Joined: 27 Aug 2007
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My journey from 560 (1st attempt) to 710 (2nd attempt) [#permalink]
27 Aug 2007, 09:25
Hi all, this forum has helped me so much that I decided to write my first post ever.
I started a couple of months ago with studying. I took mainly the OGs and did all the excercises. After 1.5 months I took the first GMATPrep Cat and scored a 700. This was the problem, since I thought I was on the right way to get into the 7xx club. In the following months I did more CATs and my scores dropped constantly. I didn´t consider this a big problem, since everybody told on this forum, that the GMATPrep Cats are representative. Well, they are not: it is a different testing environment, one is more nervous, and the real CATs were far more difficult.
The days before my first attempt I felt burned out of doing excercises over and over again. The night before the test I just slept 4 hours. The result was like a hit in the face.
But I knew that I had to change my strategy. I started to take the Princeton course online, and was really perplex when I saw the strategies, especially for the difficult math problems, etc. I mean, I was able to solve them before, but at a average rate of 2min per task. With the new strategies I did some of the hardest problems in less than 30sec. I also knew that I had a big big verbal problem. For the first attempt I focused only on SC (with Manhattan guide), because I thought there are no real strategies for RC and CR. I was so wrong. If I hardly didn´t study for RC and CR for the first attempt, I focused 80% of my time on this two areas now. I saw my hit-rates improving immediately. For SC I consider the Manhattan guide as the bible. This time I read each chapter AND did the exercises corresponding to each chapter. Another tip: READ THE ANSWER EXPLANATIONS in the OG Guides!!! Before the 1st attempt I used to do 20 to 40 problems in a row. After completing I just didn´t have the energy to really read the answer explanations. This is so crucial! Don´t do more then 10 problems in a row. Less is better, so you focus more on the answers and learn the patterns.
During the second attempt faced very hard questions, but already from the beginning on (yeah, it is hard when you are not sure about the first quant question!). I got more and more desperate during the test. I had questions that were really on higher level than the OG questions! After maths I took the brake and was actually thinking about quitting the test. But then I motivated myself at least to get a good verbal score. When I saw the score 710 (48/40) I knew that I had done everything right.
By the way: my prep not only included doing excercises, etc, I also changed my bio-rhytm completely. Before I was used to go to bad very late and sleep as long as possible. 5 weeks before round 2 I started going to sleep around 11pm and stand up at 6am every day (even on the weekends). I also started eating lunch at 12pm, since I knew that on d-day I would have lunch around the same time. My test was a 2pm, a time I usually get very tired. So I started to drink a red-bull every day at around 1:30 and did pratice CATs at exactly 2pm.
Altogether I think the right strategy is: Prepare smart, not hard.