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760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed

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760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 19 Oct 2010, 18:50
Hey all, novice here in need of your expert advice. Warning, long-ish post ahead.

Took one of the two practice tests offered by the GMAC. Scored a 760. Should note that prior to this, I did take the diagnostic test from the Official Guide book, as I wanted to first familiarize myself with the types of questions on the GMAT, so that I wasn't facing the "real" computer-adaptive diagnostic test stone-cold and thus wasting a test.

I realize at this point, most people would exclaim that 760 is good, but I confess I would really like to aim for higher. (Perfect would be nice, but I realize the odds are stacked against me.) Rest assured, I'm not trying to be anal. It's just that I had a shitty GPA in college (does it count a little less against me if my school is infamous for its grade deflation policy? No? Bummer), and I see the GMAT as my only chance to keep admissions committees from immediately tossing my application in the trash bin. I'm aiming/hoping for a top 10 business school (but not applying for another year at least).

Breakdown of my score: Weirdly, got more math questions wrong than verbal (7 versus 4, if I recall correctly), even though math has always been my strong suit. Those were mostly concentrated in data sufficiency, and I rushed through the hardest ones as I almost ran out of time on the section. Also weirdly, most of my incorrect verbal questions were in sentence correction - even though I consider that my strong suit in verbal. I'm actually most terrified of critical reasoning and reading comprehension, in that order. And yet I breezed through verbal with 20 minutes to spare, but almost had a panic attack on math.

After a somewhat careful review of the most popular GMAT prep books, I've decided to go with:

- Kaplan 800
- Manhattan GMAT Series
- 3 Official Guides (Original, Verbal, Quantitative)

What I really, really want, though, is completely thorough practice on, well, everything, but particularly the toughest questions, and I'm not sure my 3 chosen books/sets fulfill that need. My score breakdown really threw me for a loop, as I thought I would have to spend most of my time on CR and RC, yet my score would seem to indicate I should be focusing on SC and DS instead. So I think I now have to do everything equally instead.

I realize the best GMAT books (particularly for me) may not be (often are not?) the most popular GMAT books, or even specifically about the GMAT. Hence why I'm here, to cull your expert opinions, as most of the GMAT advice I've found elsewhere, unfortunately, hasn't been hugely helpful to advanced scorers like me, for whom it's going to be vertical climbing all the way up.

I'm also looking for a good/the best analysis of an issue/argument essay book(s) you can recommend. Yeah, they don't count towards my score, but I still didn't do too great on them on the diagnostic.

And now I'm going to be a wee bit anal: Is it actually possible to get 13 questions wrong on the GMAT and still get a 760? Mind you, last standardized test I took was the SAT (years ago), and as I recall, a single question wrong there docked you 10 points. It's probably also why I'm still having difficulty adjusting my brain to think that 700+ on the GMAT is a decent score - still got the SAT mindset firmly wrapped on.
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Re: 760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 19 Oct 2010, 21:32
Hi Inoc!

Great score, you may post a Q and V breakdown as well.
Ask youself with what score you would be satisfied? Is it 800?
Why you think that being in 99% with either 760 or 790 is a big difference?

You may look through this resources:

Follow me, if you find my explanations useful.

Audaces fortuna juvat!

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Re: 760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 00:06
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Good score for your first diagnostic! I'm curious, though, about how you performed on the OG diagnostic that you mentioned (from the book). I also noticed your time schedule. Please don't take too long in your studies, as this can usher in GMAT fatigue - a particularly nasty condition.

If you want an extremely high score, then I recommend:

1. Math - Manhattan math series, GMATClub Tests, Jeff Sackmann Extreme Challenge set
2. Verbal - Manhattan SC, Powerscore LR Bible, Powerscore RC Bible

All three OG guides are, of course, recommended. If you have time, practice with some LSAT RC questions as well. Those can help quite a bit.

And, lastly, yes you can score quite well on the quant section with a number of incorrect answers. Part of this is due to the experimental questions. Even if you get those wrong, they don't adversely affect your score.
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Re: 760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 01:07
Nice prep scores ! I had all my prep scores between 760 & 780 as well, and I gave myself 2 weeks for the GMAT. I still think I had too much time ... So my piece of advice to you is rather than trying to optimize the last 10 in your score, give the test soon and do it while you are at your peak.

I ended up with a 760 myself in the real thing, and I will be honest, I was disappointed at first because I knew I screwed up my verbal and could have gotten higher. But that phase was ephemeral, you have to realize the extra gain per 10 point of GMAT score is very very small once you are above 750 as well. Its great to aim for 800, but you won't really gain a huge advantage out of this ... so don't spend months trying to squeeze out that score.

The "advantage" v/s GMAT score has a very flat slope beyond a point ... its more important to focus on crossing that threshold

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1) Algebra-101 2) Sequences 3) Set combinatorics 4) 3-D geometry

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Re: 760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 01:30
You may want to read this study plan:

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Re: 760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed [#permalink] New post 20 Oct 2010, 05:25
Thanks everyone for your helpful replies!

To address some of the sentiments that have been expressed, I do not actually have a particular score that I am taking aim at, not even 800. Sure, that would be nice, but I'm not going to bash myself against a brick wall trying to achieve perfect. It's more like at this point, I don't feel like I've maximized all of my potential. At the very least, I should get perfect on quantitative (the math geek in me is displeased that I got so many wrong), and try for the same in sentence correction as well. Most likely, I'll hit a plateau somewhere with CR and RC.

If it ends up that 780 is my plateau score, I could be happy with that, knowing that that is the true extent of my abilities. Or hey, maybe 760 already is my plateau. However, I won't know either way for certain without further practice/experience. For me, further GMAT practice isn't just about improving but also about narrowing down my expectations. I want to go into the test feeling 95% certain that I will score, say, between 760 and 780, as opposed to feeling 50% certain that I will score between 700 and 800 (which is how I would feel if I were to walk in and take the GMAT now - and tending more towards the lower end). Hope that makes sense.

bmillan01: My memory's fuzzy on the exact numbers, but I think I got 2 - 3 wrong on math (at least one careless mistake), and a lot more wrong on verbal - maybe 7? Funny thing is, the OG diagnostic better reflected my perceived weaknesses than the software diagnostic did; my problem areas on the OG diagnostic were concentrated in, you guessed it, CR and RC. I can see how the computer-adaptive diagnostic would have kept throwing harder and harder math (particularly DS) and SC questions at me, but I guess I simply got lucky with verbal, with regards to CR and RC.

Based on your suggestions, I'm going to expand my repertoire to include PowerScore (thanks for the LSAT tip!), and also going to take a look at Jeff Sackmann's book.

Oh, and still looking for a good essay book for the analysis of an issue/argument essays. My diagnostic essays were an embarrassment.

Thanks again, everyone!
Re: 760 - Review My Plan/More Advice Needed   [#permalink] 20 Oct 2010, 05:25
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