GMAT Experience (520-740 in 4 months-->Most progress with TTP)

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TL&DR 520-->740 in 4 months, with TTP for the last 2 months. Yes, worth it, etc etc. Just do it.

I started studying with the OG practice questions, Kaplan 800, and online tips and tricks and got an "okay" score (640/Q39/V39 ) in September. I know PT is less competitive, but I have an abysmal GPA, and I was explicitly told that I would not be considered for top programs unless I was able to hit 700. So that's why I couldn't stop there.

I was getting killed by quant, so I purchased the Manhattan Prep Materials as well as got a copy of the GMAT bible from a friend and finished all of them before my next test in October (650/Q37/V42). Yikes, right??

Cue the existential crisis and trying to figure out how to really improve my quant score. I didn't have time or 3k for a full on prep course. I know error tracking is key for identifying weak subjects and overall improvement, but what I didn't have was time. It took several hours to even put together my first error tracking spreadsheet, time that could be spent reviewing material. I saw that TTP had a flexible monthly payment option and started the course on October 25th.

TTP was a game changer. Not only is it worth paying for someone else to keep track of your errors, but also the asynchronous "do it on your own time" style of review available was great for me, because I have a full time job and little time to study during normal hours. They do a great job of using the same style of word problems and question formulation as the OG material (which I reviewed in its entirety after completing most of the TTP course, 2 weeks before my final exam). What made the biggest difference was slowing down and giving myself the time to watch the video explanations of the medium/hard questions, EVEN if I got them correct, because having that extra audio explanation really cemented the hard concepts, and sometimes I could learn a faster way to answer the question that I hadn't considered earlier.

It's a shame that their verbal prep, which is still in beta, is not yet complete. The videos ARE KEY to understanding SC and CR. It was just hilarious how awful he made the wrong answers in SC sound when he read them out loud (and they just seem so much more obvious that way) and I actually looked forward to SC on my practice and official exams. I had to muffle a giggle or two during the final exam as I was reading them in his voice in my own head. The CR review was hands down instrumental to my improvement. On my final practice test I didn't get a single one incorrect, and 85% of the hard OG practice questions. Getting through the CR first helped improve my performance on RC, especially the inference questions. I used no extra material to prep for RC besides the small sections in the Kaplan 800, Foundations of Verbal, and reading through the OG practice questions.

I maybe would have broken that 700 in November (670/Q40/V42), but I was dealing with a death in the family that month, and the SF site moved to a different location WITH THE SAME DAMN STREET NUMBER, and I had to run 20 blocks to make it to the exam on time. I did arrive on time but then had to stave off a panic attack in the bathroom. So...not an optimal test day for me.

December was spent studying and avoiding COVID, because, god forbid I have to cancel my last exam because I'm quarantined. I had a week off before the final exam (studying on Christmas) and was able to fully focus on reviewing TTP material, as well as practicing all the OG questions to get used to the format (the hard OG geometry, stats, and probability is a worded a little bit trickier than TTP.)

Outside of review and prep, it is very important to overcome any mental obstacles you have about the test. I typically do well under stress, so the GMAT was my first experience really struggling with test day anxiety and the pressure to get a 700. Making sure that I took the last 3 practice exams in their entirety during this last month of prep helped me overcome this. I also changed the order that I took the test sections. I was told that you should do the hardest section first so that you aren't fatigued, but in December, switching over to AWA/IR/QUANT/VERBAL helped me warm up a bit and get into the right mental state before tackling the Quant section. I took all my practice tests at the same time as my final test, and I also made sure to schedule my final exam in the same location that I have been before so that the stress of being lost would not be a factor on test day. Also, no caffeine after 12 pm, as during practice I was noticing that it was causing sloppy mistakes.

Final official score was 740/Q48/V44/AWA 6/IR 8

Moral of the story: reviewing material is important, but getting over your own mental obstacles might be just what you need to get you over that hump!

If I can do it, you can too!!!

Below is a table with my Official and Practice Exam scores (all OG) to illustrate my progression. Happy to answer any additional questions.

Practice (07Aug) 520/Q27/V34/IR5 Study materials: blinded exam
Practice (12Sept) 630/Q36/V40IR5 Study materials: Kaplan 800, OG questions
Official (25Sept) 640/Q39/V39/IR8
Official (16Oct) 650/Q37/V42/IR6 Study materials: Manhattan prep: foundations of math, foundations of verbal, all of the quant, GMAT Bible
Practice (17Nov) 640/Q39/V40/IR8 Study materials: TTP
Official (25Nov) 670 /Q40/V42/IR8 Study materials: TTP
Practice (08Dec) 720/Q48/V41/IR8 Study materials: TTP
Practice (16Dec) 710/Q45/V41/IR7 Study materials: TTP
Practice (28Dec) 720/Q49/V39/IR8 Study materials: TTP
Official (30Dec) 740/Q48/V44/IR8 Study materials: TTP

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HI sashparttimeapp,

Amazing job!!! Thank you so much for sharing and good luck with things moving forward.

Scott Woodbury-Stewart
Founder and CEO
[email protected]

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