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# 630 to 750 : debrief

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Intern
Joined: 09 May 2012
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630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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24 Aug 2013, 22:30
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I have tabulated the important parameters which can show a clear picture of my both attempts.
(See in the attachment)

Below I have provided a detailed account of my preparation and exam time phases for both the attempts. I have tried to recall most of the stuff and I hope this would be useful.

1st attempt preparation –

Though the thought of giving GMAT was from long in my mind, the journey started somewhere around January’13 end. At that time I had little knowledge about GMAT question format, AWA and IR. Hence, my preparation began without direction and I initially read whatever I had seen people around me reading (Kaplan and Manhattan books, wren and martin etc.). But the drive to study directionally was not coming and hence to force myself to study, I scheduled my appointment. After that, my study plan started taking shape. I decided to devote 1 month on verbal and a week on quant, AWA and IR and another week practicing and giving mocks.

I took the e-gmat Verbal online course (for 2 reasons – it was designed for non-natives and it was cheaper). I took out time every day to learn the concepts and did the post assessment quizzes. I focused on SC more as I thought it will be difficult to master as compared to CR and RC. The break up with respect to time is provided in the above table. My approach during SC preparation was to learn the grammar concepts to core and then apply them on the questions. But this approach had a major flaw – I had no tool to determine which concept should be applied when and also how to identify the errors in the sentences. During my preparation, I used to read the question and look for portions which just did not seem correct (It was more of an eye-ball scanning rather than analysis of the sentence). Thus I was many a time stuck in the answer choices between 2 or 3 options and my accuracy was not great. But I did not change my strategy as a wrong answer just made me think that I have to work more on grammar. My preparation till last day was focused on grasping more and more of grammar points, lists of idioms, and common error types. For CR and RC, my preparation was superficial to say the least. For one, I did not devote much time on them and two, I just practiced the easier questions and that too without analysis of questions I got wrong.

I read common AWA question format and some sample essays. Practiced on the 2 GMAT prep AWA mocks. For IR, I only practiced the GMAT prep questions.

1st attempt exam time –

On the day of the exam, i steered easily through AWA and IR section. I was doing pretty good in quant till one geometry question stumped me (i guess it was between 10th -15th question). I think i wasted 6-7 minutes on the question (as i was under the impression that this being a tough question, i must be doing great) and finally had to take a guess. I got a bit disappointed and that surely affected my performance on the remaining quant section.

At the end of the quant section, i was slightly taken back with my anticipated performance. But determined to perform well in the verbal section, i calmed myself down, had a chocolate and some water and recalled the grammar concepts. Confident to up my performance, i started the verbal section. First 10-12 questions seemed doable and i took approximately 17-18 minutes on them (2 were RC with 4 question and 1 question respectively, and remaining were evenly split between SC and CR). As i progressed, i became more and more confused with the SC questions. I chose answers but was not confident for most of them (there were always some options which i could not eliminate and some which seem to be better than my selection). I completed the section just in time but till the end was not sure of many questions. I was expecting a score just touching 700. Took few seconds on the "report your score" page and decided to go ahead with the scores. When the scores flashed in front of me, i was shocked - Q48 V28 Total 630. The feeling was terrible and of a sinking kind.

2nd attempt preparation –

It took me almost 3 months to overcome the GMAT punch-in-the-face. Somewhere in June i got back on the track with a mind to give GMAT another shot. Spent 2 weeks again reading stuff such as Manhattan, Kaplan, wren and martin etc. but was learning nothing new. I had a feeling that i had learned everything i could (in grammar) and no amount of preparation will help. I upgraded to e-gmat verbal live prep add-on in hope to learn something new. I took my next GMAT appointment and enrolled in your live prep course in June end and started taking the recordings (as i had little time to wait for Saturday classes).

The difference in my preparation this time was the emphasis on meaning analysis instead of learning grammar and the application of 3-step process for SC. Understanding the meaning first brought clarity of sentence structure (and hence the faults there) and also helped eliminate options without even worrying about grammar. Once you are through with meaning analysis and breaking down the sentence, rest follows automatically. One word of caution here – while attempting questions in exam environment, I tend to rush through the meaning analysis or even skip it and I worked hard to train myself not to do that; hence, keep a conscious check on yourself whether you are following the process or not. The PoE part with the 8 error types was another arrow in my bow which was missing the first time. I know it seems exhaustive at first to analyze all 8 types for every question, but it is important to reject an option for valid reasons and not just because we feel it is incorrect. I practiced PoE for all 140 questions of OG12 got an accuracy of 88% on them. The breaking down of difficult terms such as appositive, gerund, reflexive etc. into understandable words and naming the modifiers as verb-ed modifiers, verb-ing modifiers, noun+noun modifiers etc. gave a better understanding. I also used to track my performance to gauge the areas where I was performing poorly (I could see that I was doing a majority of questions wrong which had some form of verb error or modifier error). The 2 workshops by e-gmat were stimulation sessions and they highlighted the areas where I had to work more.

I devoted considerably more time for CR and RC. The pre-thinking strategy by e-gmat opens up your mind to the question at hand. It’s when you start to pre-think the assumptions and conclusions that you really get in line with the flow and structure of the argument. The tools like variance analysis and negation test came in handy during actual exam for me. I practiced all the CR questions of OG12 with an accuracy of 94% and did a small number of RC questions also. Again kept a track of my wrong and right answers and their types. All in all, I learnt that CR and RC might look easy from the periphery but require extensive thinking and practice to benefit.

I devoted more time on quant this time and practiced questions from geometry, number properties and data sufficiency. I practiced tougher data sufficiency from GMAT prep question bank 1. For AWA and IR, just did the GMAT prep questions again.

As the date loomed closer, i did a few things to make the exam taking seamless. I had taken the same test center (Ahmedabad, Gujarat) but changed the slot to morning one. Booked the same hotel (as i live a bit far away from Ahmedabad) and the same trains for travelling. My aim was to be as comfortable as i could be on the exam day.

The final few days prior to the exam, i spent my time giving mocks and practicing from Grockit, UGEs and OG12. I scored 730/750/760 on the official GMAT prep software. Downloaded their additional question bank (and i must say it is very useful). I was more confident this time regarding verbal.
It is absolutely essential to develop a solving methodology which works for you 90% of the time and to stick to it. And you guys gave me exactly the same.

2nd attempt exam time –

Went to the same hotel the night before the exam and ordered the same food as last time. The only difference was that i did not worry about the exam. Watched TV and slept early. The next morning, reached the test center even before it had opened and got comfortable to the surroundings. Told myself that i will do great this time.

The AWA and IR section went well. The AWA was based on a proposal by an amusement park CEO for changing the advertisement strategy from being more children oriented to being more parent and safety oriented and this proposal was based on a study from automobile sector which showed that the primary concern of adults while buying a car was safety. Devoted 5 minutes to scratch out the main points for my AWA before even typing and then took just 15-20 minutes to type in the response. Took last 5 minutes to re-read and correct (found 2 grammatical errors and one spelling mistake). IR was data intensive and hence took longer than usual. The toughest question was about a musical instrument which has 4 tones and correspondingly 16 combinations and questions based on permutations of these combinations. Had little time for the last questions and had to take a guess.

Faced no difficulty in Quant section and this gave me more confidence. The questions were majorly from number properties and probability. Data sufficiency questions were calculation intensive as usual.

In the breaks, i spent 1-2 minutes forgetting what had happened in the previous section and another couple of minutes to build my mind for the next section.

Next was verbal section. First 4 questions were all CR and that too of the type of complete the sentence logically and inference questions. Then I got a passage and 4 questions with it and then one SC in the initial 10 questions. Kept my cool and took 16 minutes for the first 10 questions. After that I got an array of SC and CR for the next 15-16 questions. Then back to back 2 RC with 4 questions each. Till 32nd question i was going pretty well, until i remembered something from last time. One of my friends had told me that if boldface and paradox type questions come in your exam then you are surely above 700 and i had also read it elsewhere. So in the last 10 questions i was hoping, or rather praying, for at least one boldface or paradox question. But none came. In the last 2-3 questions, a disappointment started building in me (i felt that i had failed to cross the 700 mark as the specific boldface questions never crossed my path). With utter disappointment i ended my test and was taken to report my score page.

I again took 20 seconds to build my mind before clicking on report my score button. Literally closed my eyes to avoid the shock of seeing another <700 score. But when i took a glance at my screen, could not believe what i was seeing Q50 V41 and Total 750 . I had seen the same screen on my second GMAT prep mock and it was like deja-vu for me. Got up in astonishment and asked for a print out of my score as soon as i came out (just wanted to see the 750 printed on a piece of paper).

Some reflections after the GMAT –

1. Boldface and paradox questions mean you are above 700 - it’s a myth (one of friend gave GMAT and had 2 questions of this type and got 670)
2. Meaning analysis in SC overrides grammar
3. You need to have a defined strategy to approach every question (at least in verbal) and you need to trust that strategy to work
4. Eliminate choices for the correct reason and not on a hunch
5. For SC and CR, read the question slowly and understand the meaning so that you need not read it again and again
6. Don’t overlook quant, devote sufficient time to the basic concepts
7. Solve Official Guide and analyze each question irrespective of whether you got it wrong or right.
8. Keep a track of your performance and work upon your weak areas, a simple excel or piece of paper would do.
9. Pre-think in AWA before typing your responses and do a final check for typos and grammatical errors.
10. Keep a track of time in IR as data intensity can sometimes entangle you.

GOOD LUCK to all GMATers.
Attachments

File comment: Score report of second take - 750
GMAT 2 score report.pdf [150.13 KiB]

File comment: comparison table

gmat table.jpg [ 90.96 KiB | Viewed 36043 times ]

Last edited by bhagawat on 24 Aug 2013, 23:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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24 Aug 2013, 22:46
Great score...all the best for the Applications ahead!
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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24 Aug 2013, 23:21
congrats!!
Any special prep for quant? Your score moved to 50
Intern
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2013, 02:51
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saidyuti wrote:
congrats!!
Any special prep for quant? Your score moved to 50

2 things - keep ur numbers strong and ur geometry straight
the most tricky questions would be from number theory and geometry (as far as i have faced).
don't cramp up too many shortcuts, but keep the basics right!!
i did my quant prep form the notes from my jee prep...but frankly, you need not depend on any specific source for grabbing up the basics of maths

gud luck
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2013, 09:26
Congratulations on the score. After reading yours and couple of other posts have decided to join Verbal Online course with Egmat. Can't give enough time to the Live Prep course and honestly little beyond the budget I have decided for GMAT studies. Currently my best score is 640 in a mock(GMAT Prep 1), after reading your post I am inspired to target a 750. My split was Quant 46 and Verbal 33. I have given quite a few mocks but have decided to stop now for sometime, unless I improve my accuracy in Verbal. Have been consistent with Quant in the range of 45-48 but Verbal has been pretty erratic range of 23-35. A 13 point increase is pretty amazing dude, how did you really pull that off? I understand you gave 80-90 hours to the Verbal Live course. Can you disclose what usually happens in a live course. Honestly I will be doing the online course and want to give myself enough leeway to prepare by myself for verbal section.

Anyways, besides that also want to ask you what were your weak areas in Verbal? I see you gave maximum time to SC, was that a weak area or was it the section that required maximum input. what do you think your accuracy rate would be RC, SC and CR in your final GMAT.

A tremendous and an inspiring effort by you, good luck with the applications mate!!!!

Thanks
_________________

Cheers
Farhan

My Blog - Student for Life ( Oxford MBA)

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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2013, 05:19
farhanc85 wrote:
Congratulations on the score. After reading yours and couple of other posts have decided to join Verbal Online course with Egmat. Can't give enough time to the Live Prep course and honestly little beyond the budget I have decided for GMAT studies. Currently my best score is 640 in a mock(GMAT Prep 1), after reading your post I am inspired to target a 750. My split was Quant 46 and Verbal 33. I have given quite a few mocks but have decided to stop now for sometime, unless I improve my accuracy in Verbal. Have been consistent with Quant in the range of 45-48 but Verbal has been pretty erratic range of 23-35. A 13 point increase is pretty amazing dude, how did you really pull that off? I understand you gave 80-90 hours to the Verbal Live course. Can you disclose what usually happens in a live course. Honestly I will be doing the online course and want to give myself enough leeway to prepare by myself for verbal section.

Anyways, besides that also want to ask you what were your weak areas in Verbal? I see you gave maximum time to SC, was that a weak area or was it the section that required maximum input. what do you think your accuracy rate would be RC, SC and CR in your final GMAT.

A tremendous and an inspiring effort by you, good luck with the applications mate!!!!

Thanks

Hey Farhan,
the time input for every section depends on your comfort and preparation in each of them.. !!
my weak areas were SC and CR...so i had to put a lot of effort in them..!! During SC preparation i paid special attention to understanding the meaning of the sentence and the structure...this helped me a lot to improve from 28 in first attempt. The meaning and structure analysis also came in handy during CR preparation and hence the time required was reduced.
The verbal live section of e-gmat focuses on the hands on training methodology...they take 4-5 questions per session, analyze each question in detail...its meaning..its structure...what is the question asking (for CR)...they teach you how to apply the 3-step method for SC and pre-thinking for CR and apply that on the questions.
I guess if you wish to continue with verbal online...then i would suggest that you try and focus on the method by which they solve the problem rather than much of grammar :)
and they also have a couple of free live sessions...maybe you should attend them

thanks mate
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2013, 08:12
bhagawat wrote:
I have tabulated the important parameters which can show a clear picture of my both attempts.
(See in the attachment)

Below I have provided a detailed account of my preparation and exam time phases for both the attempts. I have tried to recall most of the stuff and I hope this would be useful.

1st attempt preparation –

GOOD LUCK to all GMATers.

Great debrief and awesome score, can you tell me how many questions were you getting right on an average in QA and VA on all your mocks??
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2013, 08:36
prateekbhatt wrote:
Great debrief and awesome score, can you tell me how many questions were you getting right on an average in QA and VA on all your mocks??

Thanks Prateek!
in quant, i usually got 31-33 questions correct out of 37 (GMAT Prep, Grockit)..but the 800score.com quant section was pretty tough and i got around 28-29 questions correct on that.
In verbal however, my success rate kept on increasing with every mock...and i finally managed to touch base with around 35 questions correct out of 41 (again GMAT prep)...however, i cannot comment correctly about grockit as i got many previously attempted questions ...800score.com verbal section is not challenging !!
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2013, 19:14
Congratulations on the great score and thanks for useful debrief.
Can you please tell what material you have used to prepare for RC and the approach which worked for you best?
And also, are the RC passages on GMAT tougher than GMATPrep and OG13 passages?

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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2013, 03:36
vasireddy1304 wrote:
Congratulations on the great score and thanks for useful debrief.
Can you please tell what material you have used to prepare for RC and the approach which worked for you best?
And also, are the RC passages on GMAT tougher than GMATPrep and OG13 passages?

Hey, thanks vasireddy1304
For RC I just did the OG12 questions and the questions from the additional question bank 1 of GMATPrep.
I used to make the first read meaningful by taking notes which would summaries each para - most importantly, how each part linked to the previous and the next..just 2-3 words used to be sufficient !!!
And as i read, i used to think what could the author be probably going towards !!!

The RC passage on GMAT are comparable to the Prep and OG12 passages (dnt know about OG13).

Have fun
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2013, 03:53
1
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bhagawat wrote:
saidyuti wrote:
congrats!!
Any special prep for quant? Your score moved to 50

2 things - keep ur numbers strong and ur geometry straight
the most tricky questions would be from number theory and geometry (as far as i have faced).
don't cramp up too many shortcuts, but keep the basics right!!
i did my quant prep form the notes from my jee prep...but frankly, you need not depend on any specific source for grabbing up the basics of maths

gud luck

If you are non native and have a good hold on quant, striking a 50 in quant helps a lot in improving your score. Personally, I am referring to my CAT quant notes for the quant section. Thats the strength and that will help me in sailing through.
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2013, 12:24
bhagawat wrote:
vasireddy1304 wrote:
Congratulations on the great score and thanks for useful debrief.
Can you please tell what material you have used to prepare for RC and the approach which worked for you best?
And also, are the RC passages on GMAT tougher than GMATPrep and OG13 passages?

Hey, thanks vasireddy1304
For RC I just did the OG12 questions and the questions from the additional question bank 1 of GMATPrep.
I used to make the first read meaningful by taking notes which would summaries each para - most importantly, how each part linked to the previous and the next..just 2-3 words used to be sufficient !!!
And as i read, i used to think what could the author be probably going towards !!!

The RC passage on GMAT are comparable to the Prep and OG12 passages (dnt know about OG13).

Have fun

Bhagawat,
I have GMAT in a week, my accuracy in OG SC and CR (in GMATPrep, OG13 and OGV2) is above 80% now. 80% accuracy is while doing second time(first revision). First time, I had 50 to 60% accuracy after that I have gone through MGMAT(Ron, Stacy) experts explanations and understood the concepts. My question is will the GMAT SC,CR pattern and logic will be very different from GMATPrep, OG13 and OGV2 or it will be similar to OG sources? Please respond when you get a chance. Thank you
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 09:42
bhagawat wrote:
I have tabulated the important parameters which can show a clear picture of my both attempts.
(See in the attachment)

Below I have provided a detailed account of my preparation and exam time phases for both the attempts. I have tried to recall most of the stuff and I hope this would be useful.

1st attempt preparation –

Though the thought of giving GMAT was from long in my mind, the journey started somewhere around January’13 end. At that time I had little knowledge about GMAT question format, AWA and IR. Hence, my preparation began without direction and I initially read whatever I had seen people around me reading (Kaplan and Manhattan books, wren and martin etc.). But the drive to study directionally was not coming and hence to force myself to study, I scheduled my appointment. After that, my study plan started taking shape. I decided to devote 1 month on verbal and a week on quant, AWA and IR and another week practicing and giving mocks.

I took the e-gmat Verbal online course (for 2 reasons – it was designed for non-natives and it was cheaper). I took out time every day to learn the concepts and did the post assessment quizzes. I focused on SC more as I thought it will be difficult to master as compared to CR and RC. The break up with respect to time is provided in the above table. My approach during SC preparation was to learn the grammar concepts to core and then apply them on the questions. But this approach had a major flaw – I had no tool to determine which concept should be applied when and also how to identify the errors in the sentences. During my preparation, I used to read the question and look for portions which just did not seem correct (It was more of an eye-ball scanning rather than analysis of the sentence). Thus I was many a time stuck in the answer choices between 2 or 3 options and my accuracy was not great. But I did not change my strategy as a wrong answer just made me think that I have to work more on grammar. My preparation till last day was focused on grasping more and more of grammar points, lists of idioms, and common error types. For CR and RC, my preparation was superficial to say the least. For one, I did not devote much time on them and two, I just practiced the easier questions and that too without analysis of questions I got wrong.

I read common AWA question format and some sample essays. Practiced on the 2 GMAT prep AWA mocks. For IR, I only practiced the GMAT prep questions.

1st attempt exam time –

On the day of the exam, i steered easily through AWA and IR section. I was doing pretty good in quant till one geometry question stumped me (i guess it was between 10th -15th question). I think i wasted 6-7 minutes on the question (as i was under the impression that this being a tough question, i must be doing great) and finally had to take a guess. I got a bit disappointed and that surely affected my performance on the remaining quant section.

At the end of the quant section, i was slightly taken back with my anticipated performance. But determined to perform well in the verbal section, i calmed myself down, had a chocolate and some water and recalled the grammar concepts. Confident to up my performance, i started the verbal section. First 10-12 questions seemed doable and i took approximately 17-18 minutes on them (2 were RC with 4 question and 1 question respectively, and remaining were evenly split between SC and CR). As i progressed, i became more and more confused with the SC questions. I chose answers but was not confident for most of them (there were always some options which i could not eliminate and some which seem to be better than my selection). I completed the section just in time but till the end was not sure of many questions. I was expecting a score just touching 700. Took few seconds on the "report your score" page and decided to go ahead with the scores. When the scores flashed in front of me, i was shocked - Q48 V28 Total 630. The feeling was terrible and of a sinking kind.

2nd attempt preparation –

It took me almost 3 months to overcome the GMAT punch-in-the-face. Somewhere in June i got back on the track with a mind to give GMAT another shot. Spent 2 weeks again reading stuff such as Manhattan, Kaplan, wren and martin etc. but was learning nothing new. I had a feeling that i had learned everything i could (in grammar) and no amount of preparation will help. I upgraded to e-gmat verbal live prep add-on in hope to learn something new. I took my next GMAT appointment and enrolled in your live prep course in June end and started taking the recordings (as i had little time to wait for Saturday classes).

The difference in my preparation this time was the emphasis on meaning analysis instead of learning grammar and the application of 3-step process for SC. Understanding the meaning first brought clarity of sentence structure (and hence the faults there) and also helped eliminate options without even worrying about grammar. Once you are through with meaning analysis and breaking down the sentence, rest follows automatically. One word of caution here – while attempting questions in exam environment, I tend to rush through the meaning analysis or even skip it and I worked hard to train myself not to do that; hence, keep a conscious check on yourself whether you are following the process or not. The PoE part with the 8 error types was another arrow in my bow which was missing the first time. I know it seems exhaustive at first to analyze all 8 types for every question, but it is important to reject an option for valid reasons and not just because we feel it is incorrect. I practiced PoE for all 140 questions of OG12 got an accuracy of 88% on them. The breaking down of difficult terms such as appositive, gerund, reflexive etc. into understandable words and naming the modifiers as verb-ed modifiers, verb-ing modifiers, noun+noun modifiers etc. gave a better understanding. I also used to track my performance to gauge the areas where I was performing poorly (I could see that I was doing a majority of questions wrong which had some form of verb error or modifier error). The 2 workshops by e-gmat were stimulation sessions and they highlighted the areas where I had to work more.

I devoted considerably more time for CR and RC. The pre-thinking strategy by e-gmat opens up your mind to the question at hand. It’s when you start to pre-think the assumptions and conclusions that you really get in line with the flow and structure of the argument. The tools like variance analysis and negation test came in handy during actual exam for me. I practiced all the CR questions of OG12 with an accuracy of 94% and did a small number of RC questions also. Again kept a track of my wrong and right answers and their types. All in all, I learnt that CR and RC might look easy from the periphery but require extensive thinking and practice to benefit.

I devoted more time on quant this time and practiced questions from geometry, number properties and data sufficiency. I practiced tougher data sufficiency from GMAT prep question bank 1. For AWA and IR, just did the GMAT prep questions again.

As the date loomed closer, i did a few things to make the exam taking seamless. I had taken the same test center (Ahmedabad, Gujarat) but changed the slot to morning one. Booked the same hotel (as i live a bit far away from Ahmedabad) and the same trains for travelling. My aim was to be as comfortable as i could be on the exam day.

The final few days prior to the exam, i spent my time giving mocks and practicing from Grockit, UGEs and OG12. I scored 730/750/760 on the official GMAT prep software. Downloaded their additional question bank (and i must say it is very useful). I was more confident this time regarding verbal.
It is absolutely essential to develop a solving methodology which works for you 90% of the time and to stick to it. And you guys gave me exactly the same.

2nd attempt exam time –

Went to the same hotel the night before the exam and ordered the same food as last time. The only difference was that i did not worry about the exam. Watched TV and slept early. The next morning, reached the test center even before it had opened and got comfortable to the surroundings. Told myself that i will do great this time.

The AWA and IR section went well. The AWA was based on a proposal by an amusement park CEO for changing the advertisement strategy from being more children oriented to being more parent and safety oriented and this proposal was based on a study from automobile sector which showed that the primary concern of adults while buying a car was safety. Devoted 5 minutes to scratch out the main points for my AWA before even typing and then took just 15-20 minutes to type in the response. Took last 5 minutes to re-read and correct (found 2 grammatical errors and one spelling mistake). IR was data intensive and hence took longer than usual. The toughest question was about a musical instrument which has 4 tones and correspondingly 16 combinations and questions based on permutations of these combinations. Had little time for the last questions and had to take a guess.

Faced no difficulty in Quant section and this gave me more confidence. The questions were majorly from number properties and probability. Data sufficiency questions were calculation intensive as usual.

In the breaks, i spent 1-2 minutes forgetting what had happened in the previous section and another couple of minutes to build my mind for the next section.

Next was verbal section. First 4 questions were all CR and that too of the type of complete the sentence logically and inference questions. Then I got a passage and 4 questions with it and then one SC in the initial 10 questions. Kept my cool and took 16 minutes for the first 10 questions. After that I got an array of SC and CR for the next 15-16 questions. Then back to back 2 RC with 4 questions each. Till 32nd question i was going pretty well, until i remembered something from last time. One of my friends had told me that if boldface and paradox type questions come in your exam then you are surely above 700 and i had also read it elsewhere. So in the last 10 questions i was hoping, or rather praying, for at least one boldface or paradox question. But none came. In the last 2-3 questions, a disappointment started building in me (i felt that i had failed to cross the 700 mark as the specific boldface questions never crossed my path). With utter disappointment i ended my test and was taken to report my score page.

I again took 20 seconds to build my mind before clicking on report my score button. Literally closed my eyes to avoid the shock of seeing another <700 score. But when i took a glance at my screen, could not believe what i was seeing Q50 V41 and Total 750 . I had seen the same screen on my second GMAT prep mock and it was like deja-vu for me. Got up in astonishment and asked for a print out of my score as soon as i came out (just wanted to see the 750 printed on a piece of paper).

Some reflections after the GMAT –

1. Boldface and paradox questions mean you are above 700 - it’s a myth (one of friend gave GMAT and had 2 questions of this type and got 670)
2. Meaning analysis in SC overrides grammar
3. You need to have a defined strategy to approach every question (at least in verbal) and you need to trust that strategy to work
4. Eliminate choices for the correct reason and not on a hunch
5. For SC and CR, read the question slowly and understand the meaning so that you need not read it again and again
6. Don’t overlook quant, devote sufficient time to the basic concepts
7. Solve Official Guide and analyze each question irrespective of whether you got it wrong or right.
8. Keep a track of your performance and work upon your weak areas, a simple excel or piece of paper would do.
9. Pre-think in AWA before typing your responses and do a final check for typos and grammatical errors.
10. Keep a track of time in IR as data intensity can sometimes entangle you.

GOOD LUCK to all GMATers.
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 09:49
bhagawat wrote:
I have tabulated the important parameters which can show a clear picture of my both attempts.
(See in the attachment)

Below I have provided a detailed account of my preparation and exam time phases for both the attempts. I have tried to recall most of the stuff and I hope this would be useful.

1st attempt preparation –

Though the thought of giving GMAT was from long in my mind, the journey started somewhere around January’13 end. At that time I had little knowledge about GMAT question format, AWA and IR. Hence, my preparation began without direction and I initially read whatever I had seen people around me reading (Kaplan and Manhattan books, wren and martin etc.). But the drive to study directionally was not coming and hence to force myself to study, I scheduled my appointment. After that, my study plan started taking shape. I decided to devote 1 month on verbal and a week on quant, AWA and IR and another week practicing and giving mocks.

I took the e-gmat Verbal online course (for 2 reasons – it was designed for non-natives and it was cheaper). I took out time every day to learn the concepts and did the post assessment quizzes. I focused on SC more as I thought it will be difficult to master as compared to CR and RC. The break up with respect to time is provided in the above table. My approach during SC preparation was to learn the grammar concepts to core and then apply them on the questions. But this approach had a major flaw – I had no tool to determine which concept should be applied when and also how to identify the errors in the sentences. During my preparation, I used to read the question and look for portions which just did not seem correct (It was more of an eye-ball scanning rather than analysis of the sentence). Thus I was many a time stuck in the answer choices between 2 or 3 options and my accuracy was not great. But I did not change my strategy as a wrong answer just made me think that I have to work more on grammar. My preparation till last day was focused on grasping more and more of grammar points, lists of idioms, and common error types. For CR and RC, my preparation was superficial to say the least. For one, I did not devote much time on them and two, I just practiced the easier questions and that too without analysis of questions I got wrong.

I read common AWA question format and some sample essays. Practiced on the 2 GMAT prep AWA mocks. For IR, I only practiced the GMAT prep questions.

1st attempt exam time –

On the day of the exam, i steered easily through AWA and IR section. I was doing pretty good in quant till one geometry question stumped me (i guess it was between 10th -15th question). I think i wasted 6-7 minutes on the question (as i was under the impression that this being a tough question, i must be doing great) and finally had to take a guess. I got a bit disappointed and that surely affected my performance on the remaining quant section.

At the end of the quant section, i was slightly taken back with my anticipated performance. But determined to perform well in the verbal section, i calmed myself down, had a chocolate and some water and recalled the grammar concepts. Confident to up my performance, i started the verbal section. First 10-12 questions seemed doable and i took approximately 17-18 minutes on them (2 were RC with 4 question and 1 question respectively, and remaining were evenly split between SC and CR). As i progressed, i became more and more confused with the SC questions. I chose answers but was not confident for most of them (there were always some options which i could not eliminate and some which seem to be better than my selection). I completed the section just in time but till the end was not sure of many questions. I was expecting a score just touching 700. Took few seconds on the "report your score" page and decided to go ahead with the scores. When the scores flashed in front of me, i was shocked - Q48 V28 Total 630. The feeling was terrible and of a sinking kind.

2nd attempt preparation –

It took me almost 3 months to overcome the GMAT punch-in-the-face. Somewhere in June i got back on the track with a mind to give GMAT another shot. Spent 2 weeks again reading stuff such as Manhattan, Kaplan, wren and martin etc. but was learning nothing new. I had a feeling that i had learned everything i could (in grammar) and no amount of preparation will help. I upgraded to e-gmat verbal live prep add-on in hope to learn something new. I took my next GMAT appointment and enrolled in your live prep course in June end and started taking the recordings (as i had little time to wait for Saturday classes).

The difference in my preparation this time was the emphasis on meaning analysis instead of learning grammar and the application of 3-step process for SC. Understanding the meaning first brought clarity of sentence structure (and hence the faults there) and also helped eliminate options without even worrying about grammar. Once you are through with meaning analysis and breaking down the sentence, rest follows automatically. One word of caution here – while attempting questions in exam environment, I tend to rush through the meaning analysis or even skip it and I worked hard to train myself not to do that; hence, keep a conscious check on yourself whether you are following the process or not. The PoE part with the 8 error types was another arrow in my bow which was missing the first time. I know it seems exhaustive at first to analyze all 8 types for every question, but it is important to reject an option for valid reasons and not just because we feel it is incorrect. I practiced PoE for all 140 questions of OG12 got an accuracy of 88% on them. The breaking down of difficult terms such as appositive, gerund, reflexive etc. into understandable words and naming the modifiers as verb-ed modifiers, verb-ing modifiers, noun+noun modifiers etc. gave a better understanding. I also used to track my performance to gauge the areas where I was performing poorly (I could see that I was doing a majority of questions wrong which had some form of verb error or modifier error). The 2 workshops by e-gmat were stimulation sessions and they highlighted the areas where I had to work more.

I devoted considerably more time for CR and RC. The pre-thinking strategy by e-gmat opens up your mind to the question at hand. It’s when you start to pre-think the assumptions and conclusions that you really get in line with the flow and structure of the argument. The tools like variance analysis and negation test came in handy during actual exam for me. I practiced all the CR questions of OG12 with an accuracy of 94% and did a small number of RC questions also. Again kept a track of my wrong and right answers and their types. All in all, I learnt that CR and RC might look easy from the periphery but require extensive thinking and practice to benefit.

I devoted more time on quant this time and practiced questions from geometry, number properties and data sufficiency. I practiced tougher data sufficiency from GMAT prep question bank 1. For AWA and IR, just did the GMAT prep questions again.

As the date loomed closer, i did a few things to make the exam taking seamless. I had taken the same test center (Ahmedabad, Gujarat) but changed the slot to morning one. Booked the same hotel (as i live a bit far away from Ahmedabad) and the same trains for travelling. My aim was to be as comfortable as i could be on the exam day.

The final few days prior to the exam, i spent my time giving mocks and practicing from Grockit, UGEs and OG12. I scored 730/750/760 on the official GMAT prep software. Downloaded their additional question bank (and i must say it is very useful). I was more confident this time regarding verbal.
It is absolutely essential to develop a solving methodology which works for you 90% of the time and to stick to it. And you guys gave me exactly the same.

2nd attempt exam time –

Went to the same hotel the night before the exam and ordered the same food as last time. The only difference was that i did not worry about the exam. Watched TV and slept early. The next morning, reached the test center even before it had opened and got comfortable to the surroundings. Told myself that i will do great this time.

The AWA and IR section went well. The AWA was based on a proposal by an amusement park CEO for changing the advertisement strategy from being more children oriented to being more parent and safety oriented and this proposal was based on a study from automobile sector which showed that the primary concern of adults while buying a car was safety. Devoted 5 minutes to scratch out the main points for my AWA before even typing and then took just 15-20 minutes to type in the response. Took last 5 minutes to re-read and correct (found 2 grammatical errors and one spelling mistake). IR was data intensive and hence took longer than usual. The toughest question was about a musical instrument which has 4 tones and correspondingly 16 combinations and questions based on permutations of these combinations. Had little time for the last questions and had to take a guess.

Faced no difficulty in Quant section and this gave me more confidence. The questions were majorly from number properties and probability. Data sufficiency questions were calculation intensive as usual.

In the breaks, i spent 1-2 minutes forgetting what had happened in the previous section and another couple of minutes to build my mind for the next section.

Next was verbal section. First 4 questions were all CR and that too of the type of complete the sentence logically and inference questions. Then I got a passage and 4 questions with it and then one SC in the initial 10 questions. Kept my cool and took 16 minutes for the first 10 questions. After that I got an array of SC and CR for the next 15-16 questions. Then back to back 2 RC with 4 questions each. Till 32nd question i was going pretty well, until i remembered something from last time. One of my friends had told me that if boldface and paradox type questions come in your exam then you are surely above 700 and i had also read it elsewhere. So in the last 10 questions i was hoping, or rather praying, for at least one boldface or paradox question. But none came. In the last 2-3 questions, a disappointment started building in me (i felt that i had failed to cross the 700 mark as the specific boldface questions never crossed my path). With utter disappointment i ended my test and was taken to report my score page.

I again took 20 seconds to build my mind before clicking on report my score button. Literally closed my eyes to avoid the shock of seeing another <700 score. But when i took a glance at my screen, could not believe what i was seeing Q50 V41 and Total 750 . I had seen the same screen on my second GMAT prep mock and it was like deja-vu for me. Got up in astonishment and asked for a print out of my score as soon as i came out (just wanted to see the 750 printed on a piece of paper).

Some reflections after the GMAT –

1. Boldface and paradox questions mean you are above 700 - it’s a myth (one of friend gave GMAT and had 2 questions of this type and got 670)
2. Meaning analysis in SC overrides grammar
3. You need to have a defined strategy to approach every question (at least in verbal) and you need to trust that strategy to work
4. Eliminate choices for the correct reason and not on a hunch
5. For SC and CR, read the question slowly and understand the meaning so that you need not read it again and again
6. Don’t overlook quant, devote sufficient time to the basic concepts
7. Solve Official Guide and analyze each question irrespective of whether you got it wrong or right.
8. Keep a track of your performance and work upon your weak areas, a simple excel or piece of paper would do.
9. Pre-think in AWA before typing your responses and do a final check for typos and grammatical errors.
10. Keep a track of time in IR as data intensity can sometimes entangle you.

GOOD LUCK to all GMATers.

Hi,
congrats for ur score.
will u pls let me know that is there any need to read the novels of american authors to get the better understanding or to be familiar with the meaning of the sentences.
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 09:56
1
KUDOS
vasireddy1304 wrote:
I have GMAT in a week, my accuracy in OG SC and CR (in GMATPrep, OG13 and OGV2) is above 80% now. 80% accuracy is while doing second time(first revision). First time, I had 50 to 60% accuracy after that I have gone through MGMAT(Ron, Stacy) experts explanations and understood the concepts. My question is will the GMAT SC,CR pattern and logic will be very different from GMATPrep, OG13 and OGV2 or it will be similar to OG sources? Please respond when you get a chance. Thank you

Hey,
The questions on actual GMAT would be similar to those of the OG questions, but will quickly move to the tougher version of the question (if u get the first 7-8 questions correct). 80% accuracy on OG is great and i would suggest that you review the last 20 questions of the OG in SC and CR (as they are arranged in order of difficulty i think).

Regards
BR
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 10:10
PNCA2A178 wrote:
Hi,
congrats for ur score.
will u pls let me know that is there any need to read the novels of american authors to get the better understanding or to be familiar with the meaning of the sentences.

Hey,
The meaning of the sentence can be deciphered if you consciously understand the sentence structure and the modifiers.
Tough reading is always a great thing to do, but if you are reading to prepare for GMAT, then you might as well pay great attention to every detail of complex sentences, their structure, tenses, modifiers, lists and voice.
However, if you are on a clock, i'd suggest to just skip the novel reading part and practice on sample questions from Official Guide.

Regards
BR
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2013, 07:39
Congratulations on your score I have the same weakness of sc and cr. Would u recomend the verbal live or online courses? Given that I live in egypt and live sessions timing r not appropriate timing so I will see them recorded. I had gone through manhattan verbal books twice and verbal stuck at 32 in 2 gmat real tests. Please advise

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: 630 to 750 : debrief [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2013, 08:19
amyhussein wrote:
Congratulations on your score I have the same weakness of sc and cr. Would u recomend the verbal live or online courses? Given that I live in egypt and live sessions timing r not appropriate timing so I will see them recorded. I had gone through manhattan verbal books twice and verbal stuck at 32 in 2 gmat real tests. Please advise

Posted from my mobile device

Thanks Amy,
I think, if you believe ur grammar concepts are pretty good and you can identify the obvious grammatical errors easily, then you should probably take the verbal live prep course. But if you want to work upon ur grammar, then go with online course first and then if you feel the need you can upgrade.
And yaa, the live sessions sometimes can not be attended due to time mis-match, so recordings are a good way to go about the courses.

Regards
BR
Re: 630 to 750 : debrief   [#permalink] 05 Sep 2013, 08:19
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