770- Tough but achievable
[EARLY WARNING- LONG POST, READ AT LEISURE]
I just appeared for my GMAT yesterday, and scored a 770 (Q50, V47). Just as an early disclaimer, let me mention that this was my second attempt. My first was a 670 (Q50, V31, AWA 6) exactly 31 days back.
During my first attempt however, I was under the spell of a severe viral infection. I took some medication before going to the test center but by the time I started my Verbal, my energy level was near zero; I simply donít remember anything from that session; and that is why you see an AWA of 6, and Q of 50 and then an abominable 31 on V (and btw, I think I did not finish in time).
Ironically, GMAT does not let you cancel your test in the last 3 days (as in it would still mention that you missed the test) and viral infections arenít predictable 15 days prior to the event; so I went for the test nonetheless. The validity of my decision will come to light only as time passes. Anyway, I was dealt an unfavorable hand of cards, but then I couldnít do much; so I just came out of the test (a bit shattered) but went ahead and scheduled another appointment the very first day I was eligible.
That test really drained me a lot and my infection relapsed. It took me some 10 days to get back to normal, but then I knew I had already prepared for my exam, and I dint have to do much. So I simply went through my regular routine of giving tests, gave a few, revised the topics again and without fretting a lot gave the exam.
I must say that my target was 750+, and I was happy to see the result.
I started preparing for the GMAT on the 4th of July I distinctly remember, for I stayed back home that weekend, rather that enjoying the warm California weather on a beach. I have never been the studious type, I did score a GPA of >3.5 but that was back then. I have been working for the past 8 years now, and am totally out of the studying game. I studied 2 hours a day on weekdays, and 4 hours on weekends (mostly, I also travel a lot (job) so I had to take in a few blackout days).
Here is a list of materials I used:
Official Guide/QR/VR: Nothing more important than a thorough review of these books. They should be renamed as the bibles for each one of these sections I mustíve gone through them atleast 4 times, and although this may sound a bit repetitive, I think you pick up subtle nuances each and every time you read the book (esp. in SC). You should plan on thoroughly reviewing this material at least two times.
Manhattan GMAT Guides: A lot has been said about the Manhattan GMAT SC guide, but I think they cater to all subjects very well. I just looked at the new edition (sneak peek available on their website); and it looks like they have taken the guides to the next level. You must get yourself a set of those guides, go through each of these topics and make sure you read them comprehensively.
GMAT 800: This is a book; I would recommend that you read only if you are aiming for a score beyond 700, and closer to 750. This is not a beginnerís guide, and can be ignored by those who are not in the 720 region. Then again this book will only prevent you from committing silly mistakes that might drag your score from a 720 to a 680; and will not help you go from 650 to 720. This book per me, is strictly recommended only for people who have studied their basics well, and are more interested in the advanced topics. I think the Verbal topics are much better covered in this book than the Quantitative.
Personally, I got this book from our library (I had read the reviews earlier, and knew I shouldnít be buying this one for good ), and held it for 2 weeks; it is a good book, and it did help me a lot.
Sets: Going through the infamous Scoretop Sets was one of the best things I did during my prep. They reflect the GMAT very well. I went through each one of the 31 sets once, gave every exam as though I were at the center (I would diligently solve 2 sets on weekends, and 1 set every now and then.). These sets also boost your confidence level; I used to score pretty low earlier but then after I completed some of these sets, I was both confident and quick in solving the real GMAT problems.
Manhattan GMAT Tests: Again, Manhattan GMAT has a killer set of tests. It is a bit difficult to kickstart the whole testing process though. Their Q for example is much longer than the standard GMAT. i.e you will find it very hard to solve the test in time; but as I gave my first 2, I got used to the pace; and then started finishing the Q in time. The V is also good, and I think more closely reflects the actual GMAT.
You can get an access to these tests by buying any one of their books, and I think 6 tests for <$20 is a bargain. For people from China, India and other countries, where the currency ratio is unfavorable, I would still recommend that you buy these tests if possible. This is the best you could get.
In my first test (my first week of prep), I got a 650 but then improved to get 700, 730,730,750,760. The last test was ofcourse a sham Manhattan GMAT has a limited set of 1200 questions, and if you are consistently scoring ~700 in your first 5, it runs out of questions. But the good news is that they are enhancing their database. Again, this test set is highly recommended.
PowerPrep and GPrep: Best emulators of the actual tests. I gave the tests once, and then in the last 10 days I went through the GPrep once every other day. Although 90% of the questions were same, but the 10% of the new questions helped a lot.
Some other Material: I got some CDs (Barrons, Princeton Review ets) which had some of the mock tests as well; and while they were not very comprehensive, they did help a lot. This past week, through one of the posts on the TM forum, I went to a link which had a wonderful collection of prep material, including a ďCambridge GMAT TestĒ software. This one has the look and feel of the PowerPrep, but is very good. The questions are great, but unfortunately I donít have the link to it. If anyone knows what I am talking about, please post out the link on this thread.
TestMagic: By and far the most comprehensive collection of GMAT questions. I owe my score a lot to TM! Iíve seen the most wonderful, brilliant and awe inspiring people on this forum and Iíve never seen a question go unanswered.
Manhattan GMAT Forum: Good, but not very comprehensive, does not have the same fan following as TM. Manhattan GMAT encourages their instructors to respond on this forum, and that is the real piece of meat there. Some of their instructors are very knowledgeable; and while TMís strength is in collective intelligence, Manhattan GMATís is in intellectual intelligence.
Understanding the scoring Pattern:
I just wanted to add this as another item, I spent a few hours in understanding how the GMAT scores you. I really could not understand it a whole lot but here is what I found out:
Stress more on the verbal part: I tried various permutations and combinations on Google. Typed in something like ďGMAT Q49 V38Ē or another combination of scores, and checked what the scores of other people who have already scored as much look like. Then I created a table of my ideal scores.
I would highly recommend that you all do the same. In my case, I knew that on a bad day I will get a 49 in Math, and on a good day 51, and if I really had someone VooDooing me, I would get 48.
So then when I prepared for my Verbal I knew I had to get a 38 if I had to cross the 700 barrier. Although people look at their performance in the mock tests from a total score perspective, I would highly recommend looking at the splits too. Please work on your verbal scores; Even if you score a 51 on Q and just a 33-34 in Verbal, you will just manage to touch the 700 mark), and even with the best prep, you are never guaranteed a 51 in Q.
Finally, IMHO, how you prepare and what you prepare are the two fundamental criteria which will define your final GMAT score. Everyone has access to the same GMAT material, and believe me; GMAT seldom goes out of the bounds that they have set themselves in the Official Guide; and a thorough study of the material is bound to make you successful!
Cheers and Have a great time during the preps!
Thanks for all the help!
wawwwwww.... Heartiest Congratulations on such an impressively HIGH score.
I got a question for ya..
Can you please share the difference (especially focus) between your 1st and 2nd attempt? Did you feel you ran out of material or you had same material/tests for both preps?
Again, Congrats and all the best to get into your dreamed and deserved school.
awesome score man
job done well
I got a 590 in the Manhattan GMAT mocks now and I was really low..
I have made 20 mistakes in quant and 20 in verbal and I was feeling damn low..
i feel better now..
All the Best for your apps and please do share anything else you think is recommended
- Rep Power
Great score dude!!. Congrats on that front..
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