How I Got a 710 on My First Try:

by on June 16th, 2015

This is the guide I wrote after I got a 710 the first time. The GMAT journey is a hard one; but I believe I did a decent job of prepping for my first try.

I have updated this guide to be current, and will also share my plan on how I hope to get in the 99 percentile range.

So where ever you are at in your GMAT journey (whether you are thinking about it, just signed up, already studying, or planning on retaking) I hope this guide helps you conquer this ridiculous test.


  • 160 Hours
  • $500 (including the $250 for the test)
    • $100 for Magoosh
    • $50 for Manhattan CATs
    • $100 for used Manhattan Books
    • (I also already had the Official GMAT Study Guide from a friend)
    • (I would recommend purchasing the additional tests from GMAC as well)

The Result

  • GMAT: 710 (92%)
  • V38 (84%)
  • Q49 (81%)
  • AWA: 6.0 (91%)
  • IR: 7 (82%)


  • Graduated in 2009 with a BS in Accounting (3.7 GPA) from a state university
  • At the time I took the test, I had worked for the last 4 years as a finance analyst for a Fortune 50 manufacturing company

Journey to Breaking into the 700’s

  • 6/30 – Start basic studying
  • 7/14 – GMAT Practice Test 1: 620 (Q44,V31)
  • 7/21 – MGMAT Test 1: 660 (Q43,V37)
  • 7/28 – MGMAT Test 2: 660 (Q45,V37)
  • 8/04 – MGMAT Test 3: Quit early
  • 8/04 – MGMAT Test 4: 620 (Q43,V33)
  • 8/25 – GMAT Practice Test 1: 700 (Q45,V40)
  • 9/02 – MGMAT Test 5: 640 (Q44,V34)
  • 9/08 – GMAT Practice Test 2: 700 (Q47,V39)
  • 9/16 – GMAT: 710 (Q49,V38)

Resources Used (in order of importance)

  • Original GMAT Book (14th Edition)
  • GMATPrep Practice Tests & GMATPrep Question Pack 1
  • Magoosh Online GMAT Prep
  • Manhattan GMAT Test Bank
  • PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible (boosted my CR from 50% to 90%)
  • AWA Template
  • Kaplan 800
  • Manhattan Series

Study Schedule

  • Total time investment over 10 weeks: 160 hours*
  • (M-F) Woke up every day about 4:30AM and studied for one hour (1 hr morning)
  • (M-F) Came home for work and studied for another hour (1 hr evening)
  • (Sat) Studied for about 4-6 hours (until I would get burnt out) (4-6 hrs day)
  • (Sun) Took a practice test and then examined the results after (2-4 hrs day)


  • ABSOLUTELY have to keep track of WHEN and HOW MUCH you study. It will keep you on track.
  • Absolutely loved Magoosh as it laid a great foundation for the GMAT and the GMAT material
  • I only got familiar with the IR via Magoosh and practiced it for 4 hours max
  • I only wrote one essay the night before the GMAT using the template
  • I traveled a lot in the month of August (low study month)
  • Took only cold showers (how I was able to work 60 hours a week and study 20 hours a week); if motivation to study is holding you back check out this TED talk

What I would have changed

  • Error Log … if I had one I know I would have gotten a higher score
  • Spent too much time studying concepts and not enough time studying questions (with an error log)
  • Should have spent more time with my CATs
  • I truly believe that how I studied got me to the 700 club; however to get to the mid 700s, more emphasis needs to be put on the Manhattan Books and Kaplan 800

Ask me questions if you would like insight or help!


  • What a success! well done, 
    I hope I can get that score in 6 months up to one year of serious well organised preparation !  I am gonna use your method of preparation, but instead of taking one test of MGMAT per weak I am gonna take one each two weak. 

  • Great job! That's a great score. I too, am studying for the GMAT. This will be my second time studying. You said you would use an error log and practice questions if you could do it again. Which questions would you go through? And how would you maintain an error log and how often would you go through it?

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