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How I went from 530 to 620 -> my target was 600+ [#permalink]
27 Mar 2010, 17:22
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Hi all, I just wanted to share my experience writing the GMAT. I hope others can benefit from my experience.
1) First and foremost, a certain amount of luck is involved with the GMAT. Yes, read that again - LUCK. My condition going into the exam when I achieved 530 was similar to when I achieved 620 - I didn't get smarter during that time, but I did get "luckier" when I achieved the 620 score. I'll explain more about luck below.
2) Even if you walk into the GMAT with the exact same condition each time you write the exam, you most likely won't achieve the same score each time. Although GMAC claims that they can "narrow" your score down accurately with their algorithm when you write the exam, that is partially BS IMHO. Assuming the condition you enter the GMAT is exactly the same each time, over the longer run, you will achieve a range for your scores - just hope that you hit the higher range sooner rather than later. I believe my lower range is probably around 530 and my upper range is definitely around 620 (620 of course involves luck). This goes back to issue 1) with luck.
Luck is also a factor in other ways. Roughly 1/3 of the GMAT questions are "experimental" questions that don't count towards your score. What if you happen to guess on more of the experimental questions and spend time working on some of the questions that do count towards your score? If you take the GMAT a large number of times, luck becomes less of a factor but if you take it very few times, luck plays more of a factor with very few samples. Writing the GMAT is also similar to gambling - if you play Black Jack with the most optimal strategy each time, in the short run, you might win big or lose big, but over the longer run, your returns will average around 48%-49% against the house.
3) For the Verbal portion, luck is probably the biggest factor here. Specifically, not all RC passages are equal to you, depending on your background. When I got 530, I was hit by a RC passage about astronomy and an abundance of technical astronomy terms. After reading that passage, I was guessing blind on the answers and I probably got them all wrong. The astronomy passage also set me back time wise. When I got 620, I happened to get RC passages that I understood quite clearly, given my background, and was able to answer more quickly compared to the astronomy passage.
For instance, I like to read about economics and financials issues on my own time and the RC passages when I attained 620 were more in line with subject matters I was more comfortable with. As for astronomy, I'm a big noob and I struggle with RC passages that involve astronomy vs other science RC passages.
4) To top it off, I had written test 1 of the GMATPrep several times. On the third time I wrote test 1 of GMATPrep, I noticed seeing many of the questions before and I got my highest score of 610 on GMATPrep ever, with the advantage of already knowing the correct answer to many of the questions I had encountered before. How in the world can I get a 620 on the actual GMAT when I have never seen the questions before vs. a 610 on the GMATPrep when I already knew the answer to a chunk of the questions? Note that I got the 610 on the GMATPrep a few days before I got 630 on the actual GMAT. This is silly, if you ask me.
Anyways, I'm gonna post some strategies I found that helped to boost my score up. I hope those that are struggling in the 500s area can benefit from them. Good luck with your GMAT!