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First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).

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GMAT 1: 730 Q44 V46
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First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 21:06
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At the end of 2018, I spent a couple of months studying for the GMAT. It turned out to be more intense than I originally thought. I bought the OG bundle and started with the diagnostic, which showed significant quant deficiencies. With that in mind, I turned to the Manhattan Foundation of Math book and worked my way through that. It was a great resource for refreshing math.

I took my first practice CAT and scored a 600 (Q32, V40). I'd really messed up the quant section, particularly the timing. I decided to get some assistance. I did a trial class at Manhattan, which was excellent but out of my price range. I started the trials on a couple of online courses and decided that EmpowerGMAT was for me. I worked my way through that course over the next couple of months, focussing mainly on Quant but completing the Verbal sections as well.

For anyone looking for a course that combines quant and verbal for an affordable price, I can't recommend Empower highly enough. It has some great strategies and covers the foundations well, leveraging the OG as much as possible.

My practice test scores varied - 760 was my highest and 720 was my lowest over that last month. I was pretty nervous heading into the test for the first time because I'd read about lots of people scoring significantly less than they expected on their first shot. In the end, I got a 730, which is a decent score though I believe I could probably score better on a perfect day.

Here are some general tips from my prep/study along the way:
  • I tried to eliminate any unknowns. That meant catching the train to the test centre and familiarising myself with the route, the building and the layout of the room. I watched the MBA.com tutorials and made sure I understood the test day procedures. I also purchased the Manhattan Scratch Pad to practice on so I was familiar with the laminated paper and sometimes tricky pens.
  • I used an app called Anki for my flash cards. It's fantastic and free. You can tell it whether you got a card right or wrong and it remembers over time, repeating the cards you get wrong until you memorise it properly. This was fantastic for memorising perfect squares, formulas and other important GMAT numbers like pi.
  • I found that I maxed out at about 4 hours per day of solid study (i.e. not counting breaks, 4 hours of timed study). After this my error rates increased and I took in less information. I think trying your best to structure your study really helps. You want to get used to concentrating for long periods of time, but you also want to take enough breaks so that your mind can recover. I settled on 2 hours on, 1 hour off, with small breaks after each hour.
  • These forums are a great resource for going through questions from your practice exams. I stuck to the official practice exams - 6 is more than enough and some of the other tests I trialled were not quite right (especially on the verbal side).

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions!
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Re: First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2019, 03:34
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Great score, great write up.
Do you feel that your jump in scores for both verbal and quant were from doing EmpowerGMAT? Q32 to Q44 is impressive, but I think many would feel the verbal is more impressive. Up to the 99th percentile I believe!

Your practice scores fluctuated by 40 points. Was that due to consistently fluctuating scores in one of verbal/quant or a mix?

730 is a solid score. Well done Tom.
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New post 23 Jan 2019, 11:39
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Congratulations for the amazing score, Tom. I echo everything you mentioned about EMPOWERgmat; the course offers some of the best strategies for both Quant and Verbal. All the best with the B school applications!
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Re: First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2019, 19:34
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Hi tomburncity,

That's OUTSTANDING news! With a 730, you have a Score that's well above the 90th percentile, so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. The gains that you made in both the Quant and Verbal sections are impressive - and your commitment to familiarizing yourself with all of the various aspects to Test Day was a smart choice (and I suspect that all of this will serve you well in Business School and beyond). I'm not sure whether we've discussed your application plans before or not:

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

Another GMAT Assassin Has Been Made!
Rich
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souvik101990 Score: 760 Q50 V42 ★★★★★
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First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2019, 16:32
philipssonicare wrote:
Great score, great write up.
Do you feel that your jump in scores for both verbal and quant were from doing EmpowerGMAT? Q32 to Q44 is impressive, but I think many would feel the verbal is more impressive. Up to the 99th percentile I believe!

Your practice scores fluctuated by 40 points. Was that due to consistently fluctuating scores in one of verbal/quant or a mix?

730 is a solid score. Well done Tom.


Thanks very much. I definitely think the scores jumped a lot after I started Empower, just things like the strategies and timings for the actual test really helped.

My quant score fluctuated a fair bit, which I think is an indication of my weakness and also some of the luck/randomness involved (i.e. depending on whether you guess correctly, get a heap of questions in an area you don't understand). My verbal scores ranged from V46 to V51 - a difference of maybe one or two correct answers, whereas my quant ranged from Q42 to Q49, a much larger range.

If I were able to replicate my two best scores (Q49, V51) in the same official test, I would have had an even better score. But the GMAT rewards consistency (not potential), which is where Empower came in. Drilling questions, focussing on strategy as well as content, getting into the right mindset - these are the things that will help on test day.
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Re: First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2019, 16:36
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi tomburncity,

That's OUTSTANDING news! With a 730, you have a Score that's well above the 90th percentile, so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. The gains that you made in both the Quant and Verbal sections are impressive - and your commitment to familiarizing yourself with all of the various aspects to Test Day was a smart choice (and I suspect that all of this will serve you well in Business School and beyond). I'm not sure whether we've discussed your application plans before or not:

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

Another GMAT Assassin Has Been Made!
Rich


Thanks Rich, I really appreciate what you've done with Empower. I get the feeling that the GMAT has turned into an arms race - students who can afford thousand dollar courses and tutors who charge $400/hour get a pretty huge advantage. Empower levels the playing field a little - for a much more affordable price, you get excellent instruction, drills, strategies and a study plan to follow.

I've applied to just one school - Oxford, for their focus on social impact. Fingers crossed things go okay!
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Re: First GMAT: 730 (from 600 in practice CAT).   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2019, 16:36
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