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750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice

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750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2011, 16:31
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I took my GMAT a few weeks ago and I got a 750 (Q49, V42). My AWA score was a 6.0. I am not super smart. I do not have a math background at all. I just studied really hard.

Five months out I started learning the concepts. I read and took notes on each of the 8 MGMAT books and then did the MGMAT problems at the end of each chapter (untimed because I was shooting for accuracy). I DID NOT touch any OG problems yet. I alternated between math, verbal, math, verbal, etc. for the MGMAT books and I found that it worked well. I took about a week per MGMAT book, plus a couple of extra weeks due to traveling, so about 10 weeks to read, take notes, and complete all MGMAT problems in the 8 books.

I did the MGMAT challenges after I completed each book, but I would advise you NOT to do this yet. I would get every problem in the book correct in under 2 minutes, but half of the challenge problems wrong or too slow. The challenges contain good, hard practice questions, so you should save them for later in your studying when you are more familiar with the material. If I could do it over again, I would wait until after finishing OG Quant and OG Verbal books to do the MGMAT challenges.

I took CAT1 from Kaplan Premier 2010 as a diagnostic and scored 760. Do not buy this book. I didn't use it once, except to try a practice test. The MGMAT books cover everything you need to know, and after taking 4+ GMATPrep and 6 MGMAT practice tests, you will not need extra CATs.

At this point, after going through all of the MGMAT books once, I took my first MGMAT CAT and bombed it--Q35. I couldn't bring myself to finish the verbal portion of the test.

Next I reviewed each MGMAT book again, one at a time. First, I would review my notes and then I would do the easy OG Quant and OG Verbal problems at the end of each chapter. Next, I would review my notes again and then do the hard OG Quant and OG Verbal problems. I did all OG problems timed and entered them into my GMAT Club Guide to OG Quant and OG Verbal Tracker (guide-to-the-gmat-quantative-and-verbal-reviews-2nd-editions-96159.html). I made sure to note my confidence level (50/50 guess, 75% educated guess, and 100% confident) of every question. I recorded this in the tracker. If I got any wrong, guessed, or took too long on any I would note in the tracker why.

OG Quant and OG Verbal:
(% is the percentage of problems correct)
OG Quant: PS 91%, DS 81%
OG Verbal: RC 96%, CR 89%, SC 88%

I found the OG Quant and OG Verbal questions extremely easy.

While reviewing the MGMAT books and completing OG Quant and OG Verbal, I made sure to also practice MGMAT CATs--about one math section a week. I did the verbal and math sections at different sittings. I don't think I ever sat for an entire MGMAT test. Save that for GMATPrep instead, or you might get burned out. After doing CAT3, I decided to stop doing MGMAT verbal. MGMAT math is way harder (in a good way) than the real thing. MGMAT verbal isn't very well written and is not like the real thing. LSAT verbal is better, and OG/paper tests/GMATPrep are the best. Even though there was little to no score improvement toward the end, by CAT5 I knew I had a better grasp of the math concepts. I did every CAT under timed conditions, and made sure to complete the problems that I ran out of time for later.

MGMAT CATs:
CAT1: Q35, V--
CAT2: Q45, V41 710
CAT3: Q44, V40 700
CAT4: Q47, V--
CAT5: Q47, V--
CAT6: Q47, V--

MGMAT lets you export your CAT results. I exported each one into a master file. When taking the tests with my practice booklet, I would again note my confidence level of each question and record it in my master file. I would highlight any question which I got wrong, guessed (50/50 or 75%), or took longer than 120 seconds for math / 115 seconds for verbal. I made sure to redo these questions and write out how to get to the correct answer. MGMAT's explanations are online, so reviewing CATs is a good exercise if you have free time at work.

I did all of the above for the MGMAT question banks that came with each book as well.

I tried the GMAT Club tests but I didn't find any of them helpful. They were not like the real thing--much more difficult. I would only suggest them if you are retaking and have run out of OG, MGMAT, and LSAT material. I did not find flashcards or the paper tests (many repeats and could potentially spoil GMATPrep and OG12) very helpful either.

Since I skipped most of the MGMAT Verbal CATs, I did LSAT problems instead. I was already decent at RC and SC, so I mainly used LSAT CR and some LSAT RC. I was recommended this set of LSAT CR broken down by type (http://www.groupedbooks.com/grouped-by-question-type/). This helped me practice identifying the different CR question types. Also, I was able to easily skip the chapters of LSAT problems not on the GMAT. The best thing was that this was a .pdf so I could pretend to be working when I was actually studying! I would do 10 problems of each type at a time, untimed, and I created an answer sheet in Excel. Practicing LSAT CR (which is much harder than GMAT CR) on my computer without being able to write anything down was challenging in a good way. If you can figure out LSAT CR in your head, GMAT CR on your practice tests will seem so easy. I completed close to 500 CR from this document, all at work :)

Next I reviewed my OG Quant and OG Verbal Tracker and re-did all the problems I got wrong or did slowly.

Then with about six weeks left, I started OG12. First I did the OG12 Diagnostic, which helped me to identify my weak areas to re-read and re-do problems. Then I started on the rest of OG12. Again, I went through each MGMAT book one at a time (yes, again). I reviewed my notes and then did the OG12 problems for each question type. OG12 was harder than OG Quant and OG Verbal, but still not hard enough compared to GMATPrep or the actual GMAT. However, it was good practice. I did each OG12 problem timed and entered it into my GMAT Club Guide to the OG12 Tracker (gmat-club-guide-to-the-gmat-official-guide-12th-ed-85956.html). I kept the same error log of confidence levels, question times, and errors as I did for OG Quant and OG Verbal above.

I saved the last 100 problems of each section of OG12 for the last two weeks before my test.

OG12:
(% is the percentage of problems correct)
OG12 Diagnostic: Quant 81%, Verbal 92%
OG12 Quant: PS 91%, DS 89% (90% overall)
OG12 Verbal: RC 94%, CR 98%, SC 93% (95% overall)

OG was way too easy. Each and every problem was completed under timed conditions. Clearly, there is no way that you are going to get 92% of the questions on the GMAT correct like I did with OG12.

One thing to note, I was extremely diligent about tracking each and every OG12, OG Quant, and OG Verbal question that I completed, and that is why I can report my accuracy. This also helped me see my areas of strength and weaknesses. I strongly recommend that you do this too. Never complete an OG problem untimed (unless you are reviewing wrong answers.)

GMATPrep Practice Tests:
28 days out: GMATPrep v2 Test 1 - 740 (Q48 V44) + writing section
21 days out: GMATPrep v2 Test 2 - 770 (Q49 V47) + writing section
14 days out: GMATPrep v1 Test 1 - 750 (Q50 V41) + writing section (scored) - A lot of repeats from GMATPrep v2 and OG
07 days out: GMATPrep v1 Test 2 - 770 (Q49 V48) + writing section (scored) - A lot of repeats from GMATPrep v2 and OG
01 days out: GMATPrep v2 Test 1 (2nd time, no writing section) - I think I scored around 790, but it didn't matter because half of the questions were repeats; this test was mainly to practice endurance the day before the real thing

GMATPrep questions are gold. They are the most valuable questions you will come across because they are the most like the real thing; more so than any OG, paper tests, MGMAT, etc. That's why I saved all of my GMATPreps for the month before my test. I did not want to waste one as a diagnostic because there are so many other diagnostic tests available.

I scheduled my official test for a Saturday, so I did full-length practice tests (including the writing section) for the four Saturdays prior to my test date. I made sure to practice at the same time as my test was scheduled and I practiced driving to my test location the Saturday before the real thing. I think GMATPrep repeats writing prompts, so I chose random prompts from the list to practice each day. For the last Saturday, I paid for GMAT Write 1 (http://www.mba.com/mba/store/ProductInf ... oductID=17) to get my AWA sections scored. You submit your essays and you get a score back instantly. At $29.99 it was pretty expensive, but I'm glad that I did this because the first time I got it scored, it was not up to par. I think I scored a 4. You get another shot at rewriting each essay, and when I submitted them, I think I got a 5.5. Basically the longer your essays are, the higher your score. However, it was worth it to me because it alerted me to the fact that I needed to practice my essays. After that, I practiced templates that I could use for every prompt. This helped my confidence on the AWA section a lot going into the test and I scored a 6 on the real thing. One thing to note for the AWA--do it in Microsoft Word before running the GMATPrep program. I learned the hard way that there is no way to go back and review your essays if you type it into GMATPrep. For the essays that I submitted to GMAT Write, I copied and pasted from my Word document. It was just easier this way. For Analysis of an Argument, I memorized this (http://www.beatthegmat.com/argument-ess ... 38032.html) pretty much verbatim. I just practiced typing it out over and over again at work. It doesn't matter which prompt you get, it will work and you will get a 6.0 if your Analysis of an Issue essay is decent.

After completing each GMATPrep I went through question-by-question to fill out the Awesome Error Log by Spoilt and Trianglock (gmat-error-log-86232.html). This was a huge help in identifying my weaknesses. During the test, I made sure to note my confidence level (50/50 guess, 75% educated guess, and 100% confident) of every question. I recorded this in the error log as well. On my scratch paper, I would note every time I came across a repeat question or a guess. When reviewing, I made sure to go over every question I got wrong or guessed on until I understood the problem and wrote out an explanation of how to complete the problem.

In between GMATPrep tests this last month, I targeted my weaknesses, which were VICs, Word Translations, and Ratios. I re-read those books/sections and re-did every problem in MGMAT, OG Verbal, Quant, and 12.

During the last two weeks before the test, I also made sure to finish the last 100 problems of OG12 and read each and every explanation, whether I got it right or wrong.

The day before my test, I found that document of SC pulled from GMATPrep (gmatprepsc-105446.html) and went through as many as I could. That was the only studying I did that day. Remember to save this until you are finished taking GMATPrep.

While taking my test, I got flustered on the quant section. I got a ton of hard questions and I had to guess a lot. Right when time expired I figured out the answer to the last question, but it was too late to change my answer. This threw me off a lot. Don't let this happen to you! Once you start the verbal, forget about everything that happened in the section before. Because I was still flustered from the math section, I didn't do so well on verbal, which is normally my best section. I took a little longer than normal on the earlier problems and as a result rushed through the middle problems. I finished on time, but I did not feel confident about a lot of my answers. I expected around a 710, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I scored 750 (Q49, V42) and a 6.0 on AWA. Even though I barely improved from my first GMATPrep, I knew that I was extremely flustered while taking the test and had I not put in all that work, I would have scored much lower than my practice runs. All the hard work and time was worth it!
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2011, 17:48
Congrats on your great score. Do you mind sharing the LSAT document -type (http://www.groupedbooks.com/grouped-by-question-type/). This helped me practice identifying the different CR question types. -or sending it to me...

thanks
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2011, 17:57
I'm sorry. It's copyrighted material and the website clearly warns that it's a violation to share my document (they are traceable) with other people.
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2011, 18:09
Ok No problem - do the answers come with explanations?
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2011, 21:44
No explanations.

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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2011, 23:59
Expert's post
Congratulations - great to see you with a fantastic score.

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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2011, 00:03
Great debrief!!!! & a great score!!!
Congratulations & best of luck for applications. Keep us posted.

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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2011, 09:26
Congrats on the great score
Could you please let me which of the MGMAT set of 8 guides should i go for
I already have MGMAT SC
I heard MGMAT Number Properties is a Must Buy.I am weak in Data Sufficiency so which Guide do you prescribe for me
Please let me know
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2011, 14:20
Probably the best debrief i've read in 2011! Congrats and good luck with the apps. +1
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2011, 14:37
Awesome score! Thanks for posting!
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2011, 19:38
Congrats on your score and thank you for sharing such a detailed debrief with us.
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2011, 09:37
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mundasingh123 wrote:
Congrats on the great score
Could you please let me which of the MGMAT set of 8 guides should i go for
I already have MGMAT SC
I heard MGMAT Number Properties is a Must Buy.I am weak in Data Sufficiency so which Guide do you prescribe for me
Please let me know


You want ALL 8 guides: http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-GMAT-Se ... 913&sr=8-1

I think you will regret it if you try to skip any of them. Even if you are strong in a subject, say geometry, by going through the guide, you will have 100% confidence that you know everything you need to know in order to answer any geometry question correctly. Sometimes having confidence in your own abilities is the only difference between a right and wrong answer.
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2011, 10:14
username123 wrote:
mundasingh123 wrote:
Congrats on the great score
Could you please let me which of the MGMAT set of 8 guides should i go for
I already have MGMAT SC
I heard MGMAT Number Properties is a Must Buy.I am weak in Data Sufficiency so which Guide do you prescribe for me
Please let me know


You want ALL 8 guides: http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-GMAT-Se ... 913&sr=8-1

I think you will regret it if you try to skip any of them. Even if you are strong in a subject, say geometry, by going through the guide, you will have 100% confidence that you know everything you need to know in order to answer any geometry question correctly. Sometimes having confidence in your own abilities is the only difference between a right and wrong answer.



Excellent point! I would say that I am "more proficient" in 4 out of those 8 books, but after going through them, I now have uber confidence!
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2011, 22:19
One of the best, most motivating debriefs I ever read. Cheers to you, username123. You are my paragon of hardworking. I hope I can do the same as you did :)
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Re: 750 (Q49, V42, AWA 6.0) - Debrief, Giving Back, Advice   [#permalink] 07 Aug 2011, 22:19
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