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680 to 770 in ~6 weeks

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Joined: 30 Nov 2017
Posts: 5
Location: United States (CO)
Concentration: Strategy, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 680 Q48 V35
GMAT 2: 770 Q49 V46
GPA: 3.41
680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2017, 01:16
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What a day today has been!

I just took the GMAT this afternoon and landed a 770. I literally couldn't believe the computer screen when I saw it, and only realized that it was real when I received my print out.

Wanted to share with the community how I prepared, how I approached test day, etc.

Test 1: 10/16/17
Prep: ~2 months, primarily using MPrep materials as well as the MPrep online accelerated group course. I found the group course to be pretty unhelpful for trying to achieve top-level scores, and it seemed that the instructors were more keen on playing "gotcha" with the students than teaching us the foundational principles of GMAT. Two weeks before the test, my diagnostics were coming in in the mid 600's (and had actually been sliding from 690-660 over my prep period) so I was seriously concerned. I did every single problem in the quant books for MPrep (all the problem sets at the back of each chapter) over those last two weeks and scored a 680 (48Q/35V) on the test.

Test 2: 11/29/17
Prep: ~6 weeks, primarily with Brian McElroy of (@mcelroytutoring). We focused on SC and CR... I was already doing well on RC and my quant was in a good spot, so those two were the main focus. ~6 hours of tutoring with him, just about weekly, with plenty of homework and practice problems in between. We had a good dialogue over the ~5 weeks we worked together and I found his instruction incredibly valuable. I re-did all of the math problems from the MPrep books again over the final two weeks before test day (if it ain't broke, don't fix it!). My score this time around was much higher. 770 (49Q/46V). My verbal went up 11 points due to my work with Brian. I was fortunate to have that extra +1 on Quant, but to be honest I really didn't put a lot of time into that section this time around (beyond re-doing all those problem sets, the only other thing I did was review old practice test problems that I had gotten wrong).

Test day strategy:
V/Q/IR/AWA
I knew Verbal was my strong suit this time around and used that to my advantage to go into quant with confidence.

I'm definitely not an early-bird, so felt very comfortable taking the test around 12:30PM. I kept all carbs out of my food for the day (eggs, "protein waffle", etc.) so that I had no blood sugar swings; that's the easiest way to get tired and crash. I then consumed mushroom coffee (lions mane+chaga+40mg caffeine), a cordycep mushroom supplement, and, of all things, a pre-workout shake that I make consisting of creatine+ginseng+BCAAs+1,000mg of taurine. I drank half that pre-workout before the test and half immediately during my first break. (Ghost Lifestyle Size + Ghost Lifestyle Amino). Between all of those adaptogens and stimulants, there was no way I was losing focus during the test.

I'm still internalizing the fact that I actually got this score. I can't thank Brian enough for his help leading up to test 2. Hopefully this test day experience is helpful for those who are preparing to take the test. Now on to B-school applications!
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680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 20 Mar 2018, 21:08
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Congratulations, and I'm happy to have helped, jgordon257! 11 points improvement on Verbal in only 5 weeks is an incredible jump. Of course, it's not my success; it's yours! You did all the work--I just gave 6 hours of focused advice via Skype.

Other GMAT clubbers will surely find your "test-day high-focus diet" to be useful, so thanks for sharing that information with the community in such a specific manner.

I'm glad that a San Diego guy was able to help a Colorado / New York City dude ace his GMAT, thanks to the magic of the internet. Best of luck with your applications--you will find GMAT Club useful for that purpose as well.

p.s. Welcome to the 99% club! https://gmatclub.com/forum/99-ile-clubbers-add-your-name-to-the-list-77041.html
_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching, both in-person (San Diego, CA, USA) and online worldwide, since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation


Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 30 Nov 2017, 19:31.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 20 Mar 2018, 21:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Concentration: Strategy, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 680 Q48 V35
GMAT 2: 770 Q49 V46
GPA: 3.41
Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2017, 20:26
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Proof of the scores and the improvement.
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Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2017, 11:23
Congrats jgordon257 and mcelroytutoring

It is so heartening to see such a huge jump in the score(especially in Verbal)
It would be very helpful if you could detail your strategy for CR and SC.

All the best for the application phase jgordon257 and congrats once again!
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Posts: 5
Location: United States (CO)
Concentration: Strategy, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 680 Q48 V35
GMAT 2: 770 Q49 V46
GPA: 3.41
Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2017, 12:51
1
I'm sure Brian will want to opine on this, but I viewed this as kind of entrusting him with the process and simply followed his guidance as I prepared.

There were a few books and materials that he wanted me to go through such as Meltzer's Complete Guide to SC and Powerscore Bible, but I probably spent less than 10 total hours on those resources. They were helpful, however, for helping me begin to understand how the GMAT "thinks." I particularly liked the Meltzer "Cheat Sheet" which I tried my best to internalize and mentally referenced during the test.

Besides that I did 40+ problems per week from OG or GMAC Question Packs on the targeted area that I was trying to improve. This started as 100% SC for two weeks, then moved to SC+CR for the next few weeks. By the end of this, I had done every problem in the OG on SC/CR and nearly every problem in the GMAC Question Pack 1 on SC and CR (all of the hard and mediums, most of the easy ones). Nothing about this is revolutionary, but I would have never been able to hold myself accountable for such work doing it alone. Additionally, kind of like how the Meltzer and Powerscore helped get into the GMAT frame of mind, the 1-1 sessions were pretty much exclusively going through problems that I had gotten wrong and then learning how to adjust my thinking/approach to fit what the GMAT was looking for. In going through those problems I also got a sense for how to codify the different types of wrong answers and avoid them.

At the end of the day, doing a ton of practice problems, systematically going through wrong answers to understand flaws in thinking, and having external accountability did the trick.
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Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2017, 13:20
jgordon257 wrote:
I'm sure Brian will want to opine on this, but I viewed this as kind of entrusting him with the process and simply followed his guidance as I prepared.

There were a few books and materials that he wanted me to go through such as Meltzer's Complete Guide to SC and Powerscore Bible, but I probably spent less than 10 total hours on those resources. They were helpful, however, for helping me begin to understand how the GMAT "thinks." I particularly liked the Meltzer "Cheat Sheet" which I tried my best to internalize and mentally referenced during the test.

Besides that I did 40+ problems per week from OG or GMAC Question Packs on the targeted area that I was trying to improve. This started as 100% SC for two weeks, then moved to SC+CR for the next few weeks. By the end of this, I had done every problem in the OG on SC/CR and nearly every problem in the GMAC Question Pack 1 on SC and CR (all of the hard and mediums, most of the easy ones). Nothing about this is revolutionary, but I would have never been able to hold myself accountable for such work doing it alone. Additionally, kind of like how the Meltzer and Powerscore helped get into the GMAT frame of mind, the 1-1 sessions were pretty much exclusively going through problems that I had gotten wrong and then learning how to adjust my thinking/approach to fit what the GMAT was looking for. In going through those problems I also got a sense for how to codify the different types of wrong answers and avoid them.

At the end of the day, doing a ton of practice problems, systematically going through wrong answers to understand flaws in thinking, and having external accountability did the trick.

Hey! Congratulations on your success, Can you please share the study material you might be having.. I am planning to give my GMAT in February 2018..Also please guide me how to plan my preparation strategy for next 2 months

Sent from my GT-N7100 using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
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Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
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Posts: 671
Location: United States (CA)
Age: 38
GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)
680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 09 Jan 2018, 09:16
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Outside of very specific strategies pertaining to Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning, jgordon257 has done a good job of summarizing our approach.

Of course, any attempt to summarize a test as complex as the GMAT will inevitably fall short. Despite the relatively small set of knowledge you need to memorize for the test, the GMAT is a highly difficult and competitive, world-class test of math, English, reasoning and writing skills. However, it can still be conquered through perseverance and the right strategy.

There is no "one size fits all" fix for someone with two months to study. You need to practice and discover your own weaknesses, then construct a study plan that fits you. For Jason, he just needed a crash course in SC and CR--he was already very solid in Quant.

Sentence Correction can get complicated, and has many facets. Thus, you will have to wait until my GMAT book for that one, but until then, the Meltzer book is an excellent substitute. For Critical Reasoning, we stuck to the core principles: 1) Identify your Conclusion, 2) Identify Your Evidence / Premise, 3) Predict Your Answer, 4) Eliminate Pre-Evidence, Out of Scope and Post-Conclusion Incorrect Answers, 5) Compare your Top 2 answers (if necessary) and 6) Verify correct answer. We also discussed visualization strategies to more fully understand each Critical Reasoning question type, and expanded on the five main categories of Assumptions (from "Ace the GMAT"): Cause and Effect, Comparison and Analogy, Representativeness, Implementation, and Questionable Evidence.

Part of why he succeeded is that he diligently completed (and reviewed!) every single question in the OG and QP1, as I asked him to do.

I am a strong believer that Full Practice Exams are overrated once a student has reached the high 600s/low 700s. At that point, it's more about obsessively working your way though every official question you can find (and reviewing them meticulously, making sure to note the reasons why each incorrect answer is incorrect). Outside strategy guides such as the Meltzer and Powerscore books, and GMAT Club Spreadsheets will also help with this process.

Especially when it comes to Verbal, it makes sense to practice with real GMAT questions only, since imitation Verbal questions inevitably fail to replicate the precise wording, unwritten rules and "feel" of real GMAT Verbal questions.

As far as study plans, strategies, learning resources, etc, you can check out My GMAT Action Plan (linked below in my signature). I have also released a free GMAT e-book / strategy guide of my own, as a publicly accessible Google document, which includes specific tips for Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning.

That being said, there is also great value in discussing questions one-on-one, in real time, with a GMAT expert: being forced to verbalize your struggles often helps you to resolve them. This approach is hard to replicate without a tutor, but you could always join a study group, etc.. In addition, as Jason mentioned, there is value in accountability, and having a teacher, private tutor or "study buddy" who checks on your progress once a week.
_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching, both in-person (San Diego, CA, USA) and online worldwide, since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation


Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 02 Dec 2017, 15:23.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 09 Jan 2018, 09:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2017, 01:04
That's an incredible improvement and an amazing end result. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Also, if you have an ESR from your attempt, I would encourage you to share it here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/information- ... 21111.html so we can draw insights about the GMAC algorithm to benefit the GMAT Club community.

Congratulations again, and good luck with applications!
_________________

Are you aiming for a 700+ GMAT score and a top 10 MBA?
If you are, we should talk. I specialize in ambitious students.


$80/hour as of May 2018.


http://www.facebook.com/HanoiGMATtutor
HanoiGMATTutor@gmail.com

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Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
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GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)
680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Dec 2017, 10:55
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For privacy reasons, it's jgordon257 's decision as to whether he wants to share his entire ESR, and I'm sure that he's busy with work, applications, and/or preparing for New Year's Eve celebrations. :cool: However, I also have a copy of his ESR, and I'm sure that he wouldn't mind if I shared selected portions of it with you--with his personal information removed, of course.

Here is his score summary:

Image

Here is his Quant section. You can see that he correctly answered 6 of 7 counted questions (86%) in all 4 quarters of the test.

Image
Image

Here is his Verbal section. You can see that he correctly answered 7 of 8 in the 1st quarter (88%), 6 out of 7 in the 2nd quarter (86%), 7 of 7 in the 3rd quarter (100%) and 8 of 8 in the 4th quarter (100%).

Image
Image

Here is his IR Section. He answered all 9 counted questions correctly (100%).

Image

Also, HanoiGMATtutor, why does your (unverified) GMAT score say Q60, V60 when we know that 51 is in fact the maximum possible score on both the Quant and Verbal sections? GMAT test-takers aren't going to take you seriously as a tutor if you're being less than honest about your own GMAT score.
_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching, both in-person (San Diego, CA, USA) and online worldwide, since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation

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Status: Professional GMAT Tutor
Affiliations: AB, cum laude, Harvard University (Class of '02)
Joined: 10 Jul 2015
Posts: 671
Location: United States (CA)
Age: 38
GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
GMAT 2: 730 Q44 V47
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V42
GRE 1: Q168 V169
WE: Education (Education)
680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 04 Apr 2018, 22:56
Top Contributor
Congrats on getting into / matriculating at Wharton, jgordon257!!! Amazing news and good luck in Philly.

-Brian

"Trust the Process."

-Joel Embiid

_________________

Harvard grad and 99% GMAT scorer, offering expert, private GMAT tutoring and coaching, both in-person (San Diego, CA, USA) and online worldwide, since 2002.

One of the only known humans to have taken the GMAT 5 times and scored in the 700s every time (700, 710, 730, 750, 770), including verified section scores of Q50 / V47, as well as personal bests of 8/8 IR (2 times), 6/6 AWA (4 times), 50/51Q and 48/51V (1 question wrong).

You can download my official test-taker score report (all scores within the last 5 years) directly from the Pearson Vue website: https://tinyurl.com/y94hlarr Date of Birth: 09 December 1979.

GMAT Action Plan and Free E-Book - McElroy Tutoring

Contact: mcelroy@post.harvard.edu (I do not respond to PMs on GMAT Club.)

...or find me on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/GMATpreparation


Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 29 Mar 2018, 19:30.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 04 Apr 2018, 22:56, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2018, 22:23
mcelroytutoring wrote:
Outside of very specific strategies pertaining to Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning, jgordon257 has done a good job of summarizing our approach.

Of course, any attempt to summarize a test as complex as the GMAT will inevitably fall short. Despite the relatively small set of knowledge you need to memorize for the test, the GMAT is a highly difficult and competitive, world-class test of math, English, reasoning and writing skills. However, it can still be conquered through perseverance and the right strategy.

There is no "one size fits all" fix for someone with two months to study. You need to practice and discover your own weaknesses, then construct a study plan that fits you. For Jason, he just needed a crash course in SC and CR--he was already very solid in Quant.

Sentence Correction can get complicated, and has many facets. Thus, you will have to wait until my GMAT book for that one, but until then, the Meltzer book is an excellent substitute. For Critical Reasoning, we stuck to the core principles: 1) Identify your Conclusion, 2) Identify Your Evidence / Premise, 3) Predict Your Answer, 4) Eliminate Pre-Evidence, Out of Scope and Post-Conclusion Incorrect Answers, 5) Compare your Top 2 answers (if necessary) and 6) Verify correct answer. We also discussed visualization strategies to more fully understand each Critical Reasoning question type, and expanded on the five main categories of Assumptions (from "Ace the GMAT"): Cause and Effect, Comparison and Analogy, Representativeness, Implementation, and Questionable Evidence.

Part of why he succeeded is that he diligently completed (and reviewed!) every single question in the OG and QP1, as I asked him to do.

I am a strong believer that Full Practice Exams are overrated once a student has reached the high 600s/low 700s. At that point, it's more about obsessively working your way though every official question you can find (and reviewing them meticulously, making sure to note the reasons why each incorrect answer is incorrect). Outside strategy guides such as the Meltzer and Powerscore books, and GMAT Club Spreadsheets will also help with this process.

Especially when it comes to Verbal, it makes sense to practice with real GMAT questions only, since imitation Verbal questions inevitably fail to replicate the precise wording, unwritten rules and "feel" of real GMAT Verbal questions.

As far as study plans, strategies, learning resources, etc, you can check out My GMAT Action Plan (linked below in my signature). I have also released a free GMAT e-book / strategy guide of my own, as a publicly accessible Google document, which includes specific tips for Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning.

That being said, there is also great value in discussing questions one-on-one, in real time, with a GMAT expert: being forced to verbalize your struggles often helps you to resolve them. This approach is hard to replicate without a tutor, but you could always join a study group, etc.. In addition, as Jason mentioned, there is value in accountability, and having a teacher, private tutor or "study buddy" who checks on your progress once a week.


Congrats jgordon257 for your 99+ score !! I agree with you mcelroytutoring that - "Full Practice Exams are overrated once a student has reached the high 600s/low 700s. At that point, it's more about obsessively working your way though every official question you can find (and reviewing them meticulously, making sure to note the reasons why each incorrect answer is incorrect)". Best wishes on your application !!
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Re: 680 to 770 in ~6 weeks &nbs [#permalink] 29 Mar 2018, 22:23
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