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Never Give Up! 580 to 710

This topic has 1 member reply
Mdterrapin1 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
15 Aug 2016
1 messages

Never Give Up! 580 to 710

Post Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:08 pm
My GMAT journey like many other’s was a unique one. For some personal context, I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from a top 50 ranked public university, and have not always been the strongest test taker. A few years after graduating and working full-time I decided to get my PE or professional engineering license. For an engineer to obtain a professional license he or she must pass an 8hr exam among other requirements. After a few months of intensive studying I was thrilled to find out that I had passed the exam! The confidence and motivation of passing the PE exam led me to look onto another goal of mine which was to attend a top MBA program, and I quickly realized that I would have to get a score of at least of 700 on the GMAT exam.
Like most GMAT stories you will find, I grossly underestimated the time, energy and focus it would take to obtain my goal of breaking 700. I initially took the self-study approach by using the GMAC Official Guide (OG), and incorrectly measured my progress by simply the number of hours I was throwing at my studying. What a waste of time! My first wake-up call came after I received a 580 (Q41/V28) on the official exam. I immediately knew that I had to drastically change the way I viewed the exam, and also that I needed to sign up for a GMAT review course.
After doing some research I landed on taking a live online class through Veritas Prep (VP). Since I had taken an online review course for my PE, I was accustomed to not actually being in a classroom, and found that interacting with the VP instructor was not hindered in any way. The VP curriculum I found to be helpful, and it gave me the ability to attack quality GMAT questions that were apart from the OG. After taking the VP review course I was able to improve my verbal score to help me to get to an overall score of 640 (Q41/V36). I personally believe that VP is an excellent way to go for the average test taker who has a goal of reaching the mid 600s. Although I was pleased with my improvement, I knew I had to yet again take another approach to reach my goal of breaking 700.
Ironically, even with an engineering background, I found that my biggest struggle was with quant, and especially timing. My inability to step away from solving a problem from beginning to end, every single time handicapped my score. It was after finding this out that I stumbled upon Target Test Prep (TTP), and their personal tutor, Jeff Miller. After talking with Jeff, I decided to sign up for the TTP curriculum and meet with Jeff once a week. I have to say that looking back, I wish I would have initially gone with Jeff and TTP from the beginning. Jeff was not only able to show me the gaps within my quantitative knowledge, but also able to show me how and why I was making them. My new plan of attack was to do the TTP curriculum during the week and then work with Jeff on the weekend to show me my areas of weakness. This approach made a drastic difference to my quant score. I found myself completing problems in much less time by doing them in a much more efficient way than I was before. I am confident to say that TTP and Jeff were my answer to reaching my goal of breaking 700. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I got a 710 (Q48/V38).
Throughout the entire process, I learned a lot about myself and different approaches to taking the GMAT. Below are some of the tips/recommendations I would give for tackling each section:
• For me this one is easy, Target Test Prep and Jeff Miller were the difference maker. I found that there is no substitute for one-on-one tutoring to give the individual attention you need to exploit the gaps in your knowledge.
Critical Reasoning:
• Initially this was the most difficult area for me, but after diligently going through the Critical Reasoning Bible from Powerscore I found that it was my strongest verbal area.
Reading Comprehension:
• This one was a roller coaster for me. I was all over the board when it came to my practice tests. A lot of the research I found was to read different business articles and newspapers, but honestly I found my greatest improvement with RC after just reading for pleasure.
Sentence Correction:
• VP really helped me here. You can find a free youtube video from VP on SC, and it really breaks down what I found to be the best approach to attacking SC problems.

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uniq01 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
09 Aug 2016
24 messages
5 times
Post Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:50 am
Wow, thanks for sharing your story. Going from a 580 to 710 on the GMAT is no small feat. The GMAT is as much about test taking strategies as it is about aptitude and critical thinking skills. While you should not self-eliminate from applying to good B-schools when your highest score is under 700, retaking the test and improving your score certainly shows the Ad coms that you have the kind of tenacity that makes you not only an interesting candidate, but one who is poised to succeed in a competitive MBA program like theirs. I'm sure you'll do well - congrats!


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