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My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)

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GMAT 1: 690 Q44 V41
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My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 18 Mar 2019, 06:23
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I’m a longtime lurker on here. My high score on the GMAT has had a massive impact on my life and trajectory. Now that I am coming to the end of my admissions cycle I wanted to give something back to the community.

Short summary:
I’m an American white male with an solid, but unremarkable career background in risk consulting and insurance. I went to a middle of the road state school. Given my overrepresented background I knew that in order to stand out in admissions I would need a strong GMAT score. I was recently admitted to a top 10/15 school with full scholarship, and I’m waiting to hear back from 2 M7 schools.

——My GMAT journey and advice:

—First attempts:
I first took the GMAT over 5 years ago for admission into a part time Master’s in Accounting program. I had always done fairly well on standardized tests(but not 770 well), and I spent very little time preparing when I took it the first time. I think I just did some practice in the official guide. My first prep test was a 620. My official score after this limited studying was a 640, which was more than I needed for the Masters.

—Fast forward 5 years
I had advanced in my career, but wanted something more/different, and decided that if I wanted to do an MBA it was probably now or never. My first step was figuring out how to prep for the GMAT. I started in May 2018 after much procrastination. I did not want to pay for a live prep course, but I knew I needed something structured so I subscribed to the Veritas Orion prep course.

I went through the entire Orion program, and took an official test and got a 690 (44Q, 41V). The program has feedback mechanisms that make you feel like you are improving. In reality, the program only scratches the surface. If you want to get a top score, I do NOT recommend Veritas Orion. It does not go in depth enough. I probably spent 50+ hours or so on this program.

After this I was disappointed, especially in my Quant score. I had always done fairly well in math and a roughly 50th percentile Quant was much lower than what I felt my ability is. On the Verbal I did well, roughly 93rd percentile. However, I recommend getting the enhanced score report, as this will help pinpoint weak areas. On review of that, I had a perfect logical reasoning(LR) score, a strong, but not perfect Reading Comprehension(CR) score, and relatively weaker sentence correction(SC) score.

This brings me to my first big tip: REFLECTION. This is the number one factor for improving to a top score. I reflected upon my 690 attempt and realized I needed the most work in Quant and sentence correction. Focusing on your weak areas will get you the most improvement the most quickly. After that I did almost zero general Verbal prep. I focused my prep 85% on quant and 15% percent on sentence correction with almost no other prep on RC and LR.

—Making a comeback:
I canceled Veritas and looked for the best Quant program. The best quant program is Target Test Prep. It is the best because it forces you to really work. The entire program takes 180 hours. If you are really serious about improving and have the time, you should do the entire program. I did not have time, I only had 2 months, so I ended up probably putting in about 100-120 hours in the program. I have a busy job so yes, this meant I was studying on weekends, during a beach vacation, and late at night after work. If you are serious about this, that is what it takes. If I had done the 180 hours and not skipped over sections I probably would have gotten the 51Q and a 780. The program is that good. I don’t regret not putting in that time because my girlfriend would have probably killed me, but I recommend you start early and just do it. It is worth it.

What makes this program great is that it hits at my other two principals of getting a top score.
— REPETITION
— Quant/sentence correction CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

Let me unpack that a bit. Watching lectures on the treadmill will not get you a 770. I know because I tried that. You need to dive and practice. You need to see hundreds of different questions types so you get surprised as little as possible on the real exam. I did over 1500 practice questions using Target Test Prep. It forces you to hit every type. Some questions on my real exam we’re almost identical to the practice questions. You need REPETITION. When you get questions wrong you need to REFLECT! You need to review every single wrong answer. This is where think some people get hung up. It is hard to go back through something when you feel like you have already finished it. It is also innately hard to sift back through your failures (missed questions). It is necessary. This is how I got better.

Regarding CONTENT KNOWLEDGE— if you are an American you are not sufficiently educated to do well on the Quant section. Maybe if you are an engineer but probably not even then. You are competing against people from other countries who have superior Quant skills on a deeper level than you because their education system focuses on it and requires it in order for them to be successful. Target test prep will get you there.

For sentence correction, all I did was flip through the Manhattan book a couple times and I went through 200-300 practice questions from the Veritas free question bank(download app on your phone). This was a nice break when I was tired from Quant and I ended up getting a 99th percentile sentence correction score.

Other prep—
Otherwise I just took an official GMAT every two weeks or so and reviewed answers. I didn’t even use all 6 of the available official tests. My last practice 2 weeks before was a 760. They had gradually increased each time.

Test day-
Relax. Get some sleep and hit the gym. Use the official guide online to hit 10-20 practice questions. They have 90 free ones. The purpose of this is just to get your brain functioning, not to prep.

Get yourself in the zone. Chew gum before(shown to temporarily enhance brain function), drink your normal amount of caffeine, and put on a playlist that gets you energized. I recommend Thunderstruck by AC/DC.

If you don’t get the score you want, don’t be afraid to take it again. There is some luck in any one score.

Summary:
I think if I had prepped a little for RC (especially summarize the passage type questions) and finished the Target test prep course I could have pushed for a 790-800 with a little luck. I recommend starting as early as possible so that you can give it your all. Focus on the three key areas and you’ll do great.

1. Repetition
2. Reflection
3. Quant/SC content knowledge

If anyone has any questions on the GMAT or MBA application process(which is a whole different beast), I’m happy to help.

Posted from my mobile device

Originally posted by Sobes4life on 18 Mar 2019, 05:55.
Last edited by Sobes4life on 18 Mar 2019, 06:23, edited 2 times in total.
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New post 18 Mar 2019, 06:18
Congrats Sobes4life on scoring the 770. Thanks a ton for taking the time
to write your story, which is truly inspring. All the best for the M7 schools :)
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New post 18 Mar 2019, 07:47
Congrats on the top score. Great write up. All the best for M7 :-)

Best,
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New post 18 Mar 2019, 08:31
Hello Sobes4life ...welcome to the community. CONGRATULATIONs on such a stellar score.

Wish you all the best for the Application Process.
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New post 18 Mar 2019, 09:01
Hi Sobes4life

Welcome to GMAT Club
A great debrief and Congratulations on the Amazing 770.
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New post 19 Mar 2019, 18:59
Wow, Sobes4life, you rocked out!! I’m so glad that Target Test Prep was instrumental in your success.

Good luck with your applications!
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New post 21 Mar 2019, 11:38
Congratulations on the amazing score and thank you so much for sharing your journey. I'm scoring well in verbal, but can't seem to improve in the quantitative section. I will definitely look into Target Test Prep to get my quant score up. Best of luck with admissions!
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New post Updated on: 21 Mar 2019, 13:01
Try it — there’s a discount somewhere if you look around to get it for $80 a month. If you are studying for applying next year, you still have time on your side. If you do that whole program you have really given quant your all and would definitely see improvement

Quant is super competitive and takes a lot of effort— it’s not something that can just be breezed through

Posted from my mobile device

Originally posted by Sobes4life on 21 Mar 2019, 12:07.
Last edited by Sobes4life on 21 Mar 2019, 13:01, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 21 Mar 2019, 13:00
Please accept my congratulations on this account. Continue to develop further! I am sure you will achieve a lot.
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New post 21 Mar 2019, 13:12
Awesome score. Congratulations. How did you prepare for Verbal? Did you use any particular material for it or you were already good at it?
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New post 21 Mar 2019, 13:27
1
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Mostly already good, but I did do some prep and it made a difference.

LR: minimal prep- just some practice questions in official guide and Veritas free question bank app. This was a strength for me and I got a perfect score both times. I think the best way to prep for this would just be hitting practice questions and reviewing answers until you start to see how test maker thinks.

CR: I read a lot- economist weekly, news daily, etc. This was a decent section for me but my weakest verbal section on test day —something like 85th percentile. I should have learned a framework for summarizing passages. I have heard e gmat is best for this, maybe try that. I have a feeling reading is the hardest to improve on short notice.

SC: this section can absolutely be improved and beaten and you should aim for a perfect score. This went from being my worst section on verbal(75-80 percentile) to my best(high 99th percentile). This is probably the easiest section to improve your score on the entire test. All I did was flip through the Manhattan book to learn some grammar rules I was unfamiliar with and I hit probably 300+ practice questions. Download the free Veritas app on your phone and hit them in batches of 5-10 when you have spare time. They are short questions and it’s easy to get a few here and there without spending too much time. Hit 300-500 questions and you will start to realize that GMAC is repeating the same questions over and over with slight variations. If you want to go for a perfect score— look up some of the really hard ones too to understand those.

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New post 21 Mar 2019, 17:22
Thanks Sobes4life. This is really helpful. Thank you so much again.
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Re: My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Mar 2019, 08:51
Sobes4life wrote:

Short summary:
I went to a middle of the road state school. Given my overrepresented background I knew that in order to stand out in admissions I would need a strong GMAT score. I was recently admitted to a top 10/15 school with full scholarship, and I’m waiting to hear back from 2 M7 schools.

Congrats for your 770, a 99 percentile in GMAT world.
If you don't mind, could you share your profile, please?
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Re: My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Mar 2019, 08:53
AsadAbu wrote:
Sobes4life wrote:

Short summary:
I went to a middle of the road state school. Given my overrepresented background I knew that in order to stand out in admissions I would need a strong GMAT score. I was recently admitted to a top 10/15 school with full scholarship, and I’m waiting to hear back from 2 M7 schools.

Congrats for your 770, a 99 percentile in GMAT world.
If you don't mind, could you share your profile, please?


Sure - what do you mean by profile. I work at Big four firm in a non-target group

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 20:38
Congratulations Sobes4life ....keep rocking :cool:
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New post 27 Mar 2019, 07:15
Sobes4life wrote:
AsadAbu wrote:
Sobes4life wrote:

Short summary:
I went to a middle of the road state school. Given my overrepresented background I knew that in order to stand out in admissions I would need a strong GMAT score. I was recently admitted to a top 10/15 school with full scholarship, and I’m waiting to hear back from 2 M7 schools.

Congrats for your 770, a 99 percentile in GMAT world.
If you don't mind, could you share your profile, please?


Sure - what do you mean by profile. I work at Big four firm in a non-target group

Posted from my mobile device

Sobes4life wrote:
I was recently admitted to a top 10/15 school with full scholarship, and I’m waiting to hear back from 2 M7 schools.

If you want to get admission in M7, then your profile should be decent. I mean you need good cgpa, strong GMAT score that you already have, work experience from a top-notch organization, extra-curricular, and so on.
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New post 27 Mar 2019, 20:17
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Please accept my wholehearted congratulations.

P.S. I have moved your topic into the share GMAT experience Forum. I hope it finds more visibility here.

Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations on your score!
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My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 12:16
Sobes4life wrote:
Mostly already good, but I did do some prep and it made a difference.

LR: minimal prep- just some practice questions in official guide and Veritas free question bank app. This was a strength for me and I got a perfect score both times. I think the best way to prep for this would just be hitting practice questions and reviewing answers until you start to see how test maker thinks.

CR: I read a lot- economist weekly, news daily, etc. This was a decent section for me but my weakest verbal section on test day —something like 85th percentile. I should have learned a framework for summarizing passages. I have heard e gmat is best for this, maybe try that. I have a feeling reading is the hardest to improve on short notice.

SC: this section can absolutely be improved and beaten and you should aim for a perfect score. This went from being my worst section on verbal(75-80 percentile) to my best(high 99th percentile). This is probably the easiest section to improve your score on the entire test. All I did was flip through the Manhattan book to learn some grammar rules I was unfamiliar with and I hit probably 300+ practice questions. Download the free Veritas app on your phone and hit them in batches of 5-10 when you have spare time. They are short questions and it’s easy to get a few here and there without spending too much time. Hit 300-500 questions and you will start to realize that GMAC is repeating the same questions over and over with slight variations. If you want to go for a perfect score— look up some of the really hard ones too to understand those.


Posted from my mobile device



Thanks Sobes4life for tips on the verbal like reading the economist daily and all .

If you dont mind can you please share your struggles if you faced for quant and how u overcame them ? Any other tips for week before the test and day before the test ? didnt you felt anxiety or tensions ? can you please share if you dont mind ? it may help someone like me!!
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Re: My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 12:35
I faced a lot of struggles on Quant. I knew I had the ability to do well at quant because I had done well in the past (decent SAT/ AP scores). But I was super rusty and in some areas just had gaps. You want to be really fluid with it so that all your brainpower is focused on the tricky aspects of questions. You need to be able to breakdown numbers to their primes really quickly and to really have a super deep understanding of number properties. If you’re struggling with it I really recommend doing the Target Test Prep course. Or some other course that requires you to do a lot of practice across levels. In the beginning I was missing “easy” questions a lot. The lower difficulty questions aren’t that low difficulty if you don’t know the content— what makes them easier is that they require less reasoning. A big motivator for me was proving to myself that I was not an idiot. I couldn’t except 50th percentile on quant, which was about what I started with.

I think a lot of people just don’t study enough and think they did. I think that is key for quant unless you have a strong background in it(e.g. went to the national university of Singapore or something like that). You need to hit 1500-2000 questions and really review all wrong answers and understand why you got them wrong. That’s a lot of hours and a lot of effort. I didn’t do it the first time and I did it the second, and that’s why my score went up.

For anxiety, I definitely had some. It helped for me that I took the test in the afternoon, which is a better time for me. Also utilize the official tests well. Those can be a huge confidence boost if used late in studying. If you can save them to close to the end. My last one I got a 760 so I knew I was in the ball park

Honestly if you do enough practice questions it just become so natural. The variations in questions stop surprising you as much. This helps get in the zone much better on the real test.

Before test
— do a light Workout
- do some easy questions to get warmed up (like 10-15). Not a lot, it’s a warm up.
-avoid carbs and sugary foods. These can spike blood pressure and throw you off.
- try and get pumped up for it somehow
- if you have a bad day you can always cancel the score and redo it. It’s not the end of the world. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 12:43
Sobes4life wrote:
I faced a lot of struggles on Quant. I knew I had the ability to do well at quant because I had done well in the past (decent SAT/ AP scores). But I was super rusty and in some areas just had gaps. You want to be really fluid with it so that all your brainpower is focused on the tricky aspects of questions. You need to be able to breakdown numbers to their primes really quickly and to really have a super deep understanding of number properties. If you’re struggling with it I really recommend doing the Target Test Prep course. Or some other course that requires you to do a lot of practice across levels. In the beginning I was missing “easy” questions a lot. The lower difficulty questions aren’t that low difficulty if you don’t know the content— what makes them easier is that they require less reasoning. A big motivator for me was proving to myself that I was not an idiot. I couldn’t except 50th percentile on quant, which was about what I started with.

I think a lot of people just don’t study enough and think they did. I think that is key for quant unless you have a strong background in it(e.g. went to the national university of Singapore or something like that). You need to hit 1500-2000 questions and really review all wrong answers and understand why you got them wrong. That’s a lot of hours and a lot of effort. I didn’t do it the first time and I did it the second, and that’s why my score went up.

For anxiety, I definitely had some. It helped for me that I took the test in the afternoon, which is a better time for me. Also utilize the official tests well. Those can be a huge confidence boost if used late in studying. If you can save them to close to the end. My last one I got a 760 so I knew I was in the ball park

Honestly if you do enough practice questions it just become so natural. The variations in questions stop surprising you as much. This helps get in the zone much better on the real test.

Before test
— do a light Workout
- do some easy questions to get warmed up (like 10-15). Not a lot, it’s a warm up.
-avoid carbs and sugary foods. These can spike blood pressure and throw you off.
- try and get pumped up for it somehow
- if you have a bad day you can always cancel the score and redo it. It’s not the end of the world. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

Posted from my mobile device



Thanks Sobes4life for the reply with a detailed explanation and tips , Will keep in mind . :angel:

All the best for your future :)
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Re: My Journey to a 770 (50Q, 46V)   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2019, 12:43

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