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580 to 700 -- A journey!

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580 to 700 -- A journey! [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2013, 09:49
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09 January 2012:

My first GMAT attempt. I was all confident to tame the otherwise unseen, scary monster having diligently prepared for last couple of months. I aimed for lower 700s as I knew that my time and capabilities were limited.

When I looked at my scores -- 580 (Q47, V21) -- in the test center I was shell shocked, as though I saw the Loch Ness monster. Somebody who would otherwise have seen this legend would go on to make news, but I was trying to stay from any attention.

I shelved my GMAT prep for a while, but planned to get GMAT out of my way before Round 1 (Oct) in 2012.
I dusted those books and resumed my prep in late June. This time I made few amends to my plan –
1. Kept track of remaining time on GMAT; followed the GMATPrepnow strategy (youtube -- watch?v=doyvboIy3JU)
2. Got hold of 1000 SC and furiously practiced all the questions
3. Tried to further strengthen my CR skills, signed up for eGMAT online course
4. RC – Tried to get the short and medium passage’s questions right. Not skimming but in-depth reading (Well, that’s how I liked it back then!)
5. Put Quant aside for a while, to concentrate solely on Verbal

My MGMAT prep test scores on 9th July 2012: V35, Q39; overall: 620
I wasn’t too concerned about Quant as I knew I was away from it for some time, deliberately. Although my SC and RC hit-rate was still less than 50%, CR’s was >85%.
Coming few days, I completed all the 1000SC questions and was answered the OG12 questions with about 70% accuracy.
RC was still pretty bad and that’s when I thought I need some help there. I signed up for eGMAT verbal online series.
Gave a practice test couple of weeks later and my MGMAT practice scores read – Q44, V35; overall: 650. I wasn’t all pleased with the Verbal score.
I booked my actual GMAT in August, though I was getting nowhere. Took 3 weeks off from office and completed the following
Verbal OG 2nd Edition
• GMAT Prep question pack

Still not confident about my abilities I rescheduled my exam to October, planned to get ready for Round 2. My GMATPrep scores, week before my actual exam, read – 660 and 680. While reviewing these tests I realized I made couple of pretty silly mistakes and should I avoid those on real test, I would be there – in 700s (So I thought)

8th October, 2012


I tried to manage my time for each block of 5 questions (approx. 10 minutes for each 5-6 questions). Hit Submit, Boom! I see my score 630 :( (V31, Q46)
Pretty disappointed, I lost faith in my ability to tame the monster. Fortunately, I didn’t tell many of my friends that I was attempting the exam again, saving me from any embarrassment.

Jan/Feb 2013:

I shared my GMAT resources and a bit of gyaan with my colleague at office. He went on to score 730 on actual test!
Although happy for him, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t apply what I preached --
Couple of points from his notes --
1. Take enough practice tests. Review, and identify potential pitfalls
2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses (Look at those MGMAT practice test reports, they tell it all)
3. Have a target score for Quant and Verbal, not just the total score as 700+
4. Learn to switch to Plan B, when original plan doesn’t work; guess option ‘c’ if you’re totally clueless
For Quant:
a. Back solving
b. Plugging Numbers
5. Do well on initial few questions, it builds confidence and momentum for coming problems. You may need to drive in 1st gear before you switch to the 3rd
6. Different people have different ways to read RC. Identify what works for you
7. Non-underlined portion of SC is as important, if not more, to understand the meaning of the sentence
8. CR is all about identifying conclusions, premises and counter-premises. Especially for strengthen/weaken/evaluate – know what you’re trying to S/W/E. A set of premises can lead to multiple conclusions. Be sure to identify THE conclusion
9. Unless, you’re aiming for 770+, you’ll have certain weak areas and have a plan for those
10. Common sense is so underrated, use it! (This worked pretty well on Work/Rate problems)

I decided I’ll give the beast a final shot. Booked a slot on July 22nd 2013. I just had about 35 days’ time to prepare so I limited my study material to bare minimums
1. OG12 and Verbal 2nd Ed.
2. eGMAT SC and CR notes
3. 2 GMAT Prep tests; 1 Kaplan test (I used up all the MGMAT ones)
Sentence Correction: Just did the ones in OG 12 and Verbal. Carefully applied the eGMAT process. It worked pretty well for me. Got about 82% questions right. Trashed that 1000SC!

Reading Comprehension: Went through Stacey Koprince’s (MGMAT) articles. Broadly identified question types as – “According to passage…” and “Infer…” questions. Tried not to sacrifice all the questions pertaining to a passage, resulting in string of wrong answers, rather mastered to do Purpose, Tone and ‘According to passage’ question types with ease.
However much I tried I still had timing issues with RC so I allocated more time (+1.5 min) to an RC passage that were shot at me during the first 20 questions. Somehow, I took more time to make skimpy notes too! :|

Overall Timing: Dumped the earlier timing strategy and focused on getting the first few right, not because those would have more weightage but to boost my confidence and to rub off the initial friction. I observed that I can’t switch gears as soon as I would want, so during my practice tests I allocated about 2-3 mins extra for first 10 questions.

Critical Reasoning:the only dreaded question type was the Boldface but I made up my mind to sacrifice it, in case it turns up on exam.

Quant: I reviewed all the earlier MGMAT practice test and GMAT OG questions in GMAT Club. Bunuel makes them look so simple! I made sure I have more than one way to solve a problem – search, search and search the problem in forums, you’ll get different ways to solve the same problem.
Practice scores:
GMAT Prep1 : 710 (Don’t remember the individual scores)
Kaplan: 660 (Eww! scared me but I was told that the old tests are inaccurate in scoring)
GMAT Prep2: 720

Test Day


Packed 2 nutritional bars – one for each break. Arrived 30 minutes early, did some skipping in the rest room; Stayed calm throughout the test even when I was behind time by about 4 minutes in Quant.

Official score: 700 (V37, Q48, AWA 5, IR 8) ...and for the Loch Ness monster it's history, so is my GMAT.

By no means it's a great score, but it's a decent improvement!
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Intern
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Status: I can Do it...I will do It!
Joined: 09 Jan 2013
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Re: 580 to 700 -- A journey! [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2013, 00:18
hey aadygo...First off Congratulations on a great score...yes...after all the effort you put in...its a fantastic score :)

could you please give me a few insights tht will be useful to me. I wrote the exam on the same day u did and ended up with a 560 (Q 43, V25), despite getting consistent 680's on all my mocks. M throughly devastated and would like to know the difficulty of quant questions u faced during all ua GMAT's and how did e-GMAT's score help u with CR. Please do let me know, m gunning for a 700 score and m sure i can do it. How tough was verbal for you on the main exam?

And Happy Partying :)
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Re: 580 to 700 -- A journey! [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2013, 01:25
Hey congrates for crossing 700 barrier.
Quote:
Sentence Correction: Just did the ones in OG 12 and Verbal. Carefully applied the eGMAT process. It worked pretty well for me. Got about 82% questions right. Trashed that 1000SC!


what about the accuracy in other verbal areas before and after preperation
Intern
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Joined: 23 Jul 2013
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Schools: Mays '16 (A)
GMAT 1: Q V
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Re: 580 to 700 -- A journey! [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2013, 01:49
@positiveretaker : Thanks :)
It's good to know that you believe you can break the 700 barrier. Especially after the first attempt I had doubts about my ability.

One thing I'd tell, from my experience, is that having a goal of final score, say 720 or 740, is good but make sure what are your target scores for Q and V too. When I reviewed my first few practice attempts I realized my Verbal and Quant scores fluctuated crazy even though I scored 670+

Quant definitely is a notch higher than what I have solved in OG 12, but your approach matters most during the test. Though I never used any advanced resources for Quant, I believe there are good resources such as GMATClub tests or MGMAT Advanced for tougher questions. What I really looked at my subsequent attempts is how best to solve a problem in less than 2 mins and utilize the alternate approaches. So I'd suggest pick the OG 12/13 or any official resource and try to solve a single question with different approaches. GMAT Club has almost all the official questions answered. Spend time on refining your approach before you hit those advanced materials, assuming you are trying for 49+ in Quant.

eGMAT, helped me reinforce my CR concepts, but the breakthrough was in SC. They've a pretty good framework to approach SCs, and SC unlike RC is something that can be conquered easily. Stick as close to Official material as possible for your verbal prep, there isn't much deviation in the difficulty level. I used the GMAT Prep Question pack 1 for my verbal prep and it helped me quite a bit.

Feel free to reply/PM for further questions!

positiveretaker wrote:
hey aadygo...First off Congratulations on a great score...yes...after all the effort you put in...its a fantastic score :)

could you please give me a few insights tht will be useful to me. I wrote the exam on the same day u did and ended up with a 560 (Q 43, V25), despite getting consistent 680's on all my mocks. M throughly devastated and would like to know the difficulty of quant questions u faced during all ua GMAT's and how did e-GMAT's score help u with CR. Please do let me know, m gunning for a 700 score and m sure i can do it. How tough was verbal for you on the main exam?

And Happy Partying :)
Intern
Intern
avatar
Joined: 23 Jul 2013
Posts: 8
Location: India
Schools: Mays '16 (A)
GMAT 1: Q V
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 10 [0], given: 1

Re: 580 to 700 -- A journey! [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2013, 04:13
@sandeeepsharma: Thanks!!

Unfortunately I don't have the metrics of Official Questions before I signed up for eGMAT, but I have stats of MGMAT tests (before) and OG 12 and Verbal 2nd Ed. stats (After). I hope it helps.

Before (Source: MGMAT Tests):
RC: 38%; SC: 62%; CR: 77%

After (Source: OG 12 and verbal 2nd ed tracker)
RC: ~73%; CR: 86%; SC: ~83%


sandeeepsharma wrote:
Hey congrates for crossing 700 barrier.
Quote:
Sentence Correction: Just did the ones in OG 12 and Verbal. Carefully applied the eGMAT process. It worked pretty well for me. Got about 82% questions right. Trashed that 1000SC!


what about the accuracy in other verbal areas before and after preperation
Re: 580 to 700 -- A journey!   [#permalink] 03 Sep 2013, 04:13
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