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# My GMAT experience : 580 to 720

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My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 02:54
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GMAT 720 (Q 45, 77% ; V 44, 97%)

This note might be particularly useful if you have not really been a class topper, have never attempted competitive exams and have never fancied your chances on the Math Olympiad and yet wonder how to do well on the GMAT.

The beginning:

It was in 2005 when I decided to do the GMAT for the first time. At that point, I was not too clear about what I wanted to achieve. I bought the Princeton Guide and the Kaplan Guide. I wasn’t even aware of the official reviews. After two months of some very shabby studying I attempted the test and got a 580. Obviously I was disappointed, but since I wasn’t too clear about an MBA anyway, I decided to just leave the score aside.

Only a few months back, around Jan of this year I decided that I needed to get into a top B School and I knew that a 580, or for a matter of fact, a 650 might not be enough. I knew that 700 was great. I quickly did some research and built on some good study material. I added the official guide to my study material. The first 15 days of Jan was slow with a mix of quant and verbal practice from the OG. It got a little more intense towards the third week and that’s when I attempted my first GMAT PREP test. I got a 650. At that point, I was pretty satisfied and decided to take the real exam around Mid-April. This I thought would give me about 3 months to get from a 650 to a 700. Sounded simple enough. But let me tell you one thing – once you reach the 650 mark every additional 10 points takes a lot more effort. I continued with some practice with the OG (I really thought that reworking questions over and over again just got me more familiar and comfortable) and also continued taking at least one-two prep tests a week (I know there are only 2 available but more about these tests a little later). I reached the 670-690 mark by I think the middle of Feb. My verbal was stronger than my quant. I was at around 45 in quant and around 40 in verbal. I knew I needed some help with my quant basics especially number properties. After some research I decided to buy the MGMAT Number properties and SC (my SC was not too bad but had received great reviews about MGMAT so I decided to get the book myself)

Through March I also took the MGMAT tests. These are much harder than the real tests and I think these should be used for practice only. I did not time myself on these tests. Also, it might be wise to read your performance on these tests based on incorrect answers rather than the overall score. Im not too sure about the method of scoring used in these tests. I would score a 47-48 in quant with around 15 incorrect. I wonder if that’s possible in the real GMAT. But all in all, these tests are very good practice. If you manage to get less than 10 incorrect, each in quant and verbal you are doing very well indeed.

I took the GMAT prep test several times in the build up towards my exam date and started reaching 720-740 (verbal questions repeat pretty often but you will find only around 4-5 repeats in quant each time you take the test) . I realised that quant was my area of weakness and decided to get the Quant OG for additional practice. Soon, closer to my test I started scoring around 760-770 in the Prep tests with scores of about 48-50 in quant.

Test Day:

I must admit, I was pretty nervous. The AWA was fine even though I had never practiced it before. My first quant question was a ripper. I spent around 4-5 mins on this question and this I think summed up my performance. I really never recovered from here and realised towards the middle of the test that I was getting nowhere in terms of timing. I quickly hurried through the latter part of the test and knew that I had not done too well.
Verbal was better. I felt very comfortable with all the SC and the RC and CR questions were not too hard either. My comfort levels with the questions made me wonder if I was doing okay. I filled in the post test details and not reporting the score did not pass my mind (I wonder how many people actually don’t report their scores) It got a 680. Although lower than my expectation it was not too bad a score. But I was really taken aback by the difference in my verbal and quant scores. I had scored 44 in verbal 97% and a 39 in Quant 57%. My quant score was identical to the score during my 580 attempt. I dint get it. All this studying for nothing? I had not scored this low in any of my practice tests. I knew I couldn’t take the GMAT again. I really couldn't go through all the studying all over again. Infact I almost decided to apply to B School with this score. Went through an agonizing weekend pondering over whether or not to take the test again. I knew that I needed a better quant score, but like I said, I really couldn’t go through all the studying again.

Screw it, just do it.

After three, four days of serious pondering I decided, I need to just “screw it and just do it”
I knew it was not going to be easy as I needed to work on my first set of essays too. I got a test date a month later. I decided to spend time on my essays for about 15 days and then get down to the GMAT for the remaining 15 days. I needed a breather anyway. My verbal was good, so I decided to spend most of my time on Quant. To be honest I don’t think I did anything drastically different. I just practiced practiced and practiced some more. It was only much closer to the test date when I got back to some verbal – dint want to loose my grip.

Test day – again

Yeah, a 45 in Quant is not the best you can get, but I was happy with my improvement. I drove back a very satisfied man

Study Material:

OG – you can’t do without this. It might be a good idea to get the additional Quant and Verbal guides (depending on your weakness)
Princeton Review : I think this is must for a start. Overall a very good guide to the test and some very good verbal tips. This is the best way to start.
Kaplan : Oh nevermind. Don’t bother. Won’t say more.
MGMAT : I used the number properties and the SC. The SC is very good and a must have. The number properties material was just okay. The key to sentence correction is familiarity. While working on the sentences from the OG, don’t stop at the right answer. Identify why each sentence is wrong. That’s the only way to get familiar with the different types of errors.
GMAT Prep Tests: One of the most important study tools if not the most important. This is closest to the real test. You can do this over and over gain. I repeat – you can do this over and over again. Do not stop at 4-5-6 attempts. The quant is mostly always different although the verbal keeps repeating in increasing proportions.
MGMAT Tests: Good practice. Introduces you to the harder problems. I dint time myself on these tests and averaged around 700-710.

Its all in the mind

The GMAT is as much a test of temperament as it is of intellectual capacity. It’s important to build confidence before moving into the test and it’s even more important to remain calm and composed. Do not spend more than 3 mins a question. Treat every question as just that – one question. Don’t get too ruffled by your previous question. You do not have to answer everything right to get a good score. Anyone, with some good preparation, some sacrifice, and dedication can get a good score. There are times when you feel you are getting no where but don’t worry too much – screw it, just do it

Last edited by malliesguide on 22 May 2008, 21:53, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 580 to 680 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 03:08
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Too big improvement! Congratunation!
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 03:41
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You didn't do the AWA? I don't think the GMAT is like the SAT where you can combine your top scores. Good job on the 720 though.
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 03:47
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malliesguide wrote:
Its all in the mind

The GMAT is as much a test of temperament as it is of intellectual capacity. It’s important to build confidence before moving into the test and it’s even more important to remain calm and composed. Do not spend more than 3 mins a question. Treat every question as just that – one question. Don’t get too ruffled by your previous question. You do not have to answer everything right to get a good score. Anyone, with some good preparation, some sacrifice, and dedication can get a good score. There are times when you feel you are getting no where but don’t worry too much – screw it, just do it

Great job and nice improvement, malliesguide. I totally agree that it's just as much about knowing your concepts as it is about having faith in your own abilities.
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 04:02
Yeah, i did not do the AWA. Of what i know, not too many schools pay attention to the AWA. And since i already had a 5, i thought id skip it this time around and go into the Quant completly fresh.
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 05:21
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Hemmm no AWA, do you know what schools you are applying to? I know some schools let you take the best section scores (Yale, Tuck) and report the highest overall. However there are a lot of schools that if you want to use that 720 you are going to have to report it as a 720 with a 0 in AWA, even though you got a 5 on your previous attempt.

Anyone have any hard evidence of this?
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 05:37
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nice score but you should've done the AWA portion. Schools don't pay attention to the score as long as you get above a 4.5 (25%).
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 05:57
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Hey what a great story, full of inspiration. All the best for the next step
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 06:56
You know how you read stats like 1/3 of all Veritas Classroom Course participants score above a 700...I'd love to see what gmatclub stats are, it feels like every day we read a story like this.
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 07:05
we should have a sticky with the names of all the 700+ clubbers
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 07:33
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Impressive!
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 14:00
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Great stuff and congrats.
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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27 May 2008, 09:30
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Congratulations, you've given me hope.

I am just about to order my study materials. Which Princeton Reviews do you recommend? I see four available, Math, Verbal, the Crash Course, and Cracking the GMAT...or should I be getting all of them?
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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27 May 2008, 10:34
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inspirational story. just joined the club. did my GMAT for the 1st time and got unofficial 580 with some preparation although I think I could certainly do more quant and am at that stage of feeling disappointed. But the screw it, just do it attitude is creeping back into my blood.
I used the original book and one called Ace the GMAT, I don't know if anyone can suggest which other book is important- I need to do a similar turnaround.
Feeling mean don't like to lose!
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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27 May 2008, 12:19
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Wow this is a great story, great job...congrats on a great score
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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27 May 2008, 23:53
Hi snowbirdskier,

I used the Princeton - Cracking the GMAT. Did not use the others. This is a very good book to start off your preperation with. Has some excellent tips on the verbal section, specially SC. The Quant basics are pretty good too. Overall i would use this to get my basics right and get familar with the GMAT and then suppliment this with practice from the Official Guides.

All the best
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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27 May 2008, 23:59
Hi Namco,

You should keep your practice up with the Offical Guides. May i know what your verbal/quant score was? If you are weak in Quant i would suggest you also get the Official Quant Guide. Try and princeton review and manhatten SC for Verbal basics.

I would also highly reccomend you keep taking the GMAT Prep test - the verbal will keep increasing but quant questions are almost always different. I would also suggest you target a Quant/Verbal score and structure your studying basis this target.

I know its hard to keep going, but im pretty sure with some smart studying you will improve your score.
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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04 Jun 2008, 07:51
Hi malliesguide,

I got Verbal 30 and Quant 39. Strangely I thought I had aced the Verbal but I think I need to work on that as well. I think I could improve because I only did about 7 weeks prep. I have already been through the OG quant book. I downloaded the Gmat prep but you only get 2 papers. Do they add new ones? how do you get more to practice?
Last question! I'm about to rebook another exam. I was thinking of giving myself 2 months, does that sound about right?
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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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05 Jun 2008, 04:17
Hi Namco,

You can definately improve on this score.

You can take the GMAT Prep more than twice. Even though there are only two "papers" you should take it more than twice. The quant questions are almost always different while the verbal will keep repeating itself after 3-4 attempts (but you will definately get new SC). I think this test is the best preperation.

I think its important that you aim for a particular score in each, Quant and Verbal.

Quant is nothing but practice. Identify your weakness and work on that. With Verbal, you can improve the most in SC. The more you practice SC, the better you will get. (refer my debreif)

Its very important that you have a strategy and as you work on this you will build your confidence, something thats crucial. Get a date now and build your strategy around the time you have.

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Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720 [#permalink]

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06 Jun 2008, 11:52
Hi malliesguide

Thanks for the advice and help. I really appreciate it.
I will definitely take it on board. Its nice to have encouraging words. Good luck to you with the rest of your journey. I'll let you know how I get on if you're still on the forum

N
Re: My GMAT experience : 580 to 720   [#permalink] 06 Jun 2008, 11:52

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