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750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice

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750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2018, 17:32
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Hey everyone!

I joined GMATClub pretty late in my preparation for the GMAT, but it still helped me a lot and I hope that others can benefit from reading my GMAT preparation experience :-)

Background


• I recently graduated from college and wanted to take the free time before starting my job to take the GMAT.
• Since I had just graduated, I thought studying for the GMAT would be easy … Boy, was I dead wrong.
• I registered for my GMAT in May and took it 8/13

Books & Materials Used


Books


GMAT Official Guide 2018: Book + Online – MUST-HAVE
Manhattan Prep GMAT Complete Strategy Guide Set, 6th Edition (10 books) – very comprehensive and would definitely recommend
PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible – helped me a TON with understanding what assumptions are and how to tackle CR questions (I found a free online PDF)

Online Resources


Magoosh (Improved my SC by a lot) – used more as a supplemental resource / I don’t think it’s comprehensive enough by itself
e-GMAT – I tried the free trial to see if it would improve my CR but it didn’t help me too much
Manhattan Prep Student Center (comes with the MP books) – Contains 6 CAT (Computer Adaptive Tests – their version of the practice GMAT)
GMAT OG Online Questions – I used the online version much more than the books and it was really helpful.

Length of Study & General Strategy


• Overall, I studied for 2.5 months for the GMAT (I studied almost every day for 8+ hours)
• I made a schedule in Google Calendar for what I wanted to achieve every day (Ex. I wanted to go through one of the MP books or I wanted to watch this section of the Magoosh videos)
• I split my 6 MP GMAT tests + 2 GMATPrep tests among the months I had. I took around 1 GMAT test every week
• I would analyze every single question I got wrong on the GMAT tests I would take (this would take 4+ hours usually because I kept a detailed error log).
• When analyzing my score report, I would sort by category of question to see which area I am weakest in (very helpful for Verbal section)
• In the beginning, I was very weak in CR, so I made sure to fix this problem first before moving onto other problems

Test Scores


• MP CAT 1 (7/1) Q42 / V37 – 650
• MP CAT 2 (7/8) Q44 / V35 – 650
• MP CAT 3 (7/18) Q43 / V38 – 670
• GMATPrep (7/25) Q49 / V38 – 710
• MP CAT 4 (7/31) Q44 / V37 – 670
• MP CAT 5 (8/3) – Q45 / V41 – 710
• MP CAT 6 (8/6) – Q44 / V38 – 680
• GMATPrep (8/8) – Q50 / V44 – 760
• Actual GMAT (8/13) - Q50, V41, IR 8.0, AWA 6.0 - 750

Comments:


• I was very very frustrated as I kept taking MP CATs and not seeing any progress.
• At times, I would feel miserable the whole night after I took the test in the afternoon and even unmotivated to continue with my GMAT preparation. During these times, I felt like the GMAT was breaking me down and burning me out. In order to stop this, I had to step away from my GMAT prep for a few days and remind myself that GMAT is just a test – not a measure of who I am as a person.
• As you can see from the higher GMATPrep score as well, I strongly believe that the Manhattan Prep tests have a MUCH harder quantitative section than the real GMAT test. So if you don’t see your score improving as well, don’t be down on yourself!
• I would say if you want to challenge yourself, MPrep CATs are a great way to do so

Words of Advice for:


STUDYING


It’s OK to take breaks -- On days when I felt defeated and burnt out from GMAT studying, I took time off from studying to do things that I liked (reading a book / watching television shows)
Keep Error Logs -- The only way to truly improve is to know exactly what mistakes you made and to avoid doing them again (easier said than done though). I wrote down every single question I got wrong on the tests I took and carefully read through the answer and wrote down what I didn’t understand. However, what’s equally as important to writing your errors down is to REVIEW your error log. From my CAT 1 – CAT 2, I didn’t review the 2 notebooks worth of errors I had written down because I couldn’t be bothered. But actually redoing those problems jogged my memory and helped me solve future questions.
Improvement is not linear -- As I was studying, I kept expecting to see an improvement in my CAT scores. When I didn’t see that, I felt bummed out and wanted to throw all my GMAT books away. In hindsight, I realized that improvement on the GMAT is unfortunately not linear because the GMAT constantly is adapting to your improved level and challenges you even more. Once I finished 4-5 practice GMAT tests, I finally passed a level where I felt I understood 80-85% of quant questions and could actually consistently get better!
Understand how the GMAT is scored -- One of the biggest learnings I had was realizing that the GMAT didn’t care that I could solve every question (especially on the Quant question). Instead, they care about how I responded to a difficult question and whether I could manage my time well enough. Once I learned this, I had to implement it in a real test-taking practice. I still had a difficult time letting go of math questions I *thought* I should be able to solve, but over time, I learned how to actually give myself (on average) 2 minutes a question.

RIGHT BEFORE/ON TEST DAY


• Pack your snacks -- I read a GMAT forum on what snacks to bring, so I packed a banana and granola bar :grin: I would say YES for the banana (but make sure to drink some water) + I suggest you bring a granola bar that won’t have pieces that will get stuck in your teeth (I had a piece of dried cherry stuck in my teeth during the IR section and it bothered me to no end)
• Prepare for the anxiety to hit you on test day: I do not usually get nervous before exams, but I was very nervous a few hours before my GMAT and even as I walked into the room.
(BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE) Take your time when you’re going through the GMAT policies and School Decisions at the beginning of the test -- When I walked into the test room, I could feel my heart beating a mile a minute and I knew that I would not be doing my best if I was THIS nervous. The only time when the clock wasn’t ticking was in those beginning sections, so I made sure to take my time doing it. I read every word of the GMAT policies and since there wasn’t a time limit, I took a while just to talk to myself and tell myself I would be alright (and it was!)

Additional Notes


• Scratch Paper Formatting - There is an article written by Manhattan Prep called "You Need to Know about GMAT Time Management (Part 3)" and it was super helpful to me
• I also purchased the Manhattan GMAT Test Simulation Booklet w/ Market from Amazon – if you want to make sure that you’re completely ready for the test experience, would HIGHLY recommend

If you guys have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to respond :-D
Magoosh Discount CodesEconomist GMAT Tutor Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount Codes
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2018, 20:46
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Congratulations tiffanana. This is an amazing score that will sure motivate the rest of us still studying for the test. Thanks for the suggestions and all the best with your applications.

Cheers!
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2018, 03:35
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Congratulations tiffanana on the stellar score, and all the best for your applications.
_________________

The few, the fearless !

Thanks :-)

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750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2018, 10:57
Hi tiffanana

Congratulations and thank you for sharing your tips. I went through the Scratch Paper Formatting that you mentioned and I found it very interesting because I struggled managing time on the actual exam and panicked.

I wanted to ask, did you use this technique during your actual GMAT?

A huge congratulations again and all the very best for your applications! :-)
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2018, 13:13
Hi Sreyoshi007,

Thanks for your comment! I actually did use this exact method on the GMAT. It really helped me because I knew exactly how much time I should have left at the end of every 4 quant questions or at the end of 9 verbal questions. If you keep practicing with this method, you should be able to get used to it and use it on the real test!

The only difficult part would be setting up the scratch paper in the 30-second break between the instructions for each section and when the questions actually start. On the actual test, I set up as much as it could (putting the time markers down) and drew the quadrants on each page when I had some spare time.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2018, 21:07
tiffanana wrote:
Hi Sreyoshi007,

Thanks for your comment! I actually did use this exact method on the GMAT. It really helped me because I knew exactly how much time I should have left at the end of every 4 quant questions or at the end of 9 verbal questions. If you keep practicing with this method, you should be able to get used to it and use it on the real test!

The only difficult part would be setting up the scratch paper in the 30-second break between the instructions for each section and when the questions actually start. On the actual test, I set up as much as it could (putting the time markers down) and drew the quadrants on each page when I had some spare time.



Yeah, I will start practicing using this method! Thanks a lot :)
_________________

Please press Kudos if this helped :-)

“Going in one more round when you don't think you can, that's what makes all the difference in your life.”

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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) | GMAT Debrief w/ All My Advice &nbs [#permalink] 15 Sep 2018, 21:07
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