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490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest

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490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2015, 12:06
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It was nice to finally be able to celebrate a little bit after being done with the GMAT. I’m pumped to officially add my name to the GMAT 700 club. Here's how it all went down.

Timeframe

3.5 Months

The Tools

2015 GMAT Official Guide, Verbal Review and Quant Review
EMPOWERgmat (3 Months)
CliffsNotes Math Review for Standardized Tests
Old LSAT books for CR and RC (wouldn’t have used them, but still had them from when I was thinking about law school)
Veritas Quiz Bank

Tests

GMAT Prep (2 free tests)
GMAT Exam Pack 1 (2 paid tests)
Manhattan GMAT Tests (took 4)

Early Phase (disorganized lost puppy)

I underestmated the test at first. I ordered the GMAT Official Guide, and downloaded the official tests, and was foolhardy about how the GMAT was going to play out. I can tell you exactly why I felt that way too. I tried a few questions here and there and I got most of them right, so I naturally tried to extrapolate "I got this!". No, I didn't. I ate it, and wasted about 2 or 3 weeks doing unstructured practice questions out of the Official Guide, and my 2nd practice test score was almost exactly the same (490 and 500). It was so deflating.

Me and The GMAT 2.0

I needed more structure. I signed up for the EMPOWERgmat and now I want to tell the whole world about it. AWESOME! If you're serious about beating the GMAT then you need to add that program to your arsenal now. My confidence grew right from the start. From the intro all the way up to the last lesson, you feel you've had a team of GMAT ninjas with you the whole way.

TEST DAY: 740 Q47 V45 IR6

General Things That Helped Me Improve On Quant

Quant was by far my biggest concern. I did okay in financial accounting in college, but that's about it for me for the last 5 years. I started out in the low 30s, so I needed a serious upgrade on quant. I followed the EMPOWERgmat program systematically, so I built up my math background and strategy concurrently. I also spent a lot of time investigating my mistakes and watching the explanation videos religiously. I shed stupid old habits like getting caught up on a question for 7 minutes, and was instead saved by triage. I learned that in many questions, algebra is for suckers and that the test it tactic is so much faster.

General Things That Helped Me Crush Verbal

Here are the things that I worked on methodically to crush GMAT Verbal:
  • Not skimming. I've read about some people who advocate reading certain sections of a passage, or getting too hung up on keywords. I think that's dumb. There are way too many questions you just couldn't answer if you skim. I paid crazy attention to everything I read. I pretended that the clock wasn't even running when I read, even during the real test. The surprising thing is that although it felt like I was moving slower, my pacing was actually a little bit better because I was able to cut out a lot of re-reading. Most importantly, the amount of interest that I put into the prompts and passages felt really good. There's a certain sense of comprehension that I know if I can get, I'm going to nail the question and the more I’m interested, the more I feel like I can grasp the material.
  • I also think it's important to use all of your time, and resist the urge to try to finish early, and invest it in the right places.
  • With RC and CR I had a bit of an odd situation because I prepped a little for the LSAT when I was in college. Since I still had those books, they gave me some extra practice, but LSAT CR and RC are noticeably harder than GMAT CR and RC and there were a lot of things I saw in the LSAT materials that never showed up in my GMAT practice (and not on the GMAT either). I went from 31 to consistently 42 or better consistently on my practice CATs, and even as high as 45 on Exam Pack 1. I’d say that was really due to using the right tactics tough. The CR box, and RC ladder helped to make CR and RC really easy to manage.
  • You want to get to a point where you know exactly what each type of CR and RC question wants you to do, and that you know the patterns of the wrong answers. At first it might seem like a blur, but you want to get to a point that you just know what kind of information you're looking for.
  • You have to know your SC errors cold and you know how to identify each one from the answers and the original sentence itself.

Other Resources That Helped Me Along The Way

  • GMAT Official Guides - Having this huge block of questions was essential. I found the explanations to be coy and tedious, but the questions can easily be Googled.
  • CliffsNotes Math Review for Standardized Tests - Even though this is more of a general book, I actually found it really useful for basic math brush-up (algebra, arithmetic, number rules, etc.).
  • LSAT Books - I still have my old Test Masters LSAT books but there’s really a lot of non-GMAT material in there. The books break down 66 flaws of reasoning, for example. Total overkill for the GMAT.
  • Veritas Quiz Bank - For a free resource, the Veritas quiz bank is great! One thing I really liked about it is that in question review mode, it shows you the question difficulty percentage so you can compare your performance to other test takers.


Rather than being haphazard about it, having a specific game plan in place, and being methodical about each process was key. I think that anyone can improve with a specific plan, the right tools, and determination to develop the necessary skills.
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2015, 19:40
wow great progress!!! Congratulations! I am glad to see you managed to improve your quant since that is where i am struggling too.

Can you please share your mock exams scores and breakdown??

Thanks a lot and congrats again!I wish you all the best with your applications:)
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New post 29 Jun 2015, 16:25
Excellent debrief. Thank you for sharing your story. Your determination is truly admirable.
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2015, 16:02
Panavee wrote:
wow great progress!!! Congratulations! I am glad to see you managed to improve your quant since that is where i am struggling too.

Can you please share your mock exams scores and breakdown??

Thanks a lot and congrats again!I wish you all the best with your applications:)


Thank you, Panavee!

Yes, here you are:

Around 3/15 490 GMATPrep1
Around 3/29 500 GMATPrep2

April
4/18 560 – MGMAT1
4/25 620 – MGMAT2

May
5/2 680– MGMAT3
5/30 690– MGMAT4

June
6/6 – GMATPrep3 700
6/20 – GMATPrep4 730

Then my official test on 6/27 - 740 Official GMAT
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2015, 18:52
Could you please explain about CR box and RC ladder? This is the first time I have heard about them. Thank you.
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2015, 01:24
TheViceroy wrote:
Panavee wrote:
wow great progress!!! Congratulations! I am glad to see you managed to improve your quant since that is where i am struggling too.

Can you please share your mock exams scores and breakdown??

Thanks a lot and congrats again!I wish you all the best with your applications:)


Thank you, Panavee!

Yes, here you are:

Around 3/15 490 GMATPrep1
Around 3/29 500 GMATPrep2

April
4/18 560 – MGMAT1
4/25 620 – MGMAT2

May
5/2 680– MGMAT3
5/30 690– MGMAT4

June
6/6 – GMATPrep3 700
6/20 – GMATPrep4 730

Then my official test on 6/27 - 740 Official GMAT



Thank you so much! Your progress looks even bigger now :)
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2015, 17:50
hellscream wrote:
Could you please explain about CR box and RC ladder? This is the first time I have heard about them. Thank you.


Hellscream, no problem. It's funny how the GMAT already seems like such a distant memory, but I'll share. The CR Box and RC Ladder are diagramming systems taught in the EMPOWERgmat course. They force you to keep track of the information that matters, without having to go to the trouble of going overboard with the notes. It took a little while to get used to them, but they worked.
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2015, 22:21
Wow, happy to hear success stories like this. I wonder how do you get 4 practice test from GMAT Prep? I thought there are only 2. I'm also curious whether the GMAT Prep practice test is computer-adaptive. If it is not CAT, how would it be valid? Can anyone help? Thanks
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490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2015, 22:30
satria07 wrote:
Wow, happy to hear success stories like this. I wonder how do you get 4 practice test from GMAT Prep? I thought there are only 2. I'm also curious whether the GMAT Prep practice test is computer-adaptive. If it is not CAT, how would it be valid? Can anyone help? Thanks


you need to buy exam pack 1 for additional 2 tests on gmat prep. Yes they are computer adaptive.




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New post 10 Jul 2015, 13:05
Congrats on the great score!!! Thank you for the amazing feedback!

I may just give empowergmat a chance to help me get my score up.
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2015, 13:10
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Great story TheViceroy! Thanks!
I am using EmpowerGmat too (not completed yet) but now i see questions a little bit different and use Triage sometimes. I can boil down a question to 2 answers and though i guess wrong sometimes it still makes me think that someday i will get over this problem. I can agree with you that in prep process you have to select right resources. I thought that OG is more than enough as you did=)). But later i realized that Quant section is much more diverse than what you can see in OG. The same is true for Verbal part. I took GMAT twice and i am sure that Verbal part is different from what one can see here or in OG. But never give up!
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Re: 490 to 740, Verbal 45 - The GMAT Crush Fest   [#permalink] 13 Jul 2015, 13:10
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