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Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club...

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Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club... [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 01:04
First of all, I want to start by saying that this was a horribly long road for me. Unlike most of you, this score means a ton more to me than just the number. This forum is great, but I must admit, it was very very depressing as I went through this process. I swear, of the GMAT experiences I recall reading (before I stopped cuz it was downright outrageous) 9/10 people write "Done 790...blah blah!" I mean, really, do people get these scores??

I want to thank everyone on this forum for being so dedicated to helping people like me who have struggled. I especially want to thank the members who posted: SC, RC, CR 1000’s, practice problem log (Excel), and the general knowledge of the GMAT.

Before I start, I want to let you guys know this is going to be LONG. In order for me to capture my trials and tribulations properly, I need to provide you with excruciating detail. I took this test 3 times in the time span of 10 months and probably spent in total something on the order of 400-500 hours prepping. So without further ado...here's the story.

Test 1:
I started in September 2005. I was thinking of applying for Fall '06, so I scheduled a test for early December or so. I thought no problem, 2 months of studying, I should be done. I bought all the books everyone talked about on this forum - Manhattan GMAT, Kaplan, Princeton Review, OG, and the OG supplemental books. I even went ahead and bought the Verbal workout books by both PR and Kaplan. Needless to say, I had more than enough to work on. The funny thing is I didn't think this was enough. I needed more structure, so I was seriously considering signing up for the Kaplan course. After I read all the horrible things on this forum about Kaplan, I had to see for myself. I signed up for a "free diag" at Kaplan. This was a complete disaster. At this point I had studied for 2 weeks and was fairly familiar with the process. All I can say is that I was given a paper and pencil test and the idiotic test administrator told us "verbal or math can come first when you take the real thing." I mean, are you kidding me?? So I ended up with like a 560 and was devastated. A month and a half left and I'm sitting here with a 560. I drank the Kaplan Kool-Aid for about an hour, agreeing to sign up for the course. I spoke to my bro and he mentioned that most prep courses give you hard diags so they convince you to sign up for course. Also, when you get your real score, you think "wow, all cuz of Kaplan!" So I ended up not signing up. Even after this disaster, I wasn't satisfied. I went to Craigslist and looked for someone to sell me his Kaplan (real-course) materials. I found this dude and he sold me the book (unmarked) and half his untaken diags for $100. I thought that was a significant savings from the $1300 or so Kaplan wanted. I ended up going through the course and most of the OG material before the real deal. I was diaging 650's consistently up to the day of my test. The week leading up the test, I took the entire week off. I reviewed the materials, did practice problems, etc. I made the BIG MISTAKE of studying (ie taking 2 exams) the night before. I took the test and did terribly. I was a nervous wreck and was lost on every RC. I ended up with a 580 (Q47, V23, AWA 4.5)

Test 2:
Fast forward a month. The holidays were done and I was ready to get back to action. Since Fall '06 was way out of the question, I decided to concentrate on Fall '07. I realized I put way too much pressure on myself and decided to take it easier with the new found time. I ended up signing up for Veritas Prep. From what I read and what I researched, this was the best prep course available. The course was fine (I'll explain more below). It lasted from Jan - March. I wanted to take the exam in the early summer, so I planned accordingly. After the course was done I found myself not studying very much. I realized I had to set the date. So, one day, I randomly decided the middle of July. Starting about May, I was studying day and night. Literally, I would work (9-6 typically), eat a half dinner (very important to not overeat otherwise you don't want to study), study for 2 hours, work out (gym in my building), study another 2 hours, sleep. This was Monday - Wednesday. Thursday's went out on dates and Friday's I just can't study. Saturday and Sunday, I would put in a good 6 hours each day. I was only doing practice problems (SC 1000, CR 1000, and RC 1000 - my verbal is WEAK). I took two weeks off before the test to take practice exams. At this point, I had only done problems and no exams. Also, I DID NOT study math. My math was strong enough to pull 47+'s without studying. So for the next two weeks, I was taking an exam daily (day) and reviewing more problems at night. I would say I put in a good 10 hours, easily, a day. The test day came and, once again, I was a nervous wreck. AWA was a joke (and trust me when I say this, I'm not the greatest writer), Math was INSANELY hard. I swear i was at question 20 with like less than 30 mins to go. Verbal went well and I thought I had a legitimate shot at getting a high 600's if not 700. I clicked "Next" and boom, a 640 (Q47, V31, AWA 5.0). Needless to say, I was distraught. At this point a good 300 - 350 hours of blood, sweat, and tears all for a freaking 640!

Test 3:
I went to a bachelor party that weekend and came back ready to take this stupid test one last time. Of course, you can only take the GMAT once every 30 or 31 days...so I had to wait. I set the exam for Sept. 5th, so I could have the long weekend to prepare. I gave myself a week off and started AGAIN. This time, I redid ALL of the OG Verbal problems and reviewed why I got them right AND wrong. This process was very very painful. I would go through 20 questions in like an hour and half. It took SO LONG to do this. I didn't care, I needed a 35+ in verbal to get to the elusive 700. I thought in order for me to get to 700, I would need a Q50, V35. This was a long shot considering everything would have to go right on both parts of the test. As I chugged along studying this month and half or so, a light bulb finally went off for SC. I went from a 75% hit rate to about 90%. The week before the exam, I took another week off to study and take exams. I had used up all the meaningful practice tests and was left with 800 Score, Veritas, and Kaplan exams. As everyone knows, none of these are accurate at all. I scored a 780 on my first practice exam (Monday)…then followed up with a 580 (Tuesday), a 560 (Wednesday), and a 610 (Thursday). As you would guess, I was defeated. I decided to stop taking these poisonous tests and go back to OG. The last leg of my studying (Friday – Sunday), I went through the second half of the OG problems in the 11th edition and supplemental guides (both verbal and math) and the practice problems of the Kaplan 2006 book (only SC and CR). For the last day before the exam, I reviewed the Manhattan GMAT books and the Arco AWA book. I was as prepared as I would ever be. The day came, was nervous, but had to let it fly. Math started terribly. The first few questions were extremely easy. I thought I was getting them wrong or something, but I was double checking every answer. I hit question 6 and spent 10 minutes trying to answer it. Looking back, cuz I’ll never forget that question, it was SO EASY. I wasted 10 minutes on a question that should take no more than 45 seconds to answer. I ended up getting the right answer, but my time was significantly cut short, not to mention thinking that I got it wrong. I ended the section with 3 guesses at the end. 10 minutes later, Verbal was a go. During the break, I thought I was done. No way I could’ve gotten better than a 47, but whatever, had to move on. Verbal started with a string of SC’s and CR’s. They were relatively easy and I was pretty sure I got the first 5 or 6 questions right. RC hit and it was a short one. I had 4 RC’s and only 1 was long – I was pretty lucky or was doing terribly since the questions weren’t that bad. Anyway, test ended with another 3 guesses. I thought I probably ended with a 650 or so. I thought there was no way I got worse than a 640. Clicked Next after the 10 questions, closed my eyes for about 5 seconds, opened them…BOOM 700 (Q48, V38)! I pumped about 20 fists and was about to pass out due to happiness. The proctor came in and got me out of there.

I’ve been on a high since…cuz I feel like I’m part of something now…the 700 club!!

These are all the books I used:

1) Kaplan Course (book and CD)
2) Kaplan GMAT 800 (both 2005 and 2006 edition)
3) Kaplan GMAT flashcards – Border’s exclusive
4) Kaplan GMAT (2006, 3 CATs)
5) Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workout
6) PR 2006
7) PR Verbal Workout for the GMAT
8) Arco GMAT (2006, 3 CATs)
9) GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible by PowerScore
10) Project GMAT by Veritas
11) OG 10
12) OG 11
13) OG Verbal supplemental
14) OG Math supplemental
15) Manhattan GMAT (7 books)
16) Smart Grammar by PR
17) Testmasters LSAT Course (15 books) – only went through 3 or 4 books, WAY too hard
18) Veritas Course (15 books) – almost all the questions are the same as OG
19) Arco - AWA book

Yes, this sounds insane…but considering Bschool costs $40K a year, just on tuition, and the financial hit I’m going to take from not working, I have justified the cost and effort. All in all, I have no regrets about what it took to get this done. I wanted to share my story because like a lot of you who don’t post and feel the way I feel, there are “averageâ€
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 01:27
Dude, I got two words for you: Good Job Credit given for credit earned. You paid your dues and got what you deserved. A wise man once said, "effort is much more beautiful than genius." Congrats!

Edited by 8-) to reflect a more professionally appropriate tone.

Last edited by GMATT73 on 09 Sep 2006, 01:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club... [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 03:13
Dude! FIRST OF ALL CONGRATULATIONSSSSSSSSS!!!! :woohoo So its time to partyyyyyyy!

This is a huge accomplishment. Believe me, its 7 am and reading your post has motivated me.....

I wish you all the best, you did it buddy! Good luck with your applications and let us know where you decide to go. :-D
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Re: Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club.. [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 04:19
uvs_mba wrote:
Dude! FIRST OF ALL CONGRATULATIONSSSSSSSSS!!!! :woohoo So its time to partyyyyyyy!

This is a huge accomplishment. Believe me, its 7 am and reading your post has motivated me.....

I wish you all the best, you did it buddy! Good luck with your applications and let us know where you decide to go. :-D


You're next UVS!
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Re: Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club.. [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 05:02
GMATT73 wrote:
uvs_mba wrote:
Dude! FIRST OF ALL CONGRATULATIONSSSSSSSSS!!!! :woohoo So its time to partyyyyyyy!

This is a huge accomplishment. Believe me, its 7 am and reading your post has motivated me.....

I wish you all the best, you did it buddy! Good luck with your applications and let us know where you decide to go. :-D


You're next UVS!


Thanks Matt :-D I hope I make it this time. Well I still have couple of days before I break my news :) But definitely Good Luck to you as I know that your exam date is close, maybe a few hours :wink: So I really hope to hear the good news from you soon.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 09:00
That's a great story. The post was so long I almost didn't read it, but it was so interesting I read every word. You definitely worked hard and earned your score. Contratulations!
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 11:16
Awesome story BB, i'm happy to hear the hard work paid off!!!

Hope my story ends as well as yours did!
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 11:54
BULLSEYE! MR. BOMBER.
ENEMY DEFEATED.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 12:01
A big-big congratulations to you Bomber!!!

You deserve to enjoy this victory and you will!!

Persistance pays off...

Good luck with your apps!!
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 12:42
That's some solid determination to succeed! Happy to know it's worked out well for you finally, and here's wishing success in what you do next. Great post.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 13:29
Congratulations! :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 13:42
Thanks everyone for the comments! I wanted to follow up my posting with what I found effective throughout my journey.

Quant:
I thought the MGMAT books were really good. 5 of the 7 books are math. Number properties were probably my biggest weakness. Any DS that had something like is |X| > Y^2 - X/2, (A) X^2 < Y/2 (B) Y^2 < X^3 - X/1 were really tough for me. I would spend a lot of time testing these choices (MAKE SURE YOU DO -ve, +ve, 0, and fractions when testing) and would typically forget to do one. i would say my hit rate on these problems were 66%. All other math problems were 95%. If you are a Q47+ test taker, you have to get the Project GMAT book. This book breaks down Combo/Perms and Probability really well. Also, you learn to use Venn Diagrams really well (I got 3 Venn Diagram questions on my last test). Other than that, make sure you feel comfortable with D=RT, angles (30-60-90 are 1, root 3, 2), and prime numbers/factoring/divisors. My quant practice was mostly done on practice tests. After a while, all questions are the same...you use the same steps to get the answers. I thought 50 was a hard score to get, but then again, I didn't prepare THAT much for quant. Do the second half of the questions of OG and OG supplemental. Review why you got them right and why you got them wrong...very important.


Verbal:
Ok, now this was the doozy. I'll break it down by each question type:
SC: Buy Smart Grammar immediately...read and re-read. A combo of this and the MGMAT guide is what got me through these questions. I read each book 3-4 times. As you go along, and you re-read, you pick up things that you didn't get the last time you read it. I started off around 50% and worked my way up to 90%. For idioms, they have a pretty good list in the MGMAT book. Other than that practice, practice, and practice. Do everything you can get your hands on WITH explanations. Kaplan ones are too easy, they make the mistakes too obvious (not only, but also or very obvious misplaced modifiers, etc). I thought the Arco ones were good. Of course SC 1000, but no explanations.
CR: Go out and buy the CR bible by TestScore. This book was really good...I used to read the question stem first, but I reverted to reading the Stimulus first (much more effective in my opinion). Read the stimulus, anticipate the answer, attack the conclusion. My toughest question by far was the bold comparison ones. Thank God I didn't get one on the real test. Other than that, I thought assumptions were really hard. The negation technique was not easy for me to implement. I tried the LSAT argument questions...those twist you head back compared to the GMAT CR's.
RC: I thought this would be my toughest section esp if the topic was something really boring...such as biology or chemistry topics. My recommendation is to read the WHOLE THING and read it like a CR. I know every book says DO NOT DO THIS. I found that this was by far the most effective way...otherwise I would've wasted 1 or 2 mins and not understood anything. Why not spend 3-4 mins, understand it, then answer all the question right? If you do this, in a 4 questions set, you will have spent only 8 mins (4 to read, 1 minute per question). You can make up time with SC (1 - 1.5 mins tops). Of course, my hit rate was only something like 75%, I was fine with this. Do OG, all of them. DO NOT waste your time on Kaplan or 800 score ones...these are WAY TOO hard.

Lastly, if you have any addictions such as smoking or anything like this, do not try quitting while studying. If you don't do so, I recommend working out daily or ever other day to keep your mind clear. I would only work out like 20-30 mins...I'm talking about a light jog, that's it. This will increase your stamina and mental health immensely. Also, DO NOT eat big meals before studying. Eat half meals at a time...just enough to keep you going. If you eat a full meal, you will get food coma and you're studying will not be effective.

I hope this helps...I know everyone has their own way of doing things, but you never know what works for you until you try other methods out.

Also, on your practice tests...no matter what, try as hard as you can to get the first 5-10 questions correct. If honestly think any one of the first five wrong = bad score. I spent 10 mins on questions 6 of the math and came back...just make sure you at least double check!
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 14:34
Congrats BB ! This is a very inspirational post... Hard work does pay off !!
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2006, 17:04
Dude...Let me congratulate you by saying

YOU DID FINALLY DROP THE BOMB ON GMAT EXAM AND TEARED IT APART!
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Nov 2006, 10:32
Congrats dude...Great post...I have the same problems that u faced in ur preps...I have a problem with the accuracy in RC though...70% accuracy

My strategy is the same as urs in solving the RC but the accuracy is still not increasing even after too much practice(3 RC's everyday)...Any suggestions?
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Re: Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club... [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2010, 09:11
Super awesome. Thanks for the inspiration.
Re: Done! 700 (Q48, V38)...ridiculous path to the 700 club...   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2010, 09:11
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