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760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background

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760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 20:15
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Just had my 2nd try on the GMAT.

If you had asked me 6 months ago how much that I expected to score on GMAT I'd say 700 tops. TOPS. I want this to be a story for people who don't believe they are "the GMAT type", as I did (and also, obviously, a source of some practical help that I missed during my study). But before that, I want to thank GMAT Club for this AWESOME content platform, which by far is the best resource I have found during my preparation. If you have to choose one thing to use, use Gmat Club.

I am the person who received feedback at work that I should "improve my quant side". I am the one who is not the first to jump ahead and answer that sudden math problem asked by someone in the room. I am the guy that studied 4 years of political science in a kind of unknown school and regretted my decisions when I often "felt" that i was behind others in quant reasoning (at least during school I got used to read some dense texts in English...) I am also the person that grew up isolated from any english speaker, learning english from TV and videogames, and that gets a little nervous when has to speak in english in a meeting, always messing up the verbal tenses. When I saw my professional peers (engineers from top schools) getting 700-730, how could I expect to get more?

My preparation was weird, a reflection of my disbelief in myself. I must have studied based only on GMATCLUB for ~4 weeks before taking any CATs, afraid of the result (actually I tried, but in my first try I could not answer the first IR question and just closed the CAT right away haha). So I downloaded my error log daily and measured my specific accuracy rate per topic and difficulty, identifying weak spots (there were many). My first score was 690 (Veritas), but I don’t know how much it'd have been if I had taken it before. When I took my first GMATPREP exam, I realized that verbal was my strong side, and that my quant was improving. This really energized me. But even after, each time I scored less than expected I was devasted, and all my self doubts would come back...

Here comes the conclusion: don't let your concepts about yourself get in the way of your preparation. GMAT is like ANY other aspect in life: its results are very much proportional to the amount of work you put in, and your "ceiling" is probably much higher than you think...

Now, some practical help. In total, I studied for ~70 days, and ~1500 questions (not considering tests, based on my error log). I always prioritized OG questions, especially in verbal (using the GMAT club filter). Here are my main study materials:
- GMAT Club question bank and error log (main resource)
- Gmat Club tests - best for quant (very good questions, relatively more difficult than the real test) and verbal (the best predictor in my experience)
- Veritas Tests (quant scores too high, and verbal too low with many poor verbal questions imo, but a good source for overall practice)
- Official CATs 1-4 (for leveling)
- Manhattan Guide
- GMAT Club/Bunuel quant master thread

My scores:
Jul/19: Veritas, 690, v37, q49
Aug/19: MGMAT, 690, v37, q47
Aug/19: GmatClub, q48
Aug/19: GmatClub, q50
Aug/19: GmatClub, q50
Aug/19: GmatClub, v40
Aug/19: GMATPREP, 740, v44, q48
Aug/19: GmatClub, v46
Aug/19: GmatClub, q49
Aug/19: GmatClub, q48
Set/19: GMATPREP, 740, v40, q50, IR8

Aug/19: GmatClub, q43
Aug/19: GmatClub, q50
Aug/19: GmatClub, q48
Set/19: GmatClub, q51 :)
Set/19: GmatClub, v42
Set/19: Veritas, 710 q51 v 37
Set/19: Veritas, 710 q51 v 34
Set/19: GmatClub, v44
Set/19: GmatClub, q46
Set/19: GmatClub, v43
Set/19: GmatClub, q49
Set/19: GmatClub, v33
Set/19: GmatClub, q50
Set/19: GmatClub, v45
Set/19: GmatClub, q37
Set/19: official test, 700, v38, q48, IR6

-- (no study)
Nov/19: GMATPREP, 750, v41, q50, IR8

Nov/19: Veritas, v 39
Nov/19: GmatcClub, q41
Nov/19: GmatcClub, q31
Nov/19: GMATPREP, 740, v40, q50, IR 7

Nov/19: official test, 760, v45, q49, IR8


My error log is attached (its not the most recent). There you can see that I have built a "dashboard" that measures 1) my acc per difficulty and topic; 2) my acc per difficulty and topic for the last N questions attempted in that group (this was a view that I really missed on GMAT Clubs tracker). This was the information I have found most useful to keep track of my progress. My goal was to have a 100% in 500lvl, 85-90% in 600lvl and 70-75% in 700, and I prioritized areas based on that. Basically, I would see which ones I was doing the worst, and focus for a couple of days only on that until my acc increased.

Tips per question type:
CR - Prethinking: if you are not used to this, you really have to practice it. This is key for increasing acc in CR. Typically I'd get 1-2 questions wrong in this category. In any question I would begin by reading the question itself, then the text. Based on the question, I would read the text in a "different voice" (eg. if the question asked for a reasoning problem in the text, I would "pretend" that I was strongly opposed to the person behind the text). Also I really tried to picture all the concepts and relationships between them while reading. The less "grammatical" and more "visual" is your approach, the better. THere are some particularities about some question types that you should get used to. For example, in inference questions, the right choice MUST ALWAYS be true solely on the given info.

RC - I really did not tried to hurry, unless I was getting short of time. I did not employ any "fast reading" technique. I only read everything in a consistent, efficient pace (~1,5-2,5min per paragraph), and employed the same "visual" approach as in CR above. If needed, yes, I would go back to the passage and read again the relevant section. Typically would get ~2 wrong as well.

SC - This was my weakest spot, especially grammar. You must follow this order when evaluating the alternatives: 1) seek for clear construction errors (eg. parallelism); 2) seek for clear grammar errors (eg. subj-verb agreement); 3) Meaning changes. These can be subtle, and you have to train your eye to be very picky and literal regarding meaning. 4) idioms, but consider only the ones that you really know. By applying 1 and 2 it was very rare that my decision would depend on an idiom; 5) Consider wordiness and awkwardness. Again, you have to minimize the number of decisions based on these last 2 criteria. Based on these, I tried to first eliminate the ones I was sure that were wrong, and then "ranked" the others if in doubt. GMAT Ninja's video classes and replies are the best resource I have found

Timing: before beginning the test, I wrote in the first page of the draft pad:
Q
8-50
15-30
25-10/12
V
8-50
15-35
25-20

These timings are based on BB's post, if I am not mistaken. The "fingers" technique is really useful (have your hand open, and as you read a wrong answer choice, lower that finger. This allows you to only go back to the alternatives that you are on doubt and save time). Also, use Alt+N to get to the next question. Oh, and be careful in the AWA, because the exam usually lags a little bit before submitting (~3 seconds). This almost costed me my essay in the first attempt.


Finally, do not trust your own perception about how well you are doing on the test. For me, in retrospect, it seems that there was always a very strong negative correlation between how well I thought I was doing and my real performance. The GMAT often throws you easy questions even if you doing well, or something that is obvious for you for many people isn’t. So, don't try to measure your acc while taking an exam.

I hope that my experience helps you in any way.

Good luck to all =]
(ps: this is a new acc just for this post. These scores are in the orignal)
(ps2: tried to post the error log, with no success. Will try again later)
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 23:37
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itsfinallydone - Congratulations on getting a fantastic 760 score on the GMAT. Thank you for sharing your debrief. All the best for your applications.
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 23:45
1
V
8-50
15-35
25-20

These timings are based on BB's post, if I am not mistaken. The "fingers" technique is really useful (have your hand open, and as you read a wrong answer choice, lower that finger. This allows you to only go back to the alternatives that you are on doubt and save time). Also, use Alt+N to get to the next question. Oh, and be careful in the AWA, because the exam usually lags a little bit before submitting (~3 seconds). This almost costed me my essay in the first attempt.


Thanks for the share and especially the above part

All the best
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2019, 02:27
Congratulations! Learned a bunch from your experience!

You may not be able to attach the error log because gmatclub impose some limitations on new posters.

I am not familiar with "fingers" technique. Can you send me a pointer to read more?

Congratulations again!
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760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2019, 17:13
Wonderful sharing itsfinallydone.
Congratulations to secure a spot in 99pct Club. I wish I can reach 760 or above soon.

Btw. Which business schools are you applying? Are you going for MS or MBA?

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760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2019, 23:16
itsfinallydone

Thanks for sharing such a detailed debrief and your inputs. Great read. Pumped up.
As rightly pointed out by zhanbo you error log is not there, do share your error log.

Hope to follow your path. :) :fingers_crossed:
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Nov 2019, 09:48
Congratulations!!Great review ..
Can you suggest which sources you used to practice the questions from

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760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2019, 23:42
[quote="itsfinallydone"]Just had my 2nd try on the GMAT.
...................

Thanks for giving your valuable inputs.
What i can see is your baseline score was pretty good ie 690 q-49 v-37.
any information about such baseline score would be of more helpful
like how much pre-exposure and hrs of study you had already put through.


best regards
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760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2019, 10:11
Nov/19: Veritas, v 39
Nov/19: GmatcClub, q41
Nov/19: GmatcClub, q31
Nov/19: GMATPREP, 740, v40, q50, IR 7

Nov/19: official test, 760, v45, q49, IR8

Thanks for the debrief but I dont get the analogy of the mocks, could you ellaborate further on that?
How come that, if those are no typos, the scores fluctuated so greatly?!?
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 13:21
Congrats for 760 score. Good luck with the applications. One of the best experiences I read in the recent times :)
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 17:49
Hi chrtpmdr, they are typos, but only in the letter! Actually the q41 and q 31 are v41 and v31. The change was more evident for the second. And this is normal. In some quant test, if you see in my scores, there are some abnormally low scores too. This can happen for many reasons (to many errors in a row, several errors in the first questions, etc). Eventually, i have learned to not be affected by these points outside the curve.
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 20:39
Congratulations itsfinallydone on 760!!
All the best for your apps.
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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 22:55
Congratulation, you deserve in the league of 99 percentile. Which schools are you applying to!? Good luck on your mba/ms application

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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2019, 22:55
Congratulations. It would be great if you could attach your error log.
Thanks

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Re: 760 Q49 V45 IR8 retake - non-native, no quant background   [#permalink] 03 Dec 2019, 22:55
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