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720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents

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720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 21:59
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Hey guys,

So I haven't been an active contributor on this forum, but have certainly utilized it significantly to aid me with my preparation. I figured it was only natural that I share my experience with the community.

Here's my 2 cents.

I started my preparation 3 months prior to the GMAT but only really took my preparation seriously mid-January. My test was yesterday i.e. March 2nd. That gave me effectively 1.5 odd months to prepare. Not a lot of time, but that's life!

Below I have briefly outlined what I believe was critical in helping me get a 720.

Approach

1. Focus on fundamentals: Rather than trying to give as many tests as possible, it is extremely critical that you master the fundamentals. The best resources I have found for mastering the fundamentals are the CR Bible for critical reasoning, the Manhattan SC Book for sentence correction, and Manhattan Math 8 Set of Strategy Guides along with Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom blog for math. Quarter Wit, Quarter Wisdom is a blog on Veritas Prep, that is authored by Karishma, a GMAT tutor and regular contributor on this forum. She does a great job breaking down complex math problems so that even a 5-year old could understand it. Sadly, I came across her blog only a week prior to my scheduled appointment.

Do not waste your time trying to learn concepts from multiple sources. Stick to the best ones.

2. Mock tests under simulated conditions: Try to simulate your actual GMAT experience while taking the mock tests. What I mean by this is 3 things: (1) Take the mock tests at the same period of the day as you plan on doing so on the actual day of the test; (2) Ensure that you follow the routine and standard procedure of the actual GMAT i.e. take the 8 minute breaks and make sure you are in an isolated setting with no cell phones etc. (3) Write the essays!!

3. Take a structured approach to practicing questions: As the GMAT preparation is usually spread over a long time frame, it is important to structure your approach to problem solving. Few things to keep in mind

- Start off with tackling questions in silos i.e. topic wise so that you can comfortable with the topics that are likely to be tested. Difficulty level of questions at this point should range from 500-700 based on your comfort level on the concepts. I primarily stuck to GMATPrep questions, as I was aware that these questions best represented the type of questions that are asked by the GMAT. However, if you feel there are any other better sources, feel free to use them.
- Monitor your weak areas by reviewing the questions that you got incorrect and understanding the logic behind the right answer. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing this. Do not sideline it!!!
- Once you are comfortable with the basic questions and have a fairly good idea of the range of questions asked, start attacking the 700+ level questions. This can be done using the GMAT forums under the tag 700-level questions. Using this forum will allow you to tackle questions that are from multiple sources, thereby hedging your risk of relying too much on one resource. Time yourself on these questions and try to solve them within 2 minutes.
- Start taking practice tests 15-30 days prior and schedule one practice test every 2-3 days. Manhattan practice tests are good but the quant is definitely harder than the actual GMAT. GMAT Prep tests are the best indicators. I only did 8 tests, but do more if you are not comfortable with the outcome.

4. Confidence - I strongly believe that the GMAT is less about aptitude and more about preparation. I know I could have got a higher score, if only I had more time to prepare. But, as I live a pretty busy life, I knew I had to give it in one shot and get done with it asap. Nevertheless, I was confident because I had prepared enough and was performing reasonably well on the mock tests. So, if you feel you are not adequately prepared OR you are not performing well on the mock tests, DO NOT take the test because you will not be confident and you most likely will not perform well.

That is all from me. Hopefully it covers everything.

One last thing, when you walk in to the test center imagine you are Muhammad Ali going in for a boxing fight and remember this saying "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee". Knock'em out!

Cheers!
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 01:03
Congrats on the score!!! I loved the "Ali" bit the most....

I intend to take around May end / June start....
I am noob , and this is 1st week of preparation...I am attacking my weakness Verbal - started with SC (Manhattan)....I would be obliged if you could "mentor" me with tips / tricks...
The prob is that too much of things / materials and what to choose...? If you could spare me penny's thought, it would be great....
I know any exam can be cracked if somebody is aware of the plan and has proper resources...

What say?? Looking forward for protege-mentor thing. (Just 15 mins call / check)
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 02:25
Congratulations... Thanks for sharing ur experience:).
Could you also share your mock test scores? I would be taking the test soon & just wanted to gauge my preparation.
Thanks.
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 03:59
Babzsn84 wrote:
Congratulations... Thanks for sharing ur experience:).
Could you also share your mock test scores? I would be taking the test soon & just wanted to gauge my preparation.
Thanks.


Thanks!

My scores were
GMATPrep Test 1 - 680 (Q48,V34)
MGMAT Test 1 - 670 (Q48,V33)
MGMAT Test 2 - 680 (Q49,V34)
MGMAT Test 3 - 700 (Q50,V35)
MGMAT Test 4 - 700 (Q46,V40)
MGMAT Test 5 - 700 (Q50,V35)
MGMAT Test 6 - 710 (Q50,V36)
GMATPrep Test 2 - 740 (Q49,V42)

As you can see my actual score was in between my final 2 scores - MGMAT6 and GMATPrep2. Hence, I believe these tests are a pretty good indicator of actual performance
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 04:53
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devpanda wrote:
Congrats on the score!!! I loved the "Ali" bit the most....

I intend to take around May end / June start....
I am noob , and this is 1st week of preparation...I am attacking my weakness Verbal - started with SC (Manhattan)....I would be obliged if you could "mentor" me with tips / tricks...
The prob is that too much of things / materials and what to choose...? If you could spare me penny's thought, it would be great....
I know any exam can be cracked if somebody is aware of the plan and has proper resources...

What say?? Looking forward for protege-mentor thing. (Just 15 mins call / check)


Hey Dev,

I am not particularly an expert on the subject matter, so do not know whether I would be able to guide you in the right direction. However, I can share the tips / strategies that I found useful, and if it makes sense, then feel free to use them. Bear in mind that what may work for some does not necessarily work for others.

Attacking the GMAT involves three key elements
1. Following a good work-plan that is well thought out
2. Understanding the concepts that the GMAT is testing you on and the style in which questions are posed
3. Determining the best approach for efficiently attacking certain questions

First, attempt a diagnostic test, to identify your current standing so that you can develop a good work plan. Once you know where you stand, chalk out a rough work plan. In my earlier post, I have briefly discussed the approach that I took. As you have indicated that Verbal is your weakness, my advice to you would be to divide your initial preparation time between verbal and quant in the ratio 60:40. Do not ignore quant completely.

My plan for verbal was quite simple
- Read Official Guide SC, CR and RC (This is the basic document that you must read as it is prepared by GMAT)
- Read Manhattan SC (cover to cover), Manhattan CR and CR Bible by PowerPrep, and Manhattan RC
- Translate key points on each topic into a word document for ongoing reviews in between mock tests
- Follow my guidelines for practicing questions, as highlighted in my earlier post
- Try to target completing SC equations within 1:00 min and CR questions within 1:30 minutes. This is because, RC questions will end up taking up the most time as you will have to spend time reading the passage. However, don't be paranoid if it takes you a little bit longer on the tougher questions.
- Before attempting questions, write down the answer choices on paper i.e. write down A|B|C|D|E - As you go through the answers, use the technique of POE (Process Of Elimination) and actually cross out the choices on your scratch pad that are not relevant. This will help you narrow down the choices in case you are confused between 2-3 choices and need to refer back to the passage/statement. On the day of the test, you will have a 1-min window (during the introduction to the verbal section) to write down A B C D E on the paper. Try and dish out as many as you can in that time period
- Track the answers you get wrong, especially for SC, and understand the logic behind the right answer

Note:
For SC, the most important element is understanding the grammar. This may take time, but unless it doesn't become intuitive, you will end up spending a lot of time between options.

For CR, the most important element is comprehending the statement and identifying the right strategy to attack the different question types. The CR Bible is the best resource for this, by far. I would tackle the question by reading the question first (to understand what question type it is), then reading the statement and then using POE to go through the answer choices, based on the rules and guidelines in the CR Bible.

For RC, it is important to comprehend the passage, and if you feel necessary draw out a skeletal map of the passage. Here, use the approach that works best for you. Read the forums and test out a few approaches before fixating on one.

Finally, I suggest you spend a day browsing through the forum, and reading up on other success stories and approaches. Extract pointers from everyone that you may find useful.

Hope this helps!
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 10:38
It helps...Thanks!!!
The biggest challenge now is preparation time from the busy life...
IT industry pressure...and then back and study.... But hey..."Never say never"....
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 14:26
Congratulations... thank you for the tips!
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 08 Mar 2012, 08:58
This is really great stuff..its good to know about the success stories...i am having lot of troubles with Verbal...trying and studying daily, understanding the concepts but still cant get it above 36..I am trying every possible question bank..The books are not available in the stores nearby...so that's a problem
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 08 Mar 2012, 10:05
Congrats and Thanks a lot :)
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 08 Mar 2012, 19:47
Congrats on the good score! Some helpful advice in there for sure.
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 09 Mar 2012, 02:12
hichhoo wrote:
This is really great stuff..its good to know about the success stories...i am having lot of troubles with Verbal...trying and studying daily, understanding the concepts but still cant get it above 36..I am trying every possible question bank..The books are not available in the stores nearby...so that's a problem


Considering you aren't able to get the scores that you require even after much preparation, it appears that you haven't fully grasped all the concepts. Now I'm not saying that it is necessary to do so, but whether you should devote more time to Verbal really depends on a few factors i.e. your strength in math, the amount of preparation time you have, and your target schools. If you are strong in math, do not have a lot of time to prepare and your mock tests are equivalent to the median at your target schools, then do not waste much time on trying to master the Verbal section.

However, if your mock scores are not equivalent to the median of your target schools and your math is as good as it can get, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your approach on the Verbal section. Seek out the help of some qualified instructors for the Verbal bit, because they may help you think through the problems differently. At this point, you are probably saturated with Verbal material and need a fresh approach. Take 1-2 days off from Verbal and start fresh with a new approach. Refer to Powerscore CR Bible, if you haven't already.

Cheers!
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 13 Mar 2012, 10:02
Congrats !! Helpful debrief, confidence boosting !
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2012, 02:17
Congratulations on that great score.
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2012, 03:02
One of my friends with Q50 and V35 got a 710. So 3 points on verbal for just 10 GMAT points.
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Re: 720(Q50,V38)- GMAT knocked out in the 1st round - My 2 cents   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2012, 03:02
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