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From mid 600s to 740. My Story

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Joined: 22 Jun 2011
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Location: United States (MA)
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GMAT 1: 740 Q46 V45
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From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2011, 21:04
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I took the gmat today just wanted to share my story with everyone.

I started studying for the GMAT 5 months ago in February. Studying is a loose term. Really all I did for about 4 months was review Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT. When I finally felt like I had a good grasp of the material, I took my first practice test (GMATPrep #1) and scored a 640. I was definitely discouraged because I was aiming for a 730+ and now had less than a month to go. I overhauled my studying. Before now, I was doing an hour a day, 4 days a week. I turned all my attention to the test and began studying 2-4 hours a day every day. I used the offical gmat guide, kaplan 800, and a subscription to the GMAT club tests. After a week of studying, I took a practice test on the weekend and scored a 710 (Manhattan free test). Another week of studying brought me to a 720 (Princeton review free test). At this point, I had taken a week off work and was doing essentially a test worth of problems everyday. The Thursday before the test I took my final practice test (GMATPrep #2) and scored a 740. Two good tests in a row really boosted my confidence and I was ready for the real thing.

Friday before my test, I tried to relax but ended up doing practice problems on and off throughout the day. For dinner, I had a footlong Subway sandwich and ended up going to sleep around 9:30. Saturday I woke up at 9 but my test wasn't until 12:30. I ate a brunch of a banana, a baked potato, some coke, and a multivitamin. I drove to the test center about an hour early and sat around until I was checked in and ready to start.

The AWA was interesting. My prep for this section was limited to reading a guide on gmatclub, but I never actually wrote any essays or did them in my practice tests. Probably not the best idea, but I'm typically a strong writer anyway and feel like I did sufficiently on them. I took the break and ate some peanut M&Ms and drank some gatorade. Went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on my face and went in for my most challenging section.

Quant felt like a nightmare. I couldn't focus, I felt like I was getting problems way more difficult than I had practiced (even in the Kaplan 800 book) and I was forced to guess on more than usual. I also ran out of time and ended up leaving 1 blank. At this point I was not feeling good about the test. My quant score is usually a 49 and after finishing the section I felt like I was in the high 30s at best. I shrugged it off, took my break and returned for Verbal.

I have always been able to breeze through verbal sections with 20 or so min left over. This time was no exception. One of the passages gave me some trouble because I kept thinking back to my bad quant section and I seemed to be running into a lot of sentence corrections that were correct as written but I chugged on.

After finishing verbal, I had to take an experimental section with chart and table analysis. It was only 12 questions long, but it took almost 15 min. At one point I just wanted to skip through it since it had no bearing on my score, but I felt it was my duty to help the GMAC build the new GMAT.

When it was finally over, I blazed through the demographic questions and got to the report test screen. I clicked the button to accept the test and the screen froze for what seemed to be an eternity (probably 10 seconds) I covered my eyes for a little and when I opened them my score was revealed as 740 (46q/45v). I pumped my fist in the air and left the test center with a goofy smile on my face thanking everyone along the way.

My top tip for people doing self study:
Review the material first and then hammer in as much practice as you can. For me, the key to success was stamina, and familiarity with the types of problems you'll come across.


It irks me a little that if I had done as well on quant as I usually do, I could have had a 760 but at this point, I guess I can't complain. That's my GMAT story! On to applications!

Last edited by AnotherTran on 09 Jul 2011, 21:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2011, 21:14
Nice verbal score!

What do you attribute your lower than expected quant to? Was there anything on the test that really threw you, or was it just "harder"?
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My Debrief

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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2011, 21:19
It might have just been nerves. I got shaken up a little early with some tougher questions at the start. It was a vicious cycle of tough questions making me doubt my answers on subsequent questions. Checking and rechecking easier stuff because of that doubt. That leading to less time for harder stuff. and repeat. Quant usually isn't a pleasant experience but usually, I can at least arrive at the right answer eventually. Today it felt like I was getting flustered and forcing myself to just guess and move on more than normal.
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2011, 04:41
AnotherTran wrote:
I used the offical gmat guide, kaplan 800, and a subscription to the GMAT club tests. After a week of studying, I took a practice test on the weekend and scored a 710 (Manhattan free test).


I see you used the Kaplan 800. I too own copy, but have read terrible reports about it.
Quant is not an issue. My question: Is it worth practising verbal from Kaplan 800 ?

Also any tips on stamina? Its a big issue for me since my Quant usually touches 90 percentile and above leaving me exhausted after the 1st section. Especially in the last 10 questions of verbal - its like my brain has shut down! But when I try to solve the incorrect ones in full composure - I get most of them correct.

I had tried RedBull once and it worked - atleast I could concentrate much better. Did you try anything like that?

Also V45 is a very good score. Any tips for SC ? or even RC, CR ?

btw, Congrats on your great score!!
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GMAT done - a mediocre score but I still have a lot of grit in me

The last 20 days of my GMAT journey

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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2011, 06:09
For me stamina had everything to do with knowing that it was the real test. I'm convinced that even my last practice tests were higher because my brain kicked into "oh crap test is in a week" mode

I didn't use Kaplan 800 for verbal, just quant. Honestly I didn't really like the format of the book. I would rather just do problem sets from Gmatclub.
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2011, 06:18
AnotherTran wrote:
For me stamina had everything to do with knowing that it was the real test. I'm convinced that even my last practice tests were higher because my brain kicked into "oh crap test is in a week" mode

I didn't use Kaplan 800 for verbal, just quant. Honestly I didn't really like the format of the book. I would rather just do problem sets from Gmatclub.


Kaplan Quant is no challenge whatsoever.

How did you manage to crack a Verbal 45? My score is lurking around 38-40. Did you work on OG 11 ? I have finished OG 12,11 and Verbal Supplement
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GMAT done - a mediocre score but I still have a lot of grit in me

The last 20 days of my GMAT journey

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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2011, 06:26
Unfortunately, I think I may just be naturally good at verbal. I didn't study it much at all. I have the most trouble with sentence correction, and learning the different possible kinds of errors helped a lot. My focus for all of my studying was on quant since that section gave me the most trouble
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2011, 16:28
Congrats
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 20:28
Congratulations.

Any tips for RC? Did you do all the problems from OG?
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2011, 09:14
Congratulation for a great score, all the best for your applications. :)
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 13 Jul 2011, 09:18
Congratulations and best of luck for your applications! Cheers!
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 09:22
Congrats for the score and thank you for the debrief.
This is really helpful!

Good luck for the applications. Pray that you get the school you want :)
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 09:37
I have taken GMAT once with 690. trying to retake but doing very bad in the practice test. Kaplan (680) and terrible score of 650 in MGMAT1 . I screwed up my timing in the quant because of some very difficult questions.
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 21:16
i gave gmat yesterday. scored 510 !!!!! this is real shock for me...i never scored this much in the practice test... totally devastated!! can anyone pls help me....share some of the ideas how to start all over again !!
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 23:33
congrats on your score....v45 is awesome
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 01:23
Awesome score & killer verbal, congrats!

Quick question, I have ~2 weeks before the test and have taken leave for this period. A lot of people, including you, are advocating the GMATClub tests; I'm in 2 minds as to whether I should buy for such a short period of time. What do you recommend? I still have quite a bit of the older OG 10 to cover along with 4 MGMATs + GMAC 2 left.

Do you think I should make the effort and buy the Club tests and do as many as I can?

btw im rewriting, so I have to get it right this time and want to cover all the important bases. What do you think? (Akhilesh thanks again for your earlier advice on my post!)
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 20:23
Hi akhileshgupta05,

I see the mention of GMAT simulator in your signature. It seems your scores in MGMAT and GMATPrep are more than what you have received in GMAT simulator.

Can you please tell more as how can one get these tests - GMAT simulator (is this something new) and please share your experience while you took this specific test. What was your reading on its toughness? Is this close to GMAT Prep in terms of toughness level?


Warm regards,
Shankar
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 20:56
Awesome score!. Can you give some tips for improving speed in verbal?
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 23:16
superb verbal score...congratulations on your overall score
Thanks for the debrief
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2011, 00:59
Great score!! Good Luck for ur applications!!
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Re: From mid 600s to 740. My Story   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2011, 00:59
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