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760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience

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760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2009, 18:21
I took the GMAT last Friday (12/18), and all I can say is that I am really happy that it's over. I'm looking forward to having some time to myself now.

My scores:
760 (99th percentile)
Q49 (87th percentile)
V44 (97th percentile)
AWA 6.0 (90th percentile)


My background:

I attended a top 5 engineering university and majored in Chemical Engineering. I also minored in Philosophy. My engineering background gave me strong practical math skills and my philosophy background made analyzing arguments in the CR section go much more smoothly. One piece of advice I'd give to future test takers is this: nobody is great at every section of the GMAT. It's all about maximizing your strengths and making up for your weaknesses.


Previous scores
10/20 Kaplan 670 (Q44 V 42)
10/31 MGMAT 680 (Q46 V37)
11/20 Kaplan 740 (Q46 V54)
10/21 GMAT Prep 740 (??)
11/24 MGMAT 690 (Q44 V39)
11/28 GMAT Prep 750 (Q49 V42)
12/5 GMAT Prep 750 (Q49 V 42)
12/14 GMAT Prep 710 (??)

I used the old version of the GMAT Prep software for the last two tests. I ran into problems that I recognized, but none that I could remember what the answer was without going over them again. MGMAT and Kaplan approximate test questions as best they can, but there's nothing like real test questions.

MGAT's exams were a lot tougher than the actual gmat and Kaplan's questions were easier, but their scoring algorithm was really rough.

My last exam I took after a 12+ hr day at work. While it was lower than my previous scores, it was still good to have a baseline score. Knowing what my lowest score I could get would be really helped my confidence.

Preparation
I started preparation on 10/17, two months before test day. This ended up being the perfect amount of time for me - enough to cover all the major bases

I started my prep using the OG and Kaplan, but quickly found that Kaplan wasn't right for me. If you find yourself getting easy questions wrong or are struggling with how to take the test, then Kaplan is a good resource. It became clear to me early on that Kaplan's questions weren't matching the difficulty of the ones that I was going to see on the GMAT, so I moved onto MGMAT.

I used the number properties book from MGMAT along with the OG for most of my review. MGMAT's tests were tough. The questions were hard and very time consuming. I had to work really fast in order to finish each section on time.

Quant
To prep I worked through the OG questions and did some of the MGMAT and Kaplan questions as well. I had no problems with the hardest word problems, but I found a lot of the number properties questions tough. I've always been a practically oriented in math, so some of the abstract questions were tough. The MGMAT number properties book helped me improve my score, but I think this was what kept out of the 50+ range on the quant.

Verbal
Unlike a lot of people, I had no problems with CR questions. I put the credit for this on my philosophy background. I did, however, have some problems with the SC section. I worked through the OG questions, and when I looked back through my error log, I found that I was only making a few mistakes over and over. When I reviewed these, my scores greatly improved.

RC wasn't too tough. I read the whole passage and then wrote down the main idea before starting the questions. This helped me with "what is the purpose of this passage" questions. If I didn't write down the main idea right away, I'd get bogged down in the details when answering questions and it would distort my view of the bigger picture.

I never got the timing right on the verbal. I finished most of the practice tests with 15-20 minutes to spare. On the actual GMAT I finished with 12 minutes to spare.

Advice

-Give yourself enough time to study. I'd recommend 6-10 weeks.

-Figure out what you're good at and what you need to work on early. This will help you maximize your studying efficiency.

-Error logs are important. Most wrong answers are due to only a few blind spots.


Well my GMAT journey is done. Good luck to the rest of you!
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Re: 760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2009, 22:38
GTChE wrote:
I took the GMAT last Friday (12/18), and all I can say is that I am really happy that it's over. I'm looking forward to having some time to myself now.

My scores:
760 (99th percentile)
Q49 (87th percentile)
V44 (97th percentile)
AWA 6.0 (90th percentile)


My background:

I attended a top 5 engineering university and majored in Chemical Engineering. I also minored in Philosophy. My engineering background gave me strong practical math skills and my philosophy background made analyzing arguments in the CR section go much more smoothly. One piece of advice I'd give to future test takers is this: nobody is great at every section of the GMAT. It's all about maximizing your strengths and making up for your weaknesses.


Previous scores
10/20 Kaplan 670 (Q44 V 42)
10/31 MGMAT 680 (Q46 V37)
11/20 Kaplan 740 (Q46 V54)
10/21 GMAT Prep 740 (??)
11/24 MGMAT 690 (Q44 V39)
11/28 GMAT Prep 750 (Q49 V42)
12/5 GMAT Prep 750 (Q49 V 42)
12/14 GMAT Prep 710 (??)

I used the old version of the GMAT Prep software for the last two tests. I ran into problems that I recognized, but none that I could remember what the answer was without going over them again. MGMAT and Kaplan approximate test questions as best they can, but there's nothing like real test questions.

MGAT's exams were a lot tougher than the actual gmat and Kaplan's questions were easier, but their scoring algorithm was really rough.

My last exam I took after a 12+ hr day at work. While it was lower than my previous scores, it was still good to have a baseline score. Knowing what my lowest score I could get would be really helped my confidence.

Preparation
I started preparation on 10/17, two months before test day. This ended up being the perfect amount of time for me - enough to cover all the major bases

I started my prep using the OG and Kaplan, but quickly found that Kaplan wasn't right for me. If you find yourself getting easy questions wrong or are struggling with how to take the test, then Kaplan is a good resource. It became clear to me early on that Kaplan's questions weren't matching the difficulty of the ones that I was going to see on the GMAT, so I moved onto MGMAT.

I used the number properties book from MGMAT along with the OG for most of my review. MGMAT's tests were tough. The questions were hard and very time consuming. I had to work really fast in order to finish each section on time.

Quant
To prep I worked through the OG questions and did some of the MGMAT and Kaplan questions as well. I had no problems with the hardest word problems, but I found a lot of the number properties questions tough. I've always been a practically oriented in math, so some of the abstract questions were tough. The MGMAT number properties book helped me improve my score, but I think this was what kept out of the 50+ range on the quant.

Verbal
Unlike a lot of people, I had no problems with CR questions. I put the credit for this on my philosophy background. I did, however, have some problems with the SC section. I worked through the OG questions, and when I looked back through my error log, I found that I was only making a few mistakes over and over. When I reviewed these, my scores greatly improved.

RC wasn't too tough. I read the whole passage and then wrote down the main idea before starting the questions. This helped me with "what is the purpose of this passage" questions. If I didn't write down the main idea right away, I'd get bogged down in the details when answering questions and it would distort my view of the bigger picture.

I never got the timing right on the verbal. I finished most of the practice tests with 15-20 minutes to spare. On the actual GMAT I finished with 12 minutes to spare.

Advice

-Give yourself enough time to study. I'd recommend 6-10 weeks.

-Figure out what you're good at and what you need to work on early. This will help you maximize your studying efficiency.

-Error logs are important. Most wrong answers are due to only a few blind spots.


Well my GMAT journey is done. Good luck to the rest of you!


Congrats and thank you for such a thorough debrief. I think I'm now convinced to do all of my MGMAT CAT's.
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Re: 760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2009, 22:58
congrats great score..any tips for RC ?
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Re: 760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2009, 00:43
GTChE,

Congrats mate.
710 in your last test exam after 12+... are you a football player :) :)
well done.
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Re: 760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience [#permalink] New post 26 Dec 2009, 08:04
congrats great score..any tips for RC ?


First things first, if you struggle with RC, then you need to allot more time for the RC questions. This means that you need to spend less time on either the SC or the CR. That's the stark reality of the situation.

How you approach RC depends fundamentally on what kind of a reader you are. I read extremely quickly, so I could reread parts of the passage while answering the questions without having to worry about time. If you read slowly, this may not be possible. Slow readers are at a slight disadvantage because they need to have a complete grasp of the passage by the time they are done reading it - they may not have time to go back and reread large sections of the passage.

That said, there are a number of universal tips that I would offer:

1. Have a plan and stick to it. The practice tests are the time to try out new strategies to approach RC passages, but when you get to the test, you need have a plan on how you will approach the passages and you need to use it. There are a lot of approaches that work, so what you pick depends on you.

2. Be interested in the topics. The GMAT folks know that you don't care about the lifecycle of moths in North America or the role of women in 17th century literature. Because they don't care about the topics, many test takers just "zone out" and read the passage, but don't pay attention to it. This wastes precious time.

I recommend trying to pump yourself up about the RC passages. After all, the RC is the only section of the GMAT where you actually learn something while taking the test. If you can force yourself to be interested in the passages and see RC as a chance to learn something new, then your comprehension will jump considerably.

3. Know the RC question types. The GMAT asks the same questions repeatedly and the chances are high that you are likely fine with all but one or two of them (which is where all your mistakes come from). Find that one or two and develop your approach to address them.

Among the classes of questions the RC asks you for are:

-Big idea questions like: what is the purpose of this passage? What is the author's tone here? These were my personal weakness, so after reading every passage I wrote a one sentence summary of the author's main point and the tone of the passage (argumentative, dispassionate, etc).

-Argument extension questions. The author would likely agree with which of the following points? Which of the following examples would illustrate the authors point? These questions are like the CR questions in that they force you to think from the authors point of view.

-Context questions. XXX in the passage says that? Who does the author likely mean when they say YYY? Often these questions have highlighted text. These are "did you read the passage" questions that require an understanding of how the author made their point. These are often the hardest type for passage skimmers.

Figure out what kind of questions you get wrong and fit your approach to suit them.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
Re: 760 Q49 V44 - My GMAT experience   [#permalink] 26 Dec 2009, 08:04
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