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730 Q:48 V:42

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gmatfan Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
Joined
11 Dec 2006
Posted:
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730 Q:48 V:42 Post Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:01 pm
Took the GMAT today and I'm glad to have it complete. Thought I would give some background into my prep. I have prepared in a pretty non standard way. I started a long time ago. About 6-7 months ago. I am pretty burned out on it, and I don't recommend this long of a preparation period for most. I have a very unpredictable job, and while there might be several days in a row where I can get in two hours of studying, there might be two weeks in a row where I can't get in any. Also, I started my studies with two kids, and had a third kid in April, so that cut into my spare time as well.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I bought a Kaplan and Princeton Review book, just to start learning about the test. Over the Christmas break I spent alot of time on the Kaplan stuff, but found that there was a large gap between how basic the review material was and how difficult the tests and quizzes were.

Somewhere there early in the year I found this forum, and began checking it every couple of days. I enjoyed reading the accounts of how people did, both good and not as good. I used the forum at first as a way to keep GMAT on the brain when I couldn't bring myself to study.

I was not very disciplined, and with no date set for the test and my unpredictable work schedule, sitting down to a desk was just the lowest of my priorities. Because of this I decided to take a course. Not so much because I thought they would teach me things I couldn't learn on my own, but more because I thought if I spent some money, and put some dates and times on the calendar, it would at least make me study.

I took the Veritas course. It's not cheap, but it was pretty thorough, included alot of questions, and did force me to study. It was a good review. The only area I thought it really lacked in was SC. We discussed the most common errors, but never really reviewed any actual grammar or rules. Before I started the course, I took the 1st GMATPrep test, and scored a 610, 35 verbal and 38 quant.

I had bought OG11 and both the Quant and Verbal Review Guides, but was waiting to tackle them after the Veritas course. I intended to take the test late in March or early April before the arrival of my third child. The kid came early so that didn't happen, and everything was pushed back.

I tried some of the other practice tests out there and didn't think much of them. I tried 800score and thought the verbal seemed easier but the quant seemed harder. I tried a couple of the Veritas prep tests and thought the verbal seemed hard but the quant seemed easy. None of them really mirrored that first GMATPrep test. I must have taken that test 5 times to try and get all the questions out of it.

The last 6 weeks or so, late May, June, early July, I've been studying every spare minute I had. I did every quant problem in the OG and Quant review guide. I went through the Manhattan sentence correction book and worked all the recommended problems a couple of times. I did not spend as much time on CR or RC because I was fairly consistent in those areas. I have a math background, and work in a fairly technical field, so that helped with both the quant and RC sections.

I made flash cards for myself as I went, with any rule I forgot, needed to remember, or problem I missed. The flashcards here are great, but nothing beats writing them down yourself. I didn't practice quite as rigidly as some on this forum recommend, but I would do 10 or 20 problems at a time, see how I did, rework the ones I missed, and kept track of the times for all of it so I would have an internal clock. Then I would do 10 more. I would still do 40-60 problems a night, just not in one big set. When I worked too many at a time, I couldn't remember when I was reviewing how sure I was, what I had problems with, etc...

My biggest weakness was probably SC, and I am a native English speaker. Sometimes I felt that I heard things incorrectly so often it affected my ability to know what was actually right. I'm sure non native speakers would disagree, and my hat is off to you, I don't know how you do it.

A few weeks ago I took one of the old GMAT tests, the paper ones you can buy at MBA.com I scored a 740, 44 verbal, and 50 quant. I didn't really think this was very representative because it was not adaptive.

Two weeks ago I took a PowerPrep test. I scored a 760 on this. Again, I didn't think it was very realistic because it never seemed to get harder. Also, on both of those tests there were several problems I had seen before. This became an issue; I had worked so many problems I started seeing the same ones over and over.

Last week I took the final GMATPrep test, to get a feel for how I might actually do. Can't remember the break down, but the total was 670. I was disappointed because of how well I had scored earlier, but realized if I could get this or maybe just 10-20 points higher I would be pretty happy. My original goal had been 700. Unfortunately, this test sapped my confidence some, but I thought maybe it was the low end of what I could do.

Because of work, I wasn't able to study as much as I wanted to my last few days. I ended up reviewing everything the day before my test up until about 5:00 PM. Then I went and saw a movie. I stayed up late watching TV because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, and wanted to sleep in some in the morning anyway, my test was at 2:00 PM. I slept until about 9, ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and then showered. For lunch I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as recommended on this forum. I did a couple of review problems of each kind to get my mind going and looked over my essay skeleton outlines.

I got to the test center about 35 minutes early, but they took me in right away. I had driven to the testing center before on the weekend, but never been inside to see how it actually looked. Different from what I expected, but not that big of a deal. Knocked out the two essays, they seemed to go fine. The AOI was so short I had some trouble thinking of enough to say, we'll see.

Took the break, used the restroom, ate half a Cliff Bar, drank some water, and went back in to tackle the quant. This was the first part that caught me off guard. When I went back in, I still had about 5 minutes left of my 10 minute break. Once the administrator types in the password, your break is over and the time for the instructions begins running. I was planning on getting the scrap board things numbered, with the answer choices for using the process of elimination, and some timing numbers to keep me on pace. Instead, I was only able to number up to about 8 before I had to begin taking the test. Putting the rest of the numbers and answer choice letters down took up some of my test time.

The first several questions seemed pretty straight forward. I think I was getting them right because they did seem to be getting more difficult. After awhile, I was getting things I had never seen before. That was the one problem I had with the OG, I wish there were more examples of the more difficult level of problems. When I got a strange probability problem I figured I was doing okay. I didn't feel like I was 100% on most of them after awhile, especially the DS ones. I was running out of time with about three left so I took quick guesses after looking at each one only a few seconds.

Went on my next break and did the exact same thing as the first. I went over in my head how I would tackle each problem type. I didn't want to get caught up in the verbal part worrying about how I had done on the quant. If anything, I assumed that I had done poorly on the quant and tried to use that as motivation to really focus on the verbal.

Same thing happened at the end of this break, as it abruptly comes to an end, but I was more ready this time. Started into the verbal and never really felt like it was going too well because it didn't seem to be getting crazy hard. On the GMATPrep SC questions there would often be several answers that I could just not differentiate. On the actual GMAT it seemed like I could usually rule all of them out but one, which was scaring me. I did better on pacing, but still ran short at the end and had to guess on the last one or two.

Finished all the bio questions and got to the screen on whether to accept the scores or not. I knew I was going to accept, just to see how I did. I didn't select any schools to send my scores to at the beginning. I figured I wanted to see my scores first, and if I liked them, then I would send them out later.

I was very surprised and happy by the results. It really did not feel like it had gone that well, and that is why this test drives me crazy. If you are doing well, you feel like you don't know what you're doing!

I know this is long, but I hope someone gets some benefit out of it. Reading this kind of thing is what shaped my preparation. Thanks especially to all the regular contributors on the problem solving forum. Your explanations helped alot.

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lanter1 Just gettin' started! Default Avatar
Joined
05 Jul 2007
Posted:
26 messages
Post Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:53 pm
Congrats. Our prep has mirrored each other. I am taking the test on August 6.

I also agree that the worse I think I am doing, the better I score.

Where are you applying?

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