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GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V AWA 6.0 (Long Post)

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GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V AWA 6.0 (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 08:33
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So I retook my GMAT yesterday and got a 720 50Q and 38V. I took it for the first time a month ago and scored a 680 46Q and 38V. So obviously I was very pleased when I saw this score on the board. I will get into more about the test later on.

Prep:

Ok this journey was a long one of on and off, non-focused studying to a more focused approach. I rememeber my first practice CAT cold was around I think 530 from a crack gmat I forget. This was few years ago. I started to look more into GMAT about a year and a half ago but this was just getting started. No set schedule , just looking at books whenever I had time. I went through a period of a month or 2 a year ago of studying then stopped. Restarted in the summer, stopped after new job and apt. Then in December I was like, what am I doing? Let's get serious and I scheduled my test. I can't stress this enough, don't get in a rut. I kept telling myself I will only schedule until if I got a 700 on a practice test. Don't do that. Schedule the test and that will force you to study hard and not make (too) many excuses.

I can't say I studied super hard, and I didn't sacrifice social life too much, but I did have GMAT on my mind 24/7. I mean you know its bad when you start dreaming about it. So prep materials I used.

OG 11 - Great book. I didn't study too hard with it in my prep but nonethless you need it along with the green and purple supplements.

GMATPrep - I will say this is by far the best prep tool and closest to the real thing to quant. Get your "accurate gauge" by not doing problems, but the more you put off doing as many of these as possible to save yourself an accurate score, the more you will be hurting yourself.

I mean I can't count the number of reinstalls I have done > 10. Frankly, the problems are so smiliar to the real test on math. You will waste your time doing other problems from like PR or Kaplan if you do not focus primiarliy on these questions.

GMATFocus - orginally I said these questions were not so much of a help, they probably weren't but I can tell you that they were also super similiar to actual quant questions.

MGMAT - must have book for SC as is always discussed. The book will not ensure perfect SC by any means. I must have went over that book 50 times at least. It will not get you 40+ but you will be able to get through SC. Also In my opinion it is worth spending the cash and getting all of the books. ( minus CR RC ). (especially if you are weak on basics)

PrepWizard - I got this in between attempts. I can't say this helped too much but I think their quant questions are pretty hard (the ones in the difficult bin) Softwares a little buggy but overall if you need more questions, these are pretty good indicators.

Challenges - Way too hard for most actual gmat questions (even at the 50 level) but invaluable to help you pick apart numbers and be heavily focused. Highly recommend them.

Strunk and White Elements of Style - Good grammar reading. You should have this book anyway if you write. It is good reading on a subway or bus. May be able to pick up some good SC pointers you have missed elsewhere. (You can probably get this on the web free since it is public domain I believe)

Walker's SC1000 and CR1000 program - kudos to Walker. This program rocks. Great practice.

LSAT Questions - these are fairly important too. These questions for CR and RC are definitely tougher than the real test so I would definitely advise practicing with these if you are aiming high in verbal (who isn't?)

Paper Tests - quant not so much, verbal questions are good

I have all the big books, PR, Kaplan, Kaplan 800, etc. Frankly I didn't bother too much with these. I used them in my prep when I first started but for me now they are a waste of time. I mean it is possible that I picked up basics and pointers from them but to me it is a waste of time when you have OG questions, GMATPREP , and challenges among others.

Prepscores-

Now I can't say I kept an accurate log of these but top of memory.

GMATPrep - 690 - 780 over 10 attempts
Powerprep 710 -730 2 attempts
Kapan test over summer - 650

Challenges - guess what...you don't have to get 90% correct on these challenges to get a 50 in Q. I averaged between 60% correct to 65 or so correct and pulled a 50. So do not get discouraged. I probably did 3/4 of the tests.

Hit Rates:

Now I did keep an error log but to tell you the truth, I never really went back to it to look over mistakes. I am more of the pounding out millions of questions guy. Such a bad study method. So my hit rates are just going to be estimates.

Over the past month - CR - 85% SC - 75-85% RC -80-85%

Those are just estimiates but I'd say around those marks.

Quant, maybe 60% hit rate.

Test:

I have taken it twice so I can give a good comparision between the 2.

I arrive at the testing center and wait like 20 minute before getting seated. Start the AWA. Nothing too hard. I scored a 6 last time and I feel these are not too hard. The argument question is like CR but easier. Write an intro restating argument and that there are flaws. Write 3-4 , 3-4 sentence paragraphs, and write a conclusion. Pretend you mimicing an RC passage when you write. That is exactly how you should be writing these AWA's. Connecting words such as Moreover, However, Admittely should be sprayed throughout.

Analysis of an Issue essay was a little easier for me this time since it was business related and I had more examples.

Last time I thought I got a 4 on the AWA, this time I would be suprised below 5.5.

UPDATE:
Recieved my AWA scores and got a 6.0. The key to the essays is to write a lot. Also include a lot of examples into your issue essay even if they are vaguely related.


Quant:

Ok let me tell you about Quant. I scored a 50 right. I hit that in maybe 2 gmatprep attempts and never anywhere else in my life. Those attempts were with repeats as well.

I was frankly stunned to see the 50 in Quant. I was always really good at math throughout school but didn't think I was 50 caliber, guess I am :) The questions were for the most part straightforward. I thought I bombed the test because it was so easy. The first 10 questions maybe I got 1 wrong but I was breezing through them. I was up in time after 10 times by like 4-5 minutes. This never happened before and it was so important for me to be able to answer some of the harder quetsions I needed to spend 3-4 minutes on (even though they were not that hard but hard enough) In comparison to my last test, I got stuck on the first question in the last test and burned 4 minutes and was playing catch up the rest of the way. I really think this was what did me in last time. I was nervous the whole time , heart racing playing catch up. For my last test, I was so relaxed during the test, knowing I was ahead on time, it was really amazing. However as I have read in this board. I can count maybe 5 times I was about to answer a question, and something didn't feel right. Felt a little TOO easy. When I went back I realized my mistake. I think this is something you should do. I know people say don't judge the level of the question. I think it is important to. If you usually score high 40s in quant, the answer is not going to turn out to be a simple arith operation etc. Now I am not going to deny that there were some really basic questions I saw, but overall the traps are more subtle and a lot trickier. So I can see how someone can easily mess up and think they got it right. When I say do gmatprep tons of times and know all those questions inside out I mean it. Questions are similiar. I know people mention they saw things on quant they have not seen before, but for me, everything was pretty straighforward and similiar to stuff I have seen. Nothing off the wall for me, just stuff that can require some thinking.

Tons of number property stuff, maybe one probability, no combinations as far as I remember. I definitely remember questions from practice from OG and gmatprep that had different questions but you could easily pick up the right solution because you remembered the method described. I think a handful on overlapping sets but really basic. If you can solve basic problems of these you are fine.

Once again I was surprised how easy the quant was (to me anyway). But I also think you are wasting your time doing super hard quant problems on this forum. If you are aiming for 51 maybe, I haven't seen those 51 questions but otherwise, you are doing yourself a disservice. I could probably only answer half of these math problems on this board. Also doing MGMAT questions are also a disservice. The concepts in the books are usually on-the-money but the questions are way too long for GMAT. For someone who is an expert in quant should be able to do most questions in under a minute in my opinion. I think if you are at the med level on the concepts you are fine.

Look for the DS traps. If you can't narrow down choices to 2 at least, you have not learned a lot of the traps. There are other threads on this, but I believe a lot just comes with practice and figuring stuff out on your own. But it is not a trick, you still need to understand the concepts and the question to figure out the trick.

Oh did I mention I also went through the last 3 questions with a minute and a half to go? Needless to say I took my best guesses from just reading the questions. So don't be discouraged if you have to do that.

Verbal:

I thought I destroyed Verbal. I thought I got like 2 wrong. Well I was wrong. The RC and CR were extremely straighforward to me. As opposed to my last test where I got killed. I really think one of the RC's was an experimental 50V question I got. In hindsight I felt the SC was harder than my last test. I think there were also some subtle clues in SC that I missed because I frankly thought they were all straightforward. Then towards then end I saw some question and was about to click, but noticed something weird, I forget what it was, and I am like oh damn. I must have missed tiny little nuances like that before. But everything seemed straightforward. In my opinion I got a perfect CR score, RC I probably missed 2-4 and probably missed 4-6 SC. It sucks because the RCs were not that hard and I actually took interest in 2 of them. The SC's I should have been more careful on. ( It felt like walkers application where I just click fast go to next question etc) lol be a little more cautious on the test! Verbal, honestly I really respect people who get 40+ on verbal. It is definitely an accomplishment.

So where to from now?

It pains me to read the forum and people want to retake with 710s and 720s, and it gets me to think, is my score not good enough? What if I want to do management consulting? Will I not get interviewed at McKinsey because of a 720 GMAT? It's so irrational but you still get those thoughts of what if? I have no doubt I can score higher , but is it worth spending another 2 months studying, risking doing worse? I mean it really is a crapshoot. I did not expect a 50 in math, can I do that again? Who knows. So as for now, GMAT is slain, it is over. Maybe once the dings start rolling in next year I will reconsider, so I won't burn my books:) but I am done with it. This is the type of test that you can agonize for years and still when testday comes, get a hard question get rattled and screw up.

Thank you to everyone on the forum who are the big contributors. Without GMATClub this would not have happened.

Final Note:

I know people get discouraged by always seeing 700 posts on here and think everyone in the world who takes the GMAT gets a 700. If 700's were that abundant it would be meaningless. Most of the people here are super motivated to do well and these 700s reflect countless hours of work. I mean I would say I probably spent 500-1000 hours studying GMAT over the last year and a half. Now this is not all focused studying. I do like to go out and socialize and I am proud to say I didn't sacrifice that too much. Alcohol always came before GMAT :) So it can still be done! And I was a little excessive with it because I never scheduled until recently.

But this is something that I really wanted. Even as a personal goal and accomplishment. Don't give up. I am not going to say everyone has the ability to get a 700. They don't. However I consider myself pretty smart, always did well in school and this test definitely humbled me. This is not a cakewalk. If your mindset is not totally GMAT 24/7 then don't expect it to be handed to you. If you feel you are good at math. Someone who is analytical, was not scared off by calc, you can get a 50Q. You just have to learn the concepts and train your brain to think like the GMAT. Verbal, I mean it's tough to say. I thought I nailed it. I can't imagine how hard it is for a non-native speaker to do the verbal section so kudos to those who can ace it.

I will still be around on the forums to keep my mind challenged and to do application research ! Good Luck to everyone !

Last edited by terp26 on 25 Apr 2008, 05:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 09:15
Awesome dude. Great perseverance and great write up!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 10:02
Congratz!.
Hard works always pay off.
Excellent debrief.
Good luck on ur next step.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 10:43
Congratulations Terp! Great post!
My round 2 is tomorrow and I am freaking out already...I hope your final notes help me with the mental focus.....I really need it.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 11:06
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Terp, Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good luck with your applications.
Thanks you for your posts (+5)

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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 11:59
walker wrote:
Terp, Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good luck with your applications.
Thanks you for your posts (+5)

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How can you do +5? It only allows me +1?
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 12:04
Kudos Terp,

i think the last time you and I gave the test at almost the same time and got virtually the same score. I am resitting it in a few weeks and your post is definitely a boost!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 12:11
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chineseburned wrote:
How can you do +5? It only allows me +1?

It is the best feature of my green color :-D Thanks admins!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 12:36
thanks walker, I appreciate the kudos. Will be looking forward to having a drink next sunday night.

Buffdaddy, you definitely can do it. And what really helped was the fact that you know you have a good score in the bag so your less apprehensive and anxious.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 14:12
Another member joins the 700 Club :-D :-D :-D

I'll definitely toast to that ! :punk

Good luck with the applications terp!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 14:59
many congratulations terp - what a Q score !!!!!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 19:09
terp congrats...i have been following your posts...i did bad on my 1st attempt 4th april and after reading your posts....ur strategy,definitely has boosted my confidence....all the best for application....hard work certainly pays.Kudos.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 20 Apr 2008, 20:56
Congrats! Amazing quant score!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 00:41
:band :band Good show!!! Celebrate the accomplishment!!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 06:41
Congrats Terp. Awesome score!!! Good luck with the apps!
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 08:12
Great score terp! Congrats.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 08:17
Congratulations! Terp
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 12:56
Congratz!!

I also took it for the first time and got 680 (Q48/V35) a week ago. The posting is definately a moral boost for me.
The second attempt is scheduled to be in late May.

if you don't mind, what were you focusing on after the first take? Any 2 cents for the second time test taker?
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 13:17
well, I focused on doing more gmatprep math tests, and a lot of gmatclub challenges in math.

Whatever I did for verbal didn't work since I had the same so that probably won't help:) But get walkers SC CR program if you have not already and do as many as you can. Most of the explanations can be found on this forum if you search.

Honestly though, I think it didn't make too much of a difference. I think the calmed nerves and better pacing, and not getting stuck on the first problem helped the most. What comes with good pacing and not getting stuck is not rushing through harder problems and also the ability to second guess yourself on a question without saying no time, got an answer, next question.
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Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post) [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2008, 20:01
congrats..awesome achievment..

and yes you hit the nail on the head..calm nerves are KEY to a great score...

so how did you learn to calm yourself? that would be the most important advice you can give to us

terp26 wrote:
well, I focused on doing more gmatprep math tests, and a lot of gmatclub challenges in math.

Whatever I did for verbal didn't work since I had the same so that probably won't help:) But get walkers SC CR program if you have not already and do as many as you can. Most of the explanations can be found on this forum if you search.

Honestly though, I think it didn't make too much of a difference. I think the calmed nerves and better pacing, and not getting stuck on the first problem helped the most. What comes with good pacing and not getting stuck is not rushing through harder problems and also the ability to second guess yourself on a question without saying no time, got an answer, next question.
Re: GMAT 2nd Attempt 720 50Q 38V !!!!! (Long Post)   [#permalink] 21 Apr 2008, 20:01
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