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680 - 740 (Q51, V38)

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680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2010, 15:59
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Hey guys

Took my gmat on saturday and scored my dream score - 740 ...
Special thanks to gmatclub and all the forums that provided answers and explanations.

Feel great relief as I am targeting just the top 5 school.

I will post my detail study plan and a few considerations for married guys out there trying for a good score.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2010, 21:29
Congrats on the excellent score! Please share your tips as I am a married guy also.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2010, 07:40
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Hi all

Here is a more detail of my GMAT experience.

Brief Circumstances:
I am one of those who have to work about 12 - 13 hrs and commute about 2.5 hrs.
I also have my own business along with my work which takes around couple of hours each day.
More over, have a wife who needs good attention as we are expecting our first kid in next 1.5 mths.

I started my preparation on 1st Nov, expecting to take my GMAT by Dec end.
But early Nov we got the news that our baby could be born premature.
That shifted my focus for about a 20 days till we said to ourselves -- We have always been helpful and GOD will help us in these hours.

I had taken a GMAT in 2007 and scored 680 in that.
But I was aiming for top 5 schools and 680 would not help an Indian to stand on the list.

Test Scores:
GMAT PREP 1 -- Nov 1 -- 700
MGMAT 1 -- Nov 7 -- 680
MGMAT 2 -- Nov 14 -- 680
GMAT PREP 1 -- Nov 15 -- 690
MGMAT 3 -- Dec 27 -- 680
MGMAT 4 -- Jan 9 -- 700
MGMAT 5 -- Jan 11 -- 720
MGMAT 6 -- Jan 16 -- 660 (internet problem pulled my concentration down along with my score)
GMAT PREP 2 -- Jan 18 -- 730

Study Plan:
Phase 1 (Nov 1 - Nov 20)
Being a manager, I am used to breaking down a task and adopting a process for any outcome.
Gave GMAT PREP 1 to gauge my abilities.
Used ursulas post to estimate quants and verbal breakup I will need to target a score. This I called as TARGET.
Wrote this target on a sticky paper and stuck that on my study table.
Created a list of all EXPECTED strengths and weakness for the TARGET score in an xls.
Created a plan that will help me target my focus areas.
Researched which website and books could help me and got those tools.
Started with OG 12 - completed 50% of RC , CR and SC and 100% of PS and DS say in around 10 days.
That helped me touch water and create a database which indicates my TRUE strengths and weakness.
Gave MGMAT and Kaplan free tests to arrive at my CURRENT score.

So, task remaining was simple: Bridge gap between CURRENT and TARGET score using gap between EXPECTED and TRUE weakness.


TARGET:
740 -- Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
730 -- Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
720 -- Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le
Q%le + V%le

EXPECTED strengths and weakness:
Expected strength (which I need to have to attain my score) -- 50/51 in quants, min 80%le in verbal, patience ....
Expected weakness (which I might carry with me to the exam irrespective of my studies) -- great vocabulary, speed eading and grasping, atleast one part of body hurting on the test day ....

After GMAT PREP1, MGMAT 1, 50 SC,RC,CR from OG and all PS and DS from OG, I was able to guess my TRUE strengths and weakness
TRUE strengths and weakness:
TRUE Strengths: good concentration, PS, CR .....
TRUE weakness: SC (major), RC (complex topics), DS (silly mistakes), bad breathing pattern during exam, bio-break pattern ....

Created a plan that will uniquely target each of my weakness and build my stengths to bridge the gap.

Though my MGMAT scores didn’t completely reflect my studies, I was slowly and steadily improving on my weakness ... one at a time.

Started taking some very complex quants and CR from internet and LSAT.

Bang -- Nov 20 doctor visit and didn’t touch the book for more than a month

After

Phase 2 (Dec 23 - Jan 22)
Started with a MGMAT test to gauge where I stood.
Results showed that I haven’t improved, but I haven’t degraded either.
Started again to bridge the gap.
But by this time I knew that If I don’t give GMAT in Jan, I might not be able to give it in 2010.
Took a date of Jan 23 and directed my study schedule to it.

Tried to think how would GMAT make a question complex.
Kept on jotting various ways of how 1+1 = 2 along with 5 answer choices, three sentence para which asks for something which we do every day and a 40 line para with 3-4 questions can be made difficult.
That proved to be great for me as it even addressed a few of my weaknesses.

Did OG complete, Verbal and Quant Review complete, MGMAT all books complete, LSAT CR one reading, and in depth analysis of every question I got wrong.
All of this was perfectly timed, used grids to find the type of the question and some handy tips I wrote for myself as I was studying wrt approaching a problem.

I have to do a lot of analysis at work and most important piece is to think outside the box to come up with solutions.
I used my critique sense to judge that every piece in GMAT exam is wrong and I have been given the responsibility to correct the world with these 37+41 questions.
Suddenly I wake up due to the sense of responsibility and concentration shoots to great highs.

Then took the next set of tests when I was around 2.5 weeks from exam date.
Score were improved and I could see some pattern of errors. There was clearly clustering of mistakes which I need to scatter across the exam.
Identified that i keep my elbow too long on my chair without moving it. The moment I move it (usually happened around 12th quant and 8th verbal question) I get a pain and my 12th quant and 8th verbal questions are always wrong.
Got to see that my legs get tired around 50 mins in exam and I change my position also disturbing my concentration. Again a shoot in mistakes around that time.
Noticed that when I am in flow I forget to keep up with my strategies and drift away with clever tricks of gmat paper.
Also found that tension gives me psychological feeling of having the urge to go to restroom when actually I don’t need it (yeh, I am filthy but this is my analysis and want to share with you so that you can benefit from my analysis)

GMAT more than just questions has important soft aspects to it which are very important to be addressed.

Used some yoga and concentration techniques for last week, skipped through my problem areas and used websites to solve questions that other students asked.

DAY BEFORE D-DAY:
My exam was on saturday. Took a Friday off .... switched off my cellphone and blackberry, asked my brother to transfer 20 bucks to my account to give me a sense of having earned something in my business :) .....
skimmed through more than 200 pictures of my to-be-born kid ..... got to know that though the nose of my kid looks like my wife, forehead and to some extent shape of eye was like mine .... drew a couple of pics how my kid would look ...
turned out to be more like poppye ..... Evidently ... i was a bad artist :)

Day was just good ... when things started going bad.

Found out that I don’t have undergarments for next day and had to go to laundry.
Sprained my right leg while running towards laundry. Forgot to put detergent while washing ...
realized that my snickers and Gatorade was out of stock in fridge ... ran to nearest 7-11 to get a few of those

got hyper over an email I accidentally saw when I opened my gmail account

My exam was at 8 in the morning, 20 mins away from my home ...
Though I had visited the week before to see the center, decided to leave from home by 6:45 so as to be there by 7:15.
Schedule was to sleep early ... around 9ish and wake up at 6 .. .good 9 hrs of sleep.

Got into an argument with wife at the dinner table at around 7ish ... was kinda expecting that ....
My wife is my biggest supporter. She has helped me for every exam, imp days and even during GMAT. But the 7th month is the month of crankiness .... and now I know that crankiness just goes worst with every day

Got over that thing ... had dinner .... decided to move around an hour or two and then sleep.

Was in bed at 8:45 ... as planned.
Then my fire alarm went off .... for no reason.
Found that it just popped out of the base and that caused it to alarm.

Fixed it and came back to bed. In next 10 min my CO2 alarm started making very slow but harsh sound. This was due to low battery. Changed battery and came back to bed.
Then my fire alarm went off again (may be I didn’t fix it properly the last time ... ignored it for 2 mins ... and then our main door siren went off ...
That was really bad noise. Had to wake up. Went downstairs to see the main door alarm. Stood below the alarm for around 10 mins trying to fix it and waiting for a fire brigade or police to come.
The alarm automatically stopped in a few mins ... but left a weird deep noise in my head.
When I came back to my bed by around 9:30 ... noticed that there is a weird noise in my head which was due to the alarm sound.
This noise didn’t go for hours and finally slept at 2 am as my body was just too tired. woke up at 4:30 and didn’t sleep after that.

Reached the center at around 7:15 with the alarm noise still in my brain ....

wow ... the moment I reach there I see that every one complaining about the server noise ... I couldn’t hear that at all as I was deep in my head-alarm.
Every person who came there was disturbed due to server noise ... I was cool with my friendly head-alarm and enjoyed my test.
Started my test with a big big smile and pic of my kid and wife in front of my eyes ....

boom ... very soon the test was done and popped up a score of 740.



Will continue in second post
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2010, 08:28
:shock: quite a few distractions the night before! Incredible how you kept your focus. Kudos and congrats!
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2010, 08:38
yeh ...

I am actually used to worst situations and have to perform better ... so sort of working under tension has become my skill ...

I have some good study tips ... (obviously with the huge database gmatclub has my tips might just be redundant or very basic) which I will post in a day ...
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2010, 13:31
Congratulation agrawalswap,

preparing for GMAT with a kid on the way... no kidding...! with all the predisposed commitments you deserve a special place in the hall of fame (i.e. 700 Club)...

Help me with this ...

bad breathing pattern during exam because I certainly missed the memo on this one...!


... Tried to think how would GMAT make a question complex. Kept on jotting various ways of how 1+1 = 2 along with 5 answer choices:
... used grids to find the type of the question and some handy tips I wrote for myself as I was studying wrt approaching a problem.
....my strategies and drift away with clever tricks of gmat paper

If you can send me the summary that will be great...!
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2010, 13:58
sure ... will pass on the points I jotted for all those 3 areas.

Last edited by agrawalswap on 31 Jan 2010, 08:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2010, 04:00
... breathing? Hope you are also adding it to the mix...
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 30 Jan 2010, 05:06
congratulations!!! you did very good after having had so many distractions.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2010, 08:27
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thanks guys ..

sorry for late reply ... took the much awaited break :)

well .... here goes my second part which will answer a lot of questions.
Other than breathing patterns all areas are already discussed on gmatclub forums and everyone is aware of them ...
i just jotted all tips for myself and tried to follow them to my benefit.

breathing pattern: I am a firm believer that emotions and mind can be brought in control using breathing.
When we are sad, happy or afraid our breathing pattern changes. This pattern can be different in different individuals.
in my case i saw that as i get difficult questions my breathing rate decreases. then suddenly i realize that i am running out of breath and i take a few deep breaths.
this inconsistent behavior is the same when i am nearly at the end of the test and running to finish all questions.
to regulate this pattern i decided to take a good breath as soon as i start a question. had to train myself for a couple of tests but then it started coming in automatically.
having a smooth breathing pattern regulates your brain and gives the required attention and concentration.
also, having a goal is most imp for an exam. i was giving the exam to prove myself that 720+ score is attainable.
so, the moment my concentration drifted, i was able to quickly get back on track just by thinking if was capable of 720 or not.


tough questions analysis from OG:
From OG I found that the tough questions are the ones which are not tough like the way manhattan gmat has.
They were tough due to the twist involved in them.
My analysis of a few questions of OG made it clear that i should watch out for
a. the parameters m/s,km/hr etc
b. check what is asked. most of my quants OG mistakes were silly mistakes. the questions were specifically designed so that it had answers which a person can arrive at ... but that answer will be wrong.
c. from og and my gmat prep exams i found that that no way can there be questions where calculations are involved. if there are big numbers, there are better solutions.
d. i marked a clear difference between gmat prep exams and the rest of the exams. other exams prepare you for worst cases. helps to tackle the most difficult questions.
But the problem with other exams as compared to gmat prep was that they make a question difficult by asking something which has a lot of steps to get to the solution.
gmat prep asks for questions that are very fundamental. reading the quants section from gmat prep (and gmat review) was the most important study i did.
no other material even comes close to the ideas that gmat prep develops. my quants study was 90% from gmat prep software and analysis of questions.


grid:

i got this from gmatclub website itself. it gave me good database of types of questions and how tracking performance can help to improve weak areas.
my target was to have 66% in overall areas. which ever area was weak, i used to read mgmat verbal books, search websites and analyze the solutions to improve.
Best advice i got was from my brother who said that he himself improved his score from mid 600s to above 700s in 2 weeks just by focused approach and analysis.


strategies:
mine was simple time based strategy - every 12 quants and every 13 verbal questions in 25 mins
during my exams i found that i take a few questions to my heart and spend more time than required. regulated that to have a deadline for each type of question.
also got to see that i get drifted by the numbers ... end up doing huge calculations for simple question
in quants, used a strategy of not simplifying the numbers till the last equation. saw that most of them cancel eventually.
in verbal, used mgmat books to find what are typical wrong answers a question might have.
i might not have the correct answer but i can eliminate wrong answer for sure.
created an xls of all strategies of mgmat and mastered it. found that every question can be solved by elimination.
used that trick for myself ... might not work for everyone ... so you will have to come up with something that suits your brain
my job and business involves a lot of critical analysis. many time i negate things and then start working on solutions.
used that to improve my rc abilities. i earlier used to agree with the author of the rc passage and read it. that used to give me an accuracy of 30-50%
then started contradicting the author of the passage and my inherent abilities to remember problems in the author saying, twists in the story, imp points was greatly enhanced
that improved my accuracy to more than 66% .... my target value.
my suggestion ... figure out what works for u ... and use that ..

one thing i strongly felt was to not read books before you understand questions.
after reading mgmat and other prep softwares, our brain thinks that their way is the best way ...
when actually it might not be in ur case.
i found that my way of solving quants and rc were completely different from most of the books.
where as for SC it was very close to mgmat and for CR i just used mgmat book .... and did hands on from LSAT book

see what works best for u ... and you will be surprised to find how u can arrive at better ways to solve gmat questions.
i know one of my friend who scored 760 used to push back his chair after reading every pasage and think of his school before he answers the question.
his rc accuracy was 100% for any passage that he ever solved ...
Try to see which way is a better way for urself to arrive at correct answer.

last but not the least ... as ursula said .. have your own ‘lucky thing’ with u ... i carried my kid's ultra sound pics till the exam center in my car
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2010, 08:35
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perseverance, thanks for the kudos.
let me know if i can be of any help for the forum in any manner.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2010, 21:11
agrawalswap,

thanks for elaborating on breathing...does sound scientific... and since you put it that way... I'll evaluate it and see how it applies...!

For rest of the write up I felt that you went on symptomatic details... care to share some techniques... :) :) the real deal...!

Symptoms for all of us are dime a dozen on this forum...got more than can be handled... :) :)

be a part of the solution mate... :)
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2010, 08:14
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DestinyChild, yeh that breathing thing is definitely scientific and proven.

For the rest of the stuff, they are just basic things available in most gmat forums and hence I didnt elaborate those.

I will give some more insight and links to it.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 01 Feb 2010, 12:42
congrats !! Great improvement and nice explanation. :)

Good luck ahead with your professional as well as personal life.

Kudos for you.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2010, 10:19
hi gurpreetsingh

thanks for the wishes and kudos.
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2010, 10:51
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Great job! Congratulations!!!
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2010, 06:28
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Very nice!
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2010, 08:50
super debrief man!!!

flattered....:D
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2010, 09:07
Great Job ! All the best for your apps !!!
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Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2010, 09:44
Hi folks....I took the GMAT yesterday and scored 690.
It was way below my expectations, but then i committed the blunder of not completing a section , which translates to jumping on the sharpest edge of an axe.

Have detailed my experience on my blog:
http://insomniac-anish.blogspot.com

Do take a look and i would appreciate any tips or comments as i am planning to retake GMAT in a month or so...

Cheers
Re: 680 - 740 (Q51, V38)   [#permalink] 31 Oct 2010, 09:44
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