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From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations

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From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 13:34
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I took the GMAT 2 years ago and scored a 610, 66% overall (37/81% Verbal and 37/44% on Quant). I prepped for the test using Princeton Review and a little of the OG 12. I studied off and on over the course of two months and, having just passed the CPA and CFA exams, I mainly studied the verbal section. Boy was I humbled by the real GMAT. After the test I was so angry with my score that I threw away the score sheet and didn't even look at the final score two weeks later. I was so mad. How could a person that knows business math go through a test for business school and fail on the math section?

This June I decided to prep for the exam again. After reading posts, it seemed like everyone recommended Manhattan products, so I signed up for a class and got all of the prep materials. I also went through the OG 13, Veritas Prep Comb/Perm book and did questions from the GMAT Club tests. For my practice tests I used the MGMAT CATs and the Official GMAT CATs. Below are my reviews of the different products.

Products -

Manhattan 9 Week Online Class - The teachers do a good job of going through questions and emphasizing appropriate material. You should not expect the class to take you from a poor score to a great score. Frankly the class can’t get you a great score because the score is mainly dependant on how hard you work. I found the prime benefit of the class to be that it kept me on a strict schedule. The syllabus schedules you to complete the MGMAT books and parts of the OG by the time the class is done.

Manhattan Quant Books – When I was prepping I didn’t think that the books were deep enough. The MGMAT Advanced Quant book and GMAT Club tests were significantly harder than the regular books. When I got to the real GMAT test though, I can say that the regular books do a great job of building a foundation for success.

Manhattan Verbal Books – I found the Sentence correction to be good. The reading comprehension and critical reasoning books weren’t that helpful, but I really don’t think there would be many products that can help fix a reading problem.

Manhattan Online Questions – The question banks are good practice and take you all the way from foundation material to advanced principals.

Manhattan OG Archer – The principal behind the OG Archer is that it keeps track of your time and answers for all of the OG problems. Like an error log. Besides the lack of analytic functionality, it is pretty great. I used it all the time and kept track of my progress in each section. Use it even if you don’t use other Manhattan products, it’s cheap to purchase on its own.

OG Questions – I got through all of the OG in the 2 months during the Manhattan 9 week class. All 1,666 question worth. After going through it once I made a log of all my wrong answers from the OG Archer and did those again. This helped me to polish some of my weak areas.

QMAT Quantum - This is one of the best secret resources I found. Let me repeat that this website is pure gold. This guy, Dabral, created quick, two minute explanations of how to do each quant problem in the OG. Its free to use. I found myself doing a question in the OG Archer and then if I missed the question going to the GMAT Quantum site and watching his explanations. What I like most is that Dabral does the questions quick, usually under 2 minutes, no extra talking, just a walk through.

Manhattan Quest for 750 Quant Classes – These classes were great. The teachers went through some of the toughest questions and the class really got me motivated to do the MGMAT Advanced Quant book and GMAT Club tests.

Manhattan Quest for 750 Sentence Correction Class – This class was one of the best things I did in my preparation. The teachers taught advanced techniques to break down sentences and how to get rid of unnecessary junk in sentences. I can’t recommend the class enough.

Manhattan Advanced Quant Book – Loved the book. Even though the book says that it’s for people only scoring over 70% on the quant section of the MGMAT CATS I would say that it should be closer to 60%. Given how tough it is to get a good score in quant, it makes it even more important to use this book. Make sure to get through the regular Manhattan Quant books and be comfortable with all the basics. This book will eat you up otherwise. While doing this books I was averaging around 60% on all the questions.

GMAT Club Tests – These are great, but will dominate you. I was scoring on average 50% with the quizzes. This quizzes will drastically help your score if you are willing to get kicked repeatedly. I know it helped me. If you have yet to make any purchase of prep materials I would recommend buying them through the GMAT Club site, you get the GMAT club tests free.

Veritas Combinations/Permutations Book – I used this book near the end of my prep and if I would have had more time I would have used other Veritas books. The book builds you up from easy to tough questions. When I was done I was doing hard Perm/Comb/Prob GMAT Club test questions and getting them right. The sad part is I didn’t even get a Comb/Perm question on the test. 

Tests -

MGMAT Test 1 – 7/10/2012 – 620 – Q39 V36 – Before 9 week class -Started off about where I scored on the real GMAT 2 years ago
MGMAT Test 2 – 8/18/2012 – 640 – Q43 V34 – During the Class
MGMAT Test 3 – 09/4/2012 – 670 – Q42 V39 – During the Class
MGMAT Test 4 – 9/15/2012 – 700 – Q45 V40 – End of Class – Good Improvement during the 9-week class
MGMAT Test 5 – 9/22/2012 – 680 – Q43 V39 – Came down a bit, but could have been a blip
GMAT Prep 1 - 9/29/2012 – 690 – Score back up, feeling good.
MGMAT Test 6 – 10/5/2012 – 660 – Q43 V37 – Freaking out! One week until exam and the score is going down even more!
MGMAT Test 7 – 10/6/2012 – 680 – Q45 V37 – Still Freaking out!!! These were repeat questions from prior CATS!

Real GMAT - 10/13/2012 – 710 – Q48 V40

Prep Test Remarks –

1) I tried to space out the tests and do more towards the end, this worked well for me. I also tried to do the practice tests at the same time my real test was going to be. This helped calm jitters on test day.
2) I really disliked the GMAT prep software. It doesn’t give you the solutions to any of the problems. I wasted a whole Saturday of studying doing the test with no useful information to glean other than the score.
3) This is just a theory, but I think that the Manhattan CATs may get less accurate towards CAT 5 and 6. When I reset the CAT bank to do Cat 7, 80% were questions I had already seen. I think that the CATS may get less accurate as you start exhausting questions at your level.

GMAT Experience -

After doing so many prep tests I was ready for the exam. I drank Gatorade during break, a big help, and munched on a sandwich. Be careful of the 8 minute breaks, they move faster than you think, especially when you have to get checked back in to your computer.

Essay – This was as expected. Nothing new. I found Chineseburned’s AW post helpful.

IR – Manhattan’s IRs are much harder than the real thing. Although I still don’t think I scored much above average on the real GMAT.

Quant – The quant was significantly easier than any prior practice test or question bank. I think my prep really got me ready for the real test. My timing was on the mark. I gave up on a few ridiculous questions, but I was prepared to give up a few to stay on course.

Verbal – Verbal was actually harder than I was prepared for. I got a little behind schedule from some tough questions and moved a little faster at the end than I would have liked. I would say the difficulty was comparable to MGMAT CATs, maybe a smidge harder.

Other Thoughts –

Do Lots of Questions - I know much is made of doing not enough/too many questions. I am of the camp that a person should do as many as questions as possible - repetition, repetition, repetition. There is just so much to learn for the GMAT. I was averaging 60 to 80 questions a day for the three months. If I wouldn’t have scored well on this test I probably would have spent another month or two reviewing my notes and doing a couple thousand more questions. They say it takes a person 7 times of seeing something before they learn it.

Read Financial Statements - Looking back at my background the one thing that helped me get better at reading comprehension, critical reasoning and IR was reading financial statements. I would highly recommend going to a publicly traded company's website and downloading its financial statement. You are likely going to fall asleep, and that is the point. To understand what is happening in a financial statement you really have to be focused, there is a lot going on. After reading a few financial statements the RC or CR is going to be a dream boat. Plus financial statements are good practice, because if you are going to business school you may want to know what a financial statement is.

Don’t Cram – This is not a cram-able test. Don’t go in like I did the first time and get whooped, it doesn’t feel good. If you have been studying for a few months then take a day or two off before the test. Get some exercise, get some sleep and have some fun to refresh your mind. The GMAT is as much a mental battle as it is a battle of knowledge.

Turn off the TV – If you are serious about getting a good score, turn off the TV and stop other activities. They can wait for a few months. Do you remember who won that one football game 3 years ago? Probably not. Do you remember the episode Jim and Pam kissed for the first time in The Office? Pry not. Do you remember that one time you went to that one bar? Nope. What you will remember though is acing the GMAT and getting into your top school – study hard and dominate.

Good luck,

Jordan
710, 48Q 78%/40V 90%
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Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 15:08
Inspirational.

Congratulations and thanks for the advice.
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Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 23:01
jklute wrote:
QMAT Quantum - This is one of the best secret resources I found. Let me repeat that this website is pure gold. This guy, Dabral, created quick, two minute explanations of how to do each quant problem in the OG. Its free to use. I found myself doing a question in the OG Archer and then if I missed the question going to the GMAT Quantum site and watching his explanations. What I like most is that Dabral does the questions quick, usually under 2 minutes, no extra talking, just a walk through.



thanks for ur advices and congrats with that score

could u please explain the quoted part? what do u mean by QMAT Quantum? Could you please give a link?
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Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 23:33
jklute wrote:

Turn off the TV – If you are serious about getting a good score, turn off the TV and stop other activities. They can wait for a few months. Do you remember who won that one football game 3 years ago? Probably not. Do you remember the episode Jim and Pam kissed for the first time in The Office? Pry not. Do you remember that one time you went to that one bar? Nope. What you will remember though is acing the GMAT and getting into your top school – study hard and dominate.


The quote above is best part of your review. :lol:

Accept my congratulations for your good jump and my wishes for your future endeavors.
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Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2012, 00:23
jklute wrote:

Do Lots of Questions - I know much is made of doing not enough/too many questions. I am of the camp that a person should do as many as questions as possible - repetition, repetition, repetition. There is just so much to learn for the GMAT. I was averaging 60 to 80 questions a day for the three months. If I wouldn’t have scored well on this test I probably would have spent another month or two reviewing my notes and doing a couple thousand more questions. They say it takes a person 7 times of seeing something before they learn it.

710, 48Q 78%/40V 90%


Could not agree more - spending hours analyzing 200 OG12 (600-800 level) will not help you ace the 41 hard verbal problems GMAT will throw at you.
I remember a 790 scorer saying the same.
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Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2012, 03:27
Verynice write up with lot of take aways. One Kudos to you to say thanks! :-D
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Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2012, 05:51
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It wouldn't let me post the links until I had 5 posts, and now that I have those here are the two links I mention above.

GMAT Quantum - http://www.gmatquantum.com/
Chineseburned AWA Post - how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html

Thanks for all the comments, good luck on the test!

Jordan
Re: From 610 to 710 - Thoughts and Recommendations   [#permalink] 16 Oct 2012, 05:51
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