Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief : Share GMAT Experience
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# Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief

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Manager
Joined: 03 Feb 2010
Posts: 181
Concentration: Strategy
Schools: Northwestern (Kellogg) - Class of 2014
WE: Marketing (Computer Hardware)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 34

Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2011, 18:07
I was hoping to do this debrief as a 700 club member, but today was just not my day.

Background: Afro-Am. male, BS Elec. Engineering, Shooting for top ten B-schools

My first attempt was back in 12/2007 and I got a 550. I don't remember the split, but that was when I was a novice and thought that I could score well without studying. After that reality check, I decided putting off the GMAT until I was ready to commit to it.

Fast Forward 2010:

It took me a long time to get in the mood to study. I was confused about where to start and a long came GMAT club. I lurked around for a while and picked up strategies from several successful club members and formulated my plan.

Materials used:

8 Manhattan GMAT books
Official GMAT guide 12
Princeton math and verbal books
Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
GMAT club tests

I started with the princeton math and verbal books, which were good about giving me an idea of what to expect and some basic strategies to answer the most common type of questions.

The Manhattan gmat books were by far the best in terms of study material. I studied approx. 2-3 hrs. a day during the work week, and about 7-8 hours a day over the weekend. I studied for about about 3 months before I was ready to take this exam again. I alternated between verbal and math on each study day as to not get rusty on any particular subject. I don't have the breakdowns of all the practice exams, but I started with a 560 at the beginning and ended with roughly 720-730 average over the last few practice exams. I exclusively tested with Manhattan gmat and gmat prep exams. I tried Kaplan and princeton review and felt like their practice exams weren't indicative of my potential score. I was only able to get through half of the GMAT club tests and wish I could have got through more of them.

Based on my practice scores I expected 40-42 on verbal and 46-48 on the math. Test Day came around and I didn't do as well as I expected to. I scored a 680 (q:46 v:38). I figured at the time that the morning exam is what made me score on the lower range of my potential. I opted to take it again a month later and low and behold, I screwed up the date of my appointment and showed up the day after. Just my luck. I decided to not take this damn GMAT ever again, until a year later of course.

The reason for my retake today, I'm shooting for top ten schools and have a low gpa. The one learning point from my exam today is that if you know you are going to retake the exam, do it while the material is still fresh in your mind. I waited a whole year and had to start with some of the basics again.

Study material:
Manhattan books (skimmed)
Kaplan800
GMAT Club tests
CR Bible
The Bible
SlingFox's quant, SC, RC, and CR notes
Bang Bang CR Guide

I studied for about a month, 2 weeks to get the swagger back, and another 2 weeks to get to the 700+ level. SlingFox has some really great notes that are really good for those who have the foundation and want to look over the key points across all sections.

Practice Exams

Manhattan Gmat 750 q48 v 45
GMAT Prep1: 640 q46 v33 (not sure what happened here)
Manhattan GMAT 680 q46 v35
GMAT Prep2: 710 q42 v40

My scores were all over the place and I'm not sure why that was.

Test Day: I opted for the 4pm exam this time around.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping the night before. In fact, it was so bad that I actually had a dream about studying for the GMAT! I spent the whole day just relaxing and opted not to review any material because I had a headache and believed it was the result of possibly over studying.

The end result was a 690 q49 v35. The most disappointing aspect was the low verbal score. I honestly expected a 40, but quickly knew that wasn't going to happen when I got hit early with some tough CR questions and must have stumbled on some of the SCs because that didn't seem to get any harder as I progressed through the exam.

Two Key learning points for anyone reading this, don't get distracted by the difficulty level of the questions you are answering and keep an error log. I didn't keep an error log and I'm afraid that that would have pointed out some obvious verbal weaknesses. I'm done with the GMAT, but if anyone has specific questions, I can try to help out.
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Manager
Joined: 06 Jul 2011
Posts: 124
Schools: Columbia
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 3

Re: Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2011, 01:47
150 pt jump is nothing to scoff about. And you're fortunate enough to be part of a targeted minority. Sucks about the GPA but your high quant score 49 (within 85 percentile) is good enough to indicate you won't have trouble with the course load. Good luck on your essays.
Current Student
Joined: 08 Jan 2009
Posts: 326
GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
Followers: 25

Kudos [?]: 137 [0], given: 7

Re: Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2011, 02:21
You've made some solid gains going from 550 to 690! 10 more points will not make a difference to your application. Good luck!
Manager
Joined: 03 Feb 2010
Posts: 181
Concentration: Strategy
Schools: Northwestern (Kellogg) - Class of 2014
WE: Marketing (Computer Hardware)
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 34

Re: Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief [#permalink]

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22 Aug 2011, 07:21
Thanks all, I appreciate the confidence boost.
Re: Disappointed:550->690, 3rd attempt - Debrief   [#permalink] 22 Aug 2011, 07:21
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