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Impressions of the test

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Impressions of the test [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2005, 05:06
Hi everyone!

It’s about time I share my GMAT experience. I took the test twice in the last six months and scored 740 and 750. Remarkably, but with so many people getting high score these days 750 is still 99% ! Here are my impressions of the test

Quant:
Quant usually starts with an easy algebraic question. It has no tricks, just be sure not to miscalculate. The difficulty is climbing steadily but all questions can be solved quickly with equations or counter-examples. For instance, if you get a tough number property DS try to plug different numbers and you’ll see the answer. Often, neither statement is sufficient but you cannot figure it out unless you come up with a counter-example.
The challenge comes from the wording of the stems. During practice tests I often misread questions or missed some information (like ‘x is an integer’ or ‘if x > y’). Another stupid mistake is to find something you are not asked for. When you solve an equation the unknown variable is not necessarily the answer you are looking for but a piece of data from which the answer can be easily obtained. Before clicking ‘Confirm’ make sure you found exactly what was required.
Also, be aware of special case situations. For example, integer 16^n always ends with 6 except when n = 0.

GMATclub challenges are a good preparation for GMAT quant part. They employ all the mentioned tricks, cover the same scope as the real test, and demand the same approach (questions are also similar :). However, challenges are more difficult than GMAT in that challenges do not contain so many easy solve-in-30-seconds questions. Even when you go for 50-51 on the test, you will face about 8 VERY EASY questions. On both occasions there were 3-4 of such questions towards the end, so even if you are short of time there is no need to panic. I don’t know why ETS uses these questions, probably it wants to make the taker feel nervous about his performance or to test attention rather than math. At 50-51 level you will also find 3-4 questions which compare to most difficult questions in challenges and about 20 questions of medium difficulty.

Verbal:
From experience I had I would say that there is tough Verbal and medium Verbal. In tough Verbal SCs are big and wordy. The underlined part is long. These SCs contain same mistakes as OG but are more time consuming and easier to misread. Two or three options sound good and you have to analyze to arrive at the answer. Tough Verbal CRs require deep analysis but are generally solvable in 2 min with high concentration. Tough Verbal RCs are very unpleasant. Again, two answers look good and you have to get back to the text to choose between them.

When I took the test last week I made sure of the first 15 questions. This was hard Verbal and I spent so much time on it that I wouldn’t have finished the section on time had this brutality continued. So I skimmed the next RC and must have missed a few because the level suddenly dropped to a medium. The medium Verbal was exactly the OG level and I answered questions confidently. The difficulty never climbed or dropped and I finished with 15 minutes to spare.

I believe that if you can handle OG and Paper Tests you are guaranteed 41-42 in Verbal. Scoring above 42 would require fast reading skills and quick understanding of CR logic. Tough GMAT CRs resemble LSAT questions. For example, Robert makes an argument and Maria objects to it. You have to figure out the method Maria uses to respond to the argument.

Until I read Boyd’s 790-account (what a fantastic score, great job!!) I thought that my dislike of Kaplan’s verbal is personal and unwarranted. However, Boyd mentioned that Kaplan questions differ from the OG and he sometimes disagrees with Kaplan logic. That’s exactly what I feel. Their CRs and SCs are DUBIOUS, RCs much less so. I would not recommend using Kaplan Verbal for it may throw you off the track. The best stuff is OG and Paper Tests. Questions are very well written and once you know the answer you cannot argue with it.

So, for basic quant OG is good. Once you feel OK with it try the Club challenges – they are free and available every other week. If you score 30+ in challenges, you’ll definitely get 50-51 on the test.

For Verbal make sure you have the Paper Tests and OG. If you aim for a high Verbal get 22 LSAT tests to practice RC and CR. LSAT employs the same logic as GMAT and I never saw a poor LSAT question.

As an alternative, browse through previous posts on this forum – I doubt if there is any question from OG, Paper Tests, or LSAT that has not been discussed here!
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2005, 05:17
congrats challengemaker! Did you really have to retake the test after 740 :) What was your score break down by the way? All the best and thanks for being part of those great challenges.
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2005, 07:05
nice job challengemaker. your insights are always appreciated. Have you ever used ARCO's 2004 blue CD. I hit 620 on it but the questions seem different to the OG stuff Ive done. I do very well with OG verbal but terrible on Arco's. I dont know how to interpret the score bc it is definitely different. Another question would be is if one if aiming for a 45-47 quant score what would you be concentrating on? Ive been through the first 150 questions in PS and DS in the OG and feel very good about them. On top of that Ive done my prep course(Veritas) materials and usually do very well with that stuff too.
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2005, 09:54
Thanks for posting your GMAT experience. It was great reading it and I'm sure it will be of great help to all the forum users.
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2005, 20:31
That is an extremely good post, challengemaker. I would agree to almost each and everyone of your assessment over there. Your analisis about math part is very accurate. The questions I tend to miss are exactly what you described, either missing info (or creating info by myself, more precisely, like assuming "integer" when it didn't say so), or answer something when asked another. Doing the challenges and answering the posts in the forum had made me very clear about this and I was able to be careful to avoid the same type of mistakes in the real test.

I also had the experience of having two RC answers that look very good and had to go back and re-read a portion just so that I can choose between the two. I try to understand the passage when I read a paragraph but skim through the details. This way I would know where to look for answers when I see the questions. In the test I took there was once I worry if I didn't have enough time and the thought of just picking an answer by guessing had crossed my mind. But then I realized that I've already spend the time reading the paragraph. If I didn't get this one right I would have to spend more time on another question to get the same number of correct answers. So I simply calmed myself down. Again being able to concentrate is crucial for RC and once I was able to calm myself down, I was able to answer the questions in reasonablly short time.

I would also like to concur with challengemaker with emphasising on OG and paper tests, relative to the other preparation materials. The other ones could give you some extra practice but you can't totally count on their explanations and ways of presenting the questions.

Btw congratulations on your great score challengemaker! What is your plan after this?
  [#permalink] 21 Feb 2005, 20:31
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