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GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42)

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GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 15:33
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Took the GMAT test this afternoon and scored a 760 (Q50, V42). I am obviously quite content with the score and am ready to move on to the application phase of this process.

Background: I am an Infantry Captain in the US Army, just got back from the Middle East two weeks ago. Did the majority of my studying while in Iraq during down time. I graduated with a Computer Science degree from the Cornell School of Engineering, 3.54 GPA. Spent the deployment as a Platoon Leader. Commanded a 42-man Rifle Platoon and was directly responsible for ~10 million in equipment.

I really want to thank GMATClub for all the resources that it offers. The GMATClub tests were especially valuable in ensuring my high Quant Score.

My Practice Scores:

GMATPrep Test 1 - 710 (didn't remember break down) this was my first test, I took it cold without even knowing the types of questions, so I obviously got a lot of DS incorrect.

MGMAT Test 1 = 720 (Q47, V41), took this midway through the studying while in Iraq, and conditions were not ideal
MGMAT Test 2 = 700 (Q47, V39) Started to get a little frustrated!
MGMAT Test 3 = 750 (Q48, V45) Whew more in line with what I was expecting
MGMAT Test 4 = 750 (Q48, V45)
MGMAT Test 5 = 770 (Q50, V44) * At this point MGMAT started running out of 700-800 level questions
MGMAT Test 6 = 770 (Q51, V44)

GMATPrep Test 2 = 750 (Q50, V40)

I then downloaded the old version of GMATPrep and continually reset all 4 tests to get new problems and do checks on learning on some of the difficult repeats.

My Study Plan:

Let me preface by saying I used the set of 8 MGMAT books and the 3 Official Guides. I did not make any marks in any of the books and 7/8 of the MGMAT codes are still good. I owe the GMATClub a lot, so message me if you are interested in purchasing parts or all of the set at a discounted price.
EDIT: Made a post in appropriate forum for books: http://gmatclub.com/forum/newest-mgmat-og-and-test-notepad-for-sale-117152.html

Anyway after taking the initial GMATPrep test I immediately realized my weak points were Data Sufficiency and Sentence Correction. I decided to just order the entire set of MGMAT books since I had about 4 months and brushing up on everything couldn't hurt. I started with Math going through each of the 5 books at a pace of about one every 2 days (Math has always been a strongpoint). After each section I would do all the recommending practice problems. I then moved onto Verbal. I spent about a week digesting the Sentence Correction book, and about 3 days on the Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension books together. I again did all of the recommended practice problems from each book.

At this point I downloaded an error tracker for the Official Guide and started at number 1, doing the entire book. I repeated this process for the OG Quant and OG Verbal. I then went through the tracker to identify patterns. My Quant errors mostly consisted of stupid mistakes or not reading every detail in the problem. My Verbal errors consisted of mostly tough Sentence Correction. It was at this point I decided to go through the MGMAT Sentence Correction book again, which I highly recommend doing. I felt like I was able to absorb much more knowledge. I continued to go over OG Sentence Correction problems making sure I read every answer explanation fully. After about 2 months or so, I started to get into what I call "the zone" where I could systematically get to the correct answer of most SC. My hit rate was usually over 90%. At this point I felt good to go, my knowledge was solid. It was time to work on my test-taking ability/strategy.

I scheduled the GMAT for when I would be on block leave and then began taking the MGMAT tests. The first one was when I was still in Iraq and I got interrupted about 20 times (such is the life of a Platoon Leader), but it was still a good gauge. The 700+ level problems on the MGMAT seemed very tedious/time consuming, and again most of my problems were because of stupid mistakes. I had heard that the GMATClub tests could help with that, so I purchased all 25 and went to work. They did indeed deliver. With the rest of my time deployed I took about 10 or 11 GMATClub math tests, along with the most difficult problems collection.

After getting home I took a day or two off, and then began going through the rest of my tests. I took on average one a day. I attribute the 2nd MGMAT test to being rusty, I guess I just had a bad day on Verbal, but it was frustrating. Regardless the rest of my tests were where I wanted them to be, and it did help with my timing. I learned when to let that super hard Quant problem go earlier rather than later. In hindsight, I would not recommend using the MGMAT to pace your Quant as the 700+ level problems seemed a lot harder. I only made about 1 dumb mistake per test at this point, which was more than acceptable. I was also getting 1 or 2 RC/CR wrong and 2 or 3 SC wrong. I took my 2nd GMATPrep test and was pleased with the score. It was at this point that I started memorizing an AWA template. I then recycled my GMATPrep tests and took 2 a days for three days in a row to help train my mental endurance. Sometimes, if I was up to it, I would do an AWA or two. Finally two days before the test I took a full GMAT with the 2 AWA.

The day before the test I took it easy. Made sure I knew my templates inside and out, and reviewed some of the difficult problems I got wrong.

Test Day:

Finally test day was here. I had gotten about 9 hours of sleep so I woke up refreshed and feeling good. I drank some diet Dr. Pepper in the morning to get some caffeine in me. I looked over my error log one more time, had a sandwich for lunch, and then waited till about 1PM. I drove to the testing center and they told me that they could immediately check me in and I could begin whenever. I drank about half a diet red bull, took a piss, and logged myself in.

You have approximately 5 minutes during the timed intro screen to write out your AWA templates. It was more than enough time, and I had already read the into screen about 20 times using the GMATPrep software. The analysis of an argument AWA I found incredibly easy. There were many points for me to argue against. The Analysis of an Issue, on the other hand, I find to be tough. At some point I saw I wasn't actually answering the question, but I realized with enough time, and made the appropriate correction. The argument essay was by far my stronger essay, but then again I didn't really care too much about the AWA.

I took the 8 minute break, splashed some water on my face, drank the other half of my red bull, and ate half of a cliff bar. I then re entered the test to begin Quant. Everything was going smoothly, however there was one problem which I spent a lot of time trying to solve (I was ahead by about 6 minutes at this point). By the end of the test I was down to 2 minutes a question. An extremely difficult DS one popped up and I had 6 minutes left, and 2 more questions. After about a minute I just guessed. The remaining two were easy and I solved both of them combined in under 2 minutes. I could tell I was doing well because many of the problems were difficult. There were only about 2 I wasn't 100% sure on, but didn't want to waste time. I was a little frustrated at running low on time, but I told myself to forget it. I took another 8 minute break. I Drank half of a sugar red bull and ate half of a cliff bar, and then got ready for Verbal.

Verbal seemed like a breeze. I knew that I was extremely fast on RC questions (Usually took about 3 minutes for an entire passage and questions) so I could spend extra time on SC. I felt confident about the majority of my answers. The ones that gave me trouble were surprisingly 2 difficult RC questions and 1 difficult CR problem. Although, I am sure I got 1 or 2 SC incorrect. I finished with ample time, but I wasn't done!

My test date was one of the dates that required you to take the 30 minute experimental section of inductive reasoning. My brain was fried on this point, and I think the problems started out very hard based on my GMAT percentile from Q/V. These problems were extremely tough, and extremely different. I ran out of time very early and had to rush the last few problems. My brain was also fried at this point, and I didn't really care that much about this section since it didn't count. I knew I did well at this point, so I loaded up my unofficial scores and BAM. 760 total. I was happy raised my hand and exited the testing area. Printed out my scores and I was on my merry way. Phase 1 down!

My Top Tips:

These are in a random order as I think them up.

1. As long as time permits, refresh yourself on all GMAT Topics. You will learn tips to help you answer questions faster
2. Get all three of the Official Guides. They were by far the best tool in my prep.
3. Save at least one of your GMAT Prep tests for last. Although MGMAT is close is isn't the as close as GMATPrep.
4. Take the day before the test off.
5. Only once your Quant has hit ~46+, use the GMATClub tests to bring it up to the 50/51 range.
6. Do not use the MGMAT tests to pace Quant. I found the 700+ questions much more difficult and detailed then the real thing.
7. Memorize an AWA template and write it down on your notepad during the tutorial.
8. Ask for an extra pen before the test starts, just in case.
9. Take all the breaks and bring snacks/caffeine if caffeine helps you (don't take anything you haven't tried before on test day)
10. Keep an error log during your studying
11. Realize that all 6 MGMAT tests share the same pool of questions (but algorithm blocks repeats) so if you score 700+ on all of them you will run out of 700+ questions around test 5.

As I think of more I will add them. Feel free to message me with any questions. Hope this helps! I will most definitely be around as I am applying to schools in this fall application season.

Again if anyone is interested in the MGMAT Guide or any of the Official Guides, I have unmarked copies of all of them, at a discount! Military preference!

Thanks again!

Last edited by Zarthul on 16 Jul 2011, 06:51, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 15:44
Excellent debrief and great score.

"I knew that I was extremely fast on RC questions (Usually took about 3 minutes for an entire passage and questions)"

Seriously?! 3 minutes for an entire RC passage? That is ludicrously quick.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 17:03
Obviously it depends on the difficulty, but I find it takes about 1.5 minutes to read/take notes on an entire passage and then 30ish seconds per question. I have however taken MUCH longer to take notes on difficult passages or to answer difficult questions.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 17:04
Congrats and great advice for everyone!
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My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 18:44
You are just awesome in RC. I wish i were like you :). Anyways congratulations for an awesome score and all the best for your apps.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2011, 20:03
Great score. Congratulations.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 07:00
congratulations! great debrief.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 09:16
Congratulations!
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with everyone.
You really inspire me.

I am sure you will contribute a lot to your MBA class too.
Good luck for the application process!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 09:26
Great Score. Wondering, how hard may it be for you to do your preparations in iraq
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 14 Jul 2011, 09:33
Can you give some tips on improving speed and accuracy in RC ?
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 05:47
Congrats! Quick question: Were you able to reset the OG CAT prep or you did it once?
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 10:04
First of all, Thank you for your service to our country!
Secondly congratulations on this performance and thanks for sharing your story with us!

All the best in your MBA journey!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 12:46
Do you still have the books ? I would like to get the MGMAT tests and the SC. Let me know. Thanks

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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 21:41
Zarthul wrote:
Obviously it depends on the difficulty, but I find it takes about 1.5 minutes to read/take notes on an entire passage and then 30ish seconds per question. I have however taken MUCH longer to take notes on difficult passages or to answer difficult questions.


Oh dear Good Captain kudos to your skill on this :-D but it may be because of your strong background in reading, literature et.... I guess most of the test takers take almost just about double the time to finish what you stated. :!: :!:
Nonetheless heartiest congratulations for the great score 8-)
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 23:10
awesome score...can you please share some verbal tips..have u used any other books apart from those of OG and MGMAT
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 15 Jul 2011, 23:27
wow... good score zarthul... wishing you the best for your application process..
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2011, 00:48
Congrats!! Nice and Inspiring!!
RC passage in 3 mins.. That's amazing!! Wish I could achieve the same!! :)
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 16 Jul 2011, 06:34
To answer some of the questions. These only resources I used were the 3 Official Guides, the 8 Manhattan books, and the GMATClub Tests.

For Pankgarg, although I am an engineer I used to read everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid, and I still do to some extent. I think that it what made my reading comprehension so strong. If you have time I would recommend reading, there is a post somewhere on this forum (hopefully someone can link it) that has a list of great books!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2011, 07:17
I'm preparing for the exam, and I have a question for you.
These are the tools I have the MGMAT, all 8 books + the MGMAT MATH FOUNDATIONS + the 3-4 OG Books, Blue/Green, 800 q's, and the 12th edition.

Weakness would be math.

In a 3-5 month time frame that I can set aside for the time to prep before the exam. What kind of schedule would you recommend for me to follow with the OG+MGMAT Books. Allowing myself 3-5 Months to tackle the studying, preparation, and refreshing my self with the foundations in math book.

How much time should I focus on the foundations of math, then for everyother book. MGMAT course was teaching this stuff at a rate of 1 book per week, and having like 21 units during my crash course, I could not keep up with all the work. I completed the course, but mainly just payed attention and recognize my strenghts and weaknesses in the exam.

I just graduated, I'm working, and need help to structure myself so I can apply this second round of admission this year.

You're help is greatly appreciated.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42) [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2011, 10:11
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Well if your weakness is math, start with math. Go through each of the MGMAT math books at whatever pace is comfortable for you. 3-5 months is PLENTY of time. Take your time on the math books and do each of the problems at the end. At first don't worry about time, just get the concepts down. One technique you can try is to solve every answer in at least 2 different ways (sometimes this isn't possible). It is important that you keep an error log so you can begin to see where your specific weaknesses are in math.

Once you have identified these weaknesses just keep doing practice problems/re-reading that particular math book. Once you transition to verbal, don't neglect math. Try to do at least 10 PS and 10 DS a day, before or after doing your verbal work.

Again an error log is your best friend.
Re: GMAT Debrief - 760 (Q50, V42)   [#permalink] 17 Jul 2011, 10:11
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