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750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote)

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750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2012, 07:42
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I have been preparing for GMAT for over 10 months. Having seen multiple ups and downs, joys and sorrows, I am elated to score over 730 (my goal) on the exam. I hope that this score with my experience will help me get into one of the top B schools, probably with some scholarship. I would appreciate inputs from other’s who have some experience with the same.
I got a lot from the communities at BTG and GC . Here are the things that I learned.

First phase: Study hard and solve lots of questions

I started preparing in November 2011 using the Princeton review’s cracking the GMAT. The book is a great introduction but little beyond that. It just lacks any depth and is quite inadequate for non-natives. I took a mock test after completing the book and scored a pathetic 23 on verbal. That’s when I joined BTG. I saw MGMAT highly recommended and purchased the entire pack.
The MGMAT books were much better and dealt with things in unbelievable detail. The quant books especially the one on number properties and sets are excellent. I have TATA McGraw Hill’s CAT book that deals with the same topics but it in no way compares to the MGMAT series. I also liked the Verbal books for they helped me improve my Verbal score to from 23 to 32 (MGMAT mocks) but somehow I could not improve beyond that. This was a very frustrating period as I kept on revising the books but without much improvement. I solved a number of questions on GC (Kudos to BB for the tagging system) but that did not help.

Phase 2, focused study

Desperate for improvement I looked for help. I found two companies that fit my budget – GMATPill and e-GMAT. After asking people around, I went for e-GMAT (thanks Vinnik for your recommendation). The course was really helpful in pushing my score from 32 to 40. These folks at e-GMAT have a very different approach. They teach SC using logic, something that came very intuitively to me. I knew most of the rules but was not aware of the logic behind those. Once you understand those, applying them became a lot easier. This helped me improve. SC became fun. In CR, the Prethinking approach helped a lot in improving accuracy for more difficult questions. Overall, the course gave me much more structured approach towards my prep. Overall, the course provided me with a lot more clarity. Check it out if you need help on Verbal.
This also helped me focus on quant and improve to 50. I read the number properties book again (very important if you want to reach 50), did all the difficult DS problems that I found from any source and revised my mocks diligently. The last point helped me a lot. As I solved my mocks, I realized that in every mock I would answer 2-3 questions incorrectly due to silly mistakes. I focused just on weeding those mistakes out and was able to do that in 2 weeks.

My learnings:
1. Do not give up: GMAT is a very logical exam and if you are good with logic you should be able to do reasonably well. Focus on the basics if you are not improving. Define your weak areas and work on them.
2. Keep time for Sentence Correction: SC is vast, especially for non-natives. The best way to master SC is to build a foundation. Learn clauses and phrases well. Then, learn all the rules but focus especially on Verb-ing modifiers, Verb ed, FANBOYS. Work on your ability to identify lists. We are not trained to do that. (look at the helpful resources section for help there)
3. Understand the logic in CR: Most of us are good in CR. However, to score 40, you need to be better. Focus on why the correct answer is correct and the wrong answer is wrong. This was one thing I struggled with. I wish I had created a document of all the good solutions. Look for good solutions either on forums but pose a question if you are satisfied with the logic.
4. Read properly in Reading Comprehension: Build your vocabulary (not GRE level but definitely better than regular English), get comfortable with the various topics and learn how to read and retain information. My ability to retain information was limited when I started. I had to take a lot of notes. As I stretched myself, I realized that I could retain more and consequently the speed improved and the reliance on notes went down. Also read a few good magazines/journals (if you can read journals, they help a lot)
5. Quant: Aim for a 50 and work on it. 700+ score becomes a lot easier if you can get 50 on quant. Work on your weak areas. Do not leave DS for the end of your prep. Do it early. Do not hesitate to brush up the basics even if you are very good.
6. Focused prep: As you isolate your weaknesses, find good theory material and questions. Work on it till you are satisfied with it.
7. Selective Sacrifice: GMAT prep requires time and everyone is busy. One of the biggest challenges I faced was to decide where to cut off. I stopped attending all but important social visits. I did lighten up on my gym schedule but realized that it was counter productive. I also realized that short sport stints such as playing a game of badminton really helped me. I would recommend that you don’t give up on sports while preparing. One more thing, I also took half my vacation during for my prep.


Helpful resources:
There are many helpful resources available on the web. Here are some that I have
AWA:
how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html - the best one.

GMATprep questions:
gmatprepsc-105446.html
gmat-prep-critical-reasoning-collection-106783.html
Sources to improve reading
1. NyTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/index.html The opinion column is full of great articles. Read those that are not too long.
2. WSJ: A good place to get started for business articles. There are some articles on policy too.
a. Economic section: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news- ... pnav_na_us
b. Life and culture: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news- ... lture_main
3. Discover magazine: http://discovermagazine.com/
4. Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/ (lots of short articles)
5. HBR blog: http://hbr.org/ (short and long articles, excellent sentence construction)
6. Journal of American history: http://www.journalofamericanhistory.org/
7. Competition Success Review: Print only, for people in India.
8. Creativity post: http://www.creativitypost.com/ - bio sciences related articles

Use Evernote: This is a very helpful tool to catalogue whatever you read. There are times when you stumble upon something that you are unable to complete. Use this tool to tag and archive. Why use this tool: It has excellent search capabilities and it works on every smartphone, tablet and computer. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed. This is one life saver free tool.

I know it has been a log debrief. I hope it helps you.

Sandy
Manhattan GMAT Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesVeritas Prep GMAT Discount Codes
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 12 Sep 2012, 05:54
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@javoni- I dont think that 10 months is an unusually long period for a working professional to prepare for the exam. Remember, I started from V23~30 percentile and was aiming to improve to 90 percentile+.

@shreerajp99 - The quant was mostly like difficult GMATPrep. There were a few questions that were probably more challanging. There was nothing more difficult than the questions that you would see on this forum. I would consider the following topics important: 1) Number properties (sheer number of questions) 2)Geometry (needs time, so better master it) 3) Sequences (need time, and can have tricky questions) 4) word problems (sheer number of questions)
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2012, 08:32
My Gosh, 10 months of GMAT preparation! I bet you got to know the nuts and bolts of the test and so you aced it at last, great job man! So are you a native speaker of English? As an international student my score in verbal section is irregular goes up and down, CR and RC giving hard times, any tips?
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2012, 09:49
Hey congrats,thats a great score!!
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,
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2012, 02:43
hi congrates


Have you joined complete EGMAT verbal or specific parts?
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2012, 08:33
Congratulations on the great score and best of luck for the apps.

I think the mid 30s in verbal are the biggest motivation killers. I got a 690 in my diagnostic in early June and realizing that verbal was the key, completely stopped doing quant and gave all the attention to verbal. My Quant has not gone down :)and my verbal has not gone up by a significant margin :x .

But the fact that you have crossed this phase gives me (and a lot of other aspirants) hope.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2012, 10:03
Nice score !!!
I'm at my start point now. Just start for 1 week. Thank for your reading source !!! :-D :-D :-D
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2012, 11:49
Hi sprusty,

Congratulations on your awesome score. In these 10 months of prep, how many hours on average per day did you spend preparing? What was your prep schedule like?

Thanks.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2012, 21:22
Congrats sprusty

Post is very inspiring , you have worked really hard

can you tell me how may mock test you had given and how often and scores you got from it


Kind Regards
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 13 Sep 2012, 22:08
Hi,

If there is something I diligently picked up from your debrief, It is using evernote. Thank you !
I just started my prep with CR (re-taking GMAT) & evernote is so useful to capture my strategies, which i can use as a reference too in the future.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2012, 09:56
@ sandeeepsharma - I joined verbal live, the course with live sessions.

@Legendaddy: I completely agree that the more you score the more difficult it becomes to motivate. I told myself, If I score 730+ I will at least get a 50% fellowship from one school, which is a saving of $40K. I may not get that scholarship if I score less than 720. That kept me going. Look at your mistakes and make sure you dont repeat them. Dont loose focus on quant either.

@ vkatluri: I would say that there were times when I was more dilligent and times when I was not. Overall, I would have spent 500 hours. However, had I started the egmat course earlier, I would have probably needed less than 200 hrs to complete verbal. I went through the entire course twice and though I purchase it earlier, I started working through the course from July. If I were to do it again, I would do concentrated preparation for 3 months, take vacation during this time and finish it. Now that I look back, 10 months seems too long. Anyhow, I am happy with the end score and believe have learned a lesson or two in the process.

@ MBACHANGE:I will continue from above. I used to take mocks from all over the place but then Rajat warned me against it and he was right. Every mock has its own scoring method and there is no consistency between mocks. I took 6 mocks in the last 2 months - MGMAT and official. I started at V35 - the first mock I took after completing the egmat course and then moved on from there. I had scored as high as V44 in some MGMAT mocks, and V42 in GP but I did see 2-3 repeats there.

@ igloo: Evernote is a blessing. Even though one may argue that One note is better, Evernote is just so much more convenient especially because you can grab webpages and write your own comments on them. Its search capabilities are awesome. Overall, I am very impressed with that product. I am surprised that no one else uses it very much.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 14 Sep 2012, 23:38
Congrats!!! Great debrief...
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2012, 05:59
Congrat !! But it a little bit hard for me to follow e pill Gmat. I think MGMAT is much more better in verbal section than the e pill Gmat
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2012, 16:32
Congrats !! Thanks for the suggestions and the list of links.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2012, 05:33
Hi,

Firstly, congratulations --- you have done a great job.I have given Gmat yesterday (sept -21) 600 (q 48, v25). I am searching for help on verbal. I found your post very helpful.I would like to take some help from you. Can you tell me how to register to the egmat as i am really struggling in verbal. I desperately wanna improve ma verbal score. Please give me some suggestions, it would be a great help to me.

Thanks,
Vijay
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 04 Oct 2012, 17:11
@thaihoang305: Are you confusing gmatpill and egmat. They are not the same company.

@vijaykumarp559: I think you can go to e-gmat.com and register there.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 19 Oct 2012, 16:45
Wow, what a score! 10 months seem to be a veeery long time though. Not sure whether I would spend it that way :)
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2012, 15:37
@sprusty: Great debrief. Can you tell me if egmat and gmatpill are very different. how did you chose between them
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2012, 15:59
Thank you for the list of articles. I am bookmarking this debrief.

Actually I could not figure out how to bookmark it. any help.
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Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote) [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2012, 10:11
@mehtamanish: I believe that gmatpill and egmat are very different program. YOu can see the sample lessons. I found that egmat had much more detail and offered live sessions which were great. I attended a few free sessions and was hooked on to them.

@ sanketsharma: Start using evernote instead of bookmarking. Its simple to find information especially once you tag it.
Re: 750 (Q50, V41) - My journey and helpful tips (use Evernote)   [#permalink] 31 Oct 2012, 10:11
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