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540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up

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540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 14 Mar 2018, 06:12
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Hi Everyone! I am ELATED to finally write my debrief

My debrief will be somewhat short, it's main purpose is to serve as an encouragement for those who went through a similar journey. I picked up the GMAT and put it down THREE different times over the course of a few years. I was not able to take the test at some points due to life circumstances.

About me:
I went to an engineering school and majored in Chemical Engineering. After graduation I went into the army. I was an army officer and started studying for the GMAT while stationed in Europe.

First round of studying:
After a a month of studying I took the Princeton Review practice test. I scored a 540, I began to think I was just dumb and would never accomplish anything. I bought the Manhattan GMAT, and went through all the practice tests. I went through all six practice tests and my score went from a 580 up to a 650.

Took the GMAT and scored a 680. I applied to a few business schools and did not get into my dream school. I decided to focus on work and was unsure if I would pick the test up again.

Second round of studying:
About a year after taking it the first time and months of debating about taking it up again, I decided I would give the GMAT another shot. I knew I would need a course that would basically guide me through studying because I needed modularity due to my schedule. My schedule was hectic and I didn't know what country I would be in on a particular day, so I needed a program I could pick up and put down anywhere and that would guide my through a plan. I went with the economist GMAT course. This was expensive but I thought it was worth it. I felt their quant was ok, but their verbal was second to none. My verbal score went from a v36 on practice tests to consistently v44. I started taking multiple practice tests and my GMAT practice tests were about 680-720. I was thrilled, but I wanted to bump my score up a little higher. My verbal was very high, but my quant was around a 42-45 so I knew I had room to improve. During all of this I decided to transition out of the military. I underestimated the amount of time that would take and decided to focus on my transition. I ended up getting a job as a management consultant and started traveling heavily where I could not find time to study.

Third round of studying:
After year and a half of traveling as a consultant I decided I would give the GMAT another shot. I took the Math revolution GMAT course. The techniques were non traditional, and I did not apply all of them during my test, but the course was still value added. I started going through practice tests and practice questions. My practice tests ranged from 600-740. I was all over the place. I decided that enough was enough and I needed to take it. The reason my scores ranged so much is because I was experimentally trying to over focus on the first 10 questions instead of keeping my original strategy. This ate up my time and dropped my score a lot. I also tried experimenting with different diets, e.g. LOADS of coffee. This ended up not working for me, so I knew I needed to take the test without any "boost beverages."

Week of:
I knew I had to commit this time. I ended up taking a week off from work and took 3 practice tests, one every other day. The day before I did nothing. I ran, read, and relaxed. I made sure I kept my diet exactly the same for each test. The night before I started looking at test questions (DO NOT DO THIS) realized I knew nothing, was destined to never accomplish anything ever and spent 20 minutes wondering how I could have a GMAT ninja invisibly suspend from the ceiling to whisper the answers in my ear because there was no hope.

Test day:
I ended up going through my pre-test ritual (it helped me to do jumping jacks and squats before the test so I did a little workout in the bathroom :)) and I ended up going through the test EXACTLY like my practice tests. I stayed disciplined with my strategy, my diet, and my breaks. when I saw the screen I was THRILLED. GMAT...GMAT complete (army joke for anyone reading this). I ended up hugging the proctor and left to celebrate.

Take aways:
Never give up
Emotional discipline is key
Keep diet consistent
Go through some courses

Originally posted by gstarr2010 on 12 Jun 2017, 08:15.
Last edited by gstarr2010 on 14 Mar 2018, 06:12, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2017, 08:18
Awesome debrief ..Kudos...Yes u r right. Never giveup. Keep your aim ..Surely you will get it..
Could you please mention in detail about resources you have used and study schedule.
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2017, 14:48
Thanks for sharing your experience!! They are very motivating when I start questioning my plan. Can you share the reference materials you used.
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2017, 14:55
Hi All,

Reference Materials:
Manhattan GMAT (books)
Economist GMAT Prep (full course)
Math Revolution Prep
GMAT Prep practice Tests

Free Resources (for practice questions):
Major Tests
GMAT Pill
GMAT Club (I used the free quizzes multiple times as well as going over the question banks)
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2017, 17:02
Congratulations!!!
I have done a very similar thing in my prep - used the Princeton books for about 3 months, only to score 540 (my buddy who has done no studying also decided to take a test to see how much he would get just cold - he got 530). It was a pretty sobering experience that spoke volumes about my learning or lack of.... glad to hear things turn out better for you as well!
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jun 2017, 15:51
Congratulation.
Now with your score and your army background, conditioned that you would be able to back everything up with a good story, sky is your limit not top business school.

Best of luck on every step of the way and hope to hear good news from and about you.
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jun 2017, 00:51
Hi,

Heartiest congratulation for 720 score and good luck for your application part.

Please share your verbal strategy how you improved from V36 to V44

Also if possible please share mock cat scores.
thanks
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Re: 540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2017, 07:12
Hi gstarr2010,
It is Great debrief and very inspiring.
Congratulation for your score and all the best for application process.
I am struggling in verbal. I am using Manhattan SC and RC book, Powerscore CR bible for Verbal study material.
Could you shed some light your strategy for verbal preparation.

Thank you.
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540>730 (Q49, V41) over multiple years, never give up  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2018, 06:22
mbaaspirant80 and sashiim20

To improve my verbal. My main technique was writing everything down. I used my scratch pad more on verbal than on quant. This technique, deliberately bumped my score up. All of these techniques can loosely be found in the economist GMAT prep. I don't work for them haha, but it was worth the money.

CR:
I short hand wrote out every sentence and labeled it as a premise or conclusion
e.g.
P1) XYZ
P2) XYZ
C) XYZ
P3) XYZ

Doing this helped me fully understand the argument and easily identify the conclusion. It took a little bit of practice to write the short hand version quickly, but this paid off.

RC:
Long:
I read the first couple sentences of the first paragraph. Then the final sentence of the first paragraph. Then the first sentence of each remaining paragraph. I also wrote down the summary in short hand of what each paragraph was trying to say.

Short:
I read the first couple of sentences then looked for natural breaks and read those sentences. Again, also writing everything down.

SC:
I vertically scanned answers A-E for differences until I could deduce the correct answer.
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