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760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)

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GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V41
760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 11:43
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First, a little background - this story will be somewhat different. I work full time in the United States (born and raised) as a Treasury Manager in a Fortune 500 company which is undergoing significant restructuring and moving headquarters to another city. I have an understanding wife and two energetic boys who love nothing more than to jump off the couch and elbow drop my face when I get home (the kids, not the wife... maybe the wife too). Having already earned my CFA designation in 2013, the allure of top 10 MBA schools in the new city finally drove me to sign up for the GMAT.

Before I go into the materials I used, I want to explain my mindset throughout this ordeal. While I was studying for the three levels of the CFA (3 years), I put my family through hell. I was never home, studying before and after work, and barely got to see my children awake as I would even spend entire weekends in the office or the library to study. I had that banker mentality and my family suffered for it. In the end, my family forgave me, but I promised myself that I would never fail as a father and a husband again.

My approach this time was to not sacrifice my family, but instead figure out how to maximize my own time awake. After finding out that there wasn't enough awake time to work long hours, be a good father and study for the GMAT, I decided that I had to increase my awake time. I researched REM cycles and other sleeping habits, and discovered that if I slept at 10:30pm, I could train myself to wake up at 3:00am and still feel almost 100% (the first week was absolutely terrible but my body eventually got used to it). Suddenly, I could go from 6.5 hours of sleep to 4.5 hours, and created 2 extra hours a day during the weekdays to study. My study schedule became: Get to work by 4:30am to study 2.5 - 3 hours in the morning and put the kids to bed at 9 and study an extra 1 - 1.5 hours in the evening. This was especially helpful since we had to use many weekends to take relocation tours of the new city and try to find a place to live.

I started my studying back on January 4th, and took my first GMAT Prep Exam and received a 670 (Q46, V36). Thinking I had a 700 in the bag with my planned studying time, I purchased the complete set of the Manhattan Guides and the Official Guide, and started cranking away at the Manhattan Guides through self study. It took about a month and a half to go through all of the books including IR and AWA. I downloaded the Manhattan syllabus from its website that included OG problem sets and I did all of homework sets: easy, moderate, and hard. On Manhattan, I found the books and strategies to be extremely helpful on Verbal. Throughout the studying process I used Manhattan's methods on all of my verbal practice questions. However, as I was the Manhattan CATs, I kept floating around the 650 - 670 mark. I found that while my verbal was improving, my quant simply was not.

Fast forward to late February - after my 5th CAT (various providers, but not the GMAT Prep Test #2) score of under 700, I was completely flabbergasted. "How can I be doing poorly on quant?" I had practiced generic macro strategies such as smart numbers and skipping questions, but I was still not completing the Quant section on time or I was forced to guess through the last few questions because I was getting stumped on so many tough questions.

Frustrated, I ended up looking through the beatthegmat website and the Reviews section and saw the Target Test Prep reviews. There was a promotion for a week-long free trial. I thought, "why not?" I took the diagnostic after choosing the "awesome score" target, and learned that I still had so many different weak points regarding the tougher quant material. More so, I saw detailed videos that explained what I was doing wrong in each of those questions. I knew right then and there that this was what I needed.

I ended up using the "short" study plan, and ripped through the chapter tests to further discover what my weak points were, putting aside Verbal for now. Target Test Prep's Dashboard is a phenomenal tool which tracks all the questions answered and identifies areas of weakness. Within each area, there is instruction material (all online) that details exactly the different types of questions that the GMAT would give you during the actual test, and various methods to defeat them. Manhattan did have a tracking system but it wasn't as integrated online to the chapter studies like Target Test Prep. By honing my weak chapters and converting them into strengths, I saw the effects on my practice scores. After getting a 750 (Q49, V44) on the GMAT Prep Test #2 on March 13, I immediately signed up to take the real thing a week later.

That last week, I continued to take custom practice exams (moderate & hard) from Target Test Prep in the early morning, IR/AWA practice during lunch (my boss was understanding and I told him that I would only do this for one week) and Official GMAT questions (moderate and hard) in the evening. I took the real exam on March 19th, and had all the anxiety problems that so many people experience (I can never sleep well before tests, and only managed to get 1-2 hours of sleep for this test). My wife cooked me a ham and egg sandwich that I shoveled down, and I brought 2 granola bars and a soda in a clear bag to the testing center for my 8:00am appointment.

Now for the test - AWA went smoothly (waiting on official AWA score now), and I had plenty of time to check errors, etc. As an aside, my AWA preparations were simply to get used to writing about 2-3 flaws in the argument in a structured manner (studied examples through online forums and the Manhattan book).

IR was a slobberknocker. I realized how tired I was and completely guessed on the first question after flubbing around for too long. I started panicking, and then I remembered that IR doesn't really matter and I cleared my mind. I breathed deeply and closed my eyes for a good 15-20 seconds, and started on Question 2. Feeling less pressure, I guessed on questions that I thought would take too long and concentrated on the ones I knew I could do quickly. My confidence grew and I finished with 2 minutes left to go. Break-time - I chowed down on one of my granola bars, went to the bathroom, and came back to the testing area.

Time for Quant! From Question 1, it felt like I was that guy from Limitless. I was identifying all the traps that the GMAT was dishing out, and finished with 6 minutes remaining. All that practice from Target Test Prep was worth it (and I have 5 filled notebooks to prove it)! I felt like I only truly guessed on 2-3 questions. For break, I finished my other granola bar and drank my soda for a glucose boost, hit the restroom again and came back for round 3. For Verbal, I knew I was doing well as the passages got longer and longer and the sentences in the SC got more and more complex. A couple guesses here or there, but nothing too surprising. I simply followed the Manhattan methods and finished with 10 minutes to go.

I started getting nervous as I was filling out the questionnaire at the end, but after I clicked on the button to see my score, I was extremely happy to see my unofficial score of 760 with a Q51 and V41, and surprised to see an IR score of 7 (I'll take it!). I happily accepted the scores, got my printout, and went back to my car to call my wife to let her know the good news. After the call, I tuned my CD player to my victory song, Kurt Angle's WWE theme, and drove back home to receive my well-deserved elbow drops.
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 12:24
I stopped reading after I finished the third paragraph so I could post this. You are absolutely incredible. You reap what you sow, good luck with the rest of the process and I can't imagine you'll struggle to get into a dream program.
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760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 14:11
joined gmatclub on 5th and wrote gmat experience on 5th. great!
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GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V41
Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 14:18
samichange wrote:
joined gmatclub on 5th and wrote gmat experience on 5th. great!



Thanks! I had mainly been a lurker but have been inspired by this forum over the past few months. I'm happy to officially join!
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2016, 19:08
KWizz wrote:
I work full time in the United States (born and raised) as a Treasury Manager in a Fortune 500 company
I read that as "born and raised as a Treasury Manager".

Great score, and all the best!
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2016, 00:34
Great score congratulations
And motivating story, many things to learn.
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2016, 11:43
Incredible story! I am exactly going through the same lifestyle - working for a Fortune 500 companies and the company is going through restructuring - I have a family (2 boys) - I can understand GMAT is not easy to manage with full-time work and family.

Goodluck with the application - can I contact you via email for further questions?
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GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V41
Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2016, 05:52
optmistic2016 wrote:
Incredible story! I am exactly going through the same lifestyle - working for a Fortune 500 companies and the company is going through restructuring - I have a family (2 boys) - I can understand GMAT is not easy to manage with full-time work and family.

Goodluck with the application - can I contact you via email for further questions?


Feel free to PM me! More than happy to connect and share additional information.
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760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2016, 08:02
Hi,
it has become so normal for you all to land up in this FORUM and on the same day write about TTP..
two more I had caught and they are not seen again these are the links--
http://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-770-q47-v51-fortunate-first-timer-in-under-2-months-208567.html#p1601812
http://gmatclub.com/forum/to-improve-your-quant-look-no-further-than-target-test-prep-760-50q-216628.html

I will advice you to kindly use this forum to help or get helped and not to enter to ONLY do marketing..
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2016, 09:03
chetan2u,

I appreciate you bringing that up, but please note that I have been receiving multiple PM's from the members here and have been responding accordingly to help them out. As you should have seen, I talk about both Manhattan and Target Test Prep, but PM's have mostly been centered about how I've been working my sleep schedule to optimize my time for studying. If you feel like I have abused rules of any kind, feel free to delete this post and ban me, but I was simply genuinely excited about my score and wanted to share my experience to other members who have a family.
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2016, 09:52
KWizz wrote:
chetan2u,

I appreciate you bringing that up, but please note that I have been receiving multiple PM's from the members here and have been responding accordingly to help them out. As you should have seen, I talk about both Manhattan and Target Test Prep, but PM's have mostly been centered about how I've been working my sleep schedule to optimize my time for studying. If you feel like I have abused rules of any kind, feel free to delete this post and ban me, but I was simply genuinely excited about my score and wanted to share my experience to other members who have a family.



Hi KWizz,

I am more than happy that you are answering multiple PMs, But I am sure there would not have been any PMs before you joined us.
The problem is that you joined on 05 apr 16 and your mail too about the SOURCE is on 05 apr 16...
I have no reason to delete any post, its for students to take call but as a member of this forum, i have a right and obligation to examine any such case critically because it has become too rampant. I have attached two such posts.

No offence meant but just a QUERY--
who on earth looks for a forum, which members join to gain knwledge, not for knowledge but to further interests of some SOURCE. Any one normally will start preparing his applications after such a great score rather than do service to others, especially when that person has not made this forum his companion on his journey towards the GMAT.

But as I said, I am not against TTP, it may actually be the best or the worst and you may be actually trying to help others, but I had to give the students another perspective so that they can take a wise and timely decision. I apologize if it has offended you but I had to do it. I will request, since you are available on the forum NOW and are willing to help others with such a score beside you, that you visit QUANT and Verbal forums and help others in their queries.

Regards
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760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2016, 10:00
KWizz wrote:
chetan2u,

I appreciate you bringing that up, but please note that I have been receiving multiple PM's from the members here and have been responding accordingly to help them out. As you should have seen, I talk about both Manhattan and Target Test Prep, but PM's have mostly been centered about how I've been working my sleep schedule to optimize my time for studying. If you feel like I have abused rules of any kind, feel free to delete this post and ban me, but I was simply genuinely excited about my score and wanted to share my experience to other members who have a family.


Its Very interesting actually .
I have been on the forum for months..
Posted Almost 200- 350 posts and i am yet to receive any PM from any member regarding "HELP"
If they need help They Post it on the forum i guess.
Maybe i am missing something here or I am too Obnoxious for people to PM me.

Hmm .

P.S => Excellent Marketing Skills..
Regards
Stone Cold Steve Austin
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Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2016, 15:39
chetan2u,

I assure you that I'm not being paid whatsoever from TTP, and have no affiliation with the two other posters. I'm more than happy to connect with you on LinkedIn to prove that I am who I said I am, as I strongly support the integrity of this forum. As for your query, I've been a lurker here and on another GMAT forum for 3-4 months, and have browsed through many success stories to find motivation and strategies to do well on the GMAT. Why am I not immediately applying for schools after getting my score? Simple - my workplace has a temporary hiatus on tuition reimbursement and I wanted to get the GMAT out of the way before I apply for a part-time MBA to hopefully (knock on wood) enroll in March. I just wanted to share my experience, especially to those who are considering taking the GMAT with kids, long working hours, and with a strong finance background.

I completely understand why you'd be cynical, and don't worry, I'm not offended whatsoever. You have every right to question my post. The fact of the matter is, I was very excited with my score (I did just get my AWA score of 6.0 as well so I'm proud of that too!) and finally decided to open up an account to talk about it.

However, you are correct here - I have been a "selfish" member. To date (and prior to my joining date), I've only taken and not given back other than giving some advice on how you can sleep less and maximize studying time. I've enjoyed talking with members here through PM's discussing sleep cycles. I will look to contribute more publicly in the near future. Just let me move my family 500 miles first :-D
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GMAT 1: 760 Q51 V41
Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Apr 2016, 20:43
SCSA,

Huge fan. Don't like how you buried the New Day @ Wrestlemania though... Xavier Woods didn't deserve that stunner!


stonecold wrote:
KWizz wrote:
chetan2u,

I appreciate you bringing that up, but please note that I have been receiving multiple PM's from the members here and have been responding accordingly to help them out. As you should have seen, I talk about both Manhattan and Target Test Prep, but PM's have mostly been centered about how I've been working my sleep schedule to optimize my time for studying. If you feel like I have abused rules of any kind, feel free to delete this post and ban me, but I was simply genuinely excited about my score and wanted to share my experience to other members who have a family.


Its Very interesting actually .
I have been on the forum for months..
Posted Almost 200- 350 posts and i am yet to receive any PM from any member regarding "HELP"
If they need help They Post it on the forum i guess.
Maybe i am missing something here or I am too Obnoxious for people to PM me.

Hmm .

P.S => Excellent Marketing Skills..
Regards
Stone Cold Steve Austin
GMAT Club Bot
Re: 760 (Q51/V41) in 3 months (Family, Work, Found Time)   [#permalink] 20 Apr 2016, 20:43
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