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Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720

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Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2014, 19:29
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Hello everyone!

I am so happy to write this post because finally I got the score that I need to apply to a TOP 10 MBA :idea: . My first attempt to ace the gmat was not successful 610(Q51,V21,IR2,AWA2) :oops: but last week I got 720(Q50,V37,IR8,AWA5) :lol:

0.About me: I am 26 years old, Peruvian, industrial engineer, Strategy Corporate Manager of a TOP 10 Direct Sales Company and also chessplayer. In addition to the fact that I am Peruvian and not native speaker, I did not study in a bilingual high-school so getting over 700 points in GMAT test was so hard for me :? . However, I decided to study in a TOP MBA partly because it was my dream since I was a child and partly because I was highly motivated by my bosses who are really smart and competitive. :wink:

1.About my preparation:

It has been a long journey (almost ten months). So I will be as concise as possible.

a)Books & materials used: Official Guide 12, 13. Manhattan Verbal Books, Manhattan Advanced Quant, and Gmat Prep Practice Question (Believe me, it is enough :!: )

b)Simulations: I started with Manhattan, then Kaplan and finally Gmat Prep. Gmat prep is the most accurate simulator. Please buy the add-on to get 2 extra exams. If you want to practice without gmat prep, follow these directions :twisted: :

b1)In quantitative part: I highly recommend you Manhattan. Disregard Kaplan, the first problems are really easy and the last ones are so hard. Manhattan is harder than the real one , but it is a good training for you.

b2)In verbal part: I recommend Kaplan. Manhattan is not good because does not take problems about meaning (it hampered me at my first attempt :!: :shock: ). Although the CR questions in Kaplan are really tricky and hard, I think it is the most challenging set in verbal. So do not be frustrated if you get a low score in Kaplan, because most likely you will get a better score on the real test.

c)Test scores: I started in 490 :oops: (diagnose test) but in the last month my scores were:
Manhattan Average: Q50, V32 :shock:
Kaplan Average: Q50, V35 :(
Gmat Prep Average: Q50, V36 8-)

d)General strategy:

Focus on your weakness. My weak point is Verbal, so invest your time over there. Make an excel file with timings, accuracy, type of question, etc. Try to gather the cross-mistakes that you are constantly making. It will really help you :!: In other words, analyze yourself as you do in your jobs :!:

e)Time management: Control your time each 5 questions, try to be between -3 and +3 minutes :shock: . If you are not in this range, make an educated guess and pass :arrow: . Otherwise, you will not have enough time to finish the last questions :!: :!: :!:

f)Particular Strategy:

f1)Quantitative:
f1.1)Problem Solving:
Read carefully the question (it is indispensable :!: ).
Do not spend more than 3 minutes in a question. If you cannot do it, make a guess, drop it, and be happy. Think ahead always :!:
If you want to get a high score, reinforce the arithmetic, probability and combinatory problems from Advanced Manhattan Problems.
I recommend working with the options, so you will avoid to lose time.

f1.2)Data Sufficiency:
Read carefully the question (it is indispensable :lol: ).
Do not spend more than 3 minutes in a question. If you cannot do it, make a guess. :wink:
Go statement by statement. Watch out with option B!. If you do not, you will not mark the letter B. This usually happens because you think that you can do the problem with A choice and with B choice so you finally pick C choice If you want to get a high score, reinforce the algebra, inequalities, arithmetic (factor, primes, even and odds, reminders) from Advanced Quant Manhattan Problems.

f2)Verbal: My nightmare! :shock: . If you are a non-native speaker, read as much as you can before your preparation. Otherwise, you would get frustrated. This is an advice I would like to receive :(

f2.1)Sentence Correction: It is the easiest part for a non-native speaker. Study the theory carefully. Then, focus on meaning and concision. I do think it is not a good idea spend a lot of time on idioms. I think that you must study only the most important such as "not only but also" or Consider "x". I recommend you to focus on meaning to ace sentence correction.

f2.2)Critical Reasoning: You need to study the 4 major questions (Strengthen, Weaken, Draw and find the assumption). Read carefully the whole question and the answer choices. You can drop quickly 3 or even 4 options. Do not look the right choice, look the wrong ones. For the hardest questions, it is common to have 2 valid answer choices. In this case, pick the choice which is most related to the conclusion. For assumption questions, use the negation technique always.

f2.3)Reading Comprehension: Just read :evil: . The more you read, the better you are. Identify your weakness (for example: laws, philosophy, litherature, genetics, general science). For particular questions, skim the part of the passage and go to the answer choices with a pre-thinked answer. For general questions, there is a golden rule. Drop the choices which are specific. Then evaluate each word slowly.

f3)Integrated Reasoning: The best material to ace IR is Manhattan free course on the web :wink: . It is free and magnificent!. I decided to drop 2 questions (most likely the first one which is tough) so I have more time to focus on the other ones (3 minutes/per question). Do not try to answer all the questions because you will be in rush. Only you need to answer 8 questions to get the high score. I took all these directions and I got the highest score.

f4)Analytical Writing Assessment: I spent only one day to practice this part :roll: . Memorize a template and let your brain flow. Spend 5 minutes to brainstorm the 3 key issues of the argument, 25 minutes to write and 5 minutes to review. The last 5 minutes are critical to get a good score.

2. About the real test: I will share with you 5 tips :wink:

a)Before the test:
- Do not study at least 2 days before the exam :twisted:
- Sleep at least 7 hours :x
- Eat healthy :P
- Walk around the beach or the park, listen music and relax yourself. Your brain needs oxygen :!:
- Eat something such as chocolate and drink water before the test. Your brain needs glucose to be splendid :!:

b)During the test:
- Go to the restroom. Non-regret advice. :?
- Do not spend your energy in the first two parts of the exam (AWA-IR). Remember your quant and verbal part is important 8-)
- Take the break, go to the restroom, drink water and eat chocolate. All of these activities in 5 minutes.
- Pace yourself. Look forward and forget the last part of the exam :!:

I really hope that my debrief can help you. I will share you my summary for my weakest area (verbal). For any further information, do not hesitate to contact me.

Merry Christmas for everyone :!: :!: :!:
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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 21 Dec 2014, 14:44
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Great job! Nice to see all that progress. Good luck with everything.

A.
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Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2014, 07:30
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Congrats on a successful 2nd attempt!

You gave some great advice. In particular: "CR: Do not look the right choice, look the wrong ones. For the hardest questions, it is common to have 2 valid answer choices. In this case, pick the choice which is most related to the conclusion". All too often, the "obvious right answer" is a trap answer. We know some answers are traps, but we still fall for them anyway. Hence, it's always great to focus on the PoE in Verbal. Thanks for the advice.

Congrats again and Merry Christmas to you!
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Going for a 2nd attempt... Determined to break the 700+ barrier!

If you like my post, please consider giving me a friendly kudos. :)

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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2014, 11:59
Thanks for sharing your experience!!
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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2014, 09:31
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Some good insights. Congrats and good luck going forward!

And yes, don't let IR / AWA affect your psychology for the main show -- the Quant and verbal that happens after those first two sections.
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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2014, 19:19
HerrGrau wrote:
Great job! Nice to see all that progress. Good luck with everything.

A.


Thank you for writing! I am so happy to share my debrief!!!
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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2014, 19:20
Damian wrote:
Congrats on a successful 2nd attempt!

You gave some great advice. In particular: "CR: Do not look the right choice, look the wrong ones. For the hardest questions, it is common to have 2 valid answer choices. In this case, pick the choice which is most related to the conclusion". All too often, the "obvious right answer" is a trap answer. We know some answers are traps, but we still fall for them anyway. Hence, it's always great to focus on the PoE in Verbal. Thanks for the advice.

Congrats again and Merry Christmas to you!


Thank you, I hope my debrief can help many people!
Merry Christmas!
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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2014, 19:21
sueiiish wrote:
Thanks for sharing your experience!!


You are welcome. If you have questions, fell free to contact me!
Merry Christmas!
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Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720 [#permalink] New post 25 Dec 2014, 19:22
GMATPill wrote:
Some good insights. Congrats and good luck going forward!

And yes, don't let IR / AWA affect your psychology for the main show -- the Quant and verbal that happens after those first two sections.


Yeah! Energy is a really important asset to ace the gmat!
Thank you for writing!
Re: Non-native Speaker From 610 to 720   [#permalink] 25 Dec 2014, 19:22
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