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740: Q49, V42. You can do it too.

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Intern
Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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740: Q49, V42. You can do it too. [#permalink]

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30 Apr 2006, 22:38
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Hi there,

I've been looking at this website for the last month or so. It has been helpful. Now that I'm done with my GMAT test, I feel obliged to write a post.

My unofficial gmat score report gives me a 740 with 49 in Quant and 42 in Verbal. I was hoping for a 700, so it really caught me off-guard. Very happy. It actually got me wondering whether your score can change from the unofficial to official reports! Some people might be going for super high scores, but I just needed a 640 or higher, so I'm ecstatic.

Here is the process that I followed:

Started with the Kaplan Premier Edition Book. After I finished that, I did the Kaplan 800 book. That's it. I did the odd question on GMAT Club, I found a cool link to a whole host of RC questions and tried to do a couple of passages a day for a week or two until I had it down. At the end, I downloaded the GMAC software. Although I did skim the GMAC tutorials, I really just used it for the practice tests.

I prepared for a total of 8 weeks. Every weekend I did a full length practice test. Here's how they went:

Kaplan In-Book Test: 610
Kaplan CD CAT 1 : 580
Kaplan CD CAT 2: 550
Kaplan CD CAT 3: 550
Kaplan Premiere Online: 680
GMAT Prep Test 1: 700 (free at gmat.com)
Kaplan Premiere CD CAT 4: 600
Free Kaplan Online Test: 710 (free at kaptest.com)
GMAT Prep Test 2: 720

It always confused me why I got such low scores on the Kaplan Premiere Tests. But in retrospect, it made me study harder. It worried me! I knew that the Kaplan tests were harder than the real thing, but that's the way to do it. Practice the most difficult questions, and the real test will be easier. That's something that the GMAT 800 book did well too. GMAT 800 has a really good section on Sentence Correction. Much better and more detailed than the regular Premiere book.

So... I practiced for about 15 hours/week, including practice tests. I ramped up my practice time over the last 5 weeks, because the Kaplan scores worried me! All in all, I'd say that I easily broke the 100 hour mark for study and prep. But I doubt that I had more than one or two weeks with more than 20 hours of study.

My tips would be:

- Doing a good number of practice tests teaches you to budget your time properly, which is important. But still watch your time. I divided my total time into quarters. If I was doing 10 questions in more than 20 minutes, I tried to speed up. Answering the odd easy question quickly helps you to gain time.

- Although Kaplan says to write a passage summary for each RC passage, I didn't bother with this. Although I did start by trying to do passage summaries. My strategy is to read the first paragraph twice and really understand it. Then read the rest of the passage and try to understand exactly what it's saying. Then, if necessary, read the whole thing over again before answering questions. This may sound like a lot of reading/re-reading, but it probably takes the same amount of time as reading the passage once and writing out notes. The key is to truly understand the passage. If you don't really understand it fully, and you try to answer the questions, you will fail. At least from my experience. The RC section is one where I had to say, "screw time, I need to understand this passage, otherwise I'm just going to 50/50 these questions." I find that it works, but I also agree that the more passages you practice, the better you will do. Kaplan 800 passages are so hard and nasty, that they'll make the others look easy. I think with RC that you have to just take your time. Forget about rushing and make up time on SC and CR.

- I think that relaxing is an important part to doing well on the real test. It's funny. I've raced downhill mountain bikes for 8 years now. I felt as amped up and nervous as I started the GMAT as I do at the start line of a race! But I think that you can't do well if you're not relaxed. The essay questions at the start help you to calm down and get into a groove. But even so, you still need to relax before each section if you're at all tense. Because I already knew all of the instructions for the test, and instruction pages on the real test give you an alotted time to read them, I used the instruction time to do deep breathing and relax for the upcoming section. I think it worked.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the makers of gmatclub.com and everyone who is active in the forum. This is a great medium for learning more about the GMAT. Hearing about other people's experiences really helped me, and that's why I wanted to add mine to the pot.

If I could give one last piece of advice, it would be "you can do it." When I started, I scored a 68% on my Kaplan diagnostic. I had to just laugh when I came across math questions that I had no idea how to answer. It had been so long! The verbal I did by sound. If it sounded right, I picked it! No logic or anything. But I studied. Just like what I outlined here. And it worked. If I had tried to write the test two months ago, I bet I would have done a 550 to 600 tops. But I studied, and it worked. It's a simple formula.

Good luck, and best wishes,

Andy

An interesting side note: I was worried that as I started to do well on the real test, the questions would become so hard that I'd start spending too much time on them and really blow my time budget. This never happened. In fact, one of the last Quant questions in the section was something like this: "In one day, Mark drove 146.04 Km. to get lunch, then drove 45.6 Km. more and stopped for gas. Then drove 46.03 Km. more before reaching his destination. How far did he drive in this day?" Unless I got this question wrong, I think that the answer was just adding the three numbers! How could this be the third to last question on the Quant section when I scored a 49? I thought the questions were supposed to get harder. Don't get me wrong, there were some hard questions, but I thought this one in particular was peculiar! Anyways, the test will be like the practice tests. Especially the ones on gmat.com. Feel comfortable with them, and you will feel comfortable with the real thing.

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01 May 2006, 02:09
Great job dude!!

Did u find the actual test question tougher that the practice materials available?

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01 May 2006, 07:57
I would say no. The practice materials that I used (Kaplan Premiere and Kaplan 800) were as hard or harder than the actual GMAT. There were some toughies but, on average, the questions were just about the same level of difficulty as on the GMAC Prep Exams. I guess that's why they call them "Prep Exams."

Some of the questions in Kaplan were more difficult than the ones that I hit in the actual GMAT. The reading comprehension questions weren't as hard as the ones in Kaplan 800. The math was on par with everything in Kaplan Premiere and Kaplan 800. And the sentence correction questions were the same or easier than Kaplan 800.

I found the length of the test to be a little grueling, and I think that to do well you have to stay relaxed, focussed, and determined to do well, but the question difficulty wasn't out of this world. It was the same type of questions that I had been studying all along.

Cheers,

Andy

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01 May 2006, 09:37
Thanks Andy!

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01 May 2006, 10:52
Awesome score Andy!!!

Congrats!!!

Yeah I agree with you on the hardness of quant.. someone else also mentioned to me that.. although he was doing well.. he got some very easy questions in the between... so he got worried if he made some mistakes.... it looks like they give you hard questions right in the beginning... and then they come and go sporadically..

From your content it sounds like the hardness of quant is definitely of the same level as gmat prep.. which makes me a little relaxed.. i always wondered how tough the difference of quant compared to the gmat prep was..

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02 May 2006, 09:09
congrats andy, your RC techniques seems worth trying!

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02 May 2006, 09:14
Great score buddy! Congrats!

Thanks for explainign your strategies. Good luck!
_________________

"To dream anything that you want to dream, that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do, that is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself, to test your limits, that is the courage to succeed."

- Bernard Edmonds

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02 May 2006, 10:47
Congrats buddy

Thanks for sharing the experience!
All the very best for apps.

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02 May 2006, 12:25
Andy congrulations your score is very good

That's very thoughtful of you to write such a long post and tell about your strategies and advices. I hope very the best for you..

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02 May 2006, 12:25
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