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End of the GMAT Road: 710

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End of the GMAT Road: 710 [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2009, 14:06
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I'd like to thank all the GMAT contributors, especially to those who have already finished the GMAT but continue posting and helping people out. I think that without GMATclub Forums and its members, I would have scored significantly lower. Some of you might not know me but I'm more of a lurker :-D

After on and off/casual studying for the better part of 2008, I studied semi intensively for about 1 month, went through a 24-can case of Red Rave (Red Bull knock-off), and on Feb 25th, I walked away with a 710 (Q48,V40) with AWA of 5.5 (shoutouts to Chineseburned!!!) I feel like I could have got 20~30 points higher if I worked harder at verbal tho...o well...not going to b-school anymore...

So anyway, thanks! and good luck to everyone else who will be writing the GMAT!! It is a VERY learnable exam!! This site will also give you just about EVERYTHING you need to know to score 700+!!





1 thing I did immediately did after my results came out was write a guide. I don't know if anybody else feels this way but there is a CLEAR and PRECISE system for getting a 700+ score!!! after figuring out the system, I almost want to just help other people with it. For example, I was grabbing an LSAT prep book at a bookstore when I saw this lady reading a Barron's guide. I thought (nooooooo!!! You need M-GMAT!!! lol!)

Well, as a result of feeling this way, I wrote that guide. It was 4 pages long and it documents a system that I think would pretty much guarantee a 700+ score. I don't know if it is too presumptuous for me to just post it up so if anybody wants it, let me know and I'll just add it to this thread. or PM me if you're in Toronto, I'd be happy to meet up and pass on what little insight I have.

Again, Thank You GmatClub for helping me get a 700 score!! Best of luck to summer/fall b-school apps!!

Ed

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Re: End of the GMAT Road: 710 [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2009, 09:22
if you could paste a link to your manual, that would be great!

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Re: End of the GMAT Road: 710 [#permalink]

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I don't know how to set it up as a link, so I'll just paste it below. If you have any questions specifically regarding Verbal, feel free to pm/email me


===ED's 700+ GMAT GUIDE===
(V 1.1)

This is a basic but all inclusive Guide to scoring 700+ on GMAT. It is based on my own experiences studying the GMAT, some basic assumptions about your skills in verbal/quant, and advice I'll received from other GMAT guides. Feel free to email me with any questions: edward (.) uses (@) gmail (.) com

KEY IDEAS TO REMEMBER
(I kept it down to 4 to maintain conciseness)

WEAKNESSES
The goal of any standardized examination is to be reasonably competent in ALL areas. Therefore, studying the GMAT is all about strengthening your weaknesses. Performing exceptionally well in a very few areas at the expense of deficiency in others will severely handicap your GMAT score. Therefore, a key tenant to remember when studying is that you are constantly trying to single out weak points.
Here is a practical example of this: When working through an exercise of say 20 questions, the purpose is not to just get through 20 questions and get 20/20 but to see out of those 20 questions, what you have the most difficulty in.You want to constantly single out your weak points so that you can learn new strategies from reading solutions.

The "GUESSTIMATE"
Many study guides teach you to "guesstimate" answers. This approach is WRONG. All GMAT material can be broken down into simple, high school difficulty material. A well prepared test writer should understand all the material presented to him/her. Avoid guides which teach you to simply guess, or choose the best out of 3. Books I have used that follow this approach are Kaplan and Princeton Review. I would recommend Manhattan GMAT for the "content based" approach.

EFFICIENCY
The GMAT does not advocate getting the most number of questions correct! (this is a dangerous misconception) The GMAT tests getting the most questions correct in a specific amount of time! (75 Minutes/question set) This has several implications: 1) try your best to mimic test conditions - a timed CAT is very much different from an untimed paper test. 2) Sometimes, after spending 4 minutes on a question, you will have to just decide on an answer and move on. This will be hard on your ego but you will need to master this, lose the battle to win the war!

VERBAL
I only scored Quant-49 and Verbal-40 on test day. However, percentile wise, I got Quant-79 percentile and Verbal-89 percentile. This tells you something, that an extra point in verbal is worth A LOT more than an extra point in quant. (I attribute this to the thousands of engineers who get perfect in Quant but get low scores in Verbal). Therefore, if you can, focus more effort in Verbal. Just to give you an example, if I scored 2~3 points higher in Verbal, my score would be in the 730~750 range.

AWA
I DO NOT, in this guide, discuss the Analytical Writing Assessment. This is because I am a fairly competent literary bullshitter so I just thought I'd crank it out with my trusty AWA guide written by Chineseburned (on GMAT CLUB).
The guide is here: 1-t64327?hilit=chineseburned
I literally read this 12 hours before my actual test. All you have to do is score reasonable in this. Anything near a 4 is good enough. GMAT people don't care. No fancy language involved. No games. Just straight talk. Follow the guide!! It's golden!!

MATERIALS:

ME:
Kaplan Premier Program
GMAT 800 - Kaplan
GMAT - Verbal Extra Practice (Green)
GMAT - Quant Extra Practice (Purple)
Original Guide 11th Edition
Manhattan GMAT - all books
GMAT prep - 2 x free tests
PR - 1 x free test
Kaplan - 1 x free test
Manhattan GMAT - 1 x free test

Recommended: (from others)
CR Powerscore Bible
SC 1000, RC 1000, CR 1000
Wall Street Journal, Economist, NYTimes
GMATclub practices ($80 for 20 exercises: 6 verbal, 15 math i think)

What I would recommend:
Manhattan GMAT (Sentence Correction, Reading Comp, all math)
GMAT - Verbal Extra Practice (Green)
GMAT - Quant Extra Practice (Purple)
Original Guide 11th Edition
CR Powerscore Bible
Manhattan GMAT - Free Test
(1 other free test...PR would do)
1 x easy/cheap GMAT book you can find (Barrons, Kaplan's, PR, etc)


START
Some people like to start off by doing a CAT right away. I think this is a waste of a test and damaging to the ego. I recommend working through a GMAT book first, get used to the structure and get a superficial understanding of what questions will be asked. That way your score does not reflect how jittery you are during timed CATs but reflect your weaknesses.

1. Work through 1 book (should take no more than 1 week)
I think that organic learning can only really be done, at a maximum, 2 hours per day. This means learning a skill and internalizing mistakes and solutions. I don't advocate studying for more than 4 hours a day. This is not the way to pick up skills. if anything, doing so will dull your wit, make you less sharp, and ill-reflect your true answering capabilities.
I did 1 topic per day: tutorial + 50 questions. I used the Kaplan Premier program (which I now know is really easy)

2. Take 1 crappy CAT
Take any CAT. Doesn't matter, as long as its not the GMAT PREP one. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE RESULT!!! I got 660 in my 1st CAT :T_T:
Just do this to gauge how well you're doing and diagnose your problems. I used PR CAT. The good thing is PR CAT breaks down specifically what your ratio of correct/incorrect is for EACH and EVERY topic. For example, Problem Solving, Ratios & Fractions, 75% correct = 3/4. By this point, you should have a fairly good idea of what your BIGGEST weaknesses are. Do not pay too much attention to anything else. (IE. just because you got 100% in RC does not mean you rock at it! Remember, the PR is NOT NOT NOT the same as GMAT Prep!)

3. Weaknesses
Now you know your weaknesses, so attack it!!! The majority of high GMAT scorers divide significant blocks of time here (and another, to be disclosed to you later :) Go through the Manhattan GMAT books and really concentrate on beefing up your weakness. This is where the MGMAT content based approach really kicks in. Do not "guesstimate", you MUST know the reason behind EACH and EVERY solution. After working through each tutorial, do all the recommended questions in the Extra Question Guides (Purple and Green). Remember, you are looking to firm up your CONTENT based approach. Review solutions carefully. Do your best to not only understand the question, but the method, logic and reasoning at arriving at each answer. Depending on your weaknesses, you may spend up to a month here. Keep a mental note (or physical note as suggested by MGMAT) of your incorrect answers. If you are consistently weak in PS. Combinatorix, then you obviously need further work on that instead of working through all PS in general. An error log becomes increasingly important as you edge up higher near the 700s.

4. Crappy CAT 2
Having worked through your weaknesses, you are now ready for a 2nd CAT! Do another CAT, a harder one. I recommend MGMAT. You may also choose to redo the PR one was well. (I do not recommend Kaplan since I hear there is a significant disparity between that and the GMAT prep) Re-Evaluate your weaknesses. Find out if you improved, which areas still need focus, which areas need more work, etc.

5. Re-address weaknesses
If you found that you are still weak in some areas, tackle these by REDOING the MGMAT tutorials. I know some 750 scorers who went through the Sentence Correction manual 3 times!! (idioms are GOLDEN. if you memorize these, 90% of SC is your's!!) You will also begin to notice patterns in your error log. Tackle these and do extra questions of this type. I also suggest subscribing to www.GMATclub.com and other such forums. It is a great way to stay motivated and be challenged by questions other people are having difficulty with. Also, try to answer other people's questions.
That should test your "solution based thinking" abilities.
When are you done this, try doing the "paper" diagnostic og the OG (orange). It will give you an idea of how well you're doing according to the proper GMAT questions. I'm sure your previous findings of your weaknesses will be inline with your results from the paper diagnostic.

6. Timing
Now that you pretty much understand the material, you MUST MUST MUST work on timing. Remember the "EFFICIENCY" bit above? It is EXTREMELY important. It doesn't matter if you can score 41/41 on VERBAL if you can't do it in 75 minutes! Remember, there are 41 VERBAL and 37 QUANT questions. that's roughly VERBAL - 1.8 min/q and QUANT - 2 min/q. MASTER this!! sometimes, its worthwhile to just GUESS on a question you are stuck on to move on! You NEVER want to NOT finish a test! You get HEAVILY peanlized if you do that!! For my actual test, i ran out of time so i guess the 36th question and went straight to 37 so I had time to complete it. Also, as you do your exercises, you will develop a feel for which questions you can do quickly, and therefore, give yourself leeway when some questions take longer. (IE. I know I tear through SC so I can spare myself some extra 1~30 seconds on most CR).

7. Close to the END
By now, having done 2 CATs and 2 programs (PR and MGMAT) you should be fairly competent in content and timing. Now you must test yourself against REAL GMAT material!! Do a GMAT PREP Test #1!!! Do this under test conditions (same time of day as the test, noise level, with plastic scratch pad - there is no paper scratch pads for the real thing!) Get your score, and analyze your results. Again, use your error log. Because the GMAT Prep software is tres 90s, use the SEARCH function on GMATclub.com to look for solution explainations. This is EXTREMELY important!!!
DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY A LOW SCORE!! I got 620 here! but like i said above, getting a low score is not terrible because you'd rather find out your weaknesses NOW rather than later.

===2~3 weeks before TEST DAY===
I advise this because I think the most relevant (and therefore BEST) material should be saved for the last 3 weeks of training. STOP using ALL OTHER MATERIAL including MGMAT and now, just focus on the OG 11th Guide and GMAT Prep CATS!! Remember, TEST CONDITIONS!!! Eventhough GMAT and MGMAT are similar, there are slight nuances. Question types are different. The difficulty formulas are different. Keep to proper GMAT mateiral!! this is all you need from here on in!!!

8. HOME STRETCH
There are a TON of questions for each section in the OG. I recommend mixing them up and doing timed sets. I also recommend NOT doing the first 50~75 since these are easier. Do the harder ones and fit them into 75 minute exercises. So do 40 verbal (20 SC and 20 CR) within 75 minutes or 35 Quant (15 PS and 20 DS). Do as many questions as you can and understand the solutions. Refer to your error log. If you do not understand the solutions, ask people on GMAT Club. Debate answers. By now, you will also have done GMAT PREP CAT #1 once. I advise you, to do the following:
4th weekend away: CAT#1 (2nd take)
3rd weekend away: CAT#2 (1st take)
2nd weekend away: CAT#1 (3rd take)
CAT#2 (2nd take)
Last weekend away: CAT#2 (3rd take)
Contrary to popular delusions, there is IMMENSE, I repeat, IMMENSE, value from redoing CATs. I was stupid enough to only start GMATprep CATs within the last 2 weeks, and I went from a 620 ~ 720. Imagine if I had 1 more week!!!

9 TEST DAY!!!
Do what makes you feel best prepared for test day. I purposely left solutions for my 720 CAT unreviewed so I could review them on Test day. My test time was for 2:00, so I took my time and got there at 1:50. Stay calm, be focused and cool. DO NOT OD on caffine or energy drinks!! DO NOT drink too much water!! Timed tests + bathroom = low GMAT score!! bring some candy for energy, eat a healthy meal 3 hours before, you'll be set.

By now, you either have what it takes or you'll **** up, so just relax. What will happen, will happen. Just go with it. DO NOT, EVER, under any reasonable circumstance, cancel your score after the test. All test takers will feel like they **** up royally. DO NOT CANCEL IT!! View it! Trust me, I thought I got raped in MATH and had 5 minutes leftover from verbal, and I ended up getting better in Math. You NEVER KNOW. Just view your score.

When you get your 700 GMAT, don't forget who got you there...

...not me silly!! thank yourself!! Idiots can't be helped, and smart people will score ridiculous regardless!
GOOD LUCK!! (but really, with this guide, you won't need it)

Edward

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Re: End of the GMAT Road: 710 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2009, 21:18
Fantastic Post!!!! :!:
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Just starting out with GMAT? Start here... or use our Daily Study Plan


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Re: End of the GMAT Road: 710 [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2009, 12:04
Ed......very helpful....I am going to make some modifications to incorporate some of your advice. Thanks.

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Re: End of the GMAT Road: 710   [#permalink] 18 Mar 2009, 12:04
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