My journey from 610 to 700 (V40) with EmpowerGMAT

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The short version is this:

-700+ scores are possible for anyone, but not everyone
-Choose study resources that work best for you: EmpowerGMAT for Americans and E-GMAT for international students
-Learn the material AND the test
-Don't overemphasize the importance of the GMAT
-Be kind to friends, family, and customer service representatives who are supporting you through your journey

Long version:

Manhattan GMAT (Rating - 2/10):
I started studying for this exam about nine months ago, but I wasn't serious about my preparation. I read through the Manhattan GMAT books...all of them. It was one thousand pages of torture. The books may have all of the content, but they do not do a good job of preparing you for the exam. These books took up about four months of my prep and got me a whopping 610. I found out how unprepared I was when I bought the Official Guide (OG) books and had tremendous difficulty working through even the easy problems.

Magoosh (Rating - 7/10):
I had to address the underlying issue: I didn't understand the material. Before you sign up for a program looking for a one month fix to your problems, realize that you must understand the math concepts and be fluent in AMERICAN English to succeed on this test. I was able to re-learn these topics through a very reasonable priced membership with Magoosh. They have a good interface to test you on the topics in a similar format to the GMAT and the team there has done a fantastic job creating both a large question bank and videos unique to each question to walk you through the interpretation of the question and elimination of the answers. They also have a very accurate tool that indicates how you will perform in each section. Magoosh is a great resource for questions outside of the OG books. My only complaint is that they have automated responses for a lot of your questions, both on the site and through customer service. The answers they give are thorough and helpful, but it feels like they don't treat you like a unique customer. You feel like a number.

EmpowerGMAT (Rating - 10/10):
I could talk for hours about how much this service helped me, but most of the reviews have already touched on the powerful math modules and "Attack the GMAT" approach. What I would like to highlight is the outstanding customer service and fantastic verbal modules. I'm not a good test taker. I can perform well under pressure, but this test is heavily weighted on performance. Throughout the course you will learn best practices for how to actually take the test, beyond learning the material. That being said, EmpowerGMAT will give you the knowledge and tools necessary to overcome each and every question. The verbal modules are underrated with this service. I feel that my grammar and understanding of writing has improved ten-fold as a result of this course. This is something that will help me for the rest of my life. EmpowerGMAT uses real questions from the OG books (you will need to have access to them to complete this course) and gives you very frank advice on when to power through a question and when to dump it and move on. If you are ever curious about their approach or in need of extra help, contact them. Their customer support staff is extremely helpful and every email feels like it was written just for you. Where else can you talk directly to the founder of the company and have them to you respond within the hour? This course is worth every penny!

Final thoughts:
The GMAT is incredibly important in your MBA journey. It will dictate where you get into school, if you qualify for scholarships, and even where you get your summer internship. This test is a great way to balance out other aspects of your application, but it is only one component of your application. Start studying as soon as possible so that you can get this test out of the way well in advance of the first round. Although I personally recommend Magoosh and EmpowerGMAT, I have also participated in the E-GMAT webinars. They are a fantastic resource for international students when it comes to the verbal section. I did not sign up for E-GMAT because it wasn't the right service for me, but they are definitely a great alternative to EmpowerGMAT for international students.

This is a stressful time for a lot of prospective MBAs, but be kind to the people in your life who are supporting you through this process. This is not an intuitive test, you're not supposed to walk in off the street and get an 800. Part of the test is how you overcome it. Even walking away at 700, I feel that I could score higher if I just kept at it. That's part of the reason that I am writing this: to help other people understand that you CAN get a 750 if you just keep at it. Hard work and determination are necessary to succeed, both in this test and in your future careers. When you feel like quitting, just remember why you are doing this. Your hard work WILL pay off!


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by [email protected] » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:49 am
Hi VerbalScholar40,

First off, that's OUTSTANDING news! Raising a 610 to a 700 is a fantastic achievement - and you can now comfortably apply to any Business Schools that interest you. You bring up a really good point about how your GMAT Score relates to earning a Scholarship, so the next logical question is how you might put yourself in the best position to receive a Scholarship.

1) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
2) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

Congrats on all of your success so far!

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