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I have visited this site often, but have contributed very little. I hope that posting my experience might be helpful to others. My first shot at the test was in October. I had prepared for about one month using Princeton Review, PowerPrep, and 800-Score. Although the advice on this site was to practice weaknesses and not concentrate completely on practice tests, I did not listen! I took many practice tests and obviously did not learn enough. My first attempt was a 570.
I immediately ordered the OG. Today I scored 660. I am not applying to a top ten, have a strong UG GPA, have a CPA license, and have 11 years experience. I think that I will stop with the 660. The odd thing is that I have always done well in math. The GMAT is an exception. My breakdown was 57% Quant and 94% Verbal.
I do want to point out my strategies over the last few weeks that helped to raise my score. Maybe it can help some of the others that have been surprised by low first time scores.
I worked OG. If I answered a problem incorrectly, I read the solution and worked the problem again. Just reading the solution is not enough. I also circled those questions. If a problem took too long, I studied the OG approach to determine if there was a better approach. I also circled these problems. After completing all problems, I started over with the circled ones and continued this procedure until I understood all the problems. Please do not make the mistake of reading the solution and moving on. I learned from experience that things do not stick if you do not work through them.
I also reviewed problems on this site. The strategies that I learned from others were very helpful. Learn from this site and contribute. I am very pleased with the helpful attitude that everyone has.
I think that my major problem with the Quant section is nerves and timing. The concepts on the exam were not very different from OG. I just seem to panic when the clock is running. Although I know that it is not easy, attempt to relax. It will make a difference. I think I could have hit 700 if I had relaxed.
There were no surprises in the verbal section. I have been very good at CR from the beginning and did not review that section of OG. RC requires practice. Always read the solutions in OG so that you get familiar with GMAT THINKING. SC has always been my verbal weakness, but the questions today did not seem that difficult. I worked OG and read all of the solutions. I think that is the best way to understand the types of errors that you will see on the test.
I hope that raising my score 90 points can give some encouragement to others that have been disappointed. Thank you to everyone on this site. You have made a difference. If I can answer any questions, I will be happy to try.
drodgers, I want to congratulate you on your tremendous score increase. You have solid work experience and that will definitely bolster your candidacy for your application. Also, I'm sure you could have done much better on your math section with your CPA background and a 700 would have been far from impossible for you . All the best in your future endeavors
Congrats on your great score..with the amount of work experience you have ....getting admitted to a top college would be a breeze.
Your verbal score is outstanding....would be great if you could give us some insights as to how to tackle RC.
"Start By Doing What Is Necessary ,Then What Is Possible & Suddenly You Will Realise That You Are Doing The Impossible"
I wish that I could provide good advice on RC, but I am not quite sure why I have done well in this. My approach to each passage was to attempt to clear my mind and read the passage as if I were reading a book for enjoyment. I did not allow myself to stop during the passage to digest details or to take notes. I just tried to grasp the main idea and the flow. This will usually answer at least one of the questions. For the more detailed questions, I new where to refer in the passage because I had a good grasp of the flow. I also used the tips on how to handle different types of questions from Princeton Review (scope, be narrow-minded, be careful of answers with aways, must, all, never). Some of the tips actually came from the CR section of the PR book. I never began by looking for the correct answer. I began by eliminating the incorrect answers.
I certainly don't want to sound like I enjoy RC. I was not happy to get two straight passages at the beginning of the test. They were relatively easy to read passages. I really think that on the last RC passage, I must have guessed well. It was difficult, and I think that by that point in the exam it is very hard to concentrate. People might test better on verbal if it came before quant. It is very hard to read a lengthy passage when you are completely exhausted. Based on that, my last thought is to get plenty of rest prior to the exam and take full advantage of breaks.