Cracked the GMAT, 740!

Hi guys,

I’ve taken the GMAT again, and I scored 740 (Q50, V40)!! I’m, finally, very satisfied.

As you probably remember, I took the exam last month and scored 690 (visit GMAT is done… but not over), after having a big trouble sleeping the night before. At that time, I was pretty deceived and wanted to retake it as soon as possible. I was strongly convinced that I would score higher with no much effort, as last time the practice tests showed that I could break 700.

How did I prepare this time?

First, I tried to focus on my weakness and to think about “what I did wrong” last time and “what I should improve”.

What I did wrong was easy to answer: I didn’t sleep the night before. What should I improve? I thought I was already well prepared last time to break 700. However, I needed to keep the current level, so I decided to do again a lot of exercises.

I prepared it for around three weeks. This is the material I used:
– Official Guide 11 and 12 (OG11 and OG12): I did the last 50 questions of PS, last 75 of DS, all SC, all CR and around 30 questions of RC. From OG12 I did only the exercises that were not in the OG11 using this useful site What has changed?.
– Manhattan GMAT Sentence Correction book: I reviewed my notes, which contained the most important concepts explained on it.
– GMAT Club: I have free access to all their GMAT quantitative practice tests because I’m moderator of this community. The tests are much harder than the real thing, but quite useful for people targeting +Q49.

I made the following practice tests:
– GMATPrep1 720 (50,38)
– PowerPrep 750 (50,42)
– PowerPrep2 740 (50,41)
– Knewton 690 (47,37) -> Knewton scoring algorithm is totally faulty. I only missed 3 questions in Quant and 4 in Verbal…
– GMATPrep2 760 (Q50,V41)

In the real test I wanted to secure a +700 score, and I knew that it was very important to not getting stuck in any question that could put at risk the whole exam (i.e. spending 8 minutes in one question). I was decided to guess one or two questions if I fell short of time, as I wanted to reach the last 5-7 questions with enough time to finish the exam.

Quant section started well. I knew I was doing good because all questions were difficult (many DS, probability/combinatorics, geometry), in line with my practice tests. I had to guess one or two questions but by the time I finished the section I was confident to score at least Q49.

Verbal section, however, started much worse. I received soon two very tough RC texts. In the second one, I doubted in the 5 questions. Usually, when I doubt in RC questions, this almost always means that I choose the incorrect answer. After this RC text, the level went down considerably, and I received in a row quite easy SC and CR questions. Although the level increased by the end of the exam, it never was as tougher as it was in the first 10 questions. By question 37, I thought I was going to score around V36-V38, and I realized that I haven’t received a bold CR question yet (the bold ones are used to be difficult, meaning that you are doing good). Luckily, I received the first and unique bold question in the 40th question.

I finished the test and before clicking on view score, I tried to imagine my score. I was expecting good quant mark, but I didn’t have a clue about Verbal. The only thing I wanted to see is a 7 in the hundreds digit, and I was not convinced. However, I clicked and saw 740. I felt relieved, the pain was gone. It was worth the effort I put on this. I finally felt accomplished: I cracked the GMAT!


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