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First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)

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First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Mar 2019, 20:02
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I wanted to share my GMAT story, because I didn't think it was possible for me to do better on the actual test vs. my practice tests, but with the help of some of the advice in this forum, I did!

My practice tests:
610 (Q33, V40, IR8; Manhattan Prep; 2/13) -- completely spaced on timing in Quant on this first test. After that I switched from the official GMAT prep book to mostly computer-based, timed questions.
740 (Q50, V40, IR8; GMAT Official; 2/28)
730 (Q47, V43, IR5; Kaplan; 3/12)
750 (Q59, V44, IR5; GMAT Official; 3/16)

Test day 3/21:
760 (Q49, Q44, IR8, AWA5)

I took my last practice test 5 days before the exam. I had planned to take another, but I felt like going out with my highest score would give me the confidence I needed to perform on test day. However, my IR was inconsistent and I'm a slow writer, so I did take one more IR test and wrote another full essay. Other than that, I didn't do much practice at all in the few days leading up to my test and tried to just chill out.

On test day, I drove two hours to my testing center and listened to my hype playlist. I arrived an hour and a half early, got a cup of coffee and a snack, and did 2 problems in each section (timed) from the Official GMAT practice questions.

This is my biggest piece of advice, my mantra all morning before my test, and the reason why I wanted to post my debrief: You have to be willing to get questions wrong.

Let me explain. In my final practice test, I finished both Quant and Verbal about 5 minutes early, so I knew that I needed to spend a little more time in the beginning of the sections to make sure I was getting the early questions right. This strategy left me running about 6-8 minutes behind schedule halfway through. At this point, the questions were harder -- back to my mantra: you have to be willing to get questions wrong. I started taking less time with each answer, believing in my answers after about a minute or so and bailing out after a minute with an educated guess if I didn't have a good answer. This allowed me to finish the test with enough time to spend at least a minute on each question, and not rapidly guess the last few. I finished just under the wire on each section. In fact, I didn't even have time to press "Next" but if you've selected an answer before time runs out then your answer will still count.

IR was easier than practice tests so I thought I wasn't doing well. My 8 score was a total surprise. I finished that section about 4-5 minutes early, and spent that time writing out a generic essay outline on my scratch pad so I could quickly dive into AWA.

The essay prompt was much more difficult than any I had encountered in practice, and I think I may have even read the prompt wrong because at this point I'm full of adrenaline and also all of the practice essays I had written had been similar to each other and this one was much more nuanced. If I could study for AWA again, I would have read more sample essay prompts, even if I didn't write the actual practice essays.

So that's my debrief! Deep breaths. Be confident in knowing what you know, and also knowing what you don't know. Good luck!
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Re: First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Mar 2019, 21:25
760 on the GMAT is phenomenal - congratulations on the amazing score, and thank you for sharing your debrief.
All the best with the application process!
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Re: First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2019, 20:21
Congratulations on your score! Finishing with 5 mins to spare - that's amazing! I was running out of time....

What did you use to prep/study/brush up? Or did you just wing it? ;-)
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Re: First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2019, 06:04
Congratulations maddieaf

Thanks for your unique debrief. I learned a lot from it, especially time management. I am delighted with how you planned to invest every second.

I personally would like to know more about your academic background and whether it played a role, and I am curious to know more details about your studying plan, study hours per week and how long did it take from you to reach this far.
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First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2019, 07:40
Regarding my self-study plan:
I spent about 30 hours over the first two weeks going through the official GMAT Prep Books, completing about 80% of the problems. Then over the next 5 weeks I spent about 40-50 hours with any free materials I could find online -- sentence correction and Quant CAT on GMAT club, official GMAT prep questions and tests, etc.

I spent a TON of time going through answers I had gotten wrong. In fact I reviewed my incorrect answers on practice tests twice, writing out the full solutions and taking note of any problem areas. This is what led me to my conclusion that "you have to be willing to get questions wrong" as I found that I could miss up to 11 questions in a section and still score above 730.

I also read a fair amount of GMAT blogs which I found helpful in lieu of taking a GMAT course.

Regarding my academic background:
I was an econ major and always had strong quant skills, but I definitely needed to brush up a lot as I haven't used my quant skills so much in my past 3.5 years of working. I do use my verbal skills a lot in my job (I work in political consulting) so I was pleased to start out with a pretty good base in verbal. I'm also a native English speaker -- huge kudos to anyone who can do well on verbal without native fluency.
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Re: First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 08:28
Congratulations maddieaf on the 760!
All the best for your applications!
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First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 11:04
maddieaf wrote:
I wanted to share my GMAT story, because I didn't think it was possible for me to do better on the actual test vs. my practice tests, but with the help of some of the advice in this forum, I did!

My practice tests:
610 (Q33, V40, IR8; Manhattan Prep; 2/13) -- completely spaced on timing in Quant on this first test. After that I switched from the official GMAT prep book to mostly computer-based, timed questions.
740 (Q50, V40, IR8; GMAT Official; 2/28)
730 (Q47, V43, IR5; Kaplan; 3/12)
750 (Q59, V44, IR5; GMAT Official; 3/16)

Test day 3/21:
760 (Q49, Q44, IR8, AWA5)

I took my last practice test 5 days before the exam. I had planned to take another, but I felt like going out with my highest score would give me the confidence I needed to perform on test day. However, my IR was inconsistent and I'm a slow writer, so I did take one more IR test and wrote another full essay. Other than that, I didn't do much practice at all in the few days leading up to my test and tried to just chill out.

On test day, I drove two hours to my testing center and listened to my hype playlist. I arrived an hour and a half early, got a cup of coffee and a snack, and did 2 problems in each section (timed) from the Official GMAT practice questions.

This is my biggest piece of advice, my mantra all morning before my test, and the reason why I wanted to post my debrief: You have to be willing to get questions wrong.

Let me explain. In my final practice test, I finished both Quant and Verbal about 5 minutes early, so I knew that I needed to spend a little more time in the beginning of the sections to make sure I was getting the early questions right. This strategy left me running about 6-8 minutes behind schedule halfway through. At this point, the questions were harder -- back to my mantra: you have to be willing to get questions wrong. I started taking less time with each answer, believing in my answers after about a minute or so and bailing out after a minute with an educated guess if I didn't have a good answer. This allowed me to finish the test with enough time to spend at least a minute on each question, and not rapidly guess the last few. I finished just under the wire on each section. In fact, I didn't even have time to press "Next" but if you've selected an answer before time runs out then your answer will still count.

IR was easier than practice tests so I thought I wasn't doing well. My 8 score was a total surprise. I finished that section about 4-5 minutes early, and spent that time writing out a generic essay outline on my scratch pad so I could quickly dive into AWA.

The essay prompt was much more difficult than any I had encountered in practice, and I think I may have even read the prompt wrong because at this point I'm full of adrenaline and also all of the practice essays I had written had been similar to each other and this one was much more nuanced. If I could study for AWA again, I would have read more sample essay prompts, even if I didn't write the actual practice essays.

So that's my debrief! Deep breaths. Be confident in knowing what you know, and also knowing what you don't know. Good luck!


Congratulations maddieaf for your incredible score ...all the best....
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First try, highest score: 760 (Q49, V44, IR8)   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2019, 11:04
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