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GMAT Debrief - 770 (50Q, 46V) - insights from an artsy-fartsy LA major

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Location: United States (MA)
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GMAT 1: 770 Q50 V46
GPA: 3.72
GMAT Debrief - 770 (50Q, 46V) - insights from an artsy-fartsy LA major [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2017, 20:43
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I know a lot of people out there are like me - people who went to a good school, are confident they can do the math required to succeed in business school and do it well, but who won't have any objective measure of their math proficiency on their app aside from their GMAT score, making the GMAT perhaps an even higher-pressure situation than it is for most.
Here are some takeaways from my studies and my experiences at the center:

Practice Test Scores (taken between early July and two days ago)



GMATPrep
    GMATPrep 1 - 750 (47Q/47V)
    GMATPrep 2 - 720 (46Q/44V)
    GMATPrep 3 - 760 (48Q/46V)
    GMATPrep 4 - 720 (42Q/48V) - This quant score was a gut-punch
    GMATPrep 5 - 730 (47Q/42V)
    GMATPrep 6 - 760 (49Q/45V)

MGMAT
    MGMAT 1 - 700 (44Q/40V)
    (On the remainder of my MGMAT tests, I only took the Quant section - I found that it was a good weighted bat tool, but that the Verbal section felt completely removed from the GMATPrep Verbal section in the way it framed its questions, differentiated its answers, etc - I didn't want to mess up my GMATPrep Verbal "compass," so to speak)
    MGMAT 2 - 44Q
    MGMAT 3 - 45Q


General Tips


I'm sure this is the thousandth time you've heard this, but it can't be preached enough: GMAT Quant is not nearly as much a math test as it is a pattern recognition and problem solving test. A huge portion of questions, especially once you get into the 45+ range, require little to no calculation. They're about logic, knowing your rules, and finding the most efficient way to the solution. The MGMAT books were invaluable in this regard, especially the number properties book (there's a reason it's Book 1) - they drilled into me different ways of recognizing what a question was asking, different shortcuts to narrow down answers based on general tenets of math. They also introduced me to a more meta pattern recognition technique that, if you have only one takeaway from this post, should be it: for any Data Sufficiency question that makes it almost laughably obvious with both statements what the answer to the question is (i.e. it gives you a complex equation with a variable in one statement and straight-up gives you the variable's value in the other), more often than not, the more complex statement is sufficient on its own. Even if you can't figure out exactly why on the test, I'm willing to say that it's worth it to select that option anyway.

Time Management: The test is also about apportioning your time well. One question is not worth four minutes, plainly and simply (ignoring obvious exceptions, i.e. one question and four minutes left on test). If you've gone over three minutes on a question, it's time to make your best guess, move on, and forget about it. No one question is going to necessarily make or break your score. On one of my GMATPrep tests, I got 21/37 questions correct (56.8%) and got a 47Q. If you've encountered a tough question on a subject that is a weakness of yours, narrow down the options as best you can and make an educated guess. You can make up for it and more on the tough questions that fall into your sweet spot.

That being said, you should be identifying your weaknesses in your studies and trying to minimize those kinds of situations on test day. My weaknesses were complex combinatorics and overlapping sets - again, MGMAT helped me immensely with these. So did GMATClub - I'm willing to bet that every single question you'll encounter on the GMATPrep tests is discussed in detail on those forums, and more than likely they're broken down into easily-digestible parts by a user named Bunuel, who is a God send.

For Verbal, I'll copy something I wrote a little while ago: I didn't actually prep much at all for Verbal, as that side of standardized testing has always come more naturally to me. It's the math that I tend to struggle with. I will say that I do tend to follow a few simple rules that help me a lot on answer choices: In general, the simplest answer is often the correct one, at least for reading comprehension and sentence correction. The more concise, less-bullshitty, and clearer an answer is, the more likely it is to be right in my experience. Oftentimes the misdirect on a RC question will be a complex statement that seems generally correct and uses multiple terms from the passage, when in fact the most mild and milquetoast inference made is usually the right one. Obviously judge on a case-by-case basis using context, and this likely isn't even a vast majority, but I'd say it is true a majority of the time. For sentence correction, unless those prepositional phrases are a crucial factor in choosing the right answer, remove all PP's from consideration. They're usually included to intentionally muddy up the SVO agreement, parallelism and thematic coherence that you should be looking for and that the GMAT test-makers want. For critical reasoning, the questions are almost always some variation on "which of these choices strengthen/weaken the argument" - therefore, as you're reading the passage, that's where your mindset should be. Try to intuitively come up with factors/arguments that would do both things as you're reading it. Oftentimes it'll align somewhat with an answer choice you eventually read, and that'll turn out to be the right one.


Advice for Test Day


As for my advice on what to do on test day, I'd say do a light review over your notes (especially if you've stickied any particularly crucial concepts/rules/patterns in whatever text books you've been using), maybe one or two logic problems to get your mind in that mindset, and relax. Sleep and diet in the days leading up to the test are crucial, too. Simply put, your brain is best at pattern recognition when it's rested and well-fueled.

TL;DR - Test-taking techniques and learning about different properties of numbers (primes, negatives/positives, fractions/integers, etc) and pattern recognition are collectively just as important as if not more important than brute calculation skills on GMAT Quant. I'd recommend focusing on those if you're a humanities major like me.

Last edited by Narenn on 31 Aug 2017, 05:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (50Q, 46V) - insights from an artsy-fartsy LA major [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 02:58
kayjaysay wrote:
I know a lot of people out there are like me - people who went to a good school, are confident they can do the math required to succeed in business school and do it well, but who won't have any objective measure of their math proficiency on their app aside from their GMAT score, making the GMAT perhaps an even higher-pressure situation than it is for most.
Here are some takeaways from my studies and my experiences at the center:

Practice Test Scores (taken between early July and two days ago):
GMATPrep
GMATPrep 1 - 750 (47Q/47V)
GMATPrep 2 - 720 (46Q/44V)
GMATPrep 3 - 760 (48Q/46V)
GMATPrep 4 - 720 (42Q/48V) - This quant score was a gut-punch
GMATPrep 5 - 730 (47Q/42V)
GMATPrep 6 - 760 (49Q/45V)
MGMAT
MGMAT 1 - 700 (44Q/40V)
(On the remainder of my MGMAT tests, I only took the Quant section - I found that it was a good weighted bat tool, but that the Verbal section felt completely removed from the GMATPrep Verbal section in the way it framed its questions, differentiated its answers, etc - I didn't want to mess up my GMATPrep Verbal "compass," so to speak)
MGMAT 2 - 44Q
MGMAT 3 - 45Q

General Tips:
I'm sure this is the thousandth time you've heard this, but it can't be preached enough: GMAT Quant is not nearly as much a math test as it is a pattern recognition and problem solving test. A huge portion of questions, especially once you get into the 45+ range, require little to no calculation. They're about logic, knowing your rules, and finding the most efficient way to the solution. The MGMAT books were invaluable in this regard, especially the number properties book (there's a reason it's Book 1) - they drilled into me different ways of recognizing what a question was asking, different shortcuts to narrow down answers based on general tenets of math. They also introduced me to a more meta pattern recognition technique that, if you have only one takeaway from this post, should be it: for any Data Sufficiency question that makes it almost laughably obvious with both statements what the answer to the question is (i.e. it gives you a complex equation with a variable in one statement and straight-up gives you the variable's value in the other), more often than not, the more complex statement is sufficient on its own. Even if you can't figure out exactly why on the test, I'm willing to say that it's worth it to select that option anyway.

The test is also about apportioning your time well. One question is not worth four minutes, plainly and simply (ignoring obvious exceptions, i.e. one question and four minutes left on test). If you've gone over three minutes on a question, it's time to make your best guess, move on, and forget about it. No one question is going to necessarily make or break your score. On one of my GMATPrep tests, I got 21/37 questions correct (56.8%) and got a 47Q. If you've encountered a tough question on a subject that is a weakness of yours, narrow down the options as best you can and make an educated guess. You can make up for it and more on the tough questions that fall into your sweet spot.

That being said, you should be identifying your weaknesses in your studies and trying to minimize those kinds of situations on test day. My weaknesses were complex combinatorics and overlapping sets - again, MGMAT helped me immensely with these. So did GMATClub - I'm willing to bet that every single question you'll encounter on the GMATPrep tests is discussed in detail on those forums, and more than likely they're broken down into easily-digestible parts by a user named Bunuel, who is a God send.

For Verbal, I'll copy something I wrote a little while ago: I didn't actually prep much at all for Verbal, as that side of standardized testing has always come more naturally to me. It's the math that I tend to struggle with. I will say that I do tend to follow a few simple rules that help me a lot on answer choices: In general, the simplest answer is often the correct one, at least for reading comprehension and sentence correction. The more concise, less-bullshitty, and clearer an answer is, the more likely it is to be right in my experience. Oftentimes the misdirect on a RC question will be a complex statement that seems generally correct and uses multiple terms from the passage, when in fact the most mild and milquetoast inference made is usually the right one. Obviously judge on a case-by-case basis using context, and this likely isn't even a vast majority, but I'd say it is true a majority of the time. For sentence correction, unless those prepositional phrases are a crucial factor in choosing the right answer, remove all PP's from consideration. They're usually included to intentionally muddy up the SVO agreement, parallelism and thematic coherence that you should be looking for and that the GMAT test-makers want. For critical reasoning, the questions are almost always some variation on "which of these choices strengthen/weaken the argument" - therefore, as you're reading the passage, that's where your mindset should be. Try to intuitively come up with factors/arguments that would do both things as you're reading it. Oftentimes it'll align somewhat with an answer choice you eventually read, and that'll turn out to be the right one.

As for my advice on what to do on test day, I'd say do a light review over your notes (especially if you've stickied any particularly crucial concepts/rules/patterns in whatever text books you've been using), maybe one or two logic problems to get your mind in that mindset, and relax. Sleep and diet in the days leading up to the test are crucial, too. Simply put, your brain is best at pattern recognition when it's rested and well-fueled.

TL;DR - Test-taking techniques and learning about different properties of numbers (primes, negatives/positives, fractions/integers, etc) and pattern recognition are collectively just as important as if not more important than brute calculation skills on GMAT Quant. I'd recommend focusing on those if you're a humanities major like me.


Congratulations on a GREAT score. A great debrief :). Wish you the very best for your applications ahead. Take care !
_________________

Best Regards,
RS

Kudos [?]: 18 [0], given: 1084

Re: GMAT Debrief - 770 (50Q, 46V) - insights from an artsy-fartsy LA major   [#permalink] 30 Aug 2017, 02:58
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GMAT Debrief - 770 (50Q, 46V) - insights from an artsy-fartsy LA major

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