I've just got 710. This is a 70-point improvement :)

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.
This topic has expert replies
Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Posts: 3
Joined: 23 Jul 2017
Thanked: 1 times
GMAT Score:710
Hello everyone,
I've just taken GMAT Test in July 20 and got 710. This is a 70-point improvement in my GMAT journey and I don't know how to express my feeling now. I just remember that I was smiling all the way home from test center :-)

Background information (education, employment, etc.)

I studied International Business Economics and graduated in April 2016. Spending 1 year in a foreign Chamber of Commerce in my country, I felt thankful for the opportunity to join business seminars and networking events, which helped enhance my interpersonal skills, but I chose not to stay there in the long run. I want to pursue tertiary education abroad, a critical step that, I believe, will open the door to a brighter future career. That is why I tried a lot to keep self-study simultaneously during that 1 year. After scoring 7.5 on IELTS test, I started to learn the basics of GMAT...

Test scores (both in practice and in real exam)

I will detail my test scores in a chronological order
GMAT Prep Exam 1: 640
GMAT Prep Exam 2: 680

Honestly, before the first real test, I was not frequent on GMAT Club, I didn't have an account and was advised to visit the forum by my friend just a few weeks before the test. My main sources of study is OG 2016, OG Verbal 2016, and Collection of GMAT Prep Verbal questions. As lots of successful test takers highly recommended on the Internet, I read a few "famous" books, such as Manhattan SC, Bible Power Score CR, and GMAT Club Math Book. Actually, I admit that I could not totally focus on studying while working. Especially, when it comes to the end of year, tons of work and several events continuously made me busy and required me to come home quite late when I was totally exhausted and didn't feel like studying at all. Coming back home in Lunar New Year, I hoped I could spend more time studying but I couldn't. Buying new clothes, visiting old teachers, and hanging out with friends kept me away from "academic time". In the last week before real exam, I could absolutely devote all day long for study. In that intense study time, I reviewed verbal questions in OG 2016 and practiced some quant questions on GMAT Club. I felt confident of the incoming real test. Believe me, I even chit chat with my friend late the night before and was not trembling in testing room, a strange behavior I would not show whenever it came to an important final test in university.

GMAT Exam 1: 640 (Feb 27, 2017)

You know what, I ran out of time in the last minutes of Verbal part and could not submit answer to the last question. I was so tired at those very last minutes... I felt depressed, and reallyyyy disappointed with myself. I didn't blame my failure entirely on limited study time, because I know some high scorers who could manage to work and study at the same time. Nevertheless, there is a fact that I am not a multitasking person or an innate prodigy, but rather a diligent student. I realized that in high school and university, the more I concentrated on a subject, the higher marks I obtained for its exams. More to the point, I just have a strong belief that time could gradually reduce absorbing ability of my brain, and a blank mind before the first attempt might be an evidence for an "old student" who left schools for a while. As in high school time, I need to come back to intense study to keep a conscious mind and "motivational anxiety" for the test day. Therefore, I decided to spend 2 months for in-depth studying.
1 month passed and I just felt overwhelmed. I did try the free test of The Economist, waited for "special days" of GMAT Club to take CAT Test. I practiced a lot but did not feel improvement. I thought that I need a course/ class or something like that where I could learn standard lessons and build solid strategy. Surfing on the Internet and taking a look at Review on GMAT Club, I shortlisted into 2 choices. Approaching via email, I am impressed by both, but considering more thoroughly, I thought I had my own choice...
April came silently, my friends were still busy with their work, and I was still lost... lost in studying... and lost in this bustling city... I thought about coming back to my hometown. Worship for my uncle would happen for a few days, this would definitely be a special occasion to gather family members. I miss such family unite. I book a ticket to come back home. �
May is a crazy month to me and to...... my friends. I imagined that I could spend all time studying at home but again, I couldn't. A colleague at previous employer called and told me she would visit my hometown. She asked whether I could guide her... You may know my answer, of course Yes. One week later, a friend messaged to inform me that she and her mother would visit my hometown before she study abroad... Okay, let me be your tour guide... Then, I received a call from another friend, who had just quitted a big MNC... a vulnerable soul... no wonder why she chose my peaceful hometown as a destination.
As you may see, distraction prevented from studying as much as possible. But then, I has been building a habit of productive learning. I did not spend 10 hours per day and repeat that exactly 7 days per week, but I concentrated and made the most of that study time. Here came the first prep CAT after I came home...

GMAT Prep Exam 3: 760

Frankly speaking, this score was quite unreliable, since I got some questions I used to face on GMAT Club. But looking on bright side, I treat it as a motivating factor � I continue to read books, and practice. Whenever getting stuck on a question, I looked for explanation from Ron Manhattan and/or GMAT Club.
In the second half of May, I register for 1-month course of EmpowerGMAT. The very first lesson is SC... impressive... One of the best part might be that I was required to practice OG questions, then got explanation from Max and Rich... very detailed and aligned with strategies they built. Another bonus point is that its consultant was very supportive, almost answering your questions immediately regarding both technical and academic problems.

GMAT MCAT 1: 680

My thoughts on this test: RC passages were quite long and most of them focused on technical topics. Quant was pretty hard. I would call it a new level compared to Quant of GMAT Prep. Interesting and worth trying.
One tip for self-study from Empower GMAT: studying each 75 minutes, and taking 5 minutes for a break. I strictly followed this routine. As sharing above, I ran out of time in the first real exam, so building stamina is a live saver.
I also built the habit of taking notes for both CR and RC.

GMAT Prep Exam 4: 720

This was a more reliable score, since I nearly got no repeated question. I was glad that I finished Verbal session without guessing more than 2 questions. One reason might come from lesson of categorizing answer choices delivered by Max. After that lesson, I could quickly cross off 3 definitely wrong choices and more confidently choose the answer without confusing when I was asked Why. Also, I was quite proactive on GMAT Forum at that time, practicing OG questions and commenting to help solve other test takers' concerns. I received some compliments from expert GMATNinja. I was so proud of that. Thank you, GMATNinja, for motivating me �
Another positive signal was that I submitted the last Quant question with about 15 minutes left. I used to think that I don't need to study Quant, because my Q score was pretty cool already. However, applying 2 methods (Test It and Test The Answer) of Rich, I could finish the Quant session much faster and my accuracy level stayed the same. This would absolutely help boost my confidence a lot before facing Verbal challenges in test day.
New policy was announced. We could choose test order as we want yeahhhhhh. Another good news is discounted test from Manhattan. I grabbed that chance and immediately tried new setting.

Most of us may choose take IR and AWA at the end, but the question left is which part, Quant or Verbal, we should attempt first?!!
GMAT MCAT 2 (Q-V): 680
GMAT MCAT 3 (V-Q): 690
GMAT MCAT 4 (Q-V): 670

The figures may show that beginning with Verbal would help I score higher, but I didn't believe so. Let me explain why. MCAT Quant is very hard, and I've never finished MCAT Quant without guessing. I kept that anxiety during and after Quant session. That would more or less affect my Verbal performance. That's why trying Quant first is a bad move in MCAT. But when it comes to real test, it would be another story. I used to take GMAT test, so I know the level of real Quant questions. I predicted that my quant score in the 2nd attempt would be quite the same as that in the 1st and in Prep tests. I even increased speed of solving Quant questions. Therefore, positive feelings after Quant test would, I guess, help enhance my confidence before moving on the real battle - Verbal.

GMAT Exam 2: 710 (Jul 20, 2017)

Two days before the test, I bought a Red Bull and tried it again since.. like.. 3 years ago. Here another advice, let's try taking beverage you would drink in test day regularly. I don't know why but I felt a little uncomfortable when trying that Red Bull.. just thought that this is a common reaction of those who drink such energy drink..
Driving to test center at night to make sure I remembered the routes, I came back home and went to bed at almost 12 o'clock. Don't get me wrong, I don't suggest you sleep late like me. I'm just kind of a "nocturnal creature" and I would not fall asleep until that late even if I go to bed earlier.
I took the test in morning, the period of day I felt conscious the most. Quant came first as planned. 10 questions remained and I got 35 minutes left. I did not rush at all. Right at that moment, I got a tough question. I decided to "waste some minutes" at this crazy one. 6 minutes passed. Still could not work out... It's high time for Triage! Move on! Somewhere in the last 10 question, there was another hard one, but this time, I solved it within 2 minutes and was confident with my answer.
Time for break. I came out of testing room, drank a little Red Bull and headed for WC. Washing my face, I looked at the mirror and told my self - I'm ready for the most important part!
Verbal part began. The first question is SC.... 2 tempting remaining choices. The 2nd question is CR... quite hard. The part I was afraid of the most, Reading Comprehension, was not difficult. I could pass RC questions quite smoothly. But the hardest came from SC and CR. I got some 3-5 hard ones along the way. 74 minutes left. I finished. No guessing.
In the 2nd break, I repeated my actions as in the first one... even faster... and did not know why when I came back to sitting, more than 1 minute of IR had passed. (I just remembered that when I came back from WC, instructor told me to hurry up because my session had begun @[email protected]).
Some seconds after I finished AWA, my score appeared on the screen, 710 :) This is a 70-point improvement since my first test. I achieve my target!

Books & materials used

- Both Verbal and Quant:
+ To practice: OG 16, OG Verbal 16, OG 17, and GMAT Prep
+ To discuss and find answers for my questions: Manhattan forum, GMAT Club forum, and Beat the GMAT forum.
- Sentence Correction:
+ To learn basic principles: Manhattan Book
+ Practice questions: A hundred 700+ SC questions, 25 hardest SC (posted by bb)
- Critical Reasoning:
+ To learn basic principles: Bible PowerScore Book
+ Some helpful contents from e-GMAT: https://gmatclub.com/forum/list-of-free ... 56073.html
+ Practice questions: 25 hardest CR (posted by bb)
- Reading Comprehension:
+ To learn basic principles: Veritas Prep GMAT Book
+ Practice questions: 63 RC Passages (just search on GMAT Club and you're gonna see it), 25 hardest RC (posted by bb)

+ To learn basic principles: GMAT Club Math Book, GMAT Math Bible Book

One last words: I know there are a lotttt test takers out there who tried and did not reach their target scores. I used to that one and I know that bitter feeling. I may not give you the best advices, but just an encouraging saying: Try harder and harder. You know that you can do thattttt!!

Should you guys have any questions, just feel free to drop a comment below. Besides, I am happy to know if you read my sharing. Thank you �


User avatar
Elite Legendary Member
Posts: 10347
Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Thanked: 2867 times
Followed by:508 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:50 am
Hi LucyP,

That's OUTSTANDING news! A 710 is an outstanding score (it's right around the 90th percentile overall), so you can comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. Have you thought about which Programs you want to apply to? If you're interested, we have a 'go-to' Admissions Expert who we recommend for anyone who's planning to apply to any highly-competitive Programs - and as an EMPOWERgmat Alum, we can set you up with a free consultation. Just let any of the Team know and we'll help set it up.

Congrats again on all of your success so far!

Another GMAT Assassin has been made!
Contact Rich at [email protected]