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From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44)

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GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
GMAT 2: 770 Q51 V44
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For those with generic profiles who feel the need to get an exceptional (760+) GMAT score, hopefully some of these tips will be helpful for you. I initially got a 740, which I was disappointed with to be honest. 740 is still 97th percentile though, and climbing from 740 to 770 is (probably) tougher than climbing from say 710 to 740. I felt what helped me the most was really a few odd tricks that helped me speed up and think more clearly - I didn't actually study or practice too much more for the 770 take. I focused more on test-taking tactics. I think they will be useful for people aiming to go from low 700s to high 700s. If you can't be bothered to read all - read tip 5. It's a slightly crazy one, but was the most useful one for me.

Legendary Tactical Tips for GMAT
1. Sleep: I made sure I got a good night's sleep not just the night before, but in the few days leading up to the exam. I felt like I made some careless mistakes in the first exam and generally made quite a few careless errors in mock exams (usually operate on few hours of sleep). But being fully focussed does make a huge diff in an exam like this.

2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts: You must use the Alt+N (for next) and Alt+Y (for yes) shortcuts during the exam like Kellyanne Conway use duplicitous evasion tactics during televised interviews. These keyboard shortcuts will honestly save you about 60-90 seconds across the whole exam. Remember if that means you can answer one more question right in each section, that'll likely take your score about by maybe 10-20 points. It takes about 2-3 seconds for you to scroll to the bottom right of the screen to click next and then carefully scroll to the Yes confirm button. Using the shortcut keys is a lot quicker. And in both my Verbal and Quant sections, I literally worked out the final answer in the section in the last few seconds of the section.

3. First 10 **** questions: It is now perfectly clear to me just how important these are for each section (especially when I compare my score report with my previous one and that of others). You're better off spending a bit more time on these first 10 and then maybe "guessing" the odd one here and there later to make up for time. In fact that's what I did for Verbal. I spent a lot of time on the first ten, and would basically take a very quick guess (after a brief glance) on questions 21 and 31 (unless they were RC). It was a necessary sacrifice. I got 4 questions wrong totally in Verbal (out of 30 counted) and got V44. In my 740 attempt I got 5 questions wrong and got V40. Big difference was where I got the questions wrong.

4. Get the Enhanced Score Report: this is for repeat takers obviously, but it was useful for me to see which topic groups I was weak in (Sentence Correction was relatively bad in Round 1), and as importantly the time (first 10, middle 10, last 10 etc) that you got the questions wrong. Remember you want to avoid successive wrong answers on the GMAT, so having to rush guesses towards the end is gonna crush your score like Trump crushes the hopes and dreams of Mexicans. You're much better off guessing the odd question in the middle rather than having to rush at the end.

5. The Incredible Hand Trick: This is a weird one but probably the key difference for me in verbal in getting to that 98th percentile. This is def more useful for Verbal than Quant but you can obv use it for either. Now many times with any type of question you will skim the answers and eliminate some but return to the rest to examine further. This can sometimes be inefficient as you may lose track of which answers you 'eliminated'. So during practice exams (and this must be tested during practice exams first obv), when I started looking at the answer options for a given question, I would keep my left palm open with all five fingers. Each option had a corresponding finger - (A thumb, B pointer, C middle, D ring, E little). As I eliminated an option, I would "close" the corresponding finger. This way after round 1 of eliminations, you just peak at your hand and you know which answers you need to re-examine rather than go back and sort of lose track and be like "oh wait did i eliminate this one? and why was that?" etc etc. Trust me - if done correctly, this can save A LOT of time. It certainly did for me. So just as an example say you look through the answers and you spot immediate mistakes with C and D, then you're making the spiderman sign with your left hand, and then you go for the next round and just examine A, B and E. Yes, it's weird - but genuinely this helped me a lot. My initial GMAT (V40) was marred but having to rush at the end and get successive answers wrong.

6. Data Sufficiency Ego: Don't let your ego control data sufficiency like the NRA controls the Congress. Often when doing calculations in the exam, to test whether or not you have the info to answer the question, you'll kind of go through with the whole calculation just to be sure - perhaps maybe even to prove a point to yourself or some other weird reason. But to speed things up, you should get into the habit of really knowing when you have the info and can definitely reach an answer, and then stop wasting time with calculations and move on with your life. For example, if the question is "what is the area of triangle on the coordinate plane if it has one coordinate (0,5). Statement 1: one coordinate is (1,7). Statement 2: third coordinate is (3,4)". Now you obv have all the info you need with two statements - don't **** waste time trying to calculate, just click C and get on with it. That's a v simple example, but hopefully you get the point.

7. Avoid a situation where you have to rush the end: As mentioned, successive wrong answers will destroy your score like the rust belt destroyed Crooked Hillary's hopes and dreams. You want to sort of pre-plan how much time you spend on each "section". So for example for me, it was 21 minutes for first 10 questions of Verbal, 19 minutes 11-20, 17 minutes for 21-30 and 18 minutes for 31-41. Now that's just a rough guide. But if you notice at the 21st question you're significantly behind schedule you may be better off "guessing" (i.e. answering very quickly while sacrificing your ego) a few answers sporadically, like taking 20 seconds for Question 22 and Question 29. Do NOT do this random guess for two successive questions. We need to spread out the mistakes. Also better to do this "guess" after a question that you're certain you've got right. Remember, we like successive mistakes as much as Ted Cruz likes Gay Marriage. Ideally you obv want to manage your time so you don't have to make any guesses, but being pragmatic and accepting you may have to bite the bullet on 1 or 2 questions is not a bad idea.

Happy to help with any other specific questions. At the risk of sounding arrogant, it's very satisfying to get that 760+ score, it must be said. So if you're doing this exam again and want to push from say a low 700s to a high 700s, it's best to deploy every useful tactic available. Each point on it's own may make a very small difference, but the cumulative effect of implementing these small tactics may be 20-40 points.


Good luck! May the force be with you

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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2017, 20:40
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Damn that's phenomenal. If I ever feel like I should take GMAT again (probably for PhD but life is uncertain) I'll definitely refer to you. Good job and BRILLIANT write up. If you have a blog I'd definitely read.
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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 06:40
Hey thank you so much for the amazing tricks and congratulations on your score. Could you please share your quant and verbal strategies such as the courses you took? Further it would be nice if you can share your practice test experience. Thanks
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From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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spitfire1 - First of all congratulations on scoring 770. Few people would dare to take the test after a 740. From your debrief, it is clear that you went about your second attempt methodically. A lot of your suggestions are similarly excellent. For example, you understood where you need to improve (SC in your case), and made sure that you spent time preparing for the same, as well as in the test to ensure that you deliver.

There is one point that I would like to add to – first 10 questions. While it’s clear that the first 10 questions are slightly more important, and that spending more time worked wonderfully well for you, the same may backfire for some people.

Why.. because people who don’t have the ability to answer questions (i.e those at 40 percentile to 50 percentile on GMAT verbal) may think that they can “manufacture” ability by spending more time on questions early on. In my experience, these students don’t just spend slightly more .. but a lot more time on the first 10 and end up rushing through a number of questions in the end, hurting their score.

Why did it work in your case? Because you had the ability.. You had a 91 percentile on Verbal in your first attempt. Hence, spending that extra time initially meant helped you avoid careless mistakes early on. So overall I want to make sure that people understand that
1. Spending this extra time works if one is at good ability level (70 percentile or more)
2. Spend just a bit more time (10% more) and not a whole lot more.

Overall, great debrief. Good luck for your applications..

-Rajat Sadana
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GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2017, 02:35
vikasp99 wrote:
spitfire1 congratulation Great score. Good luck for your applications.can you please tell us more about your verbal strategy like for rc and for cr.


Thanks. For RC, I didn't have a specific strategy. Just more about practice really. For CR, I did find this Veritas Advanced Verbal guide very useful. They gave some useful tips really which helped me deal with the tougher CR questions. From memory, they are something along the lines of
(1) don't hijack the conclusion - you automatically form opinions of what the answer should be - make sure you answer exactly what's being asked for
(2) be wary of false comparisons - for example the question maybe about violent crime and one of the attractive wrong answers may take about murder. Violent crime and murder are different, so just watch out for that.
(3) statistics - be wary of statistics and make sure you're comparing like for like. For example, if the murder rate increases it doesn't necessarily mean there were more crimes etc. That one's quite obvious, but they can be trickier

I'd say definitely point 1 is the key one. Make sure you answer the question, sometimes the answer will not be what you expect, or even be the opposite of what you expect, so be wary. Good luck!

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bschoolboy2017 wrote:
Hey thank you so much for the amazing tricks and congratulations on your score. Could you please share your quant and verbal strategies such as the courses you took? Further it would be nice if you can share your practice test experience. Thanks


Thanks.

Tests: I used the VeritasPrep tests. They often have really good deals where you can buy 6 tests for $20, and you get access to a question bank as well. I also bought all the GMATPrep tests. The first two (the free ones) I found considerably easier than the actual GMAT. I don't know why this is, if it's just me. I have this theory that they try to get you to give the GMAT again (more money!) by allowing you to get a good score on a practice test and then being disappointed with the score on the real test.

Quant: I found the Manhattan Advanced Quant book very, very useful. Wouldn't have got 51 without it. Other than that just practice a lot and try keeping track of the errors you make. For example, I noticed one of my weaknesses was Geometry, so I focused a bit more on that. Also if at first, you're not good at Data Sufficiency don't despair. It takes some getting used to, and after a while once you get the hang of it and avoid the obvious 'traps' then you'll get better scores.

Verbal: Used the Aristotle guide for sentence correction. There are some good free videos on the VeritasPrep site for Critical Reasoning which again I found very useful. Additionally their whole Advanced Verbal Strategy guide was very useful. Refer to my post above for tips on CR. For Reading Comprehension, it's all about practice really - can't say I did anything special there.

Good luck!

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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 30 Mar 2017, 03:30
Congrats on getting 770!
That's a really good score. If I had to take the GMAT again, I'd definitely use these tricks.
I think the keyboard shortcuts and hand tricks would greatly help those who have timing problem.

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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 31 Mar 2017, 09:49
Congratulations on the score, SpitFire. Can you tell me the timing break up you've followed for each of the sections?

Like, I followed 55-35-15 for Quant and 56-37-19 for Verbal.

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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2017, 12:16
spitfire1 wrote:
bschoolboy2017 wrote:
Hey thank you so much for the amazing tricks and congratulations on your score. Could you please share your quant and verbal strategies such as the courses you took? Further it would be nice if you can share your practice test experience. Thanks


Thanks.

Tests: I used the VeritasPrep tests. They often have really good deals where you can buy 6 tests for $20, and you get access to a question bank as well. I also bought all the GMATPrep tests. The first two (the free ones) I found considerably easier than the actual GMAT. I don't know why this is, if it's just me. I have this theory that they try to get you to give the GMAT again (more money!) by allowing you to get a good score on a practice test and then being disappointed with the score on the real test.

Quant: I found the Manhattan Advanced Quant book very, very useful. Wouldn't have got 51 without it. Other than that just practice a lot and try keeping track of the errors you make. For example, I noticed one of my weaknesses was Geometry, so I focused a bit more on that. Also if at first, you're not good at Data Sufficiency don't despair. It takes some getting used to, and after a while once you get the hang of it and avoid the obvious 'traps' then you'll get better scores.

Verbal: Used the Aristotle guide for sentence correction. There are some good free videos on the VeritasPrep site for Critical Reasoning which again I found very useful. Additionally their whole Advanced Verbal Strategy guide was very useful. Refer to my post above for tips on CR. For Reading Comprehension, it's all about practice really - can't say I did anything special there.

Good luck!


I've heard mixed things about the MGMAT advanced quant book (that it's overkill). What did you find most helpful about it? Was it just the additional practice? Or are there techniques etc? Also, did you end up taking any of the Manhattan CATs? Or did you just stick with veritas?
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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2017, 12:31
okay wrote:
I've heard mixed things about the MGMAT advanced quant book (that it's overkill). What did you find most helpful about it? Was it just the additional practice? Or are there techniques etc? Also, did you end up taking any of the Manhattan CATs? Or did you just stick with veritas?


I used a bit of MGMAT CAT, they were ok... preferred Veritas.. The problem with both is the scoring is a bit more "lenient". For example with Veritas I was getting 770/780 whilst getting 4-5 questions wrong in quant and 5-6 questions wrong in Verbal, which I don't think could ever lead you to a 780 in the proper GMAT test.

I did enjoy the Adv Quant MGMAT book. I can't quite remember why, but they certainly do give you tips on how to approach a variety of difficult topics. Plus they give you 150 challenging questions to get through, and these were also v useful. But I can't say how much of my score I can attribute to the Adv Quant MGMAT book. I think it's unlikely I'd have got q51 without it.. would probably have been q49 or q50 without it.

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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2017, 22:31
Hi,

First of all congrats for your successful gmat venture !!
Your score is inspiring .
Could you please elaborate on the accuracy needed to achieve a Q51.
I am working on my verbal skills and as you have already mentioned, an accuracy exception of 4 questions can permute a V44.
I am stuck on Q48 since long and need an insight into tips to get a Q51.
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Re: From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2017, 17:13
Quantic wrote:
Hi,

First of all congrats for your successful gmat venture !!
Your score is inspiring .
Could you please elaborate on the accuracy needed to achieve a Q51.
I am working on my verbal skills and as you have already mentioned, an accuracy exception of 4 questions can permute a V44.
I am stuck on Q48 since long and need an insight into tips to get a Q51.


Thanks - to be honest if i did the GMAT 10 times in a row, I'd probably get Q51 3 times and Q50 the remaining 7 times...

I would usually always be super clear on what they're asking.. Data sufficiency is a place one is more likely to make careless mistakes, so I would typically look at a question, then look at Statement 2, then Statement 1, then put down the answer and then, crucially, quickly double check what exactly the question was asking for before clicking next.

Practice makes perfect on this one..

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From 740 (Q50 V40) to 770 (Q51 V44) [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2017, 05:43
Hi!
Congrats for the amazing score.
Looks like I am also in the same boat got 740 Q50 V40 in my first attempt, but I screwed verbal awfully in tha last quarter. I had 12 mins remaining for the last 10 question so kind of panicked answered most of the question intutively. As it is evident in my ESR got 50% of last quarter questions wrong. I scored CR46 RC41 and SC34.

Having mentioned that I am confident of improving my SC score to 42, but doubfull that I would be able to replicate RC41 in my next attempt.

What do you reckon should I go for an another attempt?


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