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Non-Native Speaker - 530 to 690 in 6-months with 94% Verbal

This topic has 1 expert reply and 0 member replies
indogmat Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts Default Avatar
Joined
19 Jan 2017
Posted:
1 messages

Non-Native Speaker - 530 to 690 in 6-months with 94% Verbal

Post Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:54 am
Books & Materials Used:

Local GMAT Tutoring Class Course (Indonesia - pen & paper) - did this from Jun-Jul 2016
Manhattan GMAT Guides
OG 2016 and the Verbal and Quant separate books (THE bible)
EMPOWERgmat subscription and Score Booster study plan

Practice and Actual GMAT scores:

Prior to Empower
CAT 1: 570 (Q35 V34)
CAT 2: 630 (Q39 V38)

Actual GMAT 1: 530 (cancelled the score - no breakdown available)

During Empower module
CAT 1 - GMATPrep (19 Oct 2016): 640 (Q44 V33)
CAT 2 - MGMAT (25 Oct 2016): 610 (Q37 V36)
CAT 3 - GMATPrep Exam Pack 1 (31 Oct 2016): 610 (Q44 V30)
CAT 4 - GMATPrep Exam Pack 1 (4 Nov 2016): 700 (Q45 V41)
CAT 5 - GMAT Prep Exam Pack 2 (7 Nov 2016): 670 (Q47 V35)

Actual GMAT 2 (11 Nov 2016): 640 (Q42 V35 IR 8 AWA 5.5)

CAT 6 - MGMAT (19 Dec 2016): 660 (Q45 V35)
CAT 7 - GMAT Prep Exam Pack 2: 690 (Q45 V40)

Actual GMAT 3 (28 Dec 2016): 690 (Q44 V41 IR 8 AWA 6)

Debrief:

I would like to say thank you to EMPOWERgmat team. Their materials were superbly written and executed, especially on Quant. Prior to Empower, I was stuck with a sub-30 Q score and using the module, I managed to learn that quant is actually not that hard, and quite fun. My verbal score also improved as I practiced hard to solve that tricky modifier error on SC or applying the CR box during CR questions, and this boosted my score from 35 to 44. In Indonesia, the trend is that people’s quant scores are generally much higher than that of verbal. So my higher than average verbal score is kind of an anomaly, all thanks to Empower. Oh and the Triage… I wonder what I would get had I not learned about Triage from Rich and Max.

As a final note, we do not have the luxury of abundance of GMAT prep companies in Indonesia, most relying on traditional pen-and-paper teaching method. But we know from Empower that this method is incredibly flawed especially when dealing with a rigorous 4.5-hour computer based test, testing both your stamina and mental strength. I’ve taken the liberty to recommend Empower to my Indonesian colleagues who are looking to ace the GMAT for their MBA journeys. A friend managed to improve her score from 500s to 680 and another friend improved from 640 to 690. The way we say it in Indonesia: EMPOWERgmat mantap!

Final Word of Advice

I am quite satisfied with my score, and given my current constraints, I don't think that it's feasible to retake the GMAT. But I'm sure that if I were to have another 1 month of preparation, I'm sure I could break the elusive 700 barrier. Some parting advice (although needs to be taken with a grain of salt - what works for one person may not work for another):

1. Pen-and-paper courses are not as useful as their online/computer-based courses. I found this the hard way on my first GMAT. The GMAT is a 4.5-hour marathon, and the challenge is not just to think/retain the knowledge but also to your stamina. The eyes tend to get fatigued the longer you stared at a computer screen, so it is critical to be "accustomed" to the grueling conditions.

2. Verbal tends to be considered as the killer for non-native speakers. But actually, you can do verbal as methodically as you would a quant question. For SC, don't spend too long reading your sentences, jump into the options and immediate find any error from what you learned on the GMAT materials (modifier, idioms and parallelism). For RC, I found that taking mini-notes for each paragraph as you read along helped a lot. Take your time to read everything and don't skim! The GMAT is smart and is riddled with traps to snare skimmers.

3. Have the discipline to guess some questions. Thanks to EMPOWERgmat, I became accustomed to identify questions that are too hard/take too long to solve and kill them. I first thought that this is a gimmick, but I think I would not achieve the 160 point boost if it weren't for this.

4. Persevere. Hang in there! The GMAT is a tough exam, and everybody knows it. Just keep pressing on, keep practicing, keep reflecting on what are the skills/knowledge that you need to hone from the results of your practice tests. Take practice tests often, but no more than 1 per week unless you are pressed for time..

Hope this helps!

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Post Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:01 pm
Hi indogmat,

First off, a 690 is a fantastic score (it's just a bit below the 90th percentile overall), so you should apply to any Business Schools that interest you. A 160 point improvement shows that you have a strong capacity to adjust your thinking, learn new ideas and succeed - and all of those skills will serve you well in Business School and beyond?

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

Another GMAT Assassin has been made!
Rich

_________________
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com

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