EDIT: SECOND ATTEMPT COMPLETEDSECOND 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
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, 2010Background
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, WhartonMaterials
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.comManhattan GMAT
Challenge Problem Of The WeekCAT 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, 700Official GMAT Nov 8, 2010: Q41, V40, AWA5.5, 660The 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.