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# My 5-month journey from 700 (47Q,40V) to 740 (48Q, 44V)

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Current Student
Joined: 25 Jun 2012
Posts: 139
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V40
GMAT 2: 740 Q48 V44
GPA: 3.48
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 20 [2] , given: 18

My 5-month journey from 700 (47Q,40V) to 740 (48Q, 44V) [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2012, 02:01
2
KUDOS
Background: 24-year old male from Hawaii, a little over 2 years WE, BA in Business from small liberal arts university.

My first debrief can be found here:
http://gmatclub.com/forum/700-47q-40v-awa-5-0-ir-135811.html

After my first GMAT attempt in June, I knew I wanted to re-take it at some point in the not too distant future. After two months of studying for the first attempt, I still didn't feel 100% certain that I scored as high as I possibly could. I wanted to give myself enough time to feel comfortable in all facets of the GMAT, but still keep the pressure on myself to study. I originally booked my exam for November 12th, but around the end of October, I decided to re-schedule for December 6th.

Quant Prep:
During my first attempt, I thoroughly went through the MGMAT quant guides. In the five months between my first and second attempt, I never looked once at these guides. For me, the guides were great at understanding the basic principles, but applying the principles to problems is what was more important. Taking bmillan01's advice, I decided to purchase OG13, Jeff Sackmann's Extreme Challenge and the GMATClub Tests. I highly recommend all of these prep materials once the MGMAT quant guides have been exhausted. I've seen some complaints about JS Extreme Challenge containing too many Combination/Permutation problems, but I didn't mind. I wanted to perfect my ability to solve C/P problems, even if chances are I'll only see one or two of them on the real thing. I've read that the GMATClub quant tests were challenging, but I still wasn't prepared for the beatdown I would receive from these things. After each test, I reminded myself that these problems were 700-level questions that I wouldn't be likely to encounter during the real GMAT. Although the Extreme Challenge and GMATClub tests were discouraging, I think I learned a great deal from them in applying the basic principles to complex problems.

Verbal Prep:
Stuck to the PowerScore CR guide and MGMAT SC. During my first attempt, I jotted down notes for RC and CR questions. After reading the PowerScore CR guide, I realized that I could more effectively solve CR and RC problems without notes. The main takeaway I got from the PowerScore CR guide was how to approach the different types of questions. It outlines what you should be looking for for the different types of CR problems. Although the guide was primarily for attacking CR questions, I found it to be helpful in RC questions as well. Being a native English speaker, I thought SC would be my strong suit. However, after going through OG13 problems and practice tests, I found that this was not the case. I went through the MGMAT SC guide before my first attempt and took notes. During the re-take, I went through the guide two additional times and added any additional notes that I thought were important.

Practice, Practice, Practice:
I've noticed that a lot of high scorers and GMAT experts recommend "practicing smarter" not "harder." Doing the maximum amount of problems in the shortest amount of time is not the optimal way to prepare. It is not important how much practice material you get through, but rather how well you absorb the material. I knew that I wanted to do the entire OG13 guide, but I also made sure to take time to examine every single problem afterward. For both correct and incorrect problems, I examined the way I approached the problem vs. the official solutions and expert's methods. I tried to determine which technique was the most time efficient as well as easiest for me to remember/replicate in the future. I read a few articles on MGMAT's site on how to approach practice problems and timing techniques and found them to be very useful.

Test Day:
My exam was schedule for 8:00 AM. Before I got to the test center, I bought a Gatorade and some chocolate from the thrift store in the same building. The test center was empty since it was a week day. After choosing some schools, I started the AWA. Relatively straight forward, just broke down the argument and wrote the essay according to Chineseburned's guide. Next was IR. After scoring an 8 in my first attempt, I expected IR to be a breeze. I was moving along fine until I got to question 8 or so. It was a difficult probability problem. Can't say I was expecting that. I took probably 3 or 4 minutes solving that problem and quickly finished the rest before time ran out. The probability problem shook me up a bit, so I took the break to use the bathroom, drink some Gatorade, eat some chocolate and re-compose myself. The quant section was similar to GMATPrep problems in terms of difficulty. I was in zombie test taking mode, so I really don't remember exactly what types of problems were on the test (I consciously told myself to forget each problem once I hit the next button). By the end of the section, I knew I had underperformed. Despite all of the official practice materials I used, I still didn't feel 100% comfortable with the real GMAT's quant problems. Took the second break to use the bathroom, drink Gatorade and each some chocolate. Verbal section was slightly more difficult than the GMATPrep practice tests. Encountered a couple of difficult CR problems. I've read that the SC section on recent GMATs have been focusing more on meaning based questions. I would agree with this statement. I noticed slight word changes in answer choices that definitely alter the meaning of the sentence. Finished the verbal section with about 4 minutes left to solve one final SC problem. Skipped all the demographic questions since I filled out the info the first time. Decided to report my score and I was pretty excited to see 740 (48Q, 44V). I felt an extreme feeling of relief. I wanted a 760 and the 99th percentile distinction, but after a couple of weeks of reflection I decided not to get greedy and to be happy with a 740 and 97th percentile.

Practice Test Scores:
If anyone is interested in the correlation between practice tests and the real GMAT:

MGMAT 1: 640 (42Q, 35V)
MGMAT 2: 670 (40Q, 41V)
MGMAT 3: 720 (44Q, 43V)

GMATClub Diag: 47
GMATClub 1: 28
GMATClub 2: 34
GMATClub 3: 30
GMATClub 4: 32

GMATPrep 1: 740 (49Q, 41V)
GMATPrep 2: 730 (48Q, 41V)
GMATPrep 1 Reset: 760 (50Q, 44V)
GMATPrep 2 Reset: 760 (49Q, 44V)

OG13 PS: 86.96%
OG13 DS: 86.13%
OG13 RC: 87.05%
OG13 CR: 92.74%
OG13 SC: 87.86%

JSEC PS: 78.46%
JSEC DS: 78.79%

Real GMAT: 740 (48V, 44V), 5.0 AWA, 6 IR :/

Wasn't a fan of the MGMAT re-calibration. I didn't score very well on them and they felt "Kaplanized" to me in terms of scoring/difficulty. As previously mentioned, I got smashed by the GMATClub quant tests. The GMATPrep resets had a couple of repeat problems, contributing to my inflated scores and false hopes of getting a 760. I also added my strike rates for OG13 by section as well as Jeff Sackmann's Extreme Challenge. I had originally planned to do Bunuel's signature problems, but I ran out of time. I also found them very difficult and didn't want to mess with my confidence so close to the actual GMAT.

Thank Yous:
I would like to thank Bunuel, EvaJager and VeritasPrepKarishma for their contributions. When looking at quant problems, I often found myself looking for their solutions to the problem. They always have an efficient way to find the answers to even the most complicated questions. I would like to thank Ron Purewal and Stacey Koprince from Manhattan GMAT. If you have some time, check out their stuff on the MGMAT website and watch the Thursdays with Ron videos.

Final Thoughts:
I'm pretty stoked to finally put the GMAT behind me. It was such a huge relief to finally get it over with. I'm happy that I was able to score above any school's average. Hopefully my experience can help someone else out there with their prep. Good luck to everyone out there whether working on applications or studying for the GMAT. If anyone has any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Happy Holidays,
HImba88

Last edited by CA88 on 21 Dec 2012, 22:46, edited 1 time in total.
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SVP
Affiliations: HEC
Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 1636
Concentration: Economics, Finance
GMAT 1: 730 Q48 V44
Followers: 101

Kudos [?]: 647 [0], given: 432

Re: My 5-month journey from 700 (47Q,40V) to 740 (48Q, 44V) [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2012, 13:08
Excellent retake, HImba88! And thank you for the TWO debriefs. I also admire your persistence. Many test takers would have been satisfied with a 700, but you stuck with it.
_________________
Current Student
Joined: 25 Jun 2012
Posts: 139
Location: United States
GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V40
GMAT 2: 740 Q48 V44
GPA: 3.48
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 20 [0], given: 18

Re: My 5-month journey from 700 (47Q,40V) to 740 (48Q, 44V) [#permalink]

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18 Dec 2012, 00:55
bmillan01 wrote:
Excellent retake, HImba88! And thank you for the TWO debriefs. I also admire your persistence. Many test takers would have been satisfied with a 700, but you stuck with it.

Thanks bmillan01! I also noticed we're score breakdown twins (not even sure if that's a term?). Thank you for your kind words. I guess you could call it persistence in those five months. There were definitely a lot of ups and downs and periods of strong motivation then times when I felt like giving up. I was originally happy with a 700, but since I'm not applying this year I figured why not?
Re: My 5-month journey from 700 (47Q,40V) to 740 (48Q, 44V)   [#permalink] 18 Dec 2012, 00:55
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# My 5-month journey from 700 (47Q,40V) to 740 (48Q, 44V)

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