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570-->710 in 2 months!

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Joined: 30 Dec 2008
Posts: 7
Schools: Yale SOM
570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2009, 21:34
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Just got out of the exam with a 710 (Q 48, V 40) and am still excited from the moment I saw the 7 in the hundreds.
I haven't been a frequent poster on this forum, however since I had often checked the forum and made extensive use of the GMATCLUB Tests, I feel like I owe a BIG THANKS and try to make it up by telling you my little story and things I've learned. With a big hope of course that I can be helpful for even a tiny little bit as have been others to me on this forum.

I am not a native English speaker but due to a big opportunity that presented itself, given that I score well on the GMAT, I convinced myself to not stop fighting until I crack the 700.
Still in undergrad, I had 2 months of break in between semesters and swore to advance, even just if a little bit, every single day.

Resources I used:

Notebook (very important)
MGMAT Series (Verbal, Math)
GMATCLUB Tests (awesome)
Brutal 70 SCs from this forum
Idioms List from this forum
GMATPrep Tests

I hit my two months off by starting with a practice test on GMATPrep. As already recommended by a lot of people here, trying out and seeing where once standing is a great way to kick things off.
Not expecting a great score anyway, my results for the first GMATPrep were:

Total 570 (Q 37, V 31) (Mid February)

Instead of being crushed, I saw it more as an opportunity that there is a lot to improve on. I started with the Kaplan book, went through Math first, then Verbal, constantly noting basic rules into the notebook and noting down what I did wrong.
Your notebook that will accompany you on your journey is VERY important. Not only can you see your progress (jot down every practice test score), but also, as in my case, can you scribble down something equivalent to an error log.

After Kaplan, I moved onto MGMAT. In hindsight, I found the explanations in these better, but might have been because I have used both Kaplan and MGMAT.

Another practice test after completing MGMAT:

Total 640 (Q 42, V 35)

This boosted my confidence a little bit, but I stayed humble as it is noway near the 700 yet.

Started with OG, go over first 75 or so both in Math and Verbal.

Next practice test:
Total 640 (Q 38, V 39) (end March)

Continued with OG, go over latter part in Math in Verbal (these are harder than first part). Very important to jot down the ones you made incorrect.

All along, I noted into my notebook common errors, or things that stuck out. I think there are several things that are GMAT-esque only learned on the GMAT and applied there. For example, my education in Math was fundamentally very different to the math style of the GMAT. Consequently, going over all these questions and reading explanations opened a whole new math-world for me!

As I haven't scored above 700 in practice tests yet I understood that the 700 barrier is cracking HARD QUESTIONS. It doesn't make sense to move around in one's confidence zone because that will never get one above 700.

As the GMAT CLUB Tests were mentioned frequently as a nice channel to hard questions, I tried out the free ones, scoring around 50 percentile. Translation: need to work on these! So I purchased the whole set (which I cannot recommend ENOUGH).
But beware, I think the most important thing again is not to only do every set and feel good about it (in fact, I only did 4 of the tests each) BUT go over your incorrect ones and understand the underlying methods! I then redid the same tests to see whether I got it.

After a first round of GMAT CLUB Tests I did a GMAT Prep and scored my first 710! (Beg. April)
By this time I had the feeling that I got to the core of GMAT, which is understanding the importance of getting as many tools as possible to crack hard questions. Sure, realistically, there were still questions to which I had no idea to what the method was. However your best shot is to increase your drawer with as many tools as possible. This reminds me of my guitar teacher talking about improvisation/lead guitar playing: playing a solo is nothing more than having a nice number of licks in your "drawer" that you can bust out and twist around to any song. It's better to have, say, 50 licks that you can NAIL rather than 2000+ that you are sloppy with.

My last two weeks before Test day consisted of going over Brutal SCs (from this forum), more GMATCLUB Tests, going over the Idiom list (actually had my brother yesterday night grill me with those) and very important: re-visiting incorrect questions from beginning till now. Did a couple of practice tests too but the last day at least I didn't do any hardcore cramming and tried to get a good nice sleep.

All in all, I did 8 GMAT PrepTests (you can always uninstall the software and re-install).

1st: 570 (37 Q, 31 V)
2nd: 640 (42 Q, 35 V)
3rd: 640 (38 Q, 39 V)
4th: 710 (45 Q, 41 V)
5th: 650 (44 Q, 35 V)
6th: 710 (45 Q, 42 V)
7th: 680 (44 Q, 40 V)
8th: 700 (47 Q, 39 V)
REAL: 710 (48 Q, 40 V)

Some final words on attitude toward the test...
I can say for sure that these 2 months, although quite straining, taught me A LOT. First and foremost, that if one sets a mind to it, anything is possible. This might sound cheezy, but I think my visualization sessions paid off very well. Try to see yourself sitting in that Test room, conquering hard questions, but feeling good about it...see yourself hitting that "Next" button only to see your dream score pop up! When it comes to trying to achieve something, it helps a lot to constantly send out the right energy and shine with the right attitude.
Second, stay humble toward the test. Take EVERYTHING as a lesson. I am sure if I hadn't nailed down 700+ on my first attempt I would have gone back to study the more and done it the next time...if not the time after that. In the end, I would have been for every step on the journey, even the apparent failures.
Finally, instead of trying to "fight" the test I told myself to "partner up" with it. Spending hours and hours everyday together with it, might as well make it pleasant ;)

Although 710 isn't particularly high, I am nonetheless THRILLED to have beat the 700, and will proceed to partying now 8-)

Wishing you all the BEST!
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Joined: 16 Mar 2009
Posts: 113
Location: Bologna, Italy
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2009, 21:47
Congratulations! Great job. Thank for your review!

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Joined: 13 Jan 2009
Posts: 168
Schools: Harvard Business School, Stanford
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2009, 22:14
Awesome results in two months! Congratulations!!!
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Joined: 14 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Schools: Stanford...Wait, I will come!!!
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2009, 05:00
Awesome result....
And deserve to party..
I started my journey with 660... But as you said.. I think.. i had taken rivalry instead of partnering with GMAT..
I hope that this time.. I will make friendship with GMAT. :)
Joined: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 690
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2009, 05:24
Congrats ... very nice write up as well..
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Joined: 04 Dec 2002
Posts: 16613
Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2009, 10:23
Well Done and in just 2 months!!!

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Joined: 23 Apr 2009
Posts: 64
Location: Texas
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2009, 15:24
Very nice improvement in just 2 months. I just ordered some prep books online, but will probably do like you and take a pratice test soon to see what my score is before preparing. I will have a lot more than 2 months before I take the test so hopefully I can have similar score improvements like you.
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 2
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2009, 10:12
congratulations! during these 2 months, how many hours a week did you put into studying for the GMAT? thanks
Joined: 30 Dec 2008
Posts: 7
Schools: Yale SOM
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2009, 18:08
thank you all for the warm comments!

I see you have 49 in Quant already, so I would suggest to really concentrate on Verbal. Maybe you are particularly weak in one of the three categories? I know that for me SC has been a tough one... Nevertheless when you can do Q49 I'm pretty sure you can high on Verbal too!

To answer your question concerning time - fortunately I was on break for two full months, so I could 100% concentrate on GMAT. Ultimately, I would say I averaged 4-5h a day, 6 days a week, 2 months.

In regards to taking GMAT Prep often; I'd say about 1-3 questions were repeaters in the latter practice tests. This means that scores could be somewhat inflated. Nevertheless I highly recommend taking it very often, because the questions highly reflect the real ones and you really get used to the setting!
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Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 144
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months! [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2009, 18:17
Congratulations, have you documented your progression somewhere? blogs or something..
Re: 570-->710 in 2 months!   [#permalink] 06 May 2009, 18:17
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570-->710 in 2 months!

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