GMAT Question of the Day - Daily to your Mailbox; hard ones only

It is currently 22 Feb 2019, 15:26

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Close

Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel
Events & Promotions in February
PrevNext
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
242526272812
Open Detailed Calendar
  • Free GMAT RC Webinar

     February 23, 2019

     February 23, 2019

     07:00 AM PST

     09:00 AM PST

    Learn reading strategies that can help even non-voracious reader to master GMAT RC. Saturday, February 23rd at 7 AM PT
  • FREE Quant Workshop by e-GMAT!

     February 24, 2019

     February 24, 2019

     07:00 AM PST

     09:00 AM PST

    Get personalized insights on how to achieve your Target Quant Score.

GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
TAGS:

Hide Tags

 
Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 05 Aug 2018
Posts: 3
Concentration: Operations, Strategy
GMAT 1: 690 Q45 V40
Reviews Badge
GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 02 Feb 2019, 12:31
1

Context


I decided to attend business school in the summer of 2019. I already had a master's degree under my belt but my GRE score had expired. I did okay on the math portion (770 then, 161 today), and I didn't study. I never used to study for these tests (SAT, ACT, GRE, etc.)

After graduate school was over I was thoroughly humbled. I had been in a top 10 aerospace engineering program where I often felt like everyone else was one step ahead. Since a research career was not for me, I pivoted to manufacturing in F500. I've had immense success because my strengths in communication and organization, as well as my intuition for innovation, have led to patents, travel opportunities, and great outcomes for our design teams. Getting a LSS Black Belt opened me up to operations management, and that became my intended focus for business school.

Parts of this process made me feel as though I was revisiting high school. The amount of insecurity I've witnessed in forums regarding GMAT and MBA is staggering. If you're the type of person who puts others down, etc., in business, this attitude will cause your relationships to fall apart, and you'll wonder why your model of the world isn't working. Don't ever look down on someone because of a score, and don't ever look down on yourself because of your score either. Work hard and commit to your values and things will work out.

Preparation


I started off by purchasing the GMAT Official Guide 2018 (OG 2018). I also purchased the Complete GMAT Strategy Guide Set (Manhattan Prep GMAT Strategy Guide). I would argue that these purchases are mandatory. The Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT) set is a very good overview of the material that I'd long forgotten in a wide range of math topics.

One of the first pieces of advice I read about on gmatclub and reddit was to take an initial practice test through mba.com and benchmark my capability. I also scheduled an exam for the near future (about 2 weeks out) to get an official benchmark of my performance.

GMAT Official Practice 01


July 20, 2018
Total 600
Breakdown Q35 (28%) V38 (85%) IR7 (82%) AWA Written

Getting this score was good information but I would recommend studying intensely for at least a month or two before taking your first official exam. The real takeaway was that I was dramatically underperforming in math, which came as a surprise. I wasn't used to Data Sufficiency and sped through the problems (a.k.a. being lazy).

Test Day 01


July 28, 2018
Total 600
Breakdown Q38 (33%) V34 (71%) IR6 (70%) AWA 6 (88%)

No surprises here. I was a little nervous, but honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I don't recommend sitting for an official exam if you don't feel prepared. If there's one exam where luck is removed, it's the GMAT.

The month of August was a 1 to 2 hours a day of MGMAT workbook review during the week, and 3 hours a day during the weekend. The issue with MGMAT materials is that it's not preparing you to take the exam, it's just helping you learn and re-learn old concepts. That's useful, but don't confuse your subject knowledge with your knowledge of how to take the GMAT. MGMAT materials may be necessary but not sufficient. There are sections in the MGMAT books that are designed to help you prepare for the GMAT, but they were not effective for me. I do not recommend MGMAT practice tests. To me, they're not representative of the real thing.

It was around this time that I discovered EMPOWERgmat through several recommendations on reddit. I wanted a way to turbocharge my preparation and add structure to the studying process. EMPOWERgmat not only did that for me (error logs, an online interface, flexible modules based on needs), but gave me significant insights into the test (frequency of questions appearing, tactics by test-writers, etc), as well as encouragement to succeed (hence, EMPOWER). I purchased the online version of the 2018 GMAT Official Guide and put it on my kindle so that I wouldn't have to travel with the large textbook. My focus was primarily on math since I targeted >50% in math and had a ways to go.

Abyss


Disaster struck. I was on a business trip when I became very ill from a bacterial infection. This eventually led to me fainting and receiving a concussion. It's been a month since I took the GMAT for the last time, and I am still recovering from symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. It might take me 6+ months from today to fully heal.

I put my GMAT preparation completely on hold during the month of September because my post-concussion symptoms were severe (confusion, light and noise sensitivity, dizziness, head pressure, etc.). In October, I completed several open interviews and campus visits because I knew that they would provide me the best chance to introduce myself to faculty, students, and staff. I was not alright and I could not focus on study materials, let alone look at a computer screen.

Slowly healing


I didn't study at all between my accident and my next practice test. But I used every bit of my EMPOWERgmat knowledge on the practice exam.

GMAT Official Practice 02


Nov 10, 2018
Total 690
Q45 (57%) V39 (89%) IR4 (40%) AWA Written

I was relieved by this result. Even though I still had facial tingling, numbness, and a fever, I obtained the highest practice test score to date. Ostensibly, I didn't have permanent brain damage. At this point I'd probably studied about 60-80 hours total. I wasn't logging my hours because I didn't think it was important and I didn't believe that I should have an "hours" target, but rather a feeling of how prepared I was (based on testing), which I still think is healthy. However, I believe that one should be able to reasonably expect to spend 100+ hours to perform well on this exam.

I studied using EMPOWERgmat math modules for another week and performed another practice exam.

I didn't know the Abyss had a basement


A rare snow storm came in mid-November and I was involved in a nasty car accident. I was so fortunate that I didn't strike my head, but my car was totalled. EMS took me to the hospital, and assured me that I didn't sustain a second concussion while I was healing. Because concussion symptoms can take days to arise, I waited for them with worry.

GMAT Official Practice 03


Nov 18, 2018
Total 710
Q44 (52%) V42 (96%) IR1 (0%) AWA skipped

I skipped the IR section since I found it to be straightforward and I read that it was not as critical for b-schools to evaluate. I skipped the AWA because the structure is predictable, b-schools do not value is heavily, and I'm naturally good at writing essays in a short period of time. A few criticisms of the argument, sprinkle in some counterpoints, organize your essay structure and you're golden. Everything was going in the right direction, even though I was in a car accident only days ago. I still wasn't studying at all for verbal but my work on math was holding steady. I do recommend that people study verbal strategies offered by EMPOWERgmat even if they are native English speakers with an advanced understanding of the language. I found them to be helpful, even after scoring V42 (which may be a little luck attributed to superior knowledge for certain topics).

GMAT Official Practice 04


Nov 30 2018
TOTAL 690
Q44 (52%) V40 (91%) IR5 (55%)

Prior to test day I wanted to obtain a little more confidence about how to pace myself through the math section. I distinctly remember that Thanksgiving was a particular horrible time for my symptoms. I had awful headaches about 3 weeks after my car accident. I was feeling good after a practice pattern of 690, 710, and 690.

GMAT Official Practice 05


Dec. 5, 2018
Q 42 (45%) Skipped the rest of the sessions

I was a bit disappointed by my math benchmark, but I went into the exam feeling decent about the math.

Test Day 02


Dec. 8, 2018
Total 640
Q 47 (61%) V 32 (66%) IR 7 (82%) AWA 6.0 (88%)

I got a decimal question on the last problem in the quant section (I always did quant then verbal then the rest) and I couldn't get it out of my head after the break. Little did I know that I had just achieved my best ever math score. I carried this anxiety into the verbal section, and I got destroyed. I decided to regroup and focus on my test anxiety. My anxiety stems from feeling like I'm not in control. So I decided to focus on my Verbal so that I could improve my confidence in the section and not succumb to anxiety. I also spent some time focusing on basic concepts in exponents and inequalities, which were weak areas for me, by using the Khan Academy modules that were linked by EMPOWERgmat. These were pretty helpful.

Unfortunately, I had another setback with my post-concussion symptoms. I tried to go back to work for two weeks (I had been working the entire time but mostly from home because the vertical vibrations from driving created bad symptoms for me) and during these two weeks I did about 2 months of damage to my brain (that would require me to avoid driving for this length of time to recover back to where I was). Over my holiday break I was experiencing tension on the sides of my head and an inability to focus. I tried to study as much as possible but had to lay down for 2 hours for every 30 minutes of effort. It was brutal. During this time, I finished the EMPOWERgmat verbal modules on Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning (I had done the RC modules in the past). I needed to know where I was at prior to test day, so I took a practice exam while skipping the IR and AWA sections.

GMAT Official Practice 06


Dec 28, 2018
Q 42 (Q 45%) V 37 (83%) IR Skipped
Total 640

To hell with it, I thought. I spent the rest of the day in bed and just rested until it was time for the exam the next day.

I wasn't anxious when I arrived to the test center. I was just telling the proctors, who I'd met for the third time now, "let's just get this over with." I wasn't overly confident or sad. I was focused, I knew what I needed to do, and I stuck to my plan. My favorite analogy is ice hockey, where players have a few key ideas in their head that they need to repeat to themselves to ensure they minimize mistakes. "Go to the net. Be hard on the puck. Shoot first. Skate hard. Keep your feet moving." Except with the GMAT it was "Don't spend too much time on one question unless you have a plan. Triage according to EMPOWERgmat tactics. Inconsistent means insufficient." And other EMPOWERgmat nuggets that were drilled into me.

Test Day 03


Dec 29, 2018
Q 45 (55%) V 40 (90%) IR 7 (82%) AWA 6 (88%)
Total 690

As many others have said, I stared at the screen with my mouth agape and accepted my score. I was thrilled. I could have done a lot better under normal conditions, but I just signed my ticket for at least one b-school program that I'd targeted. It was a hell of a journey but I owe the majority of my success to EMPOWERgmat. There were a lot more EMPOWER modules i could have finished, but I only completed the course to about 70% of the overall offerings.

I do recommend gmatclub for studying as well. There are amazing resources on this website. If I could spare another 50-60 hours I think I could easily hit 720 or above, but the clock ran out for me. I would have focused on my weak areas (probabilities, geometry) and that would have cleaned up my low-hanging fruit. You do get out what you put in. Some people start with a better memory of this material than others. But the GMAT is not an intelligence test by any means. Start early and get the score you want. It's going to take work.
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
User avatar
V
Status: GMAT Assassin/Co-Founder
Affiliations: EMPOWERgmat
Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 13577
Location: United States (CA)
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170
Re: GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 02 Feb 2019, 14:18
Hi descendents1,

To start, that's FANTASTIC news! Raising a 600 to a 690 is a significant achievement (and with notable increases in BOTH your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores!)! From what you described, I can only imagine how all of those outside factors would have made your entire life (and not just your studies) really challenging. Your ability to continue working - and improving - is a testament to your ability to overcome multiple hurdles at once (and I suspect that all of those strengths will serve you well in Business School and beyond).

I'm not sure if we've ever discussed your application plans before or not.

1) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
2) What application Rounds are you considering?

Another GMAT Assassin has been made!
Rich
_________________

760+: Learn What GMAT Assassins Do to Score at the Highest Levels
Contact Rich at: Rich.C@empowergmat.com

Rich Cohen

Co-Founder & GMAT Assassin

Special Offer: Save $75 + GMAT Club Tests Free
  Official GMAT Exam Packs + 70 Pt. Improvement Guarantee
www.empowergmat.com/

*****Select EMPOWERgmat Courses now include ALL 6 Official GMAC CATs!*****

Manager
Manager
User avatar
P
Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 147
Location: India
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 720 Q50 V37
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Premium Member Reviews Badge CAT Tests
Re: GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 02 Feb 2019, 17:48

Congratulations on the amazing score. 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! :)

_________________

Please provide me with kudos in case you like my post. Thank you.

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 05 Aug 2018
Posts: 3
Concentration: Operations, Strategy
GMAT 1: 690 Q45 V40
Reviews Badge
Re: GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 03 Feb 2019, 07:36
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi descendents1,

To start, that's FANTASTIC news! Raising a 600 to a 690 is a significant achievement (and with notable increases in BOTH your Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores!)! From what you described, I can only imagine how all of those outside factors would have made your entire life (and not just your studies) really challenging. Your ability to continue working - and improving - is a testament to your ability to overcome multiple hurdles at once (and I suspect that all of those strengths will serve you well in Business School and beyond).

I'm not sure if we've ever discussed your application plans before or not.

1) What Schools are you planning to apply to?
2) What application Rounds are you considering?

Another GMAT Assassin has been made!
Rich


Hi Rich, we did briefly discuss my candidacy via email. Our takeaway was that I was prepared for my schools and apps. Applying in R2 for all the schools listed in my profile. Have either interviewed or been admitted to each school. Thank you very much for all your help!
GMAT Club Bot
Re: GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690   [#permalink] 03 Feb 2019, 07:36
Display posts from previous: Sort by

GMAT Debrief 600 to Pain to 690

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  

Moderators: chetan2u, bb, EMPOWERgmatRichC



cron
Copyright

GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.