760 (Q51; V41) Tips shared

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760 (Q51; V41) Tips shared

by hwang327 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:30 pm
After studying GMAT for almost a year, I am happy to finish it with a good score. The forums have been invaluable resources which I relied on during my arduous journey. Now that I am done, I am grateful to this forum and hope to share my two cents.

Bulleted below are some of the things I gleaned. I wish the best to you all who are still amidst the battle. DON'T GIVE UP.

Critical Reasoning (44/51; 94th percentile)
- Read the stimulus/passage first, THEN move on to the question stem. There are reputable resources out there that propose reading the question stem first, thus identifying the type of question, then read the CR passage. I completely disagree with this method as I have tried doing so and found the results to be much worse than the results I get by reading things in order. What I propose is also supported by Powerscore (best CR resource I came across, more on this later). The argument for reading the question stem first is that you would have an idea of what kind of question you are doing, and possibly with such information, read the CR passage with your question type in mind. However, this, in reality, at least to me, is a huge distraction. And the key of successfully doing CR questions is to UNDERSTAND THE STIMULUS. Having first read the question stem is more of a distraction then else (just IMO, please try both method and verify yourself!). Additionally, most people who read the question stem first usually go back to reading the question stem again to confirm the question type anyways after reading the CR passage. Thus, when most people read the question stem first, they are essentially reading the question stem two times per question, with the disadvantage of not delving into the CR passage first and not focusing on fully understanding the logic of the argument first.
- FIRST AND FOREMOST, focus on understanding the logic of the CR passage COMPLETELY. This might be most valuable to those of you who just started the GMAT prep. Critical reasoning is all about logic. And to get the question right, it is imperative and compulsory to fully understand the logic of the argument. What is the conclusion? How is the conclusion supported? What are the premises to the conclusion? Is there any intermediate conclusion to the argument? Etc. this might sound complicated, but I can assure you that as you do more CR questions, these questions would be second nature if you practice thinking about them in mind. Additionally, REFRAIN FROM THE TEMPTATION TO MOVE ON TO THE QUESTION WITH A HAZY UNDERSTANDING OF THE CR PASSAGE. I used to do this a lot... I would read a CR passage, "kind of" understand the logic/conclusion of the argument, then simply move on to the question with a hazy logical understanding of the argument. This is a sure way to make mistake as answers would often trap you by capitalizing on your ill understanding. You are much better off spending some extra time, read and re-read the stimulus if you have to, and get as much of a perfect understanding of the passage first. This is much better than rushing to the answer choices and spending the same extra time confused by trap answers which you could have eliminated if you spent the extra time on understanding the CR passage/logic of the argument.
- Be careful with strengthen/weakening questions. On the GMAT CR section, you will find that the most popular question types are strengthen/weaken questions. For some, including me, it just so happens that these are the trickiest. When doing these questions, make sure you take a split-second to remind yourself that you are doing a weaken question, not a strengthen question, and/or vice versa. Because when the clock is ticking, you are nervous, or mentally tired/groggy, it is easy to sometimes read a strengthen question, then pick a weaken answer or vice versa. What I like to do is mentally or verbally repeat the question type, then rehearse the conclusion again and link it to the answer that I should be looking for (ie, conclusion says x causes y, I am doing a weaken question, looking for things that suggest x DOES NOT cause y)
- Keep an error log and identify the types of mistake you make. I highly recommend having an error log. For CR questions, record YOUR ERRONEOUS THOUGHT PROCESS for the question you got wrong. Eventually, you may, as I did, recognize a pattern of the types of questions you got wrong. Once you can identify your error patterns, practice doing questions while mindful of your erroneous thought process. For example below are the types of errors I make

Sentence Correction (45/51; 98th percentile)
- If you are non-native speaker, get e-gmat and go through their SC program. My biggest improvement was in SC, where I started in the 50th percentile and moved up to 98th percentile. If English is not your first language, even if you speak the language fluently, as I do, don't be attempted to do questions just by ear. Focus on grammar rules first, e-gmat's program is great for this.
- Ironically, to score high on SC, it is not all about grammar. As the questions become more intricate, meaning really matters.

Reading Comprehension (29/51; 56th percentile)
RC was not my strong suit but I will share what I have learned.
- Official GMAT exam RC questions/passages are harder than the ones in GMATPrep CAT. Of the 6 official gmatprep CATS, I have done all of them and on 4/6 of the CATS, my RC was 51 with no questions. However, having done the official exam at a official testing centre 4 times, never did I even get above 40 on RC on the official exam. Be prepare to see harder RC passage/questions on the real exam.

Quant (51/51; 96th percentile)
- Know your GMAT mathematical concepts REALLY well. If you are consistently scoring in the mid-40s on quant, as I did a few months into studying, chances are you are lacking on concepts. Though technically GMAT math is all "high school math", there are many tricks to solving gmat math questions quickly and efficiently. You have to take the time and properly go through some GMAT math concept reviews to make sure you are getting these concepts (eg. The product of every 3 consecutive integers is always divisible by 3). Personally, once I quite thoroughly went through math revolution and Target Test Prep's program, both explaining concepts and tricks, my quant moved up to 49 from the low 40s (where I started). The rest was honing accuracy and timing
- Get good at mental math or GMAT-related arithmetic by practicing drills. These are the backbone of GMAT quant. If arithmetic/calculation is your weakness, make it a serious priority to hone it and I am confident that you will see improvement in your score. I used to get stuck on some 500 or 600 level question that are calculation heavy... not worth it ... the more accurate and faster you can calculate 1800/35 and 16*15, the better you will perform on the exam, all around. I have attached my excel spreadsheet created to practice my calculation skills.
- Number Properties is a HUGE part of the GMAT. Make sure you are thorough with understanding concepts related to NP if you want to score really well. This If you find questions related to number properties easy or comfortable, consider yourself fortunate. If not, make sure you really hone in on this for NP is a priority to geometry or combinatorics.
- From 49 to 50/51: Timing, silly mistakes and way of thinking. I was stuck at 49 for quite some time, occasionally scoring a 50 on a practice CAT. Going through my mistakes on the CATs where I scored 49, I found most of my wrong answers were silly mistakes or questions which got me stumped during the moment. To improve on these, make sure you practice your question sets (5-15 questions per set) TIMED. This doesn't mean you give every questions 2 minutes, but make sure the total time you allocate to the entire question set is not more than 2 minutes per question. If you are stuck on a question during practice, even when feel like you are on the verge of solving it, don't succumb to the temptation of taking 5 minutes on a question.. because you won't get that on the real exam. You can always come back to the question later and do it untimed. The timed sets are simply training your ability to think efficiently when the clock is ticking, mimicking the real exam and honing your time management skills.

I understand this information may be quite dry... this is why I sectioned, bullet pointed and highlighted the key points. Let me know if you have any questions. I will make another post soon on study routine, recommended prep materials and tutor.
Arithmetic Practice.rar
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by akjgmat » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:33 am
Congrats on your fantastic score!
And a well written summary, concise. I appreciate the no non-sense style accompanied by no-advertising for any prep agencies ; sticking to the study and what to focus on.

Could you please share your error-log format?
And how many practise tests did you take? And the time spent on reviewing those tests.

Which schools do you plan to target?
Good luck with the rest of the app process.