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640->680 in 2.5 months

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640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2012, 09:48
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Hi Guys,
I took my GMAT for the second time on Feb 6 in Mumbai and got a not so great 680(q-47,v-35).I had taken my first GMAT on Oct 1,2011 in which I scored a dismal 640(q-49,v-27).Although I havent acheived as much as many others on this forum,I would like to share my experiences in both attempts as this forum has been almost like a second family to me during the last 10 months.
Background
I belong to the Indian IT male clan.Iam 24 years old and working in TCS for the last 1.3 years.I have been really interested in pursuing my dream of being in investment banking which motivated me to take my GMAT.I have been academically inclined(read='bookworm')since my school days.I used to be among the class toppers and also topped my stream in engineering but somehow standardised tests have been my achilees heel.

GMAT1
Began preparing for GMAT1 on march 2011 as I was planning to give it by August.
Quant
Old CAT materials given by my friend
GMATclub tests(gave only a few of them in GMAT1)
Questions in GMATclub forums
Verbal
OG12,verbal review
Gmatprep Sc,CR docs(did them during the last few weeks only)
Kaplan cd companion tests(totally futile whch wasted few weeks of my prep)
Lsat CR(wasted almost 1 month in them to only end up getting confused and spending 3more weeks revising og and powerscore CR)
MGMAT SC(Best for SC)
powerscore CR(Best for CR)
I took my first GMAtprep as a diagnostic in which i scored 500.I was really disheartened.So,I really began serious prep for my exam.I realised that I needed to work in alll the 4 areas(q,rc,sc,cr) equally hard and especially verbal
During prep I followed advice by many forum experts to the tee.This included making error logs after each test,taking tests with AWA,analysing each option even if I got the question correct etc...Finally I managed to improve from 510 in march to 770(last gmatprep) by october(august plan was dropped thanks to indian passport office which lost my passport).The following were my test scores in MGMAT from mgmat 1 to mgmat6(680,700,680,740,760,780).I took gmatprep twice in which i scored 500,770
But unfortunatley after almost 6 months of strenuous preparation i bombed on Oct 1 to only get a dismal 640(link:http://gmatclub.com/forum/absolutely-bombed-121341.html).I was really depressed and vowed never to touch my books again.To add to that I had torrid time at work due to some petty office politics which added to my depression.
Mistakes learnt:
1)Treated SC as purely gramattical and did not pay much attention towards meaning.This affected my SC performance whcih was actually my strength going into the test.
2)Test anxiety(has always been an issue with me.Had made GMAT a life and death issue almost)
3)Not giving up on questions(having scored well in many tests,i had overpressured myself going into the test.I wanted to answer each and every question correctly which adversely affected my timing towards the end especially in verbal.)
Finally after about 1.5 months,i deicded to give myself one more chance.I bagan my preparation for GMAT2 in midle of novemeber.The following were the challenges I faced during my preparation.
1)In my new project,i had a mad work schedule of almost 12 hours each day,including some saturdays as well
2)Had exhausted all the best materials and most importantly exhausted GMAtprep and MGMAt exams.Could now remember the answers to most gmatprep/mgmat questions by heart now.This meant that these exams were of no use anymore.
3)Had zero confidence especially after october debacle
4)Basically had no idea about how to proceed further.
Changes made in GMAT2
1)I enrolled for e-gmat sc course.The course was worth every single penny and helped me to achieve >90% accuracy in the toughest meaning based SC questions.
2)practiced LSAT rc's which i reckon are quite representative of GMAT rc's at present.
3)Practiced GMAT prep CR only.didnt want to experiment much with CR as i always have a tendency to get confused in CR
4)GMATclub quant tests to improve quant acccuracy
5)For tests relied on knewton.My friend is taking their course.So,did some of their tests.Knewton Cats are awesome,especially verbal although their quant scoring appears a little skewed.I used to take quant from GMATclub and verbal from knewton to get a feel of the real GMAT.I somehow still feel that MGMAt verbal is not representaive of actual verbal as its too straightforward while gmat CR's specially appear quite convoluted.Also, SC in mgmat tests is totally grammar based and one can easily eliminate 4 choices purely based on grammar which prevents one from going into meaning of the sentence.Also,the test scuks after MGMAT 3 as diffiulty level drops from MGM 4 onwards
6)Being quite confident with the content,I decide to spend more of time on developing approaches .I managed to develop algorithms for RC,SC,CR,quant which helped me to decide when two minutes were up and whn I should move on(Big thanks to Stacey koprince for that!).I practiced this gameplan till my last CAT
6)I also gave practice tests in office to improve on my test anxiety.
do not have breakups for cats in GMAT 2 as i took quant and verbal from different sources.Scored between 35-41 in knewton verbal tests and 29-33 in gmatclub quant tests.

Test Day
Had scheduled my appointment for 9:00am.Awa went fine.
Quant started of well,but after q25 i think i really got some tricky questions.I got
some seriously bad co-geom questions.nevertheless managed to skip tough ones and completed the section just in time.I think the fact I hurried on in the last few questions must have affected my score.
Verbal started of brillaintly.For the first time ever,i was in a positive time position in verbal.But,after q21 or so ,i got a really mean Rc which had some confusing terms related to financial markets.I think i wasted precious time in that RC.That was followed by some mean CRs where i could not find the correct answer in the first read.In some CR's the wordings of the options were very convoluted.So had to skip through them to avoid time wastage as in GMAT1.I think I narrowed down to two options correctly but ended up choosing the wrong one in the end.
All in all,GMAT2 was much better than GMAT1 as i didnt repeat any mistake from GMAt1,but somehow I still feel I deserved that magical 700.At present,iam really exhausted and plan to try my luck with 680(q=47,v=35).
Guess,my chances at US top 10 are zero considering my low gmat and workex,but iam open to singapore,hongkong and MS finance courses in europe as well.I think HEC paris has a good MS finance and workex requirement is also less for it.So,as of now just keeping my fingers crossed.

A really big thanks to all GMATclub friends especially BB,walker,brunel,talk2vij(sir,you are very inspiring),fluke(for your immediate response to queries),rishiraj,whiplash etc...
It wouldnt have been possible without you.
Thanks again
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GMAT 1: 730 Q48 V42
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2012, 19:54
Congrats on a good 40-point improvement - you have really earned it!

A detailed and great debrief as well - +1 kudos from me.

Would you recommend e-GMAT to other non-native speakers?

Santanu
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Concentration: Accounting, Finance
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2012, 21:15
good job
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2012, 22:10
Congrats on the score improvement! :)
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Joined: 10 Jan 2010
Posts: 193
Location: Germany
Concentration: Strategy, General Management
Schools: IE '15 (M)
GMAT 1: Q V
GPA: 3
WE: Consulting (Telecommunications)
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2012, 00:15
Congrats on the great improvement. Well done!
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2012, 01:57
Don't be disheartened by a 680. It can get you into some really good schools....top 10 may not even be out of the question. From where you started (500 diagnostic) 680 is truly a great accomplishment.
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2012, 06:31
Hey adhithya,

Come on man you are a engineering major. Remember if your experiment failed the first time you have to try another route and don't give up! Look I understand your frustration given that you have worked so hard but remember this exam is designed to be difficult and you know at 680 you are already at around 88% percentile. I mean you are better than 88% of the people who take this exam. That is a amazing achievement. Think of it another way, you might not be Tendulkar but you sure as heck aren't Rohan Gavaskar. Keep working man, I am in the same boat as you since I got a 640 the first time as well. You just have to keep improving your verbal and you will be ready to go. Go for third man! Reach the top!
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2012, 21:24
congratulations .. you had a 7 point increase in Verbal.. Like you I have taken the eGMAT course too. I have seen tremendous improvement in mocks (from V27 - V37). It would be great if I can score 38-40 on the real test. Any ideas on what I should do in these 15 days.

Here are my accuracy stats (am writing from memory)

SC: 11/15 correct in last mock (1 silly mistake)
CR: 11/14
RC: 8/11

thanks for your help
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2012, 09:55
Hi kdas,
Your scores are pretty much same as mine.after my attempt 2 ,my personal suggestion would be that you concentrate more on tricky CR's similar to 700 one's where options are pretty convoluted.Because i think CR's lowered my score this time around.But again,it could be different in your case.So my best strategy would be work equally well on all weak areas so that the exam doesnt catch u unawares
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2012, 17:49
congrats on ur improvement
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2012, 21:09
congratulations.. I was in the same boat. Which schools are you applying too..
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Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months [#permalink] New post 10 Feb 2012, 22:26
@all ,thanks a lot guys and gals
@ketav-very inspiring debrief man!
well,as of now iam planning to talk to consultants about my chances in US b -schools.But frankly speaking i feel I have a better chance in eu and Asian B-schools considering my low work-ex and not-that-great gmat.I hope my good acads can help me out in HKUST,NUS etc.Nevertheless,will be much clear about the way ahead after feb 19(booked an appointment with karan gupta).Perhaps little confused about going for GMAT 3
By the way,from ur name i think yo are aapla marathi manoos,are u from mumbai?
Re: 640->680 in 2.5 months   [#permalink] 10 Feb 2012, 22:26
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