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My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)

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My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2017, 15:50
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Hi everyone!

I wanted to share my GMAT test taking experience with you all since I have benefited from looking at posts at this forum.

Background:
I was born outside the U.S. but lived in Europe for a couple of years in elementary school and have gone to high school and college here in the U.S. I have been working for a Big 4 Accounting firm in audit for a year now. I thought I was never a good standard exam take, since I remember struggling studying for SAT. But, I've always been good at math despite that I don't have a degree in math. I am planning to apply to a top tier MBA program in 2-3 years so I wanted to get GMAT out of the way, so I can focus on building my career. Below is how I studied.

Length:
I started studying in early March and took the exam today (6/30/17), so I'd say it's about four months. I didn't study everyday - I took a few days off in a row or apart during this period.

Study:
I bought the Manhattan GMAT prep books (all of them) and went through the books. I only skimmed through the math section, since I was familiar with most of the content. After going through the Manhattan books, I took the GMATPrep exam 1 and scored a 680. I targeted 780 but thought would be happy with anything above a 730. I also bought the Official Guide package including the verbal and quantitative books. I started the OG by splitting each section into 15 sets. I did one set per day (not every day though). I took the Manhattan practice tests every other weekend and scored a 660 and a 700. I went through the PowerScore Critical Reasoning guide and went through the Manhattan Sentence Correction guide thoroughly - taking notes and reviewing the day after. I also looked at the 700-800 level questions found on this forum and solved a few problems from the sections that I thought were my weak points. I also made an error log binder, and manually write all the questions I got wrong. This binder is 2 inch thick now, but I am so excited to throw this away! I wrote the source of the question, difficulty (I guessed), reason why I got it wrong, and the question & analysis. Reviewing this towards the end of my study helped a lot!
Then I took about a couple weeks off and came back to studying. My Manhattan score dropped to a 620. At this point, I finished the OG so moved on to the V and Q books. I split these books into 9 sets and took one set a day. I took my second GMATPrep practice test and scored a 760. I was surprised, but I was happy so I scheduled for my exam for two weeks after (which is today!). I purchased the two exam packs. Three days later, I took my third GMATPrep and scored a 760. A few days later, I took my fourth one and scored a 760. Q50/V41 was the score composition for all three of them. My fifth and sixth GMATPrep scores were a 740 (Q50/V40), so I thought I would get close to a 740 on my real exam.

Test day:
I was nervous during the morning, since my exam was scheduled at 2:45 pm. I ate breakfast, watched some TV shows to relax, and did some yoga. I actually arrived at the testing center an hour early (glad I did, bc the buildings were confusing and I got lost!). Taking the exam, I thought the quantitative section was easier than I thought, but the verbal was brutal. I thought I would get a 720 or 730. When I finished the score I saw was an IR score of 8 and a 780 (Q51/V45). I was surprised because I definitely made some guesses on verbal and panicked after spending too much time on this one critical reasoning question.

I think that my past four months of studying has paid off - I was skeptical towards my performance even during the exam, but I agree that practice does not betray you - it pays you back! I think that through my studying, I developed a sense of how to deal confusing problems.

So, good luck to everyone! I benefited so much from this website, when I googled all the questions I didn't understand, so definitely take advantage! Thanks for reading this! :)
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My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 07:43
Congrats :-D Such a really high score on the first attempt :-D

I have one question. Are verbal questions from OG and GMATPrep hard enough to practice? You said that "the verbal was brutal", this means verbal questions in actual test are much harder than from OG and GMATPrep?

Also, how did you improve your RC section? Could you share your exp?
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Re: My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 09:18
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Hey there!

I only used official materials (OG and verbal) for the purpose of practicing. I think that these two are enough to get you a high verbal score.

The verbal section was brutal for me because I was stuck on the first CR question in the beginning and I knew that with the nature of CAT exams, getting the first question right was important. So, I spent too much time on that one question and picked an answer I was only about 70% confident about. So, I ended up feeling anxious the whole time during the verbal section.

With RC, this was the area that I struggled the most in the beginning, but after one point, I started getting almost all questions right. I never had problems understanding the passage but rather picking right answers. So, I changed my approach to solving RC. I would really try engage myself into the passage. All the topics I got on my GMAT were not that interesting to me. But, I was taking notes on the scratch pads (just scribbling random things throughout the passage so I can focus) and just react to the content actively. I didn't just read the passage but rather really absorb it and make that content mine. That helped me a lot getting a clear picture of what the passage is about, how it is constructed, and what the author's intentions are.

I considered reading news articles/books/etc - but honestly, if your English is already good (I speak it like a native) and you have no issue reading a three paragraph essays/etc and understand the contents, then reading a bunch of things doesn't improve your score, in my opinion. I just needed to develop skills to pick the right answers and being engaged in the passage and immersing myself into it really helped!

Hope this helps and best of luck to you!
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Re: My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 09:44
gonatsyay wrote:
Hi everyone!

I wanted to share my GMAT test taking experience with you all since I have benefited from looking at posts at this forum.

Background:
I was born outside the U.S. but lived in Europe for a couple of years in elementary school and have gone to high school and college here in the U.S. I have been working for a Big 4 Accounting firm in audit for a year now. I thought I was never a good standard exam take, since I remember struggling studying for SAT. But, I've always been good at math despite that I don't have a degree in math. I am planning to apply to a top tier MBA program in 2-3 years so I wanted to get GMAT out of the way, so I can focus on building my career. Below is how I studied.

Length:
I started studying in early March and took the exam today (6/30/17), so I'd say it's about four months. I didn't study everyday - I took a few days off in a row or apart during this period.

Study:
I bought the Manhattan GMAT prep books (all of them) and went through the books. I only skimmed through the math section, since I was familiar with most of the content. After going through the Manhattan books, I took the GMATPrep exam 1 and scored a 680. I targeted 780 but thought would be happy with anything above a 730. I also bought the Official Guide package including the verbal and quantitative books. I started the OG by splitting each section into 15 sets. I did one set per day (not every day though). I took the Manhattan practice tests every other weekend and scored a 660 and a 700. I went through the PowerScore Critical Reasoning guide and went through the Manhattan Sentence Correction guide thoroughly - taking notes and reviewing the day after. I also looked at the 700-800 level questions found on this forum and solved a few problems from the sections that I thought were my weak points. I also made an error log binder, and manually write all the questions I got wrong. This binder is 2 inch thick now, but I am so excited to throw this away! I wrote the source of the question, difficulty (I guessed), reason why I got it wrong, and the question & analysis. Reviewing this towards the end of my study helped a lot!
Then I took about a couple weeks off and came back to studying. My Manhattan score dropped to a 620. At this point, I finished the OG so moved on to the V and Q books. I split these books into 9 sets and took one set a day. I took my second GMATPrep practice test and scored a 760. I was surprised, but I was happy so I scheduled for my exam for two weeks after (which is today!). I purchased the two exam packs. Three days later, I took my third GMATPrep and scored a 760. A few days later, I took my fourth one and scored a 760. Q50/V41 was the score composition for all three of them. My fifth and sixth GMATPrep scores were a 740 (Q50/V40), so I thought I would get close to a 740 on my real exam.

Test day:
I was nervous during the morning, since my exam was scheduled at 2:45 pm. I ate breakfast, watched some TV shows to relax, and did some yoga. I actually arrived at the testing center an hour early (glad I did, bc the buildings were confusing and I got lost!). Taking the exam, I thought the quantitative section was easier than I thought, but the verbal was brutal. I thought I would get a 720 or 730. When I finished the score I saw was an IR score of 8 and a 780 (Q51/V45). I was surprised because I definitely made some guesses on verbal and panicked after spending too much time on this one critical reasoning question.

I think that my past four months of studying has paid off - I was skeptical towards my performance even during the exam, but I agree that practice does not betray you - it pays you back! I think that through my studying, I developed a sense of how to deal confusing problems.

So, good luck to everyone! I benefited so much from this website, when I googled all the questions I didn't understand, so definitely take advantage! Thanks for reading this! :)


Hello gonatsyay,

Congratulations on a great score that too in your first attempt. I would like to know more on your error log, I more or less follow a similar approach, it would be great if you can through some more light on this.

Hats Off you are truly an inspiration to all of us here.

Regards,
_________________
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Best AWA Template: https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html#p470475
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Re: My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 21:34
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I've had a couple of private messages regarding the format and contents my error log.

Here are my thoughts. I don't think the format is important. Whatever works for you. I have already described the format of my error log, and it worked for me, because I like writing things on paper instead of keeping things on track electronically. This is why I made a binder and wrote on paper. However, what worked for me might not work for you. For me, the purpose of keeping an error log was to review what I need to remember before the exam and keep track of the types of mistake I make. I only ended up reviewing the PS and SC section of my binder thoroughly. If I got an SC question wrong, that's because I didn't know a grammatical concept, which I need to remember. It goes the same for PS.

I think that for all of you who want to know how I keep my error log, the more important thing to consider is what you can get out of an error log. Develop your own error log that will work for you!
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Re: My journey to a 780 (Q51/V45 + IR 8) on first try :)   [#permalink] 02 Jul 2017, 21:34
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