770–My Approach

I knew early on that I wanted to do a JD/MBA program, which meant that I had to take BOTH the LSAT and the GMAT. I agonized over which test to take first and after a lot of research, I ultimately decided that I should do the LSAT first. The reason I decided to do this is because of the two sections that overlap on the tests (Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning) the ones on the LSAT tend to be harder. This worked out for me, because when it came time to study for the GMAT, I didn’t need to study those sections at all. 

Overall, I studied for the GMAT for about 5 months. I wasn’t living in a place that offered any  courses and my internet wasn’t very good, so I couldn’t take a live online or classroom courses, so I decided to study on my own. The first few months, I spent casually studying and working my way through all the Manhattan GMAT Strategy Guides (except reading comprehension and critical reasoning, which I only skimmed), then I went through all the questions in the OG guide and then the Manhattan GMAT Advanced Quant book. In the final two weeks before my test, I took a full CAT practice test 5 times per week. A lot of forums discourage taking too many practice tests, because they say you are not learning anything new when you take the practice tests, and you need to do some serious review of critical information before taking another practice test. While this is true, I think the key last step to studying is training your brain to be high functioning for the full 3.5 hours. Once you know you are capable of getting your goal score, you then need to ensure that you can get it under less than ideal circumstances. Its a marathon, not a sprint, so it is helpful to build up your brains capacity to dealing with difficult problems for a full 3.5 hours. 

The final two days before my test, I gave my brain a break to rejuvenate and did absolutely no studying, so that I could be in my best form when I showed up on test day. I also went to the test center the day before the test, so I wasn’t stressed about how to find it the actual day. Another key part of my studying was making sure I maintained a good schedule of sleeping 8 hours a night, exercising every day and eating brain boosting food like whole grains, fish and broccoli.

The day of the test, I tried to remain calm, taking deep relaxing breaths if I was getting too nervous.  I took full advantage of all the time offered in the form of breaks and brought snacks and water to have during those breaks.  Ultimately, I was extremely happy with my score with a 42 in Verbal, a 51 in Quant, 8 on IR and 5.5 on the AWA essay. 

I hope this helps people find the best study methods for them!

Meet the Author

Eliza Chute

I was always just an average student, but with the right course prep I was able to score a 770 on my first try. I had to wade through a lot of material to find what was right for me, but luckily for you I've done all the research for you! See more on my GMAT courses page.

2 comments… add one
  • Rahul Sehgal Sep 7, 2014, 11:29 am

    Excellent score Eliza !!

    Wish you the best for your applications. Keep us posted. Thanks for your contribution to our GMAT Avengers Study Group as well !! :).

    • Eliza Sep 9, 2014, 8:32 am

      Thanks so much! And I’m happy to help with the study group!

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