Rocked The GMAT - Scored 800 (Q51 V51) - Via Meditation

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
Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 25
Joined: 07 Jan 2014
Thanked: 1 times
Followed by:1 members

by vivek1303 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:59 pm
You must be God!

Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Posts: 3
Joined: 12 Jul 2015

by katrizenis » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:01 am
Hi Marty,

I practice yoga, and I've dabbled with meditation. Can you talk a little bit more about how you practice meditation. Much appreciated. Thanks!

User avatar
Legendary Member
Posts: 2075
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Location: New York City Metro Area and Worldwide Online
Thanked: 955 times
Followed by:138 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:17 pm
katrizenis wrote:I practice yoga, and I've dabbled with meditation. Can you talk a little bit more about how you practice meditation. Much appreciated. Thanks!
From what I understand, many people talk of clearing their minds when they talk about meditation. What I am doing when I meditate is going into a state of self awareness and letting my mind run.

I don't focus on my breath or sit in an unusual position. In fact I used to meditate when I was driving.

The purpose of all this is to tune up my mind, emotions, and spirit. Now that I think of it I just realized that when I meditate what I am doing somewhat resembles what antivirus or code repair software does. I am running through the software of my mind, emotions, and spirit and adjusting what I find.

The things that need adjusting are related and can be categorized.

One category of things that can be adjusted via meditation is one's beliefs or conceptions. Simply put, if you believe something that does not match reality, you will have trouble somehow. So I go into a meditative state to figure out what I believe or how my conception of something is flawed. I can meditate on something as simple as a utility pole and realize from that way I am reacting to that image that something about my conception of it is off. Once I realize that, I naturally adjust my conception via what I call one's sense of rightness.

Another category of things that can be adjusted is strategies. We all have strategies we are not aware of and many of them are flawed, often in ways that are obvious once one becomes aware of the strategies. So I meditate to find strategies and become aware of the flaws. For instance, I was experiencing a lot of stress at a particular job I had. So I meditated on that topic to figure out what strategies I might be unconsciously harboring that would underlie that stress. Sure enough I found that I had unconscious strategies that involved preferring a state of stress, and when I thought about and changed those strategies, without doing anything else to reduce the stress of the job I started having a much better, less stressful time.

Often this involves going into an alpha state and asking myself questions such as, "Would it be ok if I were not stressed out all the time?" or going into an alpha state and visualizing an outcome and noticing any resistance I might have to that outcome. For instance I have meditated on the idea of having perfect health and noticed that on some level I was resistant to the idea of being perfectly healthy all the time, as in things like, "What if I want a break from things?"

So that's how I meditate and those are the types of things I experience and work on when I do it, and naturally it's all applicable to succeeding at anything, including scoring high on something like the GMAT.

For instance one could have beliefs or strategies that interfere with scoring high, and by finding and changing them, one can change one's self to allow one's self to score higher, basically effortlessly.

In fact as one adjusts one's conceptions and strategies and resolves inner conflict, one makes life increasingly effortless.
Marty Murray
Chief Curriculum and Content Architect
[email protected]


See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on Beat the GMAT. Read our reviews.

User avatar
Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 94
Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Thanked: 4 times
Followed by:4 members

by maverick_andy » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:20 pm
@ Marty

You sounds like or seems like you are on the way to become Neo of Matrix ;)

Thoroughly enjoyed your article. Let me practice and share the out come soon :)
The journey is everything...


User avatar
GMAT Instructor
Posts: 379
Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Location: Online Conferencing - in person in select cities.
Thanked: 55 times
Followed by:21 members

by Bara » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:46 pm
This is great to see!

Mindfulness has SO many positive applications to the study and test-taking process.
If you're taking the test in a shorter time than getting a practice up and running...(well, up and sitting...), you might look into hypnosis, visualization, NLP, EFT and more.

Good Luck!
Bara Sapir, MA, CHt, CNLP
Founder/CEO City Test Prep
Maximize your Score, Minimize your Stress!
GMAT Badass and Test Anxiety Relief Expert

User avatar
Legendary Member
Posts: 2075
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Location: New York City Metro Area and Worldwide Online
Thanked: 955 times
Followed by:138 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:34 pm
Since I wrote this post, I have seen other people who have done similar inner work get similar results.

In one case, a person said pretty much exactly what I said, that when he took the GMAT after doing some inner work, the quant section seemed surprisingly easy. He got a total score of 760.

In another case, a person who had been unable to score in the 700's and who did some inner work said that his "jaw dropped" when he saw that he had scored 750.

In other cases, I have seen a little inner work make a big difference.

The upshot is that using meditation and otherwise doing inner work can be a key part of one's preparation for the GMAT, because one's beliefs, mindset, inner conflicts, and unconsciously applied strategies can have significant effects on test performance.
Marty Murray
Chief Curriculum and Content Architect
[email protected]


See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on Beat the GMAT. Read our reviews.

User avatar
Legendary Member
Posts: 2075
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
Location: New York City Metro Area and Worldwide Online
Thanked: 955 times
Followed by:138 members
GMAT Score:800

by [email protected] » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:32 am
Here an example of how an unconscious inner conflict was affecting someone's test performance.

I was working with someone preparing for the GMAT and, while his skills were fairly strong in general, he was making crazy "careless errors." In fact, given the choices that he was choosing, we were finding his errors rather entertaining.

I suggested that he had something against accuracy and that he was unconsciously choosing to make the comical errors. He insisted that he wasn't.

We talked for a little while as I continued to seek to discover what unconscious motivation he had for making the errors.

Finally, we found it. He said something along the lines of, "Well, if I were right all the time, it would be boring. Wouldn't it?"

There it was. His unconscious reason for making those comical "careless errors" was to entertain us. In other words, while on a conscious level, he was seeking to answer the questions correctly, on a less conscious level, he harbored the idea that if he weren't making comical errors, life would be boring. So, he had an inner conflict between the conscious desire to answer the questions correctly and the unconscious desire to answer them incorrectly.

This person's unconscious desire to make errors to make things less boring is an example of the kind of unconscious motivation one can find through inner exploration. You can see how, if you are making so called "careless errors" because of an unconscious motivation such as wanting to making things less boring, fear of change, fear of failure, or even fear of seeming "too smart," then it's going to be difficult to consistently answer questions correctly. Your unconscious motivation will be constantly pushing you to miss details or make calculation errors. You can also see how, if you discover and address that unconscious motivation, your tendency to make "careless errors" can be greatly reduced.

So, if you are finding that seemingly random "silly" or "careless" errors are significantly affecting your GMAT performance, likely you would benefit from doing some inner exploration to see what kinds of unconscious motivations underlie your making those errors. Once you find the motivations, you can explore them and resolve the inner conflicts that are affecting your performance. I have seen doing so work wonders for myself and for others.
Marty Murray
Chief Curriculum and Content Architect
[email protected]


See why Target Test Prep is rated 5 out of 5 stars on Beat the GMAT. Read our reviews.

Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Posts: 1
Joined: 14 Jul 2020
I don't whether to call you a great gmat nerd or a psychic. I have prepped for almost 4 years to no avail, I know everything but I make mistakes. Whatever, it is I have made notes of your post and I am going to put my faith in your process, I think it should work.

Thanks a lot Mr. Murray!

Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Posts: 10
Joined: 01 Aug 2020
Wonderful!!! Unbelievable Score!!!
Marty Murray wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:30 pm
Finally, my GMAT Odyssey is complete. Achieving my score goal took a fair amount of preparation, and it seems that, in the end, my scoring 800 on the GMAT was greatly facilitated by the use of some methods that I have used to achieve other things. Here's what I did during this phase of my training for the GMAT to drive my score up and make sure I hit my goal.

A few months ago when I took the GMAT, although at that time also I was shooting for scoring 800, maybe I was not quite ready and also I had some distractions the day of the test, and I ended up scoring 780 (Q49 V50).

I wrote this post about how I prepped for that test.


I still wanted to score 800. So I kept working toward that.

In order to achieve an 800 GMAT total score, I had to score 51 on quant. Since my official quant score was 49, basically I had two more quant section points to go. That might not seem like much, but those two points were not all that easy to come by.

The main thing I did to raise my quant score was work some more on weaker areas, and the more I looked for areas to work on, the more I found.

Among other resources, I used some question banks containing quant questions broken down into many categories. One interesting thing I discovered in using these question banks was the way my weaker areas matched up pretty well with the categories in which I hadn't done many practice questions. For instance I had done many statistics questions and I could generally rock questions of that type when they showed up, but I had done only a few overlapping sets questions, and, in taking the test, I spent seven minutes on one of those. I would realize that I was not that good with, say, absolute value, and sure enough I would then see that I had almost ignored that category when I was practicing.

Another thing I noticed was that a quant question type seeming easy or to be something I understood pretty well did not mean that I was ready to quickly get to answers to questions of that type. The GMAT is not a math test testing knowledge of concepts. The GMAT tests skill in getting to answers. So, in addition to learning about things I was not clear about, I had to work on getting good at handling questions that involved things I did understand but was not that great at working with.

So I worked on covering the categories on which I had not previously worked much, using question banks and practice CATs to take my quant skills to a new level.

I also wanted to lock in 51 on verbal, and the thing that, was even though I was getting 50 or 51 on verbal on most CATs I took, practice or real, at times I would get smoked by verbal questions and score less than 50 on the section. A verbal score lower than 51 would not get me to a total score of 800, and in a way I didn't even know what to do to make sure I would get all of the verbal questions correct.

Getting all of the Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension questions correct seemed challenging but doable. I realized that correctly answering GMAT Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension questions does not really require much GMAT specific knowledge. So I figured that, if I were just a little more skilled and really careful and determined, I could get all of the CR and RC questions right. So I learned a little more about those types and practiced with care and determination in mind.

Then there was Sentence Correction. Sentence Correction seemed to involve a sea of rules and idioms and some of the questions are pretty tricky, and the thing that made Sentence Correction seem particularly challenging was that sometimes in a way the credited answers didn't even seem right. So, getting them all correct seemed like an impossible or at least rather impractical dream, but maybe some of Mitch Hunt's attitude rubbed off on me, and after a while I convinced myself that I could nail SC too. The truth was that there were certain things that consistently got me on Sentence Correction, things such as quantity words and certain idioms, and I figured that maybe if, along with doing some more general practicing, I could just get good with those dozen or so things, I would be OK.

With working on timing, doing practice problems from various sources, learning SC concepts and taking regular practice CATs, I was getting better and my scores were showing it, at least for the most part, as I scored 800 on two practice tests in a row, but then six days before my scheduled test I took a GMAT Prep practice test and scored Q50 V48 780. Not cool. I was still fighting to finish quant on time, and, on verbal, I had been tripped up by one sick SC question. Wow, just six days to go and scoring 800 did not seem like a sure thing. What was it going to take?

I was pretty sure I had the answer.

About twenty years ago I started learning about the powers of meditation and resolving inner conflict. Since then I have used these methods to make major changes in my life and in the lives of others. It's amazing how changing one's inner workings can dramatically affect the results one gets, and I figured the methods would work for this too.

So, I started doing inner work to find and resolve conflicts I might have with scoring high on the GMAT and with things that are key to doing that. I meditated on speed, math, efficiency, accuracy, success, clarity of vision and anything else that I could come up with, and sure enough, I found conflicts to resolve. For instance, when I meditated on the concept "Do it right the first time." I found that I had a really negative attitude toward it, and I meditated to change that.

I also visualized myself taking the test and meditated to dissolve the tension that came with that image.

I had read in someone's 800 score GMAT debrief about how, when he had finished the test, he had seen his score, 51, 51, 800, come up on the screen. So I continued doing something I had been doing for a while: getting myself used to the idea of seeing those scores on the screen when I finished, using an approach similar to people's visualizing outcomes before participating in athletic events.

I meditated for hours day after day and the night before the test, and what happened on test day was freaky, even taking into account some more actual studying I did.

I did the essay and IR sections, no big deal, and after the break got into quant. Now previously, I had had to do something along the lines of running scared on quant, but one thing I had realized after meditating on efficiency was that errors in calculation were killing me on quant, both by getting me to wrong answers and by sucking up extra time even when I ended up getting right answers. So this time I was really being careful, even double checking my answers, basically doing some of the problems twice. I was checking the clock and, "Ok cool," it was nice to see that I was just a minute or two behind.

Oddly though, the questions seemed relatively easy. I was cruising, and I noticed that, even with all the care and double checking, I was catching up with and then getting ahead of the clock. That happened even though the test center people were talking loudly enough to be heard through the glass and I had actually stopped to ask them to take the volume down a notch.

The more questions I did, the further ahead of the clock I got. Sure, I had gotten stronger in some quant areas, but the way things were going was so different from what I had experienced before that I actually looked closely at the screen to see if I were really taking the GMAT. It was surreal, and when I had about twenty-one minutes left with only seven quant questions to go and I knew that I had Q51 in the bag, I was pumped. It looked as if the meditation, along with the preparation I guess, had done the trick, bigtime.

I took a slightly over time ten minute break, I usually finish verbal early anyway, and got to work on verbal. Verbal went pretty well. My main things for handling GMAT verbal are logic, care and determination, and I used them to the max and went more slowly than usual. Wasn't messing around. Other than my running a little tight on time, of all things, the only real hitch on verbal was the Sentence Correction question of doom.

I found the Sentence Correction questions to be rather hackable, more so than were the ones on many of the practice tests I had taken. All the same, it seems that in any GMAT verbal section there is at least one Sentence Correction question that is long, convoluted or somehow basically bonkers, and this CAT was no exception. I got to this CAT's Sentence Correction question of doom and fought that thing for maybe four or five minutes. I finally clicked an answer choice and then somehow read the choices again and realized I had chosen the wrong one. I chose the right one and maybe that was the key moment in verbal. I kind of buzzed through much of the rest and barely finished in time.

I guess the meditation, and preparation, worked on verbal too, because I got my scores and I can't take the GMAT again for five years.(That's GMAC's rule for anyone who scores 800 on the GMAT.)

So my plan came together, and while I guess most people don't really care to get so caught up in the GMAT, there are from my experience some takeaways that anyone can use. One of them is that there is always some improvement one can make to get a higher score. In my case, the more I looked the more I found areas of quant in which I could become more skilled. Also, Sentence Correction seemed at first to be an almost intractable issue, but I was able to come up with a reasonable, practical strategy for improving my SC skills and acing verbal. Being careful and very determined was also a huge factor, and was so key in getting correct answers, including the one to the Sentence Correction question of doom. Finally, although maybe there is some other explanation for how easy quant seemed and for my perfect accuracy on verbal, my take is that the meditation sealed the deal and allowed my energy to flow and my mind to run like clockwork so that I could finally rock the GMAT the way I wanted to.