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710. My Story !

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710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2010, 12:11
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Hi Everyone.

Just gave the Gmat today. Happy to share the news that I scored a 710/92 Percentile (Quant – 50 /93 percentile , Verbal -37/80 percentile) . :)
Here is a quick debrief:
Exam Day: The test was scheduled at 2:00 PM. I reached the centre an hour before the scheduled time. The centre didn’t have many takers and they asked me if I wanted to start early. I agreed and they began my exam on 1:30 instead.

AWA was ok. I just followed whatever was told in this link for AWA preps
how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html.
And I think that it’s the best material available to study. I finished both the essays well before time and took the optional 8 minutes break.
I felt that the first question that I received was tough. It was on number system and took me 4 minutes to solve. I began to panic, but then took a deep breath and held my nerves. First few questions were mostly from number system/geometry/. Didn’t get any questions on Standard deviations/Work/Speed. I think I could not solve atleast 4 questions and had to guess and move on. I never spent more then 2 minutes on any of the remaining questions and finished the section with 3 minutes to spare.

I took the second optional break. Went to the washroom and splashed some water on my face . Just used five minutes of the optional break and started off with the verbal section. The first 8 questions were SC and CR. Two of the RCs in the section were big enough that I had to scroll up and down. None of the RC was on science. But the questions were tricky I felt. I guessed on atleast 12-14 questions in the entire section. I ended the section with 5 minutes in hand.

Couldn’t wait to see my scores and skipped the questionnaire and other stuff on the screen. Kept on clicking Next.. Next.. Next.. And Voila !!!!! a 710 !!! :D Thanked God and rushed outside. Took the printed scorecard and ran away from the centre. Realized that I brought the locker keys along with me !!! Went back and gave them the keys back !!! Embarrassing !!! :-P

The Preps:
I am a computer science engineer. But since the last seven years, I have been taking care of my family business and was thus completely out of touch with studies. I started my preparations around three months ago. I spent the first month on concept building and the later ones on sharpening my skills. I studied for about 3 hours per day for the first two months and as much as 7 hours per day during the last month. Here is a quick look at my strategies on each section:

Quant:
1. I studied Kaplan initially to understand what to expect in the exam. Had heard that Kaplan courses are one of the better ones around and their cats the toughest. But I must admit that they are not. If you are targeting a score of around 600-630, then Kaplan is sufficient. But it cannot take you any further. The Cats which were once famous for their toughness have lost their sting. Especially the maths is pedestrian to say the least. I scored over 750 in most of their cats with 20 minutes to spare in each section. Kaplan 800 series is decent but they don’t have many questions to practice.
2. I finished OG 12 for quant and then relied heavily on sectional tests to improve my scores. I feel that if you are from a maths background then you don’t have much to study as far as understanding of concepts goes. But its very very important to understand where does the gmat trick you. And this I feel can be learnt only by giving mocks.

Word of Advice for Quant :
Give as many sectional tests on maths as you can. And review all the questions after you are done with the test. Note down all wrong questions in a notebook and solve them once every week. After a few weeks you will realize what all mistakes you regularly commit in the test and how to avoid them. You need to close all the points from where you leak your marks. And its possible only by practice. I improved from 40 to 50 during the course of my preparation this way.

800score has a nice collection of Quant sectional test and are worth trying. Quant of manhattan tests are also upto the mark with what one can expect in the real test.

GMAT Club tests are a must ! They were the closest thing to the real Gmat cat after the GmatPrep. ( I used the memorial day open access to the club tests and just loved them ) . Thanks BB !!! :)

Finally , search for the hardest problems around and attack them. There are plenty of them in this forum. Difficult questions will tear open the hidden cracks inside your concepts and force you to look into your mistakes. Attempting 5 difficult questions that you think you cannot solve is better than solving 15 simpler questions in which you feel comfortable. And more importantly practice them again and again till you reach the state when you cannot stop yourself from exclaiming , “oh man, These were easy ! Why couldn’t I solve them earlier !!!

English :
My English is poor and that’s why I shouldn’t say much about my preps for this section !
SC from Manhattan is a must have. It has all that is asked in the real Gmat. OG is an absolute must as well !

My scores in the Mocks were as follows:
GmatPrep1.0 (1): 570 ( I hadn’t started preparing that time)
GMAt Prep1.0 (2) : 640 (After 1 month of preparation)
Gmat Prep 1.1 (1) 670 ( After 1.5 months of preparation)
Gmat Prep 1.1 (2) 660 ( After 2 months of preparation)
Gmat Prep 1.0 Retake : 710/720 ( A week before the exam. Very few repeated questions.)
Gmat Prep 1.1 Retakes : 710/730 ( A week before the exam. Very few repeated questions.)
Other Cats
Knewton Free Test : 600 ( A week before the exam :-P )
Princeton Tests : 640-680 ( Verbal is decent. Quant is easy.)
Manhattan Tests: 660 – 680. (Quant questions are good. CR is wayward.)
Kaplan Tests : 750 – 780 ( Don’t waste your time )

The Gmat Preps are the best Cats to gauge your real scores. Even a retake of these Cats is not bad, because it has a large database and doesn’t repeat questions often. Please dont take your mock scores seriously. They dont matter much. Its the real test that matters the most. They are a good pointer your current preparedness for the exam. But there toughness will vary from one test to other. A 650 in manhattan is not a 650 in PR or veritas.
Its important to understand that apart from the GMATprep , all others arent close to the real thing.

Remember that your approach on the test day is what matters the most. If you have a positive attitude and a relaxed mind, you can score more than what you would have did in your mocks. On the other hand, if you are under pressure and tense, chances are that you will ruin you test !


Mental Grooming: I think it’s the most important aspect of one’s preparation. You need to understand, that GMAT can be conquered with practice !

Food for Thought to all aspirants
Meditation: 5 minutes of meditation every day helps ! After you wake up or just before you begin to study, is the best time to meditate. Just sit in a comfortable position. Take some deep breaths, and close your eyes. Try to keep your mind uncluttered of thoughts and notice your breath as your breathe in and out ! When you feel that you are relaxed, then gently remind yourself the goals that you want to achieve. Open your eyes and begin your studies. It hardly takes 5 minutes and relaxes your mind. Always Remember that a relaxed mind works better !

It is important to keep your cool on the test day too. Don’t get discouraged if you solve a few of the questions incorrectly. It is bound to happen. The Gmat is adaptive and will give you a chance to bounce back.

Finally, a big thank you to Gmat Forum. The tests and questions over here are amazing !!!!! So too are the members :D

Cheers !!
Kaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesKnewton GMAT Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2010, 01:32
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nonameee wrote:
Manish, thank you very much for a detailed report and congratulations on your score. I would like to ask you a few questions:

Thanks Nonamee !

Sorry for the late reply.

Quote:
1) Weren't you exhausted taking so many CATs?

I gave one CAT every week during my initial months of preps. However, I started giving 2 cats each week from the 2nd month onwards. I gave one CAT each day in the last week before the Gmat. I didnt give any CATs in the last 2 days.
Yes it is very exhausting. A CAT takes atleast 5 hours (Adding up the CAT + review time ) and its difficult to squeeze in a CAT in your schedule if you are working as well.

Quote:
2) In what way did taking CATs help you?

CATs helped me in the following way:

1. I was so used to giving CATs that the GMAT day felt like another practice CAT. Sitting for 4 hours straight was easy on the day when it mattered the most. Practicing with the GmatPrep in the final few days helps The look and feel of the real exam is so similar to GmatPrep that you may feel that its just a practice test.

2. I was able to manage my time in an efficient manner. I learnt how to used my 75 minutes efficiently. The funda is that GMAT problems are not tough. Any one can solve these questions if allowed to spend 5 minutes on each question. But you've got just 1.5 minutes roughly for each question and this is the time limit in which you are expected to solve them.

I remember that during the early days of my preparation, I would realize that I have some 15 minutes in hand and 13 questions to solve. I would then panic and make a lot of mistakes. But regular practice CATs helped me spread out my time evenly across all the questions. During my final few days of preparation, I would have around 8-10 questions to solve with around 22 minutes in hand and it helped me to relax myself and solve the questions with more concentration.

I've felt that the initial few questions in the Quant are the simple ones. The toughness level rises when you solve them correctly. It means that you can expect the first 5 questions to be of medium difficulty. I would attempt to solve them a little quickly. I would then just use those extra few minutes earned for the tougher questions later !

Quote:
3) Could you be more specific on how you used an error log?

I used a primitive way of maintaining the error log.
Quant:
I kept a notebook with me for the quant preparation. I divided that notebook into sections namely Number System / DS / Geometry / Word Problems / Probability and Premutation/Combination.
I would look out for good questions around and note them down with stepwise solving procedure in the notebook. This way I made a collection of difficult and tricky questions for the Quant section. I would solve the noted down questions many times so that I learn how to stay away from their traps. Every CAT would give me 5 - 10 questions which were tricky. I would jot them down and practice them. I kept it as simple as this .

Quote:
4) How did you deal with burnout? Did you try to prevent burnout?

I felt a burnout during the second month of my preparation. I would feel all this preparation is trash. The CAT scores would bog me down often.
The best solution to this is that you accept that you have a burnout and that you still have to carry on. Don't let it get into your head. Burnouts are a temporary phase where your scores would dip or remain stable. But let that phase pass and you can expect a spike in your results .
Image
The graph above is a demonstration of what I feel about the Burnout. I always saw a spike after the burnout.
Quote:
5) Could you describe you daily study routine?

I generally went to the office in the morning at 10:00 and would return around 6:00 in the evening. Would study for 4 to 5 hours and then off to sleep. In the last few days I took leave from the office and studied 7-10 hours per day. I would like to state that I have my own business and hence had the leverage of taking a leave from office in the last few days.
And must admit that its a very difficult think to manage between work and studies. I was lucky to have had 10 hours to study each day in the last few days .

Quote:
6) How did you deal with fatigue when studying, esp. after work?

Nothing noticeable to mention. I suggest spending time with family helps.

Quote:
7) How did you manage to combine studying with working?

Explained in 5.

Quote:
8) Could you please describe your revision strategy?


As explained earlier I revised all tricky questions in maths regularly. I didnt have a clear cut strategy for english and thats where I faltered. In hindsight I feel that maintaining a copy of all SCs and CRs that I couldnt solve, would have made a good set of questions to revise.


Quote:
10) How confident were you after finishing your preparation and what about your confidence on the test day?


The last few GMATpreps when I scored in excess of 700 made me feel pretty good. I was happy that I could cross 700 consistently albeit only in the last few days. I was a little scared too, that I was marginally crossing the 700 score ( 710. 720 type scores).. But did I have a choice ? I decided to just face whatever would happen on the test day and keep a cool head.

I tried rehearsing the whole exam in my mind before the actual thing happened. I asked people what to expect in the exam . Read other test takers experiences on the forum. It really helped a lot.
I even visited my test centre a day before the test just to make sure I knew the place. I went inside the test centre, reconfirmed my schedule and came back. It is always good to remove all those anxieties about the test centre from your mind.

Cheers. And all the Best !!!!!! :)
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2010, 12:25
congrats mate, what exactly do u mean by sectional tests in quants?
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2010, 13:29
congrats
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2010, 13:43
youven wrote:
congrats mate, what exactly do u mean by sectional tests in quants?

Thanks :)
I mean that instead of practicing the complete CAT that you may have, attempting only the quant section .The verbal later may be attempted later when you prepare for it. The Gmat Club tests have 20 odd quant tests only. You can give them a try :-)
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2010, 20:12
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2010, 21:50
:-D Congrats yaar, you have score better than your practice tests.

Good luck for your application. Keep us updated.
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2010, 02:18
rid82 wrote:
congrats Manish! I'm happy for you

Thanks Rid.. You know I was a little nervous. Thanks for your help !! :-)
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2010, 02:19
gurpreetsingh wrote:
:-D Congrats yaar, you have score better than your practice tests.

Good luck for your application. Keep us updated.

Hey Gurpreet !! Thanks !!!!
Nice to see a punjabi in the forum.. Me a punjabi too..
Jo Bole Sonihal... Satshriakaal !!! :)
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2010, 03:07
Manish, thank you very much for a detailed report and congratulations on your score. I would like to ask you a few questions:

1) Weren't you exhausted taking so many CATs?

2) In what way did taking CATs help you?

3) Could you be more specific on how you used an error log?

4) How did you deal with burnout? Did you try to prevent burnout?

5) Could you describe you daily study routine?

6) How did you deal with fatigue when studying, esp. after work?

7) How did you manage to combine studying with working?

8) Could you please describe your revision strategy?

10) How confident were you after finishing your preparation and what about your confidence on the test day?
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2010, 05:31
Expert's post
Thank you for your great replies!
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2010, 06:24
Keep up the good work, thanks for the review.
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2010, 07:02
Manish, thanks for such detailed answers to my questions. Didn't expect anything like that. It was very informative and useful. Best regards.
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 14 Jun 2010, 05:00
@Nonamee, Robin, BB.

:)
I owe alot to the forum.. :) Its my duty to reply.. :)
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2010, 17:43
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Excellent score and debrief. Your replies are also great!
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 15 Jun 2010, 22:46
Thank you!!! Great !! All the best!
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Re: 710. My Story ! [#permalink] New post 16 Jun 2010, 21:29
Hey Bmillon, Phoenixrulzz...

Thanks :-)
Re: 710. My Story !   [#permalink] 16 Jun 2010, 21:29
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