"The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason why you held so long"
I held on too long to let it go, and finally got it
Gave my 4th attempt of the GMAT today and scored a 760 (Q50 V42 IR8 AWA 5.5)
Here are the scores from my previous attempts:
GMAT1(19/10/2012): 700 (Q50 V34)
GMAT2(18/7/2013): 700 (Q50 V33)
GMAT3(9/5/2014): 710 (Q50 V35)
Here is a link to the debrief of my first attempt. Did not write one for the next two, reasons understandable gmat-700-q50-v34-retake-done-710-q50-v35-ir-7-awa-151689.html#p1217253url
But this one here deserves a debrief and I will try to incorporate all the things which I did during my preparation.
After rejection from ISB, I bumped into one of my interviewers who suggested me to give the GMAT again stating that 700 is a low score.
So I geared up for another shot at the GMAT and started the preparation in March 2014.GMAT Round3 9th of May 2014.
Below is the list of material which i used for the preparation:Magoosh
1. Official Guide 13
, Question Pack1
3. GMAT Club TestsVerbal:
1. Manhattan Sentence Correction
Guide 5th edition,
2. Aristotle SC, CR, RC Grails
3. Official Guide 13
4. OG Verbal
5. MagooshTest Resources:
1. GMAT prep
2. GMAT prep Exam pack1
3. Veritas Prep
test (Got access to 6 tests as a benefit of premium membership)
I needed to form a schedule, so went ahead and enrolled myself in Magoosh
's premium membership course. (This came with a 50 point score guarantee)
The Verbal lessons provided are too good. All the concepts are very well explained and clear all the doubts.
I went through all the lessons and kept a check of my progress by the analysis provided by Magoosh
The video lessons attached with all the questions helped me to understand the point which I was missing and helped me analyze and improve upon my mistake.
I made sure to note down all the concepts, especially for SC in a notebook and kept revising them every other night.
I was performing bad particularly in CR and paid attention to it by doing all the CR problems and listening to the videos provided by Magoosh
The mistake I did here was that I left RC unattended. I just solved the RCs on my mock tests and never revisited them. I think this is the problem with most of the people. We solve RCs only in the mock tests and think that reading supplementary material would do the trick. But in my opinion, nothing can be far frm the truth. We need to practice a lot for the RC section, especially the Official Questions to get a hang of the type of questions and how to solve them
Also, an even bigger mistake was not keeping an error log
.THE MOCK TESTS:
By far the most important factor in your final score. Every test you take, enables you for D Day. By adjusting your time, stamina, fatigue, strategy during the mock tests, on the final day you can do wonders
My schedule for the mock test is detailed below along with the scores:Magoosh
Test 1: 690 (Q48 V36) - 5/4/2014
Test 2: 690 (Q48 V36) - 20/4/2014
Test 3: 730 (Q50 V40) - 24/4/2014Veritas
Test 1: 690 (Q50 V35) - 18/4/2014
Test 2: 740 (Q50 V41) - 26/4/2014
Test 3: 760 (Q50 V44) - 28/4/2014
Test 4: 760 (Q50 V44) - 30/4/2014GMATPrep Tests
Test 1: 710 (Q50 V35) - 15/4/2014
EP Test1: 760 (Q50 V44) - 30/4/2014 (1 wrong in the first 10 in VA)
EP Test2: 710 (Q50 V37) - 04/5/2014 (3 wrong in the first 10 in VA)ACTUAL GMAT 710 (Q50 V35 IR 8 AWA 6)
After doing all the hard work, I scored a 710. The score was good, but my soul was not at peace.
I was bummed by a hard RC passage which came in the first 10 questions, and I know for sure that I would have marked the answers incorrectly.
Asked bb for the advice and he said 3rd or 4th attempt makes no difference, so go for it.
Asked the ISB ADCOM about the feedback, they told that the GMAT score is on the lower side, so i should try and boost up my score to at least 740.
Recipe for another retake
Came back home, attempted a Veritas Prep
test and scored a 740.
Registered for the GMAT on the same day (25th May) and took the next available date of 16th July.GMAT Round 4 - 16th July 2014
This time around, I knew where I lacked. I downloaded the all official files which have been compiled by Souvik and started solving the questions.
This was the only thing which I included in my preparation for the 4th round of GMAT. Although my basics had been built, this time around my strategy acted like the captain of the ship on which the basics/concepts were the passengers. I tried to increase my accuracy as much as possible. I completed almost 90% of those pdf files till the day before my GMAT. I was able to solve them with an accuracy close to 90%.
Also another amendment was the practice of RCs. In all I would have solved more than 120 RCs for the 4th round of preparation.
I also maintained an error log
. Not a proper excel sheet, but I kept on noting down all the problems which were incorrect and made sure to learn new concepts attached to them. I found the new concepts by searching for those questions on the GMATclub and noted the concepts down in my Error log
This tremendously helped me in my preparation.
The main point here is that you should know where you had gone wrong, so that the next time you never make the same mistake.Study Material:
The official Question pdfs for RC, CR and SCVeritas Prep
Free Question Bank
THE MOCK TESTS:Veritas Prep
: 760 (Q50 V44)
GMAT Prep (Reset)
EP test1: 770
EP Test2: 760 (Last mock before the exam)
I took the scores of the GMAT prep with a pinch of salt as I had seen many of the questions.
Still sitting for 4 hours helped me build my stamina for the real thing.ACTUAL GMAT: 760 (Q50 V42 IR8)
Had teary eyes. Raised my hand slowly and the invigilator escorted me out of the center. I even told him that I will not come back again here, to which he gave a polite smile Tips for preparation:Sentence Correction:
MGMAT is the best book you can get your hands on to prepare for SC.
Aristotle Grail is a simplified version of MGMAT and is too useful to build the concepts. Magoosh
lessons. Easy, Crisp and Lucid video lessons.
Take down the notes in your notebook and revise them every other day, so that they are embedded in your system.
Start off a SC question by find the subject and then check that the verb agrees with it or not. Check for the parallelism by looking out for words such as and, that etc.
Make sure that there is a verb in the sentence (-ing forms are not verbs by themselves)
To break it in points:
1. Find the subject
2. Make sure the subject agrees with the verb in numbers
3. Make sure the verb is full verb
4. usage of Like (used to compare nouns and express similarities), as(used to compare every thing else and such as used for examples)
5. Parallelism- Pay attention to ""and, that, either or, neither nor etc" as they are the signal words and parts on both sides of these words should be parallel
5. Tense: The parallel parts of the sentences should be in the same tense.
Perfect Tense used only when any event has already happened and is over
Progressive tense is used when the event is in action.
These are some of the things which will enable you solve most of the questions correctly. Critical Reasoning:
Practice is the key here.
You can go through as many strategies you want, but the most important thing here is practice.
Aristotle Grail had some good techniques.
Read the question stem first and then the premise. Pre thinking will help you get the answer quickly.
In assumption questions, try to negate the left over answer choices and then see if the arguement falls apart. If it does, then you have the correct answer
In the conclusion question, full essence of the premise should be captured.Reading Comprehension:
Definitely the section which is most underrated by the students and according to me, this is the section which can make or break your score.
I have learned it the hard way. There are a lot many strategies which people recommend.
However making a passage map worked out for me.
I always made a passage map by writing the main points about the paragraph, including some of the details. The usage of short hand is a must for this.
I read the first and the last lines of each paragraph with utmost importance as they are the ones which give you a good idea about the intent of the paragraph.
Practice is again the key here. I believe that even if you are not a voracious reader and do not read "the Washington times", you can crack this section by solving ample number of RCs. Worked for me.
Keep a note of the tone in which the passage is written broadly: positive, negative or neutral.Specific Details questions:
Read one line before and after the specific detail in the passageInference Questions:
Treat like a normal CR question, look for the information in the passage and you will be able to infer easilyConclusion and Tone questions:
Should be able to capture the whole paragraph and should not contain anything newRecommended Material:MGMAT SC
Aristotle SC, CRMagoosh
GMAT Prep and GMAT Prep Extended Pack
GMAT Prep Question Pack1And finally the big one: The pdfs of everything official compiled by Souvik fir CR SC and RC.
These files contain all the official question out there and help to get a hang about the types of questions which come on the real thing.
But these file come at a cost. I would not recommend these files to anyone who is taking the GMAT for the first time as your test taking experience will be diluted because of the seen questions. However, the re-takers should definitely try to solve these files as much as they can.
The official pdfs can be found at the links below:CR: the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-cr-140375.html#p1129824SC: the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-sc-140372.html#p1129819RC: the-most-comprehensive-collection-of-everything-official-rc-140373.html#p1129820 Error Log:
This has to be in place if someone is preparing sincerely. The methods for recording errors may be different, but one should have this. I simply noted down all the questions I got wrong on three separate pages of my notebook, each page for one section.My tips for the GMAT test day:
1. Get proper sleep before the day.
2. Reach the centre at least half an hour before your appointment.
3. Just revise the formulas and rules which you have prepared over the course of your studies.
4. Go through the AWA template by Chineseburned a day or two before itself. I assure you that would suffice
5. Take an energy drink and something to eat. May be biscuits or chocolates or anything, but have some thing during the breaks.
6. Take both the breaks and i would recommend use the restroom to keep your mind free
7. NEVER NEVER NEVER think about the difficulty of the question and judge your performance based on the difficulty of the next question. if you are very well prepared, you are bound to feel all the questions easy
8. Keep a track of the time and its ok to make a guess in some unsolvable question and move on rather than wasting 5 minutes on the question.
9. Past is past, dont think about the section which is completed, leave it and move ahead. A good next section can also get you to 750 760.
10. NEVER NEVER NEVER let the thought of the final score cross through your mind during the exam.
11. Pay attention to the first 10 questions. However much the GMAC says that it is a myth, they play a big big role in your overall score
It's OK to devote an extra minute or two in the first 10 questions of both the sections.One final tip for the Re takers: Write the following lines on the first page of your notebook"Once more into the fray
Into the last good fight i'll ever know
Live and die on this day
Live and die on this day"
A big thank you to bb all the people who posted on the GMAT Club and helped me in reaching my goal.
Sorry for the long debrief, but I would be extremely happy if someone is benefited from my experience.
Feel free to ask any questions.
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