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FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree

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FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2018, 02:33
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710 (Q49,V39), Can't believe I am finally posting my own GMAT story here. I have been reading so many success stories during my preparation, just to motivate me and give me some faith when practice wasn't going that well.

Bit of a background: I have a masters degree from a TOP10 business school, finished top of the class both in masters and bachelors degree. I am working full-time as a marketing director, and finishing the last two modules of my LLB. I am not applying for MBA as many of you guys are, my aim is to do a PhD in a top 10 business school in the UK. I have moved back home (Central Europe) for a year for this work project, but I learnt that my ultimate goal in life is to be an academic teacher. It had always been my dream and my uni lecturers kept telling me that the PhD path would be a great one for me. These top unis require a 700 or above GMAT score, but as for my research, they place a greater emphasis on the research proposal and the academic background. Since I have quite a strong academic background and have won awards for my dissertation, I knew that the GMAT is going to be a thing I need to do for my application, but I won't have to spend a year on a perfect score of 750+, and that I would be better off with a good research proposal. I am not a native speakers, but I have done my bachelors and masters degree in the UK. I was never bad in math at uni, but marketing-level math is very different from a math degree level math :-D All in all, I knew that I had to focus a lot on math, and also make sure i know the strategies for the verbal part.

Process: I started studying in April. I would usually study in the evenings and during my lunch breaks at work, and spend my weekends between studying GMAT and/or law. I really had to be organised with my schedule, as I had to focus on these two different types of exams while working full time. I started my GMAT prep with purchasing Magoosh. It got me to a score of 620, but not further. Their videos were quite good, but I personally found that passive learning style unsatisfactory. After having finished all the Magoosh videos, which took me approximately a month, I have done my first official GMAT prep test {score of 650}, which was very far from my score. I knew that getting from 650 to 700+ needed something extra, so I decided to go for the Economist GMAT Tutor, as I have read many positive reviews of the course itself. I found the course good, they explained the Quant part very well, so it definitely helped me a lot in increasing my score. The online tutoring session's quality really depended on who you got as a tutor. My verbal tutoring sessions didn't help me at all. The quant sessions were fine, but you literally solved problems with your tutor. I expected a lot more from these online sessions, as that was one of my main reasons for spending over 550 euros on a single course (so if you are considering going for the Economist GMAT tutor because of the tutoring sessions, then don't). I think the SC in the Econ tutor is very different from the OG questions, yet their CR is more challenging. It definitely gave me a good base for tackling OG questions, but if I have learned something during these past 4 months is that nothing does the trick for you. It takes perseverance, commitment and most importantly, mental strength to get the score you want. I found the Magoosh and Economist practice tests very different from the GMAT prep tests, so I tried to solely rely on the official test scores.

I first took the exam at the end of July. I had to go to a different country, as my home country does not have a Pearson VUE testing centre. My first exam was a disaster, I didnt sleep at all the night before as the hotel room was too hot, and I was obviously too nervous. I tried to go into the exam room with all the positivity, but I knew before I even started that that day was not the day I will conquer the GMAT. I started with Verbal, and had a mini panic attack in the beginning, I literally did not understand the words I was reading, as I was freaking out too much. I finished with a dismal 670, yet it gave me the ability to better prepare for the next exam. I scheduled my second exam only 18 days after the first. I went on a weekend getaway just after my first GMAT exam, so I spent 10 days preparing for my retake. I was a bit panicked that I wouldn't make it the second time either, but I knew I had to take it in the beginning of August, because I have two exams from law coming up in 3 weeks for which I have to prepare for. I also knew that I had all the relevant knowledge for a 700+ GMAT score, but I was not there mentally yet. I started meditating, changed my attitude from over stressing to staying chilled and starting to enjoy the prep process once again. I was reading GMAT success stories every day. I read this wonderful story of a guy who reached his dream score in the fourth attempt, and he said that he knew he was gonna get it that day, because of his attitude. So along with solving endless PS, DS, SC and CR questions, I was preparing for my retake mentally. I was imagining my second GMAT experience: how I will tackle each section one by one, how I will not panic if I see a harder questions, how I will stay positive even if something goes wrong. I was also telling myself that GMAT is just an exam, and I have had harder exams in the past. I was telling myself every day how I have done harder things in the past, which helped me appreciate that my life does not depend on this single score. I also decided to switch my section order from Verbal-Quant-AWA-IR to AWA-IR-Quant-Verbal in the second exam. This gave me a reassurance that even if I happen to panic in the beginning of the exam, it will be during AWA and IR, which are not that important.

My second exam day was very different from the first one. I chose a test centre in another country {I live by the border of two other countries}, and scheduled an afternoon appointment so that I can sleep in my own bed the day before and just drive to Vienna that morning. I had a good nights sleep, no panic at all, played some music in the morning, had a nice big breakfast, danced around and kept telling myself that I can do it. In the breaks, I literally looked into the mirror and just told myself that I will be able to do it and it will all be fine (people probably thought I was crazy :D ). When I saw the score of 710 Q49 V 39, I jumped in my chair. I know it is not a 750+ which many of the wonderful people in the GMAT club keep scoring, but I was happy with it. I know that GMAT in the application process will only be a tick and it will not make or break anything. I am happy that I am done with it, and I can finally start drafting my research proposal, which I can't wait to be doing.


Just at the end I wanted to give you guys some tips that I couldn't find on the forum while I was doing my prep:

1. Section order: I was always a good test taker, never panicked before, but reading all the comments on the blog and just reading about the GMAT generally led to me losing loads of confidence in myself. I made such a big thing about this exam, it became the most important 3 numbers in my life: is it gonna start with a 7 or not? If you are feeling that the GMAT is getting to you too, I strongly suggest you not to start with Verbal or Quant. I know most people do start with these, as they want to do it while they have the most energy, but honestly, after you have done 6 practice tests, you are so used to maintaining full attention for 3 hours that it does not really matter which section you take first. If you don't know whether you will panic in the beginning or not, I would advise you to start with AWA. it helps you get into the GMAT mindset, and it is always better to loose those precious 5 minutes during AWA than during the verbal session.

2. DO NOT OVERSTRESS it. the GMAT is JUST AN EXAM. When you start thinking about it as just an exam, nothing more or nothing less, it will help enormously. Nothing happens if you dont get your dream score the first time. Just learn from your mistakes, and do it again. Believe in yourself.

3. Have some fun. I read so many reviews of people who didnt go on holidays, didnt socialise for their 3 months of prep. I honestly couldn't do that. Sometimes I just needed 2-3 days to forget about DS and just enjoy life. After all, GMAT is supposed to help you get the life you want, so why not just be happy during your prep as well? :cool:

4. Do read the success stories. I really enjoyed reading how people managed to get their dream scores. It is motivating and it reassures you that you can do it.

5. DO NOT read the scary stories though. I spent my last few days before my first GMAT reading all these stories of what went wrong. It made me so nervous before my first exam that when I entered the exam room, I felt like it was a life or death situation. This is why I decided that before my second exam, I am only going to read positive things. I had my favourite success stories and kept rereading them.

6. I made the mistake of doing 5 practice tests just within a week from my first exam. My score was fluctuating quite a bit from 750-680 so I was freaking out. So I did exam after exam to test where do I stand, which definitely didn't help. Before my second test, I only did one practice test 4 days before with a score of 700 (Q45 V40). I knew that a 700 was a solid score and I just had to practice a bit more to overcome some mistakes in Quant. Verbal was always my stronger part, I scored in the range of 40-44 on most of my practice tests, so I was a bit surprised when I saw a 39 yesterday, but I guess it isn't that big of a deal after all.

Lastly, I would like to thank the creators of GMAT Club for creating a platform that really helps many test takers get where they want to be. To you guys out there who are going to do the exam in the future, just remember that everyone can do it. It takes perseverance and the journey is rocky at some points, but believe in yourself and you will do it.
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Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2018, 11:07
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BNemeth

:thumbup: Congrats on getting a good score, that too while working full-time and pursuing LLB.
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Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2018, 11:26
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Congratulations to you
And wish you all the best in life.

Sharing stories is a wonderful way of giving back to this great club

Thanks a lot.

:)

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Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2018, 08:28
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Congratulations BNemeth. This is a great score. I am also using Magoosh for my prep and wanted to ask for your opinion about the SC videos. I have started watching the SC videos and not feeling them at all so I moved on to complete the CR and RC videos.

Best wishes for your applications.

Cheers!
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Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2018, 22:09
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BNemeth wrote:
710 (Q49,V39), Can't believe I am finally posting my own GMAT story here. I have been reading so many success stories during my preparation, just to motivate me and give me some faith when practice wasn't going that well.

Congrats on ticking the GMAT!!! Shows how just a simple positive mindset can help overcome barriers. Good luck for your applications.
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Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2018, 19:47
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Congrats on the 710! Also, great point about looking at the GMAT as “just an exam.” Overstressing can really hurt you on test day.

Good luck with things moving forward.
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Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2018, 21:52
funsogu The Magoosh verbal was not that big of a help for me.I learnt most of my CR strategy from the economist, they were really good at that and gave me very hard CR questions which made the exam CR relatively easy. I thought the Magoosh sentence correction practice Qs are more similar to the one you get in the exam so what I can recommend you is instead of watching their videos on what is an adjective, start solving practice Qs on the magoosh platform and watch the small explanatory videos.
Re: FINALLY DONE: 710 while working full time and finishing a degree &nbs [#permalink] 23 Aug 2018, 21:52
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