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760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan

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760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 11:11
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My first attempt at the GMAT was in early 2009, when I was interested in a part time program at Boston University. As you can imagine, I didn't study much and was lucky to score 660. I used Kaplan and Princeton Review, didn't bother with attempting the tests from GMATPrep. I didn't use this forum either. But, I changed my mind after I got in. With my eye towards a top 10 full time program, I knew I had to get my GMAT score up. So my journey started in July 2009!!! Ha ha, yes, almost 13 months of "preparation".

I won't elaborate on the test itself as there's really nothing unique about it. I probably saw a couple of experimental questions. I didn't spend much time on any one question, but made sure to start strong, not to miss 2 in a row and finish strong! I had at least 1 minute left at the end of each section.

Basics
  • Working full time, around 40 hours a week
  • Active social life
  • 2 hours every day during the week, and perhaps 10 over the weekend during the initial prep
  • Final 3 - 4 weeks: 6 hours a day during the week, 15+ hours over the weekend
  • Buy this set: http://www.manhattangmat.com/storeitems ... 29&catid=1

Silver bullet(s)?
  • Hard work
  • Timed tests until you can solve most (90%+) of the problems in under 2 minutes
  • Hard work!

Prep time-line
  • July and August 2009: Kaplan/Princeton Review
  • September 2009 - June 2010: MGPrep (If you have a real plan and work towards a deadline, allocate 2 months)
  • June and July 2010: OG11
  • July and August 2010: CATs (as many as you can), GMATClub timed tests
  • Weekend before: GMATPrep tests (took each 2 times), error logs review
  • Day before: GMATPrep (took each one more time)
  • Day of: GMATPrep Quant, one more time! I did this to get my brain going. My exam was at 11:00 am.

Books
  • Manhattan Prep: Start to finish, without skipping a single word. I did not, however, attempt the OG problems listed; saved them for later. This series is crucial, perhaps the most important of all resources I used. I was a cheapskate and got these from the public library, which worked out well in a way. Since there are so few copies available, I could only get 1 at a time and had exactly 21 days to finish and return; so good to have deadlines! I bought one towards the end to get access to the 6 CAT exams. I made lots of notes (5 - 6 pages per book) (attached in later posts) while reviewing each book. I definitely recommend this: reading is one thing, writing it down completely another! MGPrep is the real deal, and should command 100% of your attention!
  • OG: Once I finished all MGPrep books, in early June, I started working on OG11. I didn't time myself but tried to be as fast as possible. I referred to the answer key page and split each chapter into column based problem sets. Eg. SC has 35 answers in each column, so I would attempt to solve 35 each day. I worked on 3 such columns every day, mixing and matching math and verbal: some method to madness! This took around 2 weeks. I maintained an error log, nothing too fancy, just a sheet with the problems that took too long to solve or those that I got incorrect. I also made a small note next to each regarding my mistake. This was great as I realized most of the SCs I were getting wrong were due to Idiom mismatch. Bottom line, use error logs! CR and RC were not a problem for me (see other tips).
  • Kaplan/Princeton Review: These have some interesting tips and pointers. Since I had used these the first time around and remembered most tips, didn't refer back. If you have to, use them at the very beginning to start building a base.

Online resources & CATs
  • GMATCub tests: 25 Q and 6 V, buy them; these questions are awesome! http://gmatclub.com/tests/ They helped me most in getting my brain to solve most problems in under 2 minutes. The variety of questions is unbeatable! Of course, save these for the end, until after you are confident of your math and verbal foundations.
  • MGPrep - 6 CATs. Scored 660 - 790, with consistent improvement from the first to the last test.
  • Knewton - scored 730
  • GMATPrep - took each test 3 times; scored 730 - 750

Other tips
  • When you get a question wrong during prep, don't look at the solution; try solving it again! Only look at the solution if you cannot solve it even after referring to your notes.
  • English: Read The Economist, Slate, NYT, WSJ, etc. regularly; helps with CR, SC and RC. Towards the end, I would laugh when I found an error in one of these articles! But seriously, reading helps a lot.
  • Food: I had a heavy breakfast at 7, and then ate a special sandwich at 9:45: spread nutella on toasted slices of whole grain bread and added a sliced banana. Yummy! Plenty of carbs to last you through 4 hours of exam + 1 hour of travel. After the AWA, I gulped down a 5 hour energy drink (not sure if this helped at all, but doesn't hurt. However, try this before to make sure your body reacts well). After quant, I ate half a banana and munched on some candy.
  • I made a playlist of songs that pump me up; listened to these on my way to the test center!
  • I didn't sleep well at all the night before, but had plenty of rest leading up to the exam.
  • Wear comfy clothes, and layer up if you get cold easily. I wore my glasses instead of contacts! Even the smallest detail can make a difference.

Bottom line, there is no substitute for smart hard work! In the final 10 days, I took at least 2 CATs (combination of GMATClub tests and true CATs) every day!

Finally, thank you akaydee and everyone else! Feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer.

Now come the applications...
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All's well that ends well...

GMAT debrief


Last edited by w103psp on 26 Aug 2010, 06:22, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 11:38
w103psp wrote:
Full debrief coming up in the next hour! I just wanted to share this awesome news!!!


Ok let me have have the honor of being the first to congratulate you. Congratulations that is a massive score!

Looking forward to your debrief.
- please write in some detail on how you achieved a score of Q50 (materials used, strategies, and any gaps in your preparation that you felt while taking the quant part of the exam even though you achieve an almost perfect score)
- also strategies that you used for the verbal section of the exam
- please share with us any notes you might have prepared along the way.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 12:30
Congratulations! Waiting to hear about your experience.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 12:35
Awesome

Posted from my mobile device Image
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 13:40
Not sure if this is of any value:
Code:
Test  Correct  Total  % Correct  Mean time  msec  Percentile
m01    32    36    89%    119.4280 sec    1250    86%
m02    32    37    86%    115.1438 sec    1250    82%
m03    29    37    78%    121.6290 sec    1250    74%
m04    27    37    73%    121.5768 sec    1250    50%
m05    22    37    59%    119.5391 sec    1250    30%
m06    31    37    84%    121.6247 sec    1250    89%
m07    26    37    70%    121.2472 sec    1250    50%
m08    22    37    59%    121.6256 sec    1250    49%
m09    28    37    76%    118.2080 sec    1250    67%
m10    26    37    70%    117.1642 sec    1250    52%
m11    31    37    84%    117.3376 sec    1250    77%
m12    26    37    70%    121.6245 sec    1250    53%
m13    30    37    81%    121.4925 sec    1250    77%
m14    28    37    76%    121.6305 sec    1250    72%
m15    26    37    70%    121.6248 sec    1250    59%
m16    31    37    84%    121.6315 sec    1250    86%
m17    31    37    84%    121.3900 sec    1250    76%
m18    30    37    81%    120.4605 sec    1250    74%
m19    29    37    78%    120.0513 sec    1250    54%
m20    32    36    89%    124.3571 sec    1250    70%
m21    29    37    78%    121.6322 sec    1250    71%
m22    29    37    78%    120.8798 sec    1250    54%
m23    32    37    86%    121.5133 sec    1250    76%
m24    31    37    84%    108.9775 sec    1250    77%
m25    28    37    76%    120.4012 sec    1250    76%
v01    27    41    66%    79.3785 sec    1250    49%
v02    30    41    73%    69.5249 sec    1250    67%
v03    34    41    83%    77.2818 sec    1250    76%
v04    30    41    73%    81.9955 sec    1250    75%
v05    30    41    73%    83.9337 sec    1250    67%
v06    37    41    90%    67.7196 sec    1250    92%

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GMAT debrief

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Joined: 22 Jun 2009
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Schools: Michigan (Ross) - Class of 2013
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 13:53
akaydee wrote:
w103psp wrote:
Full debrief coming up in the next hour! I just wanted to share this awesome news!!!

- please share with us any notes you might have prepared along the way.


akaydee, I would be happy to share my notes with you all but I think there's a lot of value in creating them on your own. If you want me to post a couple for reference, let me know. If you want the full set, I can scan and post them in the next days.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2010, 16:30
Oh absolutely I couldn't agree more with you. I have been preparing my own set of own notes. I use notes from others to supplement the ones I have created. That way I get to find out if I have a blind spot(s) or items that I have missed.

Feel free to post them when you have the time. All the best once again.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2010, 13:38
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Quant notes attached.
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All's well that ends well...

GMAT debrief

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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2010, 13:39
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I made a copy of the page listing idioms from MGPrep.
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GMAT debrief

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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2010, 13:41
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Page 2 was earlier of the 2 plans.
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All's well that ends well...

GMAT debrief

Current Student
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Joined: 22 Jun 2009
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Location: United States
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Schools: Michigan (Ross) - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
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Kudos [?]: 62 [0], given: 288

Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2010, 13:42
akaydee wrote:
Oh absolutely I couldn't agree more with you. I have been preparing my own set of own notes. I use notes from others to supplement the ones I have created. That way I get to find out if I have a blind spot(s) or items that I have missed.

Feel free to post them when you have the time. All the best once again.

akaydee, this is all I got!
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2010, 13:52
w103psp,

Thanks! I was able to get some information from the verbal document that you posted.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2010, 01:33
hey thanks for the above material ....

its great collection........................:)
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2010, 09:16
Great score!! Thanks for your detailed debrief and materials!!!
Good luck with your applications!
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2010, 10:58
Congrats....hard work pays...all the best for Applns
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 07:09
w103psp, congratulations.

Could you please explain how you approached reading the web sites you mentioned (The Economist, WSJ, etc.)? Did you just read the articles or did you try to spot some grammar errors, notice sentence structures etc? Thank you.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2010, 09:39
Hmm, I've always read these websites/newspapers but I became more aware of the sentence construction, paragraph structure, etc. when I started preparation for GMAT. Quite a few these articles are similar to what one would expect on RC, so I would try to get the overview, delve into details, etc.
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 05 Sep 2010, 01:32
Congrats Man!!Finally u made it thru with ur dream score!!!;)
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2010, 01:38
Congrats for the score. Hard work always pays :)
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Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2010, 02:06
Congratulations !
Re: 760 (Q50, V42) - from 660 to 760! Detailed debrief and plan   [#permalink] 08 Sep 2010, 02:06
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