GREAT so happy for you!!
Been reading a couple of your posts on TM and find them to be always encouraging.
After struggling with the GMAT for a few months, I ultimately scored 700, just about a couple hours ago! I know that this score doesn't reflect my best performance, but I am more than happy with it!
I owe a lot to many people in this forum. The story of my journey coming soon. Thanks all, and best of luck with your MBA aspiration!
Confront the brutal facts. Yet never lose faiths.
Great Job TaTum. 700 is a score comensurate to target almost any top global B school. Make sure u do complete justice to ur application (esp. essays, extra curricular activities, objectives: short and long term etc.). Basically a well rounded personality should be the sum and substance of ur entire app. Any help that i can be of, lemme know.
Cheers and happy apping
I am sorry for my late action (I got tied up with R2 applications), and thank you so much for every single encouraging word. As I mentioned earlier, I owe a lot to many in this forum, and now I think it is my time to pay it back.
Before getting into my long debrief, I would like to say special thanks to some people. Firstly, I would like to thank Erin, who created such a wonderful forum. As a self-study individual, I really have no idea where I would have been without this learning community. You are truly a distinctive influencer who has changed many people’s lives, mine included. I really appreciate your enormous support.
Next, krusta80 and lsr, you were the very early people to answer my first quantitative question. I appreciated your help. TBAY, I read your debrief every time I got down. In my view, no other story is more inspiring than yours, and you are a genius writer – your story has been viewed more than 34,000 times in merely few months; it is simply unparalleled. Bob and Makumajon, I never interacted with you but I would like to let you know that I learned so much from all of your inputs that I can’t thank you enough. You two are absolutely the GMAT gurus. Kill GMAT, I religiously followed your success story. You are smart but humble. Your super hard work truly motivated me to do so. You literally killed the GMAT. Krovvidy, Your post gave me the final piece of confidence I needed. I thought you were one of the smart people who deserved more than 700, and you didn’t give up – you finally increased your score from 680 to 740. That encouraged me.
Finally, I want to thank those who fought the GMAT together with me: Test Taker, Queen09, Fiver, ANSHU1, flex_manny, genius_in_the_gene, boston_dream, shooter, retake, effective_factor, bose, and so on (I am sorry if I couldn’t recall your name). Even though we never met physically, you guys make me feel I am never alone. Thank you all!
I am a non-native test taker who never lived in any English speaking country. I am in my early 30s. I absolutely did not belong to one of those brilliant people who scored 700+, or even 750+, by studying only few weeks. The first CAT I took was one a half years ago, and I got only 400 something. But I persisted. My only strategy was through three key words – practice, practice, and practice. And, as a fortunate result, I finally saw my decent score start with the number “seven.”
Still, it was never easy for me. Studying about three months, I was able to increase my GMAT score from 560 to 660. However, it took me more than double to improve my performance further. My score got totally stuck around 640-660 for almost a half a year. During that difficult period of time, I felt tremendously desperate, as I, learning from all debriefs from those who were successful, tried everything in the world but I could not get out of the 600s. I was totally at a loss for quite a while.
Surprisingly, being relaxed proved very helpful to me. After spending about two weeks to rest (by taking the TOEFL instead), I turned to the GMAT with more confidence, a key word here, and I found it much more manageable. I finally scored 700. I attributed much of this improvement to mental calmness and strength.
Therefore, I come to you with the best suggestions I can give to you to cope in the same situation I faced. In short, most importantly, we have to believe in ourselves that we can make it happen. The mantra I repeated to myself was that I would never let the GMAT prevent me from pursuing my dream of getting into top MBA programs in the U.S. I never gave up on my future success. Even though I was not the best, I continued practicing. Ultimately, I did it and I know it could happen to all of you as well. Your hard work will definitely pay off at the end. Just believe in yourself.
It is worthwhile to emphasize one of the best pieces of advice I received from this forum that you are the only and best person to know how to improve your score. Everyone has relevant difference. Thus, please learn from others as much as possible and devise your own strategy that suits you best. Good luck to you!
1. Why is the GMAT extremely difficult?
First, it’s a timed test and its answer choices are well designed. No surprises to figure out that you get it wrong even though you are confident you are right. GMAC invests a lot of money to design each answer choice to attract you. Devils are in details indeed.
It is important for you to ensure that you understand the GMAT language. In one instance, take a look at sentences below. Set off differently by comma, both sentences are distinguished and thus not interchangeable. Make sure that you know this concept of what is essential and non-essential.
Meaning 1: This is my Uncle John, who lives in Toronto.
Meaning 2: This is my Uncle John who lives in Toronto.
Meanwhile, I think the GMAT is cruel because it’s computer-adaptive. This means you will get more difficult question once you get the current one correct, and the type of questions is random. This hurts our brain. You have to be familiar with it, making yourself ready for each type of question and increasing difficulty.
As an individual who graduated from an engineering school, I established my goals to maintain a Quantitative Score no less than 49, and to maximize my Verbal Score greater than 35. By securing 35 scaled score for Verbal, my accuracy rate for SC, and CR has to be more than 80%, and for Rd could be about 70%.
From my observation from the GMAT Prep, to achieve 700+ I could afford mistakes on no more than 10 answers for each section. Every SET I took, I tried to minimize my wrong answers no more than 15 for Verbal (SC -3, CR -3, RD -6), while keeping less than 5~8 for Quantitative. After setting such a clear goal, I worked on it religiously.
Although I was quite good at math, I never took it lightly, as I knew that it could be a disaster if I failed to optimize my math score. I tried to pattern my weak areas, such as Number Property, Remainder, Inequality, etc, and I remembered it. I figured out that there are no more than 100 patterns of question types, which I could learn all of. Just memorize those styles you get wrong.
2.2 Reading Comprehension
This section was a nightmare indeed. Oftentimes, I felt that I had done the GMAT very well until I faced a deadly passage. As Kill GMAT mentioned, the only way to overcome this difficulty was to practice. I forced myself to work on at least two passages every day.
For international students, it is important to focus on the connections to understand its meaning. Do not get lost in any details. Furthermore, you have to increase your reading speed to no less than 300 word-per-minutes – it means you read each passage no longer than two minutes. Building your vocabulary is essential to enable you to do so.
Be aware that, when I developed my ability to comprehend those passages at a certain level, I felt the right answer just jumped out to me, especially for Inference-type Question. No need to contemplate about it.
2.3 Critical Reasoning
It is something like a short passage. Make sure that you understand both a stimulus and a question stem. Give enough time to deal with difficult questions.
2.4 Sentence Correction
It appears to be easy but it is difficult. Read directions carefully – “Choose the answer that produces the most effective sentence – clear and exact, without awkwardness or ambiguity. Do not make a choice that changes the meaning of the original sentence.” So, the correct answer does not necessarily mean perfect; you might frequently think you can rewrite the correct answer better than the original. This is why you have to learn why other four answer choices are wrong, rather than why the correct one is right.
The best way for me to learn SC was to do a set of questions by myself first, and then to learn those I did not understand clearly by using the TM forums. I did not do all questions posted here since I felt some of them were not representative. On the other hand, I sometimes learned from specific people who had a complete understanding of the GMAT grammar, such as Bob, Kill GMAT, and so on. Just search their names.
3. Time Management
One reason that makes the GMAT harsh is the time constraint. You have to mange your invaluable time wisely. Every second counts on the GMAT. I learned the best time management from Krovvidy, dividing it into 25-25-25 minutes. Unlike him, I targeted my pacing as constantly as possible. See below.
75-50........#1-#12 (12)....#1-#14 (14)
50-25........#13-#24 (12)....#15-#28 (14)
25-0..........#25-#37 (13)....#29-#41 (13)
It’s noteworthy to mention that I used my fingers rather than wrote down (A), (B),…, (E) on the notepad. By doing this, I was able to save time more than one minute and simultaneously to reduce my careless mistakes.
4. Stamina Development
I think most test takers do not perform well because they are tired, as I frequently was. So, it is necessary to develop your physical and moral strength by practicing a full-length test, comprised of AWA, Quan, and Verbal, at least two weeks before the real test.
For me, I allocated my stamina 5: 35: 60 for AWA: Quan: Verbal section because I wanted to keep my energy to perform Verbal. I did not pay too much attention to AWA and Quan. I took a break every time, and I timed my break by using a stopwatch to ensure that I didn’t take over 10 minutes.
In addition to stamina allocation, I found that putting yourself in English mode can enhance your performance on Verbal by more than 100%. I listened to English audio for almost 30 minutes before the test.
Needless to mention, it is the most important factor. Your performance could be affected more or less 50 score if you feel panicked. Thus, be prepared for the test.
Useful Materials (In order of importance)
• OG 11th, and Verbal Supplement …It’s your Bible. Repeat them as many times as you can
• GMAT Prep / GMAT Focus (Quan) …The best practice test ever – it is created by GMAC who devises the real GMAT
• SETs 21-30 …It represents the real GMAT’s quality.
• Manhattan GMAT SC …It’s a concise and excellent GMAT grammar book.
• Kaplan 800 …I find the Verbal Section is useful. Learn concepts of modifiers and ellipsis from it
• PowerScore GMAT CR Bible …It has all concepts of reasoning you need.
• PowerScore GMAT SC Bible …It includes more knowledge than MGMAT SC, a fundamental that is beneficial to me.
• The Princeton Review …It’s good for beginners learning fundamental test taking techniques, e.g. POE, plug-in.
TBAY (500 to 720)
Kill GMAT (770)
Krovvidy (680 to 740)
Shoebite (680 to 720)
All the best,
Confront the brutal facts. Yet never lose faiths.
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