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# 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect

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GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V49 (Online)
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]

Good luck with the next step in your journey, whatever it may be.

- Andrew
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
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Thank you all for the kind words! To clarify, while I am a full-time ACT and SAT tutor (and have tutored the GRE before), I actually did take this exam for MBA admissions to study entrepreneurship and management. However, I’m really only interested in pursuing the degree if I can score a significant merit scholarship or a full-ride and was told by someone who is an MBA admissions officer that I would have a better chance on that if I also included GMAT scores with my application as a greater number of merit scholarships are offered to GMAT test-takers than to GRE test-takers. Since my practice test scores were pretty good already, I figured why not try it? A \$250 investment and a few weekends of blood, sweat, and tears seemed like a small price to pay if it could potentially save me \$180k in the long-run. Maybe I should try my hand at more GMAT tutoring now though - it’s a pretty fun exam, all things considered.

bb, in my experience I am always totally gassed after Quant as I almost always barely finish, so I really didn’t want that to be my first section on the exam and wanted to build up confidence until I reached it. Verbal has always been my strong suit (I was an English and Creative Writing major) and I know all of the grammar rules like the back of my hand, so I can mostly go on autopilot for that section. In retrospect, though, I wish that I had done AWA/IR/Quant/Verbal - the AWA (when it’s not glitching and deleting all of my sentences) is by far the easiest section for me and is pretty low stakes so I think it would have been best to have started with it to get a head of steam, then have a fresh head for the IR section (which I messed up this time due to exhaustion) while starting to turn on the math gears to get me ready for Quant. Though I would be gassed by the time I got to Verbal, I think I could still score near-perfect to perfect even with a higher level of exhaustion. If I do end up taking the test again (which I probably won’t, as it would be only for sport), I would probably try out that alternate order.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Ah! So you are applying after all. I thought it was a silly question 😎

You definitely have a good shot at the merit scholarship with a high GMAT score. Harvard and Stanford do not offer merit scholarships but as a business schools do. Lots of potential places to apply to. However, it takes more than the score to get the scholarship and to get in. It sounds like you have strong passion and strong drive so that should come handy for your essays and applications story. Do you want to demonstrate that whatever field you were in and whatever you were doing, you were the top 5% of your peers. Doesn’t matter if you were a tutor, a consultant, a golf player, or a biologist…. you want to demonstrate initiative, ownership, taking charge, and all those other hard things 😂

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Congrats! That's so impressive!

Any chance you could share the timeline from your first diagnostic test to the actual test?

For example, when you had your diagnostic tests, the test results, and how much time on average you were studying every day between them (how many hours/questions), how many weeks before the exam you decided to increase the workload and how much time you were studying then?
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GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Top Contributor
Hi tigerpriest,

Whoah, 790! Nice work. And a perfect 340 on the GRE, too...amazing.

I have not seen a verified V49 in almost 10 years, and the last two students to score verified V50s were later found (via their ESRs) to have answered every counted Verbal question correctly. We know that in at least one of these cases, GMAC later revised this person's score to Q51/V51/790.

Unfortunately, since the GMAT online does not have an ESR option, I guess we will never know whether the question you answered incorrectly on Verbal was experimental, but usually 1 counted wrong correlates to V48 (granted, there are only 2 examples here on GMAT Club).

You could have still scored 790 even with a Q51/V51, however, as you can score a Q51 with up to 2 counted (Quant) questions wrong—but you need all 58 counted questions correct to earn a perfect 800.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Congratulations tigerpriest. Thanks for sharing your story. The part that spoke to me the most was "A few weekends of blood, sweat, and tears seemed like a small price to pay". Inspires and pushes to me to seek a perfect score. All the best in your journey. Sky is the limit!
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
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mcelroytutoring Yeah, I wish I could review this damn thing! I’m curious whether that question that I’m 90% sure I missed was actually a scored question - if it wasn’t it’s also possible I made a dumb reading mistake elsewhere. Are you saying that experimental questions can affect the section scores though? Maybe I misunderstood.

RusNYCGmat I wouldn’t use my own experience as a model - I am working on some form of standardized tests for 20-40 hours per week with my students, so I have been getting regular practice at least on the underlying skills for more than seven years. I also studied for and aced the GRE last year, and frankly I think RC and maybe even CR is harder on that test, though the Quant is much easier. Specifically with the GMAT, the beginning of my process was basically just taking the first four practice tests a month apart with a bit of review in between and some self-guided work in my free time on the Official Guides through Wiley Efficient Learning. I actually decided against taking the exam for a while since I already had a perfect GRE score and only really decided to go for it in early July. At that point, I took Practice Test #5 to make sure that I wasn’t too rusty (and got a 780) and then started cracking at the Official Guides over the next few weeks and did about 50 questions in the Advanced Questions book. I always planned to complete all of the problems in the Advanced book before the exam as I figured that would prepare me best for the highest difficulty questions, but unfortunately I procrastinated and ended up with about 200 questions left to do on the last day before the test. I have always been a crammer in school and I guess that didn’t change here as I literally did all of those remaining problems on my last day with nothing but a pot of coffee and a box of Cheez-Its by my side. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend this to anyone else, I think it was very helpful doing all of those problems at same desk I was planning to take the test and using the same whiteboard I would use on the real thing. I usually get nervous on exams but I was totally in the zone by the time I took the test (though not unfortunately by the time I finished Quant and got to IR).
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GMAT 1: 770 Q47 V48
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Top Contributor
tigerpriest wrote:
mcelroytutoring Yeah, I wish I could review this damn thing! I’m curious whether that question that I’m 90% sure I missed was actually a scored question - if it wasn’t it’s also possible I made a dumb reading mistake elsewhere. Are you saying that experimental questions can affect the section scores though? Maybe I misunderstood.

Hey tigerpriest, in theory, experimental questions should never affect your GMAT score, but in the two V50 cases I mentioned—one which was definitely later raised to a V51—that appears to be exactly what happened:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/q51-v50-253258.html

https://gmatclub.com/forum/gmat-debrief ... 56668.html

GMAC is weird. You wonder how many times scoring errors like this happen, and never get caught—especially on the GMAT online, with no ESR option.

If I had to guess, I would say that it was probably in fact a counted question, and that GMAC has adjusted the GMAT scoring scale slightly as of recently, as evidenced by your verified V49, which I had not seen in nearly a decade, the student who recently scored Q49 V40 710 on the GMAT online, and other verified score combinations we had never seen before on GMAT Club until just recently.

Regarding the "how rare is a perfect 800?" sidebar: GMAT Club score verification started in 2017, which means that official GMAT scores all the way back to 2012 have been verified, and yet in July of 2021 we still only have one verified perfect 800 scorer. That's exactly one person in the world over the last decade!

Originally posted by mcelroytutoring on 30 Jul 2021, 07:43.
Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 30 Jul 2021, 08:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
tigerpriest wrote:
Are you saying that experimental questions can affect the section scores though?

Experimental questions absolutely never affect your score; that's mathematically impossible. If a question is experimental, they don't even know if the question is a valid test question yet, let alone how to factor a test taker's answer to the question into the test taker's score. There is a different explanation for the V50 scores mentioned above that has nothing to do with experimental questions.

Congratulations by the way! It's extremely likely you had exactly one wrong answer in Verbal, and if you thought you answered that one SC question wrong, that was probably the error (it's not at all likely the wrong answer was to an experimental question, because experimental questions span the full difficulty range, and would mostly have been very easy for you). That doesn't mean that you were just one question from an 800 though -- you can get a Q51/V51 that produces a 790 if you made any Quant mistakes. So if you weren't certain about that last Q question, you might have been two or three questions away.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Top Contributor
IanStewart wrote:
Experimental questions absolutely never affect your score; that's mathematically impossible. If a question is experimental, they don't even know if the question is a valid test question yet, let alone how to factor a test taker's answer to the question into the test taker's score. There is a different explanation for the V50 scores mentioned above that has nothing to do with experimental questions.

Hi Ian,

Would you care to actually provide that explanation? GMAC never bothered to give one, but if experimental questions never count, then how else could one score "only" V50 with all 30 counted Verbal questions answered correctly?

I'm genuinely curious to hear your theory.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
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mcelroytutoring wrote:
Would you care to actually provide that explanation? GMAC never bothered to give one, but if experimental questions never count, then how else could one score "only" V50 with all 30 counted Verbal questions answered correctly?

I'm genuinely curious to hear your theory.

I explained this recently, so I didn't want to repeat myself, but maybe that was in a conversation with someone else. I'll explain it differently anyway: say you're able to ask a person a couple dozen math questions, like "what is 3 + 4?" and "what is 10% of 80?" and questions of similar difficulty. The person gets all of the questions right. Then you're forced for some reason to bet an enormous sum of money on what Quant score this person will get on the GMAT later the same day. You can only bet on Q50 or Q51. Which bet do you make? You'll be right far more often if you bet on the Q50, because both the Q50 and Q51 level test taker are very likely to get all of those easy questions right (the Q51 test taker slightly more likely than the Q50, but it's close), but Q50 level test takers are much more common in the population than Q51 level test takers.

Now replace the "Q50 or Q51" with "V50 or V51", and replace those very easy Quant question with easy-to-medium-level Verbal questions, and you're in the same position the scoring algorithm is in when it delivers an easier-than-normal test to a V50-V51 level test taker. As we saw in at least one of the perfect-but-only-V50 ESRs, the questions were unusually easy for a high-level test taker. If the test doesn't deliver hard enough questions, questions hard enough that the V51 test taker would perform meaningfully better than the V50 test taker, then the algorithm's best bet will be that the test taker is V50-level, because when skills are normally distributed (an assumption behind GMAT scoring), scores closer to the mean are much more likely than scores further from the mean.

And as I've said every time this has come up, it's obviously not the test taker's fault the question drew an abnormally easy set of questions, so the test taker getting everything right deserves a V51, though when that does happen, the test taker has gotten lucky to get an easy test (as long as the score is adjusted to a V51). The GMAT really isn't designed to distinguish between test takers deep in the 99th percentile, which is why the V45+ scores are so subject to luck -- one lucky guess can change your score by 2 or 3 points. The test only distinguishes well between test takers at ability levels similar to the difficulty level of the questions on the test, and there really isn't such thing as a V49-level question (I have no idea what that kind of question could look like, but even if such a question could exist, there'd be almost no reason to ever use it anyway, since it might only be a couple hundred test takers each year about whom you really want to decide if they're above or below V49).

Quant is a completely different story - there aren't six separate scores all assigned to test takers in the top 1%, and it's much easier to design very hard Q questions. So there's both a reason to design Q50-level Quant questions and it's easier to distinguish between the Q50 and Q51 level test taker. But in Verbal, it's only by delivering enough hard questions that you'd start to feel confident about differentiating between the V50 and a V51 level.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
Your debrief has given me some important inputs. Thank you for writing it. And congratulations on the super cool score!

A question: Would an IR8 have pushed your total score to 800? I've believed that the final score depends on only Quant + Verbal but I could be wrong.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
RiyaJain69 wrote:
A question: Would an IR8 have pushed your total score to 800? I've believed that the final score depends on only Quant + Verbal but I could be wrong.

I misread that sentence at first too, but that's not what tigerpriest was saying, I don't think -- notice the "and" in the sentence: "I’m still kicking myself about the IR section and since I was probably just one question away from an 800!"

Your IR performance has no influence at all on your score out of 800, which is based only on your Q and V scores.
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
RiyaJain69 wrote:
A question: Would an IR8 have pushed your total score to 800? I've believed that the final score depends on only Quant + Verbal but I could be wrong.

Hello, RiyaJain69. I can answer this one with confidence: The IR score has no bearing on your total score. There was (and still may be) talk of integrating it into that score, but for now, IR remains a separately scored section, just like AWA. (In fact, you could earn an 800 and not even attempt IR or AWA.)

- Andrew
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790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
IanStewart wrote:
That doesn't mean that you were just one question from an 800 though -- you can get a Q51/V51 that produces a 790 if you made any Quant mistakes. So if you weren't certain about that last Q question, you might have been two or three questions away.

I'm not sure whether that would be better or worse honestly. The last Q question I had plugged in some numbers that made me gravitate towards an answer that I ended up guessing but I didn't yet have mathematic proof of it (can't really say anything further than that). I'm pretty sure I got it right though.

I didn't realize you needed every scored question right for an 800 though - has there been a verified case of a Q51/V51 790?
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Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
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tigerpriest wrote:
IanStewart wrote:
That doesn't mean that you were just one question from an 800 though -- you can get a Q51/V51 that produces a 790 if you made any Quant mistakes. So if you weren't certain about that last Q question, you might have been two or three questions away.

I'm not sure whether that would be better or worse honestly. The last Q question I had plugged in some numbers that made me gravitate towards an answer that I ended up guessing but I didn't yet have mathematic proof of it (can't really say anything further than that). I'm pretty sure I got it right though.

I didn't realize you needed every scored question right for an 800 though - has there been a verified case of a Q51/V51 790?

Hello again, tigerpriest. What IanStewart has said above is correct. I know of at least one person who has a verified 790 with a 51/51 split. See this thread. It was a strange case in which the test-taker had answered every question correctly in the Verbal section, based on his ESR, and yet initially scored just a 50 in that section. An appeal to GMAC™ was actually successful in getting that section score bumped to a 51, but even then, no 800. The one other user I can think of who has posted a 790 with a perfect split is AnthonyRitz. (He has two verified 170/170 GRE® scores, and he does teach the GMAT™ at Veritas Prep, so he must have earned a 760+. I, for one, believe the claim.) Finally, the following comes from an ESR that somebody shared with me earlier this year:

Attachment:

Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 17.16.07.png [ 54.68 KiB | Viewed 6180 times ]

In sum, it is quite possible to miss a few questions in Quant and still land on a perfect score for the section. (This person missed 2.) The same cannot be said of Verbal. The following example is quite common among very-high-scoring test-takers:

Attachment:

Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 17.21.44.png [ 53.78 KiB | Viewed 6229 times ]

Anyway, there is a reason that a 45 is still a 99th-percentile score in Verbal: It is not easy to miss 3 or fewer questions!

- Andrew
Re: 790 on First GMAT Online Attempt - How I Did It and What to Expect [#permalink]
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