McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Metamorphosis
GRE 324, GPA 3.15
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
IMD | Mr. Future Large Corp
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Yale | Ms. Social Impact
GMAT 680, GPA 3.83
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Agribusiness
GRE 308, GPA 3.04
Wharton | Ms. Healthcare Visionary
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tech Evangelist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
IESE | Mr. Future Brand Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Tuck | Ms. Green Biz
GRE 326, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Ms. PMP To MBA
GMAT 710, GPA 3.72
Harvard | Mr. British Tech 2+2
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Space Launch
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
INSEAD | Mr. Media Startup
GMAT 710, GPA 3.65
Wharton | Ms. Future CEO
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0

How I Scored a 770 On the GMAT On My First Try

Step 1 – Diagnostic Test

Before doing anything, take the diagnostic test. I know that most people say this, but I digress as follows:

If you have been out of touch with academics for some years now (which I suspect is the case with most people) practice 20 problems from each section with some light revision of the concepts. Take the test after you have completed all the problems. This way, your diagnostic test will give you a true “diagnostic” score and tell you where you truly stand before preparations start full swing. My theory is that if you take the diagnostic test straight off the bat you might get an unusually low score because you didn’t remember some silly concept which could be obtained by simply glancing at it.

So my advise would be as above when it comes to diagnostic tests so you are not stressed unnecessarily.

Once you take the diagnostic test, you know where you stand and then you can determine how many weeks of prep is necessary. I got a 690 on my diagnostic and after 8 weeks of prep my score was 770.

It is silly to get hung up on just the score. You must make sure you analyze the test thoroughly to identify you area of weak points. If possible, record them in the GMAT scoring sheet freely available on www.beatthegmat.comwww.testmagic.com orwww.gmatclub.com. Also make sure you record whether wrong answers were due to silly errors or concept errors.

Step 2 – Books & Resources

Upon taking the diagnostic test and identifying the weak areas, buy the books which you need. I used the following books:

Quants

OG12

Manhattan Series

Kaplan

OG Quant Review

Verbal

OG12

Manhattan SC, CR Guide

Kaplan

OG Verbal Review

I really recommend MGMAT guides for all the sections. Its effectiveness in the SC section is well known but I found that for the Quant section too it is of immense help. It really drives in the concepts in a simple, GMAT focused way. In order to do well in Quants it is a must that you are fundamental concepts are rock solid before you start practicing like crazy. See my more detailed post here.

OG12 is of course great for practice. So is Kaplan. OG Quant guide is very simple and not worth wasting money on. OG Verbal guide in contrast has good questions to practice with.

Besides books, there are several online resources:

Beat The GMAT Questions

Test Magic Questions

However, I did not use the online resources except the occasional snippet of information.

Step 3 – Study Schedule

After buying the books and identifying the resources, set up a schedule for yourself.

Oh, meanwhile, please do set a test date for motivation. Without a test date you are doomed. Period.

The most popular strategy seems to be to spend 2 weeks on a weak section, 1 week on strong section etc. I beg to differ. I believe the better strategy is:

0. Start cycle

1. Pick up a section (not completed in this cycle)

2. Run through the concepts

3. Practice problems (partial set if you want to)

4. Identify weak areas

5. Go to step 1 with another section (if all sections not completed else go to Step 6)

6. Take a test and analyze

7. Go to step 0.

Yes, there are several gaping holes in the “algorithm” but you get the idea. My first cycle lasteed about 30 days (6 days for each section). 2nd cycle lasted 15 days, 3rd – 9 days and last – 5 days. All approximations. This way you can go on identifying weak areas and strong areas and keep allocating time and resources accordingly. It makes for a more targeted and efficient preparation.

The length of each cycle can expand and contract based on the need to catch up on concepts etc.

Go through the MGMAT SC book at least 2 times and make sure you do the advanced section – It seems tough at first but you warm up to it.

Step 4 – Take the test

And finally take the test. Make sure you rest well before the test. I don’t know if it is ok to not practice one day before the exam or not but make sure you rest well. See my debrief for better understanding,

I know this is not a lot of advice; However, there is tons of good advice out there on usual things and I want to contribute in a way which will add to everything else.

This report is adapted from The Phoenix’s blog posts at “The MBA Roller Coaster.” Previous posts on Poets&Quants:

Introducing The Phoenix