you use for Verbal (Practice).
I am confident of scoring 48+ in Quants but somehow could not score well in Verbal.
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2012, 14:29
Hi SelfAnnihilation,

I am probably the wrong guy to ask for verbal improvements as I didn't really practice RC and CR. The only thing I did pay attention to in preparation was SC and I tackled it using the MGMAT SC book and many practice Qs. I did all the SCs in OG12 and a lot of them on the GMATClub App. What really helped me was trying to figure out the splits, it saves sooo much time and lets you spend the time on hard RC and CR questions.

If you don't have it already, I think you should get Verbal Review (from the GMAT makers); there are additional verbal questions inside for practice. I didn't use it but official questions are usually the best to practice with.

What I did in RC was completely the opposite of what MGMAT proposes to do in their books. Actually I read the whole passage and spend time understanding every last bit of it. This takes more time initially but saves you a lot afterwards. When I am finished reading the passage I usually answer all the questions without looking at the passage again at all, or if I have to re-read then not longer than ca. 1 min. You could give this approach a try, maybe it helps.

For CR I did not have additional material than the OG and only did around 15-20 Qs in the OG for practice (+ some on the GMATClub App when I felt like doing a CR). I initially had a hitrate of roughly 90-95% so I didn't bother improving from that. What I usually do is I read the Q first and figure out what type of question it is. I then read the passage and try to figure out what the "clue" might be (e.g. what assumptions does the author make, why is his conclusion shaky...). With an idea of a possible solution in mind I start reading answer choices. Oftentimes I find something that I had thought of before and think "well, that's what we're talking about". If that doesn't happen I re-evaluate answer choices against the passage (obviously takes longer than finding the solution right away). Give it a try, maybe it works for you too.

Hope this was helpful.

BR
Gwydion
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2012, 09:11
Ho boy.. seeing your tests scores and real gmat score. Boy, you have showed consistent improvement! :) Unlike those other profiles, who usually get about 730-770 range in tests & end up with 750 770 range!
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2012, 19:24
Great story... thanks for posting this Gywdion!!
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2012, 02:34
Great Debrief and Great Score... Congratulations !!! I read debriefs daily to stay focused and motivated... Hope this help me.
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2012, 09:17
Congrats on the great score !!
44 in verbal is awesome !
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2012, 18:52
Expert's post
Congrats on the excellent score and thank you for the informative debrief! :)
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 03 Jul 2012, 02:06
I keep on telling my folk: Verbal is the way to improve your score.

Congrats on your impressive score.
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 03 Jul 2012, 07:21
Thank you guys for all the wishes - highly appreciated :)

Best
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2012, 08:47
Hey Gwydion congratulations on that amazing score!! Thanks a ton for that awesome debrief that was just what I needed at the moment i was a bit disillusioned at the moment :P I also wanted to ask I am particularly a little weak at DS I feel I really need some practice could you suggest some book to practice from? I have solved the OG 11 and Kaplan Premier and I was planning to solve the Kaplan 800 but a couple of others also told me its pretty useless so could you suggest something else?
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2012, 09:28
Congrats on the score. Good luck on applications
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling. UPDATE AWA 5.5, IR 8 [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2012, 14:26
Congrats on the great score and thanks for the debrief! I hope that I can get a good consulting job someday like you!
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2012, 14:38
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zeel wrote:
Hey Gwydion congratulations on that amazing score!! Thanks a ton for that awesome debrief that was just what I needed at the moment i was a bit disillusioned at the moment :P I also wanted to ask I am particularly a little weak at DS I feel I really need some practice could you suggest some book to practice from? I have solved the OG 11 and Kaplan Premier and I was planning to solve the Kaplan 800 but a couple of others also told me its pretty useless so could you suggest something else?


@ zeel: sounds like you already had a good amount of pratice with the OG and Kaplan. What I would suggest for you are two things: Get yourself the GMATClub App to practice on the go and invest some money in the GMATClub Tests. This way you will get all the practice you need at a level on par or above what's waiting for you on test day. Hope this helps.

@ NonYankee: Getting congrats from someone who scored 800 is awesome - thanks ;) Congratulations on your perfect and unbelievable score! All the best for getting you dreamjob!

Best
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Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling. UPDATE AWA 5.5, IR 8 [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2012, 08:27
Hmm I guess I'l do that :) Thanks a ton!!
Re: 750 (48/44) - what a wonderful feeling. UPDATE AWA 5.5, IR 8   [#permalink] 09 Jul 2012, 08:27
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