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730 (Q48 V42 AWA6.0 IR7) - First Attempt

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Current Student
Joined: 16 Apr 2016
Posts: 66
Location: United States (TX)
Concentration: Technology, Marketing
GMAT 1: 730 Q48 V42
GPA: 3.3
WE: Engineering (Energy and Utilities)
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730 (Q48 V42 AWA6.0 IR7) - First Attempt  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2016, 06:35
Hi all,

I finally took the GMAT on Aug 20th 2016 and scored a 730 (96th percentile) with Q48 (71%), V42 (96%), AWA6.0 and IR7. I had started studying in April with a couple of small breaks in between. I would like to go over some of my prep and what I found useful.

First, some background amount myself: I am a 24 year old mechanical engineer currently working in the Oil&Gas industry. I was born in India but have been living in the US for about 11 years now (completing high school and undergrad in the US). I have always liked math as a subject in my previous education, so the quant section was not something I had to force myself on. Verbal was another story as I never liked the English sections of previous standardized tests like the SAT. Luckily, the GMAT has a more logical and methodical approach to the verbal section.

I. Study Materials and my thoughts

The main sources I used for my preparation were:
1) Manhattan GMAT guides
Probably the best place to get started after taking a diagnostic test. The guides are well written and cover pretty much all you need to know for the GMAT. Highly recommend the math guides and the sentence correction guide.

2) OG 2013 and OG 2013 Quant
Great resource simply for being directly from GMAC. Just remember not to get too caught up on the super hard questions (towards the end of each section). It is likely you will only see a small amount of that level in the actual exam.

3) GMAT Prep free tests and EP1
Best indicator of your GMAT score/performance. I wish these tests had explanations like the OG does, but GMATClub had my back on this. I bought EP1 for extra practice and was glad I did.

4) Veritas Prep (7 CATs - 2 free and bought the rest for $19)
I used these just for practice (with extended timers). I never scored over 700 on these tests because they are more difficult than actual GMATs. Nevertheless, they are a great resource for practice and the explanations and statistics they show for each question are very helpful. Definitely recommend them if you can snag them for a low price of $19 for 7 tests.

5) GMATPrepNow
Can't believe the videos on here are free. If you aren't using this great resource, you should seriously give it a look. I particularly found the counting and probability sections helpful.

6) GMATClub for questions out of newer OG's and explanations to GMATPrep questions
Like I mentioned before, GMATClub helped me a lot in finding good explanations for questions in the GMATPrep software. The detailed responses from the likes of Bunuel in the Quant section were an excellent resource. The Quant and Verbal guides from GMATClub are also a good resource. Beyond that, I also enjoyed reading debriefs from people in my spare time.

7) ManhattanPrep - free CATs
Like the Veritas tests, these are good for practice but not for estimating your score because they are more difficult. Rely on GMATPrep for estimation.

8) Chineseburned guide
The only thing I used for AWA prep and that too in the last week before the GMAT. Followed this pretty much to the letter and scored a 6.

II. Practice Tests

I can post a more detailed list of my scores if needed, but to give you a general idea, my scores on GMATPrep started in the 600s, for my diagnostic before much prep, and topped off at about 760 (retake of exam with repeating questions). I knew I could score above 700 unless something unfortunate happened. Like I mentioned above, the scores on my CATs from Veritas and Manhattan were all below 700, but I did not focus on the score for those and just used them as good practice.

My Quant on GMATPrep always hovered above 45 but my verbal went from mid-high 30's to the low 40's towards the end of my study. I largely attribute this to actually understanding the way GMAT verbal questions are presented. There are certain methods that can be pretty effective for particular types of questions (Prethinking for CR, Meaning for SC). I skipped all AWA sections throughout my practice and only really glanced over some tips and read through Chineseburned's great guide the week before my GMAT. As for IR, I took the practice sections in GMATPrep but did not really put much focus on it.

III. Test Day

The week leading up to the test day involved brushing up on a few quant concepts and finally taking a look at AWA. I pretty much relaxed for the most part of the week and took a couple reset CATs from GMATPrep. I took the day off work before my GMAT to just relax and go check out the testing center. The center was in a place that I don't visit often, so it was a good idea to scope the area out for parking and such the day before.

On test day, I had a heavy breakfast (test was scheduled for 12:00PM and I live about 21 miles away from the test center). Left a little early and arrived there at 11. The nice lady at the test center only had me wait for about 15mins and I was taken in for the test (didn't know that the timing wasn't a strict thing). The AWA prompt was a pretty easy one to understand and went cracking at it and finished with about 10mins remaining. Nothing too special about the IR section either, finished it up and took my optional break. The Quant and Verbal went pretty much as expected from my experiences with the GMATPrep CATs. Saw the score on the screen and did a little success kid impression before raising my hand.

IV. Closing thoughts

I feel like I could have achieved a Q49 or maybe a Q50 with a little bit more focus. There were a couple questions I had to guess on. I am really happy with how I did in verbal because that was the section I was worried about. I will think about retaking it or not in the next few weeks in order to raise my quant percentile, but from what I have read on this forum and other online sources, the 80/80 rule isn't really much of a rule anymore with the demographic of test takers changing. Let me know if you want to know anything else about my prep/experience and I will be happy to answer.

I would like to thank this awesome forum and all the work put into it by the community. Now I will be lurking the business school sections as I do my applications. Good luck to all!
Joined: 24 May 2014
Posts: 86
Location: India
GMAT 1: 590 Q39 V32
GRE 1: Q159 V151

GRE 2: Q159 V153
GPA: 2.9
Re: 730 (Q48 V42 AWA6.0 IR7) - First Attempt  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2016, 21:11
Congratulations on the achievement, bud. All the best for your future endeavors.!!
GMAT Club Bot
Re: 730 (Q48 V42 AWA6.0 IR7) - First Attempt   [#permalink] 24 Aug 2016, 21:11
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