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780 (49 quant, 51 verbal)

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780 (49 quant, 51 verbal) [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2005, 21:29
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Hello all. I just pulled a 780 (49 quant, 90%, and 51 verbal, 99%) and wanted to share my thoughts because others have helped me on this board before.

This was my third time taking the GMAT and my score improved drastically. Perhaps taking the exam before had something to do with it, but I think that I simply prepared more diligently. During the actual exam I focused like I never have before. The goal was to improve quant past 80%. To that end, I studied for about 2 months, and only spent 2 weeks exclusively studying verbal (still, the verbal score shot up from 41 to 51 anyway). Most of my studying focused on quant, or a mix of the two.

What worked well for me was:

1. Understand the solution for every practice problem you take - by that I mean evaluate not so much the answer, but how you arrive at that answer. If you get a question right, go over it anyway, because when you originally answered that question you probably weren't 100% sure in the first place. If you guessed and guessed correctly, review the answer! If you got the question wrong, review the answer! Get the point?

2. Understand why you got the question wrong.
This is different from the point I made above. Did you miss the question because of the concept involved, did you make a silly mistake in your arithmetic, did you gloss over the fact that the question stem specified something like "positive integer X..."? That stuff matters big time. A lot of my mistakes came from misreading the question stem, or forgetting a crucial tidbit of information mentioned in the question while I was too busy examining the answer choices. Once you realize what kind of errors you are prone to making, then you know to look out for them.

3. Study actively. If you are not going to focus, then go home. Do not burn through endless amounts of questions without trying to learn something new. After a certain point I felt like I was just spinning my wheels by doing more questions. When that happened I'd either stop studying, take a break, get something to drink, or instead focus entirely on particular types of questions. For example, I might say, "for the next 2 hours or so, I will find all the rates problems I can, and compile all of their answers in one place." You can do the same with verbal. Dig through the OG and spend some time focusing on one type of question, such as sentence corrections that deal with parallelism. Of course, harder problems entail multiple concepts, but I think it's important to be methodical about your study methods. Keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do. Study your weaknesses. Think about what you are afraid of encountering on the exam and then tackle it. Most of the things I worried about didn't even show up on the test, but it still helped because I walked into the test with more confidence.

4. Again, do what works for you. Maybe what I am saying won't work for you. For example, the day before the exam I studied for at least 4 hours, relaxed the rest of the day, and on the day of the exam I studied for at least another hour before running some errands and going to the test center. Most people wouldn't do that, but it helped me because I've always dreaded going into exams wondering about how to answer a particular type of question that consistently gave me trouble during practice.

5. I almost forgot this point: try to practice, after you understand most of the math and verbal concepts, under time constraints. By doing this, you will get better at deciding when to attempt to answer a question by the textbook method, or whether you should immediately jump to the picking numbers or backsolving methods. It is rare that you will have the luxury of spending 3 minutes fooling around around with algebra and then changing gears and plugging numbers into 5 different answer choices. Quickly figure out how you will go about answering the question. Practice will help you realize the strategies you will most likely employ for a certain type of question. By test day, this process should be a reflex.

6. Go into the exam knowing several things:

- that you prepared as well as you could have
- don't let anything get you out of the groove: you don't know which questions were experimental and even if they weren't it's too late to worry about it now
- the test is designed to give you a hard time so don't freak out when that happens
- never stop focusing

Good luck.
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Re: 780 (49 quant, 51 verbal) [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2005, 23:05
giggity wrote:
Hello all. I just pulled a 780 (49 quant, 90%, and 51 verbal, 99%) and wanted to share my thoughts because others have helped me on this board before.

This was my third time taking the GMAT and my score improved drastically. Perhaps taking the exam before had something to do with it, but I think that I simply prepared more diligently. During the actual exam I focused like I never have before. The goal was to improve quant past 80%. To that end, I studied for about 2 months, and only spent 2 weeks exclusively studying verbal (still, the verbal score shot up from 41 to 51 anyway). Most of my studying focused on quant, or a mix of the two.

What worked well for me was:

1. Understand the solution for every practice problem you take - by that I mean evaluate not so much the answer, but how you arrive at that answer. If you get a question right, go over it anyway, because when you originally answered that question you probably weren't 100% sure in the first place. If you guessed and guessed correctly, review the answer! If you got the question wrong, review the answer! Get the point?

2. Understand why you got the question wrong.
This is different from the point I made above. Did you miss the question because of the concept involved, did you make a silly mistake in your arithmetic, did you gloss over the fact that the question stem specified something like "positive integer X..."? That stuff matters big time. A lot of my mistakes came from misreading the question stem, or forgetting a crucial tidbit of information mentioned in the question while I was too busy examining the answer choices. Once you realize what kind of errors you are prone to making, then you know to look out for them.

3. Study actively. If you are not going to focus, then go home. Do not burn through endless amounts of questions without trying to learn something new. After a certain point I felt like I was just spinning my wheels by doing more questions. When that happened I'd either stop studying, take a break, get something to drink, or instead focus entirely on particular types of questions. For example, I might say, "for the next 2 hours or so, I will find all the rates problems I can, and compile all of their answers in one place." You can do the same with verbal. Dig through the OG and spend some time focusing on one type of question, such as sentence corrections that deal with parallelism. Of course, harder problems entail multiple concepts, but I think it's important to be methodical about your study methods. Keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do. Study your weaknesses. Think about what you are afraid of encountering on the exam and then tackle it. Most of the things I worried about didn't even show up on the test, but it still helped because I walked into the test with more confidence.

4. Again, do what works for you. Maybe what I am saying won't work for you. For example, the day before the exam I studied for at least 4 hours, relaxed the rest of the day, and on the day of the exam I studied for at least another hour before running some errands and going to the test center. Most people wouldn't do that, but it helped me because I've always dreaded going into exams wondering about how to answer a particular type of question that consistently gave me trouble during practice.

5. I almost forgot this point: try to practice, after you understand most of the math and verbal concepts, under time constraints. By doing this, you will get better at deciding when to attempt to answer a question by the textbook method, or whether you should immediately jump to the picking numbers or backsolving methods. It is rare that you will have the luxury of spending 3 minutes fooling around around with algebra and then changing gears and plugging numbers into 5 different answer choices. Quickly figure out how you will go about answering the question. Practice will help you realize the strategies you will most likely employ for a certain type of question. By test day, this process should be a reflex.

6. Go into the exam knowing several things:

- that you prepared as well as you could have
- don't let anything get you out of the groove: you don't know which questions were experimental and even if they weren't it's too late to worry about it now
- the test is designed to give you a hard time so don't freak out when that happens
- never stop focusing

Good luck.


CONGRATZ GREAT ACHIEVEMNT
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Sep 2005, 23:22
Congrats man....thats an awesome score, and lot of helpful feedback. Could you please tell us something about your background and previous scores.

thanks
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 [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2005, 06:16
Hi Paaji...read your blog today...good job
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2005, 12:23
What a score!!

Congrats!! well done.

How many hours did you study a day.
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Great Job!!! [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2005, 18:58
Fantastic score and fantastic advice!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2005, 20:19
Remarkable score, Phenomenal ;]] kudos to you for your achievement and for the great tips and info on how to tackle this monster of an exam. good luck with your apps and the whole bschool process. cheers :beer :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2005, 22:08
Awesome!!!
Congrats!!
Thanks for the great advice... and all the best with your apps!
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Sep 2005, 17:05
Two and three years ago I scored 690 and 700. Both scores were nearly identical: 73% quant, 91-93% verbal, 6.0 AWA. I'd prefer not to get too detailed with respect to my background, but I have an undergrad finance degree with a 3.5 GPA and have been out of school for 4 years.

I studied for about 2 months as compared to 3 months for the first two GMATs . For the first month I studied for at least 1 hour a day, and 3-4 hours Saturday and Sunday. Within the last month I tried to study for 2 hours a day, and at least 4 hours each Saturday and Sunday. Since I took practice exams during the weekends leading up to the exam, that killed 4 hours a day right there. Then add on time for completely review the entire exam and you are looking at 6 hours. In the last two weeks I probably put in 25 hours per week. During the week I'd do Official Guide questions, and on the weekends complete practice GMATs, review them, and then do another hour or two of random questions. It's more important to use your time efficiently and actually try to come away learning something new rather than the raw number of hours you put in.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Sep 2005, 17:24
Good determination ! Congrats ! Do stick around the forum.
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 [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2005, 16:25
great reward for all your hard work. Congrats!
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Re: 780 (49 quant, 51 verbal) [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2005, 14:47
giggity,

congratulations for your wonderful score. :band :musband



i take your following quote:
Quote:
Study actively. If you are not going to focus, then go home.


all the best....

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 [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2005, 14:51
Purely out of curiosity, why did you take the test again if you already had a 690 and a 700? I'm just wondering. I mean, from what I understand, those scores are average-range for most top business schools. Obviously, a 780 is a fabulous score, and it's great you got it. But what was your logic behind taking the test again with good scores like those in your past?
  [#permalink] 25 Sep 2005, 14:51
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