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My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44)

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My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44) [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2009, 02:58
Background
I'm nearing the end of my Engineering degree and planning on applying to B-schools in the U.S. after a couple of years. I figured I'd be too busy to focus on studying for the GMAT exam after I graduated so I decided to get it over with now. Essentially I came into this preparation with a fairly strong quantitative background and (what I at the time thought was) a fairly adequate English background. Found this site, used the book reviews provided (tremendous help!), and after waiting on Amazon for a few days was off to the races!

Resources (in chronological order)
1) gmatclub Forum! - Used it to decide which books to purchase, how to approach my studying for the exam, and primarily for just random study material that was more challenging than most of the material out there. I also found the various experiences posted on this forum to be fairly entertaining and educational. This forum definitely played a major part in helping to boost my score.

2) Kaplan Premier 2010 Edition - Did the diagnostic test and realized that the English I use everyday and the English tested on the GMAT are apparently not the same language. Read the book once, and did the various questions while going through it. It was helpful in the sense that it introduced me to GMAT and its format, but it definitely wasn't necessary to my "curriculum". The basis for the test that I gained from this book is definitely replaceable with other material.

3) GMAT Prep Software - Took the first sample test. Realized my verbal was still horrible.

4) MGMAT Number Properties - After learning my verbal was horrible, I took the obvious next step; I started going through the Number Properties book to reaffirm my math score? Regardless, this book is a must have for pretty much everyone. The material on prime numbers, and the various shortcuts that are eventually absorbed (among other things which I can't remember) are especially valuable.

5) MGMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Amazing. Book. I'm basing this on nothing but my own intuition, but I'm pretty sure this book is alone responsible for a 5 to 6 points increase in my Verbal score. I think I went through the first 7 or 8 chapters at least 3 times each over the course of the one month I used it.

6) MGMAT Reading Comprehension - I didn't really find this too useful at all. I honestly think that the easiest way to get better with RC is to simply just read practice questions SLOWLY and try to summarize stuff in your head. It's not that the book itself is useless, I just think that RC is something that can't really be taught, it's mainly improved through practice and repetition.

7) GMAT Official Guide (OG12) - First off, let me state that there are not a whole lot of questions in the 700 - 800 target range. In fact, if you already have a strong quantitative background, you probably won't gain a whole lot out of the math section. Ditto I guess for the Verbal section, but I definitely found even the basic material provided helpful due to my verbal (or lack thereof) skills. That being said, this resource is invaluable for two reasons: (1) The fairly comprehensive explanations, especially for the verbal sections, and (2) Its similarity to actual GMAT Questions.

8) gmatclub Club Tests - Great resource which I really didn't use much. By the time I had gained access, I had already decided to stop doing any sort of quantitative material, and for some reason I never touched the verbal content. That being said, doing these tests will likely improve your Quant score a whole lot quicker than any material out there. It's the only material I've found that provides challenging 700 - 800 level material for the quant section (other than the actual CAT tests themselves). Regardless, thanks to the creator(s) of those tests.

9) GMAT Verbal Review (2nd Edition) - I essentially went through all the SC and CR questions in 2 nights (starting from 3 days prior to my test), and used it to try and bump up my verbal score as high as possible. Same deal as OG12.

General Study Schedule
September - About 1/2 hours a day, 4 days a week for the last 3 weeks.
October - About 2 hours a day, 3 days a week for the first 2 weeks.
-Got sick/busy/lazy for 3 weeks.-
November - About 2 hours a day, 4 days a week for the first 2 weeks.
Past week - 5 hours a day for 5 consecutive days prior to the GMAT.

CAT Practice Test Results
GMATPrep 1 - 630 (Q51,V24?) [Sometime in Early October...]
GMATPrep 1 - 760 (Q51, V42) [Nov 6]
MGMAT 1 - 760 (Q51, V42) [Nov 18]
MGMAT 2 - 750 (Q51, V41) [Nov 23]
MGMAT 3 - 750 (Q51, V41) [Nov 23]
MGMAT 4 - 780 (Q51, V45) [Nov 24]
MGMAT 5 - 760 (Q51, V42) [Nov 25]
GMATPrep 2 - 780 (Q51, V47) [Nov 25]

Test Day
I scheduled the test for 3PM, and figured I'd get up at 10AM, relax, maybe read the newspaper, etc... I wake up and its 12:45 PM! So basically I shower, eat, and immediately leave for the subway station. I also bought a bottle of Gatorade on the way there as per slingfox's amazing debrief. I finally arrive at the test centre at about 2:40PM, slightly unsettled - not the greatest feeling heading into a 4-hour exam. I then proceed to drink half a bottle of Gatorade. I have no idea whether this actually helped me physically, but it gave me a bit of false confidence, and I'm ready to go. Well except for that the fact that they make me wait til about 3:05PM before signing me in through the standard procedures.

The Essays: I should note that I never even touched this stuff until reading a couple of the posts in this forum regarding structure the night before. And I believe that it's sufficient, especially if you have any sort of experiene with writing essays. I used the full 30 minutes for each essay, and wasn't really too happy with my final product for the Issue question, but it wasn't too painful and I was ready to go. Took the break provided.

Quantitative Section: I flew through this section. Even on my practice CAT tests, I was usually left with under 7 or 8 minutes. On test day, even after double checking a bunch of answers unnecessarily, I had a full 18 minutes left on the clock. I was in a zone for about 40 minutes where I was just flying through question after question. Definitely boosted my confidence heading into the Verbal section. Took the break provided.

Verbal Section: My biggest problem with this section was pacing. I started off fairly well, and then spent WAY too much time on back to back RC sections which killed me. I believe I had 20 questions left with only 30 minutes left on the clock. Forced to pick up the pace, I probably rushed a few questions here and there, but for the most part kept my calm. I wasn't completely certain about the majority of my answers on the second half of the section which scared me to death, and I definitely had some 50/50 decisions on a couple of SC questions. I honestly had no idea where I was at in the Verbal section at any given time. What really started to worry me was that I was struggling with CR questions, a category that was historically my rock for this section. Finished the section with about 90 seconds to spare, and then proceeded to the next screen.

I'm not sure how a grown man is supposed to act in this scenario, but I was holding my breath and hiding behind my fingers like a little schoolgirl. The approximately 3 second delay in processing the score absolutely killed me. Score popped up and I let out a sigh of relief. Raised my hand, signed out, grabbed my stuff, walked out of the building, and did a triple fist pump when no one was looking.

General Thoughts/Tips
1) Alarm Clocks should not come with Snooze buttons.
2) Eat your heavy meal (i.e. lunch or breakfast) well before the exam to allow time to digest.
3) The Verbal Section of GMAT is LEARNABLE. Don't be discouraged if you're not up to par with the material when you start out.
4) KEEP AN ERROR LOG. REVIEW MISTAKES.
5) Probability/Combinatorics questions are probably the easiest "hard questions" to answer on the quant section. Master the basics and these questions will serve as a sort of break when they come up during the exam.
6) Don't stress too much. Once you get into the exam and get going, you will naturally get into a rhythm and start to process questions more easily. It's not like an exam that you take in university, as the material is not stuff you will suddenly forget. Take your time, breath, and put your best effort into every question. Your score will likely be in the range you expect it to be in.

Wrap Up
As I mentioned throughout this post, this forum has been a tremendous resource, and I sincerely thank everyone that contributes here, especially the mods. Even though I've completed my "GMAT Journey", I'll make a sincere effort to continue to post here and help those that come after me. Good luck to everyone currently on their paths to b-school and thanks again!

Last edited by AKProdigy87 on 28 Nov 2009, 12:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44) [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2009, 03:52
congrats on excellent score :-D

and a gr8 debrief
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Re: My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44) [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2009, 04:09
Congrats!!!!!

Incredible !!!!! Quanta score 51 each time in practice test and actual GMAT !!!!!
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Re: My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44) [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2009, 22:40
great job with the test and thanks for the detailed debrief!
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Re: My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44) [#permalink] New post 27 Nov 2009, 23:47
Excellent. Following your tips right now....
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Re: My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44) [#permalink] New post 03 Dec 2009, 21:26
Expert's post
Good stuff! Thanks for the debrief.
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Re: My GMAT Experience - 770 (Q51,V44)   [#permalink] 03 Dec 2009, 21:26
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