From a 50th percentile Quant and 660 to 86th percentile Quant – Final Score 740
I have been a long time reader of GMAT club and have been meaning to post my GMAT story. However, right after I took the GMAT I had to begin my LSAT prep! With that completed, I can let all you know about my score increase.My Story
I am American born, but I have been living and working in Europe for the past 3 years. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to take the GMAT. After doing (what turned on not to be enough) research, I signed up for the Kaplan Live
-Online advanced GMAT course. Before taking the course, I took a computer GMAC test and scored a 680. With that score, I did not think I would need too much help to reach my goal of a 700-plus on the real exam. During the course, I made sure to attend every class and did all of the reading and all of the assigned homework. I took four online Kaplan
practice GMAT tests, always scoring above a 700 with a math score above the 60th percentile and verbal above the 90th percentile. I also took the live on-site GMAT practice test and scored a 690. I figured that after 5 months of prep, I was close enough to my goal and ready to take the real GMAT. On test day, I scored a 660 with a 50th percentile quant and 92nd percentile verbal. After the test, I was pretty deflated. I had put in so much time and effort only to score well below my goal! I took about a month off and then starting thinking about re-taking the test.
After searching around for a tutor, my mother actually found Jeff, a tutor from Target Test Prep and passed along his name. After a few conversations, Jeff convinced me that it would be a huge mistake to give up on the GMAT with a 660 on my first exam and with my verbal in the 92nd percentile. When I started working with Jeff, I realized quite quickly that I had many gaps in my knowledge base when it came to the math topics on the GMAT. In each session, we made sure to cover all the math topics in detail, and I think this made a world of difference. Jeff also provided me online access to the Target Test Prep GMAT math guide. This guide had tons of practice questions, which allowed me to solidify everything I learned in our tutoring sessions together. We met for a total of 25 hours over six weeks. During this time period, I obsessed over every possible type of quant question and memorized all the mental math possible. I was able to do this because I wrote flashcards and cheats sheets for each topic. I also did every practice question in the Target Test Prep math guide and quant review in the 12th edition OG and the quant review OG. This time on test day, I scored a 740 with a 85th percentile quant and a 92nd percentile verbal.Advice
If I had some advice for newer GMAT students, it would be to make sure to do your research before choosing your mode of study. If you need individualized help, go with a tutor. However, if you feel like you just need a broad overview of the test, then a class may be ideal for you. In my case, if I could do it all over, I would have chosen a different path from the beginning. I knew I needed serious help with quant from the start. I wish I had realized how superficial and inadequate Kaplan
's quant coverage was before spending the time and money. I needed to be taught how to approach every known type of quant problem and told to memorize every possible thing, even as far as exponent patterns and decimal results of dividing different numbers.
Some advice I have for those who are studying for the GMAT is to make sure to identify your weak area and make it your strength. It's the fastest way to dramatically improve your score. Memorize as much as possible. Create flashcards. Obsess. Make a plan, and hold yourself accountable. Obsess during your practice. If you get a problem wrong, figure out why and mark it for redo at the end of your prep. Ask your tutor how to do it if you're confused. Make sure he explains his mental steps in solving the problem so that you learn his process. Also, don't limit your obsession to the studying. Plan every detail of test day so that you have nothing to doubt or be surprised by. If you're in Europe, do not go to the Milan test center. It is not a good test environment. ResourcesOG 12th
Edition and Quant review – Great books for verbal prep and an overview of all the math topics. Used this also for final review before my second GMAT.
Target Test Prep Math Guide – Best resource by far for the math part of the GMAT. Did all the practice questions and read through all the chapters.Kaplan Live Online
Materials and Cats – Did not love their materials for the math, but did get a lot of of them for the verbal part of the GMAT.