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48Q 44V 750

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Director
Joined: 28 Jun 2006
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26 Oct 2006, 11:11
Just took the test today, I was surprised by the score, I wasn't expecting to do this well.

I studied for a total of about three months, approximately 150 study-hours.

I used the Princeton Review Cracking..... which was good for getting some basic ideas about the test, and some basic strategies together.

I also used the Kaplan 800 which I thought was horrible, the verbal is challenging but mainly because it is poorly written and confusing.

I also used the Official Guide, 10th edition I believe.

I took a few GMATClub challenges as well which were great practice.

I also have a friend who is a high school math teacher, she lent me a couple of books to practice permutations and algebra which was great.

What worked best for me was to spend the first 8 or 9 weeks practicing as many problems as possible (working through the Official Guide) and then spending the last few weeks taking as many practice tests as possible.

The first phase of studying, where you're just churning through a huge volume of questions seems to help you identify patterns in questions, you'll be doing a math problem and suddenly you'll think, "Wait a minute, I bet they're using the trick they used on that other problem...." You start to see shortcuts. If I had to do one thing over I would do a lot more difficult math, like the GMAT club challenges, and I would try to be more disciplined about going over questions I get wrong, I had a tendency to be like, "What, I was wrong? Whatever, on to the next one."

The second phase, where you spend a few weeks doing practice tests gives you a feel for timing, and really gets you prepared for the actual test.

It seems to me that there are certain skills that only stick in your head for so long. For instance, I did a lot of studying on permutations about a month ago. After a couple weeks I completely forgot how to do those types of problems. They're not hard, but for some reason the ability to do permutation problems only stays in my head for so long if I'm not practicing. So I just decided to wait until the night before the test to study problem areas that are simple, but have that sort of short "half-life" in my memory. So last night I re-learned permutations, re-memorized 3-4-5 triangles etc...

I took a sleeping pill before I went to bed. I knew it might leave me slightly groggy today but I figured it would be better to be a little groggy from the pill than from tossing and turning all night. Again, this is just a personal preference, I happen to not think very well without a lot of sleep. I had a big cup of coffee and the grogginess went away.

I also extra healthy the last week, lots of vegetables, lots of water, didn't overeat, got plenty of exercise. I'd like to say that this made me relaxed and energetic going into the test, but I think it's more realistic to say it made me LESS stressed about the whole thing.

Oh yeah, my practice test scores:

PR 680
Kaplan 700
MGMAT 570
GMAT Prep 730
GMAT Prep 710

I'm puzzled by getting a really high score on the Kaplan and a really low score on the MGMAT. I guess the MGMAT isn't a CAT, and it was pretty horribly written.
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26 Oct 2006, 11:18
Congrats ....... Great Score
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27 Oct 2006, 06:20
One more thing that I meant to mention: If I had to do it over again, i would have tried to do many many more practice tests because one very crucial thing that you learn from the practice tests that you don't learn anywhere else, is not to panic when you have to throw in the towel on a question and take an educated guess.

The fact that the GMAT is adaptive means that you're going to be challenged by questions. I imagine someone scoring a 780 and someone scoring a 600 could miss the same number of questions on the test, the difference being that the person w/ the 780 would have had much more difficult questions.

So the point is, since you know you'll be challenged, there are going to be questions that are just too time-consuming for you to work out. During my practice tests I got comfortable looking at a question and saying, "Hm, this is going to be very difficult for me, it will probably take me at the very least three minutes to take a stab at it, and even then I'm not sure I'll be able to figure it out, I'm just going to take a guess and save some time."

So when I took the actual test yesterday, there were three math questions where I could just tell from looking at them that they would be enormous time-sinks, and I just took educated guesses. And I didn't feel panicked at all, i was completely comfortable with it.

The way I see it, is you start off answering easy questions and as you get them right you work your way up to difficult questions. When you get to one of these enormous time-sink type questions you can spend five minutes working it out, only to be rewarded with another difficult question, or you can take a guess. If you guess right, then you have another difficult questions, but you haven't wasted time on the time-sink. If you guess wrong, then you get an easier question or two before the test "adapts" and feeds you another difficult question. And hopefully this next one is one that you don't find as difficult as the time-sink.

I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well so I'll just use this silly analogy. Let's say you're a boxer, and to win a boxing title you have to beat the champ. And to be eligible to fight the champ, you have to beat two lesser boxers in a row. So you fight the two easy boxers and win, and then you get your title shot. You look at the champ and you say "There's no way I can beat this guy, I can either let him pound the crap out of me and most likely lose, or I can just take one lucky swing at him have a slight chance of knocking him out, but if that doesn't work I'll just take a dive and let him win. I'll survive unscathed, and then I'll just fight two easy boxers and earn another shot at the title and hopefully there will be a new champ at that point (someone easier to beat)."

Okay, I've probably just confused everybody even more, but I really think it's important to understand that guessing is a great way to save time, and it can actually help you if it means it saves you time for more difficult questions later in the test. I think it's great to get comfortable with this concept and doing lots of practice tests will get you to that level of comfort.
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27 Oct 2006, 08:21
Wonderful score......

congraaats....

And thanks for the wonderful explanation..certainly made sense to me. I was jus havin prob with my time management in quant...n losin concentration coz of this...

thanks for the advice dude...all the best..
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One more thing i forgot... [#permalink]

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27 Oct 2006, 09:15
I forgot to say this, but I think it goes without saying: This message board and this website were incredibly useful resources! So great to read about other people's experiences and strategies, thanks to everyone who posts!!
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29 Oct 2006, 17:34
Congrats!...Great score!...and your testimonial is a good lesson for people like me...I guess keeping your cool on D-day is half the battle won...I will try to remember your advice about making educated guesses on difficult questions...I tend to labor over them and that kind of hovers in my mind for the rest of the exam time.

Again, congrats and good luck!
29 Oct 2006, 17:34
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