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740 (Q47, V45) AWA 5.5 Debrief

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740 (Q47, V45) AWA 5.5 Debrief

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I didn't quite hit my target score of 760, but on the whole I'm glad my GMAT Crusade is over!

Preparation Time: 8 weeks

Preparation Products:
ARCO Diagnostic Test (do not recommend)
Manhattan RC, CR, SC, and Word Translations.
GMAT Prep x2
Chineseburned's AWA Guide
Manhattan CAT x4
GMATFix Drill Engine - A+++++ Would do business again, super fast transaction!! A+++++

My original diagnostic was a 690 (Q45, V38), so my two months of studying bumped me 50 points. I mismanaged my time during Q, otherwise I believe I could have reached 760 (Q49, V45) and a study bump of 70 points.

There are a great many people on this forum, and in general, who do so very well on math and accomplish only a satisfactory score on verbal. I have always been in the same boat, so it's actually very weird for me to look at this test result in which I scored 79th percentile in math and 98th percentile in verbal (although I do believe a large number of international students is the cause since they super-saturate the top of the math ranks and are boosting people up in the verbal ranks. Indians, both a blessing and a curse!). But regardless, the bulk of my score improvement can be attributed to verbal.

My Tips to Raise Verbal from Middle to Top of the Pack

Start with Reading Comprehension. You can improve dramatically by internalizing two major concepts: scope and detail. Scope is like the Goldilocks concept. Some answers will be too narrow, some too broad, but one will be just right. Detail is just going back to scan the passage for explicitly stated answers that match the answer choices. After reading the Manhattan book I went from typically answering 50% correct to answering 100% correct on a GMAT Prep exam.

Next move to Critical Reasoning. The Manhattan book is pretty solid here in terms of identifying assumptions. I stopped drawing "T" diagrams very early on, but after reading the Manhattan book I went from typically answering 50% correct to answering 100% correct on a GMAT Prep exam.

Save Sentence Correction for last. Anecdotally, SC seems like the killer for most people, especially non-native speakers, due to idioms. The Manhattan book once again was a life saver and I went from answering 35-45% correct to answering 80% correct on a GMAT Prep exam.

The Final Days

I found myself wondering what I should focus on in the final days. After googling GMAT score splits, I came to a few conclusions, which may be right or wrong.

1) If V51 is 99%, V45 is 98%, and V41 is 92% percentile, then it's almost impossible for a non-SUPERSTAR to lock down a narrow V range. But honestly, it doesn't matter. A Q50/V43 would net you a 760, and a Q50/V48 would net you a 780. You can probably miss 9-10 questions and still get a V43, but probably miss 2 at most to score a V48. Once you start living in the mid-40s, your work is done.

2) Math is king. If Q and V are hands on a clock, then Q is the hour hand and V is the minutes hand. Because of a large difference in scaled score to percentile, moving Q by two points will move your GMAT score MUCH more than moving V by two points. You can also miss a great number of questions and still score very high in Q. I've missed as many as 13 and scored a Q49 on GMAT Prep.

If you find yourself with a typical, practice V score between 43 and 48, I would focus almost exclusively on math in your final days. Isolate your weak points and start back with the fundamentals to ground them. I have an enormous amount of praise for Patrick and the solutions offered by GMATFix. I used the GMATFix Drill Engine relentlessly in the final days for both math and SC -- it provides an awesome question bank and the ability to immediately view the answer and solving technique. Absolutely brilliant product, cannot recommend enough! In fact, I wish I could have scored higher just to give more credible praise here.

Psychology

After a steady increase in my studying to the point I hit 770 on GMAT Prep 2, I had actually convinced myself that scoring a 780 was possible. Then the next day I convinced myself that a 790 was possible. The day after that I convinced myself I was capable of scoring 800. I daydreamed about being one of the super-few 800s in the world and how it might change my life.

I spent the final two days saying "gibberish hype" in my head. I would just free flow anything that sounded strong and convincing -- "I am the master of my domain. I control my destiny and will shape it with a strong mind and sharp focus. Nothing will separate me from my goal. I will conquer what stands in my way."

I scored the lowest I could have imagined for myself, but I set the bar so high that even when I faltered, I still pulled off a great score. It's corny as hell, but the adage applies here, "If you shoot for the moon and miss, you'll still land among the stars."

And if you've not scheduled a test yet, get yourself in ASAP when you feel that you're peaking. If you're not sure about lead times, just look at the scheduling availability now to get a feel for how quickly you can get in. I got to the point where I couldn't imagine waiting three more weeks to test, so I actually drove 90 minutes to another city to test two weeks earlier.

Believe anything is possible.
Assert your control in the situation.
WORK HARD.
DREAM BIG.
Be proud of your hard work and initiative no matter what score comes back.

Cheers all and good testing!

_________________
MGMAT1: 720 (Q47, V41)
GMATPrep1: 750 (Q48, V44)
GMATPrep2: 770 (Q50, V47)

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thanks for the debrief

and congratulations Smile

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Congratulations.. Nice Debrief

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