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From 470 to 700! On My Second Try? Say It Ain't So!


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Hi m.campanella, quick question... I feel my verbal is weak and I am working on it. I have OG10, OG11 and OG Verbal (I completed OG10 ). I think for GMAT OG is best and for tough Kaplan 800. My question is for practising if I will do ~25 SCs daily then i will exhaust OGs very soon. What you suggest?
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Hey Ravi,


Go ahead and start doing TIMED practice packets from OG 10. Make sure you don't skip questions. Don't worry about running out of material until you have actually memorized the answer to every question and each question is no longer a challenge. When you finish all the questions from OG10, you can either start working on OG11 or you can do all the questions from OG 10 again. Alternately, you can buy OG9 or OG12 if you feel that is necessary, but doing both OG10 and OG11 twice should be sufficient to get 600+.


You won't run out of questions my friend. There are tons of GMAT practice sources. The most important thing is to get into a daily routine of GMAT questions that you never fail to do. That is the key element.


Good luck! Now start working on your packet!!!

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Really Congratulations to you!!! I think you have already good/solid verbal knowledge before, this time you sure to prepare very well to supplement by a good quantitative section. You really concentrated on it, right? I hope that I could learn at least ...just a little bit... from your great fruit. Your effort really inspires though.
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Hey m.campanella,


Thanks a lot of your useful suggestions!

Hey Conspicuously,


Thank you very much for your compliments. I appreciate them!


I didn't study at all for AWA and I don't recommend you do either. All you need to do to succeed in the AWA is memorize a useful template . Remember, the most important factor in the AWA is length. You need to write 5 indented paragraphs. This was my template:


" The issue of ______________ is an interesting/controversial one. On the one hand, ____________________. On the other hand, ________________. In conclusion, I believe that _________________________.


One reason is that ______________________________. (Write two sentences discussing this issue.)


Another reason is _______________________________. (Write two sentences discussing this issue.)


Perhaps the most important reason is ____________________. (Write two sentences discussing this issue.)


(The final paragraph needs to sound just like the first one.)


A great discussion of AWA template can be found in Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT.



As far as critical reasoning goes, you need to follow a technique that works for you. I find that the absolute best technique goes as follows:


1) Read the question first. This will tell you what to look for in the paragraph. You will know whether to look for flaws, or for strengths in the argument, or for assumptions.


2) Read the paragraph and take shorthand notes. I truly believe that the key aspect of success in CR is understanding the paragraph fully. The paragraphs are tricky, so you need to attack them sentence by sentence. Make sure you understand a sentence before you go on to the next one. Take quick, shorthand notes on each sentence. This needs to take you about a minute-90 seconds. With practice, you can speed your notetaking time to 20-40 seconds.


3) Look at the answer choices. If you recognize the right answer, you are lucky. If you don't recognize the right answer, try to recognize some wrong answers. Physically cross the wrong answers out on your notebook so you don't have to remember which choices you've eliminated. If you are not sure, take your best guess after 2 minutes. Do not sit and ponder the choices. Sometimes I will know the right answer and the reasoning and STILL not understand why that's the right answer!!


Above all, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. You need to do at least 30 CR a day. Never do just 25. Always do the entire 30. Make sure you time your progress and measure your accuracy. Above all, never give up. Success in the GMAT is more about courage and determination than about talent.


Best of luck, if you have any other questions let me know.

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30 Data Sufficiency

30 Problem Solving

20 Sentence Correction

20 Critical Reasoning

3 Reading Comprehension Passages



Hi there. I stumbled across your posting. Boy, colossal growth. Kongrats bro.

Quick question. Did you mean one practice packet every day OR all of the above packets every day ?

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Hi there. I stumbled across your posting. Boy, colossal growth. Kongrats bro.

Quick question. Did you mean one practice packet every day OR all of the above packets every day ?


LOL, nice try my friend. :D All those questions make up one practice packet, so basically you need to do 100 questions and 3 passages per day. There's no getting around it....practice makes perfect, but it takes hard work. You will be happy you put the extra effort when you see that 720 on your screen.


Good luck, and thank for the congrats.

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Hey people,


I am selling all of my GMAT practice material, along with some of my best friend's LSAT practice material, on EBAY. The prices are definitely competitive and of course, satisfaction is guaranteed, particularly for my friends at Testmagic!!! Please do not mind my Item descriptions: they are WAYYYY over the top! I feel like the guy that sells those Shamwow towels, lmao.

Anyway, here are the links to my e-bay auctions. The auctions will be finished in 7 days, so act now!!!!


Cracking the GMAT

CRACKING THE GMAT with DVD 2007 ***USED*** - eBay (item 230341616696 end time May-13-09 21:34:30 PDT)


OG 10

THE OFFICIAL GUIDE FOR GMAT REVIEW 10th EDITION *USED*! - eBay (item 230341617747 end time May-13-09 21:58:35 PDT)


OG 11

**USED** OFFICIAL GUIDE FOR GMAT REVIEW 11th EDITION - eBay (item 230341597916 end time May-13-09 18:02:52 PDT)


Bob Miller's Math for GMAT

Bob Miller's Math for GMAT ***USED*** - eBay (item 230341615258 end time May-13-09 21:07:07 PDT)



and for the LSAT:


Cracking the LSAT

CRACKING THE LSAT - 2008 EDITION - V.GENTLY USED - eBay (item 230341590389 end time May-13-09 16:52:30 PDT)


Next 10 Prep Tests

The Next 10 Actual, Official LSAT PrepTests (2007) USED - eBay (item 230341592780 end time May-13-09 17:12:32 PDT)



Have a nice day, and happy bidding! If you have any questions about the items, please contact me, either on EBAY or on Testmagic.

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Update: got my official score back today. Appalled at my AWA score: 4.5!!!!!! :mad: That's really amazingly bad. Dropped one whole point. Oh well. Don't really mind too much, I'm glad to have sacrificed one point in the AWA to improve 230 points in Quant and Verbal!!! :D Just hope it won't hurt my application too much. :(


So over the two tests my best scores were:

Quantitative 48 84%

Verbal 38 83%

Total 700 90%

AWA 5.5


Overall, I'm actually feeling a bit disappointed with how my second exam went, especially the 4.5 AWA and the Verbal score. I flirted with the thought of taking the test one more time (:eek:!!!!) but I think it would be a waste of time and money. I should be able to get in to where I want to go with my score.

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Hi Campanella,


I have taken my GMAT on21st July 08. I scored 530 ( quant 44, verbal 19 ). Though after a year, now I feel I could try again for GMAT. As you could see, I have to desperately improve my verb score. Iam born and brought up in India, could you tip to improve my verbal pl. In verbal, in all areas Im weak. I feel lot of potential time saving could occur in SC and CR, I can concentrate on that, like to have your comments pl.




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India and Ravi, thank you for the comments!!


Hey Ksn,


A first GMAT score of 530 is far from disastrous and shows a LOT of potential. You are very close to acing the Math section; make sure you review some of those final math principles and do a lot of practice questions so you can get a 48 or 50 on Quant. That will raise your score significantly and will allow you some leeway on Verbal.


As far as the verbal is concerned, the best thing I can recommend for you is to do intense practice packets. GMAT english is very test specific so I would not recommend an english course. Besides, you are not going to become an english mother tongue in a short period of time, even with private english tutoring, but the good news is you don't need to be to get a good score. Even people who know english perfectly are sometimes stumped by GMAT verbal questions.


Figure out a practice packet that works for you. I might do:


40 Sentence Correction

30 Critical Reasoning

3 Reading Comprehension

15 Data Sufficiency

15 Problem Solving


or something like that. I would put the emphasis on Sentence Correction since that is the easiest section to improve in a short amount of time: MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE RULES FOR PARALLELISM, MISPLACED MODIFIERS AND VERB TENSE. Those are essential because they are so frequently tested. Please re-read my debrief for practice packet methodology. You may want to adopt the index card technique that I used, and you certainly want to time yourself when you do these questions.


Other than the practice packet, I would recommend taking frequent practice CAT exams, to gauge how much you are improving. I would take at least one a week, at a bare minimum. Two tests a week or even three is better. Get as much familiarity with the test as possible. If you REMAIN DEDICATED and do your practice packets six times a week, and do two practice CATs a week, for a month, I can almost guarantee that you will raise your score by at least 100 points. Remember, you reap what you sow; if you are willing to put in the hard work on your practice packets, you will be rewarded by a 650+ score on test day.


Good luck, remember YOU CAN DO IT!! NEVER give up!

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Hey campanella,


That 's lot of encouragement!!. Thanks really I feel boosted up:) . But lot of work needs to be done. As you had indicated, I would do the practice packets . SC is the easiest to grab and will focus on the same.

you mean CAT exams, I have never taken up earlier, as you had suggested will concentrate. But CAT ways are different is'nt it ? really Im not aware.

As it will be easier on my part to improve on Math, should not leave the opportunity to excel in Math.


Thanks for your tips and kind words, certainly they had gone a long way into me.




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Inspirational story....amazing dude.


I however have a QQ. Do you think that it is adviceable to take the GMAT prep exams again and again because I have heard from some people that once you take an exam and try retaking the same exam again all the problems are just repeated... ? What do you think ? should I go with other vendors or just stick to Gmatperp and take it again and again ?


Your advice would be really appreciated...thanks a ton...

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hi there, i am following ur tactics but the thing is i am struggling at the start of the quants section. I am getting at least 5-7 of the first 10-12 questions incorrect, which is dipping my score appreciably. I feel am not able to get into the quant section efficiently and it takes me time to get the problems correct. Once I am through the quants and get into verbal my accuracy increase alot and more or less i get 5 to 7 early verbal questions correct. So any suggesions for getting efficient in the quant section. I have my test on 26th and am scoring regularly 590 or 580 and i want 620 or more and i feel it is these first few quants questions which are hindering my progress. So on the test day what should i do so that I can get off the blocks quickly in quants? plzzz advice as am unable to cope with this thing.
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Hey Svinay,


Thanks for the congrats.


There are sufficient free practice exams to take so you don't have the advantage of using repeated questions. Even if you do take the same test twice, and get the same questions, it's not really that big a deal. Sure, your score might go up a few points because you may remember the answer to a couple questions, but the point in taking the CAT is not to get a high score, but rather to master the timing needed to finish the test in time and to gain familiarity with the format. After my first GMAT debacle, a member called IVY MBA was kind enough to tell me where to get some free practice CATs. I will share his suggestions with you:


- two tests on GmatPrep Free GMATPrep® Test Preparation Software


-Manhattan GMAT has a free CAT if you just set up an account with them. USE THIS TEST LAST, AND DO IT UNDER RIGOROUS TEST CONDITIONS, AS YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS TEST ONE TIME!!!!!!!


-Princeton Review has an online CAT


-Download PowerPrep software (just google it and you'll find a link) there are two tests with this software. powerprep is a really great program.


-If Quant is your weak portion, 800score.com has a free practice quant section. They also sell full practice CATs for a reasonable price. Although I did not buy the CATs, I did use the free Quant section, and it was pretty helpful.


Those tests should be sufficient practice, just make sure you do your practice packets religiously, at least 6 days a week. Save the GMAT prep 2nd exam and the Manhattan GMAT test for last. Try to do those under rigorous conditions.


Best of luck, YOU CAN DO IT!!

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Hey Asif,


First of all, relax. Test day is approaching quickly, so you might be starting to get a little anxious, and this may be getting in the way of your accuracy. The most important thing is that you are finishing all your questions in your allotted time. I am a firm believer that it is MUCH more important to finish the exam, than to take too much time at the beginning and have to guess at the end. If you have to guess the last 1-2 questions, that's ok, but if you have to guess on 4 or more, you can basically say goodbye to your ivy league dreams. FINISH THE TEST; IF YOU HAVE TO GUESS ON THE FIRST QUESTION, DO SO. Under no circumstances should you spend 4 or 5 minutes on the first question, or on any question for that matter. On GMAT prep, I got the first two questions WRONG on BOTH Quant AND Verbal and I still got a score over 600.


If you need to learn some math concepts, use these sources. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE FOR QUANT OR VERBAL IS BY PRACTICING, NOT BY LEARNING FORMULAS AND TECHNIQUES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT SHOW UP ON THE ACTUAL EXAM. Your time is best spent on your practice packets. That being said, here are the sources:


1) "Bob Miller's Math for GMAT." See if you can purchase this book soon. It offers great math review and exercises.


2) Practical Algebra Lessons This website has many helpful problems and explanations.


3) TheMathPage: Arithmetic. Algebra. Trigonometry. Precalculus. Another helpful online free database.


4) Online Math Help & Learning Resources Another helpful online free database.


Again Asif, my best advice is to keep working on the problems. You will be nervous on test day, and you will feel unprepared; you need to accept this fact, and be ready for it. Hopefully, your rigorous practice will allow you to perform to the best of your ability on test day.


Keep doing problems from OG 10 and OG 11. Post problems that gave you difficulty on the Math Forums. Do as many practice CATs as you can (without sacrificing your packets). Above all, DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF RIGHT NOW!!! Now is not the time to slack on your preparation. NOW IS THE TIME TO FLOOR THE ACCELERATOR AND WORK AS HARD AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!!!! You are so close, don't give up!


Good luck!

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-Manhattan GMAT has a free CAT if you just set up an account with them. USE THIS TEST LAST, AND DO IT UNDER RIGOROUS TEST CONDITIONS, AS YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS TEST ONE TIME!!!!!!!


Just use a different email address and you can do it again.

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Hey svinay,


No worries, not bothering me at all. Honestly, I can't remember the manhattan gmat test that well. It was probably one of the least useful practice CATs, but that is because I was a dumbass and didn't figure out that I could take the test twice with another email address, as IVY suggested!! Gmat prep and power prep were fantastic, and I remember that I contemplated buying the CATs offerred by 800score.com because I really liked their sample Quant section.


I am going to be backpacking for a month and a half in europe, so my responses will be a little rarer. I have two admissions interviews scheduled in july: with I.E. and SDA Bocconi. Wish me luck, and I wish you all good luck in your GMAT effort, and in your subsequent Ivy League Business schools.

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