I recently scored a 710 (50Q, 35V) and wanted to share my GMAT journey.
I actually began studying for the GMAT ~3 years ago. I decided to first starting studying for the exam my senior year of college. I thought that I might want to attend business school one day so I decided to sign up for a class with Manhattan Prep. The course was online and met once a week. I attended the lectures, did the homework, and did problems on my own in the OG guide. Despise spending 3 months studying for the exam, my official score only went up to a 640 from my 590 practice baseline test. I was pretty disappointed to say the least and with graduation a few weeks away, I decided to postpone GMAT studying until after graduation.
Fast forward ~3 years and I have decided to take the GMAT again. This time I decided that I would not take a class but rather do one-on-one tutoring. I think the class definitely works for some people but I wasn't getting anything out of not being able to ask targeted questions to an instructor that was leading the classroom lessons. I also found that when I studied from the OG guide, I wasn't understanding on a deeper level why I got a question wrong. I would just memorize the questions I got wrong and hope something similar showed up on the test. I started working with an independent tutor in February 2017 and he, like the course I took with Manhattan Prep, was very focused on doing large quantities of problems. He developed his own "homework" materials and I started taking the adaptive tests provided by mba.com. The tests from mba.com were great because they simulated real test day conditions and let me see how I was doing on my timing in each section. I took the test again May 2017, but was still disappointed with my score. Even though I had done thousands of problems, I was still missing an understanding of the concepts on a deeper level.
After my May 2017 test, I found Scott, Jeff, and Target Test Prep (TTP). TTP was above and beyond the best study materials and one-on-one sessions I could find. I used the materials on the website to create a study plan (one feature of a TTP membership). I was able to track my progress constantly, highlight notes or concepts in the chapter material for me to go back and review, and have a constant supply of new problems to test my knowledge of the concepts. Finally I found a one stop shop for my GMAT studying. The study material was hands down the best I saw in my GMAT journey. For the first time, I felt like I was actually understanding concepts and not just memorizing problem types. There are also tips and tricks in the study material that will help you save time and get a lot of points you might have missed otherwise. Outside of website studying, I met with Scott one-on-one to go through both quant and verbal and I met with Jeff to focus on data sufficiency. Because I had been studying for the test already for a few months, I had a list of topics and "problem areas" that I wanted to go over with each of them. I also took an mba.com test every single week so that we could go over my incorrect answers from the week's test. After my first one-on-one session, I quickly realized how much I still had to learn because I never understood the core concepts. After working together for 3 months, I scored a 710 with a 50Q! Scott also had great resources to help me with my test day anxiety, which was really hindering me from achieving my best possible score. I could not have scored as well as I did without TTP. I tried so many different courses, companies, and tutors before working with Scott and Jeff at TTP. The two of them are the reason I was able to raise my score and I could not recommend them more. They have helped me move post memorizing questions types on a high level to really understanding the core concepts behind the test.
While I working TTP for Quant, I also used egmat for SC prep. I have an engineering background, so verbal has never been my strong point. egmat was great because it gave me a foundation in basic sc concepts that I lacked. The lessons are all interactive and have end of chapter quizzes with solutions to make sure I was actually understanding what I was learning.
Some tips that I wish I had known before I started studying are:
1) Understand if you are someone who can actually learn in a class or if you do better one-on-one. Obviously one-on-one tutoring can be expensive but also having to take a course 2 or 3 times in order to learn all the concepts add up. So decide early. I do not for one second regret making the investment to meet one-on-one and only wish I had known this earlier about myself
2) Use both the computer tests provided by mba.com and the GMAT focus to get experience with test day type conditions. I am someone who luckily never had an issue with time but you don't want to find out if you are this person on the day of your first official test
3) Before jumping into the OG guides, make sure you have a strong foundation. I got very little out of the OG guides on my first try of GMAT studying. Use services like Target Test Prep for Quant and a site like egmat for Verbal to get the strong core before moving on to the OG (there is a limit of official questions out there so use them wisely)
Obviously each person's GMAT journey is different based on budget and time constraints but no matter what path you take, to do well require focus, dedication and hard work (unless you are one of the very few people that are gifted at these type of exams). Don't get frustrated if you don't score what you want on the 1st try. It took me 4 tries over 3 years to get the score I wanted.
Again, I can't stress again how integral Scott, Jeff, and TTP was to me scoring over 700 and finally reaching my goal of a 49+ on Quant!
From 0 to 710 (50Q, 35V)
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