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# Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief

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GMAT 1: 740 Q45 V47
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11 Sep 2010, 14:47
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Well, just got done taking the big test. Feel pretty good about the overall score of 740, but I would have liked a higher quant score on the split.

So I'm a lawyer at a top 5 world-ranked law firm doing transactional corporate work (lots of M&A) and decided to take the GMAT in order to possibly facilitate a transition to the business side of things. I am planning on getting a few years more years of work experience before matriculating (if ever) but wanted to sit for the GMAT now since I have more time to study now than I'll most likely have down the road, and I know the score is good for 5 years. The reason my 740 score is bittersweet is that in combing through this (awesome) forum I've come across several lawyers looking to go to B school who have posted their profile for review on the admission consultants section. There seem to be some mixed reactions to lawyers' profiles, but one thing that seems almost universal is that ad coms seem to want to see high quant scores from lawyers -- i.e., they assume lawyers can handle the verbal but want to make sure they will get the math if they attend a top school. So, with a Q45, I feel like my profile might still be a bit of a question. Q45 works out to 72nd percentile: not exactly the type of percentile top 10 programs swoon over. So the overall 740/97th percentile is great, but we'll see how that stacks up if/when I end up applying in light of my law background and my rather mediocre (for top schools) quant score.

So here's how I went through the process:

• I started out by taking a diagnostic test (in Kaplan's Premier book) -- got average to above-average scores. Nothing surprising.
• Then I went through the Kaplan quant background section. It's good for background info and to see what topics are covered, but if you need a serious refresher on math, it's inadequate. I haven't taken a math course since high school (I was good at math in HS and took several AP tests that allowed me to go through undergrad without ever having to take a math course, given my majors [poli sci and sociology -- I know, I know]) so while I knew I was capable of doing all the math required for the GMAT, I really needed to brush up. So I bought the MGMAT math books for the topics I needed to work on: word problems, number properties, and equations, inequalities and VICs. Went through all three of those pretty thoroughly.
• Then I took my first full CAT to see where I was at. It was MGMAT CAT #1 and I got a 710 (Q43/V44). I was pretty happy with that score.
• Went through some of the math workbooks again and consistently did OG PS and DS problems, a few each each.
• Took MGMAT CAT #2 and got a 720 (Q44/V45). Not much of an improvement, especially considering a 1 or 2 question swing, which can really break down to luck/stupid mistakes/etc, can really effect your score a lot -- you'll see this below.
• At this point I'm thinking my verbal score is pretty damn good and I don't think I really even need to study it. I bought MGMAT Sentence Correction b/c so many people on this forum swear by it, but I figured my own thought process on verbal wasn't broke, so I wasn't going to mess with it. Had plenty to think about re: quant and didn't want to screw with my head. So I just kept doing OG quant problems and going through the answer explanations well. I kept an error log by the way but found it didn't really help me that much -- just my opinion, maybe it works for others really well.
• Now I decide to take the first GMAT Prep CAT and really see where I'm at. Boom. 760 (I think it was a Q47/V48). I know that I got 10 q's wrong on the quant and 3 q's (all SC) on verbal. I'm feeling pretty good at this point, since this is the closest thing to the real thing. Even though I had scheduled my actual test for about a month from this time, I decided I'm doing good here, and I don't know what more I could really do, so I rescheduled the test for a week from the day I got the 760.
• The next day I took MGMAT CAT #3 and got a 710 (Q45/V41). This score did not really phase me that much because I noticed while going through the MGMAT CAT this time that the questions were not nearly as clear as the real questions I was seeing on the GMAT Prep CAT. See this thread: http://gmatclub.com/forum/thoughts-on-mgmat-cat-vs-gmat-prep-cat-100419.html. I was confident, in fact, that I would do better than a 710 on the actual test.
• I took a few days off to keep my mind limber then went back to doing OG questions, and then took GMAT Prep CAT #2. Got a 730 (think it was like Q45/V44). This was interesting to me b/c I got 11 quant q's wrong (10 wrong on GMAT Prep #1) and 5 verbal q's wrong (3 wrong on GMAT Prep #1). I know which questions you get wrong, and having a string of wrong answers, can hurt more so than getting other, sporadic q's wrong, but my verbal errors were not in strings, and getting just 2 more questions wrong dropped my V score like 4 points. Wow. But, anyway, its a few days to test day now and I feel alright. Relaxation time -- anything to take my mind off the test.
• Test day: Feeling confident, went through my pre-scheduled morning routine, felt lucid and ready right before the test. The AWA went as planned (not a big deal for me, really). During the quant section time became constraining about half way through. This was sort of abnormal for me -- especially on the GMAT Prep CATs I was coming in WELL under 75 minutes. I would fairly quickly recognize if a question was going to stump me or take too long to go through practically and get to a place where I could make an educated guess and move on. Here, on game day, I was more strapped for time. But once I realized this I moved through the questions quickly but purposefully and never really had to outright guess. Finished with 2 minutes to spare. After the quant, I felt good -- thought it was one of my better attempts and that I could easily end up with a high 40's score. Verbal went as planned -- as previously stated it was never really a problem for me so I just stuck to my guns and blasted through verbal (finished with like 20 mins to spare, which was actually on par with my practice CATs). When I got the score, it was, as previously stated, bittersweet.

Anyway, that's my story. Some general tips I would suggest:
• Take non-GMAT Prep CATs with a grain of salt (btw, I tried taking a Kaplan CAT too at some point in there and pretty much just threw the whole thing out -- the format of the test wasn't even like the real thing). They are OK practice for timing purposes, but MGMAT problems, for example, seem to take much longer than official questions. So take these CATs for practice, but if you want to get a feel for how questions will really be asked, just stick to the OG.
• I don't know how others feel they need to prep for "endurance," but after 4-hour-straight essay tests in law school, the LSAT (requires crazy more endurance than the GMAT), and the 2-day bar exam, having to sit through 2 75-min sections (don't really count the AWA) with an 8 minute break didn't seem like a big deal to me. So, especially early on, I would say don't worry about even taking full length CATs. Do some serious reviewing of topics (MGMAT books are great) before even delving into CATs. And save OG questions, which are invaluable, until you already have a grasp on the concepts being tested. There is really no need to waste a question on some topic that you grasp so much better after reading one chapter in a prep book.
• I'm not sure how much I could have improved my quant score, and I'll probably never know, but if I did do anything differently, I would have done more OG quant questions and gone through the OG Quant book. At some point, doing questions seems to be the only thing one can do.
• As for verbal, I know a lot of people taking the GMAT are quant people and struggle more with verbal, which is obviously the opposite of my experience. All I can really say is that for SC, what helped me was to pick apart the answer choices based on different parts. E.g., there are usually 2-3 different aspects of the answer choice that change and the correct one will obviously be the only one where all 2-3 agree and agree with the rest of the sentence. Most often, there is 1 aspect that is based either on tense or singular/plural agreement. So first determine whether past/present/future or singular/plural is correct for this part. This will eliminate two or three answer choices. Take it from there. Also, it helps to remove in your mind unnecessary clauses from the sentence when you read through it. For example, off the top of my head:

"The beer I'm drinking right now, which is to be followed by many more, strikes a pleasant and intoxicating feeling upon the drinker's palate."

When you read through it, just eliminate the clause, and read to yourself:

"The beer I'm drinking right now strikes a ..."

In fact, it could even be simplified more to just, "The beer strikes a..."

Often there are clauses that are not necessary for the meaning of the sentence and the GMAC people seem to throw them in to separate the verb tense or subject plurality/singularity from the underlined section of the sentence. This, presumably throw people off, especially when a clause includes, for example, a plural that separates a singular subject from an underlined predicate. Clauses are NOT always separated by commas. When reading through the stimulus of an SC, always be looking for parts of the sentence that can be eliminated without changing the meaning or affecting what might be the correct answer choice. Also, look out for singular/plural incongruity even when it doesn't seem like an issue -- this seems to be a favorite trick and makes for some of the harder SCs, at least IMO. That's all I can tell ya.

Hope this was helpful in some way, if not a bit verbose. I'm done thinking about the GMAT for now. Good luck all!
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 15:00
Great score, awesome verbal score especially. Good luck expanding your business knowledge!
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 15:07
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Great score !!! Especially Verbal

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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 15:20
kudos to you! have fun on the next step
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 19:22
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excellento
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2010, 00:44
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thats great! I am a corp lawyer too (also at a top 5 law firm at a branch office) --- so good to see a lawyer cracking this test!

gives me hope for my exam in Dec!
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2010, 01:07
Good score! Were your SCs very difficult? I'm asking because I gave GMAT almost yesterday and was impessed by the ultra-brutal SCs, whereas 3 RC and all CR were relatively easy.
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2010, 01:40
great debrief and good tips on verbal side...thanks!...
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12 Sep 2010, 01:51
Great score, good luck with your apps!
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2010, 18:42
Do you have any idea, how many boldface, method of reasoning and parallel reasoning CR's you got?
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2010, 21:00
great debrief

Awesome verbal indeed...............tips for SC seems to be very helpful.................
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2010, 06:19
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Financier wrote:
Good score! Were your SCs very difficult? I'm asking because I gave GMAT almost yesterday and was impessed by the ultra-brutal SCs, whereas 3 RC and all CR were relatively easy.

gurpreetsingh wrote:
Do you have any idea, how many boldface, method of reasoning and parallel reasoning CR's you got?

I actually did not see one boldface question, if by this you mean the type where there is a passage with two bolded phrases and they ask what the purpose of each bold phrase is. Not exactly sure what is defined by method of reasoning and parallel reasoning question types, probably because I never really studied any of the prep materials for CR. I do recall one CR question that I found relatively difficult that I think is probably what you mean by a method of reasoning question. Although I recall it, I don't want to reiterate the whole stimulus considering it is the property of GMAC and I don't want my scores to get canceled, god forbid (don't think it is likely, but better safe than sorry). But the answer (at least my answer) went something like:

The logic of the author is most similar to which of the following?
A) Someone finds causality between two phenomena without considering that a third phenomena might be the intervening cause of both.
B)...
C)...
D)...
E)...

I think that was the only question of that type I saw on the test. As far as parallel reasoning, not really sure how such a question would be structured. If you mean something like this question: http://gmatclub.com/forum/cr-1000-tobacco-smoke-53965.html, then I don't think I saw any of this question type on the test. Sorry I cannot be more specific, but hope that helps a little. If this isn't what you meant let me know and I'll revise my response accordingly.

As for everyone else, thanks for the appreciation. Let me know if you have any more questions that I might be able to help with.
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2010, 08:26
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Financier wrote:
Good score! Were your SCs very difficult? I'm asking because I gave GMAT almost yesterday and was impessed by the ultra-brutal SCs, whereas 3 RC and all CR were relatively easy.

gurpreetsingh wrote:
Do you have any idea, how many boldface, method of reasoning and parallel reasoning CR's you got?

I actually did not see one boldface question, if by this you mean the type where there is a passage with two bolded phrases and they ask what the purpose of each bold phrase is. Not exactly sure what is defined by method of reasoning and parallel reasoning question types, probably because I never really studied any of the prep materials for CR. I do recall one CR question that I found relatively difficult that I think is probably what you mean by a method of reasoning question. Although I recall it, I don't want to reiterate the whole stimulus considering it is the property of GMAC and I don't want my scores to get canceled, god forbid (don't think it is likely, but better safe than sorry). But the answer (at least my answer) went something like:

The logic of the author is most similar to which of the following?
A) Someone finds causality between two phenomena without considering that a third phenomena might be the intervening cause of both.
B)...
C)...
D)...
E)...

I think that was the only question of that type I saw on the test. As far as parallel reasoning, not really sure how such a question would be structured. If you mean something like this question: http://gmatclub.com/forum/cr-1000-tobacco-smoke-53965.html, then I don't think I saw any of this question type on the test. Sorry I cannot be more specific, but hope that helps a little. If this isn't what you meant let me know and I'll revise my response accordingly.

As for everyone else, thanks for the appreciation. Let me know if you have any more questions that I might be able to help with.

that sounds weird. but i guess it is good you wont have to see those no more!
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13 Sep 2010, 09:16
+1 Kudos nice debrief.
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2010, 09:54
Awesome Debrief !
Congratulations and good luck with apps
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18 Sep 2010, 16:46
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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18 Sep 2010, 20:53
Excellent debrief and phenomenal verbal score! Good job!
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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19 Sep 2010, 06:55
Hey Great Score dear!!Congrats nice debrief!!!
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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19 Sep 2010, 23:51
great great what a score!!!!!!!! boom yar.. ok wanted to ask you some thing that

were are you from??? I mean were do you live ????
and where can I get online free download material for both quant and verbal section???

And yeah other thing which I wanted to ask you is that I have not give any practice tests so don't know that where do I stand??? But I am solving all questions regularly and approximately I am getting 50% right answers So according t you hows it??? were do I stand at this level how much score can I get???

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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2010, 20:36
Great debrief ! ....Congratulations
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Re: Bittersweet 740 (Q45/V47) debrief   [#permalink] 26 Sep 2010, 20:36

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