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An Uplifting Tale for the Average Test Taker

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Joined: 18 Dec 2010
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An Uplifting Tale for the Average Test Taker [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2011, 14:38
Hi everybody!

Now that I have submitted all of my B-school applications. I am hopeful that my story will function as an uplifting tale for those who aren’t necessarily shooting for those 750 level scores.

Goal: 660. this was probably in the 40% of my target school, but I felt like a 660 coupled with a 3.55 gpa would give me a puncher's chance of getting in.
Study Time: 2 Months
Average Hours/Day: 2-4
Study Materials
- Princeton Review
- MGMAT: Number Properties
- MGMAT: Word Translations
- MGMAT: Equations
- MGMAT: Geometry
- MGMAT: Ipad Flash card app

Practice Tests: You will find each of my practice tests below, with my thoughts after each one. In general, I studied everyday of the week but Sundays. Sundays I took a practice test in the morning, and watched American Football all afternoon.

1. Princeton Review 1: 610
Thoughts: No studying, took it cold turkey. About what I expected.

2. GMAT Prep #1: 640
Thoughts: Woohoo!!! 2 weeks in and already up to 640. I felt great and maybe I was underselling myself in my previous goal. We'll see...

3. Princeton Review 2: 590
Thoughts: So long Princeton Review tests. I think I got a 39 on the quant even though I got 33 of 37 questions correct, including the first 12. I don't know why the test wouldn't give me 600 or 700 level tests, but I quit using their practice tests after this.

4. MGMAT 1: 670, Q43 V38
Thoughts: It wasn't a totally accurate score, because I actually quit about 3/4th the way through the Quant. I didn't realize at the time that MGMAT is known for some crazy challenging quant questions. I continued the test later that evening, and was shocked to see a 670. Now I definitely knew I was underselling myself, or so I thought...

5. MGMAT 2: 610, Q40 V34
Thoughts: Talk about demoralizing. I've been studying for over a month, I have less then a month till test day. And I dropped the exact same score I got when I went in cold turkey. I hate you GMAT.

6. MGMAT 3: 680, Q43 V39
Thoughts: Slightly more relieved, but I still couldn't get the taste of the previous 610 out of my mouth. Bleh.

7. GMAT PREP #1 “retake”: 710
Thoughts: I had actually started taking the 4th MGMAT that morning, but quit because the quant questions seemed so difficult. I gave my computer a few choice words and then began a retake of the GMAT Prep #1 (I was saving GMAT #2 for the weekend before my Friday test). Great to get the 710, but I felt like I remembered quite a bit of the Verbal especially. I had two of the exact same RC passages, and was able to begin answering questions before reading the passage (although I read the passage anyways). In the end, I rationalized it as a 680/690 level score.

8. GMAT Prep #2 : 630
Thoughts: Ugh. I felt good taking this test too but seriously...UGGGGGGGGGGGGGH. A week until test date, and I got a 630...30 below my target, and even 10 below what I received two weeks in. I was pretty depressed after this, and I even went through a moderate existential crisis. UGH! I really hate you GMAT.

Pre-GMAT mindset: I could best describe my pre-gmat mindset as "Screw the GMAT." At this point I really just wanted to kill the GMAT and drink wine from it's hallowed skull. I had studied for 2 straight months, and made what I perceived to be very little progress.

I ended up taking the next week off from work, and really focused on areas where I had been making errors in the past. I concentrated mostly on quant, and tried to shore up my ability there. This week of focusing specifically on quant questions I got wrong was probably the best thing I did.

Test Day Morning: I couldn't sleep the night before (maybe got 3 total hours), but I also wasn't really nervous. I was just ready to be done with all of this. I hated the GMAT. I wanted to punch the GMAT in the face. I spent the morning playing Red Dead Redemption. Great game. My test was at 11am. The GMAT was going down.

Pump-Up Jams: Driving to the test I made a nice little pump-up playlist. I didn't want to calm myself down, I wanted to amp myself up! I suggest everyone does this. Suggested songs include: LCD Soundsystem "All my friends" and MOP "Ante Up," but you gotta pick what works for you.

Actual Test: Most of the test is a blur. I guessed on one quant question, but I generally felt pretty good. I used my breaks. I had a bottled water, goldfish crackers, and an Amp in my locker. All delicious.

Loading time between demographics section and actual score: Longest 6 seconds of my life. COME ON 660, COME ON 660, PLEASE GOD LET IT BE 660 OR ABOVE!!!!!

Final Score: 720, Q47 V42

Closing Thoughts: Jaw meet floor. I'm honestly still at a loss for words as to how I did so well. The best non-retake score I even got was a 680. Needless to say I will not be taking the GMAT again. I'm now well above my original target score, and I'm even applying to some dream schools I had previously written off. Honestly if this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. So weird to think that a thing that could give me so much misery would eventually lead to such a fantastic conclusion. I love you GMAT.
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Director
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Status: -=GMAT Jedi=-
Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 740
Location: Kochi, India
Schools: ISB
WE 1: Engineer - Larsen & Toubro, ECC Division
WE 2: Faculty - T.I.M.E.
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Re: An Uplifting Tale for the Average Test Taker [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2011, 18:56
First of all, congratulations are in order!
Well done dude. However, people might find a more detailed de-brief regarding the preparation strategy helpful :)
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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: An Uplifting Tale for the Average Test Taker [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2011, 08:29
Thanks! I thought about giving a more detailed de-brief. But I feel like there are so many wonderfully well-written stories on this site from people who got better scores, there just isn't much I can add in that department.

Generally speaking, I think people should have two take-aways from my story...

1. No matter how you've done on practice tests, the opportunity to do way better then you've ever done before always exists.

2. A lack of nerves or fear can really be a good thing, as long as you're still focused on the task at hand.

Thanks again for reading my story!

Quote:
First of all, congratulations are in order!
Well done dude. However, people might find a more detailed de-brief regarding the preparation strategy helpful
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Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 156
Schools: Wharton/Lauder - Class of 2013
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Re: An Uplifting Tale for the Average Test Taker [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2011, 08:48
Wow, that's awesome! Congrats on the great score.
Re: An Uplifting Tale for the Average Test Taker   [#permalink] 07 Jan 2011, 08:48
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