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770 (Q50,V45)

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770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 16:16
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I took the GMAT this morning and thought I'd share my experience.

I took my first GMATPrep in Sept 08 as a diagnostic 720 (Q48,V41), spent a week or two on the forums, and then dropped the whole thing for a reason that must have made perfect sense at the time. I think my new and interesting role at work put a temporary damper on those escapist fantasies, or something. Then, two months ago, during a morning of existential crisis, I said WTF, pulled out my credit card, and booked the test. The point-of-no-return helped motivate me for a day or two, after which I slacked off a bit more. Then I wrote the test cost on the wall above my desk, realizing that my stingy self would be throwing money out the window if I didn't prepare properly. That gave me a healthy kick in the butt.

The 'diagnostic' GMATPrep informed my study approach. I used to be good at math but I was very rusty on some concepts, particularly anything with primes and divisibility. The majority of my verbal mistakes were in sentence correction. My approach was a bit haphazard - I didn't make a plan until there were three weeks remaining. Here's the breakdown:


Verbal

  • I finished 90% of the MGMAT SC book about 5-6 weeks before the test. This was very helpful, though by the time I took the test some of the concepts weren't quite so fresh.
  • I did 50 each RC and CR in the OG about 3-4 weeks before the test, wanting to make sure I did some of each question type. I decided that the payoff for studying more of them would not be worth it given my timeframe.

Quant

  • I ordered the MGMAT Number Properties guide a bit late and only did two chapters or so. That in itself helped a bit and I definitely liked the book, only wish I had more time for it.
  • After doing my second GMATPrep about 3 weeks before the exam I noticed that my timekeeping in the math section was awful. My brain thinks it can solve every math question but it's too dense to grasp when to let go and just click next. According to the MGMAT CATs I spent 4-5 minutes on several problems, so I decided to take MGMAT CAT Math for the last 2-3 weeks, not having time to do both sections in the evenings.
  • MGMAT Flash Cards: http://www.manhattangmat.com/gmat-flashcards.cfm
    Highly recommended for commuters. I did maybe 15-20 math questions each day during my commute. This helped me keep my brain in the right mode and helped me remember a few concepts that I otherwise wouldn't have come across. I did everything but SC and Word Translations.


Practice CATs

Reading some other debriefs I noticed that some people were particularly fond of doing a lot of practice tests. I believe that if you have the basics down then this is very good for timing and familiarity. I had to go away for the weekend two weeks before the test, so I could only study a bit on the plane / train. I was very tempted to attend the INSEAD open day the weekend before the test but decided to stay and get an extra GMATPrep in. I'll now have to make that up and visit later.

Here is my practice CAT breakdown with time before test:
    GMATPrep 1 - 720 (Q48,V41) - 10 months
    MGMAT CAT 1 - 680 (Q44,V38) - 6 weeks
    GMATPrep 2 - 750 (Q47,V47) - 3 weeks
    MGMAT CAT 2 Math - Q43 - 2 weeks
    MGMAT CAT 3 Math - Q46 - 1 week
    MGMAT CAT 4 Math - Q48 - 1 week
    GMATPrep 1 retake - 740 (Q48,V42) - few days
    GMATPrep 2 retake - 770 (Q49,V49) - few days

I compiled the missed questions from all four of my GMATPrep attempts a few days before the test and reviewed these during the last days. This was as essentially my 'error log,' though a more organized person might have included lots of other material.


Test Day

Actually, the day before I got a back/neck massage. I never had a professional one before but decided I would get it to help me relax. It was great and I'm tempted to make a habit of this before important dates :)

The test center is annoyingly anal about security - I'll leave it at that. The AWA went alright, the Argument part was so thin that I couldn't find much to write and the Issue part had me a bit indecisive. The Quant section went relatively well, with the last few questions a bit rushed and one total guess on a long, complicated looking word problem.

I went for a break before the Verbal section. Between waiting for an instructor to get me after raising my hand, checking out, taking a pee, having some food and drink, waiting on a queue to get back into the room and then checking back in I went over my 10 minute time limit. This was not taken from the instructions screen, but it was taken from the verbal section timer. Fortunately it took less than 2 minutes off, which flustered me less than expected.

The verbal went fine, but halfway through the instructor came over to tell me that I either "shouldn't" or "didn't have to" erase my board. I felt like snapping her head off for disturbing me, but decided that was probably against one of the rules. I didn't have time for that anyways so I just ignored her, but it still threw me off mentally a bit. I also started getting quite thirsty at this point and kept having to clear my throat - should have had more water. I need a cup of water when I sit and work at a computer for a lengthy period of time and it's ridiculous for Pearson not to permit this. Anyways, there were a few questions of each type (RC, CR, SC) that I wasn't 100% about and in the end I only had about a minute each for the last 5-6 questions.

I skipped filling in all the demographic mumbojumbo because and waited for my score, which made me quite happy. Since that matched my best GMATPrep (which had a LOT of repeated verbal) I was quite happy.


Recommendations

I will be the first to acknowledge that I'm in a lucky demographic as a GMAT taker. The only math I'm any good at happens to be the stuff they ask for on standardized tests and while English isn't my first language it's definitely been my primary language for a long time. Having said that, a few things that I would recommend:

  • BOOK THE TEST!! This sounds silly, but it's really very important to just book the test. Don't wait ages until everything is perfect or until you've studied everything. If you are anything like me then studying without a date is a waste of time. JUST BOOK IT! :)
  • Customize your study approach! Do what YOU need and what works for YOU! Take a diagnostic test and see where you need to improve and what you can realistically do about it.
  • Squeeze in little problems. The MGMAT free flash cards were great for me to get some studying done during my commute.
  • Be healthy. I've been sure to do all the 'right' things I can't always be bothered to do for the last few weeks. This includes eating properly with lots of fruit and veg, exercising at least a little bit each day, visualizing success, and telling yourself that you're gonna kick ass.
  • Be relaxed. Get a massage. I'm not joking. I was quite panicky during my GMATPreps over the weekend. Being relaxed helps tremendously.

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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 16:22
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WOW! Impressive Post and an even more impressive SCORE

Nice job on formatting too :wink: Thanks for sharing! Kudos!
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 17:08
Very nice first post. You got a very good score without much effort. Congratulations. :o
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 17:44
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 18:08
Hi Monkeypunch, thats awesome !!!! Congratulations...

I just have once clarification about one of your points - "I took my first GMATPrep in Sept 08 as a diagnostic 720 "....
I though GMAT Prep has only 2 tests, where did this diagnostic test come from???

Or did you mean you to say that you actually took GMAT PREP 1 to diagonize where you stood and received 720..?
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 22:52
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sdrandom1 wrote:
I just have once clarification about one of your points - "I took my first GMATPrep in Sept 08 as a diagnostic 720 "....
I though GMAT Prep has only 2 tests, where did this diagnostic test come from???

Or did you mean you to say that you actually took GMAT PREP 1 to diagonize where you stood and received 720..?

Yes, I meant that - should have been more clear. It was the GMATPrep 1. I simply meant that I did it to see where I stood before doing a lot of review. A lot of people seem to suggest 'saving' the GMATPrep in order to see where they stand just before the real test. While I think that's useful I believe it's much better to know where you stand at the very beginning so you know what to study. The diagnostic test in the OG didn't really help me much with that.

topher wrote:
Very nice first post. You got a very good score without much effort. Congratulations. :o

Thanks. Some people on these forums spend a lot more time and effort preparing and their efforts amaze me. I would have a hard time not getting burnt out. Booking the test and having a deadline helped focus me in the end. I must have studied 15-20 hours a week for the last 3 weeks or so, more in the final week, but I wouldn't be able to maintain that for much longer.


More study stuff

I forgot to mention that I got decent mileage out of some of the articles below, especially the "How To Do Practice Problems" at the top. I got a dry-erase board and timed myself for all practice problems. (I did take more CATs than the author recommends and thought it was useful for me - it's a good way to get access to harder problems.)
http://www.gmathacks.com/main/category-contents.html

The MGMAT resources are also very good:
http://www.manhattangmat.com/freegmatlearningforum.cfm

I did a lot of googling of GMATPrep problems that I missed/flagged in order to get answer explanations. I reviewed every GMATPrep problem that I got wrong and about half of the MGMAT CAT Math problems. Reviewing can sometimes take more time than the test itself.

And finally, it's may seem silly, but if you have a tendency to stress out a bit get a massage the day before! I honestly think it helped a lot.
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jun 2009, 23:52
Great job buddy!!

But you didn't mention your future plans. Where do you wanna go now?? What are your intentions and how would you proceed with your applicaiton process?

Kindly keep us updated as well on your next line of action.

Well done again!! :)
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2009, 03:10
Super score monkeypunch!!!!
+1 for the debrief.
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2009, 14:16
What a terrific score....
Really Impressive....
BTW...How many RCs did you get in the real GMAT...and what was their difficulty level
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 13:33
Hey chill,

I was away for R&R a week so now my reply is late and my memory is a bit shot, but the RCs do stick out more than the others.

I don't remember the exact number of RCs I got. There must have been at least 3 or 4 passages. One of seemed long (2 pages scrolled) with a lot of questions (7-8??) Another passage was medium length but had quite tricky questions and must have been when my concentration was a bit broken. The others I don't remember

I felt like I spent a lot of time on the tricky one and ended up picking at least one answer without being 100% sure. Also, there were 1-2 really pesky RC questions like this:

The following ISN'T true of [something that happened.] A) B) C) D) E)

So I had to read the whole thing and check every single option, which was a huge waste of time. I had at least one, perhaps two of those and I bet they're about the toughest RCs to do on time.
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 13:41
Hussain15 wrote:
Where do you wanna go now?? What are your intentions and how would you proceed with your applicaiton process?

Hey Hussain15, pardon my late reply!

I kept telling myself and others that I'd just take the GMAT and see what happens so I wouldn't stress about the rest of the process. Well now there's no more excuses, heh! Time to start thinking about essays and recommendations and all that, which get me a lot more stressed, quite frankly!

My school choices are basically "top European 1 year program with brand and value" to study entrepreneurship among other things, my current school choices are narrowed down to:
IMD, IE, INSEAD, Oxford, Cambridge

INSEAD is my top choice at this point, but I haven't visited any schools yet and I've put all my eggs in one basket unsuccessfully before so I'm trying to hedge at least a little bit :)
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2009, 14:23
Congratulations.

I really liked your debrief, especially the pinch of humor u added. Couldn't agree more with you on few of your suggestions, - book the exam; study what YOU need.

I waited for 1.5 years to get sufficiently prepared, but finally started my "real" preps only 1 month before my exam date. So I would +1 to your advice for all those who are waiting like me.
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2009, 08:49
Hi Monkeypunch,

You mentioned in your debrief- "After doing my second GMATPrep about 3 weeks before the exam I noticed that my timekeeping in the math section was awful."

I am in the exact same boat as you were. Any insights into how you improved your time keeping in Math section will be very very useful for me...

Also I noticed that in GMAT PREP1 your verbal was 41. You improved drasrtically from there to Verbal 49 later in your GMAT PREP 2. How did you do that??

Awaiting eagerly for a reply from you....
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2009, 14:55
sdrandom1 wrote:
You mentioned in your debrief- "After doing my second GMATPrep about 3 weeks before the exam I noticed that my timekeeping in the math section was awful."

I am in the exact same boat as you were. Any insights into how you improved your time keeping in Math section will be very very useful for me...

Also I noticed that in GMAT PREP1 your verbal was 41. You improved drasrtically from there to Verbal 49 later in your GMAT PREP 2. How did you do that??


To improve math timing I did two things in parallel. One was to refresh fundamentals that I used to know but didn't remember (like geometry formulas, basic probability, comb/perm.) That helped me avoid some trial-and-error time wasting to find formulas etc. I also took computerized practice tests with a keen focus on timing (I did MGMAT which give good per-question time stats so you can review your screwups, though other tests might do the same.) I had to train myself to 'just let go' when I was too slow on a problem, and I did get better over time. I still didn't perfect this though, just got good enough to scrape by - I still had to rush at the end of every practice test and a little at the end of the real test.

One thing that I was going to try but never got around to was this: On the MGMAT online tests you can set a per-question time limit. I was going to put 3 minutes or even less to force myself to finish questions on time. I bet that sort of thing would definitely get your body's internal timer on target, though in the end I never got around to it.

The verbal was mostly a matter of practice. The 49 is a bit of an outlier because the GMATPrep repeats a lot of verbal questions the second time around, so I probably wasn't quite that good. The improvement was a combination of SC practice and general test familiarity. A lot of my original errors were in SC, so I did most of the MGMAT SC book, timing myself for all the practice problems. I learned some fundamental things for SC that I now notice in everyday life, such as parallelism. I learned nothing new at all for RC/CR, I just got a little more comfortable with how the test asks those questions. I also think being familiar with the test in general helped me do a little better and make less careless mistakes in RC and CR.

I read another debrief by someone who took the GMAT officially 3 times and had a drastic improvement the last time to over 700 by doing tons of practice tests before the exam. He said something like he always ran out of time but had minutes to spare in the real test after preparing with tons of CATs. If you know the fundamentals and need to improve things like timing I strongly recommend this approach.
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2009, 14:37
great post, a few new things to add in my prep.
thanks
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2009, 15:57
hey
want to know, what should be the accuracy for gettig V40, imean how much shold one make correct in CR,SC,RC to get V40
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 15:43
hey man nice post, congrats !!t !!
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 18:52
good job!!
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2009, 00:38
Congrats!....all the best for your apps!
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45) [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2009, 07:37
panacea6565 wrote:
hey
want to know, what should be the accuracy for gettig V40, imean how much shold one make correct in CR,SC,RC to get V40


As I'm sure you know, there isn't a specific number for reaching V40, but it's probably around 6-8 errors.

In my experience, V45 is around 3-5 errors, depending on experimental questions and difficulty level of wrong answer choices.
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Re: 770 (Q50,V45)   [#permalink] 04 Aug 2009, 07:37
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