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# GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47)

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Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
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Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
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Kudos [?]: 64 [17] , given: 40

GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  24 Jun 2011, 16:41
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Hi guys,

Took the GMAT this afternoon and scored 770 (Q50, V47). I'm ecstatic about the score. I promised yesterday that I would post a full debrief after it was over, so here it goes.

First of all, I have to thank GMATClub for simply being the perfect resource for anyone preparing for the test. I was lucky enough to stumble on the site on a recommendation from WallStreetOasis and all of the advice, stories and practice materials I found on here were invaluable in my preparation. I will definitely recommend the site to anyone I know who is preparing for the GMAT!

A little background on me: I just graduated college with an engineering degree (so Quant wasn't a big issue). I took the LSAT a couple years ago so I had a decent foundation in CR and RC as well.

Practice Scores

GMATPrep 1 - 770 (50Q, 46V)
Kaplan CD - 670
MGMAT 1 - 780 (51Q, 45V)
Kaplan Real Test Day Experience - 760
MGMAT 2 - 770 (50Q, 45V)
MGMAT 3 - 770 (50Q, 45V)
MGMAT 4 - 770 (51Q, 44V)
GMATPrep 2 - 780
MGMAT 5 - 750 (51Q, 41V)
GMAT - 770 (50Q, 47V)

Practice Materials Used

I had copies of the Kaplan GMAT Premier 2011 and Princeton Review GMAT 2011 books before I discovered this forum, but on some good advice I bought the full set of Manhattan GMAT guides, the OG 12th edition and both of the other OG guides as well. I ended up only using the Kaplan and PR books for their introductions and test-taking strategies. I thought PR in particular did a good job laying out how the scoring of the test works and how you should budget your time (focus on early questions and make sure under no circumstances you let yourself needlessly run out of time). I read the entire Manhattan GMAT SC guide, but that was the only guide I used extensively. I worked through all of the hardest CR questions and all of the SC questions in the OG 12th edition (didn't end up touching the other two books) and did the Manhattan Online Question Banks for those two sections as well.

I think that the biggest takeaway I got from amassing my huge collection of books was that there are a TON of GMAT practice materials out there and if you don't have the time to go through it all, you should only use the highest quality stuff. For me, that was the Manhattan guides for concepts I didn't know and the OG for real practice problems. I also found the GMATClub tests very useful for practicing Quant--take them timed and start from the end if you are already scoring well on that section.

I'll say something quickly about Kaplan. I don't think that their CD tests are reliable in terms of their scoring (at least for Verbal), so if you use those tests I would take whatever score you get with a grain of salt. The Real Test Day Experience is an online test though, taken at the actual Pearson test center at an actual test station and it is EXCELLENT. I signed up for the cheapest Kaplan course just to get this opportunity (I saw somewhere that you can take the test for just $80 though--I'm going see if I can get a refund). You follow basically the same test procedures and the test looks the same on the screen as it does on test day. If it is at all possible for you to sign up for this, I would highly recommend it. Having a good feel for the test center made test day a lot less stressful. It doesn't have to be your last CAT, you can take it any time during your preparation. How I Studied I had originally planned to take the GMAT in early August, but after getting a 770 diagnostic, I decided to study intensively for 3 weeks instead. Even though I didn't improve from my diagnostic at all, I have never regretted the time I put into preparing. If anyone has just taken a diagnostic and has already reached their target score, I would caution against going into the exam without preparation. I basically knew nothing about SC (I would read the answer choices and pick the one that sounded good) and I was not managing my time well in Quant at all. Given a different set of circumstances I could easily see my diagnostic being much lower than it was. I first focused on the area that I was weakest in, SC. I read through the Manhattan guide and did some of the book exercises in my head. I also started keeping a list of idioms I ran into and looked over it every once in a while. One of the best pieces of advice that I have seen repeated over and over on this forum is that simply doing CATs is a waste of time while preparing for the GMAT. I think this is true at any level. Between CATs you should be engaging in TARGETED practice that addresses issues that you are deficient in. For me that included doing Quant sections in less than the allowed time and doing hundreds of SC questions in batches of 10 (reading the explanations for correct and incorrect questions). Error logs. These were something I didn't know about until reading this forum. I didn't do anything fancy. After each CAT I kept a list of questions that I had gotten incorrect and also any questions that I couldn't solve in under 3 minutes. Every 3 tests or so I would work through these problems again and take them off if I got them correct. Early on I also kept a stack of paper with one Quant problem on each sheet along with a solution and a quick summary of the error I had made/what to keep in mind. That was useful to review before the test. I think that everyone should create their own method of logging errors, but this seemed to work for me. Some other notable things I did were I took two CATs back to back one day to train endurance and I took a break for the two days leading up to the exam (did some practice problems and reviewed error logs, but no tests). The last CAT I did I saw a bit of a drop (down to a 41 from a 44-46 in Verbal), probably due to fatigue. Definitely take a break before your exam and don't cram. If you're working--take the day off before your test as well as the day of if you can and do something relaxing. I watched the NBA draft. Test Day I scheduled the test for the afternoon so I wouldn't have to wake up early (my Kaplan Test Day Experience was around the same time). I woke up early anyway though because I was too jumpy. I got there an hour early, but they let me get started right away (I guess not many people take the GMAT at 2PM on a Friday). I was given a locker and they explained the instructions. If you don't have a chance to do a Test Day Experience, at least watch the Youtube video that tells you exactly what happens. The two essays weren't a problem (definitely see this thread for good tips). I promised myself before the test that I would take every break to clear my head and splash cold water on my face. This was a good idea. You don't want to suddenly get sleepy or need to use the bathroom in the middle of Quant just because you felt like you were "on a roll." After a bit of a shaky point early in the section (I was unsure whether the square root of the square of a variable was plus/minus or always positive), I think I did fine for the rest. I've never gotten anything besides a 50 or 51 so I wasn't too worried. The biggest piece of advice I can give people on this section is focus on your timing because unlike in Verbal, you can't quickly eliminate bad choices when you need to solve an actual problem. Read this post and try to be ahead of schedule coming into the last 3 questions. The added time pressure of the section ending can throw you off your game. I didn't develop a "1-minute sense," but I did try my best to check the clock every couple questions and make sure I had 2 * (number of questions left) minutes remaining. I took another break before Verbal and began work on the section. I had generally finished Verbal 20+ minutes ahead of time in practice (compared to having to rush the end of Quant a couple times), so I consciously worked slower to avoid stupid mistakes. Midway through the section I felt like I was rocking it, but I was working a bit too slowly so I sped up. If you are early in the section you can try to wait for SC questions to make up time, but if you are in the last 15 questions or so, DO NOT WAIT to fix a timing problem. Near the end I was feeling good about my performance, but I thought to myself, "wow, imagine what your score would be if you got the last 10 questions of Verbal wrong." That helped me to regain focus. When I got my score I was relieved. Having read stories of people having subpar test experiences I can say this: for all the hype about the CAT and how it's an accurate predictor, there is still a lot of luck involved in taking the GMAT. I was fortunate on test day to not run into any problems and for that I'm grateful. I tried to worry about only what was under my control though: how I prepared, how I approached each question and the mindset I carried into the test center. 10 Pieces of General Advice 1. Get the MGMAT guides and the OG 2. Sign up for a Kaplan Real Test Day Experience 3. Study smart, don't just take CATs 4. Review the questions you do slowly, not just the ones you get wrong 5. Take a day or two off before the exam 6. Ask for an extra pen at the exam center if they don't give you one 7. Take all of the breaks even if you don't think you need them 8. Think positive thoughts going in and promise yourself a reward at the end 9. Do not slack off at the end of Verbal 10. Try to enjoy the experience, but always respect the test and don't cut corners I'm indebted to this forum for all of its help, so I'd be more than happy to answer any questions. I'll definitely be around for the next couple years as I get ready to apply for business school (class of '15 probably). Thanks and Cheers! _________________ My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html Last edited by bb on 12 Jul 2011, 23:24, edited 1 time in total. Added to the Collection  Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount Codes Knewton GMAT Discount Codes GMAT Pill GMAT Discount Codes Current Student Joined: 04 Jun 2011 Posts: 127 Location: United States Concentration: General Management, Strategy GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47 GPA: 3.8 Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 64 [2] , given: 40 Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink] 12 Jul 2011, 07:39 2 This post received KUDOS Aj: For a general approach to DS questions look at the flowchart here http://gmatclub.com/forum/an-emerging-problem-studying-for-the-gmat-104013.html. For specific strategies I would consult the MGMAT guides. I completely agree with you that DS is more challenging than PS most of the time because your thinking for the problems can be disjointed and going back through your logic to check your work can be damn near impossible at times. There are a couple things you can do to help your accuracy: 1. Organize your work on the scratchpad so that it's easy to follow. On one side maybe write "Check 1," and include all of your work checking to see if (1) is sufficient. Then on the other side of the page write "Check 2," and do the same. This will ensure that you don't get the work confused. 2. Write out counterexamples explicitly and circle your conclusions. For example if you're trying to see if |x| > 1 is sufficient to say x > 0, you could write x = 2 (YES) and x = -2 (NO) and then in big letters circled write "INSUFFICIENT." There should be no doubt when you check through that thought process later because you have written the counterexample down explicitly. I haven't seen a way to sign up for a Kaplan Real Test Day experience without signing up for the course, but Kaplan has a good refund policy so what I did was: I signed up for the cheapest self-study course (about$450 USD) and Kaplan will refund 75% of your course fee if you only use one CAT/resource. So I ended up paying about $113 for the test (cheap compared to a$250 GMAT!!!).

arp: http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html

gablaze: Read chineseburned's AWA guide (linked above). I always took an AWA with my CATs. Once you are decently prepared for Quant and Verbal I recommend ALWAYS doing this for a couple of reasons:

1. Taking an AWA best simulates the actual fatigue you'll feel during the exam
2. You want to practice the templates/techniques/timing for the AWA as well as getting used to thinking of ideas quickly

To be honest, from what I've seen your AWA score doesn't matter too much. Neglecting it in your prep though is likely to throw you off during the real test and if you're struggling or thinking too hard in the first hour of the GMAT, it will negatively influence your performance for the latter two sections.

Hope this helps!
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My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html

CEO
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 3577
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Other
Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2011
GMAT 1: 750 Q50 V40
Followers: 408

Kudos [?]: 2175 [1] , given: 359

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  24 Jun 2011, 17:27
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
Wow! Congrats!!!
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Affiliations: HEC
Joined: 28 Sep 2009
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GMAT 1: 730 Q48 V44
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  24 Jun 2011, 17:32
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
Whoa, excellent score! And thank you for sharing your GMAT experience and providing us with some general advice. Debriefs such as this truly help others to reach their goals.

Congrats!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  24 Jun 2011, 18:03
1
KUDOS
Manager
Joined: 13 Nov 2009
Posts: 120
Location: India
Concentration: Finance, Marketing
GPA: 4
WE: General Management (Insurance)
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Kudos [?]: 9 [1] , given: 16

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  24 Jun 2011, 18:50
1
KUDOS
Congratulations!
Manager
Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Posts: 249
Schools: LBS, Oxford
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Kudos [?]: 30 [1] , given: 12

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  24 Jun 2011, 19:15
1
KUDOS
congratulations...great score

alss curious about class of 15...why did you take GMAT now ?
Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [1] , given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  25 Jun 2011, 04:26
1
KUDOS
I just graduated college and have the summer off before I begin work, so I figured I'd just get it out of the way. Since the score is good for 5 years I figured taking it 2 years before I applied was still a safe bet.
_________________

My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html

Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [1] , given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  02 Jul 2011, 10:09
1
KUDOS
BearBelly: It sounds like you're on the right track! A couple recommendations:

1. Make sure your practice in the last week is a mix between doing/reviewing new CATs and looking at the mistakes you made on past tests. Especially for SC, finding patterns in the mistakes you make is critical to avoid making them in the future.
2. Take the last day or two off before your exam. Do not go into the test center CAT-fatigued. You can still review questions here and there, but don't do any full tests the day before.
3. Read chineseburned's AWA guide and do some practice there.

Thanks again for your advice after I took my diagnostic, it was helpful to move my test date up. Best of luck next week!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  02 Jul 2011, 10:30
1
KUDOS
gmatkoopa wrote:
BearBelly: It sounds like you're on the right track! A couple recommendations:

1. Make sure your practice in the last week is a mix between doing/reviewing new CATs and looking at the mistakes you made on past tests. Especially for SC, finding patterns in the mistakes you make is critical to avoid making them in the future.
2. Take the last day or two off before your exam. Do not go into the test center CAT-fatigued. You can still review questions here and there, but don't do any full tests the day before.
3. Read chineseburned's AWA guide and do some practice there.

Thanks again for your advice after I took my diagnostic, it was helpful to move my test date up. Best of luck next week!

Thanks man!

I will keep these pointers in my mind ... Moreover, since I am not a native English speaker (I am from India), I am facing timing issues in verbal and I am trying to minimize those too ..

Wish me luck !
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Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [1] , given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  03 Jul 2011, 06:26
1
KUDOS
Good luck BearBelly!
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My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html

Current Student
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GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  04 Jul 2011, 15:42
1
KUDOS
Great debrief and impressive score. Well done!
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  06 Jul 2011, 09:14
1
KUDOS

I loved these summary points:

5. Take a day or two off before the exam
7. Take all of the breaks even if you don't think you need them
8. Think positive thoughts going in and promise yourself a reward at the end
Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [1] , given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  07 Jul 2011, 19:01
1
KUDOS
allen: I have found that for CR and RC, experience from doing many, many questions is the most valuable tool you can bring into the test center. Once you have seen hundreds of examples of these question types you should be able to anticipate the answers to questions sometimes even before you read the answer choices. When I prepped for the LSAT I had exposure to countless difficult CR and RC questions, so I was lucky to have a good base there.

It's different for SC. SC is an easier section to prepare for because there is a finite number of things that they can spring on you and they are all basically covered in the MGMAT SC Guide (and other books too I'm sure). You need to be comfortable recognizing the major patterns (verb tense, pronoun/modifier, concision) and you should avoid as much as possible "going with your gut." For that reason, I recommend reviewing both the questions you get right and the ones you get wrong in SC, reading the explanations carefully. You want to get to a point where you can answer a SC and specifically point to the reasons why the other 4 answer choices are incorrect. Doing SC questions by "feel" (reading all of the choices and picking the one that sounds best), works sometimes, but it won't be consistent enough to guarantee you the score you want.

Make a list of idioms that you've learned while doing problems. Do SC questions in batches of 10 and immediately review the answers. Keep a good error log and redo questions you got incorrect (or did too slowly) periodically.

Hope that helps!
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My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html

Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [1] , given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  12 Jul 2011, 17:00
1
KUDOS
Best of luck! Let me know if there's any other advice I can give =)
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My GMAT Experience: http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief-770-q50-v47-115912.html

Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [1] , given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  13 Jul 2011, 05:58
1
KUDOS
Thanks bb! That's an illustrious group to be part of =D
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  19 Jan 2013, 06:25
1
KUDOS
Thanks.
Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [0], given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  25 Jun 2011, 04:27
Oh also just to clarify, when I say class of '15 I mean I am a '13 applicant to graduate in '15.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  25 Jun 2011, 05:51
gmatkoopa wrote:
Oh also just to clarify, when I say class of '15 I mean I am a '13 applicant to graduate in '15.

Congrats on your score. I see consistently had Q50 in all mocks. I have a couple of questions for you.

1. Are MGMAT and Kaplan Quant questions close to the Real Thing ? If yes then how close are they ?
2. The same for Verbal ? Were the texts in RC n CR more complicated than the OGs or Kaplan/MGMAT Cats ?
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Current Student
Joined: 04 Jun 2011
Posts: 127
Location: United States
Concentration: General Management, Strategy
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V47
GPA: 3.8
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 64 [0], given: 40

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47) [#permalink]  25 Jun 2011, 06:31
akhilesh: I would say that both Kaplan and MGMAT questions are pretty close to the GMAT. I didn't have as much experience with Kaplan, but at least for MGMAT I found that the real GMAT "felt" pretty close to an MGMAT section. If I had to choose one, I would say MGMAT was maybe a little tougher than the real GMAT (the toughest questions were more challenging, there were maybe a few more of them and I could see more "tricks"). Some things that MGMAT likes to do:

1. DS questions where you have to try a lot of cases with different numbers. The real GMAT had these too, but at least for my sitting they weren't as challenging.
2. Absolute value questions where some of the solutions don't work (you solve for both positive and negative and one of them doesn't agree with the original equation). I don't remember encountering that on the real GMAT.
3. Questions where if you assume everything is an integer you'll get them wrong.
4. Hard geometry problems.

Of course all of this evidence is anecdotal, but from what I've read on the forums, MGMAT does tend to be a bit more tricky. I'm not saying the real GMAT doesn't have questions like those above, but I think it's more straightforward.

I can't comment on the Kaplan Verbal stuff, but MGMAT was solid for that too. I would still use the OG though if you have a choice.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47)   [#permalink] 25 Jun 2011, 06:31

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# GMAT Debrief - 770 (Q50, V47)

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