How I got a 710 on my first try

The GMAT journey is a hard one; but I believe I did a decent job of prepping for my first try (most likely will be taking it again for a ~750).

So where ever you are at in your GMAT journey (whether you are thinking about it, just signed up, already studying, or planning on retaking) I hope this guide helps you conquer this ridiculous test.



  • 160 Hours
  • $500 (including the $250 for the test)

The Result

  • GMAT: 710 (92%)
  • V38 (84%)
  • Q49 (81%)
  • AWA: 6.0 (91%)
  • IR: 7 (82%)


  • Graduated in 2009 with a BS in Accounting (3.7 GPA) from a state university
  • Worked for the last 4 years as a finance analyst for a Fortune 50 manufacturing company

Journey to Breaking into the 700’s

  • 6/30 – Start basic studying
  • 7/14 – GMAT Practice Test 1: 620 (Q44,V31)
  • 7/21 – MGMAT Test 1: 660 (Q43,V37)
  • 7/28 – MGMAT Test 2: 660 (Q45,V37)
  • 8/04 – MGMAT Test 3: Quit early
  • 8/04 – MGMAT Test 4: 620 (Q43,V33)
  • 8/25 – GMAT Practice Test 1: 700 (Q45,V40)
  • 9/02 – MGMAT Test 5: 640 (Q44,V34)
  • 9/08 – GMAT Practice Test 2: 700 (Q47,V39)
  • 9/16 – GMAT: 710 (Q49,V38)

Resources Used (in order of importance)

  • Original GMAT Book (13th Edition)
  • GMATPrep Practice Tests & GMATPrep Question Pack 1
  • Magoosh Online GMAT Prep
  • Manhattan GMAT Test Bank
  • PowerScore GMAT Critical Reasoning Bible (boosted my CR from 50% to 90%)
  • AWA Template
  • Kaplan 800
  • Manhattan Series

Study Schedule

  • Total time investment over 10 weeks: 160 hours*
  • (M-F) Woke up every day about 4:30AM and studied for one hour (1 hr morning)
  • (M-F) Came home for work and studied for another hour (1 hr evening)
  • (Sat) Studied for about 4-6 hours (until I would get burnt out) (4-6 hrs day)
  • (Sun) Took a practice test and then examined the results after (2-4 hrs day)


  • ABSOLUTELY have to keep track of WHEN and HOW MUCH you study. It will keep you on track.
  • Absolutely loved Magoosh as it laid a great foundation for the GMAT and the GMAT material
  • I only got familiar with the IR via Magoosh and practiced it for 4 hours max
  • I only wrote one essay the night before the GMAT using the template
  • I traveled a lot in the month of August (low study month)
  • Took only cold showers (how I was able to work 60 hours a week and study 20 hours a week); if motivation to study is holding you back check out this TED talk

What I would have changed

  • Error Log…if I had one I know I would have gotten a higher score
  • Spent too much time studying concepts and not enough time studying questions (with an error log)
  • Should have spent more time with my CATs
  • I truly believe that how I studied got me to the 700 club; however to get to the mid 700s, more emphasis needs to be put on the Manhattan Books and Kaplan 800

Ask me questions if you would like insight or help…

23 Responses to “How I got a 710 on my first try”

  1. hugoness


    Congrats on your great score! Can I ask what is going to be your strategy to get to 750?
    I also scored 710 3 months ago, and at first thought about retaking, but I think I am going to go with it.

    • grantmeadmission

      Absolutely! I will be using The Economist’s GMAT online class with their 50 point guarantee. Make sure you check out all the details and there is also a 15% discount floating on the internet. It is pricy though ($550 with the discount).

  2. texaswannabecali

    I have definitely been thinking about using MAGOOSH for a while now, but I have read mixed reviews on its content level. Everyone seems to agree that it lays a great foundation for the GMAT, but the content is more on a beginner/intermediate level not so much for the advanced 700+ score. What would you say? I am wondering if i use MAGOOSH, will that plus the prep materials I already have be enough to get me over the 700 threshold or should i go for a course aimed at more advanced scores, but will most likely be more expensive.

    • GrantMeAdmission

      Magoosh is definitely evolving… Ultimately you have to find what works for YOU. Magoosh is the only service that offers a written solution and video solution FOR EVERY QUESTION. For $100 it’s worth it to me.

  3. Tc

    You really got me with the cold showers thing. I used to do that in undergrad to make me more focused when I was competing and training at my sport. I never associated its benefits outside of that though but it makes perfect sense. I bombed the GMAT a couple years ago and pretty much gave up after that, so anything that helps to increase motivation and/or concentration I think will really help me. The rest of the content here is really insightful too. Thanks for posting this.

  4. kingcraiger

    Can you break down specifically, how the $250 was allocated? You seem to list many resources. The Manhattan GMAT Interact is $799 and Magoosh is $100. Any specific advice on where to spend money and where to save money would be greatly appreciated. And congrats on your stellar scores!

    • GrantMeAdmission

      Thanks for the compliment!
      Magoosh – $100
      Manhattan CATs – $50
      Used Manhattan Books – $100
      The other stuff I got from friends

  5. NB

    Congrats on a great score on the first attempt! Can you give me a general sense of the sources that you used during the different stages/weeks before your exams? For example, did you use Magoosh more heavily in the beginning to learn the core principles and more of another resource towards the end when you wanted to learn strategy. Thanks!

  6. maely


    I am studying the gmat in the economist course. I have done 30% of the course and i will do the gmat at december 11.

    Do you think this course is enogh to get 700? What others book can support to get that score?

    Thanks in advanced.


  7. rachel

    Great job! What do you recommend to those who don’t have the financial resource to purchase all the softwares? I only have the official guide and I’ve looked into Manhattan GMAT but it’s so expensive…

  8. Jojo

    Congrats on you’re score! I am using Magoosh myself and I am struggling with the hard difficulty questions of the quant section. I only need a 600 score but I don’t know if the easy and medium difficulty questions of Magoosh are enough for that.

    I only have four weeks left with around 20 hours per week worth of study so what should I do to make sure I get a score of 600 on my first try?

    • GrantMeAdmission

      I honestly think you should be getting 100% of the easy and medium questions correctly. Also I think you should be trying the hard questions as well. Don’t forget to build up your endurance by taking the ENTIRE test (AWA and IR included)!!! Good luck, I am rooting for you!

  9. Nik_uzb

    Congrats! What you can advice for the person who has studied 5 years before and since that engaged in work and family! Will magoosh online course help to get 700? I’ll much appreciate your advice and help on this

  10. Rachel C.

    Thanks for this insightful post! I was skeptical of Magoosh given the much lower price than other courses, but these comments have been helpful.

    Can you elaborate on the error log? What would you recommend for that?

  11. Kovid Maheshwari

    Hey there

    This seems to be a really nice wall with a very clear way of how to proceed ahead in GMAT prep. I gave my GMAT scored 700. But I reckon the colleges I’m focusing , I’d need somewhere around 750 considering my average academic background and undergrad score. Although I have 3 years of work ex as a project manager in a big conglomerate, but I still feel the need to improvise with my scores to have a better shot at the top 15 b schools. As I stay in India I was thinking of taking 549$ Manhattan GMAT verbal Interact . I scored 49 in Quant in GMAT but fared with just 36 in verbal. Need to work more on that . I have got all the 6th edition of Manhattan Prep Books along with the Test series unlocked and Question Banks . I tried all the OG 16 problems as well which I feel are of intermediate level and not that tough as compared to Manhattan. It’s at par with Kaplan. Thinking of giving GMAT in the 2nd week of November 15. Want to enroll as 16 fall Apllicant. Round 2 around the corner now . Plz recommend or suggest a way ahead for me .


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