GMAT Debrief: 640 (44Q,34V) : Share GMAT Experience
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# GMAT Debrief: 640 (44Q,34V)

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25 Apr 2012, 17:41
Hi everyone! I wrote the GMAT yesterday, my thoughts.

Books & materials used
- Manhattan SC
- Manhattan Math (all 5 guides)
- OG12
- OG Verbal Supplement

Previous test scores
Quant Verbal Total
GMAT 1 36 39 620
Manhattan1 41 42 690
Manhattan2 44 34 640
Manhattan3 42 38 660
Manhattan4 46 36 680
Manhattan5 46 40 700
GMAT2 42 36 640
Manhattan6 47 40 710

I took GMAT Prep 1 as my diagnostic and GMAT 2 3 days before writing the exam. As you can see, in my case, the GMATprep was indeed the best indicator of performance.

Background information
"Native" English speaker, but living in Montreal I speak French as often as English and I went to high school in French. At work, I speak French way more than English which definitely hurt my RC/SC. I work in both marketing and consulting so I understand the nuances of those fields. My strengths are complex problem solving, public speaking and creativity: none of which the GMAT tests. However my Quant/Verbal are both solid so I showed at least some competence.

Length of study
7 weeks @ 14 hours a week = 100 hours (ish)

General strategy
- Create a study schedule (not negotiable)
- Create an error log (this is IMO the #1 reason why I did much better in quant).
- Don't waste time on probability/permutation/combinations
- Don't waste time on 700 level questions if you're not hitting at a 80% or more clip on 600 level questions

The Actual Exam
AWA: I highly recommend "relaxing" in this section. With a template, it's easy. There's not a big difference between a 5 and a 6. Breathe, take your time and don't waste too much energy.

Quant: This section was MUCH easier than the Manhattan CAT math questions. Half-way through, I thought I was bombing the exam. I did get a difficult half probability/half. I got three machine/rate questions, so don't neglect that. Exponents mattered as well. The best advice I can give for Quant: Use the Manhattan Quant books WITH this forum to supplement anything you don't know. Brunel and other posters were really helpful. Secondly, you MUST understand ratios/algebra. Without question, it's what I experienced the most in both the GMATpreps and the actual exam. I wish I had spent more time on this to get it 100% instead of 80%. Must-have for anyone.

Verbal: I was getting angry at some SC questions during the middle of the exam. Some questions had answers in which I knew for a fact that two options were grammatically correct and had the same meaning. However, some had "passive" or "ackward" verbiage. I "guessed' to the best of my knowledge but it was frustrating. So while the Manhattan SC book is great, it does NOT adequately prepare you for the GMAT exam because the Manhattan book prepares you for rules while the GMAT tests meaning/"usage" significantly more. It's frankly disappointing as there's a lot of subjectivity in what constitutes awkward usage. Critical reasoning and reading comprehension were pretty fair, although I had one pretty brutal CR "application" question. You can get those on the GMAT.

Overall test feelings: The best advice I can give is to be "positive". I know that's obvious, but trust me it makes all the difference in the world. Because I finished my AWAs in 20-25 minutes, I wrote "have fun, be positive, breathe, keep pushing" on all my notepads as reminders to think positively. As the GMAT is a timing exam and requires focus, any positive reinforcement is great, especially after 2-3 difficult questions that can wreck your confidence.

Next for me:
I'm going to apply to Canadian schools with my current GMAT score. It's not a "great' score, but I'm well within the range. The opportunity cost of me studying another 50 hours is essentially not doing more "real" work which I need for an upcoming product launch. With my consulting background and extra-curriculars, I'm not overly worried about getting accepted to one of my top choices. I have been thinking of getting an admissions consultant to lock it in, but I'm not sure how well versed they are for Canadian universities.
GMAT Debrief: 640 (44Q,34V)   [#permalink] 25 Apr 2012, 17:41
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