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Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!)

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Joined: 06 Aug 2013
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 28 Nov 2013, 23:42
Dear stinali57
I have to say your GMAT journey is so inspiring. I found myself on the same track and thought maybe I could discuss about my case with you. I would really appreciate if you could give me your points about it.
I am also looking for a PhD program. I hold an MBA (GPA: 3.7) and I have found a faculty member with perfect research match at Iowa State University. He is interested in working with me as well and he said that he will support my application. I sat for the GMAT last year for the first time and got 650. The PhD program assistant at Iowa school of business told me that average GMAT score for their PhD students is 670 and my 650 places within their GMAT range, so they evaluate my application. I have a paper accepted for publication in an ISI journal and I have two good and one brilliant recommendations from professors I have worked with. It is interesting that the professor who provided the best recommendation is scientifically much more notable that two other professors who also filled recommendation form for me. I have planned to retake the GMAT in the time I have before they evaluate my application. In case I get a better result it will improve my chance.
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2013, 23:25
Great Story!

Drawn some inspiration as I prepare for my 5th attempt.

Thanks for sharing. I hope to come share on this platform "from 500 to 750" :-D

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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2013, 11:00
Several Admissions Reps have told me "Just get the score! It doesn't matter how many times you take it"

I'd have to say I honestly noticed a difference in my studying this time around compared to the other times.
My CAT avg is about the same as yours, so you've given me a major boost of confidence.
I sit for my 7th GMAT exam tomorrow. I look forward to sharing my debrief as well!
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2013, 12:57
stinali57 wrote:
Aldossari wrote:
working hard always pays off. congrats!!!

could you also plz share your experience with phd application.


I will update my whole experience with the Phd app once I am done but, while going through it, I have to say it is very different from MBA apps. A high GPA, high GMAT score, good work experience, etc most likely will guarantee you into at least one top B-school but PhD is a whole other story. All those things good might not even get you into any PhD program. Of course you still need all that stuff but what is most important is your research match with the faculty of the school. However, don't get discouraged with what I just said. There are hundreds of PhD programs and some faculty will be interested in the same things you are. Anyways, GMAT is the first step and a very very important one. It is definitely a means to an end and you will need it if you are interested in a business PhD. Wish you the best of luck!!!! :-D

best of luck on your applications!

and please do give some tips as you go through the application process

لا الله الا الله, محمد رسول الله

You never fail until you stop trying ,,,

Joined: 04 Feb 2009
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Concentration: Technology, Strategy
GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V38
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2013, 18:38
stinali57 wrote:
Hey Guys,

I finally finished with the GMAT and scored a 710 (IR:5, Q:49, V:38) on Friday Nov 22. I know it is not brilliant compared to the 750+ out there but after 6 times I am satisfied. I was hesitant to write this debrief because I am a little embarrassed of my situation. However, I do feel like there might be people out there like me (on the verge of giving up) so this debrief might benefit them and help them go on!

I started studying for the GMAT back in Sept 2011 and, in between, took it 6 times (basically once every 6 months). ---> And failed each time! :cry: I think I might be the only person out there that took so many prep courses but could still not succeed till 2 years later.

Background: I am a Chinese American and went to school my whole life in America. I graduated with a BBA (GPA 3.9) on May 2011 and was advised by others to pursue a PhD in organizational studies. I know getting into a PhD program is a lot more competitive than a MBA program but all my professors and mentors encouraged me to go straight into a PhD program. This means I have to get a very high GMAT score even though I have very good recommendations, GPA, research experiences, etc. Like many people, I also had a full time job in the beginning of my studies. I was a loan officer for a credit union and put in 50+hours a week with my job.

GMAT #1 November 17 2011: 600 (Q 46, V 27)
I started studying for the GMAT May 2011 and did not know how to approach it at all. I decided to register for Princeton Review because when I took the SATs back in the day, they helped me achieve a high score. It was a 2 month classroom course and as I went through the course I got more and more discouraged. Don't get me wrong. I was probably one of the highest scoring student in that course (Most aimed for a 500) but after 3 weeks I knew I needed more than this course to get over a 700 on the GMAT. After a bunch of web searches, I signed up for GMATCLUB and started reading reviews on good self-prep material. I came across the MGMAT books and purchased the whole set. When I started reading them I felt so enlightened because it answered many of my questions that I did not even know how to approach. I kept on going through the books, contuined my Princeton course, and practiced with the OG 12th ed. I think I was about 3/4 done with the MGMAT books and had only 1 week left before my GMAT. At that time, my CATs ranged from 400s to high 500's (If I could remember right). I ranged around a 40-45 on the Quant and 20-33 on the Verbal. I was thinking of postponing the test till later and only wished I knew about MGMAT books earlier. I decided to just give it a shot and since I always score better under pressure I might actually get higher than my CATs. I took it and got a 600. Okay, so it is not great but it was way better than my CATs and I was very motivated that after more studying I will soon get to my target score.

GMAT #2 May 15, 2012: 620 (Q 45, V 31)
After I scored a 600 I decided I needed to find a better prep course since I almost finished the MGMAT books and reading it over to try to process the information more carefully won't work for me because I have very good memorization skills but cannot apply those skills after I feel I read it once. After research, I could not decide between a MGMAT course or a Knewton course. I knew MGMAT was great but it was quite expensive and Knewton was cheaper and had a 50 point guarantee. I finally decided to go with a Knewton course but, at the same time, I had change at work (got promoted and put on more hours). I kept on taking the course but it so many things started happening that I thought that GMAT/PhD was not meant for me. I suddenly got an offer at another company that was 100 times better than my current job, pay and opportunity wise. I went through 10 interviews with that company and just kept on saying to myself that I could handle studying at the same time. After the whole interview process (I had to submit project and proposals for each one) I probably lost half of my studying time. Okay, this is stupid, but I asked myself what I really wanted and at the end I decided to decline the offer because if I take the job I would not have enough time for studying or school. Why didn't I think of it before I started the interviews? I don't know. Probably because I think I am a genius and could handle everything (I am also a single parent with a 9 year old daughter). Okay, I'm retarded. Anyways I continued my Knewton course but my CATs varied so much. I really did understand and practiced everything but I would constantly get 500's on the Knewton CATs. I think I went to take a GMAT Prep CAT after all the Knewton CATs and got a 650. On MGMAT CATs I got low 600's on all of them. So like most humans, I decided not to accept the truth and said to myself that Knewton CATs suck and were inaccurate. I took the GMAT and got a 620! :( ---> I did finish the course and got my money back from them since I did not get 50+points.

GMAT #3 October 26 2012: 550 (Q43, V23)
The more I am writing this, the more I am getting mad at myself so I am just going to cut to the point. I took a vacation after my 620 GMAT score, took practice CATs when I came back and somehow got a 670 on a CAT. My confidence went back up and I decided to go with a MGMAT course since their books helped a lot for the first test and I felt guilty that I didn't go with them from the beginning. I also took a GMAT Pill course sine they had a guarantee and they had good reviews. I also decided to turn part time at my job so I could concentrate on studying more. I actually do not know what happened this time but ended up getting a 550!

GMAT #4 May 21 2013: 590 (Q44, V28)
I honestly thought that the system had an error and was going to take it 30 days after until I saw an AD with Economist GMAT and I liked its adaptiveness and decided to enroll in their course. Honestly, at this point, I think I was just lying to myself the whole time. The course actually gave me a lot of confidence but I didn't realized till the towards the end that it is just that their stuff is a lot easier and not like the real GMAT. I decided to take the GMAT again because I did have high 600 scores on CATs. Took it and got a 590!

GMAT #5 Oct 5 2013: 620 (Q40, V35)
I actually wanted to get a private tutor at this time but I don't know what stopped me and I decided to enroll into a E-GMAT course. It was my best choice!!! I know they are known for improving verbal for nonnatives and I am a native but there was something in me that I never really wanted to admit. The reasons why my CAT scores varied so much is because of my verbal. I would sometimes get really high and sometimes get really low. I really did not know why because I remember that Knewton would say that GMAT measures will not vary like that. Then I realized that I am a native that is kind of like a non native.

If this debrief is too long and tiring you out then don't care about this part but some people might be able to relate to this ---> I always spoke Chinese at home and from elementary to 7th grade I was put into a learning disability class. I was actually taken out of the learning disability class a couple of times and transferred to a ESL class because the schools did not understand how I processed information. I did speak English with my friends but I guess because I never went through the normal American schooling I did not understand the basics of English. Of course I never knew this till now because after 7th grade I was taken out of the disability program and put into normal schooling and from then everybody thought that my light-bulb finally opened up. Two years later my grades were so good that I was in honors, top in HS, Dean's list, top 10 in college, Summa Gum Laude etc. Because of all these recognitions and awards I never noticed my weaknesses.

EGMAT made me realize my weaknesses and I finally knew how to approach every question on the verbal section esp SC. After I took EGMAT my accuracy improved from a 40-80% to a 95%. I almost got every question right on the verbal! Of course this is without time pressure. Their method is a lot longer and I will actually take 5 minutes to solve a SC question. Through practice I got this down to 2-3 minutes per question. GMAT day was getting close so I just went for it and got a 620. To my surprise this time I actually got higher in Verbal even though I ran out of time and guessed on the last 10-15 questions.

GMAT #6 Nov 22 2013: 710 (Q49, V38) DONE!!!!
I am so retarded and I guess since I was practicing verbal so much that I stop practicing math that I scored a 40 in Quant. Also, during the test I ran out of scratch paper and I couldn't get the proctor to give me more. (its complicated... I was a mess and wasn't really thinking) Anyways, I was thinking of self preping afterwards but decided to enroll in Magoosh since it was cheap and had could reviews. It also had a guarantee. The course was great actually. Their verbal was just like all other courses besides EGMAT so I just used the verbal for practice questions to quicken my speed. The Quant was awesome though. It wasn't too hard, made you understand basics but applied it to very difficult problems. After the course, I would constantly score around a 650 and this is where GMAT CLUB resources come in. GMAT Club is so awesome. They have everything!!! I purchased Question Pack 1 from GMAC and used GMAT CLUB for explanations. Once I realized my weaknesses, I would take that topic and take quizzes from GMAT CLUB tests. I had confidence that I will do pretty good this time because I finally got 700s on CATs. I took it and got a 710!!!!

The reason I am so detailed and included seemingly irrelevant info for this debrief is that I want to tell people out there that the most important thing to understand to score well on the GMAT is to understand your weaknesses. Do not lie to yourself and whenever you do not understand a question, dissect the question. Dissect yourself. What do you lack to understand this question? From all this I really got the understanding of quality is better than quantity. Mo matter how many problems you practice, if you don't fully understand why you got it wrong and how you will get it right the next time, you will not get the most out of the problems.

Additional tip: Please do not let the CATs discourage you. My CATs scores varied so much throughout my studies and even at the end, right before my last test, I got a 640 on a GMAC Prep CAT. The important thing about CATs is for you to practice your stamina and know your timing.

For those out there that feel that they should give up and that the GMAT is not for you: Believe me, you could do it! If I can with these retarded moves, then you could with smarter moves. :-D

Good Luck!
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2013, 05:10
Oh MY mY God... I was feeling depresed as i m going to give third attempt !

Congrats buddy !

My verbal is really poor.. which one will u suggest me for verbal?? E-gmat?? or any other course? E-GMAT is too costly for me ..They r asking 484 dollar for registartion and 199 Dollar for particular offer of VERBAL.

Will wait for ur respose.. I think U have tested all courses ! :P

Bole So Nehal.. Sat Siri Akal.. Waheguru ji help me to get 700+ score !

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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2013, 06:16
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Wow. Kudos on persevering until you achieved your very impressive target score! Great debrief. I'm looking forward to hearing how your business school application process goes!
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2013, 20:41
Excellent debrief ! Hats off to your hard work and determination.

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Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get!!

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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2014, 15:42
hats off to you... I think
Patience is admirable ...great work
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2014, 06:17
True story that shows persistence and perseverance pay off!! So inspiring!!
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Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!) [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2014, 10:07
Congrats for your score. You are a great person.
I just want to ask during your whole 2 years of gmat preparation, how much time did you give for preparation in weekend and in weekday?
Also can you suggest me any quant preparation course? What did you do in quant that increased your 9 points in quant in 45 days.
Lastly,I respect your patience.
Re: Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!)   [#permalink] 19 Jan 2014, 10:07

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Debrief 550 to 710 (2 YEARS!!! 6 TIMES!!!)

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