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Went from 39 (57%) to 50 (96%) for a 760 GMAT finish

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Went from 39 (57%) to 50 (96%) for a 760 GMAT finish [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2002, 21:34
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Reviewer: Amazon Reader from Alexandria, VA United States December 08, 2002

My quant score killed me the first time I took the test--57 percentile. I had thought I was prepared with the general Kaplan GMAT book with CD-ROM. Wrong.

For the quant-challenged, there are two general prep strategies. One, you can dish out a couple grand for Kaplan tutoring. Personally, I recommend the following three-book approach, assuming you have time. Get the ARCO GRE-GMAT Math Review. It is basic, but trust me, if you don't know/review the basics cold, you are done. This book would also be a fine starting point for people who would score less than 57%, so don't let that put you off. The section on word problems was particularly helpful. Each topical area (such as factoring) has practice problems, and each section (such as Algebra) has a practice test to reinforce what you are reviewing (or learning).

The second book I recommend is the Kaplan GRE-GMAT Math Workbook. It will take you the next step, assuming that you know the basic math and getting more into how to manipulate certain figures and math concepts to get the answer you need. Test taking strategy is also addressed in this book, which it is not in the ARCO. There are far more practice problems in the Kaplan than in the ARCO, and they are divided into "Basic", "Intermediate" and "Advanced."

I used only these two books, and my quant score went from 57 percentile to 96 percentile. I reviewed for two weeks, one book a week, about 4 hours per day.

I called this a three-book approach; the third book is one that I wish I had bought--GMAC's current edition of previous tests. Practicing in this book would probably have increased my confidence a bit more going into the test--I must admit that I did not fully trust Kaplan's problems to be truly representative of the real GMAT. Judging from my results, this mistrust was unfounded. I did use GMAC's PowerPrep software, which you get when you register for the GMAT. A big drawback with PowerPrep is that it uses the questions from a paper test, and just levers them into the CAT format. The questions don't really get harder if you answer them correctly (as of November 8, 2002). Use them for math practice, but keep in mind that the CAT is designed to challenge you by offering you harder and harder questions as long as you keep getting them right. Don't learn a time managment strategy on the paper tests and expect to use it on the CAT. Don't expect your CAT to be as easy as the paper tests.

I also got Kaplan's GMAT 800 at a local bookstore, and returned it two days later. After the other two books, I could not see that it was helping me much at all. I don't recommend that one. Not for math anyway--I am not addressing verbal anything in this review.

One final note--none of the books address probability, which exists on the GMAT in rudimentary form. I didn't need to know permutations or combinations either time I took the test, but that's not to say that you will not--I just don't know. I did need to know basic probability calculation, and that's not in any of the books above. So, spend an hour at the library and nail that down--it's not difficult


:!: This is from our BOOKS REVIEWS Section, for more click here top-gmat-prep-books-guides-reviews-comments-77703.html
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2003, 06:57
Hi, Mb bb!

May I ask you to take a look at my strategy for GMAT preparation. I graduated from a technical university, and my quantitative skills are OK. I have used all the materials I managed to find - PowerPrep, 800score, ARCO, GMAT Plus, Kaplan, Offical guides and so on. Approximately, I did about 10000 (ten thousand) problems. Nevertheless, my first attempt gave me 660 (48/36), and the second - one month later - gave the same again. My friends managed to increse their scores up to 50 points several months later, so the immediate try is not a wise thought.

About 9 months passed by. Now I have no GMAT problems left and use materials from LSAT, GRE and SAT, and feel better.

Can you say something?
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2003, 17:59
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stolyar wrote:
Hi, Mb bb!

May I ask you to take a look at my strategy for GMAT preparation. I graduated from a technical university, and my quantitative skills are OK. I have used all the materials I managed to find - PowerPrep, 800score, ARCO, GMAT Plus, Kaplan, Offical guides and so on. Approximately, I did about 10000 (ten thousand) problems. Nevertheless, my first attempt gave me 660 (48/36), and the second - one month later - gave the same again. My friends managed to increse their scores up to 50 points several months later, so the immediate try is not a wise thought.

About 9 months passed by. Now I have no GMAT problems left and use materials from LSAT, GRE and SAT, and feel better.

Can you say something?


HM... I did not see much of a strategy there :?
Maybe it is well hidden :) maybe that's the root?

I knew a person in your situation back in Kiev, he has gone through most of the material out there, had 550 average GMAT, tried 3 times and could not pull it up. He also had a degree in physics or smth. I tried to help but it did not yield no results. I am saying this not to discourage you, but to let you know you will need to change a few things and work your butt.

I think the whole prep is about strategy and about how you structure the process. Apparently, number of study materials does not improve the score proportionally. I guess you are very familiar with consulting, and GMAT is not a whole much different.

This may sound stupid, but this will probably be the most important question: What do you think kept you from getting above 700?

Anohter great problem that is often annoying people is free time - professioanls study 9-11 at night when the brain is long asleep.... I have taken some time off at work during December and January when I was preparing and reschduled my hours. I had free mornings two days a week, which was fabulous. The sad thing is that in real life, unless you run the company, it is close to impossible :)


Let me know what you think,
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2003, 23:07
Hi Bogdan,

Thank you for you reply. The thing that keeps from getting 700+ is verbal skills – I have no doubt. My math score is 48, but my verbal score leaves much place to grow.

But how to increase verbal skills if you are not a native speaker? I found the answer from my past practice for TOEFL. My first diagnostic attempts gave me miserable 190-210 due to poor reading and listening. Grammar and listening proved to be easy to increase, but reading did not. I decided to read in English as much as possible. Quantity has to become quality. Earlier or later. My first official attempt gave me 260 with reading being 28. So, quantity is important.

Then I started preparing for GMAT. Its reading is far more difficult that that of TOEFL. I took GMAT and in a week retook TOEFL and got 273 with reding being perfect 30. So, there is yet another important point – preparation for more difficult test increases skills for more easier one. At least I think so.

But where to find verbal materials that are more difficult than those for GMAT? A friend of mine from Michigan (his own GMAT is 770) gave me an idea – LSAT can beef up verbal skills for GMAT. I believe him since his own score is so impressive.

Another Russian guy managed to increase his score from 550 to 760 in a year of hardworking. He left his job and sacrificed all his time to preparation. His case is also interesting.

Summing all, a number of problems solved is important, and the level of their difficulty is also important. This is my approach. It may not be a brilliant one, but I do not have another.

I plan to retake GMAT again, and I need to know your opinion of an expert. Thank you again.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Feb 2003, 23:38
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Hi Bogdan,

Thank you for you reply. The thing that keeps from getting 700+ is verbal skills – I have no doubt. My math score is 48, but my verbal score leaves much place to grow.

But how to increase verbal skills if you are not a native speaker? I found the answer from my past practice for TOEFL. My first diagnostic attempts gave me miserable 190-210 due to poor reading and listening. Grammar and listening proved to be easy to increase, but reading did not. I decided to read in English as much as possible. Quantity has to become quality. Earlier or later. My first official attempt gave me 260 with reading being 28. So, quantity is important.

Then I started preparing for GMAT. Its reading is far more difficult that that of TOEFL. I took GMAT and in a week retook TOEFL and got 273 with reding being perfect 30. So, there is yet another important point – preparation for more difficult test increases skills for more easier one. At least I think so.

But where to find verbal materials that are more difficult than those for GMAT? A friend of mine from Michigan (his own GMAT is 770) gave me an idea – LSAT can beef up verbal skills for GMAT. I believe him since his own score is so impressive.

Another Russian guy managed to increase his score from 550 to 760 in a year of hardworking. He left his job and sacrificed all his time to preparation. His case is also interesting.

Summing all, a number of problems solved is important, and the level of their difficulty is also important. This is my approach. It may not be a brilliant one, but I do not have another.

I plan to retake GMAT again, and I need to know your opinion of an expert. Thank you again.


Reading...
yes, I know.
I have read fiction. I can't say how much it contributed to my Reading abilities, but I think it did a great job by feeling comfortable with lengthy texts and dense language.
I have tried many things - gmat topics such as history, business, phylosophy, etc, and I could never manage to get through, so I switched to just normal books. I have posted a collection of just ordinary books that are interesting to read and at the same time are helpful for Reading Comprehension practice, Style, Grammar, and Vocabulary.

Reading good books has many benefits at the second glance. Here is the link to the books; I have commented on each of them. (they used to be linked to Amazon but I have temporarily removed the links)

Check out the reviews section:
http://www.gmatclub.com/content/resources/reviews/

Anyway, you are an intelligent person and know everything about books, so I will stop about that now 8)

SECOND PART.

However, I credit my reading success mostly to Kaplan's strategy! I got 96th percentile on the Verbal being a non-native speaker and having a full time job (though with some breaks). I followed what Kaplan preached:
1)Pay attention to the first paragraph
2)Topic sentences are important, and the last sentence of a paragraph is too
3)PARAPHRASE - stop after each paragraph to sum up
4)Constantly ask yourself what you have read - active reading
5)Stop at the end to summurize the whole thing

KAPLAN'S VERBAL WORKBOOK has them described more detailed and I think there are more of them. I also took notes while reading. I did not refer back to them, but they helped me to remember what I have read. If after reading a text, you can't really tell what it is about - you did a bad job reading the text and should not waste your time answering the questions.... Many people go ahead and try to answer questions even if they did not get a clue from the text... this strategy won't get you a high score. You need to understand the text.

Also, I think I can't ever emphasize this enough - you need to review your mistakes - you should spend a good portion of your time reviewing mistakes - because this way you get to know how the system works. GMAT is not only about your skills about also about the test methodolody - you need to know how the system works. My roommate is a Law School student and he had a classmate who was 60 but smart and very wealthy. He spent a semester in Law School and then dropped out cause he failed all the classes. He could never figure out how the test system worked - he was bright and definitely knew how to earn money, but could not crack the system....

Anyway, enough of parables. Tell me what you think about reading fiction. Most of the people are quite skeptical about it.



P.S. As to quitting one's job, I thought about that, but how about references and all the stuff... it is a little questionable, also I needed income to live ;) did not save much...
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stolyar [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2003, 00:21
Bogdan,

Yes, active reading is crucial not only for reading part but also for the whole verbal part. Developing active reading skills reqires practice. Again quantity is important. Quantity and time. My experience says that many people manage to have their scores increased due to a serious plus in the verbal part! Therefore, I hope for LSAT.

Thank you for reading tips - they are very useful, and I already see how to implement them. Books are OK, and I read books. But I also use Internet. There are perfect resources: http://www.science.com and http://www.nationalgeographic.com. Tons of GMAT-like passages for free. Science.com contains brilliant passages and pure, heavy scientific articles. Difficult language and grammar, vague logic, special vocabulary.

By the way, I am very happy to find your site. I have found it randomly by surfing internet. I will tell all my friends to visit and join.
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Re: stolyar [#permalink] New post 04 Feb 2003, 01:10
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stolyar wrote:
Bogdan,

Yes, active reading is crucial not only for reading part but also for the whole verbal part. Developing active reading skills reqires practice. Again quantity is important. Quantity and time. My experience says that many people manage to have their scores increased due to a serious plus in the verbal part! Therefore, I hope for LSAT.

Thank you for reading tips - they are very useful, and I already see how to implement them. Books are OK, and I read books. But I also use Internet. There are perfect resources: http://www.science.com and http://www.nationalgeographic.com. Tons of GMAT-like passages for free. Science.com contains brilliant passages and pure, heavy scientific articles. Difficult language and grammar, vague logic, special vocabulary.

By the way, I am very happy to find your site. I have found it randomly by surfing internet. I will tell all my friends to visit and join.


I am not sure about emphasizing quantity. I had an advantage of attending an English Speaking University, but when I took my original practice test after studying with ARCO and PRINCETON I got around 550-600. That's it. I threw away both of those books and bought Kaplan: all 3 books and that's all I used. I never opened the official guide or GMAT plus. I had no idea those existed. I had a TOELF book for grammar and a bunch of interesting fiction to read. (one problem with websites you can't really read in the subway or in the car or in bed, though I read in bed with my laptop but not when I was studying). Anyway, as I predicted, you are skeptical of fiction. I bet there are a few US libraries in Moscow and you can get the books easily or on the web, they are under $2, most of them at least.

As to the site, I have not done a massive marketing campaign, I am developing a marketing strategy right now and will present it in my Markeing class and then we'll see how it goes. I plan to add many sections. Several are already read but I don't want to put them out and screw up the Strategy :) I am quite clueless of Marketing actually... but that's not related to the topic.

I would still not push for quantity. I'd rather allocate quality time and really get into the strategy. I can swear with a few things that after really using Kaplan's strategy - following it no matter how rediculous it sounds I got 75% correct instead of the usual 50%, and that happend over 10 minutes. I have lost the skill next time I tried, so I had to practice using thier way....

It is my story and I think it would work for all or for the majority at least if people are consisten with how they approach READING both practicing and taking the real test.

It is very late here and I have typed it up very fast, so sorry if there are crooked sentences. I am pretty tired.

Talk to you later,
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2003, 16:46
Hi Stolyar,

Looking at your input, it seems that you believe that LSAT is more difficult than GMAT. Do you really think so? I also feel comfortable about math section but I have to improve my verbal score if I want to score 700+. I have taken a look at the sample LSAT questions and it seems that they are logical reasoning questions. Is that same as GRE logical reasoning? And did you have chance to work on these problems to see if it actually helped you inproving your GMAT score?

Thanks for your input.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2003, 03:44
am1974 wrote:
Hi Stolyar,

Looking at your input, it seems that you believe that LSAT is more difficult than GMAT. Do you really think so? I also feel comfortable about math section but I have to improve my verbal score if I want to score 700+. I have taken a look at the sample LSAT questions and it seems that they are logical reasoning questions. Is that same as GRE logical reasoning? And did you have chance to work on these problems to see if it actually helped you inproving your GMAT score?

Thanks for your input.


Actually, to deal with the LSAT is an advice of my friend, who got 770. He is not a native speaker, but got 49 on a verbal part. He practiced with the LSAT problems and advised me to do the same. I am inclined to believe him since his score is so impressive.
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2003, 10:43
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stolyar wrote:
am1974 wrote:
Hi Stolyar,

Looking at your input, it seems that you believe that LSAT is more difficult than GMAT. Do you really think so? I also feel comfortable about math section but I have to improve my verbal score if I want to score 700+. I have taken a look at the sample LSAT questions and it seems that they are logical reasoning questions. Is that same as GRE logical reasoning? And did you have chance to work on these problems to see if it actually helped you inproving your GMAT score?

Thanks for your input.


Actually, to deal with the LSAT is an advice of my friend, who got 770. He is not a native speaker, but got 49 on a verbal part. He practiced with the LSAT problems and advised me to do the same. I am inclined to believe him since his score is so impressive.


yeah, I guess it is hard to laugh into somebody's face and call him a fool in that situation :D . Though what troubles me is that if he got 49 on verbal, he must have gotten 48-47 on the math part... is that right?
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2003, 21:17
I think that his math score is 50 or 51.
That guy is a true monster (graduated from Fiztech). 770 from the first try for a Russian guy is more than impressive. Moreover, his groupmate had the same 770, but with a reversed score of 49/51. How did they manage to do so is an enigma, but they both practice with the LSAT. I think the LSAT is not the sole reason, but it should be a significant one.

BTW, he has a dual degree MBA/JD.
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2003, 00:19
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stolyar wrote:
I think that his math score is 50 or 51.
That guy is a true monster (graduated from Fiztech). 770 from the first try for a Russian guy is more than impressive. Moreover, his groupmate had the same 770, but with a reversed score of 49/51. How did they manage to do so is an enigma, but they both practice with the LSAT. I think the LSAT is not the sole reason, but it should be a significant one.

BTW, he has a dual degree MBA/JD.



That's still wierd. I have 750 with 49/42.....
I was suspecting that the computer got screwed up and it was not my success :) but the failure of technology. You know, in life, your success is somebody's failure, isn't it weird? it is like the limited supply of success....
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2003, 00:25
You are a votary of the test :banana , so the ETS probably gave you a bonus. Say 100 points. :D
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2003, 06:51
bb wrote:
stolyar wrote:
I think that his math score is 50 or 51.
That guy is a true monster (graduated from Fiztech). 770 from the first try for a Russian guy is more than impressive. Moreover, his groupmate had the same 770, but with a reversed score of 49/51. How did they manage to do so is an enigma, but they both practice with the LSAT. I think the LSAT is not the sole reason, but it should be a significant one.

BTW, he has a dual degree MBA/JD.



That's still wierd. I have 750 with 49/42.....
I was suspecting that the computer got screwed up and it was not my success :) but the failure of technology. You know, in life, your success is somebody's failure, isn't it weird? it is like the limited supply of success....


740 is 50+40. So I don't think there is some failure in your case.
By the way, Bogdan, are you currently engaged in relationships with Muskie from Melnikova St.?
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2003, 03:36
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SoTrue wrote:
bb wrote:
stolyar wrote:
I think that his math score is 50 or 51.
That guy is a true monster (graduated from Fiztech). 770 from the first try for a Russian guy is more than impressive. Moreover, his groupmate had the same 770, but with a reversed score of 49/51. How did they manage to do so is an enigma, but they both practice with the LSAT. I think the LSAT is not the sole reason, but it should be a significant one.

BTW, he has a dual degree MBA/JD.



That's still wierd. I have 750 with 49/42.....
I was suspecting that the computer got screwed up and it was not my success :) but the failure of technology. You know, in life, your success is somebody's failure, isn't it weird? it is like the limited supply of success....


740 is 50+40. So I don't think there is some failure in your case.
By the way, Bogdan, are you currently engaged in relationships with Muskie from Melnikova St.?


No, Melnikova St. Kissed my butt goodbye in the first round, even before I took the test. I had to get things moving on my own.
  [#permalink] 25 Apr 2003, 03:36
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