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Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~

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Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 22 May 2010, 20:12
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Boy...I am glad that I'm finally done with the GMAT. It has been a long and hard path and to see it coming to an end, it almost draws an ironic feeling within me, knowing that I have to part with it. For those of you who just want the numbers, I took my first prep with Princeton Review around April of 2009 and scored a 560; my prepping then started and I wrote my first official GMAT on 4/17/2010, coming out with 660 (Q44, V37). Knowing that I could've done better, I signed up and showed up for my second official GMAT today (5/22/10) and I came out with a score of 700 (Q49, V35).

Prepbooks that I have (notice: I didn't type prepbooks that I used):
OG 11, 12, and quant/verbal OG 12
MGMAT SC
Powerscore verbal bible (I did not find helpful)
Past paper tests/set

My prepping:
After scoring just a 560 (I forgot the breakdown, but verbal was beyond horrible) on Princeton Review, I know I have much work to do if my goal is to make it to a top business school in the nation. I analyzed what my weak points are and have identified that SC is probably my weakest point at that point. I practiced through the MGMAT SC book religiously, practicing with the OG as MGMAT SC suggested. I have to say: after reading through MGMAT SC, I felt like I can really take on all of the different SCs there can be. After that, I started practicing with the rest of the OG materials, including RC and CR. After I was done with OG 11, I went to the past paper tests. The tests, much like the type of questions you’ll find here at GMATClub, pretty help gauge at all the different types of verbal questions there can be. It was after about a good month of critical reasoning that the “eureka” lightbulb lit up on the CR questions for me. All of a sudden I can get most of the CR right. For RC, there’s really not much that I did, except that practice is really the key. All of these were done in a range of numerous months (prepping started about May of 2009 until March of 2010). Feeling ready for the actual GMAT, I went in for the actual test, only to find out that I got KILLED by the quant section. Through all these months, I did not put any time on the math section. Since math has always been the better section for me, I thought it would be an easy section, and boy, was I wrong! With just a Q44 on my first attempt, I had to re-take it to regain my confidence for math. I immediately scheduled for another GMAT appearing a month later and I dedicated this month to just math. I must have done over 1000 questions on both DS and PS. I really felt like I learned how to check numbers in quant, numbers such as decimals, fractions, and negatives. Today, I finished my exam and ended up with 700 (Q49, V35). Though I know I could’ve probably got a higher score (who doesn’t think that after the test?), I’m completely content with my score and am not going to show again for the GMAT.
My takeaways:
I took several different routes to this GMAT than what people would recommend. My takeaways are my own personal opinion and do not represent the views of any professional GMAT-prep company:
1. Even if you’re genuinely good at math, do not underestimate the real-life time pressure for the actual test. (That’s how I got screwed up first time)
2. I took a ton of practice tests, though my last several ones have been re-takes and scores are inflated. I find that practice tests really build up that endurance that you would normally not have. (I did not do the essays with the practice tests until the last one)
3. GMATPrep is a must. GMATPrep resembles exactly what you’ll see on the actual test – blue screen, buttons, timers, etc. It really helps test-taker feel as if they’ve seen it before. Plus, isn’t it nicer to know where the buttons are on the test rather than searching for it? GMATPrep can be downloaded from http://www.mba.com and it uses the official algorithm to calculate your score.
4. OGs are also a must. OGs are official questions published by the GMAC and you can’t get any more accurate than the type of questions you’ll encounter on the test. Practice these and treat the book as your most precious GMAT resource.
5. MGMAT CATs are a great source of practice. Though the math section is (most definitely) tougher than the real tests, it helps you understand the type of hard questions there can be. If you’re not scoring as high in math on MGMAT as you are on GMATPrep, I wouldn’t be too concerned unless the differences are too significant (more than a difference of 5 is pretty big, I think)
6. Try to get your hands on as many free CAT as you can. Most prep companies offer at least one free test. However, keep in mind that this one free test may be a tad bit harder since it’s great to advertise to the test-taker that “oh hey, you didn’t do as well as you think you would have; join our class today!” This is my take on free CATs.
7. Good practice really makes a difference! For every question that I get right, I make sure that I tried to understand the concept behind it. Obviously, for every question that I get wrong, I make sure that I understand why I got it wrong. Of course, after doing so many questions, it’s merely impossible to keep track (even with an error log), but you should understand and remember the basic concepts, such as number properties and parallelism.
8. I am not a big fan of error logs because it bogs me down. I know that many would disagree with me, but this is just my take on error log. If you do like error log, there are some great ones here at GMATClub.
9. I attempted at GMATClub’s tests on quant after my first GMAT take. Do not be alarmed if your percentiles are extremely low; treat these tests as a good practice for yourself. The quant section really tests you to look out for tricks. The verbal tests are a bit too easy in comparison to the actual test.

That’s all I can think of right now. I hope for those of you who have not yet endure the official 4-hour test that you end up with a score that you’ll love. I know mine’s not the best out there, but I love it~

If you have any question, let me know and I'll post back.

P.S. I'm definitely not the best standardized test taker out there (trust me on that). I have my below average SAT scores to prove that. But I am a firm believer that if you put your heart at and to it, you'll see the result at the end of the tunnel.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 22 May 2010, 21:53
congrats ur in the 700Club.. :)
thanku for the Debrief

How are RC Passages. too tough or were they easy?
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 00:16
congrats !! Good luck ahead and keep us updated.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 00:41
Congrats !!
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 02:14
props
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 02:34
Thanks a lot for your report. You mentioned that you took many practice CAT's. How many exactly did you take and weren't you exhausted on the test day due to taking so many practice tests?

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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 23 May 2010, 06:14
thanks guys.

To RaviChandra: the verbal came out at me like I've never seen before. The SCs were confusing and though for most I can narrow it down to just 2 answers, but that doesn't make me feel good. The RCs were, honestly, just okay. They're much like the ones you'll see in the OG and I got all the ususal RC questions, such as "according to the blahblah", make inferences, etc. The only thing I have to say is during the actual test, I felt mentally exhausted come question 20 on verbal. There are, of course, still 2 more passages to do after question number 20 on verbal, and I had to re-read a couple of times on those passages, given the fact the topics were my weak points (one talks about pre-civil war era and another talks about female power throughout US history....and yes, I graduated with a biology degree from college, so I had nothing to do with these passages).

To nonameee: that's actually one of the "takeaways" I forgot to write. It is extremely exhausting to be taking all those CATs. I must have taken about 18 CATs; however, these were relatively spreaded out throughout my prepping time. I did all 6 MGMAT and 4 more re-takes on MGMAT. I did 3 of each GMATPrep's test 1 and test 2. I did Princeton Review in the very beginning and took the Knewton free test as well. However, most of these tests were done before my first official GMAT. For the second official GMAT, I took one more GMATPrep 1. Though the score popped out a 740, I knew it was an anomaly since I've seen some, if not most, of the questions already (it still made me feel good seeing that 740 :-D ) I guess this brings up another point, which I believe will depend from person to person. Many suggested to not do a CAT a day before the test. I, however, cannot come to that mindset. I felt like I have to do at leastone to know how I'm doing. I know the consequences - if I score high on the CAT, I'll be happy; if I score low, I'd be devastated. But I don't think it would've brought me down much if I didn't sore as high on the practice CAT a day before though. Again, I think this depends on the person himself/herself. I am great at manipulating people, including manipulating myself...so even if I had scored low, I think I can somehow convince myself that it'll be okay at the end.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 24 May 2010, 01:28
bakfed, did it help you taking so many CAT's? If so, how?
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 24 May 2010, 06:32
nonameee wrote:
bakfed, did it help you taking so many CAT's? If so, how?


it helped only in the sense that I was getting acquainted with so many different types of questions. The endurance you need for all these CATs is unparalleled as well. However, I have read people who take a CAT per day leading up to the official one and this was not what I had done. I took mine once every week, at the closest interval.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 24 May 2010, 07:03
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Congrats!!!
Welcome to 700+ club!
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 27 May 2010, 09:51
Congrats!
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 27 May 2010, 10:02
nicely done. Seen many of your posts and it is awesome you got what you wanted! But no time for rest since apps are gonna be open for next year soon :cry: .
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 27 May 2010, 12:14
shaselai wrote:
nicely done. Seen many of your posts and it is awesome you got what you wanted! But no time for rest since apps are gonna be open for next year soon :cry: .


unfortunately, some apps are already opened and I've already started working on one of them. :?
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 21:57
Congrats!!!
Which business schools you are looking for?
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 29 May 2010, 06:51
abhiGMAT wrote:
Congrats!!!
Which business schools you are looking for?


I'm currently working on Columbia's ED; Kellogg, NYU, and Darden are a few others I'll apply to.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 30 May 2010, 11:07
If you have done some research could you please let me know if a score of 700 is ok for these B-schools.
Please let me know if you have any idea about their scholarships and how and under what circumstances do u get these scholarships.

Cheers!!!
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 30 May 2010, 15:17
abhiGMAT wrote:
If you have done some research could you please let me know if a score of 700 is ok for these B-schools.
Please let me know if you have any idea about their scholarships and how and under what circumstances do u get these scholarships.

Cheers!!!
Abhi


Hi abhiGMAT, as far as I know, 700 is good enough for any of the top schools. To my knowledge, I don't think there's much of a difference between 700 and 720; however, if you're scoring above 740, I think that would be a different story. I know I won't be able to score over 740, unless I just get super lucky on test day, I'm going to settle with the 700 and hope for the best. As far as scholarships go, I didn't and won't do much research on these. I know that most b-schools, including top-tiered bschools, distribute their scholarship/fellowship based on your entire application, but focused mostly on your academic ability, such as GPA and GMAT. These fellowship/scholarship are given primarily to students who apply first or second round. Other than these information, I don't have anymore. I will be attending a few seminars down the road and it's definitely one of those questions that will be asked. If I have any other information that I learn of, I'll post back; or if anyone feels the need to chime in, feel free and share your knowledge.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 30 May 2010, 23:40
Good luck Bakfed, pls update us with your school and scholarship research.
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 31 May 2010, 11:34
Thanks for the info.
Please do help us once u get more information on this.

Cheers!!!
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~ [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2010, 09:18
Congrat on you Bakfed, and thanks for sharing us your experience in preparing GMAT. Hope i will get the same score as yours in my test this July. Btw, i agree with you on dropping the error-log matterials, as it is too fuzzy and makes me confused. Because i'm not really good at verbal and math, i will spend most of time focusing on the standardised and basic concepts to get over 620 scores first. With this strategy i hope i can achieve the goal: over 620 in the 1st test, 700 in the second one :lol:
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Re: Done! From 560 to 660 to 700~~   [#permalink] 03 Jun 2010, 09:18
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