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680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned

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680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2017, 05:49
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Hi peeps, I just took my first GMAT attempt this week and now I'm here to debrief and reflect.

GMATPrep practice test results:
630 (Q35, V41) -- Oct 20 2016
690 (Q43, V41) -- Jan 20 2017
720 (Q48, V41) -- Jan 21 2017
740 (Q49, V42) -- Jan 22 2017

Actual test results:
680 (Q39, V44) -- Jan 25 2017
TBD -- March 7 2017

Thoughts:

I come from a liberal arts background, so I know that my quant is my weakness. I'm not particularly bad at math--I passed AP Calc AB by 11th grade. I just don't have a sense of natural confidence/ deeper understanding in the math.

I studied 70-80 hours over the course of 3 months. I was testing consistently near 750/ Q50 by the end of my study period, so I went into the exam feeling really happy and confident. Actual exam day was a bit of a let-down because I came out with 680/ Q39. My verbal was V44, 98th percentile, but I was sad because I know the quant, 39th percentile, is not very impressive for a math-based finance program.

Maybe the most interesting strategy I developed was my approach to the quantitative section timing. I set a goal for myself to be at question 30 by the time there were 30 minutes remaining in the section. This was the strategy that produced my Q48 and Q49 scores in the practice. To reach question 30 by the time 30 minutes were left, I had to be willing to give up and guess on some of the harder questions. This strategy, with my skill set, meant in practice that I was resetting the computer-adaptive difficulty to easy at 1/3 of the way through the section and then again at about 2/3 of the way through the section. It felt a bit like gaming the system, after the first time, but when I did it again a second time, and reproduced the results, it seemed like maybe an intelligent response to the computer-adaptive nature of the test. I wasn't able to hold to the strategy during my actual exam, and I think this produced a computer-adaptive difficulty that lowered my score a bit. I knew at the end of my actual quant section that I hadn't followed my practice strategy, so I was hurt though not excessively surprised that my math score was subpar.

As far as timing on the verbal section, I feel very naturally confident, and I have consistently been able to score at least 93rd percentile in the practices, with about 40 minutes extra to spare. To improve, I worked on spending more time on each question and checking my work so that I actually drag the verbal section to the full duration of the time allotted. I'm pretty much able to reason my way to the right answer. There's a few cases where my understanding of grammar and implicit meaning is different from the GMAT testmakers' (about 5 questions wrong in the entire section), but I'm actually comfortable with that. I read a lot of modernist/ postmodern literature, like James Joyce, Haruki Murakami, and Thomas Pynchon. Joyce in particular has been a big influence on me, and he deals a lot with syntactical experimentation and deliberately breaking the rules of English. This sounds increibly obnoxious to say, but I'd rather keep my postmodern understanding of English and be slightly wrong on the GMAT, rather than be perfect on the GMAT but interpret English like a robot. :oops: :lol:

I didn't have any test day jitters, for the most part, but there were a few things about the test center experience that made me slightly uncomfortable. The time it took to scan my palm, take off my glasses, show my ID, pat down my pockets, etc etc, both at the beginning and the end of each break, meant that I really only had more like 4 minutes to chill during my break, rather than 8. I couldn't wear my watch, so I spent most of the break time nervously rushing through my snack so I could hurry back from my locker. The breaks weren't the worst thing in the world, but the stress of the rush was almost not worth it. Not sure what I can do about that for next time, except get used to it.

My next test is planned for early March. I've bought two Manhattan Prep books--Foundations of Math and Advanced Quant--and I hope to spend the month practicing my math skills even more. I also plan to buy Exam Pack 2 and take those two practice exams. I think as my math skills get better, I still want to aim for that same quant math stategy: hit question 30 by the time 30 minutes are left. But maybe it can become less a matter of having to guess on some hard questions and more a matter of solving each problem in close to 90 seconds.

Schools I'm considering are Georgetown MSF (first choice), as well as the finance programs at Vanderbilt, University of Utah, Hopkins, U.Va. and MIT/Princeton (reach, unlikely).

I mostly want to be able to stay in Utah, which is why Georgetown and Hopkins' online programs, and the University of Utah, appeal to me. If I bump up my GMAT, I think I would be competitive at Vandy and U.Va for fall 2018 matriculation. I don't have a strong enough math or computer science transcript at present for MIT or Princeton, so I would need to take some classes at the University of Utah this fall if I really really wanted to try for MIT or Princeton, matriculating fall 2018. My dad went to MIT, so it would be an interesting application with the son of alumnus tie-in in my essay/ profile, but honestly, I think I will get into Georgtown this spring, and that will be enough for me.

I work at a bank. Went to BYU, which West Coast Americans seem to consider a difficult school but which is honestly probably a little laid back compared to East Coast standards. Majored in art history and minored in nonprofit business management, so I do actually have some direct class experience in financial statement analysis. Balance sheet, statement of cash flows, profit and loss shet. My GPA is 3.2--mostly straight A's with some lower grades sprinkled in as I dealt with depression. I was pretty bummed about my Q39 score, and I spent a good 24 hours moping, but I'm grateful for this space as place to reflect and learn from others who are wiser than me. Excited to try again next month. Will update you guys afterward! Good luck to all.


Book and materials used:
GMAT Official Guide, GMAT Official Quantiative Review, and GMAT Official Verbal Review 2017
GMATPrep + Exam Pack 1
Chineseburned's AWA guide on this forum
ManhaattanPrep Advanced Quant book (barely started the book)
GMAT Avengers study group on Facebook
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Re: 680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2017, 22:13
Congratulations! Fantastic verbal score.

For Quant: I suggest you buy/earn-25-Kudos to get Gmat Club tests. There are more than 20 CATs. If you do all of them and review each question, you'll see improvement for sure.
_________________

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Target - 720-740
http://gmatclub.com/forum/information-on-new-gmat-esr-report-beta-221111.html
http://gmatclub.com/forum/list-of-one-year-full-time-mba-programs-222103.html

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680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2017, 11:10
Congratulations for the astonishing performance on Verbal.
I would suggest that some time in the future you retake the exam!
You can absolutely score a 47-48 in Quant if you are methodical and take the tests from GMATClub.
A 740-750 score is realistic with such a strong Verbal !
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+1 Kudos if you like the post :)

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Re: 680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2017, 19:53
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Thanks for the people who commented above! :)

I retook the GMAT today (about 6 weeks after attempt #1), and I am pretty happy with my score:

710 (Q42, V46).

I know it's still pretty mediocre among those of us who are devoted enough to be on this forum, but I am still proud to join the 700+ club! :)

I spent the month between my first attempt and now just working through two Manhattan Prep books: Foundations of Math and Advanced Quant. I recommend tackling these two books if you are someone who wants to improve their math score and you have already spent a significant amount of time with the Official Guides. I read every chapter of these two Manhattan books and worked through at least some practice problems for every chapter. I got sick during the last week of studying and had to skim the last few chapters of Advanced Quant. If I had really worked through every problem in the books, I know I could have boosted my score even higher. I was actually even sick today on test day so I'm happy I was able to perform at all.

For me, I'm happy though. Like I said in the original post, I was an art history major, so I really feel like I have to know when to call it a day. I'm not going to be the highest scorer entering into my graduate class, but hopefully these next few years will give me a chance to keep learning and getting better at math. I certainly feel a lot more comfortable with mathematical reasoning now than I did when I first began this journey 6 months ago, and I am grateful for that. I think that's what this GMAT thing is really all about, in the end, in terms of being a tool for transitioning into business school. And if nothing else, I now have my squares memorized for numbers 11-20. :lol:

We are all champions for even trying to do this GMAT thing, and the lessons we learn here will serve us well in our business school experiences and in our careers beyond. :-D
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Re: 680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2017, 23:33
kunstlerkunstlerkunst wrote:
Attachment:
2017-01-27 (2).png


Hi peeps, I just took my first GMAT attempt this week and now I'm here to debrief and reflect.

GMATPrep practice test results:
630 (Q35, V41) -- Oct 20 2016
690 (Q43, V41) -- Jan 20 2017
720 (Q48, V41) -- Jan 21 2017
740 (Q49, V42) -- Jan 22 2017

Actual test results:
680 (Q39, V44) -- Jan 25 2017
TBD -- March 7 2017

Thoughts:

I come from a liberal arts background, so I know that my quant is my weakness. I'm not particularly bad at math--I passed AP Calc AB by 11th grade. I just don't have a sense of natural confidence/ deeper understanding in the math.

I studied 70-80 hours over the course of 3 months. I was testing consistently near 750/ Q50 by the end of my study period, so I went into the exam feeling really happy and confident. Actual exam day was a bit of a let-down because I came out with 680/ Q39. My verbal was V44, 98th percentile, but I was sad because I know the quant, 39th percentile, is not very impressive for a math-based finance program.

Maybe the most interesting strategy I developed was my approach to the quantitative section timing. I set a goal for myself to be at question 30 by the time there were 30 minutes remaining in the section. This was the strategy that produced my Q48 and Q49 scores in the practice. To reach question 30 by the time 30 minutes were left, I had to be willing to give up and guess on some of the harder questions. This strategy, with my skill set, meant in practice that I was resetting the computer-adaptive difficulty to easy at 1/3 of the way through the section and then again at about 2/3 of the way through the section. It felt a bit like gaming the system, after the first time, but when I did it again a second time, and reproduced the results, it seemed like maybe an intelligent response to the computer-adaptive nature of the test. I wasn't able to hold to the strategy during my actual exam, and I think this produced a computer-adaptive difficulty that lowered my score a bit. I knew at the end of my actual quant section that I hadn't followed my practice strategy, so I was hurt though not excessively surprised that my math score was subpar.

As far as timing on the verbal section, I feel very naturally confident, and I have consistently been able to score at least 93rd percentile in the practices, with about 40 minutes extra to spare. To improve, I worked on spending more time on each question and checking my work so that I actually drag the verbal section to the full duration of the time allotted. I'm pretty much able to reason my way to the right answer. There's a few cases where my understanding of grammar and implicit meaning is different from the GMAT testmakers' (about 5 questions wrong in the entire section), but I'm actually comfortable with that. I read a lot of modernist/ postmodern literature, like James Joyce, Haruki Murakami, and Thomas Pynchon. Joyce in particular has been a big influence on me, and he deals a lot with syntactical experimentation and deliberately breaking the rules of English. This sounds increibly obnoxious to say, but I'd rather keep my postmodern understanding of English and be slightly wrong on the GMAT, rather than be perfect on the GMAT but interpret English like a robot. :oops: :lol:

I didn't have any test day jitters, for the most part, but there were a few things about the test center experience that made me slightly uncomfortable. The time it took to scan my palm, take off my glasses, show my ID, pat down my pockets, etc etc, both at the beginning and the end of each break, meant that I really only had more like 4 minutes to chill during my break, rather than 8. I couldn't wear my watch, so I spent most of the break time nervously rushing through my snack so I could hurry back from my locker. The breaks weren't the worst thing in the world, but the stress of the rush was almost not worth it. Not sure what I can do about that for next time, except get used to it.

My next test is planned for early March. I've bought two Manhattan Prep books--Foundations of Math and Advanced Quant--and I hope to spend the month practicing my math skills even more. I also plan to buy Exam Pack 2 and take those two practice exams. I think as my math skills get better, I still want to aim for that same quant math stategy: hit question 30 by the time 30 minutes are left. But maybe it can become less a matter of having to guess on some hard questions and more a matter of solving each problem in close to 90 seconds.

Schools I'm considering are Georgetown MSF (first choice), as well as the finance programs at Vanderbilt, University of Utah, Hopkins, U.Va. and MIT/Princeton (reach, unlikely).

I mostly want to be able to stay in Utah, which is why Georgetown and Hopkins' online programs, and the University of Utah, appeal to me. If I bump up my GMAT, I think I would be competitive at Vandy and U.Va for fall 2018 matriculation. I don't have a strong enough math or computer science transcript at present for MIT or Princeton, so I would need to take some classes at the University of Utah this fall if I really really wanted to try for MIT or Princeton, matriculating fall 2018. My dad went to MIT, so it would be an interesting application with the son of alumnus tie-in in my essay/ profile, but honestly, I think I will get into Georgtown this spring, and that will be enough for me.

I work at a bank. Went to BYU, which West Coast Americans seem to consider a difficult school but which is honestly probably a little laid back compared to East Coast standards. Majored in art history and minored in nonprofit business management, so I do actually have some direct class experience in financial statement analysis. Balance sheet, statement of cash flows, profit and loss shet. My GPA is 3.2--mostly straight A's with some lower grades sprinkled in as I dealt with depression. I was pretty bummed about my Q39 score, and I spent a good 24 hours moping, but I'm grateful for this space as place to reflect and learn from others who are wiser than me. Excited to try again next month. Will update you guys afterward! Good luck to all.


Book and materials used:
GMAT Official Guide, GMAT Official Quantiative Review, and GMAT Official Verbal Review 2017
GMATPrep + Exam Pack 1
Chineseburned's AWA guide on this forum
ManhaattanPrep Advanced Quant book (barely started the book)
GMAT Avengers study group on Facebook



Congrats on the strong verbal score and a very good GMAT score as well.
Re: 680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned   [#permalink] 07 Mar 2017, 23:33
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680 (Q39, V44) on first attempt (art history major), retake planned

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