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450 to 730, A satisfying journey

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Joined: 07 Aug 2015
Posts: 23
Schools: NTU '17, XLRI
GMAT 1: 640 Q47 V31
GMAT 2: 730 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.73
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [2] , given: 15

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450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2015, 06:09
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Disclamer: this is an extremely long debrief!!

PRECLUDE

As I was looking for better job opportunities, which were not quite available, so I thought of enhancing my profile by earning an Executive MBA and so the next logical step was to appear for GMAT. After spending sometime doing research I found GMATPrep software and downloaded it and one fine Sunday in the month of May-15 I appeared for mock and scored a 450(Q30, V20). Thus, it was quite clear to me that my journey was going to be a long and challenging one.

Material Used:

1. OG Guides, including Verbal and Quant guides, (A must for prep)
2. Manhattan Guides- only SC, RC, CR, Number Properties, Word Problem and Advanced Maths Guide
3. Kaplan 800(Good for SC & CR)
4. E-Gmat verbal online course (Don't buy this course at its face value, for reasons please read Second attempt section of my debrief)
5. Magoosh Premium course( Best value course with some highly enthusiastic tutors who are always "Happy to help"!!

FIRST ATTEMPT

So, I ordered the OG, and Manhattan guides and started the preparation. I did not booked my appointment out-rightly because I wanted achieve a good proficiency before appearing for the actual test. I must say Manhattan SC guides are a must for SC preparation, while its RC and CR guides are quite not that insightful but still one gets a fair idea of the type of questions and the probable wrong answers in RC and CR.

After working on practice problems and Manhattan books I appeared for first CAT( which was the part of 6 CAT's one receives with Manhattan guides) and scores a mere 580. Quite disappointed with my score I started putting in more hours for preparation and simultaneously booked my exam on 8th October 15. In the meantime my scores in other CATs were as follows:

GMAT Prep # 1: Sept 14- 650 , Q47, V32
GMAT Prep # 2: Sept 21- 670, Q46, V34
GMAT Prep # 3: Sept 29 - 710, Q48, V39- some questions on verbal were repeated
GMAT Prep # 4: Oct 4 - 670, Q47, V35- 2-3 questions repeated in verbal

Meanwhile in 2 MGMAT CATs my scores were 580 and 600. So I was quite confused about my actual proficiency. Still I felt I was quite comfortable in Quant but the scores in Verbal used to alter between 31 and 35. But as the scheduled test date was coming near I rather decided to ignore the fluctuation in verbal scores and concentrate on the test.

Finally I appeared on the test on 8th Oct and scored a disappointing 640(Q47, V31). The verbal concern which I ignored haunted me in the test. Exetion stepped in by the end of quant and I was not able to comprehend with required concentration during verbal section.


[highlight]SECOND ATTEMPT[/highlight]

Quite disappointed by my verbal score I enrolled for E Gmat's Verbal online course on the same day. I had once enrolled for its free trail and I liked the systematic approach followed by Rajat and Payal. The video lessons provided were of topmost quality and I started liking the course and eventually fell in love with it. The ability concept that Rajat explains in Strategy session was quite insightful for focusing my approach. Plus the pre-thinking strategy is a must to conquer CR and some question types if RC.

During my preparation for second attempt I devoted my 80% time in verbal preparation and just used to solve few quant questions from MGMAT Advanced guide every few days.
I again booked my re-test on 23rd Nov 15 and I was hopeful to score higher than the previous attempt as I had given satisfactory amount of time and energy in preparation. During the same time I used to appear for mocks from MGMAT and also used to appear for Ability quizzes/ custom quizzes which were an inherent part of E-GMAT course. But I noticed something disturbing in the results of ability quizzes. Out of 5 to 6 ability/ custom quizzes, in 90% quizzes I used to achieve 70% ability but in every 1 quiz out of ever 5-6 quizzes my ability dropped to around 50%. This statistics were quite disturbing for me because you don't want that one odd quiz result to coincide with your actual GMAT test.

So, I mailed E-Gmat's support center and to my surprise they did not respond till the 5th day, and the reply that came was also not that satisfactory. During free webinars conducted by Rajat, he used to convincingly say repeatedly that for any difficulties we can mail him at so and so email address so I thought to give it a try and to my surprise some Mr. S replied who was the same fellow who replied to my previous query. A day before the test I got a mail from Payal giving some insights to handle the test well and to inform her the scores that I will receive on the test(Although I later realized that this mail was a computer generated one).Gathering all my courage I appeared for the test on 23rd Nov.

Now somehow as I had devoted less time to quant preparation I struggled a bit in that section, but I hold my nerves and continued the verbal section. I found the RC passages quite tough to comprehend than what I had practiced on E-Gmat. After the test, to my absolute disgust I scored a 640 again this time Q49 and V28. So after spending $199 on verbal specific course I actually ended up scoring 3 points less in verbal than what I scored when I prepared on my own! The same day I repl

On after thought I felt that EGmat course has a good marketing team which convinces you for sure shot success by giving you gimmicks such as "Improve your score by XX points in XX Days". Please don't fall in such traps. You need to be substantially proficient to do such wonders in such a short duration of time.
In utter disappointment I replied to the mail from payal informing her the score I received and asking her for suggestions to improve it further. In meantime I enrolled for Magoosh Premium course as I was aware that the duration that E Gmat requires to reply to your queries is greater than that required by full moon to get converted to half moon. I got the reply to my query again from Mr. S which than forwarded my query to Mr. K. This whole process took 17 days to complete and by the time I received a reply showing me my shortcomings and blaming me for the results I received, I was 3 days short of my third re-take.


THIRD & FINAL ATTEMPT:


Now few thoughts about Magoosh: this is the most underrated course of GMAT prep, why I felt so is due to the course material was almost at par with EGmat corse except the pre and post concept quizzes. The price Magoosh demands from us is negligible for the service it offers. I made them answer to my queries atleast a dozen times in duration of two weeks. I must say the insights that were offered by its tutor was far more helpful than any advice by E Gmat tutors. Also, the reply came in just 15 hours(this was a big takeaway for me after my experience with eGmat). they made me read The Economist to improve the problem I faced while comprehending on actual test. Believe me they have great free blogs and free videos by kevin, both of which gives great insights for preparing for the big day.

So finally I appeared on 18th December, and though I faced some rustiness in my quant section, I was quite comfortable with verbal than I was during the last attempt. Finally, with a thumping heartbeat(which I doubt even fellow exam takers might have heard) I closed my eyes cause I was afraid to look at my scores, but to my delight I scores a 730(Q49, V41) on my third attempt.

Thus, came the end to my 6 month long journey.

Aplogizes for such a long debrief, please feel free to ask me for clarifying something !!

Thanks and Best Luck for the GMAT !!!
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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2015, 10:31
hss0505 wrote:
Disclamer: this is an extremely long debrief!!

PRECLUDE


On after thought I felt that EGmat course has a good marketing team which convinces you for sure shot success by giving you gimmicks such as "Improve your score by XX points in XX Days". Please don't fall in such traps. You need to be substantially proficient to do such wonders in such a short duration of time.
In utter disappointment I replied to the mail from payal informing her the score I received and asking her for suggestions to improve it further. In meantime I enrolled for Magoosh Premium course as I was aware that the duration that E Gmat requires to reply to your queries is greater than that required by full moon to get conve

Thanks and Best Luck for the GMAT !!!


congrats on the great score! good job! man you should be less demanding to them, they do their job for the money they ask. besides 5 days is a comparable response rate. u can read my debrief in the same thread re exp. with prep companies: spending $grands on live or on demand courses delivers less value than usually anticipated, only individual hard work brings the top results, perhaps spending those grands on h2h individual classes is a sensible investment when one is stuck, needs to get his gameplan reshaken etc

can u please expand a bit more on your magoosh exp? i need to work on my quant. so i am considering them as a good price for value provider. did u use their resources to brush up on quant or verbal? as regards verbal, what helped you to kick up your score?

thank you in advance. good luck with application season!
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Joined: 07 Aug 2015
Posts: 23
Schools: NTU '17, XLRI
GMAT 1: 640 Q47 V31
GMAT 2: 730 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.73
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [1] , given: 15

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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2015, 20:36
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shasadou

Although I enrolled mainly to brush up my verbal score, still its quant questions and course material is excellent. I actually liked its quant questions more than I liked those of Manhattan and Kaplan. Magoosh's quant ques are tricky just as are of GMAT.

You can even try GMATClub tests for quant score improvement. Although it has many off the mark questions but you can still practice easy and medium questions from the same. May be GMAT Club is opening up its tests for free practice during Christmas days, you can surely check them out during this days. Similarly, you can enroll for free 7 day trail of Magoosh and evaluate its questions and decide for yourself which you are more satisfied with. Though I will suggest Magoosh !!

As for my verbal score, after two failed attempts which gave me V31 and V28 I felt the time factor was mainly responsible for my faltering on verbal i.e. the exhaustion which kicks by sitting for 3 hours on exam led to low score on verbal. So I decided to reduce my input to AWA and IR and keep my mind fresh for verbal questions and the result is before you.!!

Hope this answers your question.
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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2015, 10:08
I am continuously struggling with the RC passages. Can you please suggest an alternative way out?

Have enrolled for Magoosh premium.


hss0505 wrote:
Disclamer: this is an extremely long debrief!!

PRECLUDE

As I was looking for better job opportunities, which were not quite available, so I thought of enhancing my profile by earning an Executive MBA and so the next logical step was to appear for GMAT. After spending sometime doing research I found GMATPrep software and downloaded it and one fine Sunday in the month of May-15 I appeared for mock and scored a 450(Q30, V20). Thus, it was quite clear to me that my journey was going to be a long and challenging one.

Material Used:

1. OG Guides, including Verbal and Quant guides, (A must for prep)
2. Manhattan Guides- only SC, RC, CR, Number Properties, Word Problem and Advanced Maths Guide
3. Kaplan 800(Good for SC & CR)
4. E-Gmat verbal online course (Don't buy this course at its face value, for reasons please read Second attempt section of my debrief)
5. Magoosh Premium course( Best value course with some highly enthusiastic tutors who are always "Happy to help"!!

FIRST ATTEMPT

So, I ordered the OG, and Manhattan guides and started the preparation. I did not booked my appointment out-rightly because I wanted achieve a good proficiency before appearing for the actual test. I must say Manhattan SC guides are a must for SC preparation, while its RC and CR guides are quite not that insightful but still one gets a fair idea of the type of questions and the probable wrong answers in RC and CR.

After working on practice problems and Manhattan books I appeared for first CAT( which was the part of 6 CAT's one receives with Manhattan guides) and scores a mere 580. Quite disappointed with my score I started putting in more hours for preparation and simultaneously booked my exam on 8th October 15. In the meantime my scores in other CATs were as follows:

GMAT Prep # 1: Sept 14- 650 , Q47, V32
GMAT Prep # 2: Sept 21- 670, Q46, V34
GMAT Prep # 3: Sept 29 - 710, Q48, V39- some questions on verbal were repeated
GMAT Prep # 4: Oct 4 - 670, Q47, V35- 2-3 questions repeated in verbal

Meanwhile in 2 MGMAT CATs my scores were 580 and 600. So I was quite confused about my actual proficiency. Still I felt I was quite comfortable in Quant but the scores in Verbal used to alter between 31 and 35. But as the scheduled test date was coming near I rather decided to ignore the fluctuation in verbal scores and concentrate on the test.

Finally I appeared on the test on 8th Oct and scored a disappointing 640(Q47, V31). The verbal concern which I ignored haunted me in the test. Exetion stepped in by the end of quant and I was not able to comprehend with required concentration during verbal section.


[highlight]SECOND ATTEMPT[/highlight]

Quite disappointed by my verbal score I enrolled for E Gmat's Verbal online course on the same day. I had once enrolled for its free trail and I liked the systematic approach followed by Rajat and Payal. The video lessons provided were of topmost quality and I started liking the course and eventually fell in love with it. The ability concept that Rajat explains in Strategy session was quite insightful for focusing my approach. Plus the pre-thinking strategy is a must to conquer CR and some question types if RC.

During my preparation for second attempt I devoted my 80% time in verbal preparation and just used to solve few quant questions from MGMAT Advanced guide every few days.
I again booked my re-test on 23rd Nov 15 and I was hopeful to score higher than the previous attempt as I had given satisfactory amount of time and energy in preparation. During the same time I used to appear for mocks from MGMAT and also used to appear for Ability quizzes/ custom quizzes which were an inherent part of E-GMAT course. But I noticed something disturbing in the results of ability quizzes. Out of 5 to 6 ability/ custom quizzes, in 90% quizzes I used to achieve 70% ability but in every 1 quiz out of ever 5-6 quizzes my ability dropped to around 50%. This statistics were quite disturbing for me because you don't want that one odd quiz result to coincide with your actual GMAT test.

So, I mailed E-Gmat's support center and to my surprise they did not respond till the 5th day, and the reply that came was also not that satisfactory. During free webinars conducted by Rajat, he used to convincingly say repeatedly that for any difficulties we can mail him at so and so email address so I thought to give it a try and to my surprise some Mr. S replied who was the same fellow who replied to my previous query. A day before the test I got a mail from Payal giving some insights to handle the test well and to inform her the scores that I will receive on the test(Although I later realized that this mail was a computer generated one).Gathering all my courage I appeared for the test on 23rd Nov.

Now somehow as I had devoted less time to quant preparation I struggled a bit in that section, but I hold my nerves and continued the verbal section. I found the RC passages quite tough to comprehend than what I had practiced on E-Gmat. After the test, to my absolute disgust I scored a 640 again this time Q49 and V28. So after spending $199 on verbal specific course I actually ended up scoring 3 points less in verbal than what I scored when I prepared on my own! The same day I repl

On after thought I felt that EGmat course has a good marketing team which convinces you for sure shot success by giving you gimmicks such as "Improve your score by XX points in XX Days". Please don't fall in such traps. You need to be substantially proficient to do such wonders in such a short duration of time.
In utter disappointment I replied to the mail from payal informing her the score I received and asking her for suggestions to improve it further. In meantime I enrolled for Magoosh Premium course as I was aware that the duration that E Gmat requires to reply to your queries is greater than that required by full moon to get converted to half moon. I got the reply to my query again from Mr. S which than forwarded my query to Mr. K. This whole process took 17 days to complete and by the time I received a reply showing me my shortcomings and blaming me for the results I received, I was 3 days short of my third re-take.


THIRD & FINAL ATTEMPT:


Now few thoughts about Magoosh: this is the most underrated course of GMAT prep, why I felt so is due to the course material was almost at par with EGmat corse except the pre and post concept quizzes. The price Magoosh demands from us is negligible for the service it offers. I made them answer to my queries atleast a dozen times in duration of two weeks. I must say the insights that were offered by its tutor was far more helpful than any advice by E Gmat tutors. Also, the reply came in just 15 hours(this was a big takeaway for me after my experience with eGmat). they made me read The Economist to improve the problem I faced while comprehending on actual test. Believe me they have great free blogs and free videos by kevin, both of which gives great insights for preparing for the big day.

So finally I appeared on 18th December, and though I faced some rustiness in my quant section, I was quite comfortable with verbal than I was during the last attempt. Finally, with a thumping heartbeat(which I doubt even fellow exam takers might have heard) I closed my eyes cause I was afraid to look at my scores, but to my delight I scores a 730(Q49, V41) on my third attempt.

Thus, came the end to my 6 month long journey.

Aplogizes for such a long debrief, please feel free to ask me for clarifying something !!

Thanks and Best Luck for the GMAT !!!
Intern
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avatar
Joined: 07 Aug 2015
Posts: 23
Schools: NTU '17, XLRI
GMAT 1: 640 Q47 V31
GMAT 2: 730 Q49 V41
GPA: 3.73
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 15

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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2015, 11:23
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pramit87 Initially I too struggled with RC passages and so I mailed to Magoosh Support service which gave me some invaluable tips which I am happy to share with you:

First and foremost without any further delay please subscribe to The Economist magazine(Digital edition), it costs INR 70/week(so less for a good RC score). Please make a habit to reach atleast 2-3 articles from it every day. Actually, do not only read but practice "Active reading" on the same. Doing so will help you to absorb GMAT verbiage easily. While reading ask yourself some pertinent questions such as what is the main idea, what is structure of passage, etc. One advice that clicked me the most was " Read as if your life depends on it". Understanding the passage is half the battle won, so practice reading passages I such a way that helps you absorb the purpose and structure of the passage.

You can find active reading tips in this blogs:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/gmat-tuesdays-with-kevin-what-active-reading-looks-like/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2015/gmat-tuesdays-active-reading-strategies-for-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/reading-for-the-gmat-the-economist/

Also, please get good at understanding & identifying types of wrong answer choices. Doing so will surely help you eliminate atleast 3 answer choices.

Also as you are student of MAgoosh Premium you must be having access to RC lesson videos, please go through "Dissecting the Passage" lesson and practice "Mental Snapshots" which is mentioned in the video. This really helped me a lot.

Lastly to replicate actual GMAT verbal experience, please practice for RC & CR in the evenings, when you are actually mentally exhausted. Because while on actual test you will face a similar mental state while answering verbal questions!

Hope this helps, if you still have some particular question, do reply, I will be happy to elaborate !
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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2015, 21:29
Good tips and thanks a lot for the insights.

One more honest experience would like you to share regarding the GMAT(Verbal +Quant) as to how much deviation is it from the OG 15 or OG 16?

Since you have appeared for the test and mastered it all the way, it will be helpful if you can share the experience of the Test when compared to the standard of questions in the OG.

Thanks again in advance.
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Schools: NTU '17, XLRI
GMAT 1: 640 Q47 V31
GMAT 2: 730 Q49 V41
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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 24 Dec 2015, 22:07
pramit87 We cannot expect GMAC to reveal all its cards even before we appear for test i.e. the questions which are on OG are just a small sample of the types we can expect on the actual test. On the actual test you can expect some hard questions as and when you answer your questions correctly and reach a hard datum.

Also, SC questions won't have easily recognizable splits as we see on practice questions. You will have to apply your knowledge to reach a correct answer. While on CR & RC, it won't be difficult for you if you will practice enough questions such that you are able to point out the ways GMAT introduces errors while formulating wrong answer choices. Having said that I would also add that actual GMAT RC passages might get hard to comprehend under given conditions of stress & anxiety of actual test. To overcome this I will repeat my advice of reading Economist as much as possible.

On quant, if you will practice enough questions, than the similarity with OG questions won't matter as you will be able to answer it correctly any how.

So in a nutshell, stop worrying about the level of questions on actual test and practice as much as possible. You can also use GMATPrep Question Pack 1 for practice. It has good questions than those of OG.

Best Luck!!
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450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2015, 00:35
Hi,
First off congratulations on that dream score. After reading your debrief I feel I am facing the same problems in verbal section as you did earlier. My verbal score is hovering around early 30's (usually 30-32) and I thought to myself that I need more practice esp in CR and RC (those are my weak categories). But no matter how much I practice Im just not improving. It's so frustrating! However, I am good at quant section. My score is usually around 46 and I believe I can still improve, but verbal manhh! Can you please share in detail your strategies, how you overcame your pacing problem and any extra tips you feel are required for me. And one more thing you said at beginning of your debrief that you were looking for a job and instead you decided to prepare for GMAT, do you have any work-ex? Looking forward for you reply!

Cheers :)
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Schools: NTU '17, XLRI
GMAT 1: 640 Q47 V31
GMAT 2: 730 Q49 V41
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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2015, 02:39
Sash143 Yes I do have 7 years of work ex. I was talking about job change opportunities!

Now to your verbal issue, as I mentioned in my previous reply in this post- To achieve a good score in RC & CR, it is mandatory to develop a habit of reading good quality English material such as The Economist. Also, please perform error analysis on the questions that you get wrong. this is very important as you must know why you are choosing the wrong ans and why the correct ans is correct !please find details how to perform error analysis here:http://magoosh.com/gmat/2015/studying-for-the-gmat-learning-from-your-mistakes/

Also, no matter how much you practice, you won't be able to increase your score unless you follow a consistent approach which is suggested by many prep companies( I hope you have enrolled for one), i.e. for CR : you must find assumptions in the argument and pre-think the right answer before you eliminate answer choices and for RC: you must read the passage actively so as to understand the structure & purpose of each and every paragraph.

Also for both CR & RC you must read the argument/ passage to understand it. If you will not grasp the argument/ passage than you are bound to falter. For pacing: I will suggest you to first focus on getting a desired level of accuracy and then focus on pacing.

Lastly, I am attaching some blogs for your review. Hope this blogs help you. Please reply if I missed to answer something or for any other specific query.

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/pacing-and-timing-strategies-for-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2011/gmat-tip-timing-strategies/
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New post 25 Dec 2015, 04:19
Thanks for the reply. I'll definitely make a point to add these strategies to my repertoire!
Last thing, I have exhausted most of my verbal resources so is it worth spending time and money on Magoosh verbal (considering my present situation) ?!
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New post 25 Dec 2015, 05:36
If you have about one month to go for the actual test, than you should go for Magoosh course. It has about 400 verbal questions which provides extensive practice for test. Plus the student support facility of Magoosh is excellent. You can shoot any queries to them. They are very helpful.

Best luck!
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Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey [#permalink]

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New post 25 Dec 2015, 13:04
Many congrats hss0505 and all the best for application process.
I'm preparing for GMAT but I'm inconsistent due to work and lack of focus. My quant score varies around 42 but my verbal never improved from 17-19 mark, even after taking e-GMAT. I also had similar experience like yours from e-GMAT. need some help/guidance to work on my verbal skills. comprehending is my weak area, still Im practicing question from OG. I take minimum 15 min to solve verbal question. Even I thought of applying to colleges in Jan but I'm not yet close to my desired score.
Thanks for your guidance.
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New post 25 Dec 2015, 21:14
lipsi18 In your post you yourself identified the main reason for not achieving the desired score in GMAT: " Lack of focus". Unless and until you are not clear regarding the reasons and are not motivated enough to enroll in a B School, you will find conquering GMAT difficult. So, take a break from GMAT for a week to evaluate "how important it is for you to have a MBA degree and how will you prepare to earn it". I am asking you to do so is because GMAT demands unparallel devotion and diligence. You will have to let go some of your recreational activities such as watching TV, outing with friends, etc to focus more on the GMAT.

Having said that, for your quant score I feel that with enough practice and proper error analysis you will be able to reach required proficiency. So I am not focusing much on that in my reply.

Coming to verbal part: Note that achieving verbal proficiency takes more time and energy than those required by verbal, so don't loose hope. From your post I feel that you might be hurrying in your approach on verbal. Please take a breath and diligently follow the concept files and move to next concept only when you are comfortable with the ongoing concept. Please make sure to answer each and every quiz which are inherent in the EGmat concept videos.

Also, practice the strategies recommended by EGmat i.e. for CR: pre-thinking and finding assumptions , for RC: 7 step reading process and for SC: meaning and error analysis. This strategies will take time to master, but once mastered they will do wonders for you. For the time being stop worrying about pacing and focus on getting proficient on mastering this strategies. Once you master those then you will increase your pace subsequently.

You also mentioned that you are working on OG, I hope you are complementing OG questions as recommended by EGMAT.i.e. they recommend going through OG questions once you complete a concept. Also, please make sure you are reading to understand. Ensure that you are not missing the whole point of the argument/ passage while reading.

With respect to issues regarding comprehending I will re-iterate my advice of subscribing to The Economist and reading 2-3 articles daily.( You can do so in your lunch break at work, they even have a mobile friendly subscription). Please practice active reading as shown in this blogs:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/gmat-tuesdays-with-kevin-what-active-reading-looks-like/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2015/gmat-tuesdays-active-reading-strategies-for-the-gmat/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/how-to-study-for-gmat-reading-comprehension/

Also, make sure to practice enough question from EGMAT Scholaranium, but only after mastering the strategies of prethinking, finding assumptions, error analysis, etc.

Please postpone applying to b Schools this jan, rather focus on achieving a great GMAT score. I am posting 3/6 month verbal specific study plans for your perusal. Please replace Magoosh and manhattan books in the blog with EGMAT and pursue the study plan.

http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/3-month-gmat-study-schedule-verbal-focused/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/6-month-gmat-study-schedule/

Lastly, please work on your approach to verbal questions and follow the recommended strategies before moving forward. Please don't rush through GMAT, it demands a minimum amount of devotion to conquer. If I missed on some part of your question or for any further elaboration, please reply to this post.

Work harder, with devotion and I see no reason for you not achieving the desired score!

Best Luck.
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New post 30 Dec 2015, 10:52
Congratulations on your GMAT score. You mentioned in your post technique for Critical Reasoning i.e. pre-thinking and finding assumptions before evaluating answer choices. I am facing difficulty in how to improve my CR skills. I have done all OG questions, yet still I get less than half of CR questions correct and on difficult CR questions I take 3 mins to solve question. Can you please guide me how I can improve in CR?
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New post 30 Dec 2015, 20:42
zn3501 Techniques such as pre-thinking & finding assumptions are inherent part of E-gmat verbal online course. Still I can give you a brief idea:

1. Finding assumptions: this technique consists of finding the underlying assumptions while you read the argument the first time(before reading answer choices). Even though you might not reach the same assumption as the original argument reaches but still doing so will ensure that you understood the argument properly and thus with sufficient understanding of the argument you can pre-think an answer to the given question.

2. Pre-thinking: This technique is similar to finding assumptions but in pre-thinking you pre-think the answer before you look at the answer choices. The purpose is also to ensure that you are well versed with the understanding of the argument. Plus with a probable answer in the back of your mind it is always easy to eliminate wrong answers and zero in on the correct one.

If my answer doesn't make sense to you and/ or you want to know more about these techniques, then I recommend you to join EGMAT course. If you are good at SC & RC and only want to focus on CR then you can join EGmat CR course for $69 here: https://e-gmat.com/buy/#GMAT-Individual-Course
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New post 04 Jan 2016, 12:02
hss0505 wrote:
Disclamer: this is an extremely long debrief!!

PRECLUDE

As I was looking for better job opportunities, which were not quite available, so I thought of enhancing my profile by earning an Executive MBA and so the next logical step was to appear for GMAT. After spending sometime doing research I found GMATPrep software and downloaded it and one fine Sunday in the month of May-15 I appeared for mock and scored a 450(Q30, V20). Thus, it was quite clear to me that my journey was going to be a long and challenging one.

Material Used:

1. OG Guides, including Verbal and Quant guides, (A must for prep)
2. Manhattan Guides- only SC, RC, CR, Number Properties, Word Problem and Advanced Maths Guide
3. Kaplan 800(Good for SC & CR)
4. E-Gmat verbal online course (Don't buy this course at its face value, for reasons please read Second attempt section of my debrief)
5. Magoosh Premium course( Best value course with some highly enthusiastic tutors who are always "Happy to help"!!

FIRST ATTEMPT

So, I ordered the OG, and Manhattan guides and started the preparation. I did not booked my appointment out-rightly because I wanted achieve a good proficiency before appearing for the actual test. I must say Manhattan SC guides are a must for SC preparation, while its RC and CR guides are quite not that insightful but still one gets a fair idea of the type of questions and the probable wrong answers in RC and CR.

After working on practice problems and Manhattan books I appeared for first CAT( which was the part of 6 CAT's one receives with Manhattan guides) and scores a mere 580. Quite disappointed with my score I started putting in more hours for preparation and simultaneously booked my exam on 8th October 15. In the meantime my scores in other CATs were as follows:

GMAT Prep # 1: Sept 14- 650 , Q47, V32
GMAT Prep # 2: Sept 21- 670, Q46, V34
GMAT Prep # 3: Sept 29 - 710, Q48, V39- some questions on verbal were repeated
GMAT Prep # 4: Oct 4 - 670, Q47, V35- 2-3 questions repeated in verbal

Meanwhile in 2 MGMAT CATs my scores were 580 and 600. So I was quite confused about my actual proficiency. Still I felt I was quite comfortable in Quant but the scores in Verbal used to alter between 31 and 35. But as the scheduled test date was coming near I rather decided to ignore the fluctuation in verbal scores and concentrate on the test.

Finally I appeared on the test on 8th Oct and scored a disappointing 640(Q47, V31). The verbal concern which I ignored haunted me in the test. Exetion stepped in by the end of quant and I was not able to comprehend with required concentration during verbal section.


[highlight]SECOND ATTEMPT[/highlight]

Quite disappointed by my verbal score I enrolled for E Gmat's Verbal online course on the same day. I had once enrolled for its free trail and I liked the systematic approach followed by Rajat and Payal. The video lessons provided were of topmost quality and I started liking the course and eventually fell in love with it. The ability concept that Rajat explains in Strategy session was quite insightful for focusing my approach. Plus the pre-thinking strategy is a must to conquer CR and some question types if RC.

During my preparation for second attempt I devoted my 80% time in verbal preparation and just used to solve few quant questions from MGMAT Advanced guide every few days.
I again booked my re-test on 23rd Nov 15 and I was hopeful to score higher than the previous attempt as I had given satisfactory amount of time and energy in preparation. During the same time I used to appear for mocks from MGMAT and also used to appear for Ability quizzes/ custom quizzes which were an inherent part of E-GMAT course. But I noticed something disturbing in the results of ability quizzes. Out of 5 to 6 ability/ custom quizzes, in 90% quizzes I used to achieve 70% ability but in every 1 quiz out of ever 5-6 quizzes my ability dropped to around 50%. This statistics were quite disturbing for me because you don't want that one odd quiz result to coincide with your actual GMAT test.

So, I mailed E-Gmat's support center and to my surprise they did not respond till the 5th day, and the reply that came was also not that satisfactory. During free webinars conducted by Rajat, he used to convincingly say repeatedly that for any difficulties we can mail him at so and so email address so I thought to give it a try and to my surprise some Mr. S replied who was the same fellow who replied to my previous query. A day before the test I got a mail from Payal giving some insights to handle the test well and to inform her the scores that I will receive on the test(Although I later realized that this mail was a computer generated one).Gathering all my courage I appeared for the test on 23rd Nov.

Now somehow as I had devoted less time to quant preparation I struggled a bit in that section, but I hold my nerves and continued the verbal section. I found the RC passages quite tough to comprehend than what I had practiced on E-Gmat. After the test, to my absolute disgust I scored a 640 again this time Q49 and V28. So after spending $199 on verbal specific course I actually ended up scoring 3 points less in verbal than what I scored when I prepared on my own! The same day I repl

On after thought I felt that EGmat course has a good marketing team which convinces you for sure shot success by giving you gimmicks such as "Improve your score by XX points in XX Days". Please don't fall in such traps. You need to be substantially proficient to do such wonders in such a short duration of time.
In utter disappointment I replied to the mail from payal informing her the score I received and asking her for suggestions to improve it further. In meantime I enrolled for Magoosh Premium course as I was aware that the duration that E Gmat requires to reply to your queries is greater than that required by full moon to get converted to half moon. I got the reply to my query again from Mr. S which than forwarded my query to Mr. K. This whole process took 17 days to complete and by the time I received a reply showing me my shortcomings and blaming me for the results I received, I was 3 days short of my third re-take.


THIRD & FINAL ATTEMPT:


Now few thoughts about Magoosh: this is the most underrated course of GMAT prep, why I felt so is due to the course material was almost at par with EGmat corse except the pre and post concept quizzes. The price Magoosh demands from us is negligible for the service it offers. I made them answer to my queries atleast a dozen times in duration of two weeks. I must say the insights that were offered by its tutor was far more helpful than any advice by E Gmat tutors. Also, the reply came in just 15 hours(this was a big takeaway for me after my experience with eGmat). they made me read The Economist to improve the problem I faced while comprehending on actual test. Believe me they have great free blogs and free videos by kevin, both of which gives great insights for preparing for the big day.

So finally I appeared on 18th December, and though I faced some rustiness in my quant section, I was quite comfortable with verbal than I was during the last attempt. Finally, with a thumping heartbeat(which I doubt even fellow exam takers might have heard) I closed my eyes cause I was afraid to look at my scores, but to my delight I scores a 730(Q49, V41) on my third attempt.

Thus, came the end to my 6 month long journey.

Aplogizes for such a long debrief, please feel free to ask me for clarifying something !!

Thanks and Best Luck for the GMAT !!!

Hello hss
First of all many congratulations for such a great score.
I would like some guidance from you on your strategy for retake.
I have already taken my GMAT in Sept and got a score of 670 (Q 50 and V 30)
Now I would like to retake GMAT to get to a score of 730.
Here are some of my questions for you :
1) What was your strategy during the retakes ?
2) What differently you did in verbal for your retake ?
3) What strategy you followed for SC . For some reason I feel the egmat's startergy for decoding SC is lengthy and I might take up more time than normal to solve SC during the exam. If you used that strategy , what did you do to reduce the timing per question.
4) Any other resources other than Official Guide, EGMAT and Magoosh that you followed for verbal .
My egmat's subscription has ended and I am now subscribed to Magoosh's premium course.
Again thanks for helping us out here and best of all luck with your applications.
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New post 04 Jan 2016, 20:36
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Congrats on great quant score. Given that you again achieve a score of Q50 on your third retake, you must increase your score by 10 points in verbal and target to achieve V40 or V41 for an overall score of 730.

Here are point to point answers to your questions:

1 & 2. My only strategy during retakes was to devote 80% of my study time on verbal prep. Practice as much verbal questions as you can and make an diligent effort to follow the strategies recommended by prep companies. I think one major difference that I noticed between my second & third retake was that before third retake I was able to pin point types of wrong answers and the method GMAT uses to formulate wrong answers.This especially useful in RC & CR. One must practice enough questions to reach such proficiency level. Also error analysis is equally important. By doing error analysis one can recognize traps easily.

One thing I definitely recommend you is to subscribe to The Economist and practice active reading on its articles.I have posted in my previous replies on this thread links to how to practice active reading.

3. I was sufficiently proficient on SC since my first attempt. So SC was not a big concern for me. But having said that I do agree that methods recommended by EGMAT is a bit lengthy. But still you can follow meaning analysis step which is very fairly helpful while dealing with SC questions. I did not followed Error analysis as recommended by EGMAT but rather I used splits and a bit of prethinking the right answer before proceding to answer choices. i.e. I actually thought of why the given sentence was wrong and how it can be corrected before I proceeded for eliminating answer choices.

But even if you still find error analysis method, as recommended by EGMAT, tough to follow, you can still use the first 4 options,( verb, SV, modifier, parallelism) to evaluate wrong answer choices.

4. You can use GMATCLUB tests and Kaplan 800( only good for SC & CR) for further practice for verbal. Hope you have used GMATPrep question pack 1, if not kindly buy the same.

Please get back to me for any further clarifications.
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New post 05 Jan 2016, 07:41
hss0505 wrote:
Congrats on great quant score. Given that you again achieve a score of Q50 on your third retake, you must increase your score by 10 points in verbal and target to achieve V40 or V41 for an overall score of 730.

Here are point to point answers to your questions:

1 & 2. My only strategy during retakes was to devote 80% of my study time on verbal prep. Practice as much verbal questions as you can and make an diligent effort to follow the strategies recommended by prep companies. I think one major difference that I noticed between my second & third retake was that before third retake I was able to pin point types of wrong answers and the method GMAT uses to formulate wrong answers.This especially useful in RC & CR. One must practice enough questions to reach such proficiency level. Also error analysis is equally important. By doing error analysis one can recognize traps easily.

One thing I definitely recommend you is to subscribe to The Economist and practice active reading on its articles.I have posted in my previous replies on this thread links to how to practice active reading.

3. I was sufficiently proficient on SC since my first attempt. So SC was not a big concern for me. But having said that I do agree that methods recommended by EGMAT is a bit lengthy. But still you can follow meaning analysis step which is very fairly helpful while dealing with SC questions. I did not followed Error analysis as recommended by EGMAT but rather I used splits and a bit of prethinking the right answer before proceding to answer choices. i.e. I actually thought of why the given sentence was wrong and how it can be corrected before I proceeded for eliminating answer choices.

But even if you still find error analysis method, as recommended by EGMAT, tough to follow, you can still use the first 4 options,( verb, SV, modifier, parallelism) to evaluate wrong answer choices.

4. You can use GMATCLUB tests and Kaplan 800( only good for SC & CR) for further practice for verbal. Hope you have used GMATPrep question pack 1, if not kindly buy the same.

Please get back to me for any further clarifications.

Thanks hss
Some more questions :
1) What a resources did you targeted for verbal questions ?
2) Have you maintained an error log and would you mind sharing it with me.
3) How many tests did you gave before the actual GMAT ?
4) Did you made any flash cards or notes for verbal ?
5) How should I use Magoosh to improve my verbal.
6) Did you use any LSAT material for CR and RC ??
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New post 05 Jan 2016, 08:34
1. For verbal I mostly used OG, Question Pack 1, EGMAT practice questions & Magoosh Practice questions

2. Of late I did followed an error log, which although is not that structured but I am still happy to share it with you. I am attaching it.

3. I gave GmatPrep (5 tests), MGMAT(6 tests), Magoosh( 1 test), GMATClub(1 test), 800Test(1 test). Thus total of 14 tests over the span of 6 months.

4. I did wrote my own notes while going through EGMAT concept files & I read those periodically & one day before my tests. I didn't used any flashcards

5. the most helpful part of Magoosh is its free blogs & strategies which it recommends in those blogs. Please go through all of its blogs, you will surely find answers to your questions. Plus make use of its student support service. mail them and they will give you some amazing advice. Plus practice as much as you can while spending enough time on error analysis.

6. No, I didn't use any LSAT material.
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New post 05 Jan 2016, 08:41
hss0505 wrote:
1. For verbal I mostly used OG, Question Pack 1, EGMAT practice questions & Magoosh Practice questions

2. Of late I did followed an error log, which although is not that structured but I am still happy to share it with you. I am attaching it.

3. I gave GmatPrep (5 tests), MGMAT(6 tests), Magoosh( 1 test), GMATClub(1 test), 800Test(1 test). Thus total of 14 tests over the span of 6 months.

4. I did wrote my own notes while going through EGMAT concept files & I read those periodically & one day before my tests. I didn't used any flashcards

5. the most helpful part of Magoosh is its free blogs & strategies which it recommends in those blogs. Please go through all of its blogs, you will surely find answers to your questions. Plus make use of its student support service. mail them and they will give you some amazing advice. Plus practice as much as you can while spending enough time on error analysis.

6. No, I didn't use any LSAT material.

HSS
You rock. Thanks for your prompt responses.
I feel that you were in the same boat couple of months ago as I am in right now , therefore it is very nice to hear from you.
I am right now redoing OG and will stick to other material recommended by you.
Again thanks a lot and all the very best for your applications.

PS : My experience is same as yours and I am also targeting the same schools. :):)
Re: 450 to 730, A satisfying journey   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2016, 08:41
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