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How I achieved a 750 GMAT

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 12:57 am
by Act38ian
My wife and I decided to write GMAT in 2009 August. We were aiming at very top of universities, so set the bar to well above 700.

What we did:
1. Plan
Mukul's blog (Outbeat the GMAT) has an insanely helpful step-by-step plan. I encourage everyone with high GMAT ambitions to follow a similar plan 2. Environment and resources
a) We made sure we had a good table to sit upon, and two chairs, with papers and pens to do the rough work
b) That we were free of distractions, TV time was reduced (we never watched too much tv anyways)
c) Managed external dependencies - I was particular in finishing my work by 5pm, so that I could get home on time

3. Books
a) We bought only the OG and Kaplan (which totals to 5 full length practice tests)
b) We borrowed books from the nearby library (we were blessed with a good one) for the remaining mentioned in plan above
c) Generally,
-- Kaplan is easier than the real test, but is a good starting point
-- Manhattan GMAT is tougher than the real test, but really helps us up our standards
-- OG and the official (free) practice test is the best approximation of the real test
d) I found all the practice tests that I could lay my hands on, from the Internet.

4. Hardwork
a) We followed this plan to the T
b) I made an excel template for recording our practice questions, and made paper copies of it. This also has a column to make remarks while review (repeat mistakes, etc).
c) We had it in google calendar, and I had it in my phone and computer, so I was constantly reminded about what's going to come that evening.
d) One principle I want to highlight is that in addition to reviewing the failed cases, you better review the ones that you got right, as well. This is to reinforce what went right. Occasionally I have uncovered wrong assumptions that got me to the right answer, this helped clear the basics.
e) Perfect Practice makes Perfect
f) It's very important to get an even (Verbal vs Quant) score. If you are doing good at one and need improvement in the other, give extra attention to the weakness.
g) After carefully planning activities for 2 months, we booked the exam on a Saturday. That solidified our commitment. No looking back now!
h) One really needs to build his stamina, being seated for 4 hours continuously in one place and working on math, reading long winded passages trying to find logic (BTW, we enjoyed reading most of the passages).

5. Passion for good score
We kept the flame up, encouraging and challenging each other. A like-minded sparring partner is a great help, as in any other exercise.

We wrote GMAT for the first round in 2010 Jan. Both of us were crestfallen. I was at 680 and she was at 640. We were better than that! We didn’t speak much on our way back from Prometric, and decided we are going to write again.

It took couple of days to get out of the wound-licking mindset. Then we went back at it, and followed the last month section of the above plan. After a week, I made a booking for our exam in Feb 2010.

We did practice test after practice test, even when it was mind-numbing. This is when we concentrated on Manhattan GMAT papers.

Finally test day came, and we were pretty calm. I guess the practice helped. This time we were pleasantly surprised. I was at 750, and my wife at 710. Now that's more like it!

We celebrated quietly with a home-cooked dinner.

Re: How I achieved a 750 GMAT

Posted: October 16th, 2012, 3:22 pm
by MBACrystalBall
Two GMAT cracking brains in the family. Not bad at all :-)

Thanks for sharing your GMAT prep plan.

The excel approach seems simple and effective. Do you think you'd be able to share the format i.e. just listing down what columns were there in that excel file?

Btw, here's some trivia. Mukul wrote a blog post for us. It's a small world.

Very inspiring story --> Tuck MBA: How cool Mukul (with a GMAT score 2 make u drool) got into bschool