Road to 750 (49Q,44V) : Share GMAT Experience
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Director
Joined: 20 May 2013
Posts: 599
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V44
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 276 [0], given: 54

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03 Aug 2013, 13:09
Background:

Took the initial test 4 years ago right after graduating college. Got a 680. I didn't study too hard and was going through a rough break up, so I definitely wasn't giving it my best.

Decided to take Manhattan GMAT, with the 9 week class ending 10 days before my test - so about 2 months of studying all together.

Baseline: got a 670 10 days into studying, so was probably at around 650 originally.

I'm a 26 year old white guy who has project based roles at an investment bank. Went to NYU stern undergrad, 3.4 GPA.

Prep Materials

1) OG13 and supplemental
3) This site

Prep strategy

I focused about 85% of my studying on math. My strategy here was to do almost all exclusively practice problems. I re-learned math rules by getting questions incorrectly.

Did probably about 100 hours of studying total, including the classes. Did 2 total practice test. The initial 670 test, and then got a 740 about a month out (the 740 had a few questions I had already done, so I was probably at around a 720)

Didn't really keep track of when I got a problem wrong. My studying routine was to use this site for practice problems during down time at work, and use OG13 and Manhattan GMAT when at home.

During my study period, I didn't really get intensive until the last couple of weeks. Prior to that I went out partying, played football on my team every week, trained for tough mudder, got a new girlfriend, etc. Even the week before I went out drinking fairly heavily for a reunion dinner.

2-3 days before I reviewed some problems I got wrong to ensure I got them right. But, since I didn't really keep track of wrong answered in any systematic way, there wasn't too many problems for me to review.

Overall, think doing a ton of practice problems is the best strategy.

Test day experience

Did a a test at noon. Managed to get a decent night's rest which surprised me. Brought a can of red bull, snickers bar, and gatorade to the test center with me. HAd OJ, bagels, and coffee for breakfast before hand.

AWA/IR

I had planned on not trying too hard on these sections to save mental space. I didn't review these more than an hour or so throughout my studying. That said, I got into the groove of things pretty quickly and ended up trying. I don't know what my scores in these sections are yet, but I think I did very well.

Afterwards, I had about 1/3 of the red bull and one half the snickers bar.

Quant

The questions were MUCH easier than I thought they were be, I was actually worried I was messing up. I could've finished with a lot of time to spare (which surprised me, as I thought time would be an issue), but I took the last 10 questions very slow. I got ZERO combometrics problems, and the rate and overlapping set questions were much easier than I used to practicing. Granted since I got a Q49, I wasn't having the hardest questions possible, but was still expecting harder questions - made me a bit paranoid.

Afterwards, I had some more red bull and snickers. Decided to not drink the gatorade.

Verbal

Got ZERO bolded questions, which really freaked me out. I found the sentence correction to be VERY hard (2nd half of the test, I generally had it down to two but couldn't pick which for all of them), and the critical reasoning and passages to be very easier. Got very paranoid I was messing up too many sentence corrections, especially since the other sections seemed easy and I got no bolded questions.

Didn't really get fatigued at all until the last few questions, I thought tiredness would be a major issue.

Finished verbal with about 10 minutes left or so.

I knew I wasn't going to cancel test, since I only really needed to pass 720 to apply to target schools, which I was fairly confident I broke. Didn't think I made 750 due to lack of bolded questions, tough sentence correction, and easy seeming math question.

key take-aways
1) practicing a ton of practice problems seems to work very well
2) not keeping track of the problems you got wrong doesn't seem to hurt you too much during studying, a lot of people keep detailed excel sheets of their problems, I didn't at all.
3) Manhattan GMAT was good, but I probably could've done as well without them. Most people in the class were sub-700, so there's a lot of time I'd be bored in the class. It was good though at giving me structure in my studying, something I may have not been able to maintain on my own
4) Don't worry about having enough yellow pages during the test, wasn't an issue at all, and I have huge handwriting and no structure to my testing writing.
5) I did none of the ABCDE grids or any of that during the test. Did zero notes during verbal section. I think these things get over emphasized.
6) Definitely spread your studying out, and don't cram week before. I did no studying the day before, and minimal 2 days before. I think this helped me be fresh for the test. Likewise, don't take the day off work the day before, just gives you more time to stress.
7) Don't do too many practice tests. I only did 2, and the last one was a month before. All it will do is freak you out.
8) 49Q is only 81% now. How messed up has this curve gotten haha?

I'm still pretty brain dead from the rest, so apologizes that this isn't structured very coherently. Anyways, time to go out and get wasted to celebrate with my friends.
 Manhattan GMAT Discount Codes EMPOWERgmat Discount Codes Math Revolution Discount Codes
Current Student
Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
GMAT 1: Q V0
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 15 [0], given: 8

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03 Aug 2013, 15:46
congrats for the great score! The quant curve is really getting messed up lol

I completely agree with the points 1, 2, and 5. I believe that as long as I am practicing and reviewing my answer, I will improve my score.

-Can you elaborate on the difficulty of the SC on the test? Were they difficult because they were long or convoluted? Or i there another reason?

-How did you find the RC section? Was it in line with OG13/GMATPrep in terms of difficulty/length?

-People keep saying that the IR on the test is much easier than in MGMAT/GMATPrep. Did you experience the same?

Thanks!
Director
Joined: 20 May 2013
Posts: 599
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V44
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 276 [0], given: 54

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03 Aug 2013, 18:26
The SC section questions were because I'd have it narrowed down to two answer choices, but couldn't make up my mind beyond that. Usually it'd be the same exact sentence, but one word would be in a slightly different spot. I'd be lost because with practice problems I had done, generally there would be greater differences in sentences.

RC I found very easy. I could tell a problem was meant to be "hard" but the answer always stood out to me. I didn't study this at all, so I can't be sure which practices are best. I read a ton of news articles, so I think my brain was trained on this. Basically all the problems followed the normal RC: one answer would be the opposite, one answer would be out of scope, one answer would answer a different question, one answer would be kind of right but missing something.

I did zero IR practice, but out of the 12 questions, there was only 1 I wasn't 100% sure on. Presumably I got a handful of the questions wrong due to careless errors, but it doesn't seem like something worth practicing - especially if you're going to apply this year when b-school doesn't care much.
Intern
Joined: 23 Oct 2011
Posts: 48
Location: United States
Schools: Stanford '16 (A)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 14 [0], given: 46

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03 Aug 2013, 19:23
mgh234 wrote:
The SC section questions were because I'd have it narrowed down to two answer choices, but couldn't make up my mind beyond that. Usually it'd be the same exact sentence, but one word would be in a slightly different spot. I'd be lost because with practice problems I had done, generally there would be greater differences in sentences.

RC I found very easy. I could tell a problem was meant to be "hard" but the answer always stood out to me. I didn't study this at all, so I can't be sure which practices are best. I read a ton of news articles, so I think my brain was trained on this. Basically all the problems followed the normal RC: one answer would be the opposite, one answer would be out of scope, one answer would answer a different question, one answer would be kind of right but missing something.

I did zero IR practice, but out of the 12 questions, there was only 1 I wasn't 100% sure on. Presumably I got a handful of the questions wrong due to careless errors, but it doesn't seem like something worth practicing - especially if you're going to apply this year when b-school doesn't care much.

Congrats! I love reading success stories.

I'm retaking and I think your experience in verbal is spot on to what I thought. SC was ridiculous, CR and RC were infinitely easier. Even now I'm wondering if investing in SC is worth it. I thought I did mediocre on IR and got a 7 (I think an 8 is the 93 percentile).

I feel like this test is more mental than anything because I thought I was doing poorly and ended up with a decent score. Just need to battle that quant curve! Ugh.
Director
Joined: 20 May 2013
Posts: 599
Location: United States
Concentration: Strategy, Finance
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V44
Followers: 14

Kudos [?]: 276 [0], given: 54

### Show Tags

03 Aug 2013, 20:10
good luck, the quant curve has gotten so ridiculous. two away from a perfect score is BARELY 80% now.
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