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From 420 to 670: A long but Rewarding 10 months Journey

This topic has 1 member reply
nsuen Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
14 Mar 2016
28 messages
1 times

From 420 to 670: A long but Rewarding 10 months Journey

Post Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:57 am
I want to share my story here because I was inspired and encouraged by the stories I saw here during my journey. I know there are many 700 there but hope that this will help the one whose goals are 600-700.

Either you just failed your 1st attempt/2nd attempt or felt like you would never get there or how come so many people get a score they want but you. I knew I certainly felt that way many times during my preparation. Please please do believe in yourself and you will be able to get the score you want if you don’t give up.

1st attempt- March 2016- 420 (Q 30 V 18)
Preparation time: 3 months
Materials: Kaplan tutor and 2016 online materials kits

I started to prepare in Jan 2016. I used Kaplan tutoring and online module. I learned the basic but neither the materials nor the tutor helped me. Unfortunately, it did not help me. I underestimated the gmat. After 3 months of preparation, I was very disappointed at myself as my prep score was in the 520-570 range in Kaplan and gmat prep

2nd attempt- July 2016 - 500 (Q 36 V 23)
Preparation time: 4 months
1) Forum- for moral supports and confused questions
2) Mprep: self -interactive 9 weeks program
3) The PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible
4) Egmat- verbal (purchased at the very end but did not use too much)
5) Error log - did not use much
6) OG 2016

After 1st attempt, I came upon beat the gmat and gmat club. I was like why did I not discover the sites before? I realized I didn’t even have OG during my 1st attempt, no wonder I failed. There were many opinions on the sites so you have to carefully read through and see what you want to try as many people succeed by using various methods. I decided to give Mpre self-interactive a try after reading the reviews and heard many good things from my friends. I bought the Bible for CR because I read that mprep CR was not very good at explaining and CR was one of my weaknesses. The 9 weeks program really help to get down the content and build up a positive and correct way to face the gmat. Bible was good at explaining and gave me a framework on how to tackle CR. Unlike many others, I was neither very good at quant nor verbal. I need to improve both in order to up my score.

Key takeaways:
1) Do not get a 1 month leave from work to study the gmat, DID NOT WORK and I got so stressed out that I got ill twice within the same month.
2) Use error log as much as you could to really learn high level habit. There is a value of repeating thing.
3) Learn about the mental part of the gmat(stress management, how the brain works, how long term-short term memories work, how to feel good about giving up on hard problem, how to do 1 min check in, how to recognize problem) this is as important as studying the content (if not, more important)

3rd attempt- Sept 2016- 670 (Q 44 V 38)
Preparation time: 2months
1) Mprep tutor
2) Error log
3) OG 2016
4) Extra pack of Gmat prep questions( good if you finish most of the medium OG questions)

I was of course not satisfied with 500 as my goal was 600. Mprep has a post exam assessment for all of its students (included in part of your self-interactive package) I decided to stick with Mprep and hired a private tutor. I had 6 lessons in total, and the sessions were so HELPFUL! A good tutor can teach you good strategy, help you recognize what your strength and weakness in a deeper way, and be your MENTAL SUPPORT! (which was key to me)My tutor taught me how to use the error log the right way, asked me to read articles (repeat) and do mindfulness training (which really helped me to in a good mindset) and most importantly, he believed in me even when I doubted myself. I was having a hard time to break through Q 36 during these 2 months and gradually with my tutor’s strategy, I gained more confidence but result was still not showing. 10 days before my 3rd attempt, I took my last prep (I got a 570 Q 40 V 28). I was happy to break through Q. After a deep analysis, I realized my key problem was timing; I got the last 9 Q questions all wrong and got a 40 so my tutor and I believed if I could manage time well, 600 should be manageable. My tutor asked me to believe in myself more than the score on prep and asked me to go for the actual exam because I am ready. He asked me to rigorously follow his final week plan (include schedule a fun activity during my last weekend and no reviews at all the night before, trust me, these tasks were not easy)

Key Takeaways:
1) Get a great tutor
2) Follow one prep instead of multiple preps; don’t spread your wing so thin
3) Believe in yourself (mental strength is so important)

I am finally done after this 10 months, and to be honest, I enjoyed the process and liked the challenge (the mindset of liking at least part of the gmat and be excited about it are so important)

Thank you everyone on this forum and I hope that I could help others like those help me before on this website. Never give up!

Thanked by: KDeeva
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diegocml Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts Default Avatar
15 Mar 2016
67 messages
7 times
Test Date:
Target GMAT Score:
GMAT Score:
Post Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:33 am
Congratulations nsuen!

I've read your original thread and I am happy to see how far you've gone!

Your story is very inspiring and I hope I can mimic your success.

All the best,


1st GMAT attemp: 410 (Q18 V27)
2nd GMAT attemp: 490 (Q35 V23)

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