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640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost.

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GMAT 1: 690 Q49 V34
GMAT 2: 750 Q51 V40
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640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2013, 19:39
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Finally, done and dusted. A full on review will follow this post, as its time for me to party today. Though am still angry at myself as I was aiming at 770+, and a 4+ min of an unschedule break in the verbal session did hamper my chances in getting to that score, but still, it feels good to be in the 750 club. I'll tell you guys all, few secrets on what and how I did to get to this score, but right now, its time to party!

Thanks gmatclub! All you guys have been a tremendous support though out my painful yet rewarding journey.

Edit 2: I reply to questions, but please post them on the wall rather than sending a PM to me (Until and unless its really controversial and you don't want the rest of the world to know our wicked thoughts :twisted:). Someone else too may find your question useful.

New Readers: Please check my responses too, you may find something useful for you guys in there. I'll see if I can edit and give my Reply a heading.

[Edit]

The party hubs were too crowded, so am back. :) To be honest, I hated reading long debriefs, so I'll keep mine short and crisp. As is, no long paragraphs. Read the P.P.S. (last line of the debrief) if you too don't like long debriefs and just want a quick answer to your question, and if the topic you want to discuss is not one of the underlined ones.

Background: Chemical Engineer, B.Tech M.Tech Dual Degree, 4 years of Exp (Shell: India, Qatar, US), B.Tech/M.Tech CPI: 7.6/10 and 8.4/10, IITK.

GMAT Experience:
1st GMAT Score: 640 Q49, V28 (Aug 2012)
2nd GMAT Score: 690 Q49, V34 (Dec 2012)
3rd GMAT Score: 750 Q51, V40 (Jul 2013)

GMAT Mock Scores:

During 1st preparation period: Did the Q/V part only.
GMAT Prep: 640 (Q49, V28), 610 (Q49, V25), 680 (Q49, V33)

During 2nd preparation period: Did the Q/V part only. At this point still, I was too over confident, and after the second gmatprep mock of 750, I was sure that I'll score over 750 so stopped taking mocks (30 days before the exam, can you believe it!) Man, I was so wrong.
GMAT Prep: 700 (Q51, V33), 750 (Q49, V42)
MGMAT: 640 (Q44, V34)

During 3rd preparation period: After 5 years of smoking continuously and a year of drinking wine almost every third day, I completely quit smoking and drinking for 30 days to increase my comprehension level (I am writing this blog with a smoke and a glass of wine in my hand). I did the Q/V part with 30 min AWA and 30 min IR, with exactly 7-8 min break, and exactly drinking the same amount of gatorade and eating the same amount of apple in the breaks, with the same amount of lunch and fruits before the test, and yes, IN ALL THE 15 MOCKS. (I read in one of the debriefs that apple and gatorade is good to replenish your glucose level, thank you "gmatclub")
GMAT Prep:
720 (Q51, V35)
780 (Q51, V47)
760 (Q51, V42)
MGMAT:
640 (Q44, V 35)
730 (Q51, V 37)
720 (Q51, V 35)
780 (Q51, V 45)
780 (Q51, V 45) (only 3 verbal ques wrong)
770 (Q51, V 44)
Knewton:
760 (Q51, V 42) (6 verbal ques wrong)
740 (Q50, V 40) (8 verbal ques wrong)
710 (Q51, V 34) (14 verbal ques wrong)
740 (Q51, V 39) (10 verbal ques wrong)
740 (Q51, V 38) (9 verbal ques wrong)
730 (Q51, V 38) (only 5 wrong in verbal, but i guess knewton's 700+ questions were over, so the knewton guys decreased my score for getting a simple answer wrong)

So, as it is self explanatory, the difference between the 1st/2nd preparation and the third preparation is the mocks. I cannot even tell you how important it is to take mocks. Do not fret about mock exam, JUST TAKE IT! As much as possible. Learn from it, learn from your mistakes, build your stamina, rough up and tie your loose ends. Just do the mocks, as much as possible. In fact, one of the CR question I saw in the exam was directly from the GMATPrep, although with different answer choices (The "lyme disease" one). This incident increased my faith in my belief that god help those who help themselves. :)

The preparation:
For first test: OG12/13, mgmat SC
For second test: e-gmat, OG12/13, Jeff Sackmann, Kaplan Verbal, mgmat SC
Foe third test: knewton, mgmat books (all though i just read the maths books + advanced quant), GMAT Prep (Yes, once the gmat prep mocks were over, i read through almost all the gmatprep questions from different sources, especially manhattan. Man! Ron's explanations are too damn good.) Didn't even touch the OG as i had done all OG12/13 questions, 3 or 4 times, each.

Although I am still angry that I could have scored 770+, I blame it to the 18C air-conditioner temperature, that forced me to take that unschedule break. Anyways, I am happy with 750.

Exam Day:
Exactly as the mocks, except for that unscheduled break. Damn!

Reviews:

E-gmat: If you are a non-native, please take this course. Let me tell you that at the start of my preparation, I didn't even know that the verb in the sentence "I was planning to abort my plane" is "was planning". For me an year back, the "verb" that I would have guessed was "abort". E-gmat helped me build my basics. I hated language a lot, as my english was extremely poor (as you could probably guess it right now after reading my blog, actually I am not thinking about grammar at all right now), but anyways, I never gave up, and definitely could have scored in the 95-97% in english in this attempt, from 56-60% in my first attempt. Payal is a really good teacher. The only place where e-gmat lags behind is the absence of good mocks (I personally didn't like the grockit thing, as many questions were too poorly formed in grockit, although the questions of e-gmat were really-really good).

Knewton: Good coverage, lots of gmat like practice questions, and ofcourse 6 Mocks. Good to work if your basics are strong. Interesting thing that I have noticed is that Knewton never indulges itself on gmat sites. Everyone talks about manhattan, veritas prep, magoosh, e-gmat, and I have seen instructors from these groups helping everyone everywhere, but I never came across a Knewton Instructor on gmatclub or any other site.

Crux of the matter: TAKE MOCKS! And look out for your weak areas. Only, and believe me, only mocks can help you define these areas. It will definitely help you. And remember, If I can do it, so can you. Just don't lose hope. I have never been a lucky guy (again you can guess that from my real 3rd gmat exam), so hard work was my only way out. And yes, hard work pays off, please dont shy away from it.

Regards,
Abhishek

P.S.: Not reviewing my debrief right now, will review it the first thing tomorrow morning. And will add on some more stuff, especially a couple of foolproof maths inequality solving methodology, and some tips and tricks of the trade. Till then, all the best! Perseverance is the key to success.

P.P.S.: Please ask me questions, as I am pretty sure my debrief would not able to answer all your queries. Also, instead of jotting down whatever comes to my mind, I'll like to answer your issues with GMAT from my perspective, and will hope that my help helps you a lot. :)

Last edited by abikumar on 15 Aug 2013, 09:47, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2013, 10:08
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CRITICAL REASONING (An interesting approach)

sayantanbera21 wrote:
Kudos abikumar! yours is truly a debrief written in the most concise and informative form ever! (The Wine Helped!) :-D
I congratulate you for your brilliant score and also for completing the journey in such a remarkable fashion! :clap:

I am going to take the GMAT in the next month. I have exactly a month from now. Your points and discussions about the Quant section are a real eye opener. I am going to refurbish my whole quant preparation from tomorrow yet again. I was of an opinion that MGMAT tests have a difficult quant and kept ignoring them. Now, it makes much sense that I need to take on them as well since they are remarkably close to the final call. :yes

I have a serious concern regarding the verbal section. After reading through a lot of posts on this forum, I have modulated my attempt methodology time and again to suit my comfort level. Indeed, the slow reading technique on RC works for me like wonders. The last RC...bite me! I am very worried with my performance on the CR section. Accuracy levels hover around 50-60%. Interests are at an all time low. (Though, first thing tomorrow morning is to quit ciggerates). CR is killing me. In my previous attempt too, I remember attempting CR in the most disgusting and disgraceful manner possible. The last mock I gave of MGMAT, I got about 16 questions wrong and out of them, 8 were CR!!! I could not believe my own nerves. :beat
I hope, I have not been too wordy. Please guide. If there is something I could do in 30 days about improvising onto my accuracy, I would put in a 100% effort on those lines.

Thanks in Advance!


Hi Sayantanbera,

Sorry, i went on a trip and came back today only. For CR questions, a lot of gmat prep courses tell you to read the question stem first and then read the body, but i found that tough for me. What i did was that i read the body first and while reading the body, i guessed what the question stem may be (such as weaken, or strengthen or assumption, etc). Honestly, i was able to guess that more than 90% of the time. This helped me to unbiasedly read the body, and understand it fully before reading the question. One trick of the trade that i used: Read the CR stem, and convert it in your own language (hindi, tamil, spanish, whatever it is). Then you'll either directly find the right answer choice (in easy CR questions) or eliminate all the incorrect answer choices (in tough CR questions). It does created wonders for me. Hope it does the same for you too. For example:

CR Stem: "Samuel is obviously a bad fisherman. During the past season, in which he and the five members of his team spent four months on a boat together off Dutch Harbor, AK, he caught fewer fish than any of his teammates."

Hindi version: "Samuel bad fisherman hai, and last season mein in 4 months usne out of 6 people, sabse kam fish collect kari"


(P.S.: I converted that into hindi, please convert it into your own language. After conversion, I can bet that you'll too guess this seems like a weaken question as it feels itchy to say someone is bad just based on one data point, or maybe some other factor/data is present that makes him a good fisherman or some new information that proves the point that the data presented above misses some key information. Also, i copied this question after doing some random google search, I'll say try this strategy on real GMAT questions, or mgmat question, or egmat or knewton. I cannot say about other prep courses, but i can vouch for maggoosh and veritas prep questions, both are good. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, even if this is a strengthen question choice, see how many data points you have pondered over by converting it in your own language even before reading the question stem, this makes you fully understand the passage. If its a strengthen question, you'll check for the exactly opposite points we discussed earlier, and if its an assumption question, then you just need to fill in the loose ends.)

Note: the name of the place may not be that important to understand the stem. But honestly, it will stick to your mind when you'll be reading the passage. So no worries, the important part is to FULLY understand what the passage is saying.

Also, note that tough CR questions are tough to answer. So even if you are incorrectly answering 8 tough CR questions (out of total 16 wrong verbal attempts in a mock), dont worry. In a couple of mocks, my incorrect CR questions were almost 40%-50% of the total 13-14 incorrect questions. Important point to note is that in GMAT, a CR answer choice will be TOTALLY wrong, and not partially wrong. GMAT does not leave any chance of errors in the wrong answer choices.

Hmmmm, it turned out to be a long post, i guess no one asked me about my CR strategy before. :) Hope this answers your question. Happy to answer any other doubt of yours. And yes, please let me know if this conversion thing works for you. I'll then be really happy as I will know i helped a fellow-friend who is in the same position as i was a few months ago.

Regards,
Abhishek

Last edited by abikumar on 15 Aug 2013, 09:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2013, 06:29
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QUANT

asifibaju wrote:
Congrats on your awesome score. But what caught my eye and surprized me is your quant score. How can u come up with a 51 in every single mock !! :O

I will b sitting for my GMAT within 4 months. I am hitting in the 47 - 49 range in quant but have been very weak in the verbal section. So, I am emphasizing on my verbal prep more. But I would really like to know from u, how can I take my quant skill to that awesome level of yours or atleast near yours ?? Please give me a guideline on the total quant prep which can help me to get a Q51 !!! :D


Hi asifibaju,

I did the Manhattan Gmat 5th Ed guide books, and completed them first even though the questions were simpler than my level of Q49 (Just to build gmat question knowledge from basics). Then I completed the Mgmat Advanced Quant 20 days before my exam. Good thing about MGMAT advanced Quant is that it has 150 questions in 15 exercises at the end. I did 1 exercise everyday, for the next 15 days (till 5 days before the exam) to not loose my quant thinking. The reason I was getting Q51 in every test was that i was trying to minimize silly mistakes as my general quant knowledge has increased from Q49 to Q50-51 (Like in one of the mocks, i noticed this mistakes: 600+200 = 1000). I'd suggest that in the first few mocks, check the question type in which you are making mistakes (Like I did, my first mgmat quant mock score was 44). I assume you have taken gmatprep mocks, so take 2 mgmat mocks, and from out of 74 questions, check in which areas you are making mistakes. Areawise, mark them as: "Silly, Knowledge Gap, Time Constraint", and do those areas again from either MGMAT books, or whichever prep material you are working with so that you wont make that kind of mistake again. Also, Jeff Sackmann book is quite good in terms of questions, if you have time, go through it. Jumping from Q49 to Q51 will affect your score a LOT if you are scoring in low in verbal (For Eg: Q49, V28 = 640, and Q51, V28 will be around 670-680, a +40 gap), but not if you are scoring decent in verbal (For Eg: Q49, V42 = 750, and Q51, V42 = 760, a +10 gap). So pick your choice, my judgement is that its better to have a strong quant score if your verbals are not improving, but without decent verbal, you wont be able to reach a 700+ score. Understand what score you want to have.

A few quick and dirty tips:
1. I learned from my 2nd preparation: Q51 ability shifts back to Q49, if you leave quant for around 15-20 days.
2. First few questions are important. Spend more time on them.
3. To reach Q51, you need to have a good hit percentage (in all my mocks, i made only 3-4 mistakes in mgmat, and 6-7 only once. In gmatprep, the mistakes were 1 or 2 only, and max 3)
4. Its ok to spend 3-4 minutes in 1 or 2 tough questions (as you may be making a silly mistake in them, and you can definitely cover that up with easy ones), but not ok to spend 3-4 minutes in more than 4 questions (it will overall hurt your score). try to NEVER ever go over 5-6 minutes in one question during mocks. (though its ok to spend more time when you are studying initially, as you are understanding the subject. During your study, learn where and why you took more time than necessary)
5. The subject is limited, they cannot ask anything out of context. So, there wont be anything in the exam that you cannot answer, until and unless you understood the question wrong.
6. For a month, leave calculator and excel spreadsheet calculations during your work time, and use paper and pen. It Helps! :wink:
7. Join the daily gmatclub question in your mailbox, and do them everyday. Everyday, they were generally the first questions i did.

Hope it helps, I can tell you more about the-not-so-important ones, but I dont think it will help you that much (The important ones are mentioned above). Even though gmat is a pretty standard test, the preparation is pretty individualistic. :? Keeping the important ones mentioned above in mind, try to find a personal path. (For eg: An important one for me but probably not-so-important one for you was to look out for traps in the ques, such as i generally missed "a set of 'EVEN' integers", or "'POSITIVE' x, y and z are related to each other....".)

Please let me know if you need more suggestion.

Thanks and Regards,
Abhishek

Last edited by abikumar on 15 Aug 2013, 09:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2013, 15:00
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MOCKS AND RC

Hi AbhiJ,

I gave a mock test almost every weekend, sometimes 2 (Friday and Sunday, OR Sunday and Tuesday). The revision process was fairly simple: I used to maintain a small spreadsheet of my mistakes (google doc so that I could access it from anywhere, office or home). Every mock test was followed by about 1.5 hour of review session where i only used to go through every question i did incorrectly, and, on the spreadsheet, used to mark out what or where i did wrong (especially verbal). I Realized that I was making a lot of mistakes in the "Comparisons" and "Idioms" part of SC, and in general, RC questions. This made me realize my weak areas, so I started working on them. My exam time was 4:00-8:00 pm, so I used to take mocks of Friday and Tuesday after office, from 4:00-8:00 pm, and that tremendously increased my stamina, as I had to focus after an exhaustive day of work. Also, I used one of the Error Logs, But only once in the middle of my study period, to see again from a professional's point of view in what areas I was making a mistake.

Imp Tip: Do the review just after the mocks, even though you'll be exhausted at that time, because that is the only time you know what you have done in the mocks. In the first few mocks, i procrastinated, and later on realized my mistake.

In the mocks, a general process that i followed was to avoid the last RC passage, which gave me ample time for the other questions. A very interesting review of the importance of the first few questions vs the last few questions is done on gmatclub. This review guided me to put extra effort on the first few questions. Also, as i worked, I realized the pattern on the RC questions, and followed this trick: Fully understand the Passage -> Read question -> Without looking at the answer choice, look into the Passage for a quick understanding of that Particular Section -> Search the answer choice that fits my understanding. This was an amazing process, as my RC hit rate increased from 30-40% to 85-90%. To be honest I was never able to prethink the answer, so I just put my efforts in understanding that Passage Section, and choosing the answer that most logically fit into my understanding of that section. And honestly, in 700+ question,s you probably wont be able to prethink the answer choice as the correct answer may be way different from what one can imagine. Just keep your mind open, and eliminate the wrong answers that you think dont work well with your understanding.

Imp point: When you are not panicking to quickly read and understand the passage so that you can complete all the 41 questions, you "Actually" are able to quickly read and understand the passage. Believe me, I was able to complete the verbal in time, I only panicked when i took the break, so rushed through the Long Passage that i came across.

Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other question.

Regards,
Abhishek

Last edited by abikumar on 15 Aug 2013, 09:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2013, 13:08
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Learn from it, learn from your mistakes, build your stamina, rough up and tie your loose ends.
Nice to motivate myself.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2013, 09:37
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GENERAL RELAXING STRATEGY

singh0021 wrote:

Hi Abhi,

Congrats
Well I just want to tell u my case. After fighting for almost 3 years in Cat, I decided to prepare for Gmat this year in Nov. And, I am doing good in sample question. However, in test I lost my temper and always be in hurry to make Q incorrect. This is the case with me in Cat as well.
Kindly suggest if u really wanna to help


Hi Singh,

Thanks. First and foremost, what are the reasons that you lose your temper and get angry during the exams? As in, do you start feeling like you'll not be able to complete the test? Or you probably recall a previous question and realize that you have made a mistake? Or In general during a exam you start contemplating why Harry Potter attended the Tri Wizard Tournament? As he would have avoided Cedric's Death, and definitely the Cup was not coming to Harry with a dagger to kill him. (Just kidding, :) ) I think you might have meant that you lose your cool during your exam, right?

And losing cool during GMAT is a pretty common thing. If this is the case then please let me know more about the way you do your preparation (also please provide in what section you feel more rushed), I'll reply back to you with my perspective at what you can do to avoid the situation. If you really lose your temper then also please provide more information as to what you feel when you do your questions, I'll try to see how I can help you out. Anyways some of my strategies have been discussed before, as what I did to conquer my nerves. And as i always try to provide to a new question:

Tip of the Day: GMAT is not life after all. Getting 800 on it wont get you into H/S/W, getting 500 on it wont kill you. Its just an exam and I'd ask you all to treat it as one. I was in the same shoes as you guys are right now, and believe me I did these things before the exam:
1. I went to watch two movies in two days just before the D-day. (I'd say i was trying to relax myself, but honestly, I had tons to complete then too, i just didn't care, a 2 day practice wouldn't have increased my score from 500 to 700.)
2. Occasionally in my 40-45 day spree, I used to take a day off, just to relax, watch a movie, talk to my friends. The next day i used to swear and curse myself, and then go back to study again. I guess it worked, unknowingly. :)
3. I didn't let my office work suffer a lot, even in the last week. I was here in the office on Friday, and the next day I was writing the exam.
4. There are tons of other anecdotes like these ones, but they all want to tell you guys just one thing. Its natural to Panic, but try not to, the exam is not your Life.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Abhishek
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2013, 10:21
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Did you gave tests every weekend ? How did you revise between tests.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2013, 15:41
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Dear abikumar,

Congratulations on your fantastic score improvement. With your IIT background, this will help you get into most Unis.

First things first =>
Quote:
After 5 years of smoking continuously and a year of drinking wine almost every third day, I completely quit smoking and drinking for 30 days to increase my comprehension level


Rajat: I learn something every day. I never realized there was a direct correlation. I wonder if the same (giving up drinking wine) applies to French as well :) . It would be interesting to see a study.

Quote:
Imp point: When you are not panicking to quickly read and understand the passage so that you can complete all the 41 questions, you "Actually" are able to quickly read and understand the passage. Believe me, I was able to complete the verbal in time, I only panicked when i took the break, so rushed through the Long Passage that i came across


Rajat: Absolutely right => as I say, read slowly to save time. Its counter intutive but works.

Congratulations once again.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2013, 23:58
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Congrats on your awesome score. But what caught my eye and surprized me is your quant score. How can u come up with a 51 in every single mock !! :O

I will b sitting for my GMAT within 4 months. I am hitting in the 47 - 49 range in quant but have been very weak in the verbal section. So, I am emphasizing on my verbal prep more. But I would really like to know from u, how can I take my quant skill to that awesome level of yours or atleast near yours ?? Please give me a guideline on the total quant prep which can help me to get a Q51 !!! :D
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2013, 06:42
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Btw, thanks for your wishes. I didnt notice that and directly jumped into answering your question. If you are scoring Q47-49, you can definitely pull it upto Q51 in a 4 month period. I'd suggest, prepare maths intensively for 1 month and reach Q50-51 while doing verbals slowly, then go for intensive verbals for 2 months while slowly doing quant, and then reconcile the two in the last month. Take mocks to judge your progress (During intensive-verbal period, you may see a decrease in quant score, but its ok as you'll study it again intensively in the last month, and it will be easier to gain speed then.)

The daily gmatclub question will not let you leave any area in Quant or Verbal during any intensive preparation. So please subscribe to it. :)

All the best.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2013, 08:41
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Great work dude...congrats
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2013, 07:05
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Dear Abi,
Congrats on your awesome score.
You mentioned that you got one GMATPrep CR question in your GMAT exam. Verbal questions(especially SC and RC) pattern/format in GMAT will be same as OG13 and GMATPrep questions? I don't mean that same questions will repeat but will the question pattern in real GMAT be same as in OG sources?
Please respond when you get a chance.

All the best
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2013, 10:17
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Kudos abikumar! yours is truly a debrief written in the most concise and informative form ever! (The Wine Helped!) :-D
I congratulate you for your brilliant score and also for completing the journey in such a remarkable fashion! :clap:

I am going to take the GMAT in the next month. I have exactly a month from now. Your points and discussions about the Quant section are a real eye opener. I am going to refurbish my whole quant preparation from tomorrow yet again. I was of an opinion that MGMAT tests have a difficult quant and kept ignoring them. Now, it makes much sense that I need to take on them as well since they are remarkably close to the final call. :yes

I have a serious concern regarding the verbal section. After reading through a lot of posts on this forum, I have modulated my attempt methodology time and again to suit my comfort level. Indeed, the slow reading technique on RC works for me like wonders. The last RC...bite me! I am very worried with my performance on the CR section. Accuracy levels hover around 50-60%. Interests are at an all time low. (Though, first thing tomorrow morning is to quit ciggerates). CR is killing me. In my previous attempt too, I remember attempting CR in the most disgusting and disgraceful manner possible. The last mock I gave of MGMAT, I got about 16 questions wrong and out of them, 8 were CR!!! I could not believe my own nerves. :beat
I hope, I have not been too wordy. Please guide. If there is something I could do in 30 days about improvising onto my accuracy, I would put in a 100% effort on those lines.

Thanks in Advance!
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2013, 10:47
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Hey Abhishek.. many congratulations for the awesome score! Seems like you worked really hard and it actually paid off :)

I have my GMAT in next 20 days. I have taken 4 mocks till now, including 2 power-prep tests (ex gmat-prep). The scores as are follows: 740, 720, 710 and 690. The last mock was a bit weird since I screwed up my quant. Got 9 questions wrong. Otherwise I have been scoring 49-50 in quant. Could you please guide me on how should I make sure that I consistently score a minimum 50 in quant?

On verbal sections, I have been getting around 8-9 questions wrong, and 4-5 out of them are all RC errors! I havent been able to improve my accuracy on RC even after practicing a lot! Any trips and tricks that would help me improve my accuracy??

Please reply whenever you have time! :)

Thanks a lot!!
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2013, 16:43
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abikumar wrote:

In the mocks, a general process that i followed was to avoid the last RC passage, which gave me ample time for the other questions.



AbiKumar,

Cheers on your score and your perseverance for 3 tests.
Can you elaborate the above strategy. Did you avoid the RC last passage in GMAT too?

Best of luck for yours apps.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2013, 20:21
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Hey Abhishek,

First, congratulations for an awesome score! Since you have taken both e-gmat and Knewton courses, can you please provide a comparison of the verbal sections of the two courses? Is there a reason why you chose Knewton for your final attempt ?

Which one of the two have helped you the most to improve your verbal skills especially for CR and RC sections. Also, I have read on several forums that Knewton course is not some one who is aiming for 700+ score on the gmat, is this right?

Thanks for your insights and good luck with your apps.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2013, 09:35
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GMAT QUESTION TYPE

vasireddy1304 wrote:
Dear Abi,
Congrats on your awesome score.
You mentioned that you got one GMATPrep CR question in your GMAT exam. Verbal questions(especially SC and RC) pattern/format in GMAT will be same as OG13 and GMATPrep questions? I don't mean that same questions will repeat but will the question pattern in real GMAT be same as in OG sources?
Please respond when you get a chance.

All the best

Hi Vasireddy,

Sorry, i went on a trip and came back today only. Let me tell you a secret, I remember that twice i saw GMATPrep question (as in exactly the same body, EXACTLY) but with different question stem and different answer choices i.e. attacking the same question from a different perspective (1 in 2nd attempt, and 1 in 3rd: Both CR). The reason i think is that maybe GMAT too dont have a lot of different material for tough questions. If you see one, then i believe be happy as you might be doing good, if you dont, then also no worries, you may have hit a different tough or even tougher question. Verbal questions are always, and yes ALWAYS, check for the same concepts. Same holds for RC too, and hence GMATPrep is your best source for official questions. (I say GMATPrep and not OG as GMATPrep has some really tough questions, OG is really really good to learn the concepts). So, the answer in short is "YES", the question pattern is always the same. The real GMAT will never ask you something which they have not taught in OG or GMATPrep.

Hope this answers your question. Happy to answer any other doubt of yours.

Regards,
Abhishek

Last edited by abikumar on 15 Aug 2013, 09:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2013, 11:15
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Brilliant debrief !!!!! I just want to know how u gave up smoking and wine....lol, i get an urge to smoke in between breaks for mocktest;) i see you are a supporter of mock and analysis of mocks straight after the test. Any special tips on analysis??? Am trying to divide errors in timing, strategy and concept problem, usually am good with concepts but i take a long route to answer questions in quant so my main problem is strategy and timing because of which i mess up the final few questions(4-5).

Congrats on the score and good luck with the applications

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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2013, 12:10
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E-GMAT VS KNEWTON

rags28 wrote:
Hey Abhishek,

First, congratulations for an awesome score! Since you have taken both e-gmat and Knewton courses, can you please provide a comparison of the verbal sections of the two courses? Is there a reason why you chose Knewton for your final attempt ?

Which one of the two have helped you the most to improve your verbal skills especially for CR and RC sections. Also, I have read on several forums that Knewton course is not some one who is aiming for 700+ score on the gmat, is this right?

Thanks for your insights and good luck with your apps.


Hi Rags,

Thanks for your wishes. I'll try to keep it simple and to the point.

Comparison: e-gmat vs knewton (only verbal section)

e-gmat Pros: Extremely good verbal classes. Conceptual questions. Huge collection of questions. Club it together with mgmat mocks, and you have got a gem. (4+ verbal score guaranteed)
knewton Pros: Conceptual questions. Adaptive simulation. Huge collection of questions. 6 mocks. So complete in itself (including quant). (50+ total score guaranteed.)

e-gmat Cons: No good mocks (I have said earlier, i personally hated grockit, some people like it too, so it depends from person to person). No quant (when i joined. I dont know what the current situation is). :(
knewton Cons: Classes are not personal (as in they are general for everyone, so its up to you to assimilate as much as you can).

Summary:
If you are scoring in the range of 25-32, go for e-gmat. It will build your basics. You'll not assimilate a lot of knowledge from knewton at this point of time. e-gmat has the potential to get you from 25 to 40+ if you use it wisely, undoubtedly. I missed giving mocks during my prep with e-gmat, which probably hurt my overall score.
If you are scoring in the range of 32-36, go for knewton. You have your basics clear, you just need to practice, give mocks, and tie your loose ends. You can increase from 34 to 40+ using only this course.

Myth: "knewton cannot get you to 700+.": I cannot use the word, so i'll make an acronym of it: "BS". :) I tried it, and it made me jump to 750+. Whatever is taught in knewton is relevant and is good enough to keep you above 700. My personal preference was to increase my quant ability too, so i went for knewton. Important point is that its adaptive, so if you are bad at verbal, it wont help you a lot, but if you are decent at verbal, it will prove wonders.

Tip: Both of the courses are extremely good. Pick the one that suits your needs, and fits into your current verbal potential. And as bb ones said, during your prep, its good to go for a course which has a a guaranteed score improvement, as you have nothing to loose. You'll either improve your score, or you'll get your money back if you do all what is asked from you.

Also, specifically for SC, i'll say e-gmat (as for me, SC requires some personal attention), and for CR and RC, i'll say both (though personally, i am a bit inclined towards knewton). Also, CR was never that tough for me, especially simple CR and RC problems. For tough CR and RC problems, please read my other replies targeted at how to tackle tough RC and CR questions (they contain my personal strategies).

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other queries.

Regards,
Abhishek

Last edited by abikumar on 15 Aug 2013, 10:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost. [#permalink] New post 10 Oct 2013, 01:59
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abikumar wrote:
CRITICAL REASONING (An interesting approach)

sayantanbera21 wrote:
Kudos abikumar! yours is truly a debrief written in the most concise and informative form ever! (The Wine Helped!) :-D
I congratulate you for your brilliant score and also for completing the journey in such a remarkable fashion! :clap:

I am going to take the GMAT in the next month. I have exactly a month from now. Your points and discussions about the Quant section are a real eye opener. I am going to refurbish my whole quant preparation from tomorrow yet again. I was of an opinion that MGMAT tests have a difficult quant and kept ignoring them. Now, it makes much sense that I need to take on them as well since they are remarkably close to the final call. :yes

I have a serious concern regarding the verbal section. After reading through a lot of posts on this forum, I have modulated my attempt methodology time and again to suit my comfort level. Indeed, the slow reading technique on RC works for me like wonders. The last RC...bite me! I am very worried with my performance on the CR section. Accuracy levels hover around 50-60%. Interests are at an all time low. (Though, first thing tomorrow morning is to quit ciggerates). CR is killing me. In my previous attempt too, I remember attempting CR in the most disgusting and disgraceful manner possible. The last mock I gave of MGMAT, I got about 16 questions wrong and out of them, 8 were CR!!! I could not believe my own nerves. :beat
I hope, I have not been too wordy. Please guide. If there is something I could do in 30 days about improvising onto my accuracy, I would put in a 100% effort on those lines.

Thanks in Advance!


Hi Sayantanbera,

Sorry, i went on a trip and came back today only. For CR questions, a lot of gmat prep courses tell you to read the question stem first and then read the body, but i found that tough for me. What i did was that i read the body first and while reading the body, i guessed what the question stem may be (such as weaken, or strengthen or assumption, etc). Honestly, i was able to guess that more than 90% of the time. This helped me to unbiasedly read the body, and understand it fully before reading the question. One trick of the trade that i used: Read the CR stem, and convert it in your own language (hindi, tamil, spanish, whatever it is). Then you'll either directly find the right answer choice (in easy CR questions) or eliminate all the incorrect answer choices (in tough CR questions). It does created wonders for me. Hope it does the same for you too. For example:

CR Stem: "Samuel is obviously a bad fisherman. During the past season, in which he and the five members of his team spent four months on a boat together off Dutch Harbor, AK, he caught fewer fish than any of his teammates."

Hindi version: "Samuel bad fisherman hai, and last season mein in 4 months usne out of 6 people, sabse kam fish collect kari"


(P.S.: I converted that into hindi, please convert it into your own language. After conversion, I can bet that you'll too guess this seems like a weaken question as it feels itchy to say someone is bad just based on one data point, or maybe some other factor/data is present that makes him a good fisherman or some new information that proves the point that the data presented above misses some key information. Also, i copied this question after doing some random google search, I'll say try this strategy on real GMAT questions, or mgmat question, or egmat or knewton. I cannot say about other prep courses, but i can vouch for maggoosh and veritas prep questions, both are good. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, even if this is a strengthen question choice, see how many data points you have pondered over by converting it in your own language even before reading the question stem, this makes you fully understand the passage. If its a strengthen question, you'll check for the exactly opposite points we discussed earlier, and if its an assumption question, then you just need to fill in the loose ends.)

Note: the name of the place may not be that important to understand the stem. But honestly, it will stick to your mind when you'll be reading the passage. So no worries, the important part is to FULLY understand what the passage is saying.

Also, note that tough CR questions are tough to answer. So even if you are incorrectly answering 8 tough CR questions (out of total 16 wrong verbal attempts in a mock), dont worry. In a couple of mocks, my incorrect CR questions were almost 40%-50% of the total 13-14 incorrect questions. Important point to note is that in GMAT, a CR answer choice will be TOTALLY wrong, and not partially wrong. GMAT does not leave any chance of errors in the wrong answer choices.

Hmmmm, it turned out to be a long post, i guess no one asked me about my CR strategy before. :) Hope this answers your question. Happy to answer any other doubt of yours. And yes, please let me know if this conversion thing works for you. I'll then be really happy as I will know i helped a fellow-friend who is in the same position as i was a few months ago.

Regards,
Abhishek


Hey Abhishek, Congratulations for 750 first of all.. Kudos man!!
And ya thanks a lot for the amazing tips that you have shared in the above posts.. It has helped me a lot. Especially converting the CR question in Hindi and then judging what the question could be.

If you can judge what a question could me, then it automatically means that you also know an answer to it.

Thanks again!!!
Re: 640 to 750: How I braved myself and won over the GMAT ghost.   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2013, 01:59
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