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780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you

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780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2009, 07:23
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Summary: If I had one tip for the GMAT taker, it would be USE GMAT CLUB. Period. So much information is available and if you use it critically you have all the external tools for success. I have no doubt someone could just use the questions discussions and rock it for $0 in prep materials. Also gives you faith in the human spirit that people are willing to help.

My second tip would be, work smart, not hard. After reviewing a million GMAT club question discussions, I saw that the hardest Qs REQUIRE working smart. Hacking through a problem (ie writing out every iteration in a combination problem by hand, or using a formula when doing it by hand reveals a shortcut), even if you get it right, should be recorded as an error because you are likely working more slowly than you could. Likewise, when you see an answer explanation using an excel spreadsheet, just skip it. Either the answerer is missing the point, or the question is not well written and isn't worth your time. (Or the answerer is trying to put to rest an endless discussion, good but just not useful to you).

Prep materials: All of OG12, Manhattan GMAT Number Properties, Kaplan Prime, Kaplan Math, and Kaplan Advanced. I used MGMAT SC for idioms and the question bank. I felt that the reviews of these materials here were accurate. Manhattan GMAT CAT tests (they come with any book) were the best single resource because the questions can get wicked and the analysis is super helpful. Kaplan Advanced is relatively brief to work through but you get good bang for your $ and I think it's kinda funny (yes, I have cracked).
I also worked through the free GMAT Club materials including several of the lists of questions. Some of these questions are great, and some are just not well written. Similarly, with the verbal (not just GMAT club, in general), I think some of those answers are just made up, they are so ridiculous, and personally I will never understand them so I didn't waste sleep over it.. well OK sometimes I did, but I shouldn't have.

Prep method: In a quirk of fate I took 3 months leave from my job in September so I had a lot of time to study. I got my math skills basically straight, then hit the practice tests, using the other questions for warmup. On my first timed practice set, I panicked and bombed. On my first whole practice test I got really bored and bombed verbal. This is why I did at least 8 practice tests with AWA to build up my mental stamina and get used to the timing. I did 14 practice tests total (mostly Kaplan, MGMAT). In addition to getting my timing straight, doing CAT tests gives you a shot at seeing harder questions. My battle was finding enough truly hard questions to practice in a timed setting and this helped.

Timing: My timing ended up OK but I still had the FEAR so I kept the timer visible at all times and recalculated time remaining every 3rd question or so. It's theoretically a waste of time but it kept me calm.

Pre-test hours: I just thought about anything BUT GMAT and spent pre-test time looking at Cyber Monday deals online.

Test time: No big shocker about the location or setup, except fiddling with the headset, pen, laminate board, etc. Left handed people like myself can expect to smear ink all over the darn place. I felt like the keyboard was weird and it threw off my writing but whatever. Also there was a guy with Tourette's in my test room which paradoxically kept things mellow (it wasn't like a cussing thing, more of a grunting thing).
Math: Seemed a little easier than I had faced before, which gave me doubt, but I just kept telling myself "you are rocking it... the easy questions must be experimental". Question mix was what I expected from the practice tests.
Verbal: Usually my strong point, but about 5 minutes in, my mind went AWOL as I tried to pin down how math had went. From the practice tests I knew to expect this feeling so I buckled down and told myself this is where I can pick up the relatively easy points. Verbal seemed fairly similar to my prep work, meaning there were more than a few questions that were just picky and stupid and pointless. Yes, I hate verbal.

The Aftermath: Grinned like an idiot. Bragged about myself to my parents. Etc., etc. It was 2 days ago and it still hasn't sunk in yet. I guess my dreams of Bschool could be a reality...or at least the GMAT is no longer standing in the way. I have nothing but thanks for everyone in the GMAT Club community, the generosity that people have shown with their time and efforts really, truly has improved this experience for many.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2009, 07:50
amazing score! congrats!!!
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2009, 18:19
very good score man .

how did you manage to take 3 months off ? , did u take vacation specifically for gmat ?

thanks,
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 02 Dec 2009, 22:12
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Klusner, nah, that would be way too smart for me.... I saved a bunch of money working a "tough" job and got six months leave without pay to save my sanity (wanted to resign but realized I might need a salary eventually and was volunteering to job search in the worst economy in my lifetime). Then I decided to take the GMAT and apply to b-school since I had the free time (and obviously I also want to change jobs). Awesome career plan eh?
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 00:21
Wow..congrats!
How much were you scoring during the prac tests?
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 07:22
eekthecat , i am in a similar position of doing a stressful job . But i have learnt to handle the stress and it doesnt bother me at all.

I was also thinking of taking a sabatical :)) , lets see how that goes.

thanks,
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 07:43
Congrats eekthecat. Can you post how you did on the MGMAT tests before the real exam? Thanks.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 09:55
Klusner, I'm with ya, what was killing me was the social part, the job was overseas and I hadn't seen my friends+family for too long. Now I've spent too much time with them and I'm VERY ready to go back to work in January. Sabbatical or equivalent is a fantastic idea, I think go-getters (likely describing most of us) can't relax on a 3 day weekend. It took me two weeks to stop being afraid that I had to go back.

As for the scores:
MGMAT 1, 5 weeks before: 680 (Q45, V37)
MGMAT 2, 3 weeks before: 710 (Q47, V40)
MGMAT 3, 2 weeks before: 720 (Q47, V41)
MGMAT 4, 2.5 weeks before: 740 (Q47, V45)
MGMAT 5, 1 week before: 770 (Q50, V45)
MGMAT 6, 3 days before: 740 (Q47, V45) (this was my last practice test but my internet went out in the middle of the quant and messed up the time so I didn't stress too much about this score)

Kaplan CATs (don't have the dates here, but took interspersed with the MGMAT at about equal intervals):
750 (Q45, V41); 800 (Q53, V55); 770 (Q50, V54); 740 (Q50, V46)

GMAT Prep, I messed up the software and took questions 2x, so I don't consider my scores representative, more like practice. What I'm noting on the scores is 1. my verbal really did improve, I didn't do more studying so I think this was just mental stamina gains and 2. The Kaplan scoring is a little less consistent.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 14:48
ooooooooooooooooohh , what practise scores man :)

Keep it up bro
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2009, 16:55
I had read your profile a couple of days before the test and it really motivated me! thank you for sharing your story. I found the quant pretty easy as well, but it ended up screwing me over, since so many of the questions were just straight forward and did not have the usual GMAT type nuance in it so it completely threw me off!

Anyways, great score...you should definitely apply to Stanford GSB..by far one of the best programs in the Country.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 09 Dec 2009, 15:33
MXB908 I know what you mean, I was expecting the crazy tricks to come out (a la GMAT Club or Manhattan GMAT) and they just didn't!

As for Stanford... I like what I see there. Not to mention the campus is just beautiful. I will be putting all my energy into that app starting tomorrow!
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2009, 10:50
Awesome!!!

congrats!!!!! :!: :!: :!:
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adfasfasf [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2009, 13:31
nice score
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2009, 13:59
Thanks for sharing your experience and practice scores. You did an amazing job!
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2009, 11:02
Contratulations, Amazing
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2009, 15:36
Hey shadow,

For the quant section can you breakdown how many questions you blindly guessed on, how many you guessed by eliminating 2 or 3, and how many questions your sure you got right?

The reason I ask is because I don't understand how when I get 5 or 10 wrong on the GMAT Prep Exam I still have a score from 45-50 but I haven't received that same score on the real GMAT.

How many questions does one have to actually get right? Can some experts shed some light?
This exam is confusing the heck out of me.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2009, 19:16
Not sure if this was meant for me but I will give my own experience. I don't think I blindly guessed/eliminated 2 for any questions. Full disclosure: I never did that in practice either, I just made common errors, get a wrong result that GMAT predicted, and move forward thinking I'm right when I'm wrong. So I'm sure I did this during the test as well.

As for the GMAT Prep; # of wrong/right answers is not the predictor for score, it is the difficulty of the questions that you get right (try this link for more info). If you are getting them right, the questions should get harder, and if you're getting them wrong, the questions would get easier. So, if you get 27 Q47-level difficulty questions right, and 10 Q51-level questions wrong, it might average out to Q50. If that makes any sense.

So, what is more important than # right/wrong is your overall approach, like having the skills solid, getting your timing right (moving on, not digging yourself into a hole), and keeping your wits about you during testing. If your GMAT score is not reflective of your GMAT prep score, maybe it is nerves, maybe you've seen the GMAT prep questions one too many times?
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2009, 19:43
Hey Eek, that was for you sorry about that. Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I have taken the Gmat Prep many times so that could have played a role. I've also taken the MGMAT exams and scored in the same range. And nerves definitely played a role especially during the Quant section. I just can't for the life of me figure out how to do well in Quant on the REAL exam which is why I was asking how many I would need to get right versus how many I could guess.

But if you're saying that you didn't even guess on any questions in the Quant then that's amazing. I'm certainly not there.
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 21 Dec 2009, 00:20
Great Score,, congrats !!
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Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you [#permalink] New post 24 Jan 2010, 10:27
Congrats !!!
Re: 780 (Q50, V48) debrief and thank you   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2010, 10:27
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