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GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)

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GMAT 1: 740 Q48 V42
GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2018, 15:47
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Hi everyone,

I took the GMAT this July and got a 740. Here’s some notes about my experience. Feel free to ask me anything!

Background


I’ve been teaching and tutoring since college (well, really tutoring since 4th grade, when the teacher had students with math questions come to me or another student first before going to him). About a year ago, I started tutoring the GRE, and that quickly led to tutoring the GMAT. I really like tutoring the GMAT, and I realized if I wanted to get serious about this, I would need to take it for real.

Prep


I didn’t do a whole lot of prep, as I had already been working with GMAT questions for a while, and it is my experience that once someone has a good grasp of the content, additional gains are small and difficult to achieve. Since my verbal scores were good, I mostly focused on ironing out any math properties I wasn’t 100% sure of. Here’s the list, along with my notes (in parentheses) and resources I used:

-combining inequalities (add only, cannot multiply or divide variables if I do not know the sign—because of this, cannot cross-multiply most inequalities)

-remainder properties (dividend = divisor*quotient + remainder, define range and find possible multiples of answer) https://www.veritasprep.com/blog/2016/0 ... ions-easy/

-even/odd division properties (https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/reso ... -evens.cfm)

-number of factors (add one to each exponent of the prime factorization, then multiply them)

-work-rate with multiple machines (work = individual rate * number of workers * time)
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-work-rate-problems/


-divisibility rules
https://brilliant.org/wiki/proof-of-divisibility-rules/

-prime number list (memorize as much as possible)
https://math.tutorvista.com/number-syst ... o-100.html

-intersection of three sets
https://gmatclub.com/forum/of-the-300-s ... 34147.html
https://gmatclub.com/forum/advanced-ove ... 44260.html

I also reviewed any questions that I struggled with in the past, until I could quickly guide myself through the problem from the beginning.

Lastly, I drove by the test center a few times so I wouldn’t have any trouble finding it on test day.

Materials


-OG 2018, Math and Verbal (went over these multiple times with students and alone)
-Kaplan GMAT 800 (this was the bulk of my prep, just answering all of the math questions and reviewing anything I got wrong—about 15% of the questions)
-GMATClub Question banks—mainly 600+ DS questions
-Anything my students wanted to review—mainly questions from GMATPrep CATs

Practice Tests


Since I had already seen questions from all of the official CATs (students often give me screenshots of questions they missed), I didn’t want to inflate my score by taking a GMATPrep exam. So I stuck to third-party exams, mainly to get a feel for the test and iron out any timing issues.

CAT1: Veritas Prep, 690 (Q47 V38)
Didn’t do any specific prep for this one. I was planning to just take the Quant section (which I did first), but then decided to do the Verbal as well. I had not taken a standardized test for a long time, so I was a little rusty.

CAT2: Veritas Prep, 740 (Q50 V41)
One week later. I didn’t do any prep except looking at the questions I got wrong the last time, but I knew what to expect and was fully committed to doing both sections from the beginning. I opted to take the Verbal first, since I was a bit more comfortable with it—I think this was a good decision. I managed my time well on both sections, finishing only a minute or two ahead.

CAT3: Economist, 680 (Q51, V34, IR8)
About a month later. I prepped just for the Quant, with the Kaplan 800 book and 600-800 level questions on GMATClub, 30 minutes to an hour per day. I sometimes tell students who struggle with testing anxiety, but are otherwise solidly prepared, to take practice tests in different environments. I took my own advice and headed to a local coffee shop to take my third CAT. It wasn’t busy, but there was fairly loud music playing. I took the Verbal section first again. The music threw me off more than I had expected and I found it hard to concentrate at first. I started getting behind on time and then went too quickly—I finished 12 minutes early. Looking back, I got the first five questions right, so I think if I had just been able to trust that I would have been able to catch up, I could have scored much higher. Instead, I performed poorly on quite a few of those middle questions (especially reading comp) and may have never got the chance to catch up again.

For the Quant, I was feeling comfortable and was managing my time well. Then, the internet went out! I lost five minutes before I could reconnect (and this was counted—I had one question with time spent at 6 mins 50 secs). This created a time crunch at the end, so I just clicked a few answers that I would have liked to double-check. I guess this didn’t hurt me, though, because I got the 51!
Overall, I was very happy with this CAT—I knew the bad verbal score was a fluke, and getting the Q51, especially with the time loss, boosted my confidence.

Test Day (740: Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)


First, I should say that I did take the GMAT about two weeks before this, and cancelled my score (690: Q44, V40), because I really needed to use the restroom about 15 minutes into the quant section. So, tip #1: don’t make drinking lots of water your coping strategy!
This time, I watched my liquid intake probably a bit too carefully (I was very thirsty after the test!), but it was worth it.

I took the Verbal section first, taking full advantage of the tutorial screen to write “12345” thirty-five times in my test booklet. I, at least, can’t do verbal questions without some way of noting which answers I’ve eliminated, and doing this in the test takes away time and mental energy from answering the questions. I’m sure this helped me reach my thus-far personal best of V42. I also used the tutorial time to make a chart denoting how many questions I should have left every ten minutes—I referred back to this several times throughout the test, which helped me see that I was on time, and could continue to read thoroughly.

For my first break, I followed the instructions on the screen: Accept the break, then raise your hand. Do not do this!! I waited for over a minute for the lady to see me, which was taken out of my break. I ended up getting back a minute late, and that time was taken from my exam. I did run a bit short on time at the end—I’m fairly certain I got the last question wrong, but could have gotten it right if I had had that extra minute. I probably could have avoided this by eating more before I went in for the exam—I was hungry so I took time to eat a small snack.

For Quant, I used the 30-second instructions screen to make another chart with questions left every ten minutes. I think I might have benefitted from more detail, with questions answered per five-minute period—there were a few points that I was in the middle of a ten-minute period and wasn’t quite sure if I was behind. Losing the minute wasn’t a great start, but I knew I knew the content and made up that time quickly. Then I started hitting some very high-level questions (I’m assuming), and had some trouble deciding whether to guess or stick with them a little longer. This led to me being a little short on time near the end—I probably would have done better to keep to a strict 2-minute limit on the hard questions. Overall, though, I felt confident and knew I did well.

My second break, I waited to click “yes” until I was seen, but of course that time I didn’t need it—argh!

IR and AWA were uneventful, although I must have made some simple mistakes in IR, as I got a 6 (I had always gotten a perfect 8 before). For AWA, I just followed the format used in the top-scoring sample essay from mba.com (https://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-exam/gm ... stion.aspx).

Aftermath


Overall, I’m happy with my score—I’ve cleared the median at the top B-schools. I do think I’m capable of a better Quant score, given my Q51 and Q50 on the Economist and Veritas Prep tests. If I were taking the GMAT for business school, I wouldn’t have any reason to retake. But, as I love to help students with the Quant section, I think I could do a bit better. Retaking the GRE is currently higher on my list (my last score is from 2012), but I might consider a GMAT retake early next year. I think taking the Quant section first would be a good move, as I think taking the Verbal section first did give me a slight edge in that section.
Additionally, the essay has always been my weak spot on standardized tests, so I was very pleased to get a perfect score—I guess a year of telling students what the graders are looking for paid off!

General Tips



(these are a mixture from both my personal and tutoring experience)

-For Quant, make sure you know the basics backwards and forwards. The GMAT doesn’t care if you almost got it right. This includes having paper calculations (long addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals) down cold and being able to write them neatly so you never have to interpret your own writing!

- (Also for Quant.) Strategies are great, but you won’t always remember when and how to use them under the pressure of the test. They can also leave you high and dry if you never learned the concepts behind them and the question is worded strangely. Don’t underestimate the power of working through a few carefully chosen examples if that elegant method isn’t coming to you.

-Know how you are going to structure your notepad. Different things work for different people, so I won’t give any hard rules, but I would look at this article for ideas: https://www.prepscholar.com/gmat/blog/g ... tch-paper/. If you try anything fancy, test it out before test day.

-For RC and CR, always, always try to understand the author’s main point or claim. Don’t assume you know what it is because you get the “general idea” of the passage. Be very specific and tie to statements from the text. With my students, the majority of incorrect answers can be traced back to this—when I ask them to tell me the main idea, they see the problem with their current answer 80% of the time.

-I know most people suggesting reading the passage first for RC—I have more success reading the question first. I usually end up re-reading relevant parts as I go through the questions anyway, so I want to know what I am looking for. I’d try this if reading the passage first doesn’t feel right for you.

-For SC, look for errors first. You will see one, and can eliminate two or three choices immediately. Review questions you got wrong, and make a list of any grammar rules that give you trouble. Practice simplifying sentences to subject-verb-object—this will help you capture any errors that can get buried in complex sentences.

Please reach out with any questions! Best of luck to everyone on their GMAT journey!
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https://audrazook.com

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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2018, 17:49
Congratulations on your awesome score.
Since you had a timing strategy, would you mind sharing it? Also can you recommend a good source for practing verbal other than OG? How did you study IR.
Thanks in advance :)
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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 05:29
Congratulations azooktutor. Thanks for the links. They will come in handy during my prep. Do you have any good recommendation(s) for learning probability concepts? Probability is one area I know I struggle with.

Cheers!
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GMAT 1: 740 Q48 V42
Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 05:52
1
Gagoosh wrote:
Congratulations on your awesome score.
Since you had a timing strategy, would you mind sharing it? Also can you recommend a good source for practicing verbal other than OG? How did you study IR.
Thanks in advance :)


I attached the timing chart I used. The larger charts on the left seemed a little too detailed, so I made simpler ones on the right (with the red headings). Starting a few days before the test, I practiced writing down the chart whenever I thought about it. Doing this at random times was important--it was easy to forget how to start (just as it might be in the middle of the test), but after several days of this I had them down cold. For the Verbal chart, I knew I started by writing the minutes (55, 45, 35, etc.) then the number of questions (6, 11, 17, 22, 28, 33 -- alternating between adding "5" and "6" each time). For Quant, I also started with minutes (52, 42, 32, etc.) then questions (5, 10, 15, etc. -- adding "5" each time).

I always checked my the number of questions left at the intervals listed (so I checked Verbal at 55 minutes, 45 minutes, etc. and Quant at 52 minutes, 42 minutes, etc.), but I ended up checking a few times in the middle of these intervals as well. As I noted in the debrief, this was fine for Verbal but I could have used more detail for Quant. For someone who has more trouble with Verbal, it might be reversed (although Verbal timing should not be quite a strict since reading passages will naturally take more time).

In general, if I was on time or slightly ahead, I tried to keep my pace--working carefully and slowly enough to avoid mistakes, but not any more slowly or carefully than I needed. If I was a little behind, then I knew I had to seriously consider choosing my best guess and moving on. If I thought I was almost there, however, I would stick with it a little longer (30 seconds, 1 minute max).

For Verbal practice, I think Princeton Review's Verbal Workout for the GMAT is decent. You won't get many high-level questions, so I wouldn't recommend it for advanced prep, but it has a nice breakdown of the basics. I found it very approachable (whereas OG explanations can be a bit convoluted). If you internalize everything in that book, you should have solid performance on the Verbal section. For the finer points, GMATClub's QOTD, if you haven't signed up for it already, has challenging content and (of course!) great explanations.

I never studied for IR--I got an 8 on my first practice test and students very rarely ask about it, so I didn't see the point. I think the main thing is keeping track of all the information--you're often using X to look up Y, and then Y to look up Z, and then relating that back to A. So write down each step--that can stop you from losing track of what you are doing. There are other problems that ask you to select two quantities that go with the problem. If I had to guess, I think those were the ones I missed. I remember being a bit worn out at that point and may have been sloppy in my calculations. Take advantage of the calculator, and write down everything you try--you don't want to waste time doing something twice!
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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 07:51
Many Congratulations azooktutor for scoring so high.
And thanks a ton for sharing those helpful tips, the time chart seems to be handy during the exam.
I will try to use time chart and track my speed on my next mock, so that i get acquainted with it on D-DAY.
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Thanks :-)

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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 10:40
Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on your great score!

Ill make sure to check the materials you provided as well.

All the best for the road ahead,
Chris
_________________

A couple of things that helped me in verbal:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-strategies-268700.html#p2082192

Gmat Prep CAT #1: V42, Q34, 630
Gmat Prep CAT #2: V46, Q35, 660
Gmat Prep CAT #3: V41, Q42, 680

On the mission to improve my quant score, all help is appreciated! :)

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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 11:37
funsogu wrote:
Congratulations azooktutor. Thanks for the links. They will come in handy during my prep. Do you have any good recommendation(s) for learning probability concepts? Probability is one area I know I struggle with.

Cheers!


Thanks! This resource has a good overview of probability concepts, especially if you respond better to seeing math concepts written out in words rather than in formulas: https://www.prepscholar.com/gmat/blog/g ... questions/

For targeted practice, here are some official questions in probability: https://gmatclub.com/forum/search.php?s ... mit=Search

I think the key things to remember for probability are (1), multiply probabilities for separate events (e.g., two die rolls) but add probabilities for different instances of the same event (e.g., rolling a four or a five) and (2), remember to decrement appropriately if you are choosing without replacement (e.g., if three out of ten marbles are red, the probability of drawing two reds is \((3/10)*(2/9)\) not \((3/10)*(2/10)\).
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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6)  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 20:21
azooktutor wrote:
Gagoosh wrote:
Congratulations on your awesome score.
Since you had a timing strategy, would you mind sharing it? Also can you recommend a good source for practicing verbal other than OG? How did you study IR.
Thanks in advance :)


I attached the timing chart I used. The larger charts on the left seemed a little too detailed, so I made simpler ones on the right (with the red headings). Starting a few days before the test, I practiced writing down the chart whenever I thought about it. Doing this at random times was important--it was easy to forget how to start (just as it might be in the middle of the test), but after several days of this I had them down cold. For the Verbal chart, I knew I started by writing the minutes (55, 45, 35, etc.) then the number of questions (6, 11, 17, 22, 28, 33 -- alternating between adding "5" and "6" each time). For Quant, I also started with minutes (52, 42, 32, etc.) then questions (5, 10, 15, etc. -- adding "5" each time).

I always checked my the number of questions left at the intervals listed (so I checked Verbal at 55 minutes, 45 minutes, etc. and Quant at 52 minutes, 42 minutes, etc.), but I ended up checking a few times in the middle of these intervals as well. As I noted in the debrief, this was fine for Verbal but I could have used more detail for Quant. For someone who has more trouble with Verbal, it might be reversed (although Verbal timing should not be quite a strict since reading passages will naturally take more time).

In general, if I was on time or slightly ahead, I tried to keep my pace--working carefully and slowly enough to avoid mistakes, but not any more slowly or carefully than I needed. If I was a little behind, then I knew I had to seriously consider choosing my best guess and moving on. If I thought I was almost there, however, I would stick with it a little longer (30 seconds, 1 minute max).

For Verbal practice, I think Princeton Review's Verbal Workout for the GMAT is decent. You won't get many high-level questions, so I wouldn't recommend it for advanced prep, but it has a nice breakdown of the basics. I found it very approachable (whereas OG explanations can be a bit convoluted). If you internalize everything in that book, you should have solid performance on the Verbal section. For the finer points, GMATClub's QOTD, if you haven't signed up for it already, has challenging content and (of course!) great explanations.

I never studied for IR--I got an 8 on my first practice test and students very rarely ask about it, so I didn't see the point. I think the main thing is keeping track of all the information--you're often using X to look up Y, and then Y to look up Z, and then relating that back to A. So write down each step--that can stop you from losing track of what you are doing. There are other problems that ask you to select two quantities that go with the problem. If I had to guess, I think those were the ones I missed. I remember being a bit worn out at that point and may have been sloppy in my calculations. Take advantage of the calculator, and write down everything you try--you don't want to waste time doing something twice!



Thank you Audra, much appreciate :) All the best with your applications.

PS: I will, however, come back to you if I am stuck again. :)
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Re: GMAT Tutor Debrief: 740 (Q48, V42, IR6, AWA6) &nbs [#permalink] 08 Aug 2018, 20:21
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