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

Fantastic job!! Thank you for sharing!!
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt [#permalink]
100% right questions on Verbal still didn't give the test-taker a V51? That's crazy.
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Re: GMAT Debrief: 780 (Q50, V50, IR8) with 30 days prep, first attempt [#permalink]
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