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Debrief: My experience and suggestions

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Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2012, 07:36
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I am done with gmat.. scored 740(q50, v40), awa 6.0 .



I am thankful to this great site and members of this online community .. I have been a member of this site for more than a year. Being a non-native speaker, I really cannot tell you how I was performing in the Verbal when I started my gmat prep. I have learnt a lot during my preparation. It would be great if I can be of some help to you guys.
I started my GMAT journey in March 2011. Though I did not take OG Diagnostic in the beginning, I took Kaplan CAT1 (the one given in CD). I scored 540 (q51, v22). Well I knew that I was very weak in Verbal. I browsed through many sites. Some recommended reading Economic Times or Wall Street Journal. Though this may help few, I really did not improve my reading skill much. I really found verbal challenging. I did not want to take my GMAT appointment without making any serious progress in Verbal. My target was 700+.
I made a time table and started following it religiously. (If you do not know how to start, consider making a time table)

I started with Manhattan SC. This was something in which an accuracy of 90+ percentile was attainable. I really liked this book. But it is really very difficult to understand all the GMAT rules given in this book in one reading. I studied this book 4 times, and I can tell you that I could find something new, everytime. I really took a lot of time to absorb the contents in this book. This book may not seem that big in volume, but it has enormous amount of information. I slowly increased my accuracy from 50% to 95%+.
The second area was CR. I really used to get confused in the logics that different books offered. I would easily eliminate 3 options and then choose the wrong one i.e. I would confuse between best and second best option. However, with lots of practicing, I was able to improve my accuracy in this section to 90%. I took e-gmat CR course. I liked their explanation to each type of CR question plus e-gmat has good practice question sets. E-gmats’s CR question s were inline with the OG Questions. It helped me in increasing my accuracy.
RC was something for which I really had no strategy, and the fact that it is the most difficult aspect to improve was making it more difficult for me. One thing that really helped me in this was ‘read to find the BIG PICTURE’. Do not get into the passage deeply. This may be very time consuming.
In Quants, I was scoring consistently 46-48. I have read many debriefs saying that ‘Being an Indian, I am good at quant skills’. I would really advice everyone. Even though you may know all the quant concepts, it is very difficult to get into the 90th percentile without managing time properly. Since I did not focus on this aspect, I was not getting ‘that‘ desired score. GMAT CLUB tests helped me immensely. The knitty-gritty things that these tests ask may make you go crazy. These tricky concepts are tested more in the Data sufficiency section than in the Problem solving. But believe me, I did improve my Quant score. Please do not underestimate the importance of ‘good timing’ in the Quant section. It is very important that you score equally good in this section.

AWA:

Kudos to chineseburned’s templates. These templates did the trick. These are great.
During my course of study, I referred probably all the sources.
• ManhattanGMAT: SC, RC, CR
e-gmat CR
Kaplan Premiere
Princeton Review
Kaplan Verbal
Kaplan Maths
• Princeton Maths
• Princeton Verbal
• Nova
Veritas CR I and II
Official Guide 12
OG Verbal
• OG Maths
• Manhattan Advanced Maths


I know that sharing these scores may not be that helpful, but these helps those who like to draw some correlation between different CATs. I was one among these guys. That is why I want to share this.

These are the scores that I got in the mock tests:

April 11: kaplan CAT 1 540 (q51, v22)
19/12/11: mgmat cat1 730 (q48, v41) --> untimed
26/12/11: master gmat(d) 700-720 (q49-50, v38-40)
02/01/12: Kaplan diagnostic 700 (q51, v36)  I took my GMAT appointment
06/01/12: Knewton Diagnostic 720 (q47, v42)
11/01/12: MGMAT CAT2 680(Q48, V34)
11/01/12: MGMAT CAT3 700(Q45, V40)
21/02/12: Kaplan CAT2 620(Q50, V30)
01/03/12: GMAT PREP1 750(Q48, v45)
09/03/12: MGMAT CAT4 730(Q48, V42)
12/03/12: Knewton CAT4 770(q51, v44)
16/03/12: Knewton CAT5 720(q49, v38)
17/03/12: MGMAT CAT5 700(Q45, v40)
18/03/12: GMAT PREP2 750(Q50, V40)
19/03/12: GMAT PREP1(REPEAT) 780(Q48, V47)

I did not take any full length CAT in between april and December. This is because I was not making any considerable improvement in the few sectional tests that I took in this period.

Test Day experience:

My appointment was scheduled at 9:00am in Chennai. I had already visited the centre one week before the test. I took, with me, something to eat and drink. Chennai Centre is really good. Things were going good and so were my AWA topics. I was satisfied with my AWA. I wrote more than 500 words in each essay and I followed the template. Question level on the Quants was very much similar to what I had seen on the GMAT PREPs. I saw just one Permutation question and no probability question. I finished the section on time. Took the break. Ate, drank, and reenergised myself. Verbal started with a very tricky SC question. I believe that I faired well in the CR and RC. SC was little tricky. Well, I finished the section 2 minutes before time. Then completed few questions related to demographic details. Then came the time I had been waiting for a year. Believe me, everything stops for that particular moment. I took some 3sec before clicking the show SCORE button. 740 (97 percentile) (Q50 :arrow: 92 percentile, V40 :arrow: 89 percentile). I was satisfied.

My advice:

SC:


One can make considerable improvement in this section. I did MGMAT SC guide. It has got, probably, all the grammar rules that are tested on the gmat.you should complete this book 3-4 times. Believe me, you will be able to extract something new, everytime you revise this book. But one serious piece of advice: please allow yourself sometime so that these SC Concepts get absorbed in your mind. By the time u have covered all your verbal theories, these concepts should become secondary in nature for you. The SC errors will be evident, most of the time, automatically.

CR:

Initially, I thought that there's some kind of logic for every possible CR question. But, it is not so. Relying on formal logics for solving CR questions is very dangerous. Instead, focus on getting the right meaning of the argument. Prephase it. Then come up with your answer. This might take you to the right answer in majority of the cases. However, there are certain logical flaws that can be relied upon such as CAUSE and EFFECT, causality, and wrong interpretation of statistics etc. Do as many problems as you can. But again, this is the biggest discovery in my entire GMAT preparation. No other testprep company's CR is close to GMAT CR. GMAT employs very clear logic that is understandable. Their CR questions do not confuse the reader. So rely on OG-12, OG VERBAL, and GMATPREP Tests for the actual thing.

RC:

Do not get into the passage. You have to figure out the structure of the passage. However, while reading, you should make note of what-things-appear-where in the passage. Figure out the logic of the RC. Atlast, you should be able to tell 'what and why is the author saying this'.. Many RC questions can be answered based on your understanding of the logic of the RC. Just following this may result in great improvement. I must tell you that I did not read wallstreet journal or economic times. I am neither a voracious reader. I think that RC is really about getting the meaning and the logic of the passage.

No test other than GMAT PREP is close to the actual thing. So, please do not rely on the scores of other source's cats. Do them for practicing concepts and improving timings.

AWA:

I was really scared of this thing. I could not spend much time on this. I saw the template by chineseburned. I think that worked for me. Most important thing to know is that: A Grader rates the awa essays. One should use a good logical essay structure and put as many keywords as possible. These keywords decide the flow of the essay. Also, write as many words as possible, preferably more than 500. For example:
1)Find two or three flaws in the evidences
2)What are the assumptions, and why are these assumptions not sound
3)How the argument is weak
4)How can it be strengthened
5)Cite atleast 1 example.
6)Conclusion
About the exam timing:
I am not a morning person but I did not get evening slot. I made sure that in a week before the test, I would wake up early(5 am) and sleep early(11:30pm). This helps. You must be in the top form on the day of the exam. DO ANYTHING TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL SUPER-GOOD on the test day. You must feel as if you were Rocky Balboa :P

Probably these things worked out for me. The most important thing: If you have someone to support, take his/her advice and enjoy your gmat prep time. I understand that GMAT preparation can take away many things from you, but then it teaches you a lot. For me, I have had someone who supported me. She is my source of inspiration.
Guys, I will be happy to help.
Thanks for being part of my journey.
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thanks

Last edited by ankurmgr on 18 Apr 2012, 09:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2012, 07:59
Just retook the GMAT Friday: 710! V:46 Q:42. Original a month ago: 660 V:42 Q:39. I knew I totally biffed the first try. I was just way too nervous and worked up. Very unlike me. The second time I all did was two days of afternoon problems, read through my quant basics again, and took one practice test. Then cruised in there and just made myself relax. If a quant problem was taking more than 4 minutes I just picked a reasonable answer and lived to fight another battle. Worked out fine. And since I wasn't shellshocked by the quant section, I was totally focused on the verbal section, and barely had a struggle. I am glad to finally be part of the 700 club. Now to finish those essays...
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 14 Apr 2012, 12:39
Congratulations on such a great score. Your determination and persistence has paid off. I hope to achieve the same success as you have achieved.
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2012, 07:49
Hi Ankur
Big big congratulations on this awesome score.
I am sailing in the same row.
I am scoring good in Quant q50-51 but verbal destroys me.
Many time i am struggling with time management. In Initially 20 verbals (out of 41) i gets good accuracy but in later 21 when i try to cope up with time i get lots of wrong . Mostly wrong in RC and maximum time taken in RC itself.
I am feeling depressed. Now it seems i can never touch this magical no 700+.

Could you please suggest me any strategy to improve in verbal?


Also please share how much was your accuracy in scoring verbal 40.
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2012, 06:58
Hi sandeep.. u r touching q50-51 means that u can definitely cross the 700. can u tell me whether u have taken your gmat appointment. I must admit the fact that RC can be improved .. but this will not happen in a day. how are you performing in CR and SC, and what are the sources you are relying on.?
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2012, 06:59
Hey dzodzo85, my best wishes.. and thanks for your compliment :-D
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2012, 07:39
Congrats for your great score... I have learned some tips from your experience and I think that they will help me a lot. Thank you for your debrief...
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2012, 20:48
hi ankur
Thnx for reply . unfortunately i have not taken time because of my poor performance. :(
My resources are :
OG10,11,12 and verbal review
SC: ManhattanGMAT, Aristotle
CR : Power score bible
RC : Aristotle

• Manhattan Advanced Maths

Tests: GMATPREP, 800score.com, Kaplan 2009 CD companion, MGMAT

SC accuracy - 70%(10 or 11 correct out of 16)
CR accuracy - 7 correct out of 11
RC : in initial 2 passages 2 or may be 3 correct out of 3
but later one RC destroys me coz of time lacking

with Q50 -- how many wrongs in verbal can i bear to score 700+


Please suggest and could you please tell me how much was you accuracy in SC , RC and CR to score V 40 so that i can get a boost. :)
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2012, 21:44
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Hi Sandeep,
My accuracies were in between 70-80%. Its good that you have not taken gmat appointment. I believe you should take the date when you feel confident enough of your performances in both the sections.
In SC, study the concepts given in MGMAT SC and then do as many questions as possible. Please note that you should carefully study each of the options explained. This will help you a lot.
In CR, you need to do little brainstorming. Allow yourself sufficient time to absorb all the information that you gain while studying. This is important. Sandeep, have you compared your performance in OG CR with the CR questions in other sources. In my case, my accuracy was around 75% however in GMAC official materials(OG, OG Verbal, GMAT PREP), it was around 90%. Please let me know this.
In RC, try reading to get a good overview. Don't think about timing, no. of corrects etc. Just see whether you are able to answer these questions:
1)Main Idea: why is the author writing this passage
2)Flow of passage: Focus on the keywords such as However, even though etc.
3)Author's mood: Positive, Negative or Neutral

Practice RC with these questions in mind. Once you are able to find answers to these questions, you will notice that you have gotten better at answering RC questions.
This will help. :-D
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2012, 22:33
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Hi Ankur,

In OG my accuracy is 80+
Even in RC my accuracy is 70+ (10/14)


But when i write exam with GMAT prep i always gets destroyed my accuracy went down. :(
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 18:41
Sandeep, I feel that your low accuracy is due to time mismanagement. Try improving the timing. I believe your accuracy will increase. Are you following any time-question chart.
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 19:43
Hi Ankur,
Thanks for the reply. Could you please suggest me which time chart i can follow?
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 20:35
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yeah.. but you can make little changes if you need to:

In verbal i followed this chart:
time left(mins) Question completed
75 0
66 5
57 10
48 15
39 20
30 25
21 30
12 35
3 40

Please note that try completing 5 questions in a time bock of 9 mins each. This is a kind of check. In whichever block u find that are lagging, think that you will have to guess few questions to get back on track. Even though we have no idea how many RCs will be there, this chart does work. Just try to stick with it..
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 22:10
thanks Ankur
I will practice to stick to this chart
Hope this should help me .


Thanks a TON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 22:13
keep posting. I will be happy to help :-D
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 22:43
Thanks Ankur
I will keep you posting.
You are really a good altruistic person
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 18 Apr 2012, 23:07
:-D :good.. thanks sandeep..my best wishes
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2012, 03:23
Hi Ankur,

Congrats for the amazing score!

I'm just into my prep now. Been brushing up since march, and I guess it's time for taking things serious from now, as I'm planning for giving it in July.

Now that I would be starting off with my tests, could you please suggest me CAT's that are available online, in the terms with which one should I go ahead initially and at later stages.

Thanks!
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Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2012, 04:33
Hi Karthix. You can start with MGMAT CATs. It is suggested that you start with the GMAT PREP CAT1 to set your level, however, I would recommend that you save this scant resource for the later stage. I will not advice you to take Kaplan or Princeton tests.
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Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions [#permalink] New post 19 Apr 2012, 22:53
Hi Ankur

Nice debrief

To my dismay I am struggling with SC, I am not able to identify the right answer even though have finished reading MGMAT SC & Aristotle SC Grail.

What would be your recommendation for people like me ?
Re: Debrief: My experience and suggestions   [#permalink] 19 Apr 2012, 22:53
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