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Success Story - 700 after a lot of hardship!!

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Success Story - 700 after a lot of hardship!! [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 18:51
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I want to share my grueling experience with GMAT.

Official Guide 10: overall utility: 10/10. This book is the big kahuna of practice books and is an absolute MUST HAVE if you want to ace this test. Far better than more recent versions, Official Guide 10 has a great number of challenging questions, followed by extensive explanations. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it needs to be the centerpiece of your practice effort. You can find a used OG10 for under ten bucks on amazon.

Official Guide 11: 8/10. This book provides many practice questions but I found most of the questions too easy. In addition, there are far fewer questions compared to Official Guide 10, but oddly enough, this book was much more expensive.

Bob Miller’s Math for GMAT: 8/10. If Quant is your weak point, I strongly suggest this book. Quant was my weakest aspect, so I went ahead and bought this book on a whim. I am glad I did. Although lacking in the number of practice questions, it clearly and concisely explains most every math concept you will find on the GMAT. If you need to LEARN the math concepts, not just review stuff you already know, this is your book.

Princeton Review Cracking the GMAT: 7/10. I enjoyed this book because of its entertaining writing style, and great pointers on test strategy. However, I found the questions to be faulty and confusing at times. “Princeton Review” questions are the reason ACT pays millions of dollars to the people that develop the actual questions for the GMAT. Definitely a good book that is worth buying, but buy the other books before you buy this one.

Kaplan 800: n/a. This is another useful book for strategy. In fairness to Kaplan, I will refrain from posting a grade as I only used the book late into my studies. I rented it from the public library and it gave me some very useful strategic pointers.

Lots of Pens
Lots of Notebooks
INDEX CARDS (very important)
a GMAT prep course with a great and very motivational instructor

The way to ace this test is simple: practice, practice, practice. If you are studying theories and formulas, or memorizing idioms, but not putting this knowledge into practice, you are seriously wasting your time. That’s what I did before my first GMAT, and I got slaughtered. Memorizing formulas doesn’t test you under the gun. If you can’t spring into action upon reading a certain math question, you are like a deer in the headlights. That is why your practice should be structured to improve reaction time.

The way to do this is to do a practice packet that you do 6 times a week, EVERY SINGLE DAY, WITHOUT FAIL, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER. Don’t do 7 times a week, because you can get burned out, and if your practice packets are formulated the correct way, you will need a day off! Also, don’t structure your practice packets so you work only on your weaker section. I don’t care if you are a nobel prize winner in nuclear mathmatics, put some quant in your practice packet. It is as important to improve your weak section as it is to maximize your potential on your strong section. That being said, if you are amazing at sentence correction, don’t do 7000 sentence correction questions. Do enough so you improve and don’t forget your skills. Since my forte’ was verbal, I structured my practice packet as follows:

30 Data Sufficiency
30 Problem Solving
20 Sentence Correction
20 Critical Reasoning
3 Reading Comprehension Passages

I used a chronometer to time myself on each segment. Eventually, using a stopwatch instills in you a kind of innate chronometer, so that you instinctively know how much time you're using up on a particular question, and you get the “feel” for how long two minutes are. This is incredibly important on test day.

After I would complete the packet, I would jot down how much time I took, and check my answers. For any Quant question I got wrong, I would write the question out in its entirety on one side of an index card, then write the answer and explanation on the back. Then, I would place the index cards on a box on my desk. The last day before my second GMAT, I looked over and attempted all the questions on my index cards (by that point, I had at least a hundred or so).

The most important technique to conceptualize is time management. This is imperative towards achieving 700+. I split it up as follows:

SC: < 1 minute. These questions need to be instant. Here is where you can gain time for some of the later sections. Use process of elimination and physically cross out the wrong answers on your notepad.

CR: 1-2 minutes. Use the notebook to jot down shorthand quick notes on every sentence. If you are quick this should take a minute. Take another minute to figure out the answer, give it your best guess, and get out!!

RC: 4-5 minutes for the passage, < 1 minute per question. Here is where forum members have the most diversity. I am convinced this is the best way, and I have tried all methods. Read the passage and take GOOD notes on basically every sentence. The notes need to be shorthand, but thorough. You will find that the extra time you spend reading the passage will be compensated by your quick ability to answer the questions now!! Not to mention a greatly improved accuracy!!! If you have taken good notes, the questions can literally all be answered in under a minute!!!!

DS and personal statement: Strictly 2 and no more than 3 minutes a question. Only go over 3 minutes if you are on your way to an answer and you only need to do a few more calculations. By the time you are two minutes into the question you should almost be done. If you are still thinking about how to do the question, or what formula to use, just get out!!!

Practice tests are very important to familiarize yourself with the scoring and timing of an official CAT exam. I only took one practice CAT before taking my first GMAT, and I feel that that was a critical factor affecting my first performance. I simply was not familiar enough with the GMAT to get a high score. In addition, my first CAT being a decent 590 made me underestimate the test significantly. After my first Waterloo vs. GMAT, I practiced taking CATs and recorded all the tests I took. Here are the scores:

Test__________ Date______________ Rigorous Test Conditions?____________ Scores
GMAT Prep 1__3/29____________________ No____________________ 610 (38Q 35V)
GMAT Prep 1__ 3/30____________________ No____________________ 570 (40Q 28V)
Powerprep 1 ___4/04____________________ No____________________ 600 (36Q 35V)
Powerprep 1 ___4/07____________________ No (drank two beers prior!) 650 (43Q 36V)
Powerprep 2__ 4/16____________________ No (extremely sleepy, 2 beers) 680! (42Q 41V)
Powerprep 1 __4/20 _____________________No_____________________ 650
GMAT Prep 2 4/26 G-day -1 ______________Yes______________________ 640

As you can see, I never scored higher than a 680 on any practice exam, so improving your score on your actual GMAT is possible. I feel my practice scores were not that high because I tended to rush Verbal so as to see what my Total and Quant scores were. Also, please note how much higher than average my scores were when I took the tests under the influence of beer. Had I gone to the test center completely hammered, I might have scored a 750 today.

I woke up at 6, ate breakfast and did a couple problems to get my brain going. I was not feeling particularly well. Too much anxiety, too many horrible memories associated with GMAT. In contrast to my first test, my father took me to the test center. This helped A TON. Whereas the first time I had to think about driving, this time I could look at my index cards and memorize and understand a few more concepts.
The test started well with the generic and pointless AWAs. However, during my second AWA, I started feeling sick; too much math anxiety I guess. I went to the bathroom and felt extremely nauseous. I was feeling like I was going to throw up, but I told myself I’m not giving up, I’m going to persevere and give it my best shot. I went back to my desk and faced the dreaded math. The questions were hard, but my speed had really improved so much so that I finished with nearly 20 minutes (!!!) to spare!!!! I hid the clock at the beginning to reduce test anxiety and checked the clock again at the halfway mark. The questions I knew I did instantly, the questions I could work out I took some time on, and the questions I had no idea how to do, I guessed upon, INSTANTLY!!! Don’t try to work your way through an impossible question!! It’s O.K. to GUESS!!!!
At this point, I felt so-so. I didn’t think I did great in the math, but I thought that I hadn’t done so bad as to completely sabotage my score. I came into the verbal thinking if I do my very best, I can really pump up my score. I felt great coming into the first 15-20 questions; I thought I hadn’t missed any question. My stomach started hurting at around question 30 and by question 35, the questions were really torturous, my head was spinning, and I thought I was going to vomit. But I grit my teeth and kept on going and finished strong.
I was ecstatic to see that my final score was:

Scaled Percentile
Quant 48 84
Verbal 38 83
TOTAL 700!!!! 90!!!!!!

After I saw my score, my nausea disappeared. Amazingly, right after I finished my test, the Pearson people said that the computer was malfunctioning; one of them actually told me there might be the possibility that my score got erased!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can imagine how I took that!!!!! I told her that if that happened I would sue Pearson and ACT, and I wasn’t kidding. Luckily the malfunction didn’t cancel my score!!!

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Joined: 13 Aug 2015
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GMAT 1: 710 Q49 V38
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Re: Success Story - 700 after a lot of hardship!! [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 19:03
610 to 700 is a massive achievement. Congratulations. How did you increased your quant score from Q30 to Q48? Any tips there?

If you like my posts, please give kudos. Help me unlock gmatclub tests.

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650- Target Achieved! [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 19:25
I sat for the GMAT this August. After 4 months of prep, I am happy to report I have scored a 650 (Q47, V31).

My Plan:
I first started with a MGMAT diagnostic test. It seemed really hard and I could not finish the quant section in time. I scored a 600 (Q47,V25). I knew that I needed real improvement in Verbal. I immediately bought the Veritas Prep GMAT set. My main aim was to improve my RC, SC and CR.

Resources I used:
I found the Veritas Prep extensively and found them very useful. They do a pretty good job of reviewing the core concepts. I found the Algebra, C&P and Arithmetic guides especially helpful. For anyone with who wants to improve their logical reasoning skills, I would also highly recommend the GMAT logic guide.

Foundations of GMAT logic
Veritas Prep Algebra
Veritas Prep C & P
Veritas Prep Arithmetic
OG Quant

Veritas Prep SC1&2
Veritas Prep CR1&2
Manhattan GMAT IR Guide
OG Verbal
OG Guide

Verbal Plan:
I went through all the GMATNow Videos. Then I studied the Veritas Prep verbal guides. I noticed that after going through them one time, I did not really improve in verbal. Started going through tons of problems sets for SC. Improved quite a lot. Then I took the same path for CR. I started doing OG questions and VP questions. I started understanding the main problem types which helped me improve my score. At this point, I also started reviewing the Kaplan 800 book. Its has a number of awesome strategies for timing the verbal section which helped improve my time management skills.

Exam Day:
I went to the test center at 7:15am. My test was at 8. I sat there and to be honest, I was doing some last minute revisions before the exam. Once the exam started, I was in full flow. Breezed through the IR and essays. Then started the quant but it went pretty smoothly. Verbal was difficult but I managed to finish on time. Ended up with a 650 (Q47, V31).

I am happy with it because it is good enough for McDonough, the school I am targeting!

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GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V39
GPA: 3.3
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Re: 650- Target Achieved! [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 05:44
Excellent score. Well done. Best of luck with your b school applications. I just wrote my test on Monday and am relieved now. Don't have to worry about studying anymore so i can focus on apps. Good luck!

Winners dont make excuses.

350--> 700

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Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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Success Story - 700 after a lot of hardship!! [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 10:18
Did you take the test twice?

I have found 2 different debriefs from you posted within a few hours and they are talking about different materials and have different scores. This is somewhat odd.... they seem to be posted at the same time but not reference each other.... Why?

P.S. You refer to OG 10 - that's over 10 years old and probably not the right book to even use since it has question overlap with GMAT prep....

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Success Story - 700 after a lot of hardship!!   [#permalink] 10 Aug 2017, 10:18
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Success Story - 700 after a lot of hardship!!

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