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750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around)

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750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 10:11
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My first contribution to the GMAT Club! Hopefully this debrief will be of some use to someone.

Background:

I took the GMAT the first time Nov 09, and got a 710 (Q49 V38). At that time, my GMATPreps averaged 730. That time, I used an old OG from the library and that was it. When I got the 710, I was really happy but I also knew I didn't do well on the verbal. What I learned from that experience was that because I didn't do the AWA in my prep, my stamina during the verbal session dropped considerably. I also realized that with about 15 questions to go in the verbal, my mind kept getting sidetracked because I was so close to being done and seeing my score. I'm pretty sure it went downhill there.

I kept going back and forth regarding whether I should retake or not. The reason I did retake was because my performance in verbal was really nagging me for months, and I also learned that even after you get your MBA, employers still asked for your GMAT score and I wanted to ensure that I was competitive 5 years from now, given the scores keep getting higher and higher. I forked over the $ and scheduled a 2nd round with the GMAT.

2nd time around:

I decided to retake the GMAT in Feb and took it in May. My goal was a 750. I bought all three OG books (OG, Verbal, and Quant) and MGMAT SC. I learned from before that SC was my weakness, but it was also the easiest for me to improve. I went through all the questions in all 4 books, and did the ones I got wrong again to make sure I understood them. I started GMATPrep again and averaged 770. Given my past experience of scoring 20 points below my practice, I figured I was about ready. Ironically, I scored 20 below my practice once again. The last 2 weeks of GMAtPrep, I did the AWA as well, which I think was a huge help in building up stamina.

Study Strategies:

Quantitative - I've always been good at math, but not great. I didn't really spend any time studying for this section, just spent a lot of time doing problems from the OGs. Data Sufficiency was my weakness, in particular number theory, so I spent extra time working through those questions. My goal was to maintain the level I was at, and if I got lucky, improve on it.

Verbal - I've been pretty good with Reading Comprehension so I didn't spend much time there, just ran through problems. I focused mostly on Critical Reasoning and Sentence Correction.
    Critical Reasoning - I didn't have a strategy for this, but what I did realize was that the first time around, I chose answers based on what "felt right." After reading explanations on why an answer was correct, I realized that for me, the best way to understand the question and find the right answer was to think through "this is what the statements tell me" and "this is the argument they're making" and then scan through the answers to find which one addressed the argument (weaken/strengthen it, etc). Before, I would often pick the answer that had to do with the subject, but didn't actually address the argument itself.
    Sentence Correction - This was the section I really needed work on, so I got the ManhattanGMAT SC book, which was really good at honing in on exactly what the GMAT tested for. I also liked their idioms section because it provided you with not only the correct way of using it, but also the incorrect ways that the GMAT tests you on. I went through the most questions in this section, and made sure that I knew exactly why each answer was right or wrong.

Test Day:

Same as everyone else I would imagine. The place was quiet. I asked for ear plugs which was helpful because I was right by the door and there was a lot of people going in and out. I tested the markers before the test started. I waited for the proctor to get there to sign me out, so I didn't waste precious break time for them to spot me and log me out. I grabbed a few bites of a granola bar and a soda, splashed cold water on my face, and went back in.

Lessons Learned:
    Do the AWAs in your GMATPrep! Don't just skip through it.
    Make sure to know why your answer is right AND why the other answers are wrong (especially for CR and SC)
    Practice with the OGs - nothing beats this. You never have to wonder whether this question is really a GMAT question
    Don't wear yourself out the couple weeks before the exam. At this point, you're going to be as prepared as you can. Just stay sharp and run through some problems every day to stay fresh. I took a GMATPrep every weekend for about 6 or 7 weeks.

Hope this helps!
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 10:21
Congratz!
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 11:23
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Congrats!!!
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 11:26
Congrats.
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 12:02
congrats ! thanks for the debrief..
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 13:33
kudos and congrats, thanks for mentioning that I think it s a great idea to do AWA before practice tests to make it like the real deal scenario
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 14:28
That's massive..congrats and good luck ahead.

i couldn't understand "I waited for the proctor to get there to sign me out, so I didn't waste precious break time for them to spot me and log me out."...

when you have finished your section your break time should start..isnt it?
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 18:26
gurpreetsingh wrote:
That's massive..congrats and good luck ahead.

i couldn't understand "I waited for the proctor to get there to sign me out, so I didn't waste precious break time for them to spot me and log me out."...

when you have finished your section your break time should start..isnt it?


I still had time left after the essays and after the math. I could have signed myself out, but I was not allowed to leave the room without the proctor escorting me. So, if she was doing something and not paying attention to me when I raised my hand to leave, I could be waiting to get her attention while my break time was ticking.

I had this problem the first time I took it, so the second time around I waited for her to actually get to my chair before I took my break. This time around, I also allotted an extra minute or two to get back to the room and get signed in. Last time, the proctor kept typing her password wrong and cost me 2 minutes from my verbal section.
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 25 May 2010, 21:14
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 01:23
I had this problem the first time I took it, so the second time around I waited for her to actually get to my chair before I took my break. This time around, I also allotted an extra minute or two to get back to the room and get signed in. Last time, the proctor kept typing her password wrong and cost me 2 minutes from my verbal section.


How is that possible? You lost two minutes because the GMAT official couldn't type her password correctly??? Don't they have any rules that protect test takers from such incidents?

Also, tarheel2009, could you please tell me how many practice CAT's you took the first time and the second time around? Did it help you? If so, how?
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 03:46
congrats!
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 06:11
nonameee wrote:
I had this problem the first time I took it, so the second time around I waited for her to actually get to my chair before I took my break. This time around, I also allotted an extra minute or two to get back to the room and get signed in. Last time, the proctor kept typing her password wrong and cost me 2 minutes from my verbal section.


How is that possible? You lost two minutes because the GMAT official couldn't type her password correctly??? Don't they have any rules that protect test takers from such incidents?

Also, tarheel2009, could you please tell me how many practice CAT's you took the first time and the second time around? Did it help you? If so, how?


Yeah, you would think the proctors could type in the correct password. The proctor ended up typing it in about 7 or 8 times before finally getting it right. I got back from my break right on time. Assuming the proctor types the password in the first time around correctly, I would have seen the screen to read the instructions for verbal. Instead, when she finally got it right, I looked at my time and 2 minutes had already ticked off, and I was looking at my first verbal question. I was really pissed off. Fortunately, I usually had time to spare in verbal so I didn't object. I took it as a lesson learned.

I took all GMATPreps (reinstalled several times) and saw only a few duplicates, which was great. I don't remember the exact number of CAT I took the first time around, but I can ballpark pretty well.

First time: I started with a 650 on my first CAT. Then everything else was between 710-750. Most were 730, once was 710, once was 750. I probably took 6 or 7 of these.

Second time: I started with a 710 on my first CAT (which was disappointing because it was the exact same breakdown as my first real score). Then 770, 750, 770, 770, 760

The CAT didn't help me improve, it just helped me see more questions and use what I learned to test myself. The second time around, I actually got GMAT books and worked through hundreds of problems, so I think that was what helped my score. I took advantage of the forums to explain the more difficult math problems, and also used forums for SC. The only "real studying" I did was going through the ManhattanGMAT SC book. The rest were just going through as many problems as I could, understanding each one.

Hope this helps!
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 06:57
Thanks a lot for your reply. I still don't get it how it is possible that you can screw your test because of the test staff. Really weird.

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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 08:09
nonameee wrote:
Thanks a lot for your reply. I still don't get it how it is possible that you can screw your test because of the test staff. Really weird.


Yeah I agree, very strange and definitely should not have happened. I've never heard it happen but I was unlucky and got to experience it. No test proctor should forget the password to the computer!
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 08:42
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Congratulations! :)
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2011, 20:58
tarheel2009 wrote:
nonameee wrote:
Thanks a lot for your reply. I still don't get it how it is possible that you can screw your test because of the test staff. Really weird.


Yeah I agree, very strange and definitely should not have happened. I've never heard it happen but I was unlucky and got to experience it. No test proctor should forget the password to the computer!


the same thing happend to me !! the proctor typed her password incorrect and i lost 2mins in the process ..it happend right before the verbal section in which i dont have a single second to spare...was under pressure throughout thl verbal test .. so after scoring 50 on quant got 26 in verbal.. and got 630 overall...which was quite below my expectation as i was scoring 700's in mocks (GMAT PREP MGMAT ETS etc) ...is there any way to redress the problem????plzzzz help ..
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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2011, 23:21
Great! Thanks for sharing.

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Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around) [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2011, 23:52
congrats!
Re: 750 (Q49 V44) - My GMAT Experience (2nd time around)   [#permalink] 28 Jul 2011, 23:52
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