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720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09

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720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2009, 17:00
Update: Just recieved my AWA score: 5.5. They are super quick, it took only 3 working days!

Hi all,

I took the GMAT today and scored 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%). While the score is less than what I had expected (c.a.750) before entering the test centre, it certainly is more than what I was expecting after taking the test (more on this later!). I really have mixed feelings, and would need some advise regarding whether to retake the test. I am targetting schools like INSEAD, Sloan, Stanford and Wharton. I plan to apply later this year. (The only question that comes to my mind at the moment is, given the current econominc environment, with many people losing their jobs, is 720 still considered a competetive score?) Below is a not-so-brief write-up on my background, preparation and test day (Apologies for the incoherent structure, I am really bad at writing and am too tired to think straight :-D):

Background: 27/Indian/Engineer by degree (undergrad in India, Masters abroad)/ 2 years work-exp. in Investment Banking (M&A) and 1 yr. exp. in Private Equity. Have a decent academic profile with some international scholarships and above-average University grades.

GMAT: I thought about preparing for the test sometime in August last year, but work pressure didn't let me take it seriously. Sometime towards the end of December I booked an appointment and started preparing for the test.

Prepartion:
20th Dec: Bought Manhattan SC (I must thank this forum for recommending this fantastic book, and the MGMAT tests!).
28th Dec: Booked the date, thinking that 1 month of 'rigorous preparation' (read - 4 hrs a day on weekdays and 10-12 hrs a day over the weekends) should be sufficient.
28th Dec: Took MGMAT-1 test to identify weak areas (as if I didn't know what my weaknesses were :-D). Scored 670. (Q47: V33).
28th Dec: Read success/failure stories on GMATClub and BeatTheGmat forums, got some very nice pointers.
29th Dec: Bought OG 11 and Kaplan 800. Dowloaded 1000 series.
29th Dec - 1st Week of Jan: Finished OG. Quant was a joke (except the last 20 questions in problem solving and last 30 or so in DS section). Verbal was very good, though I didn't really read the explanations of the SCs properly (which I should have!).
4th Jan: Bought Club Challanges. Took a couple of days off from work. Took about 15 of the challanges in 2 days ( Was least bothered about the percentile, as I skipped the easier questions, and focussed only on the real 'challanges'). Won't recommend this strategy, unless you are really short on time, like I was.
5th Jan - 22nd Jan: Finished Verbal section of Kaplan 800, OG - Verbal review (SCs only, which I managed to find somewhere on the Internet) and 1000 series (Finished about 600 problems on SC, 300 on CR, and all the 63 RC passages). Recommendation: 1000 series is perfect for practicing. Kaplan 800, I believe is overated, and hate the writers' attitude (presenting the obvious stuff, as if it were rocket science!)
Mid Jan: Took GMATPrep -1 (scored 720, V: 41, and Q 48). Re-took it the very next day. (750, Q: 51, V: 40... very few repeats).
Mid Jan: Took the remaining MGMATs scores ranged from 700 to 770.
1 week before the test: Took GMATPrep -2 (scored 680, too many distractions, left many questions unanswered) Retook it the same night without reviewing the previous questions (made sure that I didn't know the answers). Score 750. Q50, V41). Re-Took GMATPrep 1 and 2, a couple of times each and always scored in the range 770-790 (with about 50-60% repeated questions).
Final three days (took leave from work): Re-did all the questions that I had missed in the first go (about 25%). Recommendation: Error log really helps, especially for the SC.

Other resources:
- CR Bible (just read some of the chapters in one go, i.e. 3 hrs). Would recommend reading it, if not short on time.
- GMATClub and BeatTheGmat: Used both the forums extensively for the 1000 SC questions, almost every question that I missed was discussed on these forums. Kudos to to all the founders and the participants!
- Looked at Spidey's and Sahil's notes on SCs. Excellent stuff!
- One fine day, I realized I need to know some short cuts for the quant section: hence bought the 4GMAT number properties book only to realize later that such shortcuts would require extensive practice to remember. Although, I did use one of the shortcuts for the very last question today :-), for which I had only 10 secs left!

Test day: I could barely sleep the night before the test (yesterday!), tossing and turning the whole night. My appointment was at 2:45 and this didn't help either. I was exhausted even before entering the test centre. Had 3 shots of espresso at Starbucks, to WAKE me up!! Reached the test centre 45 min. before the appointment, and found that the BT guys were digging the road right opposite to the building!! My mind started spinning like anything. Anyway, completed all the formalities and started the test.

AWA: The Chineseburned guide was really helpful here. I had not practiced even a single AWA essay! It was only today, yes on the exam day, that I read his AWA template. Took the optional break.
Quant: I was 4 minutes late, and the clock had already started ticking! (Lesson learnt: 10 minutes pass much quicker than you think ... alas! not when you are on a treadmill :-D). The first question was tricky, but next 19 questions were much easier than those on the GMATPrep software. From 21st question onward, the test started throwing some bouncers, almost every question from then on had 'hidden' traps. Despite losing 4 crucial minutes, time was not an issue and I 'confirmed' the last answer with zero seconds to go! I knew I was hitting a score 50-51.
Took the optional break and was extremely tired and hungry by then, but decided not go to the lockers as I was wary of losing the time again! But this time I was 5 minutes early :-D).
Verbal: Boy, this section was a complete bouncer for me! My confidence of scoring a 40+ shattered within the first 8 questions. 1st SC was fine, the very next was a bold-faced CR... really difficult and then a loooong and difficult RC with equally difficult questions. From then on I started shivering..literally. (I was tired, hungry and had lost all my confidence by then). Closed my eyes for a couple of seconds and regained my focus. But every question seemed so very difficult than the ones on GMATPrep. 3 passages were long, dry and difficult. I must admit that I was confident on only about 20 questions out of 41 !!. For others, I was always left with two hard choices! And my speed was pathetic.... I had to guess (semi-blindly) last 6 questions. I am still not sure, whether the section was really that difficult or whether it because of me being exhausted!

Scoring: With a disastrous performance on the verbal section, I was really in fix as to whether to view the scores. I thought I had performed very bad and my verbal score would screw everything. But then thought that the attempt would be reported anyway so clicked on 'report scores', and ... to my surprise it was 720. (Lesson learnt: always check the scores).

I am not really sure whether to re-take the test. Comments/advise will be very much appreciated.

Good luck everybody!

Last edited by apshma on 03 Feb 2009, 04:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2009, 18:34
Congrats on an excellent score. Good luck with the application

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2009, 19:45
Congrats. Did u do gmatclub challenges verbal tests also? If so, how u feel abt them? I appreciate if you write down ur challenges verbal scores as well ...

Goodluck with your applications.

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 01:15
ugimba wrote:
Congrats. Did u do gmatclub challenges verbal tests also? If so, how u feel abt them? I appreciate if you write down ur challenges verbal scores as well ...

Goodluck with your applications.


Thanks ugimba, no I didn't take the verbal challanges because of time constraints. I had too many tests and material to cover in less than a month.

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 01:15
kman wrote:
Congrats on an excellent score. Good luck with the application


Thanks kman!

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 01:23
Congratulations on an already excellent score!
But if you think you can afford (timewise, effortwise, etc) and can take the test in a month with little prep, I would retake it. Where are you based?
The bottom line is, you already have a very competitive score.
Good luck!

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 02:56
Thanks botirvoy! I am based in London. I might re-take the test... need to figure out whether I can regain all the energy and motivation!

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 03:35
I am based in London too! :)
Good luck if you decide to retake it.
Mine is on Tuesday :-D

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 09:29
botirvoy wrote:
I am based in London too! :)
Good luck if you decide to retake it.
Mine is on Tuesday :-D


:-D . Good luck for Tuesday, do keep us posted.

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09 [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2009, 10:56
apshma wrote:
botirvoy wrote:
I am based in London too! :)
Good luck if you decide to retake it.
Mine is on Tuesday :-D


:-D . Good luck for Tuesday, do keep us posted.

Thanks, I will :-D

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Re: 720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09   [#permalink] 30 Jan 2009, 10:56
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720 (95%) - Q 50 (94%), V 37 (81%) - 29/01/09

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