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# Score 760: thanks from a lurker

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Intern
Joined: 16 Jul 2018
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Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 16 Aug 2018, 16:36
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Hello! I've lurked here regularly for the past month. The Quant explanations really helped me reach my target score today - I can't imagine how much time and effort it must have taken to pull so much valuable material together.

This is my attempt at saying thanks and at contributing to the forum. Hope it is useful to someone!

PREP AND ACTUAL RESULTS
1. GMAC #1: 740 (44Q, 48V, 8IR) [15 Jul 2018 - Sunday]
2. GMAC #3: 780 (50Q, 47V, 8IR) [4 days prior - Sunday]
3. GMAC #4: 770 (49Q, 48V, 8IR) [3 days prior - after work]
4. GMAC #5: 770 (49Q, 47V, 8IR) [1 day prior - day off]
5. Real deal: 760 (48Q, 47V, 8IR) [17 Aug 2018]

RESOURCES
2. 2018 OGs, including the digital version on the Wiley website
3. GMAT Club Quant explanatory posts, question collections and error log
4. Manhattan Prep app

DEBRIEF
Overall
My first practice test (GMAC #1) experience was mixed. Although I was broadly aware of the Quant and Verbal categories, I hadn't yet done enough research to know what question types to expect. That meant I was a bit blindsided by DS and CR. When I saw my results, I was surprised by the high Verbal score and disappointed - but not terribly surprised - by the low Quant score. (I'd run out of time by Q25, so I expected a hit on that basis alone.) I did another ~100 OG Verbal questions to confirm that my score wasn't a fluke, then made the fairly straightforward decision to focus on Quant.

By that point, I only had a month to go, during which I had full-time work and a number of work trips. That meant I averaged 1-1.5h of study per day, skewed heavily towards the weekends. I knew I wouldn't have time to cover a wide range of materials and decided to concentrate on the OGs, with a preference for the digital version on Wiley. I also downloaded the Manhattan Prep app on my phone in case I found the motivation to study "on the go" - and I did end up using it a few times, mainly on the plane. The rest of my preparation was very Quant-centric, so I'll cover that below.

My performance today was reasonable. I exceeded my target of 750 and got within +/- 20 points of my recent GMAC preparation test average. The Q/V score mix also justified my strategy of concentrating on Quant. That said, my Quant score and exam experience highlighted that I should probably have focused more heavily on time management - and if I could turn back time and change one thing, it would definitely be to just stick to my time management strategy despite exam day nerves. That said, I decided to accept my score. A possible 10-20 point increase isn't worth the stress of a retake at this point!

Quant
My initial assessment was that my maths skills were just (very) rusty. I used to enjoy and do well at maths during my high school years, so the fundamentals were there; they were just deeply buried after over a decade of disuse. I'd forgotten key principles and formulae across almost all the Quant topics. I also struggled with the whole gambit: time management, question interpretation, careless errors, and the concept of DS.

Since DS was the most foreign to me, I started there, working through a series of OG questions on the Wiley website until the structure started to make sense. In hindsight, I should have started by reading DS strategies on GMAT Club, as I'd have discovered the useful tidbit about the two statements being non-contradictory - what a game changer! I also followed the advice I read somewhere else: begin by focusing on knowledge and accuracy, and deal with time management later. (Interestingly, by the time I took GMAC #3, I preferred DS questions and also answered them far more quickly - and often more accurately - than I did PS questions.)

After a week or two of warm-up, when my performance started to stabilise, I began to take notes on areas where I made frequent errors and on formulae and figures that I needed to remember. Prior to that, I relied heavily on my ability to derive formulae and calculate numbers. This meant that I regularly took 10+ mins to reach an answer, when I could have taken 2-3 mins. It helped that I'd started to become familiar with the topic areas and the range of knowledge that would be covered, and could structure my notes accordingly.

I then branched out into PS and discovered the wonders of GMAT Club (read: I started looking up every question I failed or struggled with). This helped me discover more efficient and effective ways of getting from A to B, and I noticed a tangible reduction in my average response time. For a couple of topics where my performance varied, I used the advanced question sets and explanations that people had generously compiled. My aim with those was to solidify my knowledge, rather than to simulate the actual GMAT; for GMAT simulation, I always relied on OG content.

Verbal
As mentioned above, I started on a fairly strong base with Verbal, so I didn't do much structured or dedicated study. In fact, I typically only did selections of Verbal OG questions to give myself confidence boosts after Quant study sessions where I fared badly. (My inner geek actually had fun with CR and RC.)

Time management
My best practice test (GMAC #3) was also the one where I followed the above (YouTube) time management strategy religiously for Quant. It took the thinking and guesswork out of time management (it became a simple approach of: if X --> do Y), and also helped with nerves because I always "caught up" on time at regular and well-spaced intervals. This likely increased my accuracy with questions I did attempt, as I had a reasonable timeframe and no urge to rush. I played around with the formula a bit on my other practice tests (GMAC #4 and #5), but always found myself rushing towards the end.

Going into the actual exam today, I planned to follow the strategy precisely. It made logical sense and had not failed me yet. However, I lost track of time somewhere between Q10 (when I was well on track) and Q17 (by which point I was ~10 mins behind the recommended timeframes). Some anxiety kicked in since I'd missed at least one "skip a question now" checkpoint. I couldn't quite figure out how many questions to skip or when to skip them, so the rest of the exam involved both nerves and likely also a higher error rate. Even worse was when I lost focus in the last minute and ran out of time to guess the last 3 questions, which meant I left them blank. The score of 48Q, which is lower than each of my recent practice test scores, reflects this.

Given that I likely got 3-4 consecutive incorrect responses (three of which were blanks) clustered together at the end, and probably made a few mistakes with the preceding 5-10 questions, I suspect better self-control and discipline with time management would have bumped me up to 49Q. This would have been in line with all my recent GMAC practice test results. The clear learning there is to have a strategy and actually use it! I'd also recommend having a Plan B "catch up" approach in case you do miss a key checkpoint. If I were to retake the test, I'd try "do 2, guess 1" until I was back in line with the planned timelines.

Note: I didn't use this strategy on Verbal because all of my practice test experiences indicated that my normal pace should be okay - I had a remaining time range of 2 mins (GMAC #3) to 18 mins (GMAC #4). This held true today. I did need to take a few deep breaths between Quant and Verbal to calm my post-Quant nerves, and I checked my Verbal clock after every 12 questions to ensure I was on track, but I didn't make any adjustments as a result. The same applied for IR.

SUMMARY
Based on my experiences, my recommended strategy would be:

1. Start by reading about the GMAT so you understand the format and question types. Don't read too deeply into strategies at this stage.

2. Do a full test to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses. Don't panic. Identify priority areas for study.

3. Work through digital OG questions, starting with the priority areas. Focus on accuracy and understanding. Don't worry about time. Always read explanations to identify why you went wrong and how to achieve better accuracy or efficiency next time.

4. Read more strategies and apply selectively (i.e. exercise judgement). Use additional non-official question sets to supplement your learning in areas where you aren't seeing the improvement you'd like to see.

5. Towards the exam date, start refining your time management strategy on practice tests - then have the self-control to stick to it on the day!

Originally posted by chanange on 15 Aug 2018, 23:00.
Last edited by chanange on 16 Aug 2018, 16:36, edited 1 time in total.
Rice (Jones) School Moderator
Joined: 18 Jun 2018
Posts: 238
Location: United States (AZ)
Concentration: Finance, Healthcare
GMAT 1: 600 Q44 V28
GPA: 3.36
Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2018, 07:31
This is an awesome debrief and score! Congratulations chanange. Thanks for the strategy too. How did you practice on Wiley? Do you do a set of 30 quant questions in 60 mins (my plan) or attempt questions based on difficulty?

All the best with your applications.

Cheers!
Senior Manager
Joined: 18 Jun 2018
Posts: 267
Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2018, 08:47
Congrats chanange for such a great score and thanks for debrief
Director
Joined: 12 Feb 2015
Posts: 875
Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2018, 09:03
Congratulations on a wonderful score. Thanks for a very nice debrief. All the very best for your admissions.

Congrats once again!!
_________________
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Manish

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Director
Joined: 14 Dec 2017
Posts: 517
Location: India
Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2018, 09:52
Congratulations!! Awesome score!

Great debrief as well. Thanks for the time strategy video, the milestone table is pretty neat.

All the best for your applications

Cheers,
GyM
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Joined: 04 Jun 2018
Posts: 587
Location: Germany
Concentration: General Management, Finance
GMAT 1: 730 Q47 V44
GPA: 3.4
WE: Analyst (Transportation)
Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2018, 10:30
Congratulations on your score and major respect with regards to your Verbal result!

Although you started out very strong, are there still some things you could recommend to us?

Regards,
Chris
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Joined: 21 May 2018
Posts: 19
Location: Thailand
Schools: IESE '21 (A)
GMAT 1: 650 Q50 V28
GPA: 3.75
Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

### Show Tags

16 Aug 2018, 10:53
1
chanange wrote:
Hello! I've lurked here regularly for the past month. The Quant explanations really helped me reach my target score today - I can't imagine how much time and effort it must have taken to pull so much valuable material together.

This is my attempt at saying thanks and at contributing to the forum. Hope it is useful to someone!

PREP AND ACTUAL RESULTS
1. GMAC #1: 740 (44Q, 48V, 8IR) [15 Jul 2018 - Sunday]
2. GMAC #3: 780 (50Q, 47V, 8IR) [4 days prior - Sunday]
3. GMAC #4: 770 (49Q, 48V, 8IR) [3 days prior - after work]
4. GMAC #5: 770 (49Q, 47V, 8IR) [1 day prior - day off]
5. Real deal: 760 (48Q, 47V, 8IR) [17 Aug 2018]

RESOURCES
2. 2018 OGs, including the digital version on the Wiley website
3. GMAT Club Quant explanatory posts, question collections and error log
4. Manhattan Prep app

DEBRIEF
Overall
My first practice test (GMAC #1) experience was mixed. Although I was broadly aware of the Quant and Verbal categories, I hadn't yet done enough research to know what question types to expect. That meant I was a bit blindsided by DS and CR. When I saw my results, I was surprised by the high Verbal score and disappointed - but not terribly surprised - by the low Quant score. (I'd run out of time by Q25, so I expected a hit on that basis alone.) I did another ~100 OG Verbal questions to confirm that my score wasn't a fluke, then made the fairly straightforward decision to focus on Quant.

By that point, I only had a month to go, during which I had full-time work and a number of work trips. That meant I averaged 1-1.5h of study per day, skewed heavily towards the weekends. I knew I wouldn't have time to cover a wide range of materials and decided to concentrate on the OGs, with a preference for the digital version on Wiley. I also downloaded the Manhattan Prep app on my phone in case I found the motivation to study "on the go" - and I did end up using it a few times, mainly on the plane. The rest of my preparation was very Quant-centric, so I'll cover that below.

My performance today was reasonable. I exceeded my target of 750 and got within +/- 20 points of my recent GMAC preparation test average. The Q/V score mix also justified my strategy of concentrating on Quant. That said, my Quant score and exam experience highlighted that I should probably have focused more heavily on time management - and if I could turn back time and change one thing, it would definitely be to just stick to my time management strategy despite exam day nerves. That said, I decided to accept my score. A possible 10-20 point increase isn't worth the stress of a retake at this point!

Quant
My initial assessment was that my maths skills were just (very) rusty. I used to enjoy and do well at maths during my high school years, so the fundamentals were there; they were just deeply buried after over a decade of disuse. I'd forgotten key principles and formulae across almost all the Quant topics. I also struggled with the whole gambit: time management, question interpretation, careless errors, and the concept of DS.

Since DS was the most foreign to me, I started there, working through a series of OG questions on the Wiley website until the structure started to make sense. In hindsight, I should have started by reading DS strategies on GMAT Club, as I'd have discovered the useful tidbit about the two statements being non-contradictory - what a game changer! I also followed the advice I read somewhere else: begin by focusing on knowledge and accuracy, and deal with time management later. (Interestingly, by the time I took GMAC #3, I preferred DS questions and also answered them far more quickly - and often more accurately - than I did PS questions.)

After a week or two of warm-up, when my performance started to stabilise, I began to take notes on areas where I made frequent errors and on formulae and figures that I needed to remember. Prior to that, I relied heavily on my ability to derive formulae and calculate numbers. This meant that I regularly took 10+ mins to reach an answer, when I could have taken 2-3 mins. It helped that I'd started to become familiar with the topic areas and the range of knowledge that would be covered, and could structure my notes accordingly.

I then branched out into PS and discovered the wonders of GMAT Club (read: I started looking up every question I failed or struggled with). This helped me discover more efficient and effective ways of getting from A to B, and I noticed a tangible reduction in my average response time. For a couple of topics where my performance varied, I used the advanced question sets and explanations that people had generously compiled. My aim with those was to solidify my knowledge, rather than to simulate the actual GMAT; for GMAT simulation, I always relied on OG content.

Verbal
As mentioned above, I started on a fairly strong base with Verbal, so I didn't do much structured or dedicated study. In fact, I typically only did selections of Verbal OG questions to give myself confidence boosts after Quant study sessions where I fared badly. (My inner geek actually had fun with CR and RC.)

Time management
My best practice test (GMAC #3) was also the one where I followed the above (YouTube) time management strategy religiously for Quant. It took the thinking and guesswork out of time management (it became a simple approach of: if X --> do Y), and also helped with nerves because I always "caught up" on time at regular and well-spaced intervals. This likely increased my accuracy with questions I did attempt, as I had a reasonable timeframe and no urge to rush. I played around with the formula a bit on my other practice tests (GMAC #4 and #5), but always found myself rushing towards the end.

Going into the actual exam today, I planned to follow the strategy precisely. It made logical sense and had not failed me yet. However, I lost track of time somewhere between Q10 (when I was well on track) and Q17 (by which point I was ~10 mins behind the recommended timeframes). Some anxiety kicked in since I'd missed at least one "skip a question now" checkpoint. I couldn't quite figure out how many questions to skip or when to skip them, so the rest of the exam involved both nerves and likely also a higher error rate. Even worse was when I lost focus in the last minute and ran out of time to guess the last 3 questions, which meant I left them blank. The score of 48Q, which is lower than each of my recent practice test scores, reflects this.

Given that I likely got 3-4 consecutive incorrect responses (three of which were blanks) clustered together at the end, and likely made a few mistakes with the preceding 5-10 questions, I suspect better self-control and discipline with time management would have bumped me up to 49Q. This would have been in line with all my recent GMAC practice test results. The clear learning there is to have a strategy and actually use it! I'd also recommend having a Plan B "catch up" approach in case you do miss a key checkpoint. If I were to retake the test, I'd likely try "do 2, guess 1" until I was back in line with the planned timelines.

Note: I didn't use this strategy on Verbal because all of my practice test experiences indicated that my normal pace should be okay - I had a remaining time range of 2 mins (GMAC #3) to 18 mins (GMAC #4). This held true today. I did need to take a few deep breaths between Quant and Verbal to calm my post-Quant nerves, and I checked my Verbal clock after every 12 questions to ensure I was on track, but I didn't make any adjustments as a result. The same applied for IR.

SUMMARY
Based on my experiences, my recommended strategy would be:

1. Start by reading about the GMAT so you understand the format and question types. Don't read too deeply into strategies at this stage.

2. Do a full test to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses. Don't panic. Identify priority areas for study.

3. Work through digital OG questions, starting with the priority areas. Focus on accuracy and understanding. Don't worry about time. Always read explanations to identify why you went wrong and how to achieve better accuracy or efficiency next time.

4. Read more strategies and apply selectively (i.e. exercise judgement). Use additional non-official question sets to supplement your learning in areas where you aren't seeing the improvement you'd like to see.

5. Towards the exam date, start refining your time management strategy on practice tests - then have the self-control to stick to it on the day!

Congratulations chanange. Very inspiring to read your story. Interesting fact is that I'm one who needs to undergo the experience for both quant n verbal that you faced for quant. You made my day !

Sent from my SM-G965F using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
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Joined: 16 Jul 2018
Posts: 6
Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 17 Aug 2018, 21:36
1
funsogu wrote:
How did you practice on Wiley? Do you do a set of 30 quant questions in 60 mins (my plan) or attempt questions based on difficulty?

funsogu, I started by doing sets of 20 randomised medium and hard questions in practice mode, taking the time to fully understand the explanation for each question (sometimes reworking the question immediately) and flagging any that I didn't nail 100%. It often took me 1h+ for each set of 20 questions. I also revisited my flagged list every 4-7 days. The assumption was that if I didn't have the knowledge or logic to answer the question in "unlimited" time, there was no way I could have done it in 2 minutes, so the knowledge and thinking were more important than the timing at this point.

About halfway through the month, I switched to the exam mode with the timer on but with 10 questions at a time, so I could get used to not getting answers or solutions immediately. However, I continued to review the explanations at the end of every round. Doing 10 questions at a time meant I could learn from one set and apply any new knowledge almost immediately. By the time I exhausted 80%-ish of the medium and hard questions, I only had a couple of topics that I still needed to work on, which is when I delved into the harder GMAT club question sets.

Good luck!

Originally posted by chanange on 16 Aug 2018, 16:06.
Last edited by chanange on 17 Aug 2018, 21:36, edited 2 times in total.
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Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 17 Aug 2018, 21:38
2
Arro44 wrote:
Congratulations on your score and major respect with regards to your Verbal result!

Although you started out very strong, are there still some things you could recommend to us?

Thanks Arro44. I don't think I'm the best person to give Verbal tips - the only thing that comes to mind is reading!

I've been an avid bookworm my whole life, averaging a book a week for as long as I remember (that's polarised between holiday periods when I may devour more than one book a day, and work periods when a few months may go by before I read one). I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, though non-fiction reading was probably more useful for the GMAT. My line of work - consulting - also involves a fair bit of reading and verbal analysis.

If someone was planning to take the GMAT in 3-6 months and wanted to improve their Verbal score, I'd suggest regularly reading well-written articles, books or journals on topics that are unrelated to their field of work or study. I noticed that GMAT CR and RC articles spanned a broad range of topics: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, history, psychology, business, economics, and more. Whilst the GMAT doesn't have specialist prerequisite knowledge, a conceptual foundation does help with comprehension (and definitely with speed), and I definitely noticed that less familiar topics (e.g. physics) took me more effort and time during practice tests. It also took me a few practice questions to get used to the more academic-style RC pieces.

That said, reading obviously doesn't replace doing OG (and other) Verbal questions and reviewing the accompanying explanations, and if someone was short on time, I'd probably suggest that they stick with GMAT-style questions and exercises.

Originally posted by chanange on 16 Aug 2018, 16:18.
Last edited by chanange on 17 Aug 2018, 21:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 15:38
Congratulations on the awesome score, chanange! It's always wonderful to see good things happen to lurkers -- we can see the bazillions of visits to the forum, but it's sometimes hard for us to know how much it helps the non-vocal visitors. Bunuel is a badass over in the quant forums, and I think he's single-handedly responsible for the worldwide increase in average quant scores.

Good luck with your applications, and congrats again!
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Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 20:24
Thanks GMATNinja. I definitely learned a lot from Bunuel - in fact, I was joking to my husband that Bunuel has topped my favourite author list for the past month. Such clear and concise explanations for everything!

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker  [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2018, 22:11
chanange Congratulations on a 760 score. All the best for your admissions.
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Re: Score 760: thanks from a lurker   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2018, 22:11
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