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# GMAT Results - 2nd attempt: 770 (Q49, V47)

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GMAT Results - 2nd attempt: 770 (Q49, V47) [#permalink]

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28 Dec 2006, 15:58
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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I got a 720 on my first shot at the GMAT and that my practice scores were much higher leading up to the test.

Well, I took the GMAT again this week and got a score much more indicative of my ability and in line with my previous performance on practice tests. 770 total (49Q, 47V).

I have to mention that the boards and challenges here had alot to do with the increased score. The math challenges are the best tools I've seen for sharpening GMAT-specific math skills.

I would be glad to share details if anyone's interested, but just wanted to let you guys know how much this site helped out.

Thanks,
artshep

Last edited by artshep on 16 Mar 2007, 09:31, edited 1 time in total.

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28 Dec 2006, 17:06
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Here's a debrief on a few aspects of the GMAT I dealt with:

This was my 2nd GMAT, so I'll try to put the summary below, after the prep and practice sections, in some sort of chronological order.

Preparation
Veritas Prep Course + materials - I took the intensive, 1-week version of this course back in October in NYC. Very good materials and good instructor. Highly recommended, although if you have the time, take the full 13-week course.
OG 11 - Unlike many others, I did not find this helpful at all. I found the practice questions to be rediculously easy and the concepts were not approached in depth.
Kaplan 800 - I thought this was quite helpful. There are too many GMAT books that take a shallow cut at the concepts and not enough that prepare you to confront the toughest questions. Although the math questions were easier than they should be, the majority of the book did help.
GMATClub.com Challenges - Probably the best tool for practicing math concepts and GMAT-specific problems. Typical questions will stack numerous concepts into a tough problem. Utilize these if you want to do some training by the over-reaching method (ie., practicing problems harder than you will face on the actual test).

Practice Exams
Thomson Arco - My scores ranged from 630-780 on these. Overall, not a bad test. The questions from both sections were similar in difficulty to the actuals.
Veritas practice tests - Decent tests. Not the best. The quality of a few questions were iffy at best.
800 Score - Absolutely horrible. The questions on these tests are of extremely poor quality. Mistakes ranged from blatant and numerous misspellings to missing information in the questions.
GMATPrep - Must take before the actual exams. My score on this test 2 days before the real thing was exactly the same as my official score.

Summary
My first test (on 11/20) wasn't taken under the best circumstances. I had little rest in the preceding days, and was doing some excessive work (during my actual work day). The result was a 720, which was not nearly what I expected and much lower than most of my practice exams.

Afterwards, I was adamant about re-taking it, even though many questioned a retake when the initial score was not bad by any means. My reasoning was pretty simple - I knew I could score much better.

So, I've spent the last 6 weeks or so (aside from a 4-day golf vacation in Florida) doing plenty of GMATClub challenges, practice tests, and general study.

Also, my mental approach to this latest test was a bit different. I came in much more relaxed (likely due to less stress), which I'm sure helped. I also paid very little attention to the clock, peaking at it only every 10 questions or so. This was something I actually had to discipline myself to do, rather than looking at the clock every minute, estimating how much time I have left per remaining question, etc.

So, I came into the test center very relaxed, with a very light attitude...almost as if I didn't care what I got.

The AWA was simple. Veritas teaches a formulaic approach, as I'm sure other courses do. Sticking to that approach makes it very easy. It's also effective. I'm assuming I got a 6.0 or close to it on this test, since that's what I got on the first one using the same technique.

The quant section tried as hard as it could to screw with my mind. I was sure after this section that I hadn't been able to break 45. The difficulty of some of the later questions I was receiving was pretty low. Later, I though this might have more to do with building up a strong tolerance with GMATClub challenges. So I finished quant with about a quarter of a second left. I actually thought I didn't get my last answer in before the time expired. Anyway, I didn't let what I thought was a poor performance bother me too much going into the verbal, which was key.

Verbal got very tough towards the middle and stayed that way all the way through. With the exception of the RC questions (they were fairly straightforward), everything from question 15 onwards was challenging. I actually got a question in the verbal that I had seen in one of the GMATPrep tests, which I thought was strange.

So, I finished verbal with about 1 minute left and prepared for the worst. I really felt terrible at this point about my performance. I estimated a 670-690 score, and was leaning towards cancelling my score. The only thing that stopped me from doing so was the fact that I wouldn't get to see them. My reasoning was that not knowing what score I got would be worse than simply not dong well . It would have just eaten me up inside.

So, of course, I decided to book the scores and send them to the schools I chose. One of the Veritas instructors once mentioned that the really great GMAT scores occur when you feel like you've done terribly. That was definitely the case here, as I saw a 770 pop up on the screen.

The 49 in quant was 90th% (little disappointed in that - was hoping to break 50), and the 47 in verbal was 99th%. Total score of 770, into the 99th%.

All in all, I felt this was much closer to what I was capable of on the GMAT and am very satisfied with the score and what it might mean with regards to the application process.

If you guys have any questions about any of the stuff in my summary, let me know. I would be glad to clarify.

Thanks and much appreciation to everyone on the GMATClub forums for contributing. You guys helped me out a ton!

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28 Dec 2006, 21:53
What did you do to prepare for the verbal part? I also got a 720 on my first take and want to retake to get 750+.

Edit: My practice GMATPrep scores a couple days before the exam were 730 and 760.

Thanks and congrats on the score.

Last edited by swbluedevil on 30 Jun 2008, 17:40, edited 2 times in total.

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28 Dec 2006, 22:24
SW,

I'll break down my suggestions for the verbal section by question type.

- Sentence Correction -
First and foremost, I would recommend Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Reading the first half of the book is essential for understanding the grammar concepts that will be tested on the GMAT's SC questions. Learn those concepts inside and out. You should not only be able to pick out incorrect sentences, but understand why they are incorrect. It should eventually become formulaic and mechanical for you. You should be able to read a sentence and say "WRONG - misplaced modifier" or "WRONG - passive voice", etc. Sounds corny, but that really is the mindset. A sentence just "sounding" correct is not good enough - you really have to be familiar with grammatical concepts and proper sentence structure.

Sentence correction is the portion of the verbal that can be improved on the most, so for anyone with room to improve on verbal, this is where that improvement is most likely to happen. Once you have the concepts down, do as many of these questions as you can get your hands on.

This requires a little more inherent skill than SC. One trick that people fail to realize is that most answers to RC questions are embedded in the passages themselves. Unlike CR, which I'll get to shortly, RC questions often refer to explicit statements made in the passages. As you read RC passages, try to keep track in your mind of what the author is really trying to get across and have a mental outline of how the passage progresses. This will help you pinpoint exactly where to look for the answers.

- Critical Reasoning -
Again, this part requires a bit more inherent skill than SC, but it can be improved on. Familiarize yourself with the types of CR questions. If you don't know the SWIMMER acronym, let me know and I'll explain. Unlike RC, CR questions often ask you to plug in conclusions or infer information from the passage. In other words, you are not asked to identify explicit statements made, but rather to fill in information based on the meaning you've extracted from the paragraph or two given. CR is, in my opinion, the toughest to improve on. However, consistent practice with tough CR problems will help. Again, you need to develop a tough mindset with these. Answers that just "sound" or "feel" right are not good enough. You have to be able to logically rule out wrong answers and, by the same token, logically arrive at the correct answers through a process.

For all of these types of questions, high volume practice is key. Based on your score, which is already very good, you should be working on the toughest problems you can find. Do as many practice exams and questions as you can, always making sure you fully understand the answers you come up with. Try the Kaplan 800 for Advanced Students text - it has some great sections on SC, RC, and CR.

Your quant score is excellent and with a little work, you should be able to get the verbal score up there in the 90% as well.

Good luck and be sure to send me a PM to let me know how the second try goes.

Artis

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28 Dec 2006, 22:38
GREAT Job! Congrats!

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29 Dec 2006, 14:23
Congratulations! And thanks for your detailed debrief. I am struggling with verbal right now. I know my math needs improvement too, but I am hoping that will come with more practice.

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30 Dec 2006, 05:37
dear artshep , what is the SWIMMER acronym you are mentioning ? Did you use any of the 1000s document series for RC|SC|CR? Thanks!

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30 Dec 2006, 08:04
tobiastt wrote:
dear artshep , what is the SWIMMER acronym you are mentioning ? Did you use any of the 1000s document series for RC|SC|CR? Thanks!

Hey Tobias,

The SWIMMER acronym is just a way to remember the different types of CR questions you'll see on the GMAT. All of them will fall into one of the following categories and it's a good idea to become familiar with all of them.

S - Strengthen. These types will ask you to identify a missing premise that would support/strengthen the conclusion.
W - Weaken. Opposite of strengthen.
I - Inference. These types will ask you to identify an assumption made in the CR passage.
M - Mimic the Reasoning. Correct answer will precisely match the logic structure of the stimulus. Pretty rare.
M - Method of Reasoning. Focuses on the style/approach of the stimulus argument. Also pretty rare.
E/R - Explain/Resolve - Asks you to explain an apparent discrepancy in the stimulus.

I didn't use the 1000s series...not even really sure what those are. I did make good use of the book Elements of Style, which is useful for learning the grammar rules for SC.

For CR and RC, there really was no material I used to help me on this, although the Kaplan 800 text would be one I would recommend to give you exposure to harder RC and CR questions.

The best thing for me was to do a ton of questions on practice exams and work on your focus and concentration. For RC, answers are usually embedded in the text and it's a matter of remembering where to look within the passage to find the answer. For CR, mental focus and ability to concentrate is a big deal. You should be able to use logic and reasoning to arrive at your final answer - don't just depend on feel.

Best of luck!

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31 Dec 2006, 11:13
which math tools helped you increase your score?

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31 Dec 2006, 13:30
artshep,
Where can I gain access to Thomson Arco's practice exams? Thanks and congratulations!

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31 Dec 2006, 16:17
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LisaBiz wrote:
which math tools helped you increase your score?

Lisa,

Without a doubt, the math challenges here at GMATClub.com were the best tools I used to improve my math skills. They tend to layer numerous concepts, pitfalls, etc., into single problems. The net effect is that, after doing several of them, your tolerance for tough math rises and the regular GMAT questions (although they are tough and shouldn't be taken lightly) seem a bit easier to deal with.

In addition to that, keep track of all the math questions you missed from practice exams and make sure you are familiar with all the concepts. There are only so many concepts out there that the GMAT can test you on; it's the ways in which they deliver problems that change. So, doing an enormous amount of practice problems will expose you to the concepts and get you used to the various delivery mechanisms used to test those concepts.

Lastly, work on your timing. Make sure that you are not falling into traps that really kill time. For example, don't find the actual numeric answer on DS questions if you don't need to. I've also fallen into the trap in the past of doing alot of binary math when I found a tough probability problem because I didn't know the correct formula to use - so make sure you're grounded in the tough probability concepts so you don't make those same mistakes.

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31 Dec 2006, 16:20
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a320 wrote:
artshep,
Where can I gain access to Thomson Arco's practice exams? Thanks and congratulations!

a320,

I received the Arco tests in the package I got with my class at Veritas (http://www.veritasprep.com).

However, you can check the site below and buy the tests for a small fee (\$20 or so), or look into any of their other test prep tools.

http://www.petersons.com/testprep/default.asp?id=881&path=gr.pft.gmat

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01 Jan 2007, 13:45
Thank you so much for the tips. The Math is what is killing me on increasing my score. It is so incredibly frustrating. Even though I crunch numbers everyday at work, I haven't done any "real" math since 2002! I am taking the exam tomorrow and if I can just increase my math a bit, I have a chance.
I am spending the better part of today reviewing some math review discs I have to go over the concepts I did poorly on. I am hoping that helps
Ciao

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01 Jan 2007, 13:51
Artshep....one more thing.

I have taken the PrincetonReview ExpressOnline course. I found it helpful for about 70% of what I am doing on certain things.
I have not found it helpful for math at all and ironically, when taking their practice exams I had a passing score. BUT when I took the MBAtest prep disc (that is based on the actual test) I scored far worse (??!!) what a nightmare.

You mentioned Veritasprep.com, is that what you used? Did you find it helpful?
I have not looked into them yet.

thanks again.

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01 Jan 2007, 17:22
LisaBiz wrote:
Artshep....one more thing.

I have taken the PrincetonReview ExpressOnline course. I found it helpful for about 70% of what I am doing on certain things.
I have not found it helpful for math at all and ironically, when taking their practice exams I had a passing score. BUT when I took the MBAtest prep disc (that is based on the actual test) I scored far worse (??!!) what a nightmare.

You mentioned Veritasprep.com, is that what you used? Did you find it helpful?
I have not looked into them yet.

thanks again.

Lisa,

A solid foundation in the math concepts is really essential for getting a good quant score. For now, though, since your test is tomorrow, just go in as confident as you can and don't try to learn too much in the last few hours/days leading up to it.

If you plan on taking the test again after tomorrow, I would definitely recommend getting a refresher course in math (from anywhere - book, website, whatever) to get you grounded in the basics. After that, it's really just a matter of practice and exposure to different problems. Understand that the level of math tested is not super-sophisticated, and anyone can understand it, and consequently post a good score, with the right instruction.

The VeritasPrep course I took was a live course. They're offered all over the country. Veritas is expensive, but these guys seem to be on the cutting edge of GMAT preparation. Check out http://www.veritasprep.com for more information (how's that for a sales pitch? )

The course I took from them was a week-long intensive course where you're holed up for 9 hours every day for a week with the instructor and a dozen or so other students. You could also go for the standard 13-week course if you have the time and inclination.

In any case, let me know what your plans are after tomorrow. Feel free to PM me and I can give you my email for future comms. If you think you might try the test again to increase your score, I have plenty of suggestions and I'd be happy to help you in any way I can.

Best of luck!

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02 Jan 2007, 22:20
Hi Artshep,

Congratulation for getting a gr8 score. Hey I am new to GMAT preparation and targetting atleast an year for preparation alongwith my work. I need you guidance for starting my preparation right from the material to approach.

I will appreciate your help in setting my preparation path right.

Thanks
Gaurav

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03 Jan 2007, 08:49
singhag wrote:
Hi Artshep,

Congratulation for getting a gr8 score. Hey I am new to GMAT preparation and targetting atleast an year for preparation alongwith my work. I need you guidance for starting my preparation right from the material to approach.

I will appreciate your help in setting my preparation path right.

Thanks
Gaurav

Gaurav,

It's great that you've targeted a good amount of time for GMAT preparation. However, it's important to focus more on the quality of the preparation than the overall study window. I believe 3-6 months of intense studying is optimal and will reduce the chances of any "burn-out" happening. You've budgeted a year, which is great, but if at anytime before that year is over you feel ready to take the test, go ahead and do it.

Here's some recommendations I would have:

-- Classes --
There are tons of great classes to choose from out there. I only have experience with one of them - Veritas Prep - and would recommend it if you have the money to spend and the inclination to enroll. You can check their website for more info (http://www.veritasprep.com). Kaplan, Manhattan, and others also have classes worth looking into.

When I took the Veritas course, I opted for the intensive method, which packs nearly 50 hours of study into one week. I chose this way because I felt I was already grounded in the basics and just needed to fill a few gaps in a small period of time. If, however, you want to spread your learning over a comfortable time frame, go for their full 13-week course. You can take your time, go into depth on all the concepts, and have plenty of access to instructors.

-- Practice Exams --
These are a big part of GMAT preparation. If you enroll in a classroom course, you'll most likely be supplied several different practice exams. With Veritas, I was given access to 5 Veritas tests, 5 800Score tests, 3 Thomson-Arco tests, and was also pointed to mba.com to download their practice test software (more on that specific test later).

As you take these practice exams, it's best to approach them as if they are real GMAT test situations. Allocate time to take them in advance, find a quiet spot, and go through the entire test wing to wing. This last is flexible. There may be times when you want to skip the AWAs, which is fine, as long as you do at least a few tests all the way through to get used to the 3.5 hours of mental strain required.

Also, it's important to track your practice test scores and make copies of all questions you missed on those tests. At the end of my preparation, I had a stack of missed questions about 4 inches in height. I went through every single one of them, understanding why I missed them, what mistakes I made, and so on.

Scores on the practice tests are relatively important, but don't put too much faith in them. Aside from the GMATPrep, practice test scores are not extremely accurate and should be used more for study than score-gauging.

-- GMATPrep Practice Test --
These are the closest you can get to the actual test before the real thing. They are downloaded from mba.com. I would recommend taking one early on in your preparation to gauge exactly where you are naturally. Later on, after some intensive studying and as your real test date approaches, take another one to get a realistic idea of where your abilities are for this test. Most people I know score within 20 points of their GMATPrep score on the real thing. I actually took the GMATPrep test 2 days before the real thing and scored exactly the same score.

-- GMATClub.com Math Challenges --
These are the absolute best tool for preparing for the quant section of the GMAT. The guys here have done a tremendous job of stacking concepts into single problems and presenting them in tricky ways. I can not recommend these enough for your preparation. You'll have to shell out a few bucks to get access to them, but it's worth it.

-- Other Study Material --
There are plenty of GMAT books out there to choose from. I only found one that was really worth anything - "Kaplan 800 for Advanced Students".

The Official Guide is the other one I would recommend, although I found it less helpful than many others.

GMATClub.com message boards are great for exercising both your quant and verbal skills. There are some unbelievably talented and brilliant minds on this board and you would be wise to take advantage.

-- Attitude/Approach --
Gotta have the right mental approach. Your study for the GMAT will eat into your social life if you are serious about getting a good score. That's something you'll have to accept, especially if you're also employed, as many of us are.

It's been said that the GMAT score is a function more of the tester's focus and commitment to prepare than his natural ability. I definitely believe in that (although knowing your stuff sure helps).

Another point about your approach. Recognize that the GMAT concepts are not super-tough. They are high school level concepts presented in tricky ways. Once you have a certain amount of practice, you'll get very comfortable with the ways in which GMAT question-makers try to trick you.

I hope all of this helps. If there are any other specific Qs you have, just let me know.

Artis

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03 Jan 2007, 22:00
Artshep
Your advice is golden. I am kicking myself I did not do a the GMATpreptest to gauge where I was sooner.
I am back to the grindstone.
Took my exam yesterday and was sat next to a person with bronchitis who hacked and coughed for the entire test (except for the last 40 minutes). After complaining and having an incident report filed because of the disruption (3 others complained also), I now have to retake the exam before March 15th and am being "accepted" on a conditional basis into my MBA program.
I will be following your advice now that I have another 2 1/2 months to "redo" the exam.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this site.

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04 Jan 2007, 06:12
Hey thanks Artshep for your advice ......it is reallya kickoff for me and I will stick to it...will ping you again if during preparation I am stuck .....or got demotivated

Thanks
Gaurav

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04 Jan 2007, 07:52

Quote:
It's been said that the GMAT score is a function more of the tester's focus and commitment to prepare than his natural ability. I definitely believe in that (although knowing your stuff sure helps).

GMAT can be tamed and was shown time and again by many of our clubbers..

cheers

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# GMAT Results - 2nd attempt: 770 (Q49, V47)

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