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From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time

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Joined: 02 Jun 2018
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GMAT 1: 660 Q42 V39
From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2018, 15:44
3
Hello all,

I just wanted to write this to give back to this community and share my gruelling, yet humbling, experience with the GMAT.

A little info about me: I am a 23 y/o graduate from McGill University. I majored in political science and minored in economics. After working in retail for over a year, I decided that I wanted to undertake a meaningful degree. I had always been interested in, and had experience with, marketing during my undergraduate years (I worked for a marketing company as an undergraduate). Thus, I decided I would pursue an MSc in Marketing, which for my school required a GMAT of 580. Now, despite doing a minor in economics, I was pretty useless at math. We were always given a calculator and I had no idea how to sum the prime factors of an integer or how to convert decimals to fractions etc. so I knew this would be hard, but I did not know my GMAT journey would take me 6 months (of studying in total). I basically gave up my social life for 6 months. For anyone out there, before I explain my journey briefly, know that if you do not understand the fundamentals of the kind of questions the GMAT asks you, then be prepared to WORK. HARD.

March 2018 - after spending a month studying using only the official GMAC book (I didn't even complete many of the questions) and some notes my friend, who scored a 680
first go (damn engineers and their quantitative savviness) gave me, I went in and scored a 500 (Q32/V27). I had no choice but to accept the score. Of course, the university told me that a 500 wouldn't cut it so they told me to retake it.

Late April 2018 - This time I thought that if I signed up for a quant course (targetprep), I could kill it. But I was an arse and did not follow the course properly and made a bunch of mistakes and a month later went into the centre and rewrote my GMAT and scored a pathetic 470 (25Q/29V). Worse than my first one. And I thought I was doing so great during the exam, you can imagine my shock when I received the grade... I called the university again and the admissions officer told me that I could switch my admission term to the next to give me more time to redo my GMAT because again, a 470 would not cut it.

Early July 2018 - I took a week or so off from studying GMAT and started grinding again. I think I was using targetprep again, but once again, I failed to realize that in order to understand mathematics, you need to develop a solid foundation. I thought that if I skipped through the topics quick enough and mastered the end-of-topic tests, and manage to know some fancy tricks, like how to find the sum of the primes of a number, or how many of a certain prime goes into a factorial, I would be set. Lo and behold, I was wrong. I thought I managed to study well, learn a few tricks and develop an okay foundation, so I went into the test centre with confidence that I would get a 580 at least (I had gotten a 600 on one of the official practices by that time). This time, however, I scored only a 530 (37Q/25V). Needless to say, I was highly disappointed with myself. I sent in my score to the university anyways and left for my two-week vacation to my parent's home. I think it was about 5 days into my vacation I get an e-mail form the university saying I was rejected with only one reason: GMAT score too low. I bet they didn't even look at my profile, they just saw the score and put me in the "no" list. I felt shame. I felt stupid.

November 14th, 2018 - I took about a month off from the last exam I wrote and started studying again in August. This time, I redid targetprep, but decided I would go through the modules one-by-one and not rush it through. This was really helpful and I could definitely feel that I was better able to understand the foundations. Then, I saw that veritasprep had a 1 month deal, so I took it to see how different it would be (yes all of these courses were very expensive: GMAT exams and courses cost me approx. $1500 in total). I loved the way Brian taught with the videos, it felt interactive and I somehow felt like he understood the plight of GMAT strugglers like myself. The strategies that were taught, especially for verbal, were super helpful and allowed me to better understand what I was doing wrong with my verbal. Being a native English speaker, I thought I would just simply kill verbal without having to study. LOL WAS I WRONG. I started reading dense scientific research and journals in order to re-accustom my brain to memorize the important information and arguments. I brushed up on my grammar, reviewed my quant, did a last practice test (scored a 670(47Q/35V)) and went to the test centre a week later (this time I chilled the last week instead of studying like crazy). To be honest I did not feel like I was owning the exam but as soon as I press enter on the last screen - boom a 660 (42Q/39V) appeared before my eyes. I could have done better on the quant as I was easily scoring 45-47Q on my practices, but I was happy nonetheless.

I sent my application to the university and will be hearing from them soon. With this GMAT score I was also able to send my application to other schools demanding higher GMATs so I kind of feel like a smart ass ;).

Anyways, I just wanted to ramble on to explain my situation. Here are the takeaways:

- Prep courses are great but nothing can rushed, especially not quant. You can't just go through the high level questions, get a few right because you're lucky, and then expect to score well on quant. I'm no expert but I'm fairly sure that if you answer all of the easy/medium questions and miss all of the hard questions on the GMAT you will still score easily 40+. Targetprep and Veritas prep are two very good prep companies and I would recommend these two to anyone who is struggling to understand the GMAT basics.
- For verbal, study grammar a lot and start reading dense material. This will help tremendously as you will be able to easily go through SC questions and then spend more time on the RC.
- Do not overdo on the practice exams. I think I exhausted pretty much every practice exam that exists on the internet, except for Manhattan maybe. Buy the official practice and only use each exam twice at most and study your errors in depth.
- I spent way too much time & money on the GMAT but I'm so glad it's over.

If anyone wanted me to answer additional questions I'd be happy to. Also, anyone who needs help with guidance and whatnot can PM me.

WOOHOO IM DONE
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Re: From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 18:01
1
Great job! I’m so happy that Target Test Prep was able to help you achieve your score goal :).

Good luck with things moving forward.
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Re: From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 22:06
Nice write up. Well done on the improvement. Tricks aren't very helpful if you don't even remember how to do fractions (as in my case). Good luck in your course
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Joined: 29 Dec 2018
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Location: India
GMAT 1: 540 Q44 V21
Re: From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Dec 2018, 23:52
Amazing improvement Benjayy
Many congratulations!

I am almost in the same league. Just do not know where do re-start - that is should I go back to basics or should I just solve more questions?
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GPA: 2.77
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Re: From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 30 Dec 2018, 00:10
Benjayy wrote:
Hello all,

I just wanted to write this to give back to this community and share my gruelling, yet humbling, experience with the GMAT.

A little info about me: I am a 23 y/o graduate from McGill University. I majored in political science and minored in economics. After working in retail for over a year, I decided that I wanted to undertake a meaningful degree. I had always been interested in, and had experience with, marketing during my undergraduate years (I worked for a marketing company as an undergraduate). Thus, I decided I would pursue an MSc in Marketing, which for my school required a GMAT of 580. Now, despite doing a minor in economics, I was pretty useless at math. We were always given a calculator and I had no idea how to sum the prime factors of an integer or how to convert decimals to fractions etc. so I knew this would be hard, but I did not know my GMAT journey would take me 6 months (of studying in total). I basically gave up my social life for 6 months. For anyone out there, before I explain my journey briefly, know that if you do not understand the fundamentals of the kind of questions the GMAT asks you, then be prepared to WORK. HARD.

March 2018 - after spending a month studying using only the official GMAC book (I didn't even complete many of the questions) and some notes my friend, who scored a 680
first go (damn engineers and their quantitative savviness) gave me, I went in and scored a 500 (Q32/V27). I had no choice but to accept the score. Of course, the university told me that a 500 wouldn't cut it so they told me to retake it.

Late April 2018 - This time I thought that if I signed up for a quant course (targetprep), I could kill it. But I was an arse and did not follow the course properly and made a bunch of mistakes and a month later went into the centre and rewrote my GMAT and scored a pathetic 470 (25Q/29V). Worse than my first one. And I thought I was doing so great during the exam, you can imagine my shock when I received the grade... I called the university again and the admissions officer told me that I could switch my admission term to the next to give me more time to redo my GMAT because again, a 470 would not cut it.

Early July 2018 - I took a week or so off from studying GMAT and started grinding again. I think I was using targetprep again, but once again, I failed to realize that in order to understand mathematics, you need to develop a solid foundation. I thought that if I skipped through the topics quick enough and mastered the end-of-topic tests, and manage to know some fancy tricks, like how to find the sum of the primes of a number, or how many of a certain prime goes into a factorial, I would be set. Lo and behold, I was wrong. I thought I managed to study well, learn a few tricks and develop an okay foundation, so I went into the test centre with confidence that I would get a 580 at least (I had gotten a 600 on one of the official practices by that time). This time, however, I scored only a 530 (37Q/25V). Needless to say, I was highly disappointed with myself. I sent in my score to the university anyways and left for my two-week vacation to my parent's home. I think it was about 5 days into my vacation I get an e-mail form the university saying I was rejected with only one reason: GMAT score too low. I bet they didn't even look at my profile, they just saw the score and put me in the "no" list. I felt shame. I felt stupid.

November 14th, 2018 - I took about a month off from the last exam I wrote and started studying again in August. This time, I redid targetprep, but decided I would go through the modules one-by-one and not rush it through. This was really helpful and I could definitely feel that I was better able to understand the foundations. Then, I saw that veritasprep had a 1 month deal, so I took it to see how different it would be (yes all of these courses were very expensive: GMAT exams and courses cost me approx. $1500 in total). I loved the way Brian taught with the videos, it felt interactive and I somehow felt like he understood the plight of GMAT strugglers like myself. The strategies that were taught, especially for verbal, were super helpful and allowed me to better understand what I was doing wrong with my verbal. Being a native English speaker, I thought I would just simply kill verbal without having to study. LOL WAS I WRONG. I started reading dense scientific research and journals in order to re-accustom my brain to memorize the important information and arguments. I brushed up on my grammar, reviewed my quant, did a last practice test (scored a 670(47Q/35V)) and went to the test centre a week later (this time I chilled the last week instead of studying like crazy). To be honest I did not feel like I was owning the exam but as soon as I press enter on the last screen - boom a 660 (42Q/39V) appeared before my eyes. I could have done better on the quant as I was easily scoring 45-47Q on my practices, but I was happy nonetheless.

I sent my application to the university and will be hearing from them soon. With this GMAT score I was also able to send my application to other schools demanding higher GMATs so I kind of feel like a smart ass ;).

Anyways, I just wanted to ramble on to explain my situation. Here are the takeaways:

- Prep courses are great but nothing can rushed, especially not quant. You can't just go through the high level questions, get a few right because you're lucky, and then expect to score well on quant. I'm no expert but I'm fairly sure that if you answer all of the easy/medium questions and miss all of the hard questions on the GMAT you will still score easily 40+. Targetprep and Veritas prep are two very good prep companies and I would recommend these two to anyone who is struggling to understand the GMAT basics.
- For verbal, study grammar a lot and start reading dense material. This will help tremendously as you will be able to easily go through SC questions and then spend more time on the RC.
- Do not overdo on the practice exams. I think I exhausted pretty much every practice exam that exists on the internet, except for Manhattan maybe. Buy the official practice and only use each exam twice at most and study your errors in depth.
- I spent way too much time & money on the GMAT but I'm so glad it's over.

If anyone wanted me to answer additional questions I'd be happy to. Also, anyone who needs help with guidance and whatnot can PM me.

WOOHOO IM DONE


Hey congratulations on your achievement, 660 is a great score
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Re: From 500 to 470 to 530 to 660 in half a year while working full time &nbs [#permalink] 30 Dec 2018, 00:10
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