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Finally in the 700 club - (Q48, 85%), (V38, 84%), (700, 92%)

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Finally in the 700 club - (Q48, 85%), (V38, 84%), (700, 92%) [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 01:28
So here I am, finally posting my personal experience. It's been a long long journey for those of you who know me on this club. I've been at this since like what, 2003? So last month, I finally paid 250USD and forced myself to make the trip down and do the test proper.

I'll post my preparation later, as I figure that takes a fair bit of time.

Anyway, the day before test day (that was yesterday), I took leave from work. Woke up at 1pm (gosh! that felt good), had a heavy lunch, watched some TV and started work at 3pm. Went through my verbal and quant notes quickly, then settled down to do a ETS paper test at about 4pm. (Why paper test? That's because I ran out of CAT. And besides, the paper tests seems to be pretty easy, a little confident boost wouldn't do me harm a day before the actual test). In the evening, went for dinner with my wife, bummed around after that watching tv, and then settled down to do some reading for the AWA. I suck at essays, so I thought I'd best do some preparation for that too.

I went to sleep at 2a.m. (not because of anxiety) and woke up at 10a.m. today. That's a good 8 hours of sleep. Anything less or more and I would probably feel lethargic throughout the day. Anyway, felt pretty good since I had a wee bit of a headache when I went to sleep the night before. Skipped breakfast since it was already 10a.m., so I just took a cup of coffee and bummed around reading the newspaper, listened to a bit of bee gees that was playing on the radio... (It was playing 'how to mend a broken heart' and I was thinking, gee, is that a sign of things to come later today??). I headed out for lunch at 11:20a.m. Standard chinese fare - vegetables, rice, meat and soup). Washed that down with two big mugs of water and left for the test centre.

Halfway there, my stomach started acting up. I was thinking 'crap, of all time, this must be my unlucky day'. So I headed for the restroom once I got to the train station. Finished whatever I needed to finish and got the hell out of there so I wouldn't be late. I then started telling myself at least I didn't need the restroom halfway through the test, so it probably wasn't that bad. When I got out of the train station, I got a shock.... where the hell is the test center?! It's just building after buildings with no names... okay, calm down, ah... there's a security guard across the road. I'll pop over and ask him. Okay, he wasn't very friendly, but at least he pointed me in the right direction.

When I got into the test center, there was another lady who was going to take the GMAT too. The Pearson staff were very friendly. So after the formality of taking a photo, taking my finger-print (the software looks cool, I asked her where to get it but she didn't know), I was asked to leave my belonging in the lockers. I went looking for locker #8 (8 is supposed to be an auspicious number). Darn, it was taken, most probably some bloke needed luck much more than I did took it. Okay, so much for superstition, just dumped it in locker #3 and move on to the actual test.

Before we started, the proctor advised us some renovation works was going building so if we are affected by it, we could use the noise-cancelling head-phones on the desk (cool piece of equipment, but I didn't use it because the noise wasn't that bad, and I didn't think I would feel comfortable with a headphone on my head while I worked).

Breezed through the two essays (Thank god! I think I got away with an argument essay with plenty of loopholes to talk about. Issue essay wasn't as good, but not that bad either). Finished both essays in 20 minutes, then took a deep breath and opted to go on to Quant instead of taking a break. I got an easy first question, but it took my 2 minutes to work. Excitement played a part in the 2 minutes, and after I calmed myself down, it was alright from there. About 27 questions into the test, it suddenly occured to me it is the first time I am clicking "D" for the DS questions. I freaked out... holy cow, have I been clicking on "B" instead of "D" after deciding that both statements were sufficient. Darn... I flipped back to the old boards and had a peek, looked fine. Anyway, nothing I could do, just make sure I got the rest right... Finished the Quant with 18 minutes to spare. Decided I wasn't going to click next right away, so I sat around there resting for 2 minutes, then hit next and went for the 10 minutes break. Went to the restroom to wash up. I noticed my hands were blue even though the ink didn't really smudge when I wrote... Then, I amused myself by thinking how it got blue when the ink was black... anyway.... I was back for the verbal within 2 minutes.

Verbal was a breeze. Probably not a good sign... I was supposed to get harder questions as the test progressed... easy ones probably meant I had bombed... still, it was pretty good. The RC passages were surprisingly short and easy to understand, CR was the same though there were a few that needed a bit of thinking, and SC was the most straight-forward I've ever seen (none of those 3-4 lines SC questions). Finished this section with 20 minutes to spare again... okay, hit next and hope for the best.

It flashed 700, Q48, V38. Hmm... I ought to be happy since my target score was 650-670, but I felt a little disappointed it was at least 730. But with my kind of preparation (more on that later today), 700 is probably way beyond expectations.

So my verdict?
1) Was the test center good
- Yes. Not a lot of space for writing, but I practised with much less space, so that's okay

2) Was the boards and marker crappy
- No, they were surprising of good quality. A little smooth for writing, but you'll quickly get used to it after one-two quant problems.

3) Quant
- I didn't get any question on probability, no question on work. Instead, I was literally carpet-bombed with problems involving number properties. If you could solve most of the DS on GMATClub forum, I assure you will be good for quant.

4) Verbal
- Not too difficult, though my score could be higher. But heck, with my kind of preparation, V38 isn't too bad.

5) Am I going to take it again?
- Unless my test score expires in 5 years time and I need the score to do something else... otherwise, NO way!!

So now I'm going to take a bath, eat some dinner and bum through the night... yahoooo!!!

GMATBlackbelt, I know you're taking the test later today. Good luck!!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 02:14
so i get the honor of being the first to CONGRAGULATE you...good job my friend...
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 02:25
Congrats!!! You've nocked GMAT down!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 06:03

Congrats are one another example of persistence :-D
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Re: Finally in the 700 club - (Q48, 85%), (V38, 84%), (700, [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 08:02
You deserve a big congratulations.
you are lively example of persistance and determination.

Goodluck buddy.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 09:35

What to say, you are one of the most experienced people of this forum. (around 3 years with 5k + posts)...huh!!

It is nice to know that you have scored a good figure.....
You deserve a good amount of rest!


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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 09:48
Thank you everyone for their kind words. I finally have some time to talk about my preparation.


After the initial euphoria, I finally have time to settle down and type this long story about my preparations. Perhaps the last few parts would be the most recent and relevant, but I felt I wanted to share my whole journey to hopefully motivate and inspire everyone.

My GMAT journey started in late 2003. Back then, I had wanted to pursue an MBA, but it was a little early as I graduated only in 2002, and most programs required at least two years of work experience. Anyway, I thought I'd get a head-start by studying first. Even right here at this point, I can give a nugget of advice from my lengthy experience. As long as you don't have a target (I didn't have one when I started. No dateline, no particular school/program I was particularly interested in), it is going to be very difficult to keep yourself motivated to study as there is simply no pressure to meet any dateline. So my advice for new members, set a target and work towards achieving it!

As I did not know anyone who did GMAT, my preparation was all over the place. I started by reading and discovered I needed to do some Math and English. At that point, it didn't seem like a big challenge as I have always been strong in Math and English wasn't a big trouble for me either. However, I needed to find out more and stumbled upon GMATClub in 2004. From here, my preparation started in earnest. I started by reading the GMAT forum, studying how people studied. I went out and got the OG (edition 10 at that point, and I still used that edition running up to the test), I borrowed a Kaplan Math workbook. When I went through the Math workbook, I knew I was screwed. This is not the differentials, Integrals or Fourier transform I had been learning, but the old high school stuff that I learnt many years ago. And the data sufficiency concept was a whole new thing. I knew I was struggling then as my approach to the DS problems was essentially to work through the entire problem until I got an answer before clicking one of the five available choices. It was only much much later, that I realize DS are just yes/no questions. Once you find that you can say yes or no to the question, you can click the answer and go. Anyway, I was promoted in 2004 and given more responsibilites so my preparation came to a complete stop as I could not cope with the new workload and GMAT at the same time.

However, I didn't want to waste all the preparation I have already done, so I just kept in touch with GMAT by simply attempting the problems on GMATClub. Even then, it was not regular. There were weeks when I was posting 100s of post, and there were times when I went MIA for weeks. Anyway, come 2005, I started to go full steam again. Still, I didn't set myself a target (big mistake!), but it was this time I learnt about a SC book from MGMAT. It was getting rave reviews so I went out and got myself one. I think I owe my verbal to two sources, the MGMAT SC book and the GMATClub verbal forums. Here's another tip. Once you have learnt and understood the material in the SC book, keep attacking the problems you come across in the verbal forum. You'll see improvement very rapidly. At this point, I was working on ~30-50 quant problems while I brushed up my verbal abilites on GMATClub. Alas, just when things were running smoothly, I was posted to Japan for an attachment. This broke my pattern of studying again, so I had to stop and went back to ground zero. Still, I kept my knowledge alive by posting on GMATClub whenever I could.

When I returned from Japan in 2006, there was more responsibilites thrown to me. At the same time, I made a switch to another group in the same company, but dealing with another side of engineering. So this period of adjustment, coupled with my marriage preparations put a naught to re-starting my GMAT preparation. This time round, I had difficulty even coming to GMATClub regularly. This went on till July 2007. I finally put my foot down and told myself I'm going to apply for a Master in Accounting program in 2008 and I need to get the GMAT done and dusted by late September in order to meet the application dateline. So finally I have a target! With this dateline in mind, thing finally fell into place.

- I went out and got myself two books. (1) The GMAT quant OG book (2) THe GMAT Verbal OG Book. I didn't want to get the OG11 as I had OG10. Anyway, I used both books to quickly brush up my quant and verbal skills. Since I have been practising on and off over the years, it came back to me rather quickly. I was working 25PS, 25DS, 10RC, 10CR and 20SC every day. I used a spreadsheet I downloaded a couple of years back to note my time and mistakes so I could come back to it quickly. I was doing this every single day and finished both books within 2 weeks. Now, I felt pretty good that I had dusted away the cobwebs. I started to work on my old OG10. I worked the last 100 questions for the PS,DS,RC and CR sections (I read somewhere on the forum that the last 100 questions were the more challenging ones), sticking to the same schedule everyday. In between spare time, I would log on to GMATClub and started working on the problems posted there too. I eventually finished everything in a week and a half. This was near the end of August.

- I went out and book a GMAT slot. It's amazing how fast the slots are taken up. I finally found on the 29th Sepetmeber. Now that I have finished all the ground work, I started working on the CAT. From here on, I didn't want to suffer a burn-out, so I did CATs on alternate days. So it's either 2 or 3 CAT a week (Mon/Wed/Fri or Tue/Thu depending on whether I was tired on Monday). I did not study on Saturdays and Sundays, reserving those for family activities. So on the days when I am supposed to do a CAT, I tried to finish my work early, head home for dinner and settle down to for the CAT by 9:30p.m. I discovered something here, by doing your CAT when you're dog tired from work, you actually build up your stamina pretty much. Initially, my eyes were near to closing when I reached the quant section, but after awhile, the biological clock started to adapt and I didn't feel so tired anymore. Anyway, there I was , working CAT on alternate days and on days when I didn't need to do a CAT, I would be on GMATClub hitting the questions. (I considered this a rest day, as working on GMATClub questions carried no pressure. There is no need to do 37 quant and 41 verbal. Just do a few and hit the sack)

1 week before test day:
- I started to work everyday. By now, I have pretty much exhausted my CATs, so I started to work on some ETS paper test a friend passed to me. My schedule for the last week was: Mon (ETS paper test), Tue (Arco CAT), Wed (ETS paper test), Thu (GMATPrep CAT), Fri (ETS paper test, quick reivision, and read a few essays from ARCO GMAT CAT Answers to the Real Essay Questions)

The rest of the stuff, I have posted earlier. SO here's a general recap for members who are starting out their journey:

1) Set a target. Preferably, it should not be too long as you'll suffer a burn-out very quickly
2) See where your strength lies. If you're not sure, just go out and grab yourself a quant and verbal book to at least learn the basics. Kaplan math workbook and MGMAT SC book worked for me. It might work for you, but I'll leave that decision to you.
3) Start a discipline approach to the OG - Say 25 PS, 25 DS, 10RC, 10CR, 20SC everyday. Time your work, and jot down your mistakes. (I'll attach the spreadsheet I used. Someone designed it, post it on GMATClub, but I think it's kind of lost after so many years)
4) When you're through with the OG, work mercilessly on the CATs. Working on a book and on a computer is different. It's also a good time to learn some paper management so you don't run out of paper during the test (the proctors I got were very attentive, but it's best not to take the chance and be left without new boards while they run out to get you fresh ones).
5) Pace yourself carefully during the last month or so to prevent burn-out. Get plenty of rest and lots of water.

Here's all the scores I got for my CATs. GMATPrep and powerprep ware pretty close to my final score. All CATs were done in between late August to September.
Powerprep 1 (Q47, V40) 710
Powerprep 2 (Q48, V41) 720
Kaplan Paper test (Q45, V43) 650
Kaplan Diagnostic (Q41, V40) 650
Kaplan 1 (Q38, V27) 550
Kaplan 2 (Q32, V37) 580
Kaplan 3 (Q38, V30) 570
Kaplan 4 (Q41, V35) 630
Princeton 1 (Q40, V30) 580
Princeton 2 (Q42, V39) 650
Princeton 3 (Q41, V33) 610
Princeton 4 (Q41, V38) 640
Cambridge 1 (Q45, V40) 640-660
GMATPrep 1 (Q47, V37) 690
Cambridge 2 (Q46, V39) 680
Cambridge 3 (Q43, V38) 630
Cambridge 4 (Q46, V35) 610
Cambridge 5 (Q43, V32) 580
Cambridge 6 (Q48, V34) 630
ETS Paper 1 (Q48, V46) 700
Arco 1 (Q50, V41) 650
ETS Paper 2 (Q50, V45) 760
GMATPrep 2 (Q50, V40) 740
ETS Paper 3 ( Q47, V42) 720

One thing I discovered, GMAT is a strange beast. On days when you felt you were breezing through every single question, you get a shock when you see 600+ scores flashing on the screen, and on days when you felt you absolutely bombed, the system decides to give you a 700+ score. My GMATPrep 2 score was a good example. I really felt that I bombed the whole thing, and voila, I got myself a nice 740. The same thing today, I thought I had committed suicide during the test but still eked out 700...

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who have helped me throughout these years. It has been an amazing journey, and I value all the friendship and camadarie I have encountered along the way, even though we have never met face to face. I'll still be around to help, and also to continue on this incredible journey.

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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 10:17
Great JOB, Awesome I knew that you will be one of the 700+ Scorers!!!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 11:21
Excellent score man!!! You are very persistant and I admire that very much.

Thx for the comment. I had to reschedule my test for Monday.

Where do you plan on going to business school?
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 11:43

great score !

:flower :flower

damm smilies don't work !!!

I'm a little sad though since I'm going to miss you in this forum (especially in the Math section - love your thinking).

I hope that you will stick around some more.

Best regards

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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 14:49
NICE!! u deserve it.

i read some of your posts from 2003 and when u answered some of my posts, i was actually wondering why u were still on the forum ...
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 17:48
Congradulations, man!
You've been a great contributor to the GMATclub community for such a long time! I learned from your tips to solve quant problems :)
Thank you for posting and participating all these years. I hope you'll stick around here!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 18:07
You deserve every bit of it and a lot more. Awesome dude.

5000+ posts in the forum is no mean achievement. I absolutely agree with the "setting ur target" part. A deadline motivates u a lot. In fact so much that I advanced my deadline twice to apply one term earlier than I initially hoped to.

I have read ur quant stickies during my prep and I strongly recommend those for people who r still preparing. I was amazed by ur line of thinking for several of the quant problems. There are plenty of people here who are grateful to your contribution in this forum.

Good luck with your apps.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 18:16
wow... congrats! sounds like you had a long journey with the GMAT.. you more than deserved your score.. talk about dedication! congrats and all the best.. thanks for all of your useful posts :)
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 20:00
Congrats - and thanks for your active participation!
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 20:02
Congrats my friend.
You are the man.
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Sep 2007, 23:50
hearty congratulation wilfred..gr88
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2007, 01:44
I think u have a typo. ur math score should be 58 :)

good luck with ur bschool app.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2007, 07:13
holy crap, congratulations dude. i just assumed you took the gmat ages ago and stuck around the forums to help people with math!
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Re: Finally in the 700 club - (Q48, 85%), (V38, 84%), (700, [#permalink] New post 30 Sep 2007, 07:38

Congrats! Thought you were in training :)

Thank you so much for your help with math questions,

Gook Luck with application process now!
Re: Finally in the 700 club - (Q48, 85%), (V38, 84%), (700,   [#permalink] 30 Sep 2007, 07:38

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