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Thread: 740 (q49, v42)

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    740 (q49, v42)

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    I am 31 and have been out of school for 7 years now. I have been primarily a reader on these forums for the past 2 months but now it is time to return the favor. I took my GMAT yesterday and did well – 740 (q49, v42). Different people have different study techniques so I am not going to waste your time listing my practice scores or study methods; what worked for me could sound counterintuitive to others and vice versa. What I’d like to do instead is share a few nuggets of wisdom that I know would help.

    1. Be confident, have faith in yourself and stay focused during the test – I know this might sound corny to some but trusting yourself is of paramount importance on test day. The test environment could be stressful, the time pressure could get to you, so much is riding on your answers; your only ally on the test day is you. The GMAT is a hard test and more likely than not it will challenge you during certain stretches of the test. I dislike the sequence from question 13 to question 30 on both sections the most. I call these questions “the valley of death” – you have an inkling of how well you did on the first 12 questions but not really; you have likely spent more time than average on the first 12 questions because they are so important; you feel time pressuring you; the end is nowhere in sight; you know you have a ton of work ahead of you; if you did well on the initial questions, the current questions become progressively more difficult; you could easily lose your focus and be flustered. Don’t let the test to get to you. Fight back with confidence and focus, have faith in your ability and keep churning through the questions one by one, soon enough you will see question # 30 and will get your second wind.

    You can beat this test but only with the help of one person and one person alone – YOU.

    2. Practice incessantly – Take as many practice tests as you humanly can, taking lots of practice tests is crucial in improving your chances for success. The more practice tests you take the better your timing will get and the better you will adjust to the difficulty of the questions the test throws at you. If you practice enough, you will develop an internal clock and just know how much time to dedicate to each question. In some instances (especially if you are unsure if you answered the previous question correctly) it does pay off to spend a bit longer on a given question, however if you overdo it you will be burned. Maybe a good way to go about it is religiously stick to a time limit per question when you are a newbie; as you get more comfortable with your pace you will learn how to invest the extra minute when it counts. In general I think that the rigid 2 min per question routine works for a respectable, average score; if you want to score over 700 you have to stay flexible and adjust to the increasing difficulty of the test.

    3. Study with the OG 11, GMATPrep and PowerPrep – The Official GMAT Guide 11, GMATPrep and PowerPrep provide hands down the most accurate representation of the real test. The last 50 or so questions in each of the OG11 sections very closely replicate the type of questions you will see on test day. GMATPrep is a wonderful proxy for the real test, the look and feel of GMATPrep is exactly what you will see in the test center. This sense of familiarity was hugely helpful in calming my nerves during what otherwise could be a nervous environment. Some people on these forums have claimed that the Math problems on the real test are more difficult than the GMATPrep practice problems. I think this perception has more to do with the amount of pressure on test day and the stringent testing environment than with the real problems truly being more difficult. I have found the GMATPrep questions (both verbal and quant) to be an invaluably accurate representation of the real test. Try taking as many GMATPrep questions as you possibly can. I have to thank Clintonn here who posted hundreds of GMATPrep questions on this forum. If you take the GMATPrep you will only see a portion of all questions based on how well you are doing. Clintonn has gone through the tests a few times with the purpose of generating different questions and has posted these practice questions here. Go find his posts, use his content and thank him later. His posts were of great help to me in achieving a strong score. Thanks again Clintonn.

    4. Do NOT use the scoring in any of the Kaplan tests – I do not intend to disparage the makers of the Kaplan tests. Quite on the contrary, the Kaplan textbooks are perfect for people who want to gain raw knowledge of the concepts that are being tested. Kaplan’s study aids are great to set your foundation, you should study their explanations and definitions. You may even take their practice tests just to polish your timing skills, but whatever you do, don’t look at your practice Kaplan scores. Judging your performance by your Kaplan practice scores is similar to looking for an inspiration in a Saw movie – you just won’t find it there. I consistently scored between 520 and 570 in my Kaplan practice tests, don’t make the same mistakes I made. The Kaplan practice scores could ruin your confidence (which is the most important weapon you have per point 1 above). The Kaplan scores tend to be inaccurate and artificially deflated; I don’t have any tangible evidence to prove my point other than my intuition. Why would Kaplan do such an “evil” thing? I see two main reasons: 1) Kaplan guarantees that you will achieve a higher score after you take their training courses; 2) Kaplan would like to spook you into thinking that you are less prepared than you are and hence that you need to take their training courses. I have found that other independent test makers are somewhat guilty of a similar pattern but none to the same extent as Kaplan.

    Kaplan’s prep tests should make you appreciate the OG11 and the GMATPrep even more. Both the OG11 and the GMATPrep are infinitely more accurate than any of the independent study aids. Why does the GMAC make them this accurate you might ask? It is not because GMAC’s heart bleeds for you or because the GMAC is lazy (as some people here have suggested), but rather because the GMAC aims to induce the test takers to purchase the OG11. It is all about money in the end.

    5. Nature of the test – The test environment is professional and strict. You shouldn’t worry that you will encounter any inconveniences; the test room is very quiet (I took the test in the continental US – WA state); the test staff is very courteous and professional. You can’t bring anything in the test room with you, I had a runny nose and they didn’t allow me to bring my tissues; they gave me tissues they had prepared. The laminated paper is plenty enough even for the biggest sketchers; the marker is quality and works well. There are two 10 minute breaks, I advise you to take them both to collect yourself or drink a refreshing beverage. There were 2-3 probability questions of medium difficulty. The verbal section was just as it is in the OG, you have to maintain a sharp focus to do well on the CR questions (especially if you are answering them correctly).

    6. You can score 700+ if you want it enough – If I could impress one thing on you is that you too can score very well on the GMAT. In the past I have read some of the postings here and felt intimidated; postings like “I scored 780 - the questions were easy”, “I scored 790 but I know I can do better”, “I have an engineering background and the quant section felt very intuitive to me”, etc could make you feel uncomfortable and out of your league. Don’t feel this way! If you are willing to invest enough time to prepare and if you are willing to sacrifice enough efforts to do well – you can beat the GMAT. Beating the GMAT has a very simple formula – it is not easy by a long stretch, but it is simple – work hard, have faith in yourself and use the right tools. The GMAT test concepts are relatively predictable; with enough determination you will see your scores improve over time and you will ultimately beat the GMAT. If I did it, anyone else could.

    Thanks for reading, ask if you have questions.

  2. #2
    Eager! gmat_abc's Avatar
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    Congratulations, awesome score!!!!

    This is a very well crafted debrief, esp. the focus on the "nuggets of wisdom". I am sure other test-takers will find this encouraging.

    Good luck with your apps.
    One's first step in wisdom is to question everything - and one's last is to come to terms with everything. -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)

  3. #3
    Within my grasp! hasnathullah's Avatar
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    awesome score dude.... let me know how u prepared for quants ..

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage charu_mulye's Avatar
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    Congratulations !! Very well written debrief...
    Are you native English speaker ?

    Best of Luck for your Apps
    Arise, Awake! And stop not until the goal is reached. -- Swami Vivekananda.

  5. #5
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Hasnathullah - I used Kaplan for my math prep and I thouroughly studied all GMATPrep practice test questions I got wrong. I have put together a cheat sheet, let me know if you want me to post it here.

    Charu-Mulye - I am born and raised in Europe. have been living in the US for the last 12+ years.

    Thanks all for the kind words.

  6. #6
    Eager!
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    Congratulations that's a stellar score. Thanks for sharing this great advice, I have added a link to it at Tips from successful GMAT takers.

    Best of luck with your applications.
    PrepForTests.com
    Free GMAT tutorials, tips and practice questions

  7. #7
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Congrats!!! definitely post your "cheat sheet."
    Everyone who has doubts about the test should read your post.

  8. #8
    Within my grasp!
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    Please post your "cheat sheet"

  9. #9
    Within my grasp! TBAY's Avatar
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    excellent debrief. Congrats.

    Tbay
    p.s. Post your sheet

  10. #10
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Cheat sheet posted

    The cheat sheet is attached. Apologies for the delay. Happy New Year to all.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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