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590 to 700 - EMPOWERgmat gave me the extra boost!

Find out how Beat The GMAT members tackled GMAT test prep with positive results. Get tips on GMAT test prep materials, online courses, study tips, and more.
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***1/14/2016 Update: I was accepted to Wharton, MIT Sloan, and Tuck!!!!***

I took the official GMAT back in March 2015 (second attempt), but only really took the time to sit down now and write this post. I was honestly deterred by the numerous GMAT epics some of the power contributors of this forum would leave, because I thought to myself "How the heck could I write a post that would come close to providing the level of value those other posts provide??!!" To overcome this mental hump, I'm going to just touch upon the main highlights from my GMAT study journey.

Here is a breakdown of my scores, both CATs and official tests:
1/15/14 - 590 from Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT)
3/6/14 - 630 from MGMAT
5/3/14 - 640 from MGMAT
6/4/14 - 630 from MGMAT
6/10/14 - 640 from MGMAT
6/30/14 - 680, Official GMAT Attempt #1
1/31/15 - 690 from GMAC
2/22/15 - 670 from MGMAT
3/7/15 - 710 from GMAC
3/9/15 - 700, Official GMAT Attempt #2

Good things to know:
- MGMAT tests are harder, use MBA.com software for most accurate practice tests
- Do not passively study; have an uninterrupted study plan and go hard/commit to it
- I took the MGMAT in-person course. It was very helpful in nailing down the fundamentals of all the quant and verbal concepts, but I felt my GMAT abilities cap off after a certain point. It became difficult for me to boost my score on practice exams beyond the high-600 range. That's when EMPOWERgmat came in.
- I believe EMPOWERgmat was the key piece to me earning my 700. They have a score booster curriculum for those who feel their GMAT abilities have hit a ceiling. This is exactly what I needed. I really liked that they took all the GMAT study plan strategizing out of my hands; their syllabus is easy-to-follow, and as long as you just do what they tell you, your score WILL improve. Rich and Max bring a lot of enthusiasm to their instructional videos, making long study sessions easier to endure. They evoke the "athletic coach persona" and communicate the GMAT concepts and strategies in a way that really motivates you to crush the test. I noticed occasional misspellings in the practice problems in their videos and minor bugs in their online platform, but these small issues never got in the way of my studying. Their website may not have the shiny production value of the large, established test prep companies (i.e. Manhattan GMAT), but it's the value of the content that counts, and EMPOWERgmat delivers.
- The most important thing I learned from EMPOWERgmat was to alter my approach and mindset - it's not about how much content you know, it's almost ALL about strategy. Once you nail the concepts down, you have to realize that the GMAT will reward those who treat the test like a business situation. To specify, you have limited resources (time), and the GMAT will reward (with a high score) those who maximize the utility of their limited resources (spending time on problems you know how to solve versus spending all your time on difficult problems that don't count much towards your score anyway). This fundamental shift in mentality completely freed me to not get bogged down in the concepts I didn't know or were not very comfortable with. EMPOWERgmat hammers this perspective into all of their instruction so that it becomes second nature. This is what paved the way for me to earn that 700.

And a quick note about applying to business schools: I'm near the end of a grueling MBA application journey (I find out next week the admissions results of my Round 1 applications) and have learned that no matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you throw into your applications, there will always be an element of luck/apparent randomness in the application process. Getting a rejection from your dream school doesn't say anything about yourself or your qualifications. As long as you gave everything you had toward your applications, you will come out the other end having learned a lot about yourself regardless of the admissions results. I encourage everyone who will be applying to see the application process as an opportunity to reflect why you really want to go to business school. I've certainly grown from all this self-reflection. And if you're curious, here is my profile and the status of my Round 1 applications:

Age: 27 years old, male
Occupation/industry: transitioning active duty military officer
Undergrad: military service academy, engineering major, 3.25 GPA
GMAT: 700 (38V/49Q)
Highlights: Extensive leadership (supervised large teams at work, taught leadership at alma mater and at international conferences), entrepreneurship (founded a web startup), and international community service (volunteered in slums of Africa, volunteer consultant to small businesses in Southeast Asia) outside of my military job.

HBS - rejected, no interview
Stanford - rejected, no interview
Wharton - invited to interview
MIT Sloan - invited to interview
Berkeley Haas - invited to interview
Tuck - self-initiated interview

Feel free to message me if you have any questions about the GMAT, admissions process, and the use of admissions consultants (I hired Stratus Prep to help me; worth it).

Best,
Alex
Last edited by alexhapki on Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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by paeiing » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:16 am
Hello Max,

First, I have to congratulate on your scores and achievement.
I am struggling here. I took e-gmat course, but I don't find myself fit with the course much.
I am non-native speaker. I wonder whether empowergmat will suit me?

GMAT/MBA Expert

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by Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:49 am
Hi alexhapki,

That's OUTSTANDING news about both your GMAT score AND all of the invites that you've received to interview. With the 700/Q49, you have a GMAT score right around the 90th percentile overall, which makes every Business School 'happy'. Considering the level of competition at the Schools that you've applied to, you also clearly have a strong overall profile (as evidenced by the interview invites). This is all meant to say that we expect big things from you, regardless of which School you attend. You should post back here once you've chosen the School you plan on attending.

Congrats again on all of your success!

Another GMAT Assassin has been made!
Rich
Contact Rich at Rich.C@empowergmat.com
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by btgsnt » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:31 am
All the best. Happy to read your GMAT journey.

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by alexhapki » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:17 am
Rich.C@EMPOWERgmat.com and et al. - I was accepted to Wharton, MIT Sloan, and Tuck!!!!

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by vrohit » Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:31 pm
Congratulations Alex!!!

Your post is quite helpful for the test takers. I just started my prep and about to complete week 1. I have done decently well in the verbal sections of the OG Diagnostics test but quant was disastrous. How would I sharpen my basics before I jump start into the actual quant prep.

P.S : I signed up for Magoosh and also purchased the Manhattan prep books.

Rohit
alexhapki wrote:***1/14/2016 Update: I was accepted to Wharton, MIT Sloan, and Tuck!!!!***

I took the official GMAT back in March 2015 (second attempt), but only really took the time to sit down now and write this post. I was honestly deterred by the numerous GMAT epics some of the power contributors of this forum would leave, because I thought to myself "How the heck could I write a post that would come close to providing the level of value those other posts provide??!!" To overcome this mental hump, I'm going to just touch upon the main highlights from my GMAT study journey.

Here is a breakdown of my scores, both CATs and official tests:
1/15/14 - 590 from Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT)
3/6/14 - 630 from MGMAT
5/3/14 - 640 from MGMAT
6/4/14 - 630 from MGMAT
6/10/14 - 640 from MGMAT
6/30/14 - 680, Official GMAT Attempt #1
1/31/15 - 690 from GMAC
2/22/15 - 670 from MGMAT
3/7/15 - 710 from GMAC
3/9/15 - 700, Official GMAT Attempt #2

Good things to know:
- MGMAT tests are harder, use MBA.com software for most accurate practice tests
- Do not passively study; have an uninterrupted study plan and go hard/commit to it
- I took the MGMAT in-person course. It was very helpful in nailing down the fundamentals of all the quant and verbal concepts, but I felt my GMAT abilities cap off after a certain point. It became difficult for me to boost my score on practice exams beyond the high-600 range. That's when EMPOWERgmat came in.
- I believe EMPOWERgmat was the key piece to me earning my 700. They have a score booster curriculum for those who feel their GMAT abilities have hit a ceiling. This is exactly what I needed. I really liked that they took all the GMAT study plan strategizing out of my hands; their syllabus is easy-to-follow, and as long as you just do what they tell you, your score WILL improve. Rich and Max bring a lot of enthusiasm to their instructional videos, making long study sessions easier to endure. They evoke the "athletic coach persona" and communicate the GMAT concepts and strategies in a way that really motivates you to crush the test. I noticed occasional misspellings in the practice problems in their videos and minor bugs in their online platform, but these small issues never got in the way of my studying. Their website may not have the shiny production value of the large, established test prep companies (i.e. Manhattan GMAT), but it's the value of the content that counts, and EMPOWERgmat delivers.
- The most important thing I learned from EMPOWERgmat was to alter my approach and mindset - it's not about how much content you know, it's almost ALL about strategy. Once you nail the concepts down, you have to realize that the GMAT will reward those who treat the test like a business situation. To specify, you have limited resources (time), and the GMAT will reward (with a high score) those who maximize the utility of their limited resources (spending time on problems you know how to solve versus spending all your time on difficult problems that don't count much towards your score anyway). This fundamental shift in mentality completely freed me to not get bogged down in the concepts I didn't know or were not very comfortable with. EMPOWERgmat hammers this perspective into all of their instruction so that it becomes second nature. This is what paved the way for me to earn that 700.

And a quick note about applying to business schools: I'm near the end of a grueling MBA application journey (I find out next week the admissions results of my Round 1 applications) and have learned that no matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you throw into your applications, there will always be an element of luck/apparent randomness in the application process. Getting a rejection from your dream school doesn't say anything about yourself or your qualifications. As long as you gave everything you had toward your applications, you will come out the other end having learned a lot about yourself regardless of the admissions results. I encourage everyone who will be applying to see the application process as an opportunity to reflect why you really want to go to business school. I've certainly grown from all this self-reflection. And if you're curious, here is my profile and the status of my Round 1 applications:

Age: 27 years old, male
Occupation/industry: transitioning active duty military officer
Undergrad: military service academy, engineering major, 3.25 GPA
GMAT: 700 (38V/49Q)
Highlights: Extensive leadership (supervised large teams at work, taught leadership at alma mater and at international conferences), entrepreneurship (founded a web startup), and international community service (volunteered in slums of Africa, volunteer consultant to small businesses in Southeast Asia) outside of my military job.

HBS - rejected, no interview
Stanford - rejected, no interview
Wharton - invited to interview
MIT Sloan - invited to interview
Berkeley Haas - invited to interview
Tuck - self-initiated interview

Feel free to message me if you have any questions about the GMAT, admissions process, and the use of admissions consultants (I hired Stratus Prep to help me; worth it).

Best,
Alex