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720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup

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Joined: 08 Nov 2009
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Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V39
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720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2012, 05:37
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Dear friends,

Sorry that it took me long time to share my 5th GMAT story. It was mainly because I was overloaded with writing my applications to business schools and transitioning the the US. I am currently at MIT Sloan (class 2014) and enjoying every moment. So my GMAT journey paid off 6 months ago when I got the call at 2 am from a 2nd year MIT Sloan student bringing the wonderful news - "Welcome to MIT Sloan class of 2014".
I CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE THE FEELING!

So this post is dedicated to all the members in this forum that encouraged, supported, and inspired me along the way. I admire you. Let's start:

My GMAT story is a nightmare. Starting from the end, I took the GMAT exam five times in two years. I endured repeated setbacks and by persevering ultimately conquered the exam, while growing and learning much about myself along the way.

I don't want to describe again all my previous attempts, but it started with a really bad story (which you can read it here: from-570-to-550-sad-and-bad-gmat-story-please-advice-103793.html), but I will rather refer to them when comparing my 5th exam's approach with my previous exams' approaches. Before I kicked off my preparation for my 5th exam, I wanted to understand deeply my two major problems: anxiety and my low score on the Verbal (even though I consistently scored high on simulations). This time, for the latter, I decided to do study differently. I wanted to come to the test after I made some changes in the way I think, in the way I approach the exam, and in the way I solve questions. Please note that I am not going to talk about the Quantitative section because I never had problems with it and I scored 50,48,49,49. I only had difficulties with the Verbal section. Having said that, here is a list things I've changed before my last attempt:

    1. First and foremost - I contacted the best Verbal private tutor - Irene - who has 25 years of experience preparing students for the Verbal Section and most of her students are beating the 700 score. She is a very interesting woman - a musician who travels around the world for 6 months every year to compose and spread her music, and in the rest she teaches the Verbal section privately. (Irene Contact information: gmatverbal@gmail.com). Although Irene teaches via Skype, I preferred to meet her face to face because I wanted her to witness my approaches in action and analyze what I am doing wrong (plus - we live in the same city). At first, she gave me few SC questions to solve and asked me to write detailed solutions with everything that I know. She immediately realized my weaknesses and strengths and decided to customized her course so that it will fit my knowledge base. I can't express how much I value her, so let's summarize that she is just amazing. period.

    2. Treat the exam as if you don't have the time limitation. In my previous attempts and following many advises by top GMAT tutors here, I tried to answer ALL the questions. Irene told me that this is a WRONG approach especially for international students that don't process English as native speakers, without mentioning even the reading speed. It's more important to answer the first thirty something questions (about 34) with as many correct answers in a row as you can (I can say almost without wrong answers), rather than check the clock all the time and randomly guess questions to meet some timing strategy. I was very skeptic about this approach but after I used it few time in GMAT Prep, I've realized that it actually works. Working on questions without having the time limitation significantly reduced my stress. The last few questions still need to be guessed, but if you follow that approach and you answered most questions correctly, your score won't drop to less than 35. Take a simulation exam without looking at the clock, and leave 2 minutes at the end to guess the last questions left. If you reached question 33-35, you are ready to take the exam. If you reached only 30 - keep practicing the concepts to gain more confident (the speed will come with it).

    3. Understand how the GMAT works. For that I used this rule of thumb:
    * Easy questions = huge fine, small bonus.
    * Hard questions = small fine, big bonus.


    This means that if you don't answer the easy questions correctly, especially at the beginning, you are going to get a huge fine. i.e. no 700 for you. You have to answer the easy and medium level questions correctly in order to start getting hard ones, otherwise the GMAT won't trust your ability and challenge you with difficult questions. Answering correctly the easy questinos is more important than answering the hard questions correctly. On the contrary, if you approached the hard level of questions, and you answered them correctly, you will get a huge bonus. If you happen to answered them wrong - not big deal - you will get a small fine.

    Keep in mind - you have to answer the easy questions correctly.

    4. Focus issue - this is one of the best advises I've heard from Irene which I've completely ignored - after the Quant section and the break, the mind loses its focus and your concentration level drops. So when starting the Verbal section, it takes time to gain your focus back. Now, it happened to me in 2 stages of the exam: at the beginning immediately after the break, and around the 12-14 question. This resulted always in wrong answers that dropped my score. Irene told me to just dedicate extra 30-60 seconds to read few times the question and review the answer when I enter this state. Like magic - it solved my careless errors in those stages.

    5. Study material - thanks to Bunuel and Irene, I've realized that the practice questions of ALL prep companies (yes yes, including Manhattan GMAT, Knewton, MasterGMAT, etc) are just not good! The questions format, mainly in SC and RC, is very different from the real GMAT questions, and when you practice with them, you starting to get used to recognize those patterns, even though they don't appear on the real thing. There are specific patterns according to which the real GMAT SC and RC questions are written (believe me I've analyzed thousands of questions). Irene taught me to work according to specific huge set of rules which helped me gain confidence in my knowledge answer more than 90% of the SC questions correctly. This gave me a huge advantage on the GMAT - usually SC questions considered to be more easy, so I didn't fall on easy questions. So practice only GMAT Prep or official guide questions.

    6. Let's drill down a bit:

    My approach to SC questions

    Before my 5th try, I used to read the entire question and tried to identify the errors and figure out the meaning, etc.
    After: A big change here - I read ONLY the underlined part and immediately compared it with other answer questions to identify the errors tested. I was very skeptical about this approach and it took me long time to get used to it, but I've learned that more than 90% of the answer choices of GMAC GMAT questions can be grammatically eliminated, before jumping into meaning, etc. Be very suspicious about each word location and function in the sentence. You won't believe how man answer choices I've eliminated based on pronoun ambiguity or use of adverb instead of adjective.

    My approach to RC questions:
    Before my 5th try, I used to read the entire passage and MAP it in my mind (main idea, author POV, purpose, etc). Then I approached the questions and jumped back to the passage to validate my answers or search for information. I didn't write anything during RC question and RC was my toughest area for me to improve.

    After: my tutor told me the following sentence: after 2 hours of exam and under huge pressure do you really trust your brain to remember tons of unimportant details and understanding everything after reading once a really complex passages? So here another big change - apparently GMAT RC passages have tendency to pose the important information of every paragraph in the first sentence or two (I have to give credit for MasterGMAT that are using this approach, but I didn't listen to them back then). So, I quickly created a table and distilled the important information from the first sentence of each paragraph (not more than few words), and then skimmed the rest of the paragraph to find important transitions/specific information and filled the table with it. General questions - I answered based solely on my table. As for specific questions: I located the relevant area to look for in my table, and moved to read the text accordingly. This way your brain remains fresh and not filled with a lot of unnecessary information. You won't believe how many questions of RC passages focus only on one paragraph, so why spend all your time reading it all?? Again, it took me forever to master this approach, but eventually it really worked.

    Lastly - I worked on myself as an individual, adapting steps in my life emphasizing relaxation and tranquility. After my 4th attempt - I was beyond devastated. My friends and family, who supported me along the way, tried to convince me to let go. But I believed in my abilities and I was determined to study an MBA in a top school next year. So I didn't let go, and neither you need to.

Right after getting accepted - I've founded a startup company - LTG - that developing a platform for self-preparation courses for standardized tests, and the first product is a GMAT course for the iPhone & iPad in partnership with experienced GMAT tutors, and today it is available on AppStore. (http://www.prep4gmat.com)

This amazing course is going to expose the amazing teaching material and methods Irene taught me along with my learning experience insights, as well as tons of HIGH QUALITY & HARD practice questions (500 Verbal, 500 Quant, 26 Integrated Reasoning, and soon 1000 question in each section). All included in one app. Since I want to contribute back to this amazing community - here is a link that worth $20 DISCOUNT to download the course app (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ltg-prep ... ?ls=1&mt=8)

IT'S ABOUT TIME TO TAKE THE GMAT ONLY ONCE!!

Today I am at MIT Sloan at the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Track, working on my startup and enjoying every moment. If I can summarize what I have studied so far at Sloan is: the most successful people are the ones that continue to try even when they fail!! So do not let go!

I will finish with the words of Napoleon Hill that said: Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.

Feel free to ask any question. I promise to do my best to answer.
eladshush
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2012, 11:10
Gongratulations man! Your example shows that dreams after all come true:)
I have visited your application in iTunes, is it supported by iPad-2?
By the way how can i get the discount? ;)
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Intern
Intern
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Joined: 08 Nov 2009
Posts: 31
Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 720 Q49 V39
GPA: 3.4
WE: Engineering (Health Care)
Followers: 3

Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 9

Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 22 Sep 2012, 12:24
Thank you!

The application supports iOS 5.0 and above so if have updated your iPad 2.0 with iOS 5.0 - you are good to go!
The app is already discounted for the next 2 months, so you can simply download it from AppStore.

Give it a shot! you won't regret. I am pretty sure it won't be the case, but if you won't like after 3 days - let me know and you will get a full refund!

eladshus

PTK wrote:
Gongratulations man! Your example shows that dreams after all come true:)
I have visited your application in iTunes, is it supported by iPad-2?
By the way how can i get the discount? ;)
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2012, 01:31
Really well written debrief and Best of luck for ur journey with Sloan! Can you please answer my below queries:
What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Do u think the level of difficulty was the same as that of gmatprep exam?

Thanks,
Shreeraj
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 23 Sep 2012, 02:35
Congrats!!!
Debrief that actually inspires not to give up :-)
between you haven't posted your strategy of CR?
and also can you give one example about your table strategy ,which you described for RC?
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2012, 20:00
Hi.

It is a truly amazing tale. Your perseverance is inspiring.

Did your five attempts weaken your chances at MIT Sloan? If yes, how did you offset the same?

Will look forward for your reply.

Thanks
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2012, 11:15
Vow. Time after time after time, these forums keep inspiring me to put in my earnest effort to crack the GMAT. I liked your quote too "Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit", also thanks for saying this, "the most successful people are the ones that continue to try even when they fail!! So do not let go!". Congratulations!
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2014, 03:30
Congratulation! I was wondering how many sessions did you take with Irene and in how many weeks? did you choose the whole 14 sessions with her? Any feedback on which session that you felt most helpful. Thanks so much.
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2014, 02:36
I feel I probably read the best debrief in this forum.

A big thanks from me
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Re: 720 in 5th Attempt, accepted to MIT Sloan, founded a startup   [#permalink] 18 Apr 2014, 02:36
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