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Here few words from my office. I'll post later my prep scores and few points about my preparation, which was a torture.
Yesterday, I wrote my exam for the second time and scored a 670(Q49-90%, v34-71%). See below my experience 6 months ago(update 3,5 AWA!!! - TOEFL 108)
Before I attended the test, I was pretty confident to score above 700, but during the verbal part, I got the feeling that I was too often unsure between 2 answers, especially on RC. These were pretty hard and didn't deal with science topics, the one I prefer. Morevover, I didn't want to make mistakes, so I spent a lot of time on the 20 first questions, and had to rush toward the end, missing completly one RC. I just read the 1st sentences of each paragraph to get an idea about the subject and guessed. I really started to worry, and wasn't sure anymore whether I would at least score above 650. Yet I answered every question and prayed while the computer was computing the score. So it was a relief when I saw the score but I had the feeling I just did half way of the road.
Anyway, I think it's over now, I am fed up with the GMAT preparation which took the greatest part of my life. People, especially my girlfriend, started to hate the gmat for that reason. I'm satisfied with the score and will have to focus on the application....
BUT I have a question. I couldn't refrain from comparing my score with other's and I'm a bit surprised.
On this forum, everyone who scored 670, with the same Q, scored 2 points lower than I did in V.
With even a V33 or V34, all have a 680.
So why do I have a 670? Should I complain ? I know there were discussions about the percentile, which I agree can vary, but the overall score should be consistent with the beakdown, isn't it?
Finally, thanks to all of you who have struggled or are struggling to master that ... exam. This is a long quest and I am amazed how I(I never thought to study again after I graduated 7 years ago) and so many people can involve themselves for few hundred points!
Good luck for the ones who are still preparing and the ones who postone the exam dates lacking in confidence!
Here is my story and how I expect to improve. If you have any idea, let me know!
I am a french engineer and work in Germany on project management issues. I have 6 years work experience.
I started to think about an MBA in Feb06. Then I decided that I would apply only to INSEAD. The application deadline was today. I passed the TOEFL 3 weeks ago, but don't know yet the result( > 105/120 is required). I decided to pass the gmat yesterday, to let me enough time for preparation. The application is complete(without TOEFL result), essays written etc. Finaly, I decided not to apply when I saw my score...
So yesterday, I took the test and scored a miserable 590(Q44, V26). It was a great deception because I felt quite confident both in Q and V. I was just slightly stressed, but not more than when I take the gmatprep CATs. Moreover, I found the V part equivalent to the one of GMATprep with easier RC. Needless to say, with this confidence, that I was reaaaaaaly disapointed, especially because I never scored so low in V. May be the software was bugged?
Following are my scores since I started to study End of February.
I studied 4 month, near my job, and put a lot of efforts in the preparation. During the last 2 months, every evening I worked, also on week ends, reduced the visits with my girlfriend to the minimum on WE, and the last two WE, we didn't see at all. I worked the full sat&sunday, from early in the morning till late in the evening. I've done all the 1000SC, almost all the CATs, hundreds of RC questions, hundreds of CR, all the OG 10&11. I had also a log which I used only to measure my answer time and to track my answers, with comments. The rate of correct answer was about 70% to about 80% in limited time conditions for every set of 20 questions.
Last WE, I reviewed the log to make only the questions I had wrong. I saw that I was much better and did much less careless mistakes(maths). The WE before this one, I did the second gmatprep CAT to see where I stood. I was unhappy since I scored lower in verbal than I expected. Reviewing my mistakes, I realised that I had mainly SC and RC wrong. Though I kept practicing maths since I feared the math section. This WE, I reinstalled gmat prep and took both test, on sat and on sunday. I made again mistakes in SC. Then I realised that the 1000SC did'nt help me much, and that the sentences were much different. No obvious questions with 3-2 pattern, Like-Unlike etc. I had really to understand the meaning and the structure. So the evening preceding the exam, I went on Gmatclub and searched all "gmatprep SC" questions. I had more than few erroneous.
However I felt confident for the next day, because I tought it wouldn't be harder, may be even easier. That I wasn't that stupid, that I worked a lot so I could reach my target(>680). Then came the 590.
Since then, I consider to do it again, perhaps in 1-2 months. Anyway, I've missed the last INSEAD intake for January07, and will have to apply for the sept 07 intake, with first rounds in Sept/Oct I think. I will have to seat and think about how I could improve my score in verbal.
I considered to buy the MGMAT SC book, since I read here that it was the best book about SC. In RC and CR, I see no other possibility to practice more and finish the LSAT CRs & RCs. Like many here, I have trouble to understand texts when they are very conceptual(I prefer science or history or easy eco texts). Sometimes in PR RCs, I dont have the slightest idea what the author wants to say or prove. Can you confirm that buying MGMAT SC book is the best I can do and if I should buy others that are not in my list but could be helpful. Or should I start from the beginning, doing every question again. I also tried to learn more about diagramming for CR, but didn't find anything explaining thread in this forum.
So now I will focus on the verbal part the next weeks(or months), but will not work so hard as I did till now. I have to learn cleaverly, or at least try. And of course thanks GMATClub. It is an amazing site!
What concerns your V score and overall score, i do not think you can compare much with what the others had on their previous exams. Neither do i think you can do much to change it know, on the other hand, why you should worry to get an extra +10 when you already have a good score... i think a normal deviation of the test score is 20 points or so, so adcoms will treat your score in a range of 670-690....
Congrats once again, now go party with your girlfriend
I sent an email to ask if I could get 10 points more . But as SimaQ said, I should not dream too much about it. And there is a life after the GMAT, otherwise it can become a maniac disease. I will use my hollydays to find inspiration and write beautiful tales about myself.
After 2 weeks of well deserved holidays I come back to tell you a little more about my preparation.
Update : AWA 4,5 which is the same score as the one I got the first time(I made a mistake; it was 4,5 instead of 3,5)
As I already explained, I was very disappointed by my former score but decided to write the gmat again. Like many of you, I focused on my obvious weakness which was verbal and decided to commit myself on this only topic for the following months.
However, I took summer holidays and just studied passively, ie read only English newspapers. I also subscribed to free PDA news(Washington post, NY Times etc) which I could synchronize daily. In addition, instead of taking my car to go to the office, I took the bus, allowing me to read, read and read. Meanwhile, I ordered the well known SC and RC mgmat. I almost ignored the latter one. Manhattan SC is really well written and all the tested areas are clearly explained.
For two months, I impregnated myself with English words, idioms, literature and participated to the Verbal forum. I took also my last log and did the wrong SC from SC1000. I had planned to take the exam in October but finally signed up only 2 weeks before the test on the 20 th December.
I started to actively study beginning of October and took one week free. During that week, I completed the OG 11 for a 2nd time(the 1st was for my first preparation) and analyzed my mistakes. Concerning the SC, I started to get the pattern. It was the time when I really improved my SC. Concerning the RC and CR, I just practiced and practiced.
Then I completed the OG10 Verbal, while slowly starting the Quants. I think it was a mistake to have waited for so many weeks because I forgot a lot and had to struggle again with that topic, even though I got an engineering education. But since I graduated I never used maths again, having been involved only in project management. Itâ€™s really a torture to make the brain work again at its full capacity, especially if you are 32 years old.
After I completed all these basics I gradually practiced full tests, in the evening after the work. At the end I was completely exhaustedâ€¦. Some remarks : MGMAT CATs are over scored in Verbal but their SC are nice. The CRs donâ€™t reflect the real ones but might be useful though. Kaplan are underscored, but that is not a scoop! And gmatprep are the most identical to the real test but might be over scored. I was very happy with my first score(770) because I had forgotten the questions of my first preparation. However some of OG11 can appear. Concerning the quant, I never remember the answers after 2 weeks so the test is still a good preparation in Quant even if you see many repeats. Finally, the real test was easier in Quant than expected, ant the verbal of the same difficulty level with some crazy question!!!!
OG 11, good but quant maybe too easy
OG 10, good , did only few quants.
Kaplan 800 : didnâ€™t find it so useful, good only if you want to train quant and verbal. But donâ€™t rely on them too much.
SC Manhattan : good
RC CR Manhattan : useless
SC1000 : good, but there are lots of SC which donâ€™t represent whatâ€™s required on the real gmat.
Manhattan CATS and Question bank : Maths too difficult, think we should not bother so much with unsolvable question in 2mns. However quality of the explanations both in V and Q is excellent.
LSAT RC and CR paper tests: too hard for the allowed time!!!!!! But interesting.
LSAT CR bible: very well written and every concept of the CR is explained very well. I read it entirely even though there are points which are not tested in the GMAT. I dont' think it is necessary for the gmat preparation, but for someone who wants to improve his english and has time, it cannot be bad!
To conclude, the gmat was a struggle especially if you are not excellent in English. I think people like me have to invest several months(>6) in the preparation to get the sufficient English level. During that period, I read only quality articles as much as I could, even in the evening in my bed before sleeping. I really wanted to increased my reading speed and comprehension rate.
Studying became a second nature on the expense of other activities like social ones:( . Every free time I had was used to read or make some verbal exercises. I did the wrong SC I got as many times as I needed to have them finally right. Of course during my preparation I always timed myself.
I know that my biggest mistake is to have waited so many years after my studies to make the gmat, though I had lots of opportunities to study during periods of lower work pressure. The more you wait, the harder it is to study and to get back the necessary intellectual agility.
Last word : I am glad to have commit myself so far, what was unbelievable years ago when I was not serious neither at school nor at the university.
And thanks to the forum. I will stay around. Now I have to focus on the application.