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770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt

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GMAT 1: 770 Q49 V47
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770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 05:35
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This post won't be super helpful to most, as (due to unusual academic / innate comfort with language) I studied for under 15 hours for the Verbal, IR, and AWA sections combined, but here are my miscellaneous tips for the test in general, with a slight tilt towards the quant section. I actually feel like I left points on the table (see #2), but won't be taking it again, as it's almost certainly not a good use of my time.

1) Unless you really, really think you need a tutor, self-study. Manhattan Prep is ~$100 on Amazon and had way more information (and practice tests) than I needed. Just force yourself to sit down and work through a book, outlining stuff (perhaps on notecards) that you need to learn / brush up on, every few days. Saves money and teaches you discipline. Shoot for 60+ hours and focus on weak areas wherein you can make tangible improvement. I did about 75, with ~80% of it focused upon quant.

2) Schedule your GMAT (somewhat) in advance. I thought I was slick and would waltz into a Pearson center a few days after a practice exam hit 760+ (I only took the two official practices, and parts of one Manhattan), and therein carelessly repeat the feat. In fact, I had to wait over a month between 'finishing' studying and my actual test date. Though I did my best to stay sharp, I was highly annoyed that I had to, in effect, re-hash everything I'd previously mastered, and definitely left points on the table, as a few things slipped (the most important being my sense of timing) my mind.

3) Take all your practice tests on a computer, ideally with a whiteboard like the one used in testing centers, under testing conditions. I didn't learn about the whiteboard until the morning of and, though it is less annoying than it may seem, it's still not a perfect replacement for a pen and paper.

4) Read super carefully on quant questions, including after you've answered it just to make sure. Quite often, there is a wrinkle that they slip in that totally changes your pathway and answer.

5) Don't waste money on a GMAT unless you're reasonably sure you'll hit somewhere in the neighborhood of your desired score. MBA dot com has two free tests, and ~4 more to purchase for a very reasonable price, and I've found they do quite well in approximating your score. Even if price is no object, taking and bombing a GMAT prevents you from re-sitting for 31 days, which is a long time to have to maintain your levels of knowledge. The Manhattan Prep CATs are WAY harder than the real thing, so use the MBA ones as a barometer (and the Manhattans more for practice).

Feel free to post any other questions you all may have.

Last edited by Haardvark on 17 Aug 2017, 15:59, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2017, 19:20
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I totally agree on the 6 official CATs and the OG guides being more than sufficient in getting a commendable score if used smartly. Congratulations on a monster score!


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Re: 770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2017, 08:44
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minta43 wrote:
I totally agree on the 6 official CATs and the OG guides being more than sufficient in getting a commendable score if used smartly. Congratulations on a monster score!


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Definitely all you need if your baseline is 640+. The key, I think, is spacing them out so you're not tired and have room to apply new tricks and / or recent mastery of topics.
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770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 17:48
I keep getting PMs re: Verbal and general strategies, so here are a few additional thoughts:

1) For Quant (and all other sections) get a set of prep books, and spend as long as you need getting the material perfectly -- don't worry about speed. There is a limited amount of info content on the test and you need to have it all down cold. After that, start taking practice tests, reviewing material when you're not sure about an answer. I like Manhattan Prep, but do whatever you need (I didn't use the advanced quant book, but have heard good things). Also, if you are not a native English speaker, you need to be reading academic papers (economic and psych are good) and good literature in order to aid your RC and SC, respectively. Try to do that as you go to sleep -- aim for 1-2 hours a night.

2) Go through your missed problems and be able to articulate exactly why your answer (and 3 more) are wrong, and why the correct one is the right choice.

3) Outside of prep book review advice in #1, you need to be reading and writing at a high level on a consistent basis. I just read a lot growing up, and am now an Econ Major / English Minor, so I read and write a lot (two distinct types) of probative papers -- I always have scored high 99%ile in writing sections of tests, due to innate & academic comfort with language. Honestly, I would continue to drill really hard practice problems and read difficult literature (with complex sentence structures). Try to write out some sentences with all the complex / esoteric rules -- it will help you develop a more natural sense of what 'sounds right.' Anna Karenina, Brothers Karamazov, etc. are good shouts -- anything from the classic phase of the novel, really. NBER working papers usually have some pretty complex syntax, albeit pretty technical. Reading isn't alone sufficient -- you need to use the complex structures you absorb in your writing.

4) I don't really have any 'general test strategies" other than a) do your most difficult section first, b) don't spend too much time on any particular problem -- cut your losses and move on, c) make sure you replicate test day conditions during all your mocks.
770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt   [#permalink] 13 Sep 2017, 17:48
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770 Composite (49Q&47V), 8 IR, 6 AWA on first attempt

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