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GMAT 760 : About, Tips, Tricks and a Solid Plan

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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First of all this is very subjective, but I have learnt from experience why the top American MBA programs have an edge over MBA programs from all over the world. Given the melting pot that US is, the experience, exposure and knowledge gain is phenomenal. Whether you want to be the young CEO of an MNC, the smart new entrepreneur on the horizon, the brilliant I-Banker, literally whatever you may aim for in life, the global perspective you develop when you share your days with the smartest people from all over the world, will be immensely valued wherever you go and come in handy when making business decisions. For any person with global leadership aspirations this is a great route to pursue.

The GMAT is a small part of the puzzle and this article will focus on GMAT preparation only. I scored 760 (Q 50 V41 ) on GMAT , 5.5 on AWA recently ( in first attempt) and will share my experiences here. If you wish, you can check my progress log in another topic I had started. I had taken it as a challenge and wanted to prove to myself that gmat can be beaten ( 750+ ) without joining any coaching classes and I can certainly assure everyone that is it possible if you are sincere, prepare and follow a plan and learn from your mistakes as well as mistakes of those who have previously taken the gmat. Goes without saying that cracking any competitive exam requires mental conditioning, development of exam temperament and hard work !

ABOUT
The GMAT is a 4 hour exam that you can schedule any time of the year according to your convenience from mba.com at a center closest to you. Scheduling an exam costs about $250.

SECTIONS
There are 3 sections in all. The exam begins with AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment), followed by a Quantitative section which is then followed by a Verbal section.

a) AWA (Analytical Writing Assessment)
1) Critique of an argument time 30 minutes.
2) Position on an issue time 30 minutes.
------------------- 8 minute Optional Break ------------------------

b) Quantitative 1 hour 15 minutes to attempt 37 questions ( You Must Attempt ALL )
2 types of question
1) Problem Solving ( PS )
2) Data Sufficiency ( DS )
------------------- 8 minute Optional Break -------------------------

c) Verbal : 1 hour 15 minutes to attempt 41 questions ( You MUST attempt ALL )
3 types of questions
1) Critical Reasoning
2) Sentence Correction
3) Reading Comprehension
------------At this point you can see your score out of 800 --------
------- Expect to receive a score for AWA ( out of 6.0 ) within 10 days --------

SCORING
GMAT is a Computer Adaptive Test which means the level of difficulty of the next question depends on your response to the previous one. If the level of the questions keeps getting harder, you are doing well. On the other hand, if you find easier questions on your screen, it is probably time to slow down a bit. Once you take the GMAT, the scores are valid for a period of 5 years. If you are not happy with your score, you can always sit for another exam. Both the scores however will be reported by GMAC ( Graduate Management Admission Council) to the schools you apply to. Generally schools consider the highest of your GMAT scores. This however depends on the school you are applying to.


PREPARATION
Well now that you have the basic idea of what the GMAT is all about, let's move to the more interesting part - How to crack this thing open ?

RESOURCES
I used these books for my preparation

1) GMAT official guide 12th revision
This is your GMAT bible. I completed it and noted down the questions I got wrong. It is important to not repeat the mistakes you make. 20 days before the exam I re-attempted the questions I previously got wrong and was happy to find I was getting most of them correct the 2nd time . If you do not have time to do anything else, follow this book and that's it!

2) Manhattan Sentence Correction
Best book available in the market. Comes with 6 practice CATs which are closest to the actual GMAT after the GMAT Prep.

3) Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
Best book available in the market for CR. Will also help in Reading Comprehension

4) GMAT Verbal Review
Needed more verbal question practice after I was done with the Official Guide Verbal section.



GENERAL STRATEGY

1) If you find yourself a little weak in English, start reading novels ( Ex - Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe ), Magazines ( The Economist, Fortune ), Editorials of newspapers like the Hindu/Indian Express, Pick up Wren And Martin again and memorize the grammar rules. When reading the books, don't be passive, focus on things like organization of the sentence, the subject-verb agreement, the use of adjectives etc. This is a life skill and will help not just with GMAT but after that as well.

2) Be active on beatthegmat.com and gmatclub.com communities. The problems you might face have already been faced by someone and the solution is in these community driven websites. Subscribe to their "Question a day" emails.

3) Schedule an appointment for the GMAT. Until you have a date in your mind, you probably won't do anything.

4) Preparation for the GMAT is a 2.5-3 month exercise at the rate of 2-3 hours per weekday and 5-6 hours per day over the weekend. If you can do that you will be prepared enough on D-day.

5) Set a goal for yourself. How much would you like to report to your dream school? I had a giant 750+ printed on a sheet of paper on my wall. It helped me stay motivated.

6) Attacking the OG ( Official Guide ) :
To keep it interesting, try different strategies on different times
- See how many questions you can attempt in 30 minutes
- See how much time you take to attempt 20 questions
- Log your performance. I used the OG 12 error tracking log here.
https://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/gmat-error-log
- Logs are really helpful. They remind you of which questions to retry later, and
how much of the OG you have completed and how much is left.

7) AWA
- I just read chineseburned's notes 5-6 times
https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6- ... 64327.html


- For the last 5 CATs I took , I completed the AWA section as well and simulated the actual GMAT at home. I wore the same clothes I would wear to the center and had the same breakfast I had planned, and started and ended exam at the same time.


8) Critical Reasoning
- It is very important to use ONLY the information in the question stem when answering.
- Make no assumptions of your own. Even if it is written that there are a lot of trees on Mars, DO NOT assume that it is all green unless the word GREEN is in the question stem.
- Powerscore CR Bible will prepare you to handle any CR question.


9) Reading Comprehension
I was bad at it initially. But later on I followed these steps
- Assign 5-6 minutes just to read the whole passage.
- After every paragraph, take a break for a few seconds and recall what was in the paragraph.
- Follow the above step for every paragraph
- After you're through with the passage, summarize the paragraph in your mind.
- Now when you move to questions, you will already know most of the answers. If not, quickly revisit the passage.

10) Sentence Correction
- Manhattan sentence correction will give you all tools to crack this code.

11) Problem Solving
- This should be easy for everyone with a good handle on quant.
- Did not do much for it.

12) Data Sufficiency
- Be extra careful and learn from the mistakes you made during the practice CATs.



TEST TAKING STRATEGIES

- Do not look at the timer after every other question. Believe me you will save a lot of time.
- Take as many CATs as possible to develop exam temperament and between 2 tests work on the weak areas you have identified.
- Take the optional breaks. Drink Gatorade for energy.
- If you screw up in Quant, don't carry it into verbal. You can always make up for it.
- If a question takes too long, make an educated guess and move on. Seriously it won't affect your score much. Not completing the exam however will result in severe penalty.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE EXAM

- I took the GMATprep CATs and got 750 and 730.
- Went over the OG problems I got wrong in the past.
- Went to see the exam centre.

DAY BEFORE THE EXAM
- Did not touch any book or attempt any new question.
- Just browsed through my notes.
- Took deep breaths, meditated and stayed calm
- Convinced myself that I would take GMAT prep 3, not the actual GMAT.

ON THE DAY OF THE EXAM
- Reach the exam center ahead of time
- Stay calm
- During the breaks go to the restroom and throw some punches in the air.
- I had a "I can't believe it" look on my face when I saw the score, and you can have the same.
Last edited by gmat_ak on Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by DanaJ » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:01 pm
Thanks, gmat_ak, loved the detailed post! Congrats on getting a 760! Hope your dreams of going to a top US business school come true!

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by gmat_ak » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:27 pm
I owe this score to the experiences people have shared here. So naturally, I wanted to contribute something back to the community as a token of thanks !

I read the experiences of many people with 760,770 on gmat several times during the course of my preparation and it did help me stay motivated.

Thanks again all the invisible contributors :)

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by del@btg » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:50 am
Congrats gmat_ak.

You have mentioned that 1 hr. and 30 min. is alloted for quant section.
Please edit as the alloted time for quant sec. is same as the time alloted for verbal section i.e. 1 hr and 15 min.It might confuse newbies who are still exploring GMAT.
I am nothing without the elixir of movement;I just don't know how to be still!!

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by gmat_ak » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:03 am
Ahh my bad. Thanks for pointing it out.
Fixing it now.

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by cyooner » Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:16 am
@gmat_ak, can you please elaborate on what other type of material was on your excel spreadsheet of the "basics" for Quant? I'm trying to do the same to perfect my math fundamentals, and I'm finding that my sheet is just getting bigger and bigger. What are a few of the items you had on there and reviewed everyday? Thanks in advance!!

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by gmat_ak » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:46 am
Hello cyooner,

For quant I maintained a notes register and did few things with it
1) Wrote down for different chapters mentioned in the OG, all the formulas and equations provided by the GMAC in OG.
2) When analyzing questions I got wrong , often I found new formula/tricks in the OG solutions as well as in the MGMAT's CAT analysis section. I updated the list of formulae.
3) Concepts which were not extremely clear to me, I googled and updated my notes ( ex for probability ).

That is really all I did for quant theory. You could always borrow material from a friend and update it with what is not already there ( I did that too ). Now the revision part is a good question. For this I maintained a sheet on my wall. which looked like this

S.No | Chapter | Theory | OG questions | OG question Review | Theory Review 1| Theory Review 2
1 |Probability | Y | Y | Y | Y |


I did this for verbal chapters of MGMAT SC and powerscore CR bible as well. This should take care of that question everyday we have in the morning. What should I do today ? Just pick any cell which needs to be updated with Y , go through related theory and move to OG questions. Day before the actual GMAT when you see Y in all the cells, it takes care of anxiety and you feel as if you have really given it your best.

Are you already doing it ?

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by sbharath » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:06 am
Hi,

Thanks for all the details you had provided. It's really inspiring. Like you, I have just started my GMAT preparation without any coaching classes. Please advice me on the following:

1) I am just planning to use the books that you has mentioned; are they enough? ( I firmly believe in using a few value adding books, than reading lots of books. That's why this question.)

2) I want to first get a good grasp on the fundamentals and concepts on both quant & verbal - which book should I start with first?

3) I saw in the list books that you had mentioned - that there was no particular reference book that you had used for quant/maths. Please suggest, which book should I use for quant/maths.

4) Finally I am planning to take up the test during the last 2 weeks of May 2012. Is this a good time frame to prepare( 2.5-3months).

I look forward for you advice and guidance..thanks a lot.

Best Regards,
Bharath S

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by gmat_ak » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:27 pm
sbharath wrote:
1) I am just planning to use the books that you has mentioned; are they enough? ( I firmly believe in using a few value adding books, than reading lots of books. That's why this question.)

2) I want to first get a good grasp on the fundamentals and concepts on both quant & verbal - which book should I start with first?

3) I saw in the list books that you had mentioned - that there was no particular reference book that you had used for quant/maths. Please suggest, which book should I use for quant/maths.

4) Finally I am planning to take up the test during the last 2 weeks of May 2012. Is this a good time frame to prepare( 2.5-3months).
Hello Bharath,

1) I spent a lot of time online to find out the most recommended books - the gmat forums/amazon.com book reviews/flipkart book reviews and then zeroed onto the ones I mentioned. If you master these books, you shouldn't need anything else.

2) You can start with Sentence Correction and move to Powerscore CR bible after that. Practice OG simultaneously. That is what I did.

3) I didn't refer to any material other than OG and google for quant ( as I mentioned in a previous post on this thread ). It was probably the reason I scored 50 when I was so confident I could easily get 51. Really did not come across a highly recommended GMAT level book. If you end up finding one, let me know as well :)

4) I think this much time is sufficient if you can create a plan and sincerely follow it.

Let me know if you have more questions.

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by sbharath » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:08 pm
Hi Ak,

Many thanks for your guidance.

1 question :

1) When I was checking for the self study books : I came across 2 books namely " Total GMAT Math " and " Total GMAT Verbal ". Both books are by Jeff Sackmann.

It's written that if you need to prepare for GMAT with just one solid resource( for verbal & quant) - this is the best.

Do have any opinion on these 2 books? .

Especially if a single book could help - I would love to refer and take a deep dive into it rather than referring many books.

Please let me know, if I they would add value in my self study preparation : my main objective is get a strong hold on fundamentals & concepts and practice as many questions( to analyze my weakness). They use the same resource to further strengthen my weak areas.

Many thanks for your help and guidance.

Best Regards,
Bharath S

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by gmat_ak » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:02 pm
Bharath,

I really do not know anything about the books you have mentioned. If you like them, try finding what people have to say about them on this forum. That should give you good pointers.

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by sbharath » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:35 am
Hi AK,

After taking your inputs and doing some googling, I decided not to join any GMAT coaching classes; but to study on my own. I have ordered the following books:

GMAT OG 12th Edition and Manhattan GMAT Set of 8 Strategy Guides(4th Edition)-contains 8 study guides numbered from 1 to 8.

Can you please guide me on the following:

1) What should be my study sequence - I mean from which book should I start to gain a solid hold on the basics and foundations.

2) I see that the Manhattan GMAT set has 8 guides that are numbered 1 to 8 ( starting with quant and ending with verbal).

Guide 1 : Number Properties
Guide 2 : Fractions, Decimals and Percents
Guide 3 : Equations, Inequalities
Guide 4 : Word Translations
Guide 5 : Geometry
Guide 6 : Critical Reasoning
Guide 7 : Reading Comprehension
Guide 8 : Sentence Correction

3) Can I apply the same sequence ( starting with Guide # 1 and ending with Guide # 8) towards the study pattern? Is it the correct way to study?

My main concern is with this study pattern - I might focus on the verbal at the last(since Guide 6 to 8 covers verbal part)

4) Or should I start with first quant book, then first verbal book and then again 2nd quant book,..2nd verbal book,.........so on.

Will this study pattern help = Just to ensure that I give equal importance to both quant and verbal.

Please let me know.

Looking forward for your guidance and valuable inputs.

Kind Regards,
Bharath S

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by gmat_ak » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:40 pm
I am attaching the study notes I prepared for myself from Manhattan Sentence Correction. I hope they are as helpful to you as they were to me at the time of revision, right before a mock exam.
Attachments
Manhattan SC Notes.pdf
(82.65 KiB) Downloaded 196 times

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by shreerajp99 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:04 pm
Wow,im really impressed by your notes.Also,i like ur idea of keeping an excel that will show how many chapters have been done.U have stated that u practiced simultaneously from OG once u were done with a particular chapter.Did u get reference that so and so chapter(say assumption) questions are question nos say 5,10,15 from the Manhattan book or is there any other source?
Also,did u take practice test after u were done with the complete theory in these chapters or mid way?

Thanks,
Shreeraj