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490 to 690 GMAT in just 5 weeks

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Current Student
Joined: 22 Aug 2017
Posts: 4
Location: United States (IN)
GMAT 1: 690 Q47 V38
GPA: 3.71
490 to 690 GMAT in just 5 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2018, 08:35
Hi everyone!

I just wanted to make a quick post about this, as I find I am an unusual candidate for the GMAT.

I took a Kaplan online course for the GMAT and was taking practice tests weekly, scoring on average - 640. I was decently happy with this score and went in to take my test in Sep of 2017. I did everything the week leading up to prepare, not staying up to late, ensuring I get exercise and feel awake at 8am (the time of the exam) and a number of other routine things, just reviewing and not overloading.

I went in to take the GMAT in September and scored a 490... I had never done that poorly - even my diagnostic exam was a 530!
I was horrified.

I took 2 weeks off from GMAT prep in general, because I needed time to stay away from the material and figure out where I went wrong.

I figured out that the only reason I did so poorly was because I approached the test incorrectly. I went in being confident. Many people told me not to be nervous, that I should be confident. I was TOO confident. I wasn't taking each question as a new question and I fell into a routine during the exam. That is my biggest piece of advice. DO NOT GET INTO A ROUTINE DURING THE EXAM. It is such a big mistake. Take each question with a brand new strategy. Don't ever feel like you've got a rhythm - because it is when that happens, that you start to let go of your training. That was my biggest learning.

I retook the KAPLAN course for free because of their policy - but all of the information was the same. I did not learn new material within that new time frame, but I did reinforce what I already knew, to ensure that I was ready for game day.

Oct 14th I took the exam again. I took it at a new location, a different time of the day (3pm vs 8am) and for me this helped. I didn't feel like anything was the same, because I didn't want to feel like I was taking the same test. I needed a different experience and this helped me.

I took each question with a new perspective - and strategized each question as they came. MY order was Verbal, Quant, IR, AWA. Verbal is my strength so I went with it first - because that was my chance at getting my highest score. As I was going through the Math.. I honestly had NO idea how I was doing. I honestly felt like I was going to vomit the entire time. IR came.. (and I completely sucked at that might I add.. but I wasn't about to retake this test for an IR score). AWA came and my hands were shaking because I knew the exam was almost over. I actually blacked out during the IR and AWA.. no joke. Couldn't even tell you what my topic for AWA was..yikes.

Anyhow.. I walked out of the exam knowing I got a 690. For me, this is all I wanted/needed. My GPA is strong, I graduated cum laude and have great recommendations from current employer. I didn't need a 750, but this 690 is better than I imagined I could do. My AWA turned out to be a 6.0 - highest marks! I don't remember it, but it must've been halfway decent :)

All in all - study, prep, and you will be successful. You have to trust yourself that your work has paid off, but just don't be overconfident or under-confident. Find a healthy mix. While I clearly didn't take my own advice the second time around - because I literally thought I was going to throw up during the exam, I typically do well under terrifying pressure, which I don't enjoy. Had I been more calm, I think I could've broken the 700 barrier, but I couldn't put myself through it again just for that.

Hope this helps someone who is nervous! I know reading these posts helped me immensely, and wanted to share my experience with you.

Goodluck with B Apps!
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Farrell D Hehn: MBA
Re: 490 to 690 GMAT in just 5 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 08:22
That is awesome, Julie! Congrats. I will share this with clients.
Farrell Dyan, MBA Admissions Consultant
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Re: 490 to 690 GMAT in just 5 weeks   [#permalink] 01 Feb 2018, 08:22
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490 to 690 GMAT in just 5 weeks

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