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770 (49V/48Q)

This topic has 11 member replies
ElizabethWiggs Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
12 Jun 2008
Posted:
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Thanked:
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Test Date:
4/26/08
Target GMAT Score:
770

770 (49V/48Q)

Post Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:48 pm
I took the test on April 26 of this year, and wanted to share my study strategy.

To begin, I'm lazy. Very lazy. And I work fulltime, further enhancing my laziness in the evenings. So if you're feeling unmotivated in the least, feel free to borrow my mantra, which was: "I don't want to look back and wish I'd done more. A couple of hours now will seem like nothing after the test is over." It didn't always work, but it kept me focused when Gossip Girl was beckoning me away from my desk.

My biggest regret, looking back: I bought every friggin' study guide out there. It was silly. I got Princeton Review, Barron's, Kaplan...you name it. I decided that I would take the test in September of 2007 and at that time I began half-heartedly plodding through my Kaplan book, studying an hour here, an hour there. I never really stuck to a schedule, and by January, I couldn't remember the last time I'd opened a GMAT book. I never got to any of the other study guides.

I realized my "strategy" (if you could call it that) wasn't working, and I knew that I needed to take the test by April to save time for retaking it in the event that I bombed my first attempt. By that time, I'd heard that the Official Guide was *the* book to get, so I purchased it, and in early February I scheduled my test.

You've probably heard this, but scheduling your test is vital if you're lazy like me. Knowing the date of my reckoning lit a fire under my tush.

So, for the two and a half months leading up to the test, here is what I did. I can't be sure, but I think I would have done just as well on the test if I had done ONLY this (rather than hemming and hawing and fruitlessly messing about with Kaplan for a few months before).
1. I found Jeff Sackmann's website, GMAThacks.com. Through that site, I learned that the best way to study for the test is to do a set of problems with a stopwatch running next to you. As you finish each problem, write down the time on the watch - if, when you're done, you get any wrong, or if any of them take you longer than two minutes to complete, read the explanation and DO IT AGAIN until you understand the solution. Trust me. It can get tedious, but it works. (See here: http://www.gmathacks.com/study-tips/how-to-do-practice-problems.html)
2. I purchased two of Jeff's books: The GMAT Math Bible and The Official Guide to GMAT Review. I cannot stress enough how vital these books were to my study regimen. They are absolutely and completely responsible for how I performed on the test. Because the OG doesn't offer good explanations, doesn't rank each problem's difficulty, and doesn't have good math review, these books will fill in those gaps for you. I hadn't taken a math class since my freshman year of college 6 years ago, so the Math Bible saved me. I started each study session with one chapter from the Math Bible.
3. I worked through the OG. I studied, on average, for about 1-3 hours a night, with more time on weekends. I gave myself one night a week off until the month before the test, when I started studying every day.
4. If I ever hit a wall - if I ever felt like crying from frustration or boredom or wishing I could watch Gossip Girl (I'm kidding! Sort of...) - I would just do five problems and then stop. Don't stress yourself out unnecessarily, especially if it means that you're not going to be as effective in your studying.
5. I downloaded the two practice tests from MBA.com and took the first one 6 weeks before the test. I scored a 710 on it, but was only cautiously happy because I've heard that you don't usually do as well on the real test as you do on the practice test. I took the other test two weeks before my test date and scored a 760. More cautious happiness. (Okay, I danced a couple of laps around the condo with my fiance.)

And - this was more mental than anything else - I stopped drinking two weeks before the test, just to clear my head. I don't drink much normally anyway, but I knew that I would be less motivated to study with a hangover the next morning, so I kept my brain as unfuzzy as possible. The week before the test, I started getting up at 5:30 in the morning so that my 6:30 alarm on the day of the test would feel luxuriously late. I suppose that this was also a mental thing, but the result was that I wasn't drowsy at all when I got up on the fateful morning.

The day before the test, I drove to the test center to make sure I knew where it was. I also called and sort of annoyed the guy who answered the phone because I kept asking questions about what to bring and where to go. What can I say? I'm blonde and don't always trust myself to figure these things out.

So, there you have it. My journey. It was great. No, that's a lie - it wasn't great, it was hard and annoying, and I'm glad it's over, and I'm proud of the hard work I put into it, and I'm SO glad that I won't need to retake the test. It was worth the sacrifices. Just put your nose to the grindstone, accept that your life will be a little more lame for two months and get through it. You'll be glad you did.

UPDATE: I just remembered another thing that helped me study - I went to Kinko's and got them to laminate and coil-bind 6 legal-sized sheets of paper, and I picked up some wet-erase markers. I did all of my scratchwork in this notebook to get used to the medium. I wrote all of my answers on separate sheets of paper and saved them. In the last couple of weeks before the test, I would occasionally go back to my answer sheets and try some of the problems that I'd circled (either because they took me too long or I got them wrong the first time). It was a good way to make sure that I was retaining everything, plus it was nice to realize how much I had improved. (I did, however, still get some of the harder problems wrong...but that's just the way it goes. I knew I couldn't get everything correct!)

Also, to clarify: I ended up using three books - the Official Guide, and two from Jeff Sackmann - his Math Bible and his "guide to the Official Guide." Hope that makes a little more sense.



Last edited by ElizabethWiggs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total

Thanked by: Brothersharp, shrutiparija
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osamakhan Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
10 Jun 2008
Posted:
28 messages
Post Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:11 pm
Awesome score,,,..congrats...so you are saying that you only used 2 books OG and math bible? your story is kind of similar to mine...i have loads of study material now but i havent been studying much...just yest. i registered for the exam for 1st of august.

Congrats again.

steinbock Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
06 Feb 2008
Posted:
20 messages
Post Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:11 am
Congratulations, that's a great score! Lazy? That sounds just like me Wink

ElizabethWiggs Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
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Test Date:
4/26/08
Target GMAT Score:
770
Post Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:21 am
osamakhan wrote:
so you are saying that you only used 2 books OG and math bible?
Thanks! I actually had THREE books - Jeff Sackmann has written the Math Bible, which is sort of like a text book to teach you math skills and test techniques (each chapter is on a different subject, like linear equations, and has a practice set at the end - and he makes everything incredibly easy to understand. His chapters on combinations and permutations changed my life Smile ). His other book is meant to be used with the quant section of the OG. It not only tells you how difficult each problem is, but it explains the answer in a way that is incredibly easy to understand. You may have already noticed that the OG's explanations are, ahem, lacking.

Last I checked, he's also working a companion book to the verbal section of the OG. If I were retaking the test, that would be the other book I'd get.

Good luck! Push yourself - it's worth it!

Tarmac Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
13 Jun 2008
Posted:
16 messages
GMAT Score:
770
Post Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:36 pm
great job and write up. That is my IDENTICAL score, down to the Q/V breakdown. 48V is the highest I have heard on these types of forums.

Edit: haha I misread your score, I have the converse, 49Q/48V. 49V is literally the highest I have heard of. Great job!

peergmat@yahoo.com Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:46 am
Congrats on ur great score.

Do u have any soft copies of these books.Please let me know peerpakir@yahoo.com

Peer

ElizabethWiggs Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
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Posted:
11 messages
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Test Date:
4/26/08
Target GMAT Score:
770
Post Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:58 am
Quote:
haha I misread your score, I have the converse, 49Q/48V. 49V is literally the highest I have heard of.
Smile Thanks - I'm extremely lucky because for some reason I didn't need to study SC at all. I just have a knack for it. Other than that, aside from the fact that my job requires a lot of writing, I think the reason I did so well is that I read all the time. I can't fall asleep at night without reading a book - it's sort of a problem when I don't have enough sleep. But it keeps my brain in shape.

Quote:
Do u have any soft copies of these books.
I don't have any of the books anymore. You can find the Math Bible and "Guide to the Official Guide" at Jeff Sackmann's website, and I guarantee you can get your hands on a used copy of the OG if you try craigslist or Powells.com.

erjamit Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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22 Oct 2007
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Test Date:
08/20
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750+
Post Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:33 am
Your laziness is inspirational....it motivates a lazy person like me who can sleep 24 hrs a day...[Very Happy]...

Great job...Congrats....

mbaprocrastinator Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
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Test Date:
09/06/08 (tentative)
Post Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:01 pm
Elizabeth,

Congratulations! I can only dream about getting a score like yours. Thanks for the wonderful post and sharing your strategy on how to beat the GMAT.
My tentative date for taking the exam is 6th of September. I belong to the super lazy category (if there's one) and have pushed my exam countless times (in the process paying GMAC a nice chunk of $$$ everytime I either rescheduled or re-registered for the exam).

Just like you, I have purchased every single guide out there in the market and finally am thinking about getting Jeff's guides. I have heard a lot of good things about his guides. His new verbal guide should only complement his Quant guide. Once again thanks for the post and kudos for your excellent score!

rjbrooks Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
18 Jun 2008
Posted:
37 messages
Test Date:
3/14/09
Target GMAT Score:
700+
GMAT Score:
N/A
Post Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:56 am
Liz congrats. That's an awesome score. It just illustrates that with desire and discipline, one can achieve the seemingly impossible. Good luck in your future pursuits.

hydgrr Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
02 Jul 2008
Posted:
13 messages
Target GMAT Score:
750
Post Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:55 am
Congrats!!!!!! Your are an inspiration for a lazy person like me...if i get time i either end up watching TV or sleeping

Brothersharp Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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GMAT Score:
710
Post Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:06 am
Since you posted this two years ago, I doubt that you will read this. But regardless, I want to say THANKS!

I followed your study plan and used the GMAT Hacks material, and ended up getting a 710 on my first attempt. Now I have the confidence to try again in a couple months and get a higher score.

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