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GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy

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GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 03:46
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Hi guys- long time lurker here. First, I would like to thank this fantastic community for all the posts and replies- this was probably my best resource for the exam. Also if the formatting is off, I would like to apologize for it and also apologies for the wall of text.

Long story short, I took my GMAT three weeks ago and I received my official score card a couple of days back:

Total: 750, Q:50, V:41, IR: 8/8, AWA: 6.0

I was expecting to cross the 760 mark, but this score suits me just fine :)

Background:

I am currently working in Finance, as a Business Analyst. The role has its good days and its bad days and times available per day can vary wildly.
Education-wise, I hold a Masters in Mechanical Engineering.

Study plan:

I studied on and off for a few months, before I registered for the GMAT. Only then did I become serious about it- so please book your GMAT date first and then look to tackle the questions. I studied for two and a half months and put in around 10 hours a week on average, but again I put in more hours at the end of the study period. I also took most of my tests towards the end of my study period- the more exam practice you have, the better it is for the real thing.

Strategy and scores:

I took a Kaplan test in the very beginning to see how I fared: the story was not good, I scored a 630 (Can't remember the splits well, but it leaned heavily towards the quant side). This gave me a good reference point and also allowed me to build my strategy. The books I later bought are:

1) Manhattan SC guide that I borrowed from my friend- never did the tests from Manhattan, but took the free one online
2) Kaplan Premier 2011 edition for the 6 tests that go along with it
3) PowerScore critical reasoning
4) LSAT question papers from 10 Actual, Official LSAT tests. These were very good for CR.
5) GMAT Prep software
6) I found "The Commentaries.." by Julius Caesar :oops: (Please don't laugh) to be fantastic- it's free on youtube- please search for commentaries; it uses a lot of relative pronouns and there are many examples of parallel sentences. The commentaries themselves are very gripping.
7) The GMATPrep compilations for SC and CR, available on the gmatclub fora- used these after I did the tests.
8) Platinum Gmat test.

9) MOST IMPORTANT BOOK: The OG: Use this book well- try to understand what the sentence says and then use the principles outlined by the SC, should you have to..

I did not buy anything extra for quant because I found Bunuel's posts and attachments to be more than sufficient. Quant was also something I was not very concerned with, as I felt it was not very difficult. For the verbal, I found that my initial strategy of trying to work with the rules as outlined in the SC books were not working for me. I ended up listening to e-books (I listed the major one above) and it helped my verbal scores greatly. I am not saying that the SC books/guides are bad- far from it, but it may not work for everyone. Try working with what works best for you and do not follow what works for others. I made this change after my horrendous performance in verbal for my first GMAT.

Tips: -if you are a non-native speaker, please try picking up sentence structure early on in your study period for sentence correction- it will help immensely on the test
-Please use the tests as a template for what you may face in the real thing
- For Quant, Bunuel's posts are gold dust- please scrutinize them well if you have trouble with quant
- Please don't only focus on 700+ questions- to get there you must be good with the intermediate 600-700 level questions- get those in order

the test scores themselves:

1) Free Kaplan test ( a long time ago and I do not remember the splits): 630
2) Kaptest 1: 710 (51, 37)
3) Kaptest 2: 730 (54, 37)
4) Kaptest 3: 720 (53, 36)

Studied and listened for some time did not do tests;
5) Kaptest 4: 770 (54, 49)- Did not do the 2 linear tests
6) GMAT Prep1: 760 (50, 42)
7) GMAT Prep2: 760 (50, 44)
8) Manhattan GMAT free test: 780 (51, 45) (knew 2-3 questions here before and hence the inflated score)
9) Princeton review free test: 740 (51, 40)

The GMAT:
Keep calm- have an energy source with you for the breaks (bananas or some sugar source). Drink water but don't have too much- it causes unpleasant situations while writing the test and that can disturb your concentration. Use the GMAT's strategy against the test: It starts of with average level questions- try solving them as quickly and accurately as you can and you will be left with more time to solve tougher questions when you get them. For verbal, I kept 40 minutes for the last twenty questions. Quant is a lot tougher than on any of the tests. I faced a lot of coordinate geometry and probability questions on the real thing. Keep a track of time during the breaks- it runs out rather quickly.

AWA: For this, I believe there is a thread on gmatclub which received good reviews. I used whatever strategies I would use on a CR and applied it here to write an essay; 10 minutes to think of points, 18 to write the body and 2 to proof read.

IR: Keep calm- the section is not too bad- even if you make a few mistakes (as I did), you can get the highest score. The material from OG should be enough here (probably a bit too much imho).

If you do have any queries, please post or PM me.
Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesKnewton GMAT Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 07:59
Wow, congratulations on an amazing score! And congratulations on being the first person to site Julius Caesar as a reason for your success on the GMAT. :-D

Great work, good luck with your applications!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 09:46
Congrats on getting a 750!
Can you please answer my below queries:
What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Do u think the level of difficulty was the same as that of gmatprep exam?
Also,did u see difficult CR questions involving percentages and stats?
How would u rate platinumgmat test and what was ur score on it?

Thanks,
Shreeraj
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 11:48
120 points improvement! Respect! Well done!

What was the secret of this success? People normally say 80 points are possible, but you managed to do more?
What was your hit rate on the different sections, when you did OG12/OG13? (I currently achieve overall 70-75% in Quant and around 76% for SC and am looking for kind of a benchmark)

Thanks in advance!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 18:26
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@shreerajp99

With regards to the quant: I had many questions from your numbers section, 3 probability questions and 3 co-ordinate geometry questions (one had modulus graphs and circle graphs together). The other questions were standard fare- numbers, ratios, statistics and all that jazz. The Quant in the real thing is tougher than the Prep- from what I have seen. But I believe a normal prep is more than sufficient to score 50+

No, I did not see many percentage CR questions- did see one involving ratios and one bold CR.

Platinum Gmat is very good- I used the test when I first started out- before the Kaplan tests- so it was a long time ago and I scored a 700 (not too sure about the splits- this was before I knew splits were just as important as the score)
The quant questions however are almost always 700+ on the platinum gmat test.


@bgpower:
Simple- though, I am a non-native, I speak the English fairly well. It was just sussing out what the test was about and doing some practice tests.. It was also getting a feel for the language again because I had been working in a country where the level of English spoken is not that high and there is a lot of introduced language in spoken English...

W.r.t hit rates, when I started out with the OG, it was around 70% for verbal and tailed off considerably towards the end of the SC and CR. I pushed it up to 90-95% for the SC and 85% on the CR. I might have missed a few on the test because I drank way too much water for my own good and a cold room+ a lot of water is not a good combination.

For Quant I scored close to a 100% on the OG- I believe the quant section on the OG is fairly weak. Make sure you learn your absolute values correctly.. :)
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 23:08
Thanks and best of luck for ur applications!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2012, 23:19
Great score! congrats!!! How were the passages for RC are they similar in length compared with the GMAT prep.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 01:41
@nelz007

Yes, the RC passages are of similar length to the ones in the GMAT Prep software.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 04:54
seriousmonkey wrote:
@bgpower:
Simple- though, I am a non-native, I speak the English fairly well. It was just sussing out what the test was about and doing some practice tests.. It was also getting a feel for the language again because I had been working in a country where the level of English spoken is not that high and there is a lot of introduced language in spoken English...

W.r.t hit rates, when I started out with the OG, it was around 70% for verbal and tailed off considerably towards the end of the SC and CR. I pushed it up to 90-95% for the SC and 85% on the CR. I might have missed a few on the test because I drank way too much water for my own good and a cold room+ a lot of water is not a good combination.

For Quant I scored close to a 100% on the OG- I believe the quant section on the OG is fairly weak. Make sure you learn your absolute values correctly.. :)


Thanks, very much for the response buddy! Just a few more questions:

1. Were those hit-rates of yours achieved directly from your first attempt of the OG12/OG13/QG2/VG2 questions? Or do you include the re-doing of the error log? If first - your scores are more the impressive and your overall GMAT score is absolutely deserved!

2. How much time did you spent re-doing your error log wrong/guessed questions, doing CAT test and really polishing your knowledge prior to the test?

3. And a rather practical question - How exactly did you use your scratch pad? I don't know if you had the MGMAT version prior to the exam, but I bought it, and currently think of the best way of utilizing the space?

Thanks again!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 05:11
Hey....could you please point me to Brunel's quant material that you are talking about? I'm taking the test in a few days. Thanks a ton!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 05:22
worldofecofin wrote:
Hey....could you please point me to Brunel's quant material that you are talking about? I'm taking the test in a few days. Thanks a ton!



just look up any post from Bunuel and you will find it. It has the Gmat club quant book as well as his questions from each topic.

james-and-henry-are-at-the-northwest-corner-of-their-busines-142357.html#p1143007
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 06:14
And how is this different from the GMAT Club tests? I believe he has contributed there as well, isn't it?
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 06:38
worldofecofin wrote:
And how is this different from the GMAT Club tests? I believe he has contributed there as well, isn't it?


Yeah I'm pretty sure he must have contributed to those tests.Since, the Gmat club is celebrating 1 million posts you can get the access for 10 days (have to use code for every single day) or postpone them for future use...

link >>> gmat-club-s-10-years-1-000-000-posts-milestone-learnmore-141955.html
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 07:55
nelz007 wrote:
worldofecofin wrote:
And how is this different from the GMAT Club tests? I believe he has contributed there as well, isn't it?


Yeah I'm pretty sure he must have contributed to those tests.Since, the Gmat club is celebrating 1 million posts you can get the access for 10 days (have to use code for every single day) or postpone them for future use...

link >>> gmat-club-s-10-years-1-000-000-posts-milestone-learnmore-141955.html


Yea I learnt about that through GC emails. It takes you to FB! Do you have to just like GC on FB? or some specific post / video or something? Also, what's with the limited access thing? Is it like only a few people can use those? If I postpone the access, it'll be only valid for one day I'm assuming. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy [#permalink] New post 13 Nov 2012, 10:26
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bgpower wrote:
seriousmonkey wrote:
@bgpower:
Simple- though, I am a non-native, I speak the English fairly well. It was just sussing out what the test was about and doing some practice tests.. It was also getting a feel for the language again because I had been working in a country where the level of English spoken is not that high and there is a lot of introduced language in spoken English...

W.r.t hit rates, when I started out with the OG, it was around 70% for verbal and tailed off considerably towards the end of the SC and CR. I pushed it up to 90-95% for the SC and 85% on the CR. I might have missed a few on the test because I drank way too much water for my own good and a cold room+ a lot of water is not a good combination.

For Quant I scored close to a 100% on the OG- I believe the quant section on the OG is fairly weak. Make sure you learn your absolute values correctly.. :)


Thanks, very much for the response buddy! Just a few more questions:

1. Were those hit-rates of yours achieved directly from your first attempt of the OG12/OG13/QG2/VG2 questions? Or do you include the re-doing of the error log? If first - your scores are more the impressive and your overall GMAT score is absolutely deserved!

2. How much time did you spent re-doing your error log wrong/guessed questions, doing CAT test and really polishing your knowledge prior to the test?

3. And a rather practical question - How exactly did you use your scratch pad? I don't know if you had the MGMAT version prior to the exam, but I bought it, and currently think of the best way of utilizing the space?

Thanks again!




No problem at all!

1) For the SC, first time out, I got around an 85% hit rate until I got to the 70th question. Then the values began to drop precipitously. I smartened up to the queries later and was able to understand why I got those incorrect.

2) Rather than keep an error log as many have done before me, I kept track of the general theme; which questions I tended to struggle with and work on them. Never had a look at the questions as a whole. The best thing one can do is to understand the concept and I felt that the error log in its traditional form made me dishonest as I knew the answers to the questions. So I kept to the general theme.

I also confess that I needed a break from all the questions at times. I took some time off, two weeks before the exam.. did no gmat stuff for 4 days...

3) I did my quant problems all over the place... I rarely used the scratch pad for verbal, unless I wanted to note the structure of a CR. But I did not use it much after the quant.

Again it depends on what you are comfortable with... You would know what and how best things work for you. It is just a matter of discovering this "plan" - then you can do well enough...
Re: GMAT Debrief: 750 (50,41) Build your own strategy   [#permalink] 13 Nov 2012, 10:26
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