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Broken Shackles – 600 To 750

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Joined: 18 May 2012
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Concentration: Finance, Marketing
GMAT 1: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 670 Q49 V32
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V41
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Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 03 May 2014, 00:14
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First off, I want to thank all the member of this forum, over the past year I have benefited a lot from this forum, and now hope to return (or at-least begin to :-D ) the favour.

Originally I wanted to post this debrief much earlier. My initial draft was almost 5 pages. Would have posted that, but didn’t want to bore you guys with my needless story. Anyway, after some introspection I have narrowed down the major mistakes & shortcomings that I suffered from. I want to share with you guys how I evolved & overcame these challenges. Hopefully my story will be helpful for someone else.

I had to take the GMAT thrice to get the score I wanted, and each time I had to muster greater courage than before. Now I feel proud that I had the courage to keep fighting until I prevailed.

The key to success, at-least for me, was putting aside the fear of the exam. You guys just won’t believe how afraid I had become of the exam. It was not until I let go of the fear of failure or fear of what might happen in the future, I got the result I desired.
Preparation for the GMAT is not just about knowledge, but rather about believing that you can – not maybe you can and especially not you can’t.

Take-1: Missed by a mile
My first attempt was way back in 2012. I had joined a decent prep-course, one with many competitive students. I don’t remember all the mock scores – but my GMATPrep scores were ~720 range. Even though I had done most of the content others did, still going into the exam I knew I won’t do well. I ended with a 600(47,25).

Don’ts
    Thoroughly research the test-prep company if you are going to join any. I didn't, just went with the hype and face value of the company. The biggest problem I faced was the High student/teacher ratio. The teachers were super busy – always!! , so almost never got any time to clarify doubts. Well – I too was at fault; I have always lacked the patience to wait around 8-) .
    No strategy: This one is a biggie, it took me another attempt to realize this one. In a nutshell – to get consistent results and replicate the performance achieved in the mocks, I had to implement a strategy for each question type and make these strategies second nature. Most good books (KAPLAN/MGMATS/PS...) have good strategies. The problem is that everything other than the mocks we practice is non-cat, so it is easier to solve question at home (achieving 80~90% accuracy) without applying any strategy, but under stressful conditions of the exam my mind would block up and I couldn’t perform as well as I should have.
    Don’t let others unnecessarily demotivate you. This happens a lot. I ended up practicing out of context question for GMAT and unnecessarily was scared of the GMAT-math – considering I had always done well in high school and college level math.

Take-2: Improved but still off-target

After the first attempt I was devastated – didn’t expect to fall this off the mark. Meanwhile I got busy with work as I had transitioned in to the family business. It took me exactly a year, to muster the courage to start over and not to procrastinate any further. My prep this time was exhausting, I didn’t leave anything behind; well except “fear”. So afraid of the GMAT I had become that even the thought of taking a mock test would paralyze me. In-fact I even cheated on some mocks!! – Really stupid :cry: . However this time I prepared very methodically, and to be honest, if I had the right mind-set, I would have got a much better score.

The night before the test, I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep. During the test, I was constantly afraid that I might run out of time, so I concentrated more on time slots/sections etc. than on solving questions. Ultimately got a disappointing: 670(5, 4, 49, 32). The score was 100 points off from the GMAT-prep and Exam-pack scores I got.

Mocks: MGMAT (Expected score: 740-780)|G-PILL(Expected score: 800|Exam-Pack, GPREP(Expected score: 740-780)

    Don’t take mocks lightly. After getting a bad score, never convince yourself that the exam is probably harder than the real GMAT. Me and a lot of my friends did that esp. for MGMAT mocks. It doesn't help. Mocks only help us analyse our weakness. Learn from them, don’t waste your energy on mock scores.
    Timing is secondary. First make sure that you have the right strategy for solving each question and then practice..practice..practice!!!, timing will improve as a consequence.
    Don’t make your life all about GMAT. Exercise, eat healthy, go out with friends – stay happy.

Take3: Redemption

Although I did entertain the thought of applying with this score, I was not satisfied with what I had achieved. My mother, right of the bat told me to take it again. My father on the other hand asked me -- if you have put your best foot forward, why don’t you move on. I told my dad – “ Pa from childhood I have heard great thing about working hard, and that hard work always pays off. Now that I have worked so hard, if I give up all that will be so superficial -- If I give up now, I will always give up without even putting up a fight” (This combined with a few people bailing out on me, was my driving force. I wanted to share this thought with you, because until you find your driving force, you will not achieve the score you want)

So I decided to give it one more shot. But by now I had exhausted all good mocks, except Kaplan’s. I took the Kaplan classroom program. The course was just perfect for me. The class size was usually 2-3 students/batch. Teachers were super nice and always available for clearing doubts. The only downside to Kaplan was the comparatively lower difficulty level of the SC questions offered on the PLS(online platform).

Although I was more determined than ever before to beat the GMAT, I was still suffering from a lot of worries, and kept procrastinating. This is another mistake I had made during my earlier attempts, and was on my way to make it again. It was in mid-Jan, when something just clicked. I realized that all this needless worry can be postponed for a later time and that procrastinating the GMAT prep won’t help anymore. I set a schedule for a month and 15 day, booked the GMAT date, set particular dates to take the mocks and went about a rigorous study plan. When the dreaded one-week deadline approached, I was still a bit unsure about my prep and wanted to reschedule. However, I knew that there is nothing new that I will learn by postponing for even another month or two, and that at this point it is all about the mind-set. So during the last week I studied very little, maintained the exercise schedule, and slept properly.

Mocks: Kaplan(Expected score: 750-770)|Grockit(Expected score: 700-780| Some other free ones)

Test-Day
My Test was scheduled for 1:30 pm. I reached the center well before time. Took some lunch and listened to music. The AWA prompt didn't go so well, I could hear a lot of people in the background, and I couldn't come up with a lot of solid arguments. The IR section, however, went surprisingly well (I was ahead of time, something that rarely happened). I came out for the break, ate a snickers and drank some black coffee. The math section was a breeze. Throughout, I held a 5 min lead. Also this time, I rarely looked at the clock. However, on the last question (a ridiculously easy P&C question) I panicked because I Thought I won’t be able to mark the answer, and an unmarked question holds a greater penalty. Later I realized that I had been copying a 6 incorrectly as a 10. Moral of the story don’t let stress and time get the best of you.
The verbal section was as expected, some super tough SC, weird CR questions and ultra-boring passages. Additionally, there was some ruckus in the center while I was reading my 3rd passage. As a result by the time I reached the 30th question, I was behind by 7 mins. So at this point I switched to some faster strategies (courtesy my multiple preps :-D ).
Nonetheless, all this rushing towards the end made me really nervous, and I strongly contemplated cancelling my score. Somehow mustered all the courage I had left and clicked submit. Breakup (7, 50, 41, 750)

I was shocked at first & then ecstatic, well mostly shocked. The center-manager had to escort me till the gate :oops: .
So that’s my story guys. The bottom line is – Knowledge can be conquered, but the GMAT tests more than just knowledge, it tests your nerves. The preparation is an evolution – for some it takes weeks, for some months, and for some years – but in the end certainly doable.
** my apologies for the long debrief. Hope someone finds it useful.

I also want to share some other tips & things I did along the way:
1. Backing GmatPrep: the software has no option to reset the question pool (esp. if your using question pack/exampack). What I normally did was backup the GMATprep folder in “C:\Users\USERNAM\AppData\Roaming\GMATPrep” to some other directory. This would reset the software. When you need to take a look at the old tests/questions just copy the folder back in the above path.
2. GmatHelper: I love writing software. One thing I missed, was a tracker (error log) for textbook questions. Although there are some great xls-based trackers are available on GCLUB, I felt I could quickly make something of my own. This is what I needed:
Step 1: Enter a textbook & the question categories
Step 2: Select the book in practice mode. Enter Qno, Category, Subtopic and start a timer. Mark ans and official ans(first time).
Step 3. Analyse the data across multiple books, based on first attempt, last attempt and worst attempt.
Step 4. Set reminder/alerts on the redo-questions
Step 5. Share the data with my teachers & friends.
So the software I wrote does all that, I am happy to share it with anyone (Its perl based)

3. Paper tracker XLS: I didn’t completely write this. But I have made a few helpful modifications.
4. MY powerscore CR notes
5. GPSC, GPCR: most effective & representative resources, for practicing SC and CR. For GPSC I recommend that you analyse and read about each question from MGMAT forums, whether right or wrong. These docs can be found on the following links
this-was-a-collection-of-gmat-prep-sc-collected-by-sodenso-105446.html
gmat-prep-critical-reasoning-collection-106783.html

Materials & course(s) used:
1. GCLUB Tests: Best practice for Math. Really helped me avoid silly mistakes
2. Grockit: Interesting ways to study, good questions
3. Kaplan workbook and online course material
4. E-gmat SC: good summaries, good strategies overall. Downside: no full length tests
5. Gmat-Pill: RC is good, I couldn’t apply other strategies. Tests were replicated from GmatPrep and OG. For retakers that’s a bit of an issue.
6. MGMAT tests: Brilliant diagnostics after tests.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 08 May 2014, 15:17
Congrats on the awesome score. This is extremely motivating! I hope you are celebrating!
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 09 May 2014, 08:21
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Recently, I have been thinking whether sacrificing everything and working so hard for GMAT will get me my desired score. Your debrief has given me a lot of hope!
You have great perseverance and courage! It might be really hard to keep fighting with others and yourself for so long!

Just downloaded the software, and I think I'll be using it a lot bcuz I always felt a need of something similar to that.
Surely, you will get a lot of kudos :)
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 09 May 2014, 10:50
TooLong150 wrote:
Congrats on the awesome score. This is extremely motivating! I hope you are celebrating!

Thanks buddy. Ya its been a fest ever since!! .. But i miss it now :oops:
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Posts: 63
Concentration: Finance, Marketing
GMAT 1: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 670 Q49 V32
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V41
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 09 May 2014, 11:11
b2bt wrote:
Recently, I have been thinking whether sacrificing everything and working so hard for GMAT will get me my desired score. Your debrief has given me a lot of hope!
You have great perseverance and courage! It might be really hard to keep fighting with others and yourself for so long!

Just downloaded the software, and I think I'll be using it a lot bcuz I always felt a need of something similar to that.
Surely, you will get a lot of kudos :)

Thanks man!. Ya it was tough, but in the end very rewarding. I feel the more you sacrifice the sweeter success is going to taste.

I am glad you like the software :-D . It isnt that well written, but then again i just wanted to get the job done. Did it work right away ? .. I didnt test it on a clean environment.

-- I appreciate the kudos :)
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 09 May 2014, 14:05
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Quote:
Timing is secondary. First make sure that you have the right strategy for solving each question and then practice..practice..practice!!!, timing will improve as a consequence.
Don’t make your life all about GMAT. Exercise, eat healthy, go out with friends – stay happy.



Really well written debrief Rohan and great advice. I enjoyed reading the same. Countless students fret over timing very early in their preparation when all they should be doing is building their ability to answer (difficult) questions. Any yes, having another goal in addition to doing well on the GMAT is very helpful. The key is - value your time; study when you have to study and play when you have to play.

Good luck for your applications!!

-Rajat
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Posts: 63
Concentration: Finance, Marketing
GMAT 1: 600 Q47 V25
GMAT 2: 670 Q49 V32
GMAT 3: 750 Q50 V41
Followers: 5

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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 12 May 2014, 00:39
egmat wrote:
Quote:
Timing is secondary. First make sure that you have the right strategy for solving each question and then practice..practice..practice!!!, timing will improve as a consequence.
Don’t make your life all about GMAT. Exercise, eat healthy, go out with friends – stay happy.



Really well written debrief Rohan and great advice. I enjoyed reading the same. Countless students fret over timing very early in their preparation when all they should be doing is building their ability to answer (difficult) questions. Any yes, having another goal in addition to doing well on the GMAT is very helpful. The key is - value your time; study when you have to study and play when you have to play.

Good luck for your applications!!

-Rajat

Thanks a lot Rajat, and kudos to e-gmat -- your SC module was one of the most valuable resource in my arsenal.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 19 May 2014, 21:54
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rohanGmat wrote:
Knowledge can be conquered, but the GMAT tests more than just knowledge, it tests your nerves. The preparation is an evolution – for some it takes weeks, for some months, and for some years – but in the end certainly doable.


Congratulations on your well -deserved score. ATB for applications.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 19 May 2014, 22:22
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wow, one of the great comebacks in Gmatclub :)
personally, congratulate you for your ambition and getting a decent score, your story will be motivating for many gmatclub users
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 20 May 2014, 01:01
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First of all Congratulation Rohan,I'm actually going through exactly the same phase only thing is i yet to give the paper.

My debrief is
1st attempt Q 48, V 20 (520)
2nd attempt Q47,V18 (480)- not well.
3rd attempt Q49,V20 (540).

Me too really afraid of exams ,this fear really haunts me,and as you have mention above that believe in yourself is the key for success. I really did since 4 months. it really helped me a lot.

MGMAT SCORE range vary from 650-700 where Q50/51 and V(30-35).

Currently i'm student of E-GMAT ,and these guys are really amazing and with the help of them i'm really hopeful to score V40.

after reading your debrief i really got pumped up. Thanks for sharing your success story.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 24 May 2014, 22:36
Thank you guys for your kind words :)
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Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2014, 01:42
Congrats on your score !! Brilliant debrief and quite motivating !! Especially the growth from 600->670->750

Can you please specifically tell me what was your strategy/action plan in going from a 670 to 750. I am curious to know what different did you do which took you to 750 ? How much time & efforts did this improvement take ? How tough is it to go from late 600s to late 700s ?

I am currently at 670 ( Q49 V32) and want to hit 720+ in my next retake.



rohanGmat wrote:
First off, I want to thank all the member of this forum, over the past year I have benefited a lot from this forum, and now hope to return (or at-least begin to :-D ) the favour.

Originally I wanted to post this debrief much earlier. My initial draft was almost 5 pages. Would have posted that, but didn’t want to bore you guys with my needless story. Anyway, after some introspection I have narrowed down the major mistakes & shortcomings that I suffered from. I want to share with you guys how I evolved & overcame these challenges. Hopefully my story will be helpful for someone else.

I had to take the GMAT thrice to get the score I wanted, and each time I had to muster greater courage than before. Now I feel proud that I had the courage to keep fighting until I prevailed.

The key to success, at-least for me, was putting aside the fear of the exam. You guys just won’t believe how afraid I had become of the exam. It was not until I let go of the fear of failure or fear of what might happen in the future, I got the result I desired.
Preparation for the GMAT is not just about knowledge, but rather about believing that you can – not maybe you can and especially not you can’t.

Take-1: Missed by a mile
My first attempt was way back in 2012. I had joined a decent prep-course, one with many competitive students. I don’t remember all the mock scores – but my GMATPrep scores were ~720 range. Even though I had done most of the content others did, still going into the exam I knew I won’t do well. I ended with a 600(47,25).

Don’ts
    Thoroughly research the test-prep company if you are going to join any. I didn't, just went with the hype and face value of the company. The biggest problem I faced was the High student/teacher ratio. The teachers were super busy – always!! , so almost never got any time to clarify doubts. Well – I too was at fault; I have always lacked the patience to wait around 8-) .
    No strategy: This one is a biggie, it took me another attempt to realize this one. In a nutshell – to get consistent results and replicate the performance achieved in the mocks, I had to implement a strategy for each question type and make these strategies second nature. Most good books (KAPLAN/MGMATS/PS...) have good strategies. The problem is that everything other than the mocks we practice is non-cat, so it is easier to solve question at home (achieving 80~90% accuracy) without applying any strategy, but under stressful conditions of the exam my mind would block up and I couldn’t perform as well as I should have.
    Don’t let others unnecessarily demotivate you. This happens a lot. I ended up practicing out of context question for GMAT and unnecessarily was scared of the GMAT-math – considering I had always done well in high school and college level math.

Take-2: Improved but still off-target

After the first attempt I was devastated – didn’t expect to fall this off the mark. Meanwhile I got busy with work as I had transitioned in to the family business. It took me exactly a year, to muster the courage to start over and not to procrastinate any further. My prep this time was exhausting, I didn’t leave anything behind; well except “fear”. So afraid of the GMAT I had become that even the thought of taking a mock test would paralyze me. In-fact I even cheated on some mocks!! – Really stupid :cry: . However this time I prepared very methodically, and to be honest, if I had the right mind-set, I would have got a much better score.

The night before the test, I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep. During the test, I was constantly afraid that I might run out of time, so I concentrated more on time slots/sections etc. than on solving questions. Ultimately got a disappointing: 670(5, 4, 49, 32). The score was 100 points off from the GMAT-prep and Exam-pack scores I got.

Mocks: MGMAT (Expected score: 740-780)|G-PILL(Expected score: 800|Exam-Pack, GPREP(Expected score: 740-780)

    Don’t take mocks lightly. After getting a bad score, never convince yourself that the exam is probably harder than the real GMAT. Me and a lot of my friends did that esp. for MGMAT mocks. It doesn't help. Mocks only help us analyse our weakness. Learn from them, don’t waste your energy on mock scores.
    Timing is secondary. First make sure that you have the right strategy for solving each question and then practice..practice..practice!!!, timing will improve as a consequence.
    Don’t make your life all about GMAT. Exercise, eat healthy, go out with friends – stay happy.

Take3: Redemption

Although I did entertain the thought of applying with this score, I was not satisfied with what I had achieved. My mother, right of the bat told me to take it again. My father on the other hand asked me -- if you have put your best foot forward, why don’t you move on. I told my dad – “ Pa from childhood I have heard great thing about working hard, and that hard work always pays off. Now that I have worked so hard, if I give up all that will be so superficial -- If I give up now, I will always give up without even putting up a fight” (This combined with a few people bailing out on me, was my driving force. I wanted to share this thought with you, because until you find your driving force, you will not achieve the score you want)

So I decided to give it one more shot. But by now I had exhausted all good mocks, except Kaplan’s. I took the Kaplan classroom program. The course was just perfect for me. The class size was usually 2-3 students/batch. Teachers were super nice and always available for clearing doubts. The only downside to Kaplan was the comparatively lower difficulty level of the SC questions offered on the PLS(online platform).

Although I was more determined than ever before to beat the GMAT, I was still suffering from a lot of worries, and kept procrastinating. This is another mistake I had made during my earlier attempts, and was on my way to make it again. It was in mid-Jan, when something just clicked. I realized that all this needless worry can be postponed for a later time and that procrastinating the GMAT prep won’t help anymore. I set a schedule for a month and 15 day, booked the GMAT date, set particular dates to take the mocks and went about a rigorous study plan. When the dreaded one-week deadline approached, I was still a bit unsure about my prep and wanted to reschedule. However, I knew that there is nothing new that I will learn by postponing for even another month or two, and that at this point it is all about the mind-set. So during the last week I studied very little, maintained the exercise schedule, and slept properly.

Mocks: Kaplan(Expected score: 750-770)|Grockit(Expected score: 700-780| Some other free ones)

Test-Day
My Test was scheduled for 1:30 pm. I reached the center well before time. Took some lunch and listened to music. The AWA prompt didn't go so well, I could hear a lot of people in the background, and I couldn't come up with a lot of solid arguments. The IR section, however, went surprisingly well (I was ahead of time, something that rarely happened). I came out for the break, ate a snickers and drank some black coffee. The math section was a breeze. Throughout, I held a 5 min lead. Also this time, I rarely looked at the clock. However, on the last question (a ridiculously easy P&C question) I panicked because I Thought I won’t be able to mark the answer, and an unmarked question holds a greater penalty. Later I realized that I had been copying a 6 incorrectly as a 10. Moral of the story don’t let stress and time get the best of you.
The verbal section was as expected, some super tough SC, weird CR questions and ultra-boring passages. Additionally, there was some ruckus in the center while I was reading my 3rd passage. As a result by the time I reached the 30th question, I was behind by 7 mins. So at this point I switched to some faster strategies (courtesy my multiple preps :-D ).
Nonetheless, all this rushing towards the end made me really nervous, and I strongly contemplated cancelling my score. Somehow mustered all the courage I had left and clicked submit. Breakup (7, 50, 41, 750)

I was shocked at first & then ecstatic, well mostly shocked. The center-manager had to escort me till the gate :oops: .
So that’s my story guys. The bottom line is – Knowledge can be conquered, but the GMAT tests more than just knowledge, it tests your nerves. The preparation is an evolution – for some it takes weeks, for some months, and for some years – but in the end certainly doable.
** my apologies for the long debrief. Hope someone finds it useful.

I also want to share some other tips & things I did along the way:
1. Backing GmatPrep: the software has no option to reset the question pool (esp. if your using question pack/exampack). What I normally did was backup the GMATprep folder in “C:\Users\USERNAM\AppData\Roaming\GMATPrep” to some other directory. This would reset the software. When you need to take a look at the old tests/questions just copy the folder back in the above path.
2. GmatHelper: I love writing software. One thing I missed, was a tracker (error log) for textbook questions. Although there are some great xls-based trackers are available on GCLUB, I felt I could quickly make something of my own. This is what I needed:
Step 1: Enter a textbook & the question categories
Step 2: Select the book in practice mode. Enter Qno, Category, Subtopic and start a timer. Mark ans and official ans(first time).
Step 3. Analyse the data across multiple books, based on first attempt, last attempt and worst attempt.
Step 4. Set reminder/alerts on the redo-questions
Step 5. Share the data with my teachers & friends.
So the software I wrote does all that, I am happy to share it with anyone (Its perl based)

3. Paper tracker XLS: I didn’t completely write this. But I have made a few helpful modifications.
4. MY powerscore CR notes
5. GPSC, GPCR: most effective & representative resources, for practicing SC and CR. For GPSC I recommend that you analyse and read about each question from MGMAT forums, whether right or wrong. These docs can be found on the following links
this-was-a-collection-of-gmat-prep-sc-collected-by-sodenso-105446.html
gmat-prep-critical-reasoning-collection-106783.html

Materials & course(s) used:
1. GCLUB Tests: Best practice for Math. Really helped me avoid silly mistakes
2. Grockit: Interesting ways to study, good questions
3. Kaplan workbook and online course material
4. E-gmat SC: good summaries, good strategies overall. Downside: no full length tests
5. Gmat-Pill: RC is good, I couldn’t apply other strategies. Tests were replicated from GmatPrep and OG. For retakers that’s a bit of an issue.
6. MGMAT tests: Brilliant diagnostics after tests.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2014, 05:33
NachiketGupta wrote:
Congrats on your score !! Brilliant debrief and quite motivating !! Especially the growth from 600->670->750

Can you please specifically tell me what was your strategy/action plan in going from a 670 to 750. I am curious to know what different did you do which took you to 750 ? How much time & efforts did this improvement take ? How tough is it to go from late 600s to late 700s ?

I am currently at 670 ( Q49 V32) and want to hit 720+ in my next retake.


Hey Nachiket.
I believe at 670, you have already proven a strong foundation in maths, although there may be some knowledge gaps, or timing issues in the verbal section.
Its hard to say how much time it took to improve, because in my case I was already getting 750+ in mocks after preparing for 5 months on my second attempt -- just wasn't prepared to deal with the stress. After getting 670, I analyzed my mistakes, went over each topic, and looked for areas with potential to improve.
Things that were different on the third attempt:
    1. Math: I approached majority of topics with logic rather than brute force(algebra in most cases). A good way to do that is to try each OG problem with an alternate approach -- you will be surprised by the shortcuts and approach that some people have devised for OG problems.
    2. Verbal:
      2.1. SC: Nuances: After practicing over 1000+ SC question from various sources, I realized that tougher GMAT problems will try to through you off by deliberately using confusing language. Correct answer choices will sound absurd but follow grammatical rules, so its important to stick to rules and and develop a habit of dissecting the sentence to look for errors. Again OG & GMAT prep are the best source for SC question.(Take a look at the GPSC doc once you are done with GMAT prep tests)
      2.2 RC: Approach: After trying many.. :!: many approaches, I found the strategy that worked best for me was to "Read". What I mean is that applying strategies used to bog me down, and after all the experimentation I found its best to just read and analyze the whole RC. I read the entire passage usually budgeting 4mins for the passage, and under a minute to answer questions.
      2.3 CR: Toughest section for me.. The only thing I did differently between second and third attempt was [u] to recap the argument and premises in mind before looking at the answer options. [\u]. This usually helped me identify potential weakness, or assumptions. Downside is that i took 2min+ on most CR's.
    3. Exam stress: I replicated exact conditions for each mock test and always took the full test. I also chilled two days before my exams -- alot !! -- I watched the entire season of house of cards :) .

I think if you understand how the GMAC is making the exam tougher you will realize it not a matter of just knowledge but also staying cool and remaining focused on applying rules and logic to solve questions. If you can do that, its not tough to go from 670 to 750+ at all.

Hope this helps ..
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Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2014, 06:26
rohanGmat wrote:
NachiketGupta wrote:
Congrats on your score !! Brilliant debrief and quite motivating !! Especially the growth from 600->670->750

Can you please specifically tell me what was your strategy/action plan in going from a 670 to 750. I am curious to know what different did you do which took you to 750 ? How much time & efforts did this improvement take ? How tough is it to go from late 600s to late 700s ?

I am currently at 670 ( Q49 V32) and want to hit 720+ in my next retake.


Hey Nachiket.
I believe at 670, you have already proven a strong foundation in maths, although there may be some knowledge gaps, or timing issues in the verbal section.
Its hard to say how much time it took to improve, because in my case I was already getting 750+ in mocks after preparing for 5 months on my second attempt -- just wasn't prepared to deal with the stress. After getting 670, I analyzed my mistakes, went over each topic, and looked for areas with potential to improve.
Things that were different on the third attempt:
    1. Math: I approached majority of topics with logic rather than brute force(algebra in most cases). A good way to do that is to try each OG problem with an alternate approach -- you will be surprised by the shortcuts and approach that some people have devised for OG problems.
    2. Verbal:
      2.1. SC: Nuances: After practicing over 1000+ SC question from various sources, I realized that tougher GMAT problems will try to through you off by deliberately using confusing language. Correct answer choices will sound absurd but follow grammatical rules, so its important to stick to rules and and develop a habit of dissecting the sentence to look for errors. Again OG & GMAT prep are the best source for SC question.(Take a look at the GPSC doc once you are done with GMAT prep tests)
      2.2 RC: Approach: After trying many.. :!: many approaches, I found the strategy that worked best for me was to "Read". What I mean is that applying strategies used to bog me down, and after all the experimentation I found its best to just read and analyze the whole RC. I read the entire passage usually budgeting 4mins for the passage, and under a minute to answer questions.
      2.3 CR: Toughest section for me.. The only thing I did differently between second and third attempt was [u] to recap the argument and premises in mind before looking at the answer options. [\u]. This usually helped me identify potential weakness, or assumptions. Downside is that i took 2min+ on most CR's.
    3. Exam stress: I replicated exact conditions for each mock test and always took the full test. I also chilled two days before my exams -- alot !! -- I watched the entire season of house of cards :) .

I think if you understand how the GMAC is making the exam tougher you will realize it not a matter of just knowledge but also staying cool and remaining focused on applying rules and logic to solve questions. If you can do that, its not tough to go from 670 to 750+ at all.

Hope this helps ..



Hey Rohan,

Thanks for the detailed explanation of your approach for each section.

In case of Verbal, Actually I faced timing issues on the real test. I spent almost 45+ mins on the first 20 questions, leaving only 30-28 mins for the last 21 questions. Trying to get more questions correct upfront, I overspent time on the first half of the test and then I had to breeze through the last 10-15 questions. Till about 20 questions, I was getting questions of fair difficulty level and then once I was at question no 31, the difficulty level suddenly dropped and then I started getting easier questions. It might be due to bad accuracy or string of incorrect answers in questions 21-30. As per my analysis, this was a major flaw in my approach and I should have evenly distributed the time throughout the test.

Did you also face such timing issues when you scored in the 30s on the real test ? Also, what was your timing approach for the verbal section. Did you attempt the entire section at the same pace or did u emphasize and budgeted more time on the first 20 questions as it is imperative to get those questions correct in order to do well on the test.

Thanks
Nachiket
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2014, 10:33
NachiketGupta wrote:
Hey Rohan,

Thanks for the detailed explanation of your approach for each section.

In case of Verbal, Actually I faced timing issues on the real test. I spent almost 45+ mins on the first 20 questions, leaving only 30-28 mins for the last 21 questions. Trying to get more questions correct upfront, I overspent time on the first half of the test and then I had to breeze through the last 10-15 questions. Till about 20 questions, I was getting questions of fair difficulty level and then once I was at question no 31, the difficulty level suddenly dropped and then I started getting easier questions. It might be due to bad accuracy or string of incorrect answers in questions 21-30. As per my analysis, this was a major flaw in my approach and I should have evenly distributed the time throughout the test.

Did you also face such timing issues when you scored in the 30s on the real test ? Also, what was your timing approach for the verbal section. Did you attempt the entire section at the same pace or did u emphasize and budgeted more time on the first 20 questions as it is imperative to get those questions correct in order to do well on the test.

Thanks
Nachiket

Hey Nachiket
I would suggest that for sometime forget timing issue, try taking a mock with the sole intent of solving each question. After some practice you should be able to identify a point of diminishing return for the current question. Initially you might miss 5 to 10 questions on the mock, dont get worried. Its great to miss question at home than on the real deal. Analyze the data and find areas you can speed up without loosing accuracy. Just don't try to compromise on your strategy or not give your best for the sake of timing.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2014, 10:52
Hi
Congratulations on the wonderful score.

Which is the best practice test to judge your performance apart from MGMCAT??
How close is MGMCAT to the real GMAT?

Thanks



rohanGmat wrote:
b2bt wrote:
Recently, I have been thinking whether sacrificing everything and working so hard for GMAT will get me my desired score. Your debrief has given me a lot of hope!
You have great perseverance and courage! It might be really hard to keep fighting with others and yourself for so long!

Just downloaded the software, and I think I'll be using it a lot bcuz I always felt a need of something similar to that.
Surely, you will get a lot of kudos :)

Thanks man!. Ya it was tough, but in the end very rewarding. I feel the more you sacrifice the sweeter success is going to taste.

I am glad you like the software :-D . It isnt that well written, but then again i just wanted to get the job done. Did it work right away ? .. I didnt test it on a clean environment.

-- I appreciate the kudos :)
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Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2014, 12:41
mayankpant wrote:
Hi
Congratulations on the wonderful score.

Which is the best practice test to judge your performance apart from MGMCAT??
How close is MGMCAT to the real GMAT?

Thanks


Allow me to answer that. I hope Rohan does not mind :P
The best test to judge your performance is the official test by GMATPrep. The two free ones and the Exam Pack.
All the 4 tests can be reset and solved again without seeing many repeated questions because of the big database.

MGMAT is the second most trusted CAT after the official one, but it has quants which is a bit on the difficult side.
So the score obtained is always on the lower side from the one you get on the real thing.

Apart from this, Veritas tests are also good and give you a score which is very close to your actual score.

Hope that helps!
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Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2014, 12:47
rohanGmat wrote:
NachiketGupta wrote:
Hey Rohan,

Thanks for the detailed explanation of your approach for each section.

In case of Verbal, Actually I faced timing issues on the real test. I spent almost 45+ mins on the first 20 questions, leaving only 30-28 mins for the last 21 questions. Trying to get more questions correct upfront, I overspent time on the first half of the test and then I had to breeze through the last 10-15 questions. Till about 20 questions, I was getting questions of fair difficulty level and then once I was at question no 31, the difficulty level suddenly dropped and then I started getting easier questions. It might be due to bad accuracy or string of incorrect answers in questions 21-30. As per my analysis, this was a major flaw in my approach and I should have evenly distributed the time throughout the test.

Did you also face such timing issues when you scored in the 30s on the real test ? Also, what was your timing approach for the verbal section. Did you attempt the entire section at the same pace or did u emphasize and budgeted more time on the first 20 questions as it is imperative to get those questions correct in order to do well on the test.

Thanks
Nachiket

Hey Nachiket
I would suggest that for sometime forget timing issue, try taking a mock with the sole intent of solving each question. After some practice you should be able to identify a point of diminishing return for the current question. Initially you might miss 5 to 10 questions on the mock, dont get worried. Its great to miss question at home than on the real deal. Analyze the data and find areas you can speed up without loosing accuracy. Just don't try to compromise on your strategy or not give your best for the sake of timing.


Hey Rohan,

I didn't quite get the essence of what you are trying to say here. Apologies my bad. But can you please elaborate on this ?

Also, can you please suggest which GMAT mocks ( Veritas,Kaplan..etc) should be preferred after GMATPrep & ManhattanGMAT as I have already exhausted those two.
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750 [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2014, 01:44
NachiketGupta wrote:
rohanGmat wrote:
Hey Nachiket
I would suggest that for sometime forget timing issue, try taking a mock with the sole intent of solving each question. After some practice you should be able to identify a point of diminishing return for the current question. Initially you might miss 5 to 10 questions on the mock, dont get worried. Its great to miss question at home than on the real deal. Analyze the data and find areas you can speed up without loosing accuracy. Just don't try to compromise on your strategy or not give your best for the sake of timing.


Hey Rohan,

I didn't quite get the essence of what you are trying to say here. Apologies my bad. But can you please elaborate on this ?

Also, can you please suggest which GMAT mocks ( Veritas,Kaplan..etc) should be preferred after GMATPrep & ManhattanGMAT as I have already exhausted those two.


Hey Nachiket
What I meant was that you seem worried about timing more than you should be. I was in the same spot when I got the 670. What I did differently
1. I took a mock (I think it was kaplan) and absolutely didn't worry about timing or the adaptive algorithm (This one is actually tough to do. Check out your comments above, on the real GMAT you were guessing or had a feeling that the last few questions were easier - subconsciously we all do it. What happens is it makes us think we are doing bad ultimately leading us to mess up the harder or even worse easier questions)
2. When I took the mock like that, for the first time after taking several mocks in my previous attempts, I missed 6-7 questions on verbal. This was crucial. I analyzed the data, and found several areas where I a) second guessed myself, b) had knowledge gaps, c) spent way too much time to solve question above my league.
3. This kind of data, you will only get if you forget about timing.

Find these area .. improve .. as you progress timing will improve

I suggest you take a look at Kaplan(Full Length, easier Quant, realistic scoring), GmatClub tests(Awesome Math, Not full Length), Veritas(never tries, except free one), Economist (never tried, except free one)
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Re: Broken Shackles – 600 To 750   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2014, 01:44
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