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From 490 to 700 in a month

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From 490 to 700 in a month [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2013, 06:43
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Hey everybody!
I've just come from my exam, got 700 (Q46, V40), and i am pretty happy about it:) first of all, big thanks to all gmatclub members, their posts and advices, it was that support i needed to get my score. Secondly, even though I am not an active member of GMAT club and this is my first post actually, I think my journey from 490 to 700 in a month might be quite useful for someone, and that's why I'd like to share it here.
So, talking about myself, I am an undergraduate student, who's gonna obtain his degree in law (yeah, not quantitative at all) in a year. I am from Russia, thus, i am not a native speaker of English, I have not ever obtained any degree abroad and never lived there (except for a month spent in Canada), and the last time I met any quantitative task was around 4-5 years ago (my high school). Moreover, my English was pre-intermediate exactly a year ago, and I passed TOEFL at 97 point last May (not really high scores, but tells more about my level of language knowledge). So, that is my background at all.
First time I tested GMAT was exactly a month ago (27th of July), and on GMAT prep I got 490. Quite disappointed, isn't it?) It is. Anyway, I passed it today on 700 and here is my way. If anybody is in the same situation, it might be quite useful since there is nothing impossible.
It's necessary to mention that almost the whole month (2,5 weeks exactly) there was my vacation time, so I have plenty of time (around 5 hours per day) to practice. My whole preparation took around 120-130 hours. That's it.
So, first thing you should remember - you should must love the thing you do. You have no chances to succeed if you do not love English or if you do not have a great goal towards you. Enjoy the process. It's gonna take quite a lot of your time, and it is important to love the way you spent it.
Secondly, don't rush into practice[b/]. My plan was simple - theory from OG, then solving problems from OG. I did it in 2 weeks, and did not feel any comfortable with practice (except for verbal section, but I'm gonna speak about it later). That was my mistake, indeed. So, due to my experience the best plan is:
1. [b]Manhattan Guides
. I discovered them just two weeks before exam, and covered only 5 of them (there was no time for verbal) , but that was the best practice ever. Do not open OG before Manhattan Guides, it will be much more useful if you start with theory (yeah, I did invert all the staff, but still it was useful)
2. Official Guide - I used 13th edition, and used it wrong way, as I mentioned before. Do not repeat my mistake:). Bit it is necessary, indeed.
3. Kaplan 800 - the worst book you can spent your time on. Tips there are quite simple - try to simply put possible answer into the question, and start with D or E (they said these chooses happens to be right more often, but, WTF, how does it improve my score??!?!?!). That's all. Moreover, some questions in manhattan (especially on the website) are even harder than "800 level"'s in kaplan. Find the book a waste of money and, which is more important, time.
Next, talking about practice tests:
As I said, my first practice test GMATPrep - 490
Next try was 4 days before exam - GMATPrep 2 - 710 (wow!!:)
then I started to solve one test every day
GMATClub free test - quantitative - q49
Manhattan free test - 670
GMATPrep 1 (repeat) 690

When you practice, especially when you do not have a plenty of time, practice the whole test. If there were no essay part (like in GMATClub), do it separately, but with exact time limits of real exam. As you possibly mentioned, I did not write essay or solve integrated reasoning tasks during my preparation (except for practice test days). The reason is because I simply did not have time. But essay is quite simple in GMAT - just analyze every simple sentence in the argument, find the weakest point (or points), make up counter-argument or example which is gonna flaw the argument, and this is your bullet for the essay body. Quite simple
Integrated reasoning, as it follows from the name, is a simple compilation of quantitative and verbal parts. Find it this way.

My main problem was (and is) quantitative part. So that is what I spent the most of my time on. And the best advice here - theory, than practice. Verbal was quite easy for me, even though I got low scores there in the beginning. The main advice I can get here - always try to predict the answer before looking at the options. Do not make it up, but try to logically think what might weaken or strengthen the argument, how the sentence is gonna look, and what is the main purpose of the text (for instance). The best practice here is reading articles every night, and analyze them, making up possible weak and strong points, counter-arguments and so on. All I had to do on the exam is simply to pay my attention and not to procrastinate.
Finally, on the test day, if you stuck with problem for more than 2 minutes - choose your best and move to the next. Use your breaks to relax and calm down, get some energy drink, don't forget to eat and sleep before (goog breakfast is the guarantee of the success, indeed).
And the last thing - during the test, just close your eyes, tell yourself you are the best around, and go on. It helped me, it will help you:) good luck
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Re: From 490 to 700 in a month [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2014, 05:12
Thank you for this read.

I honestly hate the OG, because of the explanations- but then again, I can't remember the last time I worked through math and verbal questions like these.

I've been using manhatten GMAT and I love it.

OK- this post is not all about what I am and am not doing... it's about you, about how you managed to give me a glimmer of hope.

I'm sitting around 470 score after Kaplan & PrincetonReview practice tests- I'm very nervous that I'll fail my hope of getting into a top 20 school if I get under a 650. And of course, a 700 is my ultimate goal.

What advice do you have for studying- people have said forums, so I'm just sort of jumping into them and hoping for the best.

How was the test in all? Did you focus a lot on the AWA & IR? How important to your studying was it?

And of course thank you for sharing your experience,
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Re: From 490 to 700 in a month [#permalink] New post 13 Apr 2014, 09:58
Thank you so so much for this post!!

I just gave my first GMAT prep a few days back(without any sort of preparation) and scored a 490.It really made me feel low.
The disappointing score damaged my self confidence to a great extent:(
But now after reading your post i see a ray of hope :D
Will be starting my studies from tomorrow.

Thankyou for sharing you experience and methodology.
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Re: From 490 to 700 in a month [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2014, 05:22
NikkiR wrote:
Thank you so so much for this post!!

I just gave my first GMAT prep a few days back(without any sort of preparation) and scored a 490.It really made me feel low.
The disappointing score damaged my self confidence to a great extent:(
But now after reading your post i see a ray of hope :D
Will be starting my studies from tomorrow.

Thankyou for sharing you experience and methodology.


If it makes you feel any better, my first time with NO prep was 380!

Then when I learned it's better to finish the test, the next day I did another (literally 24 hours later) and got a 470!

When I didn't study much all week, just a few problems here and there, I took it 1 week (to the hour) after my first exam (380 score) and I scored a 520!

I studied just a few tricks with percents, still not a master at it, but seriously think it helped-- because the next morning I got a 550!

Granted, I'm a long way from a 700... and at this rate, moving the needle is going to be tough- but stick it out, I know I am and I'm confident if I study and put in the effort from here on out- like the guy in this post, I can get a 700 or maybe even a high 600.

We still have a few months before the first rounds of b-school applications are due, so I'm confident we can do this!

Good luck- keep your chin up!
TFlynn
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Re: From 490 to 700 in a month [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2014, 09:01
Thank you for sharing your scores and study plan, yup its indeed motivating to know that we could progress in with each of the succesive tests. :-D

The fact that only so and so base point increase can be achieved is challenged, the topic maker being one of the main example of it !This knowledge brings in a new way of enthusiasm for studying

even I'll try taking tests as i study, hopefully with that i"ll be able to keep track of my progress.Ya 700 seems distant as of now but i m sure with hard work even we guys can achieve it.

Thnku
Best Of Luck to you too!!
Re: From 490 to 700 in a month   [#permalink] 14 Apr 2014, 09:01
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