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Climbing the GMAT Mountain: 630 to 710 on a Practice Test

No, I’m not ready to break out the champagne bottle just yet, but I can tell you one thing for sure: the first time you break 700 on a practice GMAT is an awesome feeling!  I just finished the computer adaptive test for the GMAT and scored a 710, a full 80 points higher than my dismal score of 630 on my previous attempt back in July.  I guess my Manhattan GMAT course really works. My quant score went to 46 from 41, while my verbal shot up to 41 from 35. All told, my percentile rankings were 79%, 93%, and 94%, respectively.

I skipped the AWAs for this test, simply because of personal time constraints.  I also haven’t studied the proper outlines of the AWA essays.  I’ll definitely do that section on my next CAT (Common Admission Test).

What surprised me most was how well I did on the math section. I didn’t break the 80th percentile, but I still was pleasantly surprised by my score. During the test, I ran into a number of problems that I simply could not solve.  Rather than dwell on those problems and waste valuable time (like I did last time), I listened to my instructor’s advice and guessed to move on.  This was definitely the key difference between my two math CATs: I timed myself much better on this exam and finished with time to spare. On my previous test taken on July 11th, I felt I was fighting a losing battle throughout, and it definitely made it harder for me to concentrate.

I wonder if every practice tst is going to be like this, with seemingly impossible problems to conquer?  Every time I run into a problem that I have no idea how to solve, it definitely brings me down emotionally and has a negative effect on subsequent performance.  I took a really long break between the Math and Verbal sections just because I thought I had bombed on my quant section.

When I got to the verbal section, overall, I thought it was breeze.  Some of the sentence correction questions toward the end were extremely tough and rather obscure, but that only motivated me because I knew I was doing well.  I started off sprinting through the material, but when I noticed that I was so far ahead from a time-to-question ratio, I slowed down a bit to focus more on Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension.  Looking back at the results, I definitely made quite a few dumb mistakes. But to me, that just means my Verbal score can potentially go even higher.  I just need to get better at reading the “you know what.”

I’m going to review every CAT question I did on this test and make sure that I can at least solve the “wacky” Math problems I encountered in this test.  I wasn’t very thorough with the last CAT because it made me so depressed.  This time I feel motivated.

I have at least 7 more practice tests that I am planning to do. Here’s to hoping that CAT number 2 wasn’t a fluke.

This post is adapted from Random Wok, a blog written by Mako from Silicon Valley. You can read all of his posts at Random Wok.

Previous post by Mako at PoetsandQuants: Why I Want an MBA