So after studying off and on since March, I finally took the GMAT today and got a 760. Definitely feels good, as when I started studying, I told myself that I was going to shoot for a 750, but only retake it if my score was a 700 or less. It was a pleasant surprise to get the 760 after all the work I put in.
Materials I used:MGMAT guides
(all 7 or 8)OG12
Official Verbal Supplement
Official Quant SupplementGMATclub tests
When I started, I decided that I was going to take my time going over all the material that MGMAT had to offer, and take CATs every once in a while. My intention was to take the test in late June. However, I wasn't able to study as much as I wanted starting in the beginning of May, as I started a 2nd job. This left me working 10 hrs/day Monday through Thursday, 16 hours on Friday, and 8 hours on Saturday. Granted, there are probably people on here who work 65+ hour weeks on a normal basis, but this is not something I was used to. On top of that, I was playing soccer (football for those of you living outside the US) twice a week as well. I wound up finishing the MGMAT guides
in mid-June. Once that was done, I told myself that I wanted at least 1 month of just practice problems leading up to the test. But then, the World Cup started, and that took away even more time. Priorities, priorities. Finally, I scheduled my GMAT for August 12th midway through July.
Here were my CAT scores:
3/10/10 - 610 MGMAT Q41 (64th) V33 (69th) <---- This was a diagnostic for me.
5/16/10 - 640 MGMAT Q43 (70th) V35 (77th)
5/18/10 - 630 MGMAT Q44 (73rd) V32 (67th)
7/9/10 - 680 MGMAT Q46 (79th) V36 (81st)
7/21/10 - 690 MGMAT Q45 (77th) V39 (89th) <---- At this point, I had just purchased the GMAT Club tests
7/29/10 - 680 MGMAT Q48 (86th) V34 (72nd)
My strategy right before I took the 5th CAT was to try to do 1 GMAT Club test
a night, and do some CR and RC problems as well. I was not worried about SC, as I have always been the really good on grammars cause my father wood alwayz right my grammars when i grews up as a yung mans. I paid little attention to SC, because reading the sentences felt either right or wrong instinctively. I instead focused on RC, my problem area, and CR, which was less of a problem. I noticed that my verbal scores were pretty much dependent on my RC performance on each CAT. For example, on my V32, I answered 3 of 14 RC questions correctly, whereas on my V39, I answered 10 of 14 RC questions correctly.
Here are my GMAT club test
d01 16 28 57% 131.4854 sec 13%
m01 30 37 81% 90.3392 sec 75%
m02 32 37 86% 90.4804 sec 82%
m03 33 37 89% 121.5715 sec 92%
m04 31 37 84% 112.6382 sec 79%
m05 30 37 81% 118.8437 sec 85%
m06 29 37 78% 121.5543 sec 80%
m07 19 31 61% 141.7191 sec 12% <------- I was REALLY hung over when I took this one.
m08 27 35 77% 128.4003 sec 78%
m09 29 37 78% 91.8474 sec 74%
m10 29 37 78% 111.8176 sec 73%
m11 32 37 86% 99.4532 sec 83%
m12 26 37 70% 120.7003 sec 53%
m13 27 37 73% 120.6973 sec 52%
m14 32 37 86% 111.1129 sec 89%
m15 27 37 73% 120.4856 sec 66%
m16 30 37 81% 117.7588 sec 80%
m17 27 37 73% 108.4648 sec 44%
m25 29 37 78% 102.4228 sec 80%
s05 8 10 80% 119.0531 sec 85%
s06 7 10 70% 112.4164 sec 63%
s07 7 10 70% 103.4283 sec 68%
s08 10 10 100% 66.5243 sec 92%
v01 18 29 62% 82.0186 sec 6%
v99 30 32 94% 20.6676 sec 86% <----- I took this before studying at all. Like I said, SC comes somewhat naturally to me.
While my results on these tests weren't spectacular, they gave me a chance to get used to the timing, which was my main problem going into the exam. My first CAT I left the last 3 questions unanswered. My second, I left the last 2 questions unanswered. No bueno. The other way these tests helped me was that they were MUCH more difficult than the actual GMAT questions, while requiring the same line of thinking as the actual questions. When I sat down to take the GMAT Prep practice tests, this became quite apparent.
I was on here quite a bit, doing the problems of the day, and a lot of CR questions. Sadly, I was getting a lot of the CR questions on here wrong. In fact, after looking at my workbook, I noticed that the majority of my answers were wrong. Big time no bueno.
Before I discuss the next part of my studying, I should comment on the MGMAT CATs. Something about the questions on there made them seem very difficult. I would often be stuck on questions for minutes, and quite a few times unable to understand what the questions were asking. And that was for the Quant section. I kind of recognized this when I would do practice Quant problems on here - They seemed MUCH easier than the problems in the Quant section of the MGMAT CATs.
At this point, I reviewed my MGMAT CATs, and noticed that my problem on Verbal was that I was taking too much time on RC questions. I was initially "quick-reading" the entire passage, and writing down notes on every sentence. Very time-consuming. I decided that it was in my best interest to get a basic idea for the first sentence of each paragraph, and scribble down words about the rest of the paragraph - I'm pretty this is a strategy discussed by another poster on here. I decided to implement this strategy starting with my first GMAT Prep, which I took on 8-5-2010. At this point, the final week prior to the test would consist of me taking 2 (1 on the 5th, 1 on the 9th) practice exams, and the other days taking a GMAT Club Quant, and redoing the MGMAT CAT Verbal sections only. Here are my results:
8/5/10 - GMATPrep 750 Q50, V41
8/6/10 - MGMAT V45 (99th)
8/7/10 - MGMAT V41 (91st)
8/8/10 - MGMAT V42 (96th)
8/9/10 - GMATPrep 730 Q48, V41
8/10/10 - MGMAT V45 (99th)
I have a pretty good memory, so some of the Verbal questions looked familiar. However, I was finishing up the Verbal section with some more time for the last few questions. This was important, because as I said before, my best sections were SC and CR, and I noticed that the last 4 or 5 problems on each of these tests were either SC or CR, so I was allotting myself more time in my stronger areas. As far as the Quant sections, I found the GMAT Quant MUCH easier than the GMAT Club tests
, as well as the MGMAT tests.
I should note, that last night, 8/11/10, I took one last GMAT Club test
and scored a 27 out of 37. The score didn't really bother me. I knew that I was very tired, as towards the end of July, I had started taking a night class on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I was going to be even more exhausted going into the GMAT Club test
. However, I didn't want my last Quant studying to be the level of difficulty of the actual test. I think it may have worked. Then, 30 minutes before going to sleep, I took my first look at AWA strategies.TEST DAY
I was off from work this morning, and wanted to make sure that I had enough sleep prior to my exam. I generally get 4-5 hours of sleep per night, and I am usually exhausted every day because of it. I went to sleep last night around 2 am, and told myself that I wouldn't set my alarm so that I could get enough sleep - especially since I had scheduled my exam for 5 pm. I woke up at 11:45 this morning, feeling refreshed. I spent another 30 minutes reviewing AWA strategies, and the rest of my time eating and drinking water, while watching some soccer right before I left for the exam. One of my favorite teams, Palermo, was involved in a 3 team tournament with Napoli and Valencia, so I caught some of that before heading out. Palermo's young Uruguayan forward, Abel Hernandez, was looking threatening early on in the match - I took this as a good sign. Why? I have no idea, but I needed the confidence, as my palms had been sweating for the entire day.
I got to the test center at 4:30, and smoked my last cigarette before the exam. I got started, and the argument essay question came up. Something about Disco Depot earning profits, and Carlo's Clothing needing radio advertising to improve their profits. I don't know, but I felt like my essay was decent enough.
The issue question was something along the lines of "citizens have an obligation to disobey laws they find to be unjust." I said something along the lines of laws needing to be obeyed, unless they put a certain group at a distinct disadvantage.
I think my essays were about a 5 level, so decent enough I presume. Especially since 25 hours ago, I had no idea what the essays entailed. It should be noted that I didn't proofread my essays. I finished each of them with about 2 seconds remaining.
I went out to smoke another cigarette before my Quant section. To be sure that I didn't lose any time, I smoked it pretty quickly. In 2 minutes, in fact. The exam moderator was actually impressed - unfortunately the GMAT doesn't test you on how long it takes you to smoke a cigarette. Or on how to blow smoke rings, which I'm really good at. But that's another discussion entirely.
I sat for the Quant section, and proceeded to dominate. There were about 3 or 4 questions that made me a bit uneasy, but the rest of the stuff was pretty easy. The one question I had the most difficulty with was a combinatorics problem. Something about 7 seniors and 7 juniors needed to form a 3 person group, with at least 1 Senior and 1 Junior necessary. How many possibilities were there?? Probability and Combinatorics were always my weak point, so when I came up with an answer that was not available, I decided to divide by the number of combinations possible (6). This again didn't lead me to an answer available, but I noticed that my answer was 1/2 of an available answer so I went with that one. I finished the section with a minute to spare, and I thought that my Quant score was going to be a 53 at that point.
At that point, I exited stage left to smoke my final mid-test cigarette. Took a sip of water, and sat down to battle it out with Verbal. I thought I started out pretty well, but then I noticed I was starting to sit on some of the questions a bit. I tried to compensate on the first RC passage, by skimming and barely writing any notes, and answering the questions. I made up some time, and with 10 questions to go I had about 16 minutes left, with one last RC section to go. It seemed to me that the questions were getting a bit easier, which made me a bit nervous. I started to overthink my SC answers, which was not good. At that point, I just told myself to do what I had been doing and not worry about it, since I couldn't go back anyway. I was left with 4 minutes left for the final 4 questions, 2 CR and 2 SC. The CR questions I took about 1 1/2 minutes on and half a minute for each SC question. I put in my final answer with 3 seconds to go and worried whether my Verbal section would be higher than a 35.
For a hot second, I debated cancelling my score because of the verbal section. But like I said, I was pretty confident that I had gotten a 53 in Quant, so that would make up for my Verbal underperformance. Boy was I wrong! Q50, V42 popped up and I just smiled. I got up, gave my ID to the moderator, debated hugging him, and gathered up my stuff and stepped outside. Smoked another cigarette with a smile on my face that lit up Queens Boulevard.