I recently had my FINAL attempt on the GMAT
730 Q48 V42
Since my last post I scored a 690 (Q47 V38) with which I applied to several schools.
I've had the GMAT hanging over my head since 2010 and I'm so relieved its finally over. I ended up sitting the exam 4 times.
I always knew I could crack 700 and my ealier poor performances still remain a mystery to me to this day.
Fundamentally, I am no better now than I was during my first attempt, maybe in some areas weaker, but my approach has changed slightly.
My Biggest takeaways are:
1. Early on I read about the myth of the first 7 questions from MGMAT. I was sold on the theory that each question in the test is as important as any other. Towards the end of my prep I started to believe otherwise - especially on quant. I noticed in my GMATPrep quant attempts where I performed better earlier I would perform better given a similar amount of incorrect questions. I also observed a post on here where a member did some testing on the gmatprep software and also found a clear link to better earlier performance and higher scores. I therefore started focusing on earlier questions, being extra careful and spending extra time if required (obviously not excessively and definitely not far over 3mins)
I have another theory, which could be totally off, but the first few questions are used to gauge your level and the last few, and the last few questions if answered incorrectly have a significant impact on your score. Therefore I suspect it is unlikely that the first few and the last few questions are experimental. If 25% of problems are experimental and none of them are at the start then there is more the reason to focus on earlier questions. Also, I noticed in GMATPREP even if you were going quite well you still got some easier questions later on in the test which made me believe I could catch up time later. Lastly, if you get earlier questions correct and start facing 700 level questions and then getting them wrong you will be penalised less than if you were to get an easier question wrong.
2. Goes without saying. Sometimes fundamentals are not everything andbeing careful with quant can be more important. e.g. Providing the answer for b when they ask for b and not providing for a! Also keeping a conscious mind is crucial as you approach DS. You often get a feel for which wrong answers the GMAT are trying to lead you towards. e.g. often they try to do this with answer choices C and E.
3. For verbal I think I never totally mastered SC and even on the day, despite having read MGMAT SC
2-3 times I still resorted to using my ear to pick between some answers on the test. However, I feel Powerscore CR
helped me immsenslely. I picked up CR quite easily, I feel I always got around 70-80% of OG / GMATPrep CR correct but I kept reading about how good Powerscore CR
was so I took the plunge. I skimmed few the first part, and focused on the strengthen, weaken etc strategies. I struggled to with the practice questions and never felt like I really gained much from it. After scoring a V38 (my lowest ever) I decided to revisit powerscore CR
. I read it cover to cover and read every part carefully (maybe less so the last few chapters). This totally improved my CR ability. The entire book is important especially the start on understanding the structure of a passage and reading every part carefully. I began to get every practice question right and those questions are quite tough. My confidence and ability on CR was very high after and it also helped me on RC questions that are similar in style to CR questions. I felt powerscore CR
was the best GMAT book I read period.Test Day
I went for a run before the exam to get the endorphins pumping and to boost my energy and concentration. Sometimes small edges can be worth 50 points!
For quant I stuck to my strategy of spending more time earlier. The questions were easy (perhaps I got one or some of them wrong). For the rest of the test I didnt get any more easy questions. I had to get the last 2-3 questions.
Verbal was very hard. The SC / CR were brutal to the stage where I felt another sub 700 performance was coming up. Other Pieces of Advice
The MGMAT guides
are quite detailed and can take a long time to complete. I initially opted for the GMATCLUB plan of spending 1 month quant, 1 verbal and 1 review. I couldnt get through MGMAT quant in a month working full time (after being out of high score for 10 years). So be prepared, you should start studying more than 3 months before you intend to apply.
Also, I wish I just took a good GMAT class like MGMAT from the start. They might cost a lot but, the pain I went through to save a few bucks was clearly not worth it. The GMAT is a crucial part of your application and while high scores do not automatically open doors for you lower scores get you dinged. Do not listen to the rhetoric of admissions officers who say people are admitted with scores less than 600. This is very rare. Even a 690 starts hurting you at top schools.
As for me. My 730 has come after I've submitted all my applications. I'll be sending it around to schools for consideration but I think its too late for that. I resat the exam because I've heard many elite employers require 700+ scores to consider you for a job. So far I've been admitted to Ross which I'm estatic about but if I am dinged from my top choices I'll always wonder if it was because of my GMAT.