Work in progress: 450 to 640. 190 points up: 90 more to go.

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Like many aspiring MBA candidates, I have the drive to get the highest GMAT score plausible. It does dampen ones spirit to see a absolute disaster in form of score. After taking my 1st mock, a bold 450 (Q26 V26) appeared. <i class="em em-confounded"></i> A shocking and unacceptable score that I today attribute to being out of the game and to being out of the practice.
I had chosen the self prep route with help from online test prep companies. This was primarily due to my travel schedule. I travel 3/5 days a week for work with my colleagues - who do not know about my MBA dreams.

Long story short, It wasn't working. I did what anyone who hasn't thought this out would do: I picked another web-based test company. While, I did brush up on my quant skills and plug my way to a still poor score of 530 (Q34 V28). The timing pushed the dream further.

After a lot of research I zeroed down my traits and matched my preferences to the test prep providers. I love to compete and coordinate. I still had my travel schedule to honor. I want to attend a top MBA program. I selected an web-based classroom setting offered by Manhattan Prep. This move was a game changer. Chris Gentry led 8 of 9 classes, making GMAT seem fun. Before I move on, I have to recommend Chris to anyone who is looking to ace the GMAT. His humor and loaded questions really stick with you long after the class is over and form an anchor point for each question type.

Back to the prep. I put in the work everyday. I mean it. Whether I got my desired 4 hours a day during a work day or not, I stuck to at least 30 minutes. This is what followed:
Q39 V34 - 600
Q44 V33 - 640

After I finished my class, Chris worked with me to come up with a plan to address my weak areas, which would help raise the bar.

Things I changed to move up 190 points:
1) No matter how good the class prep material is, you HAVE TO do the OG questions.
An old timers advice that I did not truly appreciate
2) Keep a log and track your mistakes AND questions that took too long to answer:
Use an excel version - it saved time to sort out the most common weak spots
3) Quality over quantity:
Solve fewer questions if you must but solve each question to MAXIMIZE YOU ROI. This is, in my opinion, the only way to up the ante
4) Disciplined schedule:
If 4 AM - 7 AM works for you, stick to it. If post work 7 PM - 11 PM works for you, stick with it. Each to his or her own. Just make a plan and execute.

I have made more tweaks and signed up for another Manhattan Prep class, looking to up the ante. This is not a finished article. I am not done yet. The biggest reason for me to write this is to tell the girl or the chap who is wrestling with the GMAT that there is hope. Just put your head down and tackle the weakness head on: first thing, every day.

I will be back with a follow-up to this post. I promise. When I do, It will be true success story.
Upwards and onwards.

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by [email protected] » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:44 pm
Hi Aman86,

That's fantastic news about your score improvements thus far. Raising your scores from a 450 to a 640 is a substantial achievement! Since you're continuing your studies, you have to be mindful to define WHY you're getting questions wrong (at your level, the 'content' becomes less of an issue and HOW you approach GMAT questions and the work that you physically do on your pad become more and more important).

1) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
2) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
3) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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by ceilidh.erickson » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:20 am
Aman86 wrote:I selected an web-based classroom setting offered by Manhattan Prep. This move was a game changer. Chris Gentry led 8 of 9 classes, making GMAT seem fun. Before I move on, I have to recommend Chris to anyone who is looking to ace the GMAT. His humor and loaded questions really stick with you long after the class is over and form an anchor point for each question type.
I couldn't agree more! Chris is one of my absolute favorite colleagues, and he's a brilliant teacher. Anyone would be lucky to take a class with him!
Ceilidh Erickson
EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Hello Rich,

Thank you for your words of encouragement! I am more mindful today than I was a month ago about why I am making the mistakes. I feel that tracking mistakes with a better log has helped.

1) I plan to take the GMAT in the 3rd week of May
2) The fixed target is the 1st round of application. This will help me complete my current stream of projects due this year and handover my job role in a phased manner at work
3) Tuck, Duke and Yale. The culture fostered by these schools and the size and diversity of the incoming MBA class is a huge draw for me.

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by [email protected] » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:02 am
Hi Aman86,

GMAC recently announced some changes that will be taking place to the format of the Official GMAT (beginning April 16, 2018). These changes primarily impact the overall length of the Exam (meaning the number of questions in the Quant and Verbal sections as well as the amount of time that you'll have to complete each of those two sections). In theory, a shorter Exam could make it easier for a well-prepared Test Taker to score higher. Unfortunately, Official practice CATs in the new 'format' don't exist yet - but once they become available, you should plan to take one (so that we can get a better sense of how you perform under these new conditions).

Since you're already signed up for another class, then it sounds like you already have a plan in place for the next 4-5 weeks (at which point you'll take the Official GMAT). At higher-and-higher score 'levels', the GMAT becomes really 'sensitive' to little mistakes (especially on 'gettable' questions), so defining WHY you're getting questions is essential to pinpointing the exact areas that you need to work on.

After reviewing each section of your most recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

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