though I have been a quiet member of this forum I have kept on reading your motivational stories, experiences, strategies for the test. Everything I believe
has helped me to succeed on the exam.
I took the GMAT in Milan on Friday and scored a 710 (Q49, V38).
This was the third time I have attempted the test: first time in June I scored a 570, then last month a 620 and finally I broke the 700 barrier last Friday.
When I saw the final sore on the screen I was jumping up and down like a bunny and the test center administrator urged me to click on End the Exam.. ihihihh
What motivated me to retake the GMAT a third time was my plan to go to INSEAD. INSEAD is a very competitive school to get into and their GMAT policy is quite strict: you need to score at or above the 75% percentile on both the Quant and the verbal sections of the exam. Which translate into a 680 roughly. However iNSEAD average is even higher than that. Their last reported GMAT mean is 704 which is the highest in Europe.
Therefore I knew that to get a chance at this school I needed to break the 700 barrier. How did I accomplish this?
Practice practice Practice.
When i scored 570 and 620 I had already completed the OG guides, the OG quant
and verbal supplement, Kaplan
, and Manhattan GMAT books
I don't think in my case I was lacking knowledge, it was more about self belief and confidence.
I have always enjoyed Maths but I think that to aim at the 49-50 scale you really need exposure to even harder questions that are on the OG guides. Forget Kaplan
!! It is far too easy and just randomly throw in question about primality of 23!+21 without explaining to you what the question even mean, just to save their backs and publishing a 700 level question for representative purposes.
You need to understand iNTEGER theory very well as it is the most thoroughly tested concept on the paper. Geometry is also relevant but its easy. It becomes more intriguing when they overlap combinatorics with geometry (i.e. how many different triangles can you create if the x and y coordinates have to satisfy a certain integer constraints etc etc).
At my last attempt, I travelled to Milan (my first trials were in London) upon recommendation of a GMAT tutor who scored 800. Bob gave me his quantitative question bank, a comprehensive 1000 questions maths guide. He collected all of these questions from previous OG editions and GMAT exams. Some of the questions in there I had seen on previous GMAT so it is very representative and up to date. The average difficulty level is somewhat on the upper end - 680 above but you need to practice on that level if you want to build up the confidence needed to do well on the exam.
When I took the exam last Friday I finished the Quant section 15 minutes earlier and I found all the questions quite straightforward whereas on my previous attempts I was struggling to even understand the wording of the questions at times.
I got 49- which is not in the 90th percentile for the quant section but still it is a very respectable score so I was happy with it!
To sum it up! Practice math concepts whenever you can! I became addicted and I was testing other friends on the same questions to see whether they would crack them and to explain the reasoning back at them if they wouldn't get them so I could really internalize the concepts as well.
My main antagonist was the verbal section. I feared CR immensely. SC improved a lot after I purchased the Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction
For CR you just need to learn to identify the conclusion, the premises and nail the assumption and to think outside the box. Be aware - do not let any prior knowledge of the topic influence your answer choice as on test day you solely have to select the best answer according to the passage in front of you. RC was never a big deal for me but I must tell you that on test day, because I was doing well, I received the hardest and nastiest scientific passages ever till the 38th question!! I was happy because it meant I was doing well but they were really really hard so prepare yourselves to sharpen your reading skills as much as you can because you will need it!
Having said all of this you need to be quick and smart during the test: if you do not know an answer to a problem make an educated guess and go ahead. If you can work out 3 wrong choices you have a 50% chance of getting the question right or in the quant section if you know the the probability of an outcome has to be below 50 or 40%, you can eliminate plenty of wrong answer choices. With the GMAT it's more how you have learnt to face the test rather than the concepts themselves. Grasping them helps but its more about managing time, intuition, and confidence. If you have studied and prepared hard there is no reason why you shouldn't get that coveted 700!
I hope this was helpful- I was really stressed about this exam because I knew I had the potential of entering the 700 plus family but I needed to believe in myself to make this happen. And over the last month I did not take a single GMAT Prep or other online mock exams. I managed a 90 points increase from my last GMAT just practicing, practicing and developing self-confidence.
YOU CAN ALL DO IT!!
And I do hope that INSEAD will value my determination!