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A challenge. Edit. : Completed. Debrief 760 (Q50 V 44) [#permalink]
22 Apr 2013, 09:08
Scored a 760 day before, and a large chunk of gratitude goes out to all the folks who made Gmatclub such a great place - it has been my single largest source of information and inspiration throughout the journey, and well, thanks, guys.
First off, let me tell you that the GMAT is not a monster, a beast or the seven labors of Hercules. It is a standardized test. Not only can it be beaten with the right attitude and approach, but you can come out unharmed, un-burnt out, happier. Do not make the GMAT your life, your arch enemy, your bête noire. I repeat, it is a mere standardised test. You…are human (most probably).
Making it your “all” amplifies its importance in your life and you start obsessing over it. Getting all fired up and angry helps you study harder, study more, dream and day dream increasingly more of scoring a humongous score. You book a date, you go to the exam with your energy bars and energy drinks. Your planning is perfect – not only have you broken down your quant and verbal timings, you even have a schedule for what you’re going to do in the break. You keep telling yourself that you’re gonna do it, you’re gonna make it to the big leagues, that you’re prepared to take the aforementioned beast down.
If you are like most people, this is what happens to you when the exam starts. You start solving – you either rush through the earlier questions or go slow on them since they’re the most important. Somewhere along the way, and more often than not during the first few minutes of Quant o Verbal, you get a bogey question. A question you’re not sure of. You narrow down the answer choices to a few, and then … you’re stuck. It’s a trap. You inwardly curse yourself for not putting enough effort into P&C, or Parallelism, or whatever. This is where you start to unravel. It seems best to guess and move on, but the GMAT Beater hat you are, you decide to spend a little more time. Every 3 seconds you glance at the stopwatch, you mentally beat yourself down, and more often than not you’re forced to guess and move on – something you should’ve done anyway. The next question is about something you know, you solve it quickly… but wait.. was that too easy? Did you just drop down to a lower level? Aargh. Okay, you breathe deep, try to stabilise yourself , trying to achieve the Zen like state of control or something. Of course, you’re beating yourself down even further at this time, as you try to take back control . And thus you carry on, no longer the manly man or the empowered woman. Tentative, prodding, doubting. Fear creeps up on you, your façade of confidence shaking. You hate yourself, you hate the “beast”, you read and reread questions, double guess your answers, waste your time ruling out options you instinctively know are incorrect. And then, you’re almost out of time. You blaze through the rest of the questions, rush to the loo, splash your face with water, and consume glucose, caffeine, taurine, water etc. As you complete the formalities prior to the next section, your hands are stable but your mind is shaking. You feel fatigued, you want out, you hate yourself for letting yourself, your family, your friends, Oprah etc down. But the hours of day dreaming and ego-investing into a high gmat score have spawned a black beast inside your heart (nee brain) that won’t let you quit. Now you feel sadness, a sense of loss,…shame, perhaps? Meanwhile the clock is still ticking.And the brain is fatigued, of course. You’re also probably wondering when the caffeine or glucose will hit your bloodstream and you’ll become fresh again. You start the next section, but the same cycle follows. And the caffeine hit never comes. Or it comes and goes but you never know.
After everything is done, the gmat asks you background questions. You’re close to getting the metaphorical fruit of your labours. You hesitate a moment at the cancel test scores button… but then you click on the report button. You fear, and yet, you hope for a miracle. An 800, or in the very least a 750. You bargain with God as the scores are processing. You deserve a miracle because you’re a special snowflake, you’ve set ambitious goals, you’ve worked hard, you’ve “visualised” the goals (aka day dreaming), you “want” it badly, you’ve personalised the fight….And then the scores come and its no miracle. You take your broken heart (or may I propose, broken ego) back home and cry, or take it like a man or something. Either way, you’re shattered. You come back to gmatclub for inspiration, for people who suddenly seem like demi gods and their 780 debriefs. You vow, someday, to beat the beast. To live, to fight another day. Let me tell you something. The exam isn’t really the beast. Its something else.
To quote someone I admire, “By the time most people realize that the fears shackling them to a mediocre existence are creations of their own diseased minds – it’s already too late.
Be sharp, work smart, focus on the basics first, figure out your weaknesses, close them down. Even when you’re done preparing, you will never be 100% confident of getting the score you desire… embrace it. To be reasonable confident in your abilities is not a bad thing. Don’t try to be a perfectionist, don’t try to gun for an 800…don’t try to control everything .So long as you have a reasonably good idea of how you’re going to approach each section, you should do well. Especially if you want a score in excess of 730+. There is a certain amount of luck that can swing it either way and at scores of 730+ this just gets more pronounced.
Background – Part of this topic already chronicles the start of my prep – I had a bad accident 2 days before the exam and broke a few bones so had to go to the exam in crutches. Finished the exam, scored 700, finished an entire beer tower. About three weeks ago, read 2X2 Matrix’s debrief, soul searched, set a date 15 days in the future. My quant was excellent, and I am a good standardized test taker. My English is okay too, however I had a little difficulty with SC.
Materials used – 1) OG 12 /13 2) MGMAT books – Sentence correction is beautiful, number properties is sexy, CR and the rest of Quant is very good, RC and AWA+IR are, for lack of a better word, *meh*. 3) The collection 700-800 level questions for SC, CR, DS. The ones for SC and CR are most helpful ,with explanations.
Only thing I’d like to add , it does help to keep an error log……for a while. For example, when I started out with SC, I tried to identify relevant categories in each of these – for example, parallelism, SV, subjunctive etc. Took a LOT of time in the beginning, but after a certain point, it got internalized. I no longer had to consciously classify, it happened of its own accord. This is when I stopped logging errors in SC(marginal returns and whatnot, although did still measure certain parameters such as accuracy and time per question.
If making an error log is too tedious or boring for you, at least measure the accuracy every time you do a set or topic. I kid you not, constant measurement brought about the single largest improvement after every plateau.
Exam Day –
It went like it did for most people. Signed in, wrote the essay, IR’d my way to the break, drank some water and orange juice, half a banana, back in, quant, back out, water + orange juice + banana, verbal, score! I was averaging around 60 minutes for 37 Quant questions on prep tests, so I consciously rechecked every answer before submitting. Not recommended unless you have the same luxury of extra time and make a similarly large number of silly errors. That’s all for now, there are a couple other things that I’d like to add, but maybe another day.
Till then, good luck.
May the force be with you.
********* My name is Sand tiger.
My life is okay, I guess. Nothing great. Above average intellect, okay-ish English, working in one of the better IT companies. Decent pay, fairly long hours, boring work. Heavy smoker, since office started 2 years ago. Also put on a fair amount of weight.
Today was my last smoke. Tomorrow I quit work, with a notice of 3 months afterward. I have a girlfriend (irrelevant?).
Anyway, I was gonna write this on a private blog, but I've been lurking around Gmatclub for so long, that I thought, I'll write here. I've been mentally mastur... enough as it is.
I plan to give the GMAT on the 39th day from tomorrow - that's May the 31st, give or take. Also, along the way, I plan to go from 10 kilos overweight to 4 kilos over. TOEFL percentile is ~99 with perfect scores in 3 out of 4 categories, so that's taken care of. I know nothing of the GMAT, plan to start tomorrow.
My GMAT Aim is 770.
Yes, with 39 days of study and full time office ~ 14 hours a day.
Last edited by Sandtiger on 01 Aug 2013, 22:13, edited 4 times in total.
It is only towards the end of the day that a couple of things reaffirmed the absolute importance of what I've set out to do.
Isn't just a silly challenge to test out if this is possible or to get an ego boost, it is absolutely essential that I see this through to execution. I'm sure people will have done it before, and people will do it afterwards. However, it is still formidable and there is a need to go about it with a certain degree of seriousness and not dish out answers like in engineering.
One last thing - It doesn't matter if everything does not go according to plan and there are (very) few deadlines that are exceeded ---what does matter is not giving up the whole thing in the long run. It is vital to find the courage and motivation to keep going forward even after plateauing.
Anyway, enough self medicated mumbo jumbo.
First step -Tackle the official guide. Thursday - Math review + RC Friday - Problem Solving + CR Saturday - DS + SC
800 odd questions, works out to 270 roughly a day. Should be fine.
You left me here like a chalk outline On the sidewalk waiting for the rain To wash away (Wash away) You keep coming back to the scene of the crime But the dead can't speak and there's nothing left to say anyway All you left behind Is a chalk outline
Okay spoke to the boss about the exit today. She got fairy emotional and quiet and stuff, making it awkward. But the reality of not having a job 3 months from now is slowly sinking in. "Fear gives you wings," they told me in 8th grade. It took me this long to realise it. Anyway, onward and upward.
Escapism aaaaaaaaa. Playing pokemon . Squirtle, water gun!! uh.
Havent had time to post, prep picking up speed studying in office as well I slipped up twice on the smoking front, and I'll be smoking today and tomorrow as well.. and thats it.
Ofc this sounds terribly similar to new year resolutions.
DS is becoming increasingly easier(or maybe im lookin at easier problems) and the inproving scores are reflective of this. I'l be done with OG 12 completely soon, and tackling OG 13 hopefully from tomorrow.
The RC strategy that works best for me is reading thru once and then tackling the questions - my reading speed is fast enough and I am able to visualise passages from most of the inane topics as well. Need to improve the % though, and 770 will need a helluva lot more effort on the RC front.
Just started with CR yday and regularly getting an accuracy of 85 - 95% on the questions ... just started with OC 12, but like wtf? Maybe the tougher questions are at the end, ive only just started with the first 50. Need to work on PS as well.
Okay so Saturday and Sunday were my last designated holidays and I kicked ass vacation style.
Did not study ONE bit these two days, due to multiple reasons.
But now *cough*(make love) off with your reasons, with your pseudo intellectual rationalisations, with these daily resolutions of continued discipline and dedication and focus. Every day there are newer problems, newer reasons to avoid getting work done. Bolt those problems, and your lousy excuses.
No one, no one is responsible for your situation but you. Are you a man who is content with little, or are you willing to take on the world only to fall prey to your inner demons? Security is an illusion, a lie that you tell your cowardly soul to hush it and make it feel better. Lesser men have achieved more, and yet you sit here typing away at your computer, so full of yourself.
Enough with the stupidity and fooling around. Enough, with this mediocrity. How much are you willing to sacrifice, to walk in the sun again?
Starting with MGMAT on Algebra and Word problems. Will do well to complete those plus a bunch of 700 + probems on the same by EOD.
Also realise that a while writing does bring about a certain clarity and structure to the Challenge, overdoing the whole thing does sort of foster a tendency to whine and vent out unrelated matters, taking away focus from the main purpose and diluting the effort. Hence I think its time to reduce the frequency of posts to a plan in the morning and its status at night.
Will Power is everything, everything, everything. It can create, destroy, dissolve, unite, conquer, anything.
What you set out to do, is it unassailable? Is it really so difficult that if you are willing to die for it, that you sacrifice your very effing conscience for it, even then you will not be able to do it?
No. It is your own lack of self control that impedes you. Do you want is as bad as you really say you do? Does the thought of not having it bristle you and make you angry? Do you absolutely detest yourself for being such a lazy, whining, complaining beach.... or do you really think that you're not good enough?
You know the answer.
Burn up the world. Step it up. Go out, get hit, make a dent upon this world before the ceaseless silence overtakes you.
** I dare you to take a little pain.
The inches we need, are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everybody around us, for that inch. Claw with our fingernails, for that inch. Because we know, when all those inches add up, that's gonna make the difference between winning and losing. Between living, and dying.
In any fight, its the guy, who's willing to die, who's gonna win that inch. And I know, if I'm gonna have any life anymore, its because I'm still willing to fight, and die for that inch.
But it aint about how hard you can hit, its about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward, how much you can take, and keep moving forward.
Now if you know what youre worth, then go out and get what you're worth, but you gotta be willing to take those hits, and not pointing fingers saying you aint where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that aint you. You're better than that.
Never give in. Never never never. Never give in, except to convictions of your own, and good sense. Never yield to force, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Disclaimer - None of these words are mine, taken from various places. Credits to respective owners.
He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thousandfold the dangers which life in itself already brings with it; not the least of which is that no one can see how and where he loses his way, becomes isolated, and is torn piecemeal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing such a one comes to grief, it is so far from the comprehension of men that they neither feel it, nor sympathize with it. And he cannot any longer go back!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.