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# [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT

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Intern
Joined: 03 Nov 2017
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[Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 10:02
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Background: I'm Asian-American (native English speaker) and graduated from an Ivy League. I currently have ~3 years work experience in a quant-oriented business role. I'm planning on applying next fall to matriculate the year after.

Here is a timeline of my "studies":

• Spring 2015: Senior year of undergrad. See a Kaplan GMAT book in the university bookstore. Buy it with some intention of taking the GMAT in the next decade. Never open it. (To this day I still haven't touched it!)
• November 2017: Decide to actually look at materials after finding two used Manhattan GMAT books (RC and SC) at a local used book store. The code in the book wasn't used! Skim through the two books and find the exercises awkward and give up out of frustration. Buy OG 2018 and do a few SC problem sets, which was more palatable.
• December 2017: Decide to switch to quant, as it is probably my stronger section and I wanted to build some confidence. Do some OG quant questions. Feel intimidated by the test.
• January 6, 2018: Finally have the guts to take a diagnostic now that I remember what a factorial means. GMAC 1 (old version): 690, Q44, V40, IR8. Very surprised at how high this is, and feel much more confident.
• January 20, 2018: Take a Manhattan Test - MGMAT 1 (old version): 640, Q38, V38. My ego was checked and realized that there was a decent amount of work ahead. I make a goal of working through all the quant questions available on the online question bank from OG. I start plugging away.
• February 2018: Fall into a dysfunctional depressive bout after a slow taper off of antidepressants. Immediately get back on antidepressants but they don't cancel out my depression. Difficulty doing simple things like showering or folding the pile of laundry in my bed. The only thing that made me feel something besides debilitating dread was video games. (I got hooked on Overwatch.)
• March 2018: Depressed. Play Overwatch.
• April 2018: Depressed. Play Overwatch.
• May 2018: Feeling slightly better, attempt to do some more quant sets.
• June 5, 2018: Force myself to take another practice test. MGMAT 2 (new version): 690, Q46, V38. Felt good because my quant score had significantly increased and that was what I had been studying. Continue plugging away at quant (because thinking about verbal was too uncomfortable at the moment).
• June 18, 2018: Take another practice test with my newfound confidence that my studying was effective: MGMAT 3 (new): 630, Q40, V36. Newfound confidence dissipated.
• July 15, 2018: MGMAT 4 (new): 700, Q49, V41
• July 21, 2018: GMAC 1 (new): 740, Q49, V42, IR8. I took this with a grain of salt since I had taken the longer version of this test previously and had seen many of the questions before.
• July 29, 2018 GMAC 2 (new): 760, Q50, V44, IR8. What the heck! This was definitely a fluke. I had seen some of these questions too, since the question bank was shared with GMAC Test 1.
• Aug 1, 2018 MGMAT 4 (new): 680, Q46, V37. LOL... wake up early with the ambition of taking an official GMAC practice test before work but the site is down so settle on Manhattan prep tests after 30 minutes of troubleshooting. By then, am running late to a meeting so I rush through the verbal. Definitely paid for that in the score reflected. Mostly brush this one off as a fluke due to frustrations with the official GMAT site and rushing to work.
• Aug 4, 2018 GMAC 3 (new): 730: Q48, V41, IR8. Felt like this was pretty representative of what I'd be getting on the day of the test.
• Aug 6, 2018: Realize that my kitten of 1 year 1 month who is struggling with heart disease has not improved even after expensive vet cardiologist visits and large cocktails of medication morning and evening. Vet recommends euthanasia. Cry all day.
• Aug 7, 2018: Cry all day.
• Aug 8, 2018: Cry all day. Say goodbye to my kitten. Never have gone through this before and it was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life.
• Aug 9, 2018: Cry all day. Hear that I got rejected after interviewing for an internal rotation for a role I really wanted.
• Aug 10, 2018: Cry a bunch. Roommate develops a fever due to stress/sadness from losing our cat. I am worried about getting sick.
• Aug 11, 2018: Test day: Going into the test, I'm thinking I am likely to score ~720 if all things go well. My plan is to use this as a practice test to learn about real testing conditions, and take a second, "REAL," test in a month or so. I end up with a 760, Q49, V44, IR8! Delighted and surprised given that I didn't study much in the last month leading up to the test and that I had gone through emotionally draining events. Given that I didn't study for verbal aside from reviewing the questions I got wrong, and I knew I had a number of weak subjects in quant that I never addressed (combinatorics, work/rate, probability), I (and my supporters!) am curious to what my true potential could be if I study more diligently and also don't have such crazy events happen. Overall, my depression is much better after having time to stabilize back on my meds. I plan on scheduling a test three weeks out from today to see what can happen, and calling it done from there.

One thought for those preparing:

• MGMAT practice tests did NOT set me up for success. Because the MGMAT quant questions are magnitudes harder, I developed a guessing and pacing strategy that made me finish with over 10 minutes left on an official GMAT practice test. If you can afford it, I would recommend ONLY using the official GMAT practice tests (2 free ones + 4 additional purchasable ones). I saw that someone recommended doing the MGMAT quant sections untimed, and wish I had done so.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or by PM. Happy to help!

(Originally posted on reddit here)
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 10:12
Thank you for your insights mate. Especially the timelog gave a good indication with regards to the development.

All the best,
Chris
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 10:23
Thanks for making the debrief much more personable and not being afraid of looking vulnerable. These are signs of maturity despite the references to overwatch

Your biggest enemy is time and stretching your prep too much. I am frankly not sure that you need more than 760. You are already past the average score for any school out there. You have 99th percentile so it would be safe to stop. Usually you want to focus on what will give your application the most improvement in app he time you have left. If you are shooting for R1, there is not much time left (usually you want to do not more than 2 schools per month of time available for submitting apps)

However if you are still looking to improve, working on quant will be the best ROI. But as said already, your score at 99th percentile is already very competitive.

Congrats!

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 10:28
bb wrote:
Thanks for making the debrief much more personable and not being afraid of looking vulnerable. These are signs of maturity despite the references to overwatch

Your biggest enemy is time and stretching your prep too much. I am frankly not sure that you need more than 760. You are already past the average score for any school out there. You have 99th percentile so it would be safe to stop. Usually you want to focus on what will give your application the most improvement in app he time you have left. If you are shooting for R1, there is not much time left (usually you want to do not more than 2 schools per month of time available for submitting apps)

However if you are still looking to improve, working on quant will be the best ROI. But as said already, your score at 99th percentile is already very competitive.

Congrats!

Posted from my mobile device

Hey bb,

I'm the one who posted this: https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-f ... s#p2110779

I am not applying until next year and want to see if I can get a higher score to ensure I can get some merit scholarship funding to help with tuition. Thanks for the compliments! Even if you threw shade at Overwatch... Heh.
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GMAT 1: 600 Q44 V28
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 15:50
1
Congratulations! This is an awesome score. I have heard similar things about @MGMAT's CATs so decided I won't use them. I plan to buy more official CATs after going through the free ones.

Thanks for the debrief and all the best with your applications.

Cheers!
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2018, 18:49
As BB says there is more to life than GMAT and your debrief says it all. It feels your struggle (rather everyone) was against your own self rather some exterior stuff. True grit and determination.
I hope you do well in all your endeavors and thanks for the debrief.
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[Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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13 Aug 2018, 01:56
Thanks for your sharing. It's been two years for me that I am on my gmat path and in a certain way was able to understand your journey.
For my part, I am not done with it yet, but I am doing my best to join the 700 club.

Best of luck and sorry for your kitten.
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 16:08
I know that I'm late to the party on this thread, but... holy crap, ducksuit, this is one of my all-time favorite debriefs. Huge props for being so open about what the process was REALLY like for you. For every person with the guts and honesty to post something like this, there are hundreds -- or maybe thousands? -- of other GMAT Club visitors who go through hell and back, and (understandably!) never tell us about it on the forums.

Congratulations on the incredible score, and since I'm too video-game-illiterate to throw shade on Overwatch, you can just consider me a huge fan. Let us know what happens with your applications next year!
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 16:50
ducksuit

Congrats on the stellar score. I am impressed by how you overcome difficult times to achieve the target score - A steady blade balances the soul

All the very best for your applications.
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 19:53
Wow, what an amazing story. Given all that was happening with you at the time of the GMAT, a 760 was quite the feat! Good luck with things moving forward and congrats on an awesome GMAT score.
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Re: [Debrief] Retaking 760 - How NOT to prepare for the GMAT   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2018, 19:53
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