45 days - 720 (Q49, V40)

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45 days - 720 (Q49, V40)

by lucasechebarrena » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:36 am
First of all, I would like to thank every member of this forum and, at the same time, apologize for being such a quiet observer and user of the information provided here.

Key ask: don`t read this post as you would read a sentence correction question, please! :lol:

Today, almost 45 days after I decided to give most of my free time to my GMAT preparation, I had my big day - and, I was lucky enough to get a 720 (Q49 & V40) & IR 8.

To give you some background on me: I am neither an English native speaker nor an engineer, but I do have some background in math.

So, my preparation in steps:

4th of December: Decided to take the GMAT and researched which course would fit my needs - I ended up choosing GMAT (no regrets, I recommend it big time) - What I needed? I was looking for a course to develop a strategic approach to the exam, and in my opinion, GMAT offers all the tools to do that. I didn`t want to invest much time to brush up concepts, mainly, in Math as I was confident that I could perform well with my knowledge base. In Verbal, it was a bit different, on top of the strategic approach I needed to improve my Sentence Correction skills and I used both GMAT and the Manhattan SC Guide.

From the 5th of December to 26th of December: During this period I studied 2 hours on weekdays and 4-6 hours on weekends, I did as many question as I could applying strategies learned in the GMAT course, finding different ways of solving questions. I did not timed the questions from the beginning, but I have a feeling that from Day 1, I could solve most of the questions in less than 2 minutes, unless I made silly mistakes or math in my head and had to go back and review the question. For that I only used the 2018 Official Guide - I finished the Official guide for Quant and SC in this period. Critical reasoning was easy for me and RC no matter how much I tried, I couldn`t improve. Lessons from my core preparation period:
Problem solving: use the fastest approach - does not matter if you got a question right if you did not use the shortcuts that the test offers.
Data sufficiency: pay attention - the facts are structured to tricky you and jump to conclusions - train to look at the facts independently.
SC: Grammar is important, patterns are more important - learn which structures that the GMAT likes
CR: not much to share - common sense, think before reading the answers, have an idea of what the response should look like, but keep an open mind - you might have tackled the question from a different perspective
RC: I gave up :lol: not really! I researched strategies to approach the passages - at first, the strategies did not work for me.

27th of December: time to build stamina and do practice tests - the score of a practice test did not matter to me, they might be an indication but, they essential to build stamina and to prepare yourself mentally to tackle the test. Having said that, I did not follow the common recommendation of doing the GMAT Prep tests, I chose to do the MGMAT tests - my purpose was not to have an accurate forecast of my score, but to be challenged and to outperform the official GMAT. MGMAT CATs are tough!!! My first score was 640. Ran an MGMAT assessment report on the tests and found out where I should invest my effort to have an optimal score.

28th of December - 02nd of January: I was expecting a miracle. I spent a day snowboarding and the others studying hard - reviewing weak spots, doing hard questions, not enough to see a big improvement on my score, and again, it did not matter. To go through the test was more "pleasant" and I got a 670! (now is the time when you think that my score will explode - spoiler: it never happened)

03rd of January: scheduled my test and found my gold bucket for verbal: read carefully and slowly, summarize everything in your head - don`t mind about notes, you will not use them to a single question. (at least, that`s how it worked for me)

04th of January - 13th of January: more questions, I acquired the official question bank to train question on the computer screen, really precise timing - same look and feel of the GMAT - at some point GMAT style just feels natural. I did all questions in the question bank and applied every single technique and strategy from the GMAT course. Some of them I reviewed and found new methods to solve them, others I ignored completely (too hard or too crazy of a question - Rich), I knew that I needed to dump 3 to 4 questions in each of the sections to get through it in time and accurate. - key fact of this period: by reading more carefully I was going through the questions both quant and verbal much more quickly.

14th of January: last practice test and.... 680! Still not worried, but you doubt some of the skills - time to relax, meditate and forget the GMAT - it is just around the corner, nothing that you can really change.

15th of January to 18th of January: No clue what to do, but I felt the pressure to study a bit more, so I did. Reviewed bookmarked questions and practiced my incorrect questions.

19th of January (test-day): Anxiety is here, don`t fool yourself, you`ve just invested more than a month of your time on this, you don`t want this to be wasted. Acknowledge that it is there, and use in your favor. I woke up early (if you manage to sleep at all - it is important), ate breakfast and warmed-up with 8 easy/medium questions - headed to the test center, spent 4 hours there and got my score.

Caveat: if you don`t get the score you want, repeat the process (but adjust it accordingly to your needs) - if you do the same, you cannot expect a different result - at the end, it will pay off

Materials used: OG 2018 / MGMAT SC Guide / GMAC question bank / MGMAT CATs

Course: GMAT - made the process enjoyable - Rich with his unique style was inside of my mind during the test. "Silly mistakes", "Business Schools don`t want you", "Test-it"

Final recommendation: listen to the people dealing with this test everyday - don`t think that you know more about the test than them - try to follow their guidance, most of them know what they are talking about. But, bear in mind, one size does not fit all.

Once more, thank you all!

Please, let me know if I can be of any help.



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by [email protected] » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:25 pm
Hi Lucas,

To start, that's OUTSTANDING news! This is a significant improvement over your prior 660 (which was already a strong score!) - and with a 720/Q49, you can comfortably apply to any Schools that interest you!

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!
Contact Rich at [email protected]

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by Mjover » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:49 pm
Hi Lucas,

thats amazing, congratulations. I really appreciate these stories from Testtakers, thank you for sharing.

It's about one year now that i planned to studie for test. But the challenge seems too big for me, i need a score about 710-720 in order to apply for an university in germany where i want to studie for my master degree.

Unfortunately i have weaknesses in quant and verbal (i am not a native speaker)

Stories like yours give me some little hope to really start tackling the gmat. :)

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by Rothman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:15 am
lucasechebarrena wrote:First of all, I would like to thank every member of this forum and, at the same time, apologize for being such a quiet observer and user of the information provided here.

Hi Luca, congratulations!

Question; when you say you spent 2 hours per day during the week and 6 hours on per day on the weekends, was that just for solving questions or did it also include studying the solutions to your mistakes?

Thanks, and best of luck for what is coming!