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My GMAT Log: Target 740+

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My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2011, 10:01
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I have been on this forum for over a month and have amassed a great deal of information since then. I had my test scheduled for the first week of March but recently decided to postpone it by a month. I have read through a lot of people's experiences on this site and I am hoping I can stay motivated by logging about mine.

Background:

I graduated a semester early and decided to use a portion of the time to study for the GMAT. I will start work in June at a well known boutique investment bank in an advisory role. I knew that work would be demanding and wanted to get the GMAT out of the way since the scores would be valid for 5 years. My target score is 740+. I am very concerned about the Quant portion. I went to a top 2 undergraduate business program with a concentration in Finance. I didn't do well in any of the Quant intensive classes and my overall GPA is nothing to write home about either. I know the application process is a holistic one but I am hoping that my GMAT score will make up for this. I started my preparation on January 5th.

Prep Materials

Before discovering this forum, I picked up the Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT book. It gave me an overall sense of what to expect on the GMAT but it is definitely not a solid strategy book. After reading the amazing reviews of the MGMAT books, I picked up the Quant set and got to work. I am decent at Quant but I tend to break under pressure and my overall confidence in my abilities goes down. I went through each Quant book twice and made flash cards. I decided to do the "In Action" problems at the end of each chapter and save the OG problems for the end. This took me three weeks. Something that I forgot to mention earlier is that I have no other commitments. I am just waiting to start work so I have all day to study (lame i know, i should be traveling the world or something). During this three week time, I was averaging about 8 hours a day. I really learned a lot through these books.

The only Verbal section I was unfamiliar with was Critical Reasoning. I had taken the SATs (a standardized test needed for admission into US colleges) four years ago and studied Sentence Correction and Reading Comprehension for that exam. While I was accustomed to these sections, they still needed some work. I picked up the Critical Reasoning Bible by Powerscore which was recommended on this forum and loved that book. It was actually fun to read and it made Critical Reasoning so much more clear. For Sentence Correction, I picked up MGMAT SC but I didn't really like the book. Still, I forced myself to go through it. Going through the Verbal material took me another week.

After getting the strategy down, I started the OG 12 as well as the supplements. My accuracy in Verbal was around 95% across all three sections. In Quant it was 90% for Problem Solving and around 80% for Data Sufficiency. I found myself making a lot of careless mistakes in Quant. With the OGs completed, I started the GMAT Club Tests. I am working my way through them. I have only finished 7 thus far. I am thinking of purchasing RC99. I have started watching Thursdays with Ron and the videos are great.

If I were to take the exam now, I would be around the 680 mark. I know that with a little more work and focus I can get to my target so I postponed my exam. I already put in 250+ hours so a few more won't hurt. :wink:

My goal for the coming week is to get a few more Club Tests done and revise Sentence Correction. I slacked on reading the answer explanations...

Wish me luck!
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2011, 10:23
Wow, I'm pretty impressed by the amount of hours you have put in. Have you already taken any CATs (or what makes you think that you are at a level of approx. 680)? Maybe it would make sense to do so at this stage to get a rough idea of where you stand. You might want to take one of the Manhattan tests and save GMAT Prep for later.

Not trying to dissuade you from studying, but if you see that you're doing well you could still take the test earlier and get to travel a bit (just a suggestion) :) Once you work you probably won't have much time (from you post I understand that you will work in IBD for one of the top boutiques such as Lazard, Evercore, Moelis, etc.) Lastly, congrats on the job and good luck with your further preparation for the GMAT.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2011, 10:59
stanford2012 wrote:
Wow, I'm pretty impressed by the amount of hours you have put in. Have you already taken any CATs (or what makes you think that you are at a level of approx. 680)? Maybe it would make sense to do so at this stage to get a rough idea of where you stand. You might want to take one of the Manhattan tests and save GMAT Prep for later.

Not trying to dissuade you from studying, but if you see that you're doing well you could still take the test earlier and get to travel a bit (just a suggestion) :) Once you work you probably won't have much time (from you post I understand that you will work in IBD for one of the top boutiques such as Lazard, Evercore, Moelis, etc.) Lastly, congrats on the job and good luck with your further preparation for the GMAT.



Thank you. Yes, it's one of the three that you have listed :wink:

I have taken three MGMAT CATs and have been around the 680 mark. Quant has been around 45-47 and Verbal has been 36-42. I want to hit 700+ on practice CATs before I take the real exam.

Luckily I have found time to fit in a few travel plans. Since I am still a college kid :-D I will be going on Spring Break with my friends and then traveling through Asia for a bit. So life is not all lost...
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2011, 13:00
WOW. You're way ahead of me, my friend. Your preparation looks solid and OG performance is even more impressive. I'm fighting with 'accuracy under timed conditions' syndrome :(.
Wish you very good luck for a great GMAT score.

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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2011, 13:14
rg1 wrote:
WOW. You're way ahead of me, my friend. Your preparation looks solid and OG performance is even more impressive. I'm fighting with 'accuracy under timed conditions' syndrome :(.
Wish you very good luck for a great GMAT score.



I have been timing everything that I do but haven't really been "under stress". I am sure that test day nerves will get the better of me :? and that my accuracy will suffer as a result.

I took a quick look through your log. How are the RC99 passages going? Are you improving? I am considering purchasing them as I found the OG12 passages rather straightforward and want to be prepared for the worst that may come during test day. I heard the real GMAT verbal is slightly more convoluted.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2011, 14:46
RC99 is a good practice book. I haven't improved drastically but during my last attempt of 7 passages, I got 22/27 correct. For me, stress management is a bigger factor. I'll definitely recommend you buying RC99. Look at this review from rishiraj.
review-of-rc99-by-aristotle-prep-107742.html

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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 08:00
Thanks, rg1. I think I'll end up getting RC99.

Went through a few more GMAT Club Tests. I have gotten my highest score thus far on the one I took a few days ago: 28/37. I really want to cross the 30+ barrier. While reviewing my errors, I made so many careless mistakes. My timing have been horrible on the last two. I had to guess on the last 4 questions and almost spent up to 5 minutes on a single problem only to get it wrong at the end :| Overall, the club tests are really sharpening my overall quantitative skills.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2011, 10:08
ibbys wrote:
Thanks, rg1. I think I'll end up getting RC99.

Went through a few more GMAT Club Tests. I have gotten my highest score thus far on the one I took a few days ago: 28/37. I really want to cross the 30+ barrier. While reviewing my errors, I made so many careless mistakes. My timing have been horrible on the last two. I had to guess on the last 4 questions and almost spent up to 5 minutes on a single problem only to get it wrong at the end :| Overall, the club tests are really sharpening my overall quantitative skills.


My suggestion - don't use the GMAT Club Tests to test your ability :) use the questions to expand your knowledge ;)

Silly mistakes are bound to occur :D The only way around is to try an minimize the frequency at which it occurs.

The main intention behind doing RC passages is to internalize the strategies given in the prep book you're following e.g. Initially, I used to take my own sweet time to paraphrase each para and then abbreviate the paraphrased para. With practice, I was able to paraphrase a whole paragraph in less than 10 words!

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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 17:15
I have decided to purchase the RC99 passages and I have been working through them. My accuracy hasn't been as high compared to the OG12/Verbal Supplement passages.

I feel like the questions sometimes ask to infer a little too much beyond what is stated in the passage. I know that in the OG, "infer" really means what's explicitly stated in and can be supported by the passage. A lot of the RC answer choices sometimes take a little extra jump in thinking. I am going to work through a few more passages and see if my thoughts on this change.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 17:20
One plus side of the RC99 passages is the passage road map that is provided in the answer key at the beginning of each passage before the explanations. This is basically a very brief outline of the main idea and structure of the passage broken down by each paragraph. As I am reading through each passage, I am trying to build this framework in my head. I can compare my own framework with the one that is provided.

I personally am not a fan of taking physical notes and prefer to mentally do so.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 21:38
Good luck!
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2011, 23:40
nice discussion going on here. i have been scoring in the same range on the practice tests , but still need to jump the quanta hurdle. the DS inequality questions are still a barrier to 700 + :( .

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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2011, 01:14
garimavyas wrote:
nice discussion going on here. i have been scoring in the same range on the practice tests , but still need to jump the quanta hurdle. the DS inequality questions are still a barrier to 700 + :( .


I hate DS inequalities too :D

I kinda got lucky on the real GMAT!
I got only one question involving inequalities! Same for probability and combinatorial types! But I had to deal with tough problems from Geometry and Rate/Work :P

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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2011, 08:40
Entwistle wrote:
garimavyas wrote:
nice discussion going on here. i have been scoring in the same range on the practice tests , but still need to jump the quanta hurdle. the DS inequality questions are still a barrier to 700 + :( .


I hate DS inequalities too :D

I kinda got lucky on the real GMAT!
I got only one question involving inequalities! Same for probability and combinatorial types! But I had to deal with tough problems from Geometry and Rate/Work :P



Only ONE question on inequalities! :wtf: So lucky, inequalities and absolute value are my weakness.
However, I am getting better at them due to the GMAT Club tests. They have quite a bit of tricky DS in the tests.

Entwistle, I think you bring up a very good point about "luck." I had read quite a few experiences in which people did substantially better the second time around not because of a change in strategy or more preparation but just due to more questions being in their favor and testing their strengths (perhaps less nerves/stress also). For this reason, I would recommend anyone to take the test twice if they are the least bit unsatisfied with their score.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2011, 08:45
lol...
Yeah... Luck plays a very important part... But I remember the line from Under Siege II
"Fortune favors the prepared mind..."

But the work rate problems and the geometry ones were way tougher ;)

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From 650 to 710 to 750 - My Tryst With GMAT [Experience Thread]

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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2011, 20:04
Officially changed the date of my test: April 4th
Having mixed feelings of having done so but hopefully I will get some quality studying done in the next month.
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Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+ [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2011, 10:13
This might seem obvious but after working on RC and SC extensively, I have come to realize that process of elimination is extremely helpful. I tend to waste time re-reading answer choices that I have already eliminated in my head.

For RC, it has helped me really narrow the focus of each question and look for specific details.

I always thought I used this stratgey but I am becoming much more conscious of it now.
Re: My GMAT Log: Target 740+   [#permalink] 04 Mar 2011, 10:13
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