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600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief

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GMAT 1: 750 Q47 V46
600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2017, 17:37
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Hi All,

First (and probably only) post so apologies if the formatting and flow aren't standard. Just thought I'd post a quick debrief of my GMAT experience, in the event others find it helpful. I used this forum a fair bit, so wanted to acknowledge that and maybe give something back. I also noticed there are not a ton of reviews of the Economist GMAT Tutor, so thought I would provide that as well.

Summary
I spent almost exactly 3 months studying for the GMAT and got a 750 (Q47/V46) on my first try during the last week of July. Pretty happy with the high score, but a bit disappointed that I just missed breaking the 70th percentile on the Quant. Despite feeling like I was close to being able to improve to a Q48 or Q49, I decided not to retake given three factors: 1) the already high composite score 2) the amount of quant in my undergrad (good GPA in economics major) and job history and 3) choice to spend that time on the essays given how close deadlines are.

Studying

I took my first practice test on the Economist GMAT Tutor and scored a 600 (Q31/V43). Needless to say, I wasn't pleased. After taking the test, I realized that I was going to need to seriously commit in order to score 700+. My studying occurred in roughly three phases:

Phase 1: Week 0-4
I used the Economist Tutor and Kaplan math workbook concurrently for about a month. Kaplan was a very nice refresher in a lot of the basic concepts but I found the actual GMAT-esque questions to be much too easy. I read each chapter, solved the problems and did not move on unless I hit >90%. That said, I definitely think it was a good first tool for someone like me who was starting from such a low Q score. At the same time, I worked through about 30% of the Economist Tutor material. I took my first Kaplan online practice test at the end of this and scored a 680 (42Q/41V), I was happy with the rapid Q improvement, but definitely knew I needed to get higher

Phase 2: Week 5-10
Economist Tutor. I worked through about 85% of the quant in this course (~60hrs) and 75% of the verbal (~20 hrs) over the next 5 weeks. I did about 30 minutes to 1.5hrs each weekday and 3-4 hours each weekend day. I took a practice test about every 2 weeks and saw steady quant improvement:

Week 6: Kaplan 700 (Q43/V43)
Week 8: Kaplan 710 (Q44/V43)
Week 10: Economist 680 (Q46/V39)
Week 10: Kaplan 730 (Q47/V43)

Phase 3: Weeks 11-12
Once I hit Q47 on the Kaplan test I was feeling much more confident, so I shifted my study routine for the last two weeks to the following: Did 1 hour of economist quant, did 30 minutes of economist verbal, did ~30 questions of GMATClub quant, and reviewed the previous day's GMATclub questions. At this point, I wanted to polish off the last of the easier economist quant and maintain my performance on verbal while challenging myself with the harder quant questions from GMATClub. With this routine, I worked through about 10% more of the economist course and solved about ~350 of the GMATClub questions. Five days before the real thing, I took my last practice test.

Week 12: Economist 740 (Q50/V43)

Test Day
Long story short, I felt like I hit the lower end of my possible Quant range on test day while significantly outperforming on Verbal. I selected the section order that began with Quant under the premise that I should take it while I was freshest. It's possible that this approach backfired for me and some nerves affected my Quant performance, but hard to be sure. I suspected towards the end of the Quant section that I had not performed well because I never encountered any coordinate geometry, probability, combinations, or permutations. During verbal, I actually also thought something must be wrong because the questions--especially the reading comprehension--seemed way too easy. When I clicked through and saw my final score, I had mixed feelings. I was disappointed with having just missed Q48 or Q49 but also thrilled that my out-performance on verbal had saved the total score. My final score was 750 with Q47, V46, IR7, AWA6

Practice Materials

Kaplan Math Workbook: No surprises here. It won't get you a high math score on its own and its much easier than the real thing, but if you're starting from such a low Quant base it's the perfect place to begin.

Economist GMAT Tutor: This tool is a godsend for busy people, especially consultants. Between long hours and travel, you can't lug around books and the "overhead" of studying (deciding where to focus, checking your answers manually in a book) is a killer. the Economist tool completely removes this overhead and makes it really easy to fit in studying wherever you can in short, focused bursts. Additionally, it's Verbal is INCREDIBLE. If you're already scoring high in verbal, this is the tool that will take it to the next level. It's work orders for sentence correction and critical reasoning are very effective, and its questions are way harder--especially the reading comprehension. I cannot stress enough how well this tool prepares you for the verbal on game-day. On the Quant side, I found it a bit lacking. By the end I was solving the vast majority of questions correctly and under time, and it seemed a little easy. I think the 3 point spread between the Q50 I picked up on my last Economist practice and my Q47 on the real thing definitely point to this issue. Of course, other factors may have affected my Quant performance on game-day, so take what I say with a grain of salt. For what it's worth, I thought the difference in difficulty was most pronounced in the number theory/integer properties problems. Economist just did not test those concepts with the same rigor as the actual GMAT.

GMATClub Quant: I found these questions did a good job of pushing my understanding, especially on integer properties, and also training me a bit mentally to stay calm and work through difficult questions. I froze a lot when doing these early on, but over time they helped me overcome the initial shock of a "tough" question. I didn't have any long freezes or panics on game-day, and I think a lot of the reason was these questions. Overall, this is an incredible resource but I'm not sure I used it correctly. I didn't have time to use the whole set and I also think (given my actual performance on the real GMAT) that many of these questions were above my level and I probably should have had more sound fundamentals (especially again on integer properties) before I used them.

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Re: 600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2017, 20:06
First of all congratulation.

Now, you can think of other things not GMAT. Perhaps, which school, which round and figuring out which will be your best bet, which your risky and which school will be your dream one.

However, best of luck in whatever you do.

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Re: 600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2017, 21:51
First of all, Congrats on the awesome score 750(V46) and best of luck with the applications.

How did you tackle the Reading Comprehension? Was there a particular strategy that you had used?
Going by your scores, you seem to be a native English speaker or someone with a knack for reading.

I have been lacking quite badly at this department, and have been experimenting quite a bit
to find a strategy that best works for me(and enables me to score better in the Verbal Section)
It would be very beneficial for me if you could provide your inputs!

Looking forward to hearing from you!
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GMAT 1: 750 Q47 V46
Re: 600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2017, 05:31
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Hey Pushpitkc,,

Thanks! I am a native speaker, and actually studied writing for four years so definitely had a strong base to start from. That said, I still found a number of things really helpful in improving my score.

Sentence Correction

I highly recommend the Economist's way of approaching these problems. It's really structured, and saves you from silly mistakes. I don't want to repeat the lesson here obviously because its a paid product, but the gist of it is is:

1) Grammar Mistake (always wrong)
2) Style Mistake (usually wrong)
3) Meaning Change (sometimes wrong)

You go through each answer choice according to this order and eliminate until you're left with one. What I did is under each step, I wrote out on a sheet in my notebook all of the most common mistakes the GMAT likes to make in each category (e.g., subject verb agreement, pseudo-plural subject, that-versus-which) and kept returning to that to sheet. The Economist has all of these mistakes for you--they call them stop signs--or you can make the list yourself through studying.

Reading Comprehension
A few thinks worked for me here:
1) I used the following approach. First, I read the entirety of the first paragraph, wrote a giant number one and a single sentence summary on my notepad, then read the first sentence of every remaining paragraph and wrote its number and single sentence summary. Then, I re-read the entire passage taking no notes--just trying to absorb it. I did not believe in the "quick read only" concept. I read the entirety of every passage--it helped that I had time from an average SC question time of ~40 seconds.
2) Structure Questions (e.g., "this paragraph serves which purpose") were much easier to answer based off the quick reading outline I'd made on my notepad
3) Inference Questions (e.g., "the author most probably meant", "would likely agree with") were by far the hardest reading comprehension questions for me. I religiously stuck to two rules: First, eliminate anything that included non-moderate language, tone, or assertions. Things like "the author shows great disdain for" were, in my experience, almost always wrong. The second rule was, when faced with multiple reasonable answer choices, select the one with the smallest possible logical leap. Try to locate the part in the passage off which the inference would be based and then in your head map out how many logical "steps" it would take to get from that basis to the answer choice, select the one with the fewest steps.

I'm not sure if the above is helpful, but these were the major strategies I had in my head during test day.

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Re: 600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2017, 05:42
Hey Duraith,

Thanks a ton for taking the time to detail your strategy.
I have been suffering for quite sometime, and hope these tips help me improve my RC/SC accuracy!
Unfortunately I take around a minute and 15 seconds to complete an SC, so re-reading the entire
passage may not be possible for all the 4 RC's but will try the same during practice!
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Re: 600 to 750 (Q47/V46) Debrief   [#permalink] 08 Aug 2017, 05:42
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