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490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional

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490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 09:17
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I wanted to share my GMAT test-taking as an endorsement of the Magoosh plans. I had not taken a Math or English class in a decade, after being a full time professional for that time period. Needless to say, I had to knock off quite a bit of rust. I was hoping to break 650, in a little under three months.
First Practice Test

March 28th- GMAT Official- 490 (Q-30 V-27)

I truly underestimated how out of practice I was for the kind of problem that the GMAT presented. After ten years, this was not something that I had engaged in thinking. I went out and purchased Magoosh and the 2018 OG and for a month followed the plan laid out in the book. I found the video lessons helpful and reviewed the solution videos, even on a hard question I got correct to refresh myself on techniques. I purchased the SC book from Manhattan Prep, as it was my weakest area, plus I need the code for some practice tests.
For me, I needed a lot of problems; I did additional practice problems. I had to get myself in the academic/GMAT Mindset, so volume was important (I have noticed lots of people mention quality. I found, especially being so rusty volume helped me get into the “GMAT” mindset). I would come in early to my office to work and stay late, since the atmosphere mimics that of a test center due to weekend commitments I did not take all the scheduled CATS, choosing to add to the volume of problems during the week. I took my first CAT after a month. The RC seemed way easier than what I had seen, and I ended up getting 100%. SC and a little laziness in quant lowered my score (combining steps in algebra was hurting my score, a habit I broke).

April 27- MGMT Cat-620 (Q-38 V-37)

Through June, I did problems here and there, though family health issues took a large bite out of my time limiting my studying during May. I was only practicing two times a week and at lunch at work. I fell off the Magoosh plan a lot more than I would have liked. In the middle of June, I was freed up again to work. To re-boot, I took another CAT test to focus in a bit more on weaknesses.

June 16th- MGMT Cat-650 (Q-42 V-37)

After this, I focused on harder CR questions and SC for Verbal and continued through the Magoosh problems. The adaptive questions help keep me sharp around all aspects along with the OG. I used the Tags the GMAT club to hone in additional practice problems. In a typical day, I would do 12 Magoosh Problems, 12 OG Problems and then 6-10 from GMAT Club. During this time, I started looking at IR and AWA resources. The AWA required very little attention
I ramped up to a goal of 35 problems a day, mixing it up depending on my results. Magoosh’s Dashboard helped immensely. I also focused on Hard to Very Hard questions. I was completely off their schedule and was using the resources to supplement my weaknesses rather than trying to cover things I felt comfortable with. Three weeks before the test, I started doing a session to mimic full-length sections. 2 days before the test I took the 2nd official Practice.

July 29th- 700-GMAT Official (47 Quant 39 Verbal)

I hit SC hard, as again it was my biggest issue, trying some different free resources to see if a new mindset might help boost my score a few points. I watched Endgame the night before my test to keep my mind occupied. On the day of the GMAT, I showed up early, only to have the test center have problems getting the computers up and running. I had to wait in the lobby for about an hour, which was not fun. I used some mindfulness techniques to de-stress during that time.

August 1st-Official Test-720 (Q-47 V-42 AWA-6 IR-6)

I was a little disappointed in my quant, as I know one question I missed in math after having an “a-ha” moment 20 secs into the next problem. Magoosh provided great problems to work on and helped me shake off the rust.
The one-piece that I found as someone who had not been in the academic world for a long time was that I need “reps” as they call it in sports. A lot of the sites say focus on quality. While I agree to some extent, to shake off the rust, you need to get back in the bait of thinking like you are in the academic world again. For me, that required gaining confidence with a high amount of repetition during certain periods of my study (early in the week) then a move to focused (usually the last 2 days of the week). I also found practicing at a cube in my office prepared me well for the test environment.
I found the Magoosh resources of great help and found them to be excellent for hitting my score. There hard and very hard problems were great practice, though I did run out of problems. I found Mike’s videos, in particular, to be excellent laid out and helpful in explaining concepts hidden in the dark recesses of my mind, from 15 years ago. I hope this helps some of the folks online who are trying to take there GMAT after working for a while. The first test is not a big deal since it is not what you are used to anymore, and you can improve drastically in a few months.
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Re: 490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 11:22
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Congratulations on your great score. How long did you practice before going for the for the exam? Also what gave you the confidence that you are ready to hit it?

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Re: 490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 12:10
Sammysat, Thanks.

To answer your first question, I took about 4 months, though I was closer to 3 months broken up by the 4-week break in the middle due to unforeseen circumstances.

As for the second, I was probably ready when I was hitting 80% on Magoosh's Hard and GMAT club 600+ Questions all the time and getting close to 50% on Very hard and 700+ questions. I never felt 100% certain, even after the last Prep exam. I think that's a good mentality for me, as it strikes a good balance of confidence and caution.
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Re: 490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2019, 09:15
logchucker wrote:
Sammysat, Thanks.

To answer your first question, I took about 4 months, though I was closer to 3 months broken up by the 4-week break in the middle due to unforeseen circumstances.

As for the second, I was probably ready when I was hitting 80% on Magoosh's Hard and GMAT club 600+ Questions all the time and getting close to 50% on Very hard and 700+ questions. I never felt 100% certain, even after the last Prep exam. I think that's a good mentality for me, as it strikes a good balance of confidence and caution.


Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate. I have learnt something from you. All the best.

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Re: 490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2019, 22:13
Congratulations on your score logchucker!

That's a great score and will cover some of that GPA from undergrad. Which I feel for someone with 10 years of professional experience, GPA should not play as much of a role.... your resume and achievements professionally will speak louder. Are you thinking of applying for PT or FT or EMBA programs?
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Re: 490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 13:34
I am doing a local part time MBA so I only needed a 600, but 700+ opens up a few scholarship opportunities.

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Re: 490 to 720 with Magoosh for a 10 Year Professional   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2019, 13:34
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