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GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44).

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GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2010, 16:19
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Ah, I'm finally finished! My score equals 730. Here is the breakdown:

VERBAL- 44
QUANT- 48
AWA - 4.0


I'm actually somewhat surprised with the numbers above. For my diagnostic, I scored a 39 in verbal and an 18 in math - in August. I performed better than expected for quant, but slightly lower for verbal. Fatigue probably set in at that point. Plus, perhaps overconfidence in that section allowed me to feel too comfortable. I could've performed better on the AWA and certainly used the right materials. But, to be honest, I didn't take that portion of the test seriously.

Test Day:
I arrived at the test center over 30 minutes early. I also visited the place a few days prior to this in order to familiarize myself with the location. This is important because you want to remove as many unknowns and distractions as possible before the test starts. Anyway, I took the breaks to go to the bathroom, stretch, and eat some snacks. I brought almonds and Gatorade. This helped me to delay the inevitable, but toward the end I started to feel impatient and exhausted. I was a little nervous at the beginning, but took deep breaths and calmed myself.

I couldn't gauge my performance on the quant section. But I felt confident for verbal, even with the fatigue toward the end. I didn't care too much about the AWA. Some may label that as a bad move, but I'm satisfied with my 4.0 score.

Practice Tests:
My two GMATPrep scores were 740 and 750. I also completed the six MGMAT CAT's, but only the verbal portions. The GMATClub Tests were more than enough practice for that, so I didn't need Manhattan's quant sections.

Overall, I'm not an advocate of excessive CAT practice. These are vital tools in one's preparation, but I feel that anything more than the Manhattan tests and GMATPrep is overkill and can take away time well spent in practicing questions and studying the concepts. Those are the areas that increase your score. (NOTE: I consider the GMATClub Tests question practice rather than test practice).

General Strategy:
My strategy for the GMAT basically revolved around doing way too many problems and studying way more than was necessary. I don't know the exact number, but a reasonable estimate probably hovers around 5,000 questions. Overall, this method worked for me, but, looking back, I definitely see some areas that could have been better spent doing something else in preparation for this test.

Sentence Correction:
1. Manhattan SC Guide - This book is essential. Buy it, read it, then read it again. If you have time, read it one more time.
2. Brutal SC document - These questions are very difficult. Don't use them until you have exhausted the OG questions.

Critical Reasoning:
1. Powerscore CR Bible - This book is fantastic and easy to read. Worth the money.
2. Powerscore LR Bible - This is just a bigger and more difficult version of the CR Bible. There are chapters that overlap the CR guide, so just buy one book. I purchased both because I had a little extra money and time on my hands.

Reading Comprehension:
1. Powerscore RC Bible - This book is pretty good and will help you to become a more active reader. Just make sure you ignore the stuff specifically geared toward the LSAT material. If you're already comfortable with RC, skip it.
2. GMAT Fiction - This was a fun way to relax and yet still be productive. My favorites from this list include The Remains of the Day and Daisy Miller.

Quant:
1. Manhattan Math Series - Very solid series. I read these books twice. I found the company's Number Properties, Word Translations, and Geometry guides extremely helpful. However, their end-of-chapter review questions were not that great. In fact, I would recommend just skipping those and reinforce the concepts with the suggested OG questions instead.
2. Jeff Sackmann's Math Sets - Oh my God! These were the essential ingredient to my high score. Seriously, I can't tell you how much these questions helped me to gradually increase my quant score. I went through all 1,800 of his questions. This was the best purchase I made for my GMAT preparation.
3. GMATClub Tests - These really turn you into a quant monster. Much, much harder than Sackmann's stuff, including his Extreme Challenge set. If Sackmann took me to the 700-level, GMATClub allowed me to enter the land of 700-plus. Thank you so much, GMATClub!
4. Manhattan Quant Challenge - These are the hardest questions out there, but I mean that in a bad way. I could hardly answer any of them. I had to stop because I was becoming very passive; I would simply look at a question, give up, and look up the answer. That's not the kind of attitude you want to have leading up to the test. Also, I didn't find these questions very representative of the real GMAT. Way too hard and exhausting. Avoid these.

AWA:
1. kalpeshchopada7 - This member posted a great document containing 223 sample essays. Read these, and then practice on your own. It shouldn't take long to get decent at it. Also review the post by Chineseburned.

Additional Material:
1. GMATClub Forums - The forums are your friend, especially for verbal. One of the best things you can do is contribute to the discussions.
2. OG - This is obvious. Complete all three books. Also, make sure to read all the explanations thoroughly, including the problems that you answered correctly. Remember, though, that while these questions are necessary, they won't bring you to a 700-level performance. Once you have successfully covered the material, move on to more advanced questions.
3. Official LSAT SuperPrep - This was okay. LSAT RC questions are very good, though.
4. Manhattan Test Simulation Booklet - This is a decent purchase, as it allows you to get used to the testing environment.
5. Online tests - Use the two free tests from mba.com as well as the Manhattan tests.

Insights:
1. Finish the OG - Once you master the OG content, don't stick around and needlessly repeat those questions over and over again. Practice with them, learn from your mistakes, but move on.
2. Quant requires quantity AND quality - Use the best math guides that fit your specific needs. But you can learn just as much from lots of high quality problem. It's really not a "quality vs. quantity" debate at all. It's about using both and finding the right balance that works for you.
3. Re-read the books - Reviewing and Re-reading the guidebooks is one of the best kept secrets of the GMAT.
4. Take the test when you're ready - If you study properly, then three to four months should be sufficient. If you truly feel prepared with a slightly different timetable, then do what's best for you!
5. Take the breaks - Simply put, you need to take the breaks to maintain energy levels. If you don't take the time to eat, go to the bathroom, or freshen up, then you're risking points.

Final Thoughts:
Guys, I'm no math wizard. My first practice test results were pathetic: an 18 on quant. My verbal was okay, but my math was awful. And this was under un-timed conditions!

I remember looking at other GMATClub members' profiles - looking at their shiny little scores of 730, 760, 700. "No way that will be me", I reminded myself. Some days - okay, most days - I screamed, teared up, and even hit myself on the head a few times. I was so stressed out. But I refused to be a quitter. Once I started math, I practiced everyday. Everyday. And my hard work paid off in the end. You don't have to be a genius to study hard. Some can leisurely stroll up the GMAT mountain and reach the summit without breaking a sweat. Others have to painfully and slowly crawl in the mud and fall down a few times before arriving at the same place. But the point is that both can reach the top. :wink:
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Last edited by BM on 04 Feb 2010, 22:20, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: GMAT Score 730. [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2010, 17:04
Congrats! I'm looking forward to seeing how you brought up your math score.
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Re: GMAT Score 730. [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2010, 19:14
That's an awesome score bro!!!! I Envy you!!!!
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2010, 22:22
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Thanks! For me, the trick was to keep reviewing the math concepts and gradually building up my math skills through loads of practice questions.
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2010, 17:38
How long was study time frame and how many hours did you commit a week?
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2010, 19:32
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MAN YOUR POST IS AWESOME !!
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2010, 21:23
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I started verbal in September and finished in December. I felt safe about my verbal, so took my time with it. I should have speed things up and not have spent so much energy here. Buying the LR guide was not the best choice, as I had already studied the CR guide. To keep my skills fresh, I would do some questions whenever I had time.

I began studying the Manhattan guides in October and finished in November. But then I struggled with the OG questions. At this stage, I recognized that there was a problem. So, I then switched to Jeff Sackmann's questions. He divides his questions by category and difficulty level, and this allowed me to gradually build up my math ability. After awhile, I incorporated the OG questions too. After this, I focused on the GMATClub tests, which I finished a week before the real test.

Regarding time spent on studying, I basically worked my way up to studying all day for the last few weeks.

It took awhile to get things right, but looking back and knowing what I know now, my study time could have probably been cut in half.

And thanks for the congrats everyone!
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2010, 00:09
Good improvement.

Hard work pays off....Good luck with your application.
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2010, 00:20
congrats champ!

well done...! nice score and pretty hearty debrief...!
ATB for apps and all the next steps...!
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 15 Feb 2010, 22:33
I have been using the MGMAT books as well, but never really liked the questions at the back of the chapters. They seemed to be unaligned with the actual GMAT questions. The total 1800 Jeff Sackmann GMAT questions seem to be a little pricey (especially after MGMAT). Is there a part that you recommend? I already have the 100 Extreme set. I was thinking of maybe the challenge sets (I think there are ten). Is that the best use of money and time as far as the sets go?
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 05 Mar 2010, 00:18
5000 questions!! Wow!! That's hell lots of questions to practice... Admire your determination.
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2010, 07:20
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CaliCpa wrote:
Is there a part that you recommend? I already have the 100 Extreme set. I was thinking of maybe the challenge sets (I think there are ten). Is that the best use of money and time as far as the sets go?

Somehow, this questions slipped past me. Sorry for the long delay.

I think that all of Sackmann's math problems are fantastic! In my opinion Sackmann, MGMAT math guides, and the GMATClub Tests form the great quant trinity.

Sackmann's stuff, though, is expensive. And you may not need to buy all of his sets, especially if you're already performing about the 600-level. If that's the case, the Challenge sets are a great place to start. His Geometry Challenge, Extreme Challenge, and Probability and Sets were my favorites, if memory serves me correctly.

tarun wrote:
5000 questions!! Wow!! That's hell lots of questions to practice... Admire your determination.

Thanks! But I think that this number could have been trimmed down with the same GMAT result. The MGMAT Challenge, for instance, didn't help much.
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2010, 13:47
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2010, 13:54
Thanks for debrief and congratulations for your great score!!

Well done
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2010, 13:54
Thanks for debrief and congratulations for your great score!!

Well done
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2010, 09:59
Congrats bmillan01! And thank you for such a honest, useful post on how you approached the test. Very helpful for others like myself who are also starting with low scores and looking to improve.

Best wishes!
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2010, 09:04
Super awesome. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2010, 02:45
inspiring.....
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2010, 03:07
congrats!!!
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Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44). [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2010, 04:38
That was a very inspiring post dude...... congrats on achieving your dream score and best of luck for your apping.
Re: GMAT Score 730 (Q48, V44).   [#permalink] 12 Nov 2010, 04:38
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