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660 Q41 V40 to 730 Q49 V41

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660 Q41 V40 to 730 Q49 V41 [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2010, 13:31
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EDIT: SECOND ATTEMPT COMPLETED

SECOND ATTEMPT DEBRIEF

Just wrote my GMAT for the second time. I scored 730 (96%) Q49 (86%) V41 (92%) and am extremely happy.

In essence, here was my study plan between Nov and mid-Feb:

1. Throughout November and December I worked through Jeff Sackmann's 1800 Problem Set and GMAT Math Bible. This helped me hone in my weakness in quant. I kept an error log.

2. Jan/Feb I did 37 Quant and 41 verbal questions on alternating weekdays, except Friday from official sources. I reviewed all my problems on weekends.

3. Last 2 weekends before the test, I took GMATPrep again.. score 710 first time, 750 second time (Q50 V41). My official score was pretty much dead on GMATPrep2.

Feel free to ask any questions!

FIRST ATTEMPT DEBRIEF

Hi all,

I just came back from my first GMAT attempt.. somewhat disappointed with my score

660 (82%) Q41 (58%) V40 (89%)

I'll provide a full debrief in the coming days, but here are my thoughts.

1. I can do better. My practice tests indicate 680-720.
2. The test room was uncomfortably warm (~28 Celsius). This impacted my ability to concentrate.
3. The quant section felt different from OG12 and Quant Review 2.
4. Essays went fine.
5. I did not encounter any boldface CRs.

Anyway, I will attempt again.

DEBRIEF: November 14, 2010

Background
Age: 25
Business undergrad, 3.6 GPA from a top Canadian school
3 years work experience (1yr investment banking, 2yr media&entertainment)
Target GMAT: 700+
Target schools: Stanford, Haas, MIT, Chicago, Wharton

Materials
MGMAT in-class course (good course, but not necessary)
OG12, Verbal 2 Review, Quant Review 2 (obviously most important materials)
PowerScore CR (excellent guide)
PowerScore SC (great guide when coupled with MGMAT SC)
GMATWrite 1 (Free with MGMAT)
Jeff Sackman 1800 Problem Set (highly recommended to do targeted practice)
http://www.gmatdaily.com
Manhattan GMAT Challenge Problem Of The Week

CAT scores
MGMAT CAT June 13, 2010 (pre course): Q40, V34, 610
MGMAT CAT July 28, 2010 (post course): Q37, V33, 580 (began panicking! hah)
MGMAT CAT Sept 3, 2010: Q48, V35, 680
MGMAT CAT Oct 9, 2010: Q46, V40, 700
MGMAT CAT Oct 23, 2010: Q47, V36, 680
MGMAT CAT Oct 24, 2010: Q47, V42, 720
GMATPrep 1 Oct 30, 2010: Q44, V40, 690
GMATPrep 2 Nov 5, 2010: Q47, V38, 700

Official GMAT Nov 8, 2010: Q41, V40, AWA5.5, 660

The Story

In May, I decided it was time to think about pursuing an MBA. A friend of mine had written the GMAT 2 months prior and gave me a few pointers. I began researching the various prep programs and ultimately settled with MGMAT because of the positive reviews the course and the materials received. The in-class course began in June. I took my first practice test a week after the course started and scored a surprisingly decent 610. This was untimed. I was expecting a sub-400 level score considering that I hadn't done any HS math since.. well HS, and I didn't have a formal grammar education.

I had no idea what to expect having never seen a DS or CR problem ever in my life. I always considered myself strong in quant (historically very math oriented), so I assumed that verbal would be my weak point. I quickly realized that quant was in fact my weakest area.

Throughout the summer, I tried my best to follow along with the homework, but fell behind because of sheer volume of homework, workplace pressure, and summertime distractions :) Half way through the course I realized that I would not be ready to write the GMAT at the end of the summer and I would need at least another 2 months of real prep to get ready for a 700+ score. One thing that I made use of was Office Hours, a weekly 30min call with one of the MGMAT instructors. We typically discussed 700+ level problems in probability, combinatorics, remainders, triple overlapping sets, etc. I felt that the MGMAT guides did not go into enough detail to tackle these types of questions. I encouraged my classmates to utilize office hours, but most of them did not take advantage of such a valuable resource. One particular instructor, Horacio Quiroga, was very helpful. He takes calls on Saturday afternoons in case anyone is interested.

The course itself was great, but not necessary. I believe that the materials by themselves are sufficient for a disciplined individual. Anyway, I took my second CAT after the course ended and scored a 580. This was somewhat of a letdown, but not surprising because it was timed, and I had so many things crammed into my head that I was often taking too long to “remember” what formulas/concepts to use. I also bought Jeff Sackmann's 1800 Problem Set roughly at this time. I strongly recommend it if you are struggling with quant and need some new questions. Please do not send me emails asking for a copy. I paid a lot of money for it and will not send it.

Starting in September I began studying in earnest. I read all the guides and redid all the assigned problems from MGMAT. I generally followed the MGMAT startegy. I used an error log from MGMAT and GMATclub. The MGMAT OG tracker was used for OG12 problems, while the error log from GMATclub was used for any other sources. I timed myself whenever I did OG questions. I began taking CATs soon after I did my review, scores are above. I felt much more confident when I saw my first 700 and booked the GMAT for November 8. I continued to do problems and review, PS, DS on one day, SC, CR, RC on other days until about two weeks prior to the exam. I still felt that SC wasn't where it should be so I bought PowerScore SC. MGMAT SC was simply too complex for me. I think PowerScore SC + MGMAT SC is a solid combo. I studied SC extensively for the final two weeks. I took notes from both PowerScore CR book and PowerScore SC and will attach soon.

I took GMATprep1 and GMATprep2, scored fairly well and felt ready for the real thing.

On the morning of November 8 I arrived at the test centre, signed in, listened to AC/DC T.N.T. on my iPhone and headed in. I immediately noticed that the test room was uncomfortably hot and stuffy. I knew this would be a problem for me but there was nothing I could about it. I chose my five schools and started the test.

AWA went fine and took a break. I struggled with quant at the beginning probably because of nerves guessing on questions which I could have easily answered. Toward the end I was seeing remainders, probability, combinatorics, overlapping sets, but it wasn't enough for a strong score. Once quant ended I knew it was gonna be dicey. I took a break, drank some Gatorade and headed in for verbal. Verbal went fine. No boldface or parallel reasoning questions.

I skipped the questionnaire at the end because I didn't feel like filling everything out and reported my score.. a 660 Q41 V40 flashed on the screen. I felt a tinge of disappointment, but I knew I didn't perform well on quant. I grabbed my score report and headed home already plotting my rewrite.

Things I would do differently

1. Instead of doing all of MGMAT assigned problems, I would have done only Verbal Review & Quant Review. This way I could have saved all OG12 until later. MGMAT assigns almost all the problems so by the time you finish the course, you have done every single problem. Also, I would have used Jeff Sackmann's in this way as well.

2. I should have acquired PowerScore SC earlier. MGMAT SC was too detailed and I often felt lost reading it.

3. I would have taken it easy in the last few days rather than continue to study. I think this contributed to my depressed score because I didn't have a clear head.

4. If it wasn't for the Office Hours, I would strongly recommend for people to acquire the materials and do self-study.

5. I planned to do GMATClub tests, but never got around to it. I will do so for my second attempt.

6. Take MGMAT Quant scores on the CATs with a grain of salt. The questions are incredibly difficult and not at all representative of the real GMAT, in my opinion.

Things I am doing for attempt #2 (mid-January)

1.My target is Q47-48, I will continued to complete the 1800 Problem Set with a focus on Challenge Problem. I am confident that I will score well on my second attempt. I will also work on GMATClub tests.

2. I am going to try to push my Verbal score to V42 by working on SC. I bought Aristotle SC and RC99. I am going to review LSAT problems for CR. This will hopefully get me a score of V42.

3. I haven't decided what I will do about CATs yet. I am open to suggestions.

Last edited by krazo on 14 Feb 2011, 12:18, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: First attempt: 660 Q41 V40 [#permalink] New post 08 Nov 2010, 13:52
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Re: First attempt: 660 Q41 V40 [#permalink] New post 14 Nov 2010, 09:37
Debrief added
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Re: First attempt: 660 Q41 V40 (Debrief now added) [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2010, 08:05
Your verbal score is Great. Congrats. Your story seems interesting to me. Because I have the same feeling that MGMAT SC is complex. Now I am going through Aristotle SC Grails which seems good for the basics. Now that I read your post, I am inclined to buy Powerscore SC (I love Powerscore CR book).And as all the other students, I have't used my first class office hours, Now I will use it from this week.
Thanks for your valuable points.Good Luck for the next attempt.
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+1Kudos, if this helps

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Re: First attempt: 660 Q41 V40 (Debrief now added) [#permalink] New post 19 Nov 2010, 07:43
mads wrote:
Your verbal score is Great. Congrats. Your story seems interesting to me. Because I have the same feeling that MGMAT SC is complex. Now I am going through Aristotle SC Grails which seems good for the basics. Now that I read your post, I am inclined to buy Powerscore SC (I love Powerscore CR book).And as all the other students, I have't used my first class office hours, Now I will use it from this week.
Thanks for your valuable points.Good Luck for the next attempt.


PowerScore SC is a great resource to learn the fundamentals. I found MGMAT SC jumps around too much and I was often confused once I finished reading the chapter. Another bonus is that PowerScore SC has GMAT-like questions at the end rather than "drills".

I'm now going through Aristotle and my notes with the occasional glance at MGMAT SC.

Don't forgot that you also get GMATWrite 1 for free from MGMAT. I used that the day before my GMAT to see where my AWA was.. scored a 5 (argument) and 4 (issue). Just gave me satisfaction that I'm in the right range. I ended up with 5.5 in the end anyway.
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Re: 660 Q41 V40 to 730 Q49 V41 [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2011, 12:18
Second attempt completed. GMAT DONE
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Re: 660 Q41 V40 to 730 Q49 V41 [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2011, 08:52
in this statement: "The questions are incredibly difficult and not at all representative of the real GMAT, in my opinion."

are you saying the mgmat questions are harder or easier than the real gmat?
Haas Thread Master
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Re: 660 Q41 V40 to 730 Q49 V41 [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2011, 11:42
MKParris wrote:
in this statement: "The questions are incredibly difficult and not at all representative of the real GMAT, in my opinion."

are you saying the mgmat questions are harder or easier than the real gmat?


MGMAT quant is much harder than the real GMAT.
Re: 660 Q41 V40 to 730 Q49 V41   [#permalink] 16 Feb 2011, 11:42
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