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3 Months to 760 Q50/V42/IR8

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3 Months to 760 Q50/V42/IR8  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 17 Jun 2019, 10:48
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Intro:
I just finished taking my first attempt a couple of days ago. I haven't posted on this forum, but I used it extensively in my prep, and I wanted to write this as sort of a thank you to all the extremely brilliant members that helped me study!

Profile:
Asian American 25/M. Currently working in Big Pharma and looking to transition to impact consulting, particularly pertaining to sustainability. I had only decided on going for an MBA right before I started studying for a GMAT, since I was struggling to get over the fact that my GPA from college was pretty sub-par. With a 3.1 in Chemical Engineering, (albeit from a top 20 university with a track record of grade deflation) I thought I would have been precluded from getting into a top program. With a lot of support from friends and family I decided to go for it and see if I could make up for my GPA with a great GMAT score!

Debrief:
To summarize info first:
Books Used:
Kaplan GMAT
Manhattan Prep Sentence Correction
Manhattan Prep Number Properties
PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible
OG/OG VR/OG QR 2019

Internet Resources Used:
Veritas Prep Exams 1-7
GMAT Prep Exams 1-6
GMATClub

Studied 4 hours per day on weekdays, and about 8 hours on weekends. Only really took 3 days off of studying for a friends wedding. My work life balance was pretty great, strictly working 40 hours/week.

Week One: I started the process with a diagnostic test from Kaplan, going in completely dry. I think I received something around a 610, and I didn't really know what to make of it. I bought the Kaplan GMAT guide as I saw it in a book store that I happened across. I worked through it in about a week, and felt as if I learned a good amount. By that point I felt like I had a good grasp of Problem Solving, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. I felt weak in Data Sufficiency, and absolutely terrible at Sentence Correction. In hindsight, I don't believe any information I got from Kaplan was more beneficial than what I got from my other study resources, but by no means is it a bad resource. After that week, I called up one of my friends that is matriculating to an M7 school this fall. I asked him about resources he recommended, and he pointed me toward several, one of which was this forum!

Week Two-Week Three: By that point I bought the OG and started to make my way through it. I had a 10 day vacation planned with my GF, but I still somehow managed to study for around 4 hours a day. (I tend to sleep only 6 hours, while the GF sleeps around 10 :lol: ) I managed to complete almost all the sections aside from Sentence Correction in these weeks. After reflecting, I definitely regret exhausting so many OG questions. By that point in my process, I hadn't looked through GMATClub to find that common knowledge was to save OG questions for later in the process. I believe this 100% holds true for Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning: Once you finish one of these problems, you've probably went through 90% of the value of the problem. For me, I felt like I still got value from repeating questions from the other sections. After I came back from my vacation, I began to look at GMATClub more often and found the trio of PowerScore CR Bible, Manhattan Prep SC, and Manhattan Prep Number Properties. I can't recommend those books enough. They definitely helped me establish strong fundamentals for each of the relevant sections.

Week Three-Week Five: I continued to work on the above mentioned books, spending about three days to complete each book. At this point I took the free Veritas Prep Practice test and got a 660 (Q45/V36). I skipped the IR section since I was getting fatigued by the end. My problem areas were still SC and DS. I then began to work through the OG VR and OG QR questions. I spent about a 2:1 time split on Verbal vs Quant. These weeks went by very quickly, as I was just plugging away at solving as many problems as possible. I wasn't maintaining a robust error log at this point, just making note of the problems I was getting wrong, and eyeballing my accuracy.

Week Six-Week Eight: I was chugging along, completing a Veritas Exam every 3-4 days. In order I scored 660-690-740-730-710-730-790. Before I started a new test I reviewed and reattempted each of the problems I had missed. Looking back, the quality of the quant sections was very close to GMATprep questions as well as the real test. As I got further along, though, I noticed that the Verbal questions weren't quite up to par. In particular, I found a few CR and RC questions to be somewhat debatable. Overall, it was a great resource. During this time range I also took my first GMATPrep test. I scored a 760 (Q50/V46). I was pretty ecstatic, and set a target score of 770! While ambitious, I knew I needed every point I could get to offset my undergrad GPA.

Week Nine-Week Ten: At this point, I was taking a GMATPrep test every 4-5 days. In order, I scored 770-770-780-760-490-780 (I had stepped out after my first section and didn't realize the timer was running during the fifth test :lol:) I signed up for the test about a month out. Confident that my fundamentals were solid, I began using GMATClub's filter for OG questions. I only selected 700 level questions, and just went down in order, starting with questions with the highest number of kudos. I began using GMATClub's error log by repeating missed questions every weekend, taking detailed notes if I had missed a question multiple times. During this time, i decided I wouldn't spend any more time studying RC, and I finished studying for CR by doing some of the harder LSAT CR questions. I still felt that sentence correction was causing me some issues, and I wasn't super confident that I could consistently score a Q51. By completing all the 700-level OG questions, and really making an attempt at learning the theory and shortcuts that users like GMATNinja and Bunuel (among several others!), I felt like I was making really good progress.

Week Eleven-Week Twelve: At this point I was starting to feel a bit of burnout. It seemed like I was experiencing diminishing returns. Every problem I missed made me more frustrated then it would've prior to this point. Also, I started to feel a bit of anxiety as the test date was coming up. My GF kept reassuring me that I was scoring really well on the GMATPrep tests, but I kept convincing myself that those questions are so much easier than the 700-level questions that I was studying with. I was under the impression that if I wanted my target score, I would have to go through a gauntlet of hard questions. It turns out, though, that the GMATprep questions were extremely representative of the real test, in my opinion. I never even came across a problem on the real test that was comparable in difficulty to the harder questions I regularly saw. I was scoring either Q50/Q51 on all my practice tests, so I shifted my time to a 4:1 split between SC and Quant.

Week Thirteen (Test Week): I was a mess at this point! I really had to tell myself that it would be ok if I didn't score well, that I had time to retake the test if I don't get what I'm targeting. In my head 750 was the score that I would be super conflicted as to whether I would accept or cancel. I feel as though I shifted from a positive level of anxiety to a negative level (and back and forth) after every few hours. I hadn't really studied IR still at this point, hoping that my time studying the other sections would translate over. About three days before my test I read up on Chineseburned AWA guide. I wrote a few essays using the format, getting positive feedback from my GF. The night before the test I studied very lightly, pretty much only writing a couple of AWA essays. The day of I told myself I wouldn't study at all (my test was at 330 PM), but I made the mistake of reviewing some problems that I had gotten wrong. I panicked when I couldn't immediately solve the problem and anxiety came over me. So yea, definitely don't recommend doing that! There is no way you're going to learn and remember something new that soon before the test!

Test Time!:
I got to the test center about 45 minutes before my exam, and they got me into the testing room within five minutes. Prior to the test, I ate a breakfast burrito and some sushi. I definitely went the comfort food route rather than some of the super healthy choices that some other users chose to do. I downed a medium caffeinated yerba mate tea, and brought a gatorade, two red bulls, and two bananas with me to the test. I chose to do Verbal-Quant-IR-AWA. For the first five questions my mind was getting a bit foggy. I was afraid that I wasn't super confident in the first few questions I answered (Still waiting on my ESR to confirm!) and I came to peace with taking the test again, lol. After that I go to a RC passage that helped me get into a groove. After that I wasn't too sure how I was doing overall. I had plenty of extra time, but I typically completed my practice tests at the same rate. Eventually in the 19-28 section of the test, I saw three Method of Reasoning/Parallel Reasoning CR questions. I knew that those questions were typically more rare and would come up if you were doing well on the test. That was a HUGE relief to me, and from there on I felt pretty confident. I finished verbal section with about 10 minutes to spare. During the break I pounded a red bull and ate a banana. My body and brain were feeling good. Quant went by exactly like I was taking a GMATprep test. I felt very confident I scored a Q51, so I was a little bit surprised when I didn't, but I'm not complaining! Pounded another red bull. IR and AWA were pretty uneventful. I managed to remember and loosely follow the AWA template, and I think I wrote something like 650 words, so here's hoping for a 6!

After my essay, I was super surprised when the score showed up with one click. I saw the 760 and I put my hands on my forehead in disbelief! I felt a huge relief that I knew I wouldn't have to take the test again. I was escorted out, and I realized I don't even remember my splits between Q/V. I told the Pearson representative and she laughed and gave me a printout of my results. I called my GF and my mom and thanked them for being so supportive, and I couldn't stop raving to my GF how helpful this forum was. At this point I'm super happy with my score, and will go into applications with a confidence level that I haven't felt before. There is 10% of me considering retaking the exam, knowing that I have scored Q51/V46 multiple times, and that my anxiety level would probably be way less on a future attempt, but I feel like I want to focus everything into applications at this point.

Words of Advice:

-Save OG CR/RC questions for when you feel like you have a strong fundamental base. You will waste these questions once you answer them!

-Explore Shortcuts for Quant problems. While you may be able to complete a tough algebra problem in three minutes, I guarantee you a faster way exists. Every post for a 700-level question has multiple solutions for you to explore and see what you are comfortable with!

-Be proactive as you're reading SC problems. Try to identify issues with the given sentence as you're reading it. After I completed my first reading, I almost always was able to eliminate three answer choices due to glaring grammatical issues. From there, it was very often the case the the remaining two questions had a difference in the meaning of the sentence. Focus on what the sentence is trying to convey, and it should give you a clue to the correct answer out of the remaining two.

-I don't believe I had a single question that came down to choosing between the correct idiom and the incorrect one. There were always other errors that came up.

-Be vary wary of completely non-OG verbal questions. I definitely encountered some that just weren't great quality. Make sure you're completing questions from a reputable source.

-Don't stress about IR. If you truly understand the fundamentals for Quant and Verbal, those skills will translate over to IR. Familiarize yourself with the types of questions so you aren't daunted on test day, but don't focus too much of you valuable time completing every IR question out there.

-Again, the GMATprep software is super representative of the type of questions I saw going into the test. So long as you keep a good mindset, your true score will be very close to what you were scoring on those exams.

-I didn't buy the GMATClub CATs, but I did try 3 Quant tests during the Holiday promotion. The quality of the tests were great. Basically just beefed up versions of the GMATprep questions that will test the same fundamentals that you need on the actual test.

Chineseburned AWA guide. That is all.

Thank you all for helping on the way! I would love to help out any members that have any questions, I'm definitely not an expert but I feel as though I learned a ton about how to study thanks to this forum. I would love to help out others that are going through the same process!

Originally posted by arthurychoi on 17 Jun 2019, 10:18.
Last edited by arthurychoi on 17 Jun 2019, 10:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Months to 760 Q50/V42/IR8  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2019, 10:34
Great Post for GMAT aspirants !!!
Great Tips for a solid plan !!

All the Best
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New post 17 Jun 2019, 21:01
Welcome to GMAT Club arthurychoi! Terrific first post! :)

Please thank your friend - I am glad you found GMAT Club and thank you for posting your debrief! Have you identified the schools you will be applying to?
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New post 18 Jun 2019, 02:07
Congratulations for your great score. Thanks for sharing your debrief, AND the plan and strategy you give will be helpful for many people
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New post 18 Jun 2019, 07:57
Thank you all for your kind words! I haven't narrowed potential schools down to short list. I'm still researching where exactly I would find a good fit! I know that I'm very interested in Kellogg and Sloan, but so many other schools are very alluring.
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New post 18 Jun 2019, 08:43
Very nice debrief!
Congratulations on the 760 arthurychoi

All the best for your applications.
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New post 20 Jun 2019, 08:49
Thank you so much for sharing! Where are is the GMAT Prep software that you are referring to?
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New post 21 Jun 2019, 09:57
Congratulations, what a great score. I will carefully study your plan to fit my schedule. Thank you for sharing.

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New post 21 Jun 2019, 14:05
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kaseychau wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing! Where are is the GMAT Prep software that you are referring to?


Hi Kaseychau! the GMATPrep software is part of the official GMAC GMAT resources. If you follow the exam prep tab on their main page you will be able access two practice tests for free, with more available for about 25 dollars each. These exams are very similar to the real test you will take, so it is highly advised that you take these exams to evaluate your performance as you study. Try to not exhaust these exams too early in the process. Rather, space them out evenly to track your progress as you study.
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New post 21 Jun 2019, 16:25
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I was just re-reading your debrief and I like your style of prep - very economical and not fancy. Pretty standard resources, though you have used a cross-mix of books - Kaplan, MGMAT, and PowerScore.

I also started with Kaplan's general book and then moved on to more advanced books once I figured it was only going to take me so far. Did you use both MGMAT and PowerScore for Verbal or just PowerScore? What made you choose them instead of just sticking it out with MGMAT?

What about the RC? Did not use the MGMATs RC book?

As to schools, I would recommend getting started soon - perhaps by July to lock in your options.
Do you have friends/colleagues you can rely on for your admissions network, advice, and support? or you planning to use a consultant (you don't sound like one who will but just curious) :)
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3 Months to 760 Q50/V42/IR8  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 22 Jun 2019, 12:45
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bb wrote:
I was just re-reading your debrief and I like your style of prep - very economical and not fancy. Pretty standard resources, though you have used a cross-mix of books - Kaplan, MGMAT, and PowerScore.

I also started with Kaplan's general book and then moved on to more advanced books once I figured it was only going to take me so far. Did you use both MGMAT and PowerScore for Verbal or just PowerScore? What made you choose them instead of just sticking it out with MGMAT?

What about the RC? Did not use the MGMATs RC book?

As to schools, I would recommend getting started soon - perhaps by July to lock in your options.
Do you have friends/colleagues you can rely on for your admissions network, advice, and support? or you planning to use a consultant (you don't sound like one who will but just curious) :)


I mostly based which resources to use on the input from a friend that took the GMAT in 2018. I'm not able to really speak decisions on RC prep, as I was able to get by the section well without much prep work! I do consistently read through some pretty dense investing blogs/editorials/journals, so I'm sure that helped me in my prep. I used powerscore CR as my only resource for CR, and I felt like repeatedly practicing their methodology until it was second nature was all I had needed to study! I kind of did this funny thing as I was prepping for CR and RC, to just repeat the words "critical thinking" in my head, to just kind of always try and think a layer deeper than I would normally. I actually got my ESR back, and the results mirror how I thought I would perform going into the test. I missed one question out of CR+RC. Glad to say I got a 6 on the AWA as well!

I've actually chosen my round 1 schools! I'll be applying to Haas, Kellogg, Yale SOM, and Sloan. I'm thinking about adding one more school, but i'm going to begin prep with those 4 in mind! These programs seemed to have strong programs related to sustainability and social impact, and I think my extracurricular and passion aligns well with these schools. I have an amazing girlfriend that'll start helping me draft, a friend matriculating at a M7 schools, and a close friend at MBB that will be able to help! I feel really blessed as I go through this process since I've had a lot of support from some awesome people, including countless gmatclub members!

Originally posted by arthurychoi on 21 Jun 2019, 18:36.
Last edited by arthurychoi on 22 Jun 2019, 12:45, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 21 Jun 2019, 20:04
Fantastic! Congrats on finalizing your program list! I would also encourage you to connect and ask to be connected with someone attending one of these programs who has similar goals and aspirations to yours. You will learn a ton along the way and also improve your applications and have a pretty good idea about your #1 choice. Current students are some of the best resources.

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New post 22 Jun 2019, 08:42
Congrats, thank you for the tips you shared about your study plan. I am prepping for my exam as well and I have a learnt a few tips here. Thanks

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Re: 3 Months to 760 Q50/V42/IR8   [#permalink] 22 Jun 2019, 08:42
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