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## I beat the GMAT; if I can do it, you can to! Q49 V36: 710

awoldmoe Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
12 Aug 2016
Posted:
7 messages
1
GMAT Score:
710

#### I beat the GMAT; if I can do it, you can to! Q49 V36: 710

Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:43 am
Introduction:
I don't even know where to start with this post. My GMAT journey started 2 years ago; I was a senior in college. For background, I am a caucasian male that studied at a top 50 university, in business, in the United States. To be honest, I took school very lightly until college as I was trying to fulfill my dream of being a professional athlete. With that said, I could have studied a lot more in high school, but was too busy chasing athletic dreams and girls... I am by no means a genius. However, I can tell you that I am a hard worker and am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I remember being on these forums hoping to come across motivational and inspirational stories every now and then, especially when I found myself tired of the GMAT grind. If that is you: this post is for you.

Anyways, back to my GMAT journey that started 2 years ago during my senior year. At the time, it was my second semester and I was only enrolled in 9 credit hours. Although I played a Division I college sport, going from 15+ credit hours a semester to 9 credit hours gave me a lot more "free-time". As a side note, my main motivation for studying the GMAT during my senior year was the result of the job offer I had received after interning at a fortune 500 company, in finance. A part of the company's development program for financial analysts is that after 4-5 years of work, the company sponsors a select few analysts to go back to B-school full-time (top 15 programs only). Once I accepted the job offer I figured that I might as well take the GMAT and get it out of the way with all of my free-time, knowing that I could retain my GMAT score for up to 5 years. I knew that I had to score over a 700, but didn't know if it would be hard or easy.

GMAT Test #1:

As soon as my Manhattan Prep Books came, I decided to devote around 1-2 hours every weekday studying for the GMAT. To be honest, for the first month or two, I solely went through the Manhattan Books and tried to take a practice exam every couple of weeks. I remember after a few weeks of studying I took my first Manhattan CAT and scored a 520 (Q31 V30). I slowly progressed, especially my Quant score as I continued to go through the Manhattan material: 520, 540, 580, 620. By the time I had hit the 620 mark, I had studied from the middle of January 2015 to around the middle of March 2015. At that point, it was around Spring Break season and my team and I ended up going on a week-long trip to compete down in Florida and when I got back, I remember being swamped with my college sport and my three classes I was taking at the time. I tried to study a little bit every week, but my goal was to maintain my 620 level until graduation in May 2015. I knew that my time to shine and grind my studies was going to be from the time I graduated college to the time I started my job, which gave me three months.

The next thing I knew, I was at the test center ready to take my exam. However, there is one thing. The exam center was having issues setting up the exam for me. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting, and after two hours, they told me I was going to have to schedule another date. This was terrible news as I had strategically scheduled the exam two weeks before I was going to start my first job in Corporate America. I immediately went home to sign up for a new date; the next available appointment I could take was 3 weeks later on a Saturday morning. I decided that I wasn't going to let it phase me. Even though it was going to be after my first week of work, I figured another three weeks of studying (after work) wouldn't be so bad. Boy was I wrong. I was exhausted after that first week of work. I was learning so much, trying to make great impressions, getting in early every morning, leaving late every night, etc. etc. The next thing I knew, it was Exam Day. I still felt optimistic about my chances, I had been able to study during those three weeks; however, I found myself wanting the GMAT grind to be over; I was becoming burned out.

I remember the GMAT Exam was going well. I felt like I had done a solid job on Quant and felt like Verbal went well, too. I pressed "submit" at the end of the exam and my score popped up on my screen: Q47 V35: 680. At that point in time, I went out to my car and basically cried, meaning I didn't cry, but I was devastated. So much hard work and I fell 20 points short of my goal. Not only did I fall 20 points short of my goal, but I knew had I taken the exam three weeks earlier, when I was truly scheduled to take the exam, I would have crossed over the 700 threshold. I was devastated. Work was starting to pick up, I was burned out, and I decided that it was time to close the books. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to take the exam again.

GMAT Test #2:
One week later, I decided I was going to give it another shot. I thought to myself, "if you can study for two hours a night after work for the next couple of weeks, you can score a 700+." So that's what I did. I studied every night after work for a couple of hours and grinded out a few long weekends. It was at this point when GMAC changed the timing of retakes to 16 days instead of a full month. I decided I was going to study for three weeks and retake the GMAT exam. Life Lesson: don't ever try to pursue something when you are in a burned-out state. I just wanted the grind to be over, and lost my love for learning. The first go-around, I actually really enjoyed learning and feeling like I was chasing after something. Throughout the three weeks I studied before my GMAT Test #2, it felt like a hell. The result, I can't even tell you the score breakdown. I cancelled my score so fast that I barely had time to blink: I believe it was a Q44 V32: 640. I went out to my car, screamed a few times, and told myself I would NEVER take the GMAT again. At the time, I hoped that a 680 could get me into a top 15 program. I knew it was going to be a long shot, but my boss had gotten into HBS with a 680. I was a Division I athlete, 3.8 GPA, worked for a fortune 500 company... I was just going to take my chances with a 680 and leave it at that.

GMAT Test #3:

GMAT Test #4:
By this point, you probably think I am crazy. A fourth attempt? Is this guy serious? Yes. My GMAT attempt #4 may be the craziest of them all. In April of 2016, I had received news that I was being offered a new position, for the same company, out in the northeast. Work was going extremely well for me. This was an awesome opportunity that I did not want to turn down; therefore, I didn't turn it down. The only problem was that I was leaving all of my family and friends and was moving to a place where I knew absolutely nobody. I had this idea that came across my mind: what if I gave it one last GMAT attempt? I didn't know anyone out there, and wouldn't have any distractions. I could study as hard as I wanted for as long as I wanted until I scored a 700+. It sounded like an awesome idea... and so it happened. I worked everyday from 8am to 5pm, worked out and ate dinner, and studied every night from 8pm to 11pm. I decided to go through all of my Manhattan Prep books again, and it was time to go through the Official Guide from front to back cover. In one month, I finished all of the Manhattan Prep Books and finished the entire Official Guide. Additionally, I had purchased the Critical Reasoning Bible (highly recommend) and cranked through that as well. My only issue at this time was that I didn't have any great practice tests. I had used all of the Manhattan CATs and my free GMAC CATs as well. I decided to try the Veritas Free CAT exam, which I heard was extremely hard. After going through all of the material again, I scored a Q47 V37: 670 on the Veritas CAT. I felt pretty good about that score, as people within the GMAT Club were sharing experiences of 50+ point discrepancies between the Veritas CATs and the real GMAT. This is where the story gets crazy. I scored the 670 on the practice CAT on a Saturday morning and the following weekend I was going to be back home for 10 days for vacation. The last thing I wanted to do was have to study while I was with my family, so I had this crazy idea of trying to take my fourth attempt before I went back home that next weekend. I knew it was a long-shot, but I thought it was worth another $250 to see if I could get a 700+ that way I could close the books and spend quality time back home. I went to sign up for an exam the following Monday, just to see if there were any available appointments. There was one available appointment on Tuesday morning at 8am; it was less than 18 hours away from the time I had signed up for the exam. I decided what the heck, if I don't get the 700+, I will continue to study when I get back from vacation. I called my boss the next morning and told her I wasn't feeling well... the things you do for the GMAT. I remember going into my fourth attempt feeling stress-free. I told myself that I didn't have any pressure... I didn't EXPECT to get a 700+. How could I? I had only been studying for a month and my practice CAT a few days before was a 670. In my mind, I was playing with house money. I was just treating the exam as a practice test to try to get a gauge at where I really was... oh the beauty of being able to cancel test scores. Keep in mind, if GMAC still had the old rules before being able to cancel the test AFTER seeing your test scores, I would not have made the decisions that I did. Anyways, I remember the test starting out really well. After the first 7-8 Quant questions, I felt like I had honestly gotten all of them right. The next thing I knew, I pressed submit and saw my score pop up on my screen: Q49 V36: 710. Months later after the exam day and it still feels great to type that out on the screen in front of me. I walked out of the exam room, went out to my car (the same car I had for my first three GMAT attempts) and just let out the biggest smile and happy scream. Finally, I had conquered the GMAT. Summary: It took me$1,000 and four attempts later to cross over the 700 mark (plus some book fees). To this day, I think I would have gotten a 700+ on my first attempt, had it not been for the exam difficulties that ended up pushing my second attempt three weeks later. Despite all of the attempts, frustration, failures, etc. it was totally worth it. Seeing that 710 on the screen after all of that hard work was one of the greatest feelings ever. To those of you who find yourselves in similar situations, keep pushing, keep grinding! If I can do it, anyone can.

M7 programs here I come. I hope you enjoyed my story.

- Future MBA Prospect

### GMAT/MBA Expert

ceilidh.erickson GMAT Instructor
Joined
04 Dec 2012
Posted:
1843 messages
Followed by:
233 members
1443
Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:45 am
Congratulations! I'm so glad that your hard work paid off. You story is a testament to how much dedication it really takes to do well on this test. I hear too many students saying that they're dismayed at not seeing results after 2 months of study. It takes way longer than that to build expertise!

I'm certainly glad that you got a lot of value out of the Manhattan Prep books! But I also agree with your assessment that you might have gotten there faster with different circumstances.

- Take the pressure off of yourself! (Deadlines notwithstanding). You can always take the test multiple times, so never tell yourself "I HAVE to get my target score today!"

- don't just re-read strategy guides to study. Make sure you're also tracking your mistakes, and working in targeted ways on areas of weakness. The Mprep blog has great advice on how to do that: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/2013/01/18/the-worst-mistake-you-can-make-in-gmat-studying/

- Integrate OG problems into your study. Don't try to "finish" the guides first. It helps to read the content, then practice real questions that relate to that content.

Congrats again!

_________________

Ceilidh Erickson
Manhattan Prep GMAT & GRE instructor
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education

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insane9621 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
15 Aug 2017
Posted:
1 messages
Target GMAT Score:
700
Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:54 am

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