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650 to 740, it can be done because I did it!

This topic has 1 member reply
jswesth Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
18 Feb 2016
15 messages
2 times

650 to 740, it can be done because I did it!

Post Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:23 pm
650 (Q45 V35) to 740 (Q49 V41)

Let's be clear here, this test is an absolute ANIMAL. Plain and simple. It takes months of dedicated practice to nail both your technique and your timing strategy. If you're on here and reading posts like this to get motivation and tips for success, keep doing it! There will ALWAYS be times where you think you can't cross that 700 barrier, because trust me, just about every single person studying feels that way at some point in time. But it is beatable.

I want to share my top 10 experiences while studying that I believe helped me get the 740.

1. Don't overthink test day! Don't get a massage the day before, don't light candles in your room the night before to calm your senses. Don't go to the test center in sport shorts and a tee shirt because you're convinced comfort = success(I did that the first time). Just have a low-key night, follow your usual morning routine, dress in an everyday outfit and go crush the test.
2. Don't psych yourself out! You've heard it before, but the GMAT can really mess with your heard. Don't convince yourself you're either crushing it because you know every answer or your bombing it because you're struggling with questions. The 20th question on my math section felt like a 400-level question, but I stuck to my guns, answered the question and moved on.
3. Timing is everything. Set mental timing milestones for yourself during the test. In Quant, try to stick to 2 mins/question and be good about it. There are times where you'll answer a question in 30 seconds and that allows you to spent maybe 3+ minutes on another question. After 10 questions, you should be at 55 minutes, give or take 1 minute. After 19 (when you're just over halfway), you shouldn't be far away from 37 minutes remaining. Work on this in practice tests, it is VERY important.
4. Don't continue studying Quant because you want a 50. I'm a quantitative guy so studying math for me was kind of... fun? I MUCH preferred it to studying verbal, but the second time around I came to a realization: The ceiling of verbal scores is way higher! If scoring a 49 in math is in the 77th percentile (with a max score of 51) and scoring a 35 in verbal is also the 77th percentile (remember, max score of 51 on verbal), look at the room for improvement in verbal! 16 points compared to 2 in Quant for the same percentile! IMHO, a verbal score above 40 is an absolute must for 700+ and that was my goal along.
5. Don't feel obligated to take an expensive class/tutor From the people I've talked to who took the class/tutor and from my own personal opinion, a class/tutor is worth it if you need the rigidity of a schedule that is built for you. If you self-motivated and not a procrastinator, self-help guides are fine. I used Magoosh (awesome), a few of the MGMAT books, the OG books and a Kaplan GMAT question bank. That's it.
6. Crush practice problems. Once you understand the basic concepts of how to approach problems in all facets of the test, just crush practice problems. Identify areas where you're weak and crush even more of those practice problems. Once you've done enough problems, you'll start recognizing exactly what the solve process should be because you've seen a similar problem. I can't overstate this one enough.
7. Study with a buddyIf you have this option, take advantage of it! I had a friend who was studying the same time as me and we got together twice a week after work to study, focusing solely on math. We would crush through practice problems and stop if/when one of us had a problem--the one who understood the concept would whiteboard it out and explain the concept (reinforcing in their own head the solve process). This was VERY beneficial.
8. It takes a lot of time This will obviously vary depending on your skill set and relative strengths and weaknesses, but the GMAT takes serious preparation (duh). I started studying in late February 2016 for a mid-July test date. That's just under 5 months. I studied ~2 hours M-F with another ~5 hours on the weekend. That's roughly 20 weeks of 15 hours/week or 300 hours. And I got a 650. I got my 650 on July 15, took 2.5 months off (aside from a refresher 2 hour session once every 2 weeks maybe). and started up again October 3rd. I blitzed through the month of October and studied ~20 hours/week. I took the test today, October 31, and got a 740. End of the day, it was ~ 400 hours of studying.
9. Don't overdose on practice tests! I took over 10 practice tests (basically one every other week)during the runup to my first test. During my October blitz, I took 1. What I would say here is, do as many as you need to feel comfortable (maybe 3 or 4?) and then take 2 of the official GMAC practice tests in the month leading up to your test. Of course the tests satisfy the "crush practice problems" requirement I lay out above, but constantly seeing scores under 700 can mess with your confidence (remember, this animal of a test is extremely mental!)
10. Be confident and...carefree? If possible, your last practice test should be within +/-20 points of your target score. If you get to that point, you can be confident that your ability is there and your desired score is within range. Go into the test center knowing that you've studied your butt off and just let it rip. Thinking too much will hurt you on the GMAT. It's kind of like when a shooter in basketball goes into a shooting slump during the game and the coach tells them to just "play their game". The player is good enough to do well because he put in the work in shooting practice before the game. You've done the work beforehand in GMAT prep so just go do your thing and don't think about it. Sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Good luck all!!!

Thanked by: abhimahna, dayoajayi
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abhimahna Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
23 Nov 2015
3 messages
Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:26 pm
Great debrief and a great score. Congrats buddy.

Many things you mentioned seem very similar to my schedule. I am also hoping to get such an awesome score. Smile

Good Luck for your next process.

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