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GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt

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GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2018, 05:59
eternaloptimist wrote:

Hey man, glad you found it useful. To address your points:

1. Honestly I didn't see the point in paying for more GMATPrep tests mainly because these tests do not have explanations for right/wrong answers, unlike the Manhattan CATs which have a thorough explanation for every question and EACH possible answer to the question. very useful. So I mainly treated the 2 free GMATPrep tests as gauges to make sure I was on the right track, not for learning.

2. Manhattan V is about the same or slightly harder than GMATPrep V. In fact there were some CR/RC questions on the actual exam which were on par with some of the hardest Manhattan V questions I had seen: I actually ended up almost running time on the exam V when I consistently finished with 15-20 minutes left on Manhattan V. so be prepared.

3. For RC don't get too caught up in the details early and try to understand the overall direction the passage is taking before getting into the nitty-gritty. For the science-y RC questions, try to visualise in your head the process of the cell/animal ecosystem/ spacey thing which the passage is describing, it will make it easier when answering questions related to it. Also just try to force yourself to feel interested in whatever topic/process the passage is describing no matter how boring it seems, this just helps in terms of understanding it fast.

For CR, have a rock solid understanding of what are premises, conclusions, observations, assumptions, etc. These are where you will slip up. Manhattan helps with this (also with RC reading), but beware of some of the Manhattan CR/RC strategies, they are a bit weird and specific and might slow you down if you follow them religiously.

4. For the mock exams, they all came with their individual timers for each section. I tried to hit 2 min per question for Q. For V I never ran out of time (until almost at the actual exam!) so I never really had to do the same, but I would say likewise, try for 21 questions by 37 minutes, and 32 questions by the time you have 18 minutes left.

5. For the non-mock questions (in the OG/Manhattan books themselves), just take your time, no need to panic as long as you are doing it properly and find the right technique. As for your question of whether it can be attributed to panic or lack of concepts, I think of it this way: if you are even in the situation where you are running out of time and are panicking, it means that you had a lack of concepts for previous questions that slowed you down. The GMAT is not just about getting the right answer, but also using the best technique that lets you do the question with minimal time. For example, I can confidently say I can do any question involving primes / factorizations / greatest common multiple now in maximum 45 seconds, because of the clarification of concepts that I got from Manhattan's books. Each would have taken me close to 3 minutes before. (Man, I sound like a Manhattan Prep salesman but some of their books are really that critical.)

6. For the first 3 mocks I had been doing V-->Q --> IR/AWA because I had read that you should start with your strength first, and for me that was Verbal. But I realised this tired me out by the time it got to Q which was partially why I kept running out of time during the CATs. So I swapped to Q--> V --> IR/AWA for the rest of my mocks as well the actual exam. Argh, don't know why I got a Q 50 actually, I thought I had gotten them all correct but I guess I will have to wait for the breakdown within 20 days time?

Hope that helps

Hi eternaloptimist! First and foremost, thank you for sharing your experience!

I'm having a hard time to do SC questions on time, as well as, suffering to find a good strategy on RC, can you help me? Can you throw some light in these issues?

I read Manhattan Prep books (SC - twice), but that's not helping...

Would you be willing to talk (Skype)?

Tks a lot!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2018, 18:54

Excellent debrief and congratulations on such an amazing score.

Thanks for the inputs regarding RC and CR sections. Your verbal score is very rare and such an inspiration.

All the best for your applications.
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GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V51
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2018, 20:47
Hi eternaloptimist,

I also received a perfectly answered V50 last November. I reached out to GMAC and they got back to me revising my verbal score to a 51. I went from Q51 V50 790 => Q51 V51 790. I missed one question on quant so it looks like 100% correct is the cutoff for 800, but I imagine you should receive a bump in your score to 790. If Q51 V50 is deserving of a 790, for sure Q50 V51 is. In any case, you have achieved an amazing score! Congratulations!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2019, 01:23
eternaloptimist wrote:
Hi guys, I had a lot of help from this community in preparing for the GMAT so decided to give back and do a debrief for future GMAT-takers. Will keep it short and sweet.

I think this will mainly be of help to those with a solid foundation in Math and English already. Prior to the prep I hadn't touched Math for close to 5 years but the great thing about GMAT Quant is that it really just tests relatively simple concepts but disguises it in various ways, and I was familiar with these concepts from my high school days (with a bit of refreshment help from the prep books).

The one thing I will say for those with solid Q/V backgrounds and aiming to score high is that it's all about mentality; you have to go into the centre prepared, gunning for that perfect 800 and looking to rip each question to shreds (yeah I know this is corny). For those coming from a humanities undergraduate background like me, if you think about it every question in the GMAT has either a right or wrong answer, which is much more straightforward than writing an essay where the mark will be influenced by the marker's subjectivity.

Materials Used: GMAT OG books, Manhattan Prep Books, GMATPrep Mock Exams (2), Manhattan Practice CATs (6)

I honestly feel that these are all the books you need, did not cover other books (e.g Kaplan / others) but Manhattan was very comprehensive on theory and the OG books on practice questions. Manhattan is definitely crucial for a deeper understanding of Geometry / Number Properties / Sentence corrections concepts, but OG guides give a better guide of how difficult the questions will be in the actual exam.

Decided to take the GMAT, searched online for the best books, ordered OG and Manhattan.
Day 1-5: Finished GMAT Official Guide (800 questions)
Day 6-8: Finished GMAT Official Verbal (300 questions)
Day 9: Took Manhattan CAT 1, ran out of time for Q and got the last 8 questions wrong. Final Score 710 (Q47, V40)
Day 10-12: Took a break from GMAT, brain was feeling fried.
Day 13-14: Blazed through Manhattan Quant books, only doing the harder practice questions.
Day 15-16: Blazed through Manhattan Verbal books, only doing the SC questions.
Day 17: Manhattan CAT 2. Again ran out of time for Q (jeez, Manhattan's Quant is literally impossible), got the last 6 questions wrong. Finished with 720 (Q46 V42).
Day 19: GMATPrep Test 1 (780, Q50 V47) at this point i realised Manhattan's Q was way harder than the real thing, so on all future Manhattan CATs i just paused without guilt when it came to a particular tough question as I knew in the real test I would have more time anyway. Would only recommend if you are sure you won't run out of time on the actual test though.
Day 20-21: Did CAT 3 (720, Q47 V42) and CAT 4 (780, Q51 V45).
Day 21-27: Was feeling pretty confident after CAT 4, so took a break for a week, intermittently doing the harder questions from the OG Quant Guide. Planned for a ramp-up in the last three days before the exams, doing a test per day.
Day 28: Manhattan CAT 5 (780, Q51 V45)
Day 29: GMAT Prep Test 2 (790, Q51 V48)
Day 30: Manhattan CAT 6 (780, Q51 V45)
Test day: Didn't get much sleep the night before. The test was booked for the afternoon, so I did some revision in the morning then took a taxi over to the test centre 30 minutes before. I thought Q wasn't too bad and V was alright apart from the one or two Sentence Correction questions of doom which seem to prop up every test. IR / AWA were the usual. Came out of the test and got the unofficial score of 780. Tinge of disappointment for the Q 50 especially since I'd been consistently hitting 51, but obviously very happy with the overall result.

- Make a timeline for yourself from the very beginning + Set goals for what scores you want to hit for each practice test.
- During preparation, for every, and I stress every, question that you do (whether from the CATs or the OG books) that you are unsure of, OR you feel like there can be a faster way to do it, flag it and go over the explanation in the answer sheets. I cannot stress this enough, whether you get the question right or not is inconsequential, the most important thing is understanding how to do it properly and how to do it fast. At the start of my revision I was flagging one in every 3 questions for about 500 questions, some might find it a huge pain to go over all the explanations but you'll come out of it with rock solid concepts to apply to all future questions.
- Not sure how one can prep for IR, but for AWA i found Manhattan as well as some resources on this forum pretty useful in terms of stuff like connectors ('further, in addition, moreover') and structuring your argument. Haven't gotten my AWA score yet though so take it with a grain of salt.
- Do Quant first then Verbal, I feel like mental fatigue really hits after the first section which hurts you much more for Quant (especially since I seem to always go closer to the time limit for Q), whereas for Verbal you can kind of slowly work your way through. Of course this is my personal opinion and may be different for others. V was just generally more pleasant for me to face after a good 75 minutes of numbers.
- Take both the 8 minutes breaks after the Q/V sections to steel yourself for the next section.

I hope that helps! Attached my scoresheet below.

P.S my earlier posts on other subforums were going off my CAT 4 scores, wanted to get advice on my profile asap so I could work on my applications beforehand.

Congrats)) I am happy for you. Very motivating debrief. One of the best that I have read last days.

If my post was helpful, press Kudos. If not, then just press Kudos !!!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt   [#permalink] 13 Jan 2019, 01:23

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