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My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36)

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My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 08:11
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To briefly introduce myself, I am not a native English speaker. I have an undergrad. degree in Engineering from the US.

I took the test last Saturday and scored 700 92% (Q 49 - 89% , V 36 - 80 %).

I took the GMATprep the first time in my GMAT preparation trip and scored 490. By then I realized I needed alot of preparation to get to 700 or so. I registered for Kaplan's course and spent $1,500. Here is what I think of Kapan's course: it is good only for beginers and those looking for up to 550 - 600. Kaplan classes are more heavily focused on test strategies and guessing tricks than the underlying knowledge and skills needed to score high on the GMAT.
My 2 cents ? almost all that you can learn from Kaplan's class in two months can be easily obtained from a Kaplan book or the MGMAT series in two weeks time for ALOT less cost.

One major negative side of Kaplan is that they never mention the Official Guide for the GMAT by mba.com.
As the kaplan course ended I took the real GMAT and scored 600 (Q 48, V 25). I knew I needed much improvement in Verbal.

Early in 2007 I discovered the GMATclub. I learned alot from this forum and I figured out the existence of the OG.

I am not trying to be nice or something, but I really want to thank GMATClub for taking me to the 7xx club. I couldn't have done it without the help of all active members of GMATClub at the math and verbal forums. Many posts of old members back in 2005 and 2006 were extremely helpful as well. I spent a great deal of my time surfing the GMATclub forum.

I am not going to waste your time with my test day story and my practice scores .. etc. I will start directly with my test prep strategies, hints, and advices. I can summarize my conclusion in ten big HINTS :

Hint 1: The GMAT is getting harder and harder. The GMAT a year ago was alot easier, both quant and verbal sections.

Hint 2: The Official Guide 11 is a MUST have/do. If you take the GMAT test without doing every single problem in the OG 11, then you're wasting your time and money unless you are really good and already in the 700 level. If you take the GMAT before doing all problems in the OG and taking the GMAT prep 2 tests, then it is entirely your fault and lack of hard work and strong preparation.

Hint 3: Take the GMAT Prep tests each once to examine your level and approximate score. Then, retake the GMAT Prep as many times as you can to get new questions for practice in verbal and math, mainly untill you get almost all questions available in the pool. These questions are very good practice materials and reflect the type of questions you would see on the test. Bare in mind that the GMAT Prep is NOW easier than the actual GMAT test. The hardest questions you'll get on GMAT prep math are not as hard as the upper bin ones you'd see on the real test.

Hint 4: Don't do the big and most common mistake of the following:
I love math, I'm good in math and I have a technical degree (engineer, CS, math .. etc). My English is fluent and I read newspapers in english .. well, at the end I did my degree in an english speaking institute. I can do reading. I know how to write correct english. As long as I'm good in Math I will score good in GMAT. You take the GMAT and boom 560 (Q 48-50, V 15-25). What ?!! This is unfair.. oh I need help !

Hint 5: the GMAT is not an easy test. It is a big challenge for most people. Less than 10% of test takers score higher than 690 on the GMAT. If you want your 720, you must pay alot of time, great amount of effort, and some money. GMAT is not fun by any means. getting an MBA from a top school is worth the effort you put into preparing for the GMAT.

Hint 6: You have a free amazing tool for the GMAT. Whether you utilize it or not, it is your problem. If you don't believe me, at least I did my part and gave you the advice. USE GMATCLUB !!!! Be an active member. answer problems, involve in discussion of hard SC questions. Help others and get help. Instead of paying $1000 on GMAT books from every single available test prep company, use the free posts on the GMATclub. It should take months before you can say that you fully utilized and took advantage of the GMATclub. Read posts from even 2004. tons of 7xx scorers have posted their experience in here.

Hint 7: If you're shooting for 48+ on the math/quant part of the GMAT, GET THE CHALLENGES (now GMAtclub tests) (http://www.gmatclub.com/wiki/tests). Those tests are really amazing and teach you alot of advanced concepts. Previously, they used to be much harder than what you may see on the GMAT. Nowdays, many questions from the challenges reflect the hard big questions on the real GMAT. So these challenges are worth more now than before.

Hint 8: To score high on the GMAT you need three things. You can not score high unless you have mastered these three:
1. Knowledge: SC structure and grammer, MATH forumals and concepts, Vocabulary for GMAT in RC and CR .. etc
2. Skills: Process of Elimination, reading skills, logical reasoning, ability to extract information data from a math questions, data sufficiency skills .. etc
3. Strategy: time management, educated guessing, skipping hard and time consuming questions, stamina strategy .. etc

Example: By strategy and skills only you can never do very well in RC unless you know good vocabulary to understand the passages. The same thing applies if you don't know the main arithmatic equations.
Example: If you master the knowledge and concepts behind the GMAT and have the sufficient skills, you can never do really well if you don't manage your pace throughout the test and end up not finishing the section.

Hint 9: Practice .. Practice .. Practice .. Practice .. Practice .. Practice ..
No score is out of your league. Once you get the knowledge, skills, and strategy, you can keep practicing untill you reach 800 if you want.

Hint 10: I have compiled a list of top qoutes and advices by many top scorers GMATclub members. It is the "Golden Qoutes by GMAT Clubbers !"
http://gmatclub.com/forum/1-t43532

What I used to prepare and that I would recommend :
o GMATclub challenges (5 of them only) - http://gmatclub.com/wiki/tests
o Manhattan Sentence Correction book and Manhattan number properties book (Both are a must)
o Official Guide 11th edition and Official Guide Verbal and Official Guide Quantitative Reviews
o Spidey notes for SC - http://www.gmatclub.com/forum/p572956#p572956
o GMAT Club forums
o Kaplan book(for basic concepts and introductory strategies to left me from 490 to 600).
o GMAT prep tests
o Peterson AWA book (worth it)

I may retake the test to score higher because I know I can get any score I want.
If you have any questions, please feel free to post here or PM me. I will be around in the GMAT club for a long while as I will start preparing my MBA applications (Columbia Jan 09 intake and INSEAD ).

This Debrief is a part of the Best GMAT Stories - Period collection.


Last edited by bb on 03 Aug 2010, 21:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 08:20
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Congratulations ! Great job!
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 09:56
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nice score..dude..congrats :)
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 11:14
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Congrats - excellent progress!
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 12:01
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Congrats Mishari, good tips too.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 17:37
Amazing!
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 18:24
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congratulations, great achievement.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 18:54
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Can you elaborate more on how you improved your verbal score? My verbal score last time from the actual GMAT was 28. I need to increase it to at least 36 if not 40. I am not a native speaker as well. Now I even use GRE vocabulary to study. I need that 700+ score so bad. I will do whatever it takes even if it means I have to take that beast 10 times and I will. I am not going to stop until I get that 700+ score. (Not really for the school, just for my personal goal.) I usually get very irritated if I can't get the thing I want.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 21:22
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Great work mishari ... I've followed your work on the forum. Well deserved.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2008, 21:45
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Congratulations, buddy! And good luck with your MBA preparation! :P
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2008, 03:07
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Congrats and all the best for your next step!!!
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2008, 07:27
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Congrats dude.Wish you all the best...this will inspire me a lot to do well!!!
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2008, 17:39
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2008, 17:44
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Kudos on your achievement and thanks for your advice.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2008, 05:08
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Congrats, excellent work!
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2008, 13:59
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Congratulations Mishari! Your story is an inspiration to many on the forum.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2008, 06:18
Thank you very much for your hints - I am just starting the journey and I am very nervous.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2008, 15:46
Congrats, Mishari. Some good tips there as well.
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 27 Apr 2008, 06:35
Thank you all :-D I really appreciate all your posts

In fact, this wasn't my first big improvement. I started in college with a 0.6 GPA and graduated with a 3.7 :roll:
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Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36) [#permalink] New post 01 May 2008, 23:52
Hi i wanted to know that how do you approach to DS problems and the verbal section.....What should i initailly do....i have no idea.....i gave GMAT today my score was 360....I knoe its worst well but inspite of solving all the DS problems and all the verbal sections from OG I am still unable to knoe the fact that what is the thing that I am missing....i really want guidance on what should be my approach .....I have Princeton Review and OG....I would be great if you can help me out on this...
Re: My GMAT Journey: from 490 to 700 ! (Q49, V36)   [#permalink] 01 May 2008, 23:52
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