GMAT Killer: 490 to 770 in 3 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.
This topic has expert replies
Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 97
Joined: 17 Dec 2013
Thanked: 8 times
Followed by:2 members

by confused13 » Fri May 30, 2014 11:02 pm
Hi Josh,

congratulations on your score.
Do you recommend to use the MGMAT SC book and empower gmat? I mean in combination or is the empowergmat course sufficient here? I have both, but I find the SC book a bit too much.

Thanks,

Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 98
Joined: 31 May 2014
Thanked: 1 times
Followed by:2 members

by RiyaR » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:50 pm
Hey Josh... Congrats on your score!! Its amazing!! The thing is im planning to give my gmat in Sept-Oct, il be starting now. I have put in about a month or two earlier in the year. The question I have is, whether its advisable to quit my job now? Did you do that before your gmat?

Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Posts: 7
Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Thanked: 6 times
Followed by:4 members

by jaybtg » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:54 pm
Hello Josh,

Your story is so inspiring. I found many really successful people like you use various resources to study. Is there a best order for using them (books then class or class then books, etc.)?


Thanks, Jay

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 22
Joined: 04 May 2015
Location: FL
Thanked: 7 times
Followed by:1 members

by andymal » Tue May 05, 2015 7:52 pm
Wow dude! You really did kill it! This is my favorite post so far in the beat the GMAT forum. Such a great story.

I'm almost two months in to my prep so far, and I'm a little nervous about blowing the GMAT Prep tests from the GMAC website. Do either you, if you're still around, or anyone else have some advice on to when to use those tests?

I'm also willing to buy some of the extra tests, paper tests, etc. Thanks.

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
Elite Legendary Member
Posts: 10353
Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Thanked: 2867 times
Followed by:508 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Wed May 06, 2015 1:32 pm
Hi andymal,

GMAC offers 4 CATs (2 for free and 2 more that you can purchase). They're arguably the most realistic CATs available, but that doesn't mean that you have to be overly protective about when you take them. There are plenty of additional, reputable CATs that you can get from Kaplan, MGMAT and Veritas.

It's worth noting that the accuracy of a CAT result is dependent on how realistically YOU take the CAT. This means that you should do everything in your power to make the CAT "event" match up with Test Day in as many ways as you can, including taking the FULL CAT (Essay and IR sections too), at the same time of day as your real GMAT, away from your home, in a test-like environment, etc. The more your CATs deviate from the Full GMAT, the more likely your scores are to be "off" (and often "inflated").

So at the very least, you should use the 2 free CATs and you might want to save one until the end of your studies (when you're closer to Test Day).

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Contact Rich at [email protected]
Image

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 22
Joined: 04 May 2015
Location: FL
Thanked: 7 times
Followed by:1 members

by andymal » Wed May 06, 2015 7:06 pm
Thanks Rich! Two questions for you if you don't mind. How often do you recommend taking CATs? Also, what do you think of the GMAC paper tests? Are they any good?

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
Elite Legendary Member
Posts: 10353
Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Thanked: 2867 times
Followed by:508 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Wed May 06, 2015 7:49 pm
Hi andymal,

I generally recommend that Test Takers start off their studies with a FULL CAT early on. Afterwards, you should plan on taking 1 FULL CAT every 1-2 weeks; as you get closer to Test Day, you should plan on 1 CAT per week. The bulk of your study time should be spent on lessons, practice problems, quizzes, review, etc.

Opinions vary on the GMAC paper Tests. I think that they're useful study material, but NO pencil-and-paper Test (not even GMAC's) can properly match the experience that you'll face on Test Day, so I wouldn't use them for a score assessment.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Contact Rich at [email protected]
Image

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 22
Joined: 04 May 2015
Location: FL
Thanked: 7 times
Followed by:1 members

by andymal » Sun May 10, 2015 11:00 am
Hi Rich,

Thanks for getting back to me. What I was planning to do with the paper tests is do them on the computer screen since they're PDFs because I totally agree that doing them on paper would be really different from the real thing. What do you think? Also, do you have any information about how the scores of the paper tests compare with other tests?

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
Elite Legendary Member
Posts: 10353
Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Thanked: 2867 times
Followed by:508 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Sun May 10, 2015 2:00 pm
Hi andymal,

While using the PDFs on a computer is slightly more realistic than using them in pencil-and-paper format, they're still NOT a great substitute for a FULL-LENGTH adaptive CAT (as far as receiving a realistic score is concerned). The Paper Tests do not adapt, do not require the same physical "mechanics" to complete and likely will not match the frequency and ratios of questions that you'll see on Test Day. I mentioned before that they're nice sources for practice questions, but if you're looking for a realistic score assessment that will help you to properly train for the Official GMAT, then these are not the resources that you need.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Contact Rich at [email protected]
Image

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 22
Joined: 04 May 2015
Location: FL
Thanked: 7 times
Followed by:1 members

by andymal » Mon May 11, 2015 9:10 am
Can I also ask for your opinion about these cats?

GMAT prep pack 1 - https://www.mba.com/us/store/store-catal ... ack-1.aspx

Kaplan Premier. It says this book comes with 6 tests. Are they reliable? https://www.amazon.com/Kaplan-GMAT-Premi ... 1618656651

Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Posts: 5
Joined: 30 Jan 2016

by erumsayyar » Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:21 am
@joshcollins why did you dump 4 questions of the exam? Doesn't that lower your total score? How did you get to know which questions you were supposed to dump from the quant. & verbal sections of the exam? Moreover, u're saying that the quant. section is not a math test whereas the verbal section is not a vocabulary test?! Then what do these sections actually measure? I also heard that you need to get 60% of the questions in this exam right. Is this true?

Plus could you please tell how to prepare for the RC & CR parts of the verbal section of the exam and How should one prepare for the DS part of the quant. section of the exam? How much time is sufficient to prepare for this exam effectively? I wasn't able to score well on my first attempt. I would be grateful if u'd reply to my post.

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 10
Joined: 12 Oct 2018

by clubber112358 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:09 pm
This is an amazing achievement. Congratulations! I'm sort of dealing with a similar situation, and I work six days a week.

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 12
Joined: 26 Jul 2020
Location: Hyderabad, India

Re: GMAT Killer: 490 to 770 in 3 months

by aaditya005 » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:09 pm
Wow. Thanks for sharing :D

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 12
Joined: 26 Jul 2020
Location: Hyderabad, India

Re: GMAT Killer: 490 to 770 in 3 months

by aaditya005 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:41 am
Amazing achievement. Very inspirational.

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 10
Joined: 01 Aug 2020

Re: GMAT Killer: 490 to 770 in 3 months

by Niketd » Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:30 am
Congratulations!!!
joshcollins wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:43 am
Hi everyone,

When I used to lurk on this site before becoming a member, I liked reading about how people had done well on the GMAT and I'm happy to say that I can add my story to that list of GMAT killers!

The Basics:

Timeframe:
3 months (late May to late August)

Books/Programs Used:
OG 13th edition Book
Manhattan GMAT SC Book
Kaplan Premier Book
Empowergmat Course
2 CATs and questions from mba.com
CATs from ManhattanGMAT
Free Videos and articles on Youtube, GMATPrepNow, etc.
Beat The GMAT Forum

Studying:
Usually 2-3 hours on weekdays, but I always took one day off/week
Usually 4-5 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Usually 1 CAT on the weekend with review (weekend usually included going back to redo old questions, even questions I got right before)

CAT Scores:
GMATPrep1: 490
MGMAT1: 540
MGMAT2: 550
MGMAT3: 630
MGMAT4: 680
MGMAT5: 680
GMATPrep2: 730
Test Day: 770 (Q50, V45)

Total Money Spent: $351 + $250 for the GMAT (no way to avoid that!)

Advice:
1) The books were pretty good, but there's a lot of advice that conflicts from book to book, so it takes a little while to figure out what's true and what's not. The OG 13th edition is a MUST HAVE.
2) Find an expert to work with. Use a course or a tutor, but spending the money is worth it. I'm looking at some potentially big scholarship money because I killed the GMAT. That's worth the extra few hundred bucks I spent. For me, Empowergmat made all the difference. On Test Day, I felt like Neo in The Matrix. I was ready for everything. The EMPOWER guys know their stuff.
3) There's a lot of bad advice out there about pacing, representative questions, etc. (and the problem is a lot of it's free). Be suspicious. If you practice something for a full month and it doesn't work, then it's not going to help you hit your goal. Be prepared to learn some new things.
4) Stay calm and write everything down. GMAT questions are actually pretty straight forward if you just stay organized. Don't EVER do anything in your head (thanks for that one, Rich!)
5) The Quant section is NOT a math test and the Verbal section is NOT a vocabulary test, so don't treat them like they are.
6) Learn which questions to avoid. I dumped 4 questions (2 in the Quant and 2 in the Verbal) because I was told to dump them. I can't argue with the advice or the results.
7) Take the 2 breaks, no matter how good you feel. Have a snack, a drink and run to the bathroom.

Now, I'm reading through the Veritas MBA Essential Guides and getting really excited by my prospects.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it. I was really unsure of everything when I started, but I learned the right way to look at this whole process and it made all the difference. To everyone who's helped me on this journey, I say thanks!

Josh