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710 (49Q, 38V) Long post about my experience

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710 (49Q, 38V) Long post about my experience [#permalink]

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New post 11 Mar 2005, 16:17
Dear friends,
I have read many inspiring personal tales of successfully dealing with GMAT. I'm hoping by narrating my experience a few of you might relate to it and gain some insights.

My background
I am a 32-year-old male, married and have two young kids. I have a computer engineering background. After being out of school for so 8 years my quantitative skills were very poor i.e. I had to think hard to even calculate tip amount. Being a computer programmers/Hacker I was exposed to very little English grammar other than writing few technical specifications. I guess am trying to say that I started out at the bottom, scared to approach GMAT. My total preparation time was about six months, with a hundred per cent effort in the last month. Having kids and a spouse makes life a little bit tougher.

After having spent a few weeks just looking at the books my guilty conscious finally took over and I picked up my first gmat book. The following are the books/materials that I used in my preparation.

1) " Kaplan gmat verbal workbook": to go over the basics
2) "Kaplan gmat map workbook": to go over the basics.
3) "Kaplan GMAT": there is some overlap between this book and above two books. I bought this book mostly to get the CD.
4) " Princeton review verbal work out" some people like this book for verbal preparation. I believe both Kaplan and Princeton review books offer some unique insights. I would not recommend buying both of them. Best thing to do is to go to the bookstore buy one of them and browse the other one.
5) "The Official LSAT SuperPrep": I had difficulty attacking critical reasoning problems. Many users on this forum suggested looking at LSAT books to attack difficult problems and hence gain insight. I found this book tremendously helpful for critical reasoning problems. This particular book offers very detailed tutorial on attacking critical reasoning problems and their sample tests were accompanied by detailed explanations. The key is to understand the explanation of all the choices whether you get the problem right or wrong. After this exercise my scoring percentage went from 50% to about 90%
6) "official guide" this is the book. !!! Please read all the explanations of correct and wrong choices till the time you are scoring 90% or greater in a particular section !!! What that meant for me was I read read sentence correction section thoroughly.
7) gmat club math challenges: There are some difficult problems in these tests that really make you think. I would definitely advise you to practice those. Warning, do not get discouraged if you do not score well, the point is that it the difficult problems make you look at things had more fundamental level.

Mistakes that made in my preparation:
1) I was not doing very well on sentence correction and then went off on a tangent to learn grammar from the basics. You only need to know basic elements of grammar like a noun, adjective, verb, preposition etc. !!! Anything beyond that you should only read if you encounter something that you don't understand while solving real problems. Do not try to spend too much time to learn everything because gmat tests a few themes which are clear once you go through the official guide!!!.
2) the real pressure to get it done comes only after you have registered. I procrastinated registering thinking that I will register as soon as I get through most of the study material. However, that day never came because there was always a little bit more studying to get 700+. What I'm trying to say is that set a goal in terms of both the desired score and the test date.
3) official guide took me a month of preparation working about 20 hours each week. I did not estimate this much time and hence I could not complete all the sections.
4) I wasted a lot of time collecting materials to practice. However, I ran out of time to do most of them. I feel during your preparation you'll come to a point where no amount of practice will improve your score drastically.

1) start working on problems in official guide from last to first, since the most difficult problems are at the end. This would be helpful if you run out of time, at least you have attacked the most difficult problems which will give you good confidence.
2) maintain error log, if possible categorised by different problem types. I kept error logs for all the math and the sentence correction problems that I thought were difficult, insightful or I got it wrong. This was very helpful for me to review at the end.

The following are the links that I collected:

http://atheism.about.com/od/logicalfall ... erview.htm
http://s2s.wharton.upenn.edu/wh-wharton ... msg=5423.1
http://geethu.blogspot.com/2004/06/stud ... -gmat.html
http://mbawire.blogspot.com/2003_06_29_ ... chive.html
http://s2s.wharton.upenn.edu/n/mb/messa ... msg=7849.1
http://www.ascenteducation.com/india-mb ... 1704.shtml
http://www.sentencecorrection.com/forum ... hp?act=idx

Test experience:
I checked out by test center a week before so that I knew the location and the parking space. I would highly advise you to do this to eliminate one of the many anxiety factors. Luckily, I got a good night's sleep. I took with me a bottle of water and orange juice (to get some sugar boost).
Both the essays were so-so. I had already a template in mind so they were relatively easy to attack.
In math section there were about four or five problems that I had not encountered in official guide. However, they were simple to attack.
In the verbal section I first got a sentence correction problems which was very easy. Then I got another sentence correction which was three fourths highlighted. It was slightly more difficult, It just took me more time to get through it. After that I got reading comprehension passage of about 40 lines. Then I got two critical reasoning problems in the row. Both of them were pretty tough. I think I definitely got one of them wrong. Then I got a couple of sentence correction's one of which had the whole sentence highlighted. Next I got business-related reading comprehension passage of about 60 lines. That was followed by few critical reasoning problems, which were relatively easy to attack. Then I got a few more moderately difficult sentence corrections. Then I got a science related reading comprehension of about 90 lines. It was really heavy in technical terms but luckily the questions just required to look around the passage to find the right detail. I think I ended with few more easy critical reasoning\sentence correction questions.

I live in Nashua, NH. If anybody would like to have my study books (I will sell it for cheap) and other materials they are welcome to write me e-mail at gmatclub@pbajaria.mailshell.com

Thanks to all the members of this web site and good luck to all the future executives.

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New post 11 Mar 2005, 19:40
Congratulations for being in 7** Club....

:band :musband :banana :bouncer

What was ur timing for Verbal Questions (In terms of..):

This is the only question, I ask all GMATTakers.. :?
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New post 11 Mar 2005, 20:02
CONGRATS pbajaria

jpv, I would not time myself by every 10 questions. This is what I follow:
Q1-13 : 50
Q14-26: 25
Q27-41: 0

You should practice a lot of test to develop a "biological clock" so you can have a "common sense" that if you take too long on a certain question. Learn how to move on is important.
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New post 11 Mar 2005, 22:23
congrats and thank you so much for your informative posts! I'm glad that members can leave something behind for MBA aspirants :cool

Best Regards,


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New post 12 Mar 2005, 06:10
Congrats on that score and thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Its very nice of you to share some personal details. it really helps to put the 710 score in perspective for other aspirants.

All of us here would be grateful if you can visit us from time to time for helping others out here.

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New post 12 Mar 2005, 06:45
qhoc0010 wrote:
jpv, I would not time myself by every 10 questions. This is what I follow:
Q1-13 : 50
Q14-26: 25
Q27-41: 0

You should practice a lot of test to develop a "biological clock" so you can have a "common sense" that if you take too long on a certain question. Learn how to move on is important.

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Joined: 03 Jan 2005
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New post 12 Mar 2005, 22:08
Congratulations! Having two little kids and working full time myself, I can appreciate how precious this score is! And thanks for the great info and advices. They would help more of our members to do better in the test. Good luck with your applications!
  [#permalink] 12 Mar 2005, 22:08
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710 (49Q, 38V) Long post about my experience

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