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640 to 770 - How I Tamed the Beast (Q50, V46, IR8)

This topic has 3 member replies
thePaleKing Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
05 Oct 2015
Posted:
2 messages
Thanked:
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640 to 770 - How I Tamed the Beast (Q50, V46, IR8)

Post Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:12 pm
I just took the GMAT this morning and got my unofficial score of 770 and thought I'd share my tips while it's all still fresh in my head. The most important thing I've learned on my journey is that different things work for different people and it takes a good amount of time to figure out what works best for you. All in all I spent about 300-400 hours over the past 4 months preparing for the GMAT, but I'll try to keep this short and focus on the few things that I feel got me to the next level. After 2 weeks of studying I was hovering around 640, after another month I was stuck around 680, a couple weeks after that I took my first official test and got a 710. I studied another 5 weeks doing mostly official guide and a few subject specific items and got 770.

My Tips for You:
1. In quant, shoot to have 25-30 minutes left for your last 10 quant problems. This will ensure you can finish the quant section relaxed and the last 10 questions should be in what the GMAT perceived to be your "range" so getting the last 10 right is important. Being relaxed after quant is essential to maximize your verbal score.
2. Manhattan GMAT practice exams are tough, the highest I ever scored on one was a 700 and I got a 770 on the real thing. That being said, they are a great way to practice. You can either pay $50 for 6 practice exams or buy one of the subject books (sentence correction in my case) and you get access to 6 practice exams for free - this is your first intelligence test for business school so choose wisely.
3. For Critical Reasoning do not read the question stem before the stimulus, I elaborate more on this below.
4. When taking the actual exam, train yourself to not waste time - hide the timer, you will know when you are wasting time. Naturally your brain fatigues toward the end of each section, plan for this and move quicker in the beginning. When I got the V46 score I accidentally went over on my 8 minute break by 2 minutes, I could have freaked out but I stayed cool and made up the time on my first 10 questions when my brain was fresh.
5. In the 2 weeks before your exam, try to do 80% or more of your problems out of the official guide. There will be subtle differences between your unofficial study materials and the official guide, especially for verbal. Be sure you are used to the way GMAC likes to ask the questions.
6. Do keep an error log but do wait until you've been studying for at least a month before starting one otherwise it will be way too big. Wait until you are comfortable with each question type before really homing in on the more subtle mistakes you are making.

My background:
I'm an accountant with a degree in economics.

Resources:
Magoosh Premium - $100 (best value for money)
Veritas Prep Live Online Course - ~$1600
Official Guide + Supplements - $50
PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible - $20 (100% essential)
Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction - $30

Magoosh:
I originally planned on signing up for an expensive GMAT course from either Manhattan or Veritas, but while I did my research on which one I would buy I thought I'd start with Magoosh because $100 seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of an expensive course. I highly recommend this for everyone, whether you're on a budget and this is your full course or you've done an expensive course and need an additional question bank. There are video explanations to each question which makes reviewing answers much less exhausting plus the video lessons are well organized for targeting subjects in needed. Mike McGarry, the instructor in just about all the video lessons and video answers, is an EXTREMELY intelligent person with a background in education and you will pick up on this quickly. Overall the main thing Magoosh is lacking in is educating people more on the psychology of the GMAT, however, I will say the best part about these guys is that they don't shy away from suggesting outside resources such as the Manhattan GMAT books, they really want you to get your best score. Also, Mike has published some great 1-month, 3-month and 6-month study plans in their blog.

Veritas Prep Live Online Course:
For anyone interested in paying for one of the "expensive" courses, I highly recommend the Veritas Live Online course. First of all, Veritas starts out from the beginning getting you up to speed on the psychology of the GMAT and if you really want to break through the 700-720 level you need to develop a deep understanding of the GMAT psychology. In addition, the live online format was a fantastic interface that allowed for great communication with the instructor and the rest of the class - the chat box on the side of the screen makes the class much more efficient that an in-person classroom. There's also a teacher's assistant in every class so that anyone having trouble with a concept can get help without slowing down the rest of the class. Ethan was my instructor and he's the man, I'd elaborate but I already wrote an official review on him so there's no need.

PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible:
I noticed by CR score was hovering around the 60th percentile so I got this book after reading a couple other blog posts out there and this improved my score exponentially. On the first real GMAT test I took where I got a 710, I paid for the score breakdown and my CR score was 96th percentile... enough said.
***If there is anything you take away from my post, this is it: DO NOT READ THE QUESTION STEM BEFORE READING THE STIMULUS - I got this tip from this book and it saves you a ton of time: 1. you need to fully understand the argument before answering the question and reading the question stem will only distract from the argument 2. 50% of the time you can already determine the type of question that will be asked after you read the stimulus so it would be a waste of time to read the question stem anyway.***
(Note: Veritas and Manhattan both recommend reading the question stem first, do not do this)

Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction:
The main reason I got this was because if you buy 1 MGMAT book you get access to 6 free MGMAT practice exams. The sentence correction book was a good refresher but I had already studied a lot of sentence correction through Magoosh and Veritas so it was more of a review.

Thanked by: oquiella, sudh, Rohit Singh
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oquiella Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
12 May 2015
Posted:
164 messages
Thanked:
3 times
Post Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:10 am
thePaleKing wrote:
I just took the GMAT this morning and got my unofficial score of 770 and thought I'd share my tips while it's all still fresh in my head. The most important thing I've learned on my journey is that different things work for different people and it takes a good amount of time to figure out what works best for you. All in all I spent about 300-400 hours over the past 4 months preparing for the GMAT, but I'll try to keep this short and focus on the few things that I feel got me to the next level. After 2 weeks of studying I was hovering around 640, after another month I was stuck around 680, a couple weeks after that I took my first official test and got a 710. I studied another 5 weeks doing mostly official guide and a few subject specific items and got 770.

My Tips for You:
1. In quant, shoot to have 25-30 minutes left for your last 10 quant problems. This will ensure you can finish the quant section relaxed and the last 10 questions should be in what the GMAT perceived to be your "range" so getting the last 10 right is important. Being relaxed after quant is essential to maximize your verbal score.
2. Manhattan GMAT practice exams are tough, the highest I ever scored on one was a 700 and I got a 770 on the real thing. That being said, they are a great way to practice. You can either pay $50 for 6 practice exams or buy one of the subject books (sentence correction in my case) and you get access to 6 practice exams for free - this is your first intelligence test for business school so choose wisely.
3. For Critical Reasoning do not read the question stem before the stimulus, I elaborate more on this below.
4. When taking the actual exam, train yourself to not waste time - hide the timer, you will know when you are wasting time. Naturally your brain fatigues toward the end of each section, plan for this and move quicker in the beginning. When I got the V46 score I accidentally went over on my 8 minute break by 2 minutes, I could have freaked out but I stayed cool and made up the time on my first 10 questions when my brain was fresh.
5. In the 2 weeks before your exam, try to do 80% or more of your problems out of the official guide. There will be subtle differences between your unofficial study materials and the official guide, especially for verbal. Be sure you are used to the way GMAC likes to ask the questions.
6. Do keep an error log but do wait until you've been studying for at least a month before starting one otherwise it will be way too big. Wait until you are comfortable with each question type before really homing in on the more subtle mistakes you are making.

My background:
I'm an accountant with a degree in economics.

Resources:
Magoosh Premium - $100 (best value for money)
Veritas Prep Live Online Course - ~$1600
Official Guide + Supplements - $50
PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible - $20 (100% essential)
Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction - $30

Magoosh:
I originally planned on signing up for an expensive GMAT course from either Manhattan or Veritas, but while I did my research on which one I would buy I thought I'd start with Magoosh because $100 seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of an expensive course. I highly recommend this for everyone, whether you're on a budget and this is your full course or you've done an expensive course and need an additional question bank. There are video explanations to each question which makes reviewing answers much less exhausting plus the video lessons are well organized for targeting subjects in needed. Mike McGarry, the instructor in just about all the video lessons and video answers, is an EXTREMELY intelligent person with a background in education and you will pick up on this quickly. Overall the main thing Magoosh is lacking in is educating people more on the psychology of the GMAT, however, I will say the best part about these guys is that they don't shy away from suggesting outside resources such as the Manhattan GMAT books, they really want you to get your best score. Also, Mike has published some great 1-month, 3-month and 6-month study plans in their blog.

Veritas Prep Live Online Course:
For anyone interested in paying for one of the "expensive" courses, I highly recommend the Veritas Live Online course. First of all, Veritas starts out from the beginning getting you up to speed on the psychology of the GMAT and if you really want to break through the 700-720 level you need to develop a deep understanding of the GMAT psychology. In addition, the live online format was a fantastic interface that allowed for great communication with the instructor and the rest of the class - the chat box on the side of the screen makes the class much more efficient that an in-person classroom. There's also a teacher's assistant in every class so that anyone having trouble with a concept can get help without slowing down the rest of the class. Ethan was my instructor and he's the man, I'd elaborate but I already wrote an official review on him so there's no need.

PowerScore Critical Reasoning Bible:
I noticed by CR score was hovering around the 60th percentile so I got this book after reading a couple other blog posts out there and this improved my score exponentially. On the first real GMAT test I took where I got a 710, I paid for the score breakdown and my CR score was 96th percentile... enough said.
***If there is anything you take away from my post, this is it: DO NOT READ THE QUESTION STEM BEFORE READING THE STIMULUS - I got this tip from this book and it saves you a ton of time: 1. you need to fully understand the argument before answering the question and reading the question stem will only distract from the argument 2. 50% of the time you can already determine the type of question that will be asked after you read the stimulus so it would be a waste of time to read the question stem anyway.***
(Note: Veritas and Manhattan both recommend reading the question stem first, do not do this)

Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction:
The main reason I got this was because if you buy 1 MGMAT book you get access to 6 free MGMAT practice exams. The sentence correction book was a good refresher but I had already studied a lot of sentence correction through Magoosh and Veritas so it was more of a review.
Hello,

Congratulations on your awesome score! I know it must be good to take a weight off. Can you tell me which edition of Official guide you used and How long and how you utilized the CR Bible (i.e. Did you just do questions or read the whole book a few times before grasping the subject)? Lastly what schools would you like to apply to?

thePaleKing Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
05 Oct 2015
Posted:
2 messages
Thanked:
5 times
Post Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:24 am
@oquiella

I used the OG 2016 books, however, this is nearly identical to the 2015 so either is fine. I suggest getting a new version of either book and use the access code in the back of the book to access the problems online at https://gmat.wiley.com/ - this is much easier than doing the problems while flipping through the book.

For the CR Bible, I already had already been through the Veritas book before I started so I had a base, but I still read the CR Bible from the beginning. The first couple of chapters are vital to understand the PowerScore approach to GMAT logic. They mention that you should at least read the 5 most important CR question type chapters if you are on a time crunch. I read those 5 chapters first then later on I would refer back to the other chapters if I noticed myself missing the less common question types when doing the OG (such as bold face and mimic the argument questions). Only referring back to the CR bible when I noticed myself missing a particular question type was a good strategy for me. Also, I didn't need to do much rereading of the chapters because the information stuck pretty well and I was able to apply it immediately.

Good Luck!

Thanked by: oquiella, Rohit Singh
Rohit Singh Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
02 Aug 2011
Posted:
2 messages
Test Date:
25 September 2016
GMAT Score:
760
Post Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:50 am
Congratulations on your great score!! Good luck with your apps. Smile

Could you please let us know how much time did you spend on the PowerScore bible and how much time did you spend on CR overall?

_________________
Good Luck & Gopdspeed,
RS

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