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# Done and dusted!! 730 (Q49 V40)

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I gave the GMAT this week and scored a 730 - 96th percentile. I've received a lot of help from this forum so I intend to give something back through this debrief. This is going to be really long, so please skip to sections that interest you.

I've seen a whole lot of debriefs here on GMATClub and most of them are immensely useful. I really don't know how much I can do to add to those, besides, I don't want to confuse those of you who've already fixed on a strategy. Hence, I'll try to not to advocate a particular strategy and will stick to pointing out what I did during my preparation and what might help you.

I'll go reverse chronologically as many of you will probably want to know my actual test day experience:

Test day experience (and the day before)

I've read a number of debriefs where people say that the day before the test should be spent relaxing or doing anything apart from studying. However I've always been the kind who studies all the way through to the exam, so the day before the test I just kept solving practice problems in a leisurely manner. I know this may sound silly, but when I started doing problems real slowly and getting deep into the question I discovered quite a few new intricacies that I'd never noticed before. I basically spent the day appreciating the finer elements of the various questions and it kept me relaxed, yet in touch with the upcoming exam. This worked for me so think about it.

My test was scheduled for 9am so I got to the center by around 8.30am. Carried some chocolates with me to eat during the breaks. Was provided with a locker to store these items.
Initial formalities included palm vein recognition and getting a photograph taken. Passport is mandatory for Indian candidates. The test center environment was really comfortable and the staff helpful.
With all this done I began my test.

Identified 5 schools to which I wanted to send the score reports.
Edit: Important: Please read this post for some info on which schools to send score reports to. This could save you some cash while sending score reports for both GMAT and TOEFL.

During the tutorial I typed around 5 sentences in the practice screen for the AWA to calm myself. Remember to reduce time spent in mouse movement by using Alt+N to go to the next page/question. This is valuable and will save you valuable seconds instead of using the mouse to navigate to the Next button during the test.
Alt+N to go to the next question. Alt+Y to confirm your selected answer. Make sure to use these two.

The AWA section went quite well. The argument was flawed and I had no trouble identifying 3 weak points and shooting the argument down. The Issue was rather generic - whether schools should be involved in providing social as well as ethical eduction - and I wasn't able to provide relevant examples to illustrate my point. However I felt I did a good enough job on this as I gave certain hypothetical examples to draw out my line of reasoning.

Took the break, ate a chocolate, hit the washroom and encouraged myself for 2 minutes. Then got back to the test.
The breaks are 8 minutes long and one thing is important to note: Both when you sign out for a break and when you sign in back to the testing room you have to display your passport and give your palm vein identification. This takes a few seconds and is a part of the 8 minutes that you receive as a break. Make sure not to cut your 8 minutes too close as you need to complete this formality twice during each break.

If there is one thing you should take away from this its the knowledge that the GMAT is getting tougher. It was tough. And I don't mean getting the odd tough question. I was peppered with really continuously stubbornly tough questions. I wasn't weak at quant, but I wasn't a superstar either. I could solve most questions given sufficient time and no pressure. However I'd learnt from experience through a lot of practice that I was pretty slow at big, long, wordy questions. I was also slow on number properties. And I got quite a few of these during the test. Number properties with multiple variables. Number properties with inequalities and modulus. Questions where you need to draw a table for x, y, xy, |x-y| and then subsitute +ve, -ve, 0, fraction greater than 0, fraction lesser than 0, you name it. I was beat. From practice I knew I was slow at these questions. I was weak at data sufficiency. I knew I could solve every one of those questions in 5 minutes each. However I didn't have that luxury. And I got a lot of these questions. One question on mixtures. One on work.One on average speeds. Two on probability. Two on set theory (finding number of people who did exactly 2 of 3 things). I nearly lost it during the exam and was on the verge of giving up. However I had taken quite a few practice tests before and I had experienced the very same feeling. In all those tests I had scored Q48 or 49 so I knew it was because I was attempting 700+ level questions. I hung in there. And then the quant section was over.
Phew!
Back in the restroom I calmed myself down. I knew that I had probably done better than I thought on quant. I also knew that verbal was what would make or break my score as it contributed largely to the final score. I was strong at verbal despite being a non native speaker. English was my forte. Or so I thought.
It started off as I expected. I'd prepared really well on sentence correction (more on this later). And I was good at critical reasoning. The first 20 questions were really smooth. I knew I was on track and in good shape. I could almost see the 780 at the end of the exam. However the last 20 questions really did me in. I started feeling a little vague in the head. It was hard to keep my mind from wandering. I lost focus. The RC's turned horrible. I got a nasty RC (economics related) with 4 questions of which I was sure of none. This was followed by a second RC (work culture in organizations) almost equally tough. And then a bold faced CR. I struggled on all these. Towards the end I was feeling upset. The questions were tough and I was confident only of the SCs. The CRs and RCs all had 2 answer choices that were really close. And I'm sure this cost me atleast 6 points in verbal. That silly saturated feeling, and the tougher questions towards the end of the test. I'm sure I got a string of questions wrong. And I'm sure my overall score dropped by atleast 30 points.

Finished the test, skipped the optional feedback, background info, blah blah and went to the score. Closed my eyes, tried to visualize 750, saw the 730, felt a pang of disappointment (I wasn't being greedy, I knew I was capable of 750 and had consistently scored as much during practice) and came out of the testing room. I knew the verbal section had beaten me and the last 20 questions had pulled me from a V45 to a V40. Anyway, that was it, I collected my score report and returned to office.

Thinking about it I'm really satisfied with this score. It took me a day to get over the disappointment but then 730 is a great score although I know I could have done better I'm happy. I've got to start putting together my apps now.

My preparation:

I started focusing on the GMAT earnestly around 3 months ago. I have a 12 hour job so I had to study for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I took leave from work the week before the test to focus on fine tuning and practice. Up to the last week my study was mostly haphazard. I collected a huge amount of material from friends most of which I never used. I'm sure some of you do the same and I can tell you its not necessary. These are the materials which were of real use -

Study Material:

- All the manhattan gmat guides for quant (will give you complete understanding of the subject)
- Manhattan gmat sc guide (amazing)
- Kaplan GMAT 800 (the 2nd half of the book has some weird problems that are interesting to work on)
- GMATClub math book (must study as it gives you some shortcuts that are not mentioned even in the manhattan guides)
- GMAT_LSAT_CR.doc (Got this document from GMatClub - has more than 200 GMAT and LSAT CR questions that are more than sufficient practice - Remember to always look up ur mistakes on google)
- RC.doc (similar to the above one - contains more than 200 RC questions that are sufficient practice - I did around 30 RCs)
- OG 12 (must have as this is the base you should work on - quant is totally unrepresentative of the test now, for verbal the last 30 questions of each section totally represent the current GMAT)
- GMATPrep SC (A document compiled by sondenso that has 180 GMATPrep questions - I've added a few here to this document, please let me know if you want this)
- AWA (not much study on this - the OG 12 has a great writeup on what they expect from this section - follow this and you should be good. Also, read the sample essays there, they will give you some idea of what a 6pt essay looks like)

Practice tests:

- GMATClub math tests (will condition your mind to work on tough problems - do them timed, ignore the percentile at the end, and then review them)
- MGMAT practice tests (see my honest review on this here - they're great practice but not totally representative)
- GMAT Prep tests 1 and 2

In retrospect this is how i would've studied (you tend to realise such things only once you're very close to the test or have finished the test)

1. Take a GMATPrep test to see where you stand. Don't bother to analyse, just look at the final score and how badly you fared in math or verbal. Understand what a GMAT test is going to look like. By the time you finish your preparation you're going to forget the answers to the test you just did so its not a waste of taking this test at the beginning.
2. Drill through all the MGMAT math guides. Focus the most on Number properties guide and Inequalities guide. Work out every single problem they say, especially when they cross reference the OG.
3. Manhattan gmat sc guide. Read this thoroughly and take notes. This is the single source that can take you to a V40.
4. Once the Manhattan Guides are completed go take the Manhattan gmat sample test on their website. You will realise how much you still have to do and why you need to buy their practice tests (Why? Because their analysis is amazing and can help you pinpoint weak areas)
5. Read all the articles on the GMATClub math book. There are posts referred at the end of each page with practice questions. Work on these.
6. GMATPrep SC document - Almost every single question here has been discussed on the Manhattan gmat forums, I've compiled an excel sheet which links each of these questions to the relevant thread on the MGMAT forum. Let me know if anyone wants this. This document and this approach of referring the MGMAT forums for explanations alone raised my confidence on SC.
7. OG 12 - do every single question in the OG. Systematically read their explanation of each answer. For verbal focus hard on why the wrong answers are wrong.
8. Practice CRs from the GMAT_LSAT_CR.doc. Again, search all your doubts on google. This alone can give you tremendous practice on CRs.
9. RC.doc - RCs just need practice. My strategy during practice was to read the question carefully once and try to answer the questions without looking back at the passage. I developed great retention capacity this way.
10. Practice tests one after the other. Buy the MGMAT practice tests (comes free with purchase of any MGMAT strategy guide) and take all 6 of them. At the end of 3 tests use their analysis tools to see where to improve. Go back to the relevant MGMAT guides and study those areas. Take the remaining 3 tests.
11. Take the GMATPrep tests again and again and again. Don't focus too much on the scores. Try and bring down the number of mistakes during each test and try and finish each test faster than the last. This will tune your mind to the final GMAT interface and help you build speed.

My scores during practice:

MGMAT online sample test (around 8 months back I guess) - 630
GMATPrep test 1 (after some study) - 710
Veritas prep online sample test - 630
GMATPrep test 1 after resetting - 750
Kaplan CD test 1 - 610 (extremely tough especially in verbal)
Kaplan CD test 2 - 700 (after some more study)
GMATPrep Test 1 after resetting again - 780
GMATPrep test 2 - 690
GMATPrep test 2 after resetting - 750
MGMAT online sample test again - 690
MGMAT online test 1 - 700
MGMAT online test 2 - 730
MGMAT online test 3 - 750
MGMAT online test 4 - 730
MGMAT online test 5 - 770

Thats about it. I think I've covered pretty much everything that I did until I finished the GMAT, and what I could have changed. I hope this helps atleast a few of you. Trust me, this test is totally beatable. You don't want to be in a position where you've done the test and then realize you could've beaten the test if you'd prepared differently. Hence the reason for me giving my retrospect approach above. Thanks a lot to GMATClub for all the help I've received here! I will continue to contribute on these forums. If anyone needs any more info please don't hesitate to ask. Good luck to all of you!!

GMATPrep SC document - Invaluable!!
Attachment:
GPSC.doc [305 KiB]

Answers to questions in the GMat Prep SC document
Attachment:
GPOA.xlsx [47.22 KiB]

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My debrief: done-and-dusted-730-q49-v40

Last edited by sidhu4u on 12 Sep 2010, 10:13, edited 4 times in total.
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25 Jul 2010, 05:46
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akaydee wrote:
Great score and great debrief. Congratulations.

You now have me scared about the quant section!

There's no need to fear the quant section. Its possible to beat with sufficient practice. Make sure you're fast on number properties as that is very clearly the most tested topic in quant.
Silvers wrote:
so what all schools you are you applying to?

I haven't even thought about it. I've neglected it for so long and just thought of getting the GMAT out of the way. Now I've to actually see where my profile fits in with schools, and which schools I'm competitive at.
resh wrote:
I am giving the exam in October. So far, CR is my weak area.
Is the GMAT_LSAT_CR doc u mentioned same as the 1000 CR?
I searched for it , but couldnt find.

I think its the same as the 1000 CR doc, not sure though. You could probably google the document name to find it.

@greatman, ezhilkumarank, bakfed, Renuka, resh
Thank you!!
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23 Jul 2010, 10:34
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That's great debrief ---+1
Congrats for the achievement and thanks for the valuable tips.

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23 Jul 2010, 19:17
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Congratulations sir....

i agree GMAT is getting tougher day by day .......

so what all schools you are you applying to?
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23 Jul 2010, 21:36
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great job!
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Re: Done and dusted!! 730 (Q49 V40) [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2010, 12:27
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Sidhu...Amazing debrief. I am not too far from giving my exam (3 weeks away) and your debrief has made me panic a bit. Quant is sort of my forte but I have seen many people now saying that the Quant in GMAT has become really tough. I am not sure if you can help me here but can you pm me or provide a link or two of the kind of questions that you thought were of the tougher type in Quant? I have tried to solve most of questions in Bunuel's post but any help from your side will be appreciated.
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27 Jul 2010, 19:30
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@zuperman,
Please do not panic. That should be the last thing you do.If you're confident about quant then you should have no problem. For tough quant problems you should use the GMATClub tests. You get access to these with either 200 posts on GMATClub or 50 kudos. You could also buy them if you want.
The quant in the GMAT is getting tougher but by no means unbeatable. Like I mentioned in my debrief I was not really strong at quant. With sufficient practice and speed you can solve pretty much any quant question. Its not about the difficulty of the question, its about how fast you recognise the right approach and solve it.
All it takes is practice, you have 3 weeks left so make sure to just focus on practicing with an emphasis on speed.
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My debrief: done-and-dusted-730-q49-v40

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27 Jul 2010, 20:01
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sidhu4u wrote:
@zuperman,
Please do not panic. That should be the last thing you do.If you're confident about quant then you should have no problem. For tough quant problems you should use the GMATClub tests. You get access to these with either 200 posts on GMATClub or 50 kudos. You could also buy them if you want.
The quant in the GMAT is getting tougher but by no means unbeatable. Like I mentioned in my debrief I was not really strong at quant. With sufficient practice and speed you can solve pretty much any quant question. Its not about the difficulty of the question, its about how fast you recognise the right approach and solve it.
All it takes is practice, you have 3 weeks left so make sure to just focus on practicing with an emphasis on speed.

hi sidhu,
Can please share the level of difficulty of gmatclub tests and actual quant ?
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27 Jul 2010, 20:56
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@nikhil,

During my preparation I was under the impression that the GMATPrep tests are a good indicator of the standard of quant on the test. I held the same belief for the OG as well. In general the questions on the test were supposed to be slightly tougher than on the GMATPrep and OG.
Also, when I was practicing with the GMATClub tests I found them pretty difficult. Many of the GMATClub number properties questions were tough and I couldn't do them within two minutes. I thought that this was ok since the actual GMAT quant questions were supposed to be easier than the GMATClub test questions.

However after taking the actual GMAT it seems to me that the quant standard has risen and that the GMATClub tests are only slightly tougher than the actual GMAT quant. Also, the questions on the actual GMAT seemed different (I'm just not able to quantify this)..they just seemed slightly different from the questions I had encountered during practice. One example is that I faced atleast 2 questions in number properties with multiple variables and inequalities in addition to the equation having exponents. I never saw such questions in the OG or GMATPrep.
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27 Jul 2010, 21:09
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sidhu4u wrote:
@nikhil,

During my preparation I was under the impression that the GMATPrep tests are a good indicator of the standard of quant on the test. I held the same belief for the OG as well. In general the questions on the test were supposed to be slightly tougher than on the GMATPrep and OG.
Also, when I was practicing with the GMATClub tests I found them pretty difficult. Many of the GMATClub number properties questions were tough and I couldn't do them within two minutes. I thought that this was ok since the actual GMAT quant questions were supposed to be easier than the GMATClub test questions.

However after taking the actual GMAT it seems to me that the quant standard has risen and that the GMATClub tests are only slightly tougher than the actual GMAT quant. Also, the questions on the actual GMAT seemed different (I'm just not able to quantify this)..they just seemed slightly different from the questions I had encountered during practice. One example is that I faced atleast 2 questions in number properties with multiple variables and inequalities in addition to the equation having exponents. I never saw such questions in the OG or GMATPrep.

One last question..
I am trying to maximize my Quant score.
I am getting 28 to 31 right in gmatclub tests..(in timed mode).
So how do you rank or define this performance ?
Also any last 3 week tips ?
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28 Jul 2010, 02:43
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well done and congratulations!!!

+some kudos for you
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31 Jul 2010, 05:37
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@aries, Achieve750, jakolik, GMATMadeeasy, srivicool, jcurry, cmugeria, pjain01
Thanks guys.

@srivicool - I believe we are not allowed to share these docs here. Please search in google as the links to those documents have been removed from this forum.

@jcurry - Sounds like the MGMAT number properties is exactly what you need. Together with this you should also go through the MGMAT inequalities and VICs guide, MGMAT word translations guide. Also the concise notes provided here as part of the GMATClub math book: gmat-math-book-87417.html are really awesome and you should go through them. Make sure you first build your concepts. Sub 35 quant definitely indicates that you are not up to date with your concepts yet. Take a little time to really iron out your concepts and then start practice questions.

@cmugeria: Here's the link to the GMATClub math book: gmat-math-book-87417.html

@pjain01 - I've attached the documents to my original (first) post.
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My debrief: done-and-dusted-730-q49-v40

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23 Jul 2010, 10:24
Great score and good debrief..

And can you share more info on the difficulty level in both section ?
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23 Jul 2010, 10:51
Excellent run down, thanks for this. + 1

I would really appreciate a copy of the GMATPrep SC doc if you were able to upload or forward on.

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23 Jul 2010, 11:37
Thanks Sidhu for reviewing the test center.
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23 Jul 2010, 11:40
nikhilkatira wrote:
Great score and good debrief..

And can you share more info on the difficulty level in both section ?

Thanks. What exactly would you like to know regarding difficulty?

Quant was definitely tougher than all the practice questions in OG. Treat the OG only as a starting step, for detailed concepts go through the MGMAT books. For speed training and tougher problems in number properties use the GMATClub tests. The practice tests from Manhattan are good for analysis of strengths and weaknesses.

In verbal I found most CRs and RCs had 2 answers that were so close. I'm not sure if it was the pressure of the test itself, but I found it difficult to choose between the 2 final choices. SCs were tough as well, but prepping with the GMATPrep SC document and reading the posts on the MGMAT forums really helped. The MGMAT SC guide provides a solid foundation.
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23 Jul 2010, 12:01
Great debrief!! +1 for your effort.

Did you face timing issue at the end of Quant section?? If yes, how much guess work was done??
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23 Jul 2010, 12:06
Good debrief. Lot of useful information.

Could you please share the GMATPrep SC 180 qns document? Can't seem to find it anywhere in the forum. Does this overlap with the Brutal SC questions?
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23 Jul 2010, 12:56
gurpreetsingh wrote:
That's great debrief ---+1
Congrats for the achievement and thanks for the valuable tips.

Rux10 wrote:
Excellent run down, thanks for this. + 1

Hussain15 wrote:
Great debrief!! +1 for your effort.

flash wrote:
Good debrief. Lot of useful information.

Thanks guys. I've attached the GMATPrep SC document and the excel sheet containing links to the various MGMAT forum threads to my original post.
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23 Jul 2010, 12:57
Hussain15 wrote:
Did you face timing issue at the end of Quant section?? If yes, how much guess work was done??

No, I was just on time, I finished with around 30 seconds to spare. I did guess 4 questions among the last 15 questions to make sure I was on track to finishing the test on time.
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2 The Longest Journey - My GMAT Experience - 730 (Q49, V40) 11 02 Jul 2008, 19:07
730 (Q49, V40) - Final installment 23 02 Oct 2007, 22:22
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