First of all, THANK YOU A TON to all the gmat-clubbers for posting your responses & posting your debriefs - which are a great source of inspiration in itself and a means to get the right direction during one's study to help achieve one's target!
My previous two attempts resulted in 600 and 550 and though I knew deep down inside me "I AM BETTER THAN THIS" but still one needs some motivation to do it all over again.. and hence special thanks toney, ngould, nelz007 & plumber250 for your word of support!!
My earlier debrief: 600-45-28-550-49-16-what-to-do-142022.html#p1141020
Let's see how I approached this time and what did I do right:
Combining my study from my earlier two attempts, I had studied from
MGMAT - SC, RC, CR
MGMAT - 5 Quant books (NP, Alg, FDR, WP, Geo)Powerscore CR
SC, RC, CROG 13
Maintained daily activity log + error log
So I had covered most of the good materials out there and I was like, what's there more to study
?? And the answer is - there is really not much more than the above that you can have to understand the concepts. So I started thinking - what went wrong during my second attempt?
toney had a similar situation (low verbal score) and in talks with him, we identified the MOST CRUCIAL FACTOR IN LOW VERBAL SCORE
. And it is - A SERIES OF CONSECUTIVE (2+) WRONG ANSWERS.
I did analysis of my practice tests and my GMATPrep tests
. I used to almost be able to reach up Q 28/30 within the allotted time and then I had to make random guesses for the last 10+ questions and believe me if you get a series of wrong answers - then that's the ultimate crime you could do to get a low score and for that matter a series of consecutive wrong answers anywhere along the test will pull down your score drastically.
Right now, while writing this, I feel, this is no great finding, after all, that is how the CAT (Computer Adaptive test) is but most of you would agree during the test, we forget about this fact and it comes back and bites us.
Hence, for those who have a low score, one of the aspects you should constantly keep reminded yourself of is - NO CONSECUTIVE (2+) WRONG ANSWERS
and the other aspect would be , if you make mistake then - MISTAKE ON EASIER QUESTION -- HIGHER IS THE PENALTY
MISTAKE ON HARDER QUESTION -- LOWER IS THE PENALTY
hence, if you are stuck on some tough question or you really have no clue about a question, don't waste time, keep yourself focused, make a knowledgeable guess by using elimination and MOVE ON.. The time that you would save by moving-on on this tougher question could be well utilized to solve 2-3 more correct questions.
So, with this in mind, all that I did for my third attempt preparation was PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE...!!!
and sharpen on CR and RC.
I decided I shall give 10 CATs between my second attempt and third attempt date. I prepared a schedule for the tests to be on Wed - Fri - Sun.
I would like to mention I did a thing different for my first CAT - I gave a MGMAT CAT WITH NO TIME LIMIT
. I wanted to see what is my true worth at that point in time. I scored a 710 (Q-51,V-36). I was bit satisfied, after all, this proved to me that this is bare minimum that I could target to achieve for my third attempt. Though I could not judiciously follow my schedule for the 10 CATs, I made it a point that I shall give 10 of them. Here is how I did progress -
1) Nov 21: MGMAT CAT 1 - 710 (51,36) -- without any time limit
2) Nov 23: MGMAT CAT 2 - 530 (37,27)
3) Nov 25: MGMAT CAT 3 - 590 (44,27)
4) Dec 01: MGMAT CAT 4 - 580 (45,24)
5) Dec 02: Veritas
Free CAT - 660 (47,37) -- I found it really easy and finished with loads of time remaining -- what it taught me was, if I can manage myself to reach through all Qs - 37 in Q and 41 in V, I am sure, my score is bound to improve. Hence, this was a big CONFIDENCE BOOSTER.
6) Dec 06: MGMAT CAT 5 - 660 (45,35) -- I had improved and this score was true reflection, the questions were not repeat as I had never reached the 700 level difficulty verbal questions before. Hence, if you have been getting low scores in your practice tests, there is no harm in giving multiple MGMAT CATs or even GMATPrep tests because you haven't really uncovered the tougher Qs from their question bank.
(Caution: but be judicious for GMATPrep)
7) Dec 08: MGMAT CAT 6 - 700 (48,37) -- saw few repeat Qs
8) Dec 11: MGMAT CAT 7 - 710 (46,41) -- saw many repeat Qs
9) Dec 13: GMATPrep CAT - 630 (50,25) -- verbal was not in ideal condition, had too much in-house disturbance during the test
10) Dec 14: GMATPrep CAT - 680 (51,30)
Actual GMAT - Dec 15 - 680 (50,31)Some more of my observations that will help you push your score up.
- I did timed practice in between the tests
. I used to solve OG Verbal
Review and Kaplan Verbal
SC, CR and RC timing every question. I could see - which Q types I take more time and then work on those before next practice test.
- Giving multiple CATs teaches you as well as helps boost your confidence. It helps you plan out a strategy that will suit you. Everyone will have a different strategy that would suit him during the exam and the key is to find the one that suits you.
- Tip for the actual GMAT: Everyone historically might have had a different approach to Exams in general
. For example, you will read out in debriefs - that one did not study the day before the GMAT, saw a movie or went out with friends or had a good time with family, etc, etc. Be careful here, DO THAT WHAT HAS WORKED FOR YOU TILL DATE
. Before my second attempt, I tried to do the above the day before exam - be relaxed and just revised my notes and error log
and went for exam, but historically this has not been my pattern. During my school/college days, I used to have a habit to study even before the day of the exam (in fact even the night before), wake up next morning and straight go to exam and do really well.
I followed this - what historically has had worked for me - for my third attempt. I solved 90 CR Qs the day before GMAT just to prep up and keep myself focused.
- Hence, on similar lines, what everybody says - if you are morning/afternoon/evening person - do likewise for the GMAT exam time. But then again, we cannot always find the time slot as per our wish. I am a morning person (wake up, straight to exam) but I had to give the third attempt at 2:30pm, so what I did was, after solving 90 CR Qs the evening before, on the D-day after waking up I revised upto 10:30 am, slept 10:30 - 11:30 (tried to sleep), had lunch and went for the exam.
- During the exam, overall strategy was - I WANT TO REACH Q37 in Q and Q41 in V in the allotted time
. For this, what works and worked for me was - keeping an eye on the time after every Q, just to ensure i am within or thereabouts for the time to be spend on each Q.- Topic-wise strategy during preparation: SC
- For non-natives, use e-gmat
and then practice, practice... Slowly, you shall learn to identify the pattern of Qs and you shall be able to solve quickly. When you solve, your approach could be - a) get the intended meaning 2) locate main subject - verb 3) you shall be able identify all other errors after continuous practice CR
- PowerScore Bible has the most that you can learn quickly. Combine that with 'pre-thinking' model of e-gmat
and you should be good. RC
- Rhyme method how-to-destroy-reading-comprehension-passages-by-rhyme-30247.html
. But for me, putting something down on paper creates another layer of abstraction and also it is not always that I can understand what I might have scribbled down hastily. Hence, what works for me is creating a mental correlation diagram of the given information (paragraphs). So, I used the method but with a mental correlation diagram. Quant
- MGMAT Quant books are sufficient and then practice from OG. I had Advanced MGMAT Quant
book as well but for those who are quite good in Quant, it need not be a must have.
- chineseburned how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html
With this preparation, I appeared for my third attempt. It did go well. I was happy with each of my sections during the exam. I thought I did pretty well and I would have liked 710 or something like 50,35 split but nonetheless 680 is decent with my work-exp!
Thanks for your patience for reading!! (Didn't think it would go this long
!)Do share your kudos if you feel I have helped you in some little way....