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My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt

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My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2010, 14:50
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Hi all,

I wanted to share my GMAT experience and, more importantly, the lessons I learnt from the first take, with the GMAT club community.

What I did the first time:
* Gathered material based on the books suggested by GMATclub
* Reviewed the general guides first - Kaplan Premier
* Worked on the individual guides next - Manhattan GMAT SC, CR, RC
* Followed up with gmatclub math tests
* Practiced essays
* Took several practice tests - Manhattan GMAT and GMATPrep
* Studied intensively over the final four weeks leading up to the exam (total prep time equaled 2 months)

The result:
710 (92%ile) - Q50 (93%ile), V37 (80%ile), AWA 5.5

What went wrong:
I should probably start with why I was dissatisfied with a 710. The average of my final four practice tests, before I took the real thing, was a 760. Against some advice I received, I decided to retake the exam after I saw my score report. To be fair, the 710 will probably not have significant negative impact on my application all else being the same, but I just couldn't sleep knowing that I underachieved by 50 points.
But I digress - ok, back to what I believe I did wrong. I reviewed a lot of things that a lot of people did around the test - take coffee before/during the exam, splash water on the face during breaks, eat chocolate/energy bars/energy drinks, create a grid on the answer sheet using POE for each question, write down a lot of info for each RC....I could go on. In any case, I tried very hard to incorporate all of these into my strategy... and it didn't work for me! I realized I was running seriously short of time after about the 15th question. I concentrated so much on everything AROUND the exam that I failed to focus ON the exam, specifically the verbal portion.

What I did differently next:
* After much debate, I decided to retake the exam and re-registered
* I figured I'd already covered all the material the first time, so I mostly took it easy the first few weeks
* Knowing what I did wrong the first time, I took the last few practice exams I hadn't taken yet, applying the new "relaxed" strategy in which I noted down very little in the verbal section and let my brain process more. I did quite well, averaging scores between V41 and V45, and was finishing each of the Verbal and Quant sections with over five minutes left.
* I followed the same strategy in the real thing earlier this morning, and had about as much time left again in each section.

The result:
770 (99%ile) - Q51 (98%ile), V44 (97%ile), AWA ???

Key takeaway:
Read about what has worked for others, but only pick out what works for you. Practice what works for you. Try to finish early in even the practice exams. All of this might seem very obvious (hey, it was for me too!), but I'm a living example of what might go wrong if you try to do too much.

Please post any questions you may have. I'm happy to help.
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2010, 20:09
Great score. Congrats!!
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2010, 23:50
Thats a good suggestion. We need to discover what works for us.
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 14 Mar 2010, 14:09
Expert's post
Thank you for sharing!
I am adding your thread to the master GMAT Retake Thread
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2010, 18:34
That's a leap! Congratulation!

I wasn't satisfied with mine 710. May retake if there is a need. But certainly not this year.
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 08:25
Congratulations on your achievement !!

Nice suggestions for someone like me, getting started now.
Has been going through many threads on the success stories, so I can learn more from the experiences of others.

GMAT club rocks!! :-D
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2010, 14:29
Very high-yield advice (even if it's so not obviously "obvious") - thanks and kudos!

Picked up the takeaway being the need to focus on the exam. I grant that different things work best for different people in that regard.

But if you don't mind me asking --
- What specific actions worked best for you study-wise? What didn't?
- Which books were the most helpful in getting a 700+ score? Which were the least?
- What study techniques / strategies helped you the most?
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 29 Mar 2010, 16:36
Great achievement and I def agree with the "only take strategies that work for you" part
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2010, 04:17
60 point increase is an excellent achievement. Congrats

Nice pointers there thanks
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2010, 04:33
congrats and thanks for sharing .
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2010, 04:45
congrats, what did you use to master data sufficiency?
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2010, 12:53
Congrats on the great score
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2010, 14:10
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Hmm ... for some reason, I didn't get any emails about posts on this thread until today.

@abhattac5:
- What specific actions worked best for you study-wise? What didn't?
I feel like I'm making a trip down memory lane! :-)
Well, studying alone at night helped. I'd also apply constant pressure on myself setting goals a little out of reach - I work better under pressure. What didn't work for me was studying with someone. I learned this the hard way, and ended up spending more time tutoring my partner in math than receiving help in verbal.

- Which books were the most helpful in getting a 700+ score? Which were the least?
I cannot recommend the Manhattan GMAT SC Guide enough! The MGMAT CR and RC books were good too, but I owe it to the SC guide, really.

- What study techniques / strategies helped you the most?
The fewer things you try, the better! Haha! I say this after, clearly, trying to do too much. I'd say understanding what works for you is the biggest step. This took a while for me because I hadn't taken an exam in a long long time, and it's easy to read someone else's strategy and say, "Oh, if it worked for him/her, it can work for me".
But, I haven't answered your question. What worked for me is taking down fewer notes for RC and CR sections and letting my short-term memory do more work. I saved about ten seconds or more per question, I think, but it all adds up. When I realized I was doing really well on time, I grew more relaxed and surprisingly, more confident!


@DAYNE: I wasn't trying to increase my Quant score, so I didn't spend much time on any type of math questions. That said, I heavily relied on the GMAT club tests and Manhattan GMAT practice tests to expose my flaws in logic, which happened mostly in DS questions. Much earlier, I started with the OG Quant Review.

HTH guys! Good luck to all of you!
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 08:31
congrats on the great score.
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 03:51
wiredo wrote:
Hmm ... for some reason, I didn't get any emails about posts on this thread until today.

@abhattac5:
- What specific actions worked best for you study-wise? What didn't?
I feel like I'm making a trip down memory lane! :-)
Well, studying alone at night helped. I'd also apply constant pressure on myself setting goals a little out of reach - I work better under pressure. What didn't work for me was studying with someone. I learned this the hard way, and ended up spending more time tutoring my partner in math than receiving help in verbal.

- Which books were the most helpful in getting a 700+ score? Which were the least?
I cannot recommend the Manhattan GMAT SC Guide enough! The MGMAT CR and RC books were good too, but I owe it to the SC guide, really.

- What study techniques / strategies helped you the most?
The fewer things you try, the better! Haha! I say this after, clearly, trying to do too much. I'd say understanding what works for you is the biggest step. This took a while for me because I hadn't taken an exam in a long long time, and it's easy to read someone else's strategy and say, "Oh, if it worked for him/her, it can work for me".
But, I haven't answered your question. What worked for me is taking down fewer notes for RC and CR sections and letting my short-term memory do more work. I saved about ten seconds or more per question, I think, but it all adds up. When I realized I was doing really well on time, I grew more relaxed and surprisingly, more confident!


@DAYNE: I wasn't trying to increase my Quant score, so I didn't spend much time on any type of math questions. That said, I heavily relied on the GMAT club tests and Manhattan GMAT practice tests to expose my flaws in logic, which happened mostly in DS questions. Much earlier, I started with the OG Quant Review.

HTH guys! Good luck to all of you!


Hi,

I'm thinking of giving my GMAT again too. I gave it the first time a little over a year back and scored a 700 (Q46 V40) but I want to improve it by 40-50 points. I was wondering if it is worth paying $79 for the GmatClub math tests?

I'm looking for really tough Quant problems, especially those which will help improve my timing. Would the gmatclub tests fall into that category?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 05:14
Shouldn't it be "lessons learned"?
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 06:31
@rahul321: Are you aiming for the additional 40-60 points from mostly an improved quant score? If so, I recommend the GMATclub math tests because several questions are harder than those in the real exam. In my case, I wasn't planning on studying much for the Quant section but needed a real Math workout. If you haven't already, I'd suggest trying the free tests first and see whether you think it added value / exposed flaws in your logic. I also tried the questions on their (paid) iPhone app before I bought the tests.

@PadawanOfTheGMAT: (learnt --> British English, learned --> American English) I grew up in India, where the flavour of spoken/written English is British. I guess it goes to show that I still hang on to some things even though I've lived in the US for eight years. In my application essays, I caught myself doing the same thing and changed it so it wouldn't be considered a typo. :)
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 07:18
wiredo
Terrific score ! what is your advise on improving the Verbal section to 97%?
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 08:47
wiredo wrote:
@rahul321: Are you aiming for the additional 40-60 points from mostly an improved quant score? If so, I recommend the GMATclub math tests because several questions are harder than those in the real exam. In my case, I wasn't planning on studying much for the Quant section but needed a real Math workout. If you haven't already, I'd suggest trying the free tests first and see whether you think it added value / exposed flaws in your logic. I also tried the questions on their (paid) iPhone app before I bought the tests.


Thanks for the quick reply wiredo. My main focus is the quant section because Q46 fell just under the 80th percentile and I'd like to be well into the 85th-90th percentile there. But I plan on trying to improve both Q and V. I think Manhattan GMAT's SC book should help with the Verbal section; any other advice is welcome...

Will try out the free stuff and the iPhone app first. Thanks again!

Posted from my mobile device Image
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Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt [#permalink] New post 22 Oct 2010, 10:40
wiredo wrote:
(learnt --> British English, learned --> American English)

Good to know. Thanks.

I didn't even greet you for your score and detailed feedback :-D
Re: My journey from 710 to 770 - lessons learnt   [#permalink] 22 Oct 2010, 10:40
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