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I Just Rocked It!!! 540 to 720 in 2 Months

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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I Just Rocked It!!! 540 to 720 in 2 Months

by MartiniR » Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:35 am
Firstly, thanks to the Beat the GMAT Forum! The info I gathered here helped immeasurably.

Also, I want to thank Brent at GMAT Prep Now, Rich at Empower GMAT and NYC Guru. Your commitment to this forum is incredible. Thanks for your great advice and explanations.

What it took: I studied my butt off. My girlfriend would easily say I've been obsessed with the GMAT, and I'd say I was even bitter at times. I even posted a rant suggesting that GMAT quant was broken: ).

Here's what I used and what I did, if you're interested:

Books/Software:

Veritas Sentence Correction - Very useful breakdown of the SC rules
Veritas Combinatorics - These questions drove me nuts, and this book helped take the scare away
Manhattan GMAT Advanced GMAT Quant - This helped me learn to deal with beastly quant questions. I used many of the questions to practice Triage on.
mba.com GMAT Prep Software - 4 Official CATs and 404 Practice Questions - Lots of in format official practice questions
GMAT Official Guide 13th Edition - Ordered off Amazon. Great range of official questions to practice the tactics on. The explanations are really not very helpful though. The Beat the GMAT forum and the course were very helpful though

Course:

EMPOWERgmat - I followed the 2 month Study Plan - The course is comprehensive. Triage was incredibly helpful right out of the gate, and the lessons were clear and easy to digest.

Study Plan:

6 Days a Week - Following the various stages of the plan
Weekday Goal: 2 Hours a Day, sometimes just 30 minutes (I'd rather that than nothing)
Weekend Goal: 5 Hours a day

Philosophy:

Full Domination - In short, complete understanding of the concept/goal of each question type. I determined to try to be an expert with each question type on the GMAT and their various sub-types.

Willingness to Self Scrutinize & Change - The hardest thing about studying for the GMAT is constantly being able to admit that I'm doing something wrong, and to actually change it. Its the change part that's the hardest. We easily can fall into habits, but on the GMAT don't. Be flexible and constantly willing to adapt.

For example, with Critical Reasoning, I didn't like the feeling of "sort of getting it". I wanted to know the exact difference between say an Assumption question and an Inference question. I learned an Assumption question asks you for some piece of information the argument depends on for it to work; whereas, Inference questions ask you to find an answer that can be factually guaranteed by the information given. Seriously, the questions seem SO much easier if you deeply get exactly what the questions are asking for. You get to a point where most of the wrong answers are completely ridiculous.
Practice CATs

I took the initial test and got a 540 (31V, 33Q). I didn't take another CAT for a couple of weeks while I started to build confidence in the tactics in the course. Then I took tests about once a week after that, but by far, the most important part of the CAT is going through the wrong answer analysis. There's usually some tactical mistake when you get a question wrong. I decided to invest the time determining how I was messing up a question, and to obsess as to what I could actually do differently if I had the chance again. Most of the time, it just came down to actually pay attention to 1) the information given, and 2) exactly what the question asked for.

After going through that cycle a couple of times, I felt ready, and...I just rocked a 720, the 94 percentile (49Q, 40V). I can't even tell you how pumped I felt when I saw that score on my screen. My favorite part was when the clerk at the center took a glance at the score and gave me that little look, like "nice job".

I am SOOO looking forward to this weekend! I can finally get my mind off the GMAT.

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by red217 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:17 pm
Congrats!!

i just enrolled into empower gmats prep course and you are so right on that. it is one of the most comprehensive and easy to digest courses.
For the first time, i am really looking forward to studying the different stages.

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by SoBeMBA » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:51 pm
Congrats on a great score!

I am also using Empower GMAT. When I first signed up I didn't see too many reviews on them, so it is nice to see that people are having success using their methods. I have tried trial versions of other online courses, and I really like the format of Empower. I am using the course in addition to an older version of the MGMAT guides to solidify the basics. I still have 3 months to study so I hopefully I will be posting my success story here as well.

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by sanjayg1007 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:23 pm
many-many Congratulations !, that's a great score.
-Sanjay

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by se_abhi » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:55 am
Great .. effort.

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GMAT Score:620

by Ziptac » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:08 am
I love stories like this as they illustrate the mental challenge of getting through this test. Nice score. Update us later on who admitted you!