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From 470 to 680: My Story

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Concentration: Strategy, General Management
GMAT 1: 680 Q48 V34
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From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 09:46
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Male, 30, Married
Member of Institute of Cost & Management Accountants (No GPA like other finance professional bodies)
WE: Budgeting & Business Planning 6 years; 3 years in a biotech pharmaceutical company, 3 years in GSM telecom operator.
Why MBA: Change in career from Finance to Strategy & general management

History:
It was early 2009 when I decided to go for GMAT. Earlier I was of the view that I can rely on government scholarship for my MBA, but later found that the gov. sponsored business schools are not even in top 50. So the only option left was to take GMAT & then apply for b.school at my own. For GMAT, I searched the web & collected a ton of material. In search of physical stuff, I found Barrons GMAT in a nearby book store & started my gmat preparation. Those were the days when I had a new baby & the little bit of study I was doing was no more possible. Some more family & work issues led me to decide that I will not be applying in Fall 2009 but at the same time I continued to search some material for GMAT. In June last year, I found gmat club googling one day. Being a member of very few forums, I was most likely to surf & leave the forum, but somehow I decided to signup. That was the crucial moment. After going through some of the stuff, I came to know MGMAT & other test prep companies. I went through the free diagnostic CAT of MGMAT & got a lovely 470. After reading a number of reviews, I decided to order MGMAT complete set here in subcontinent. Last August after receiving the set, I started the SC guide. Till Jan, I completed six out of eight guides & after that I was lost in office projects. Came back to study in March, completed my MGMAT guides in the end of May & took my appointment for 09-Aug in June. Took a month off from office, went through a number of CATs, understood exactly where am I standing, today sat for test and got exactly the score which I was expecting. The score has raised a simple question, which I will ask in the end, meanwhile I will take you through specific areas of GMAT in detail.

SC- Nothing special to say. MGMAT SC is the bible. I was unaware of every little aspect & concept that is tested for SC. MGMAT SC helped me recognize the patterns & after a lot of practice I was able to solve the SC in less than 2 minutes. As many other have pointed before, to get a solid grip on SC (to cross 700 mark), one needs to recognize the pattern of every question & this can be done only with practice.

RC- RC was the real beast. When I went through some RCs in the initial stage, I didn’t manage to read & answer the first RC question in less than 8 minutes. That was an alarming situation as this was a significant timing issue. Then I went through the Gins Guide & started to focus a bit more. During my early days of GMAT, I went to install some applications on my black berry including Times, Washington Post, The Economist etc. Since that time I have been going through these websites daily & used to read atleast two or three articles daily. I must say that this habit helped me a lot in verbal section. After trying a number of RCs on GMATTER, my success ratio increased substantially & RC became my favorite section in verbal. Infact in the end, I loved the long RCs as these are followed by atleast four questions which give me more opportunity to hunt the right answers. For RC, I got little help from MGMAT, infact I didn’t complete the RC guide as it was not effective for me.

CR- CR is my weakness. I initially tried to follow the MGMAT CR methodology of making a T account & writing very short notes. But that methodology didn’t work for me as it was time consuming. I relied my own memory to decide between choices & it worked well as far as the timing is concerned.

Quantitative- MGMAT guides are good enough to cover all the aspects of GMAT Q. Number properties & Word translations helped me a lot in understanding the advanced concepts, which I was unfamiliar with. Combinatorics & probability was also a problem but I found a easy solution to this issue. I decided to make the best guess on these & move forward. This strategy worked quite well for me & with the same strategy I scored Q 50 in one gmat prep.

My Resources-
-MGMAT with question banks & CATs. Great collection
-GMAT Club tests- Great for boosting the quantitative scores. I loved these tests as these were too tough for me:)
-Veritas CATs- A good CAT collection, the scores I got there were very near to me actual gmat.
-GMATTER-For verbal practice. Good tool for getting the OG guestions in a software.
-1000 SC (Didn't use, as there were many flaws in that document)

If you are interested in my last month of preparation, kindly go through this thread.
eight-nine-ten-the-countdown-begins-96780.html

Test Day- I was not feeling any tension during the last few days as I was in office :( . Even the day before test I was in office for a project review. The night before test was also fine, slept early & got up early in the morning too (though I had a dream regarding AWA :) ). I reached the test center an hour before the scheduled time. Invigilator asked me If I wanted to start early & I accepted that offer. The AWA topics were quite ok but the issue I faced was the key board of the desktop PC. My fingers were having pain as I am used to laptop soft keys. Somehow I managed the AWA as per the plan. Took an eight minute break during which I consumed a part of energy drink. Then started the Q section. I was still not tense as I knew my score will be around 48. I was going according to the time plan (you can see the time plan in the attached link above). After the math section I went for the second break thinking that the verbal will decide my fate. I was always a Q 48 guy but my verbal scores fluctuated during my CATs. Verbal section started good, during the mid-time different thoughts started to shake my mind. I tried to refocus & comply the time plan butt in the end I knew the verbal had hit me. I was scared for the first time & when I clicked "report score" my heart beat pumped high for the very first time during my GMAT endavour. It was 680 (85 percentile) Q 48, V 34. I was sad to miss the magical 700 but at the same time was glad to cross 670. My friends asked me not to retake & to emphasize on my application & essays. My wife is also sick of GMAT now. After getting the expert opinion in a separate thread, I will decide my course of action.

Thanks for reading. I am open to questions.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 09:52
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Amazing thread!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also went through your other "Eight-Nine-Ten" thread and i cannot thank you more for it. Could really associate with many of the problems jotted down by you. Thank you.

All the best for your applications.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 10:39
Congrats man, great improvement and score. I know how hard youve worked and reading ur progress throughout has helped and inspired me, thank you for that. Best of luck with ur apps and keep us all posted!
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 10:52
What a lovely story:))

Congratulations 680 is a real achievement so be happy:))
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 11:16
Nice & inspiring debrief. It's a nice score, so you don't need to worry much. There are many experts on GC who can help you decide about your retaking plan but it is you who has to decide that what are your priorities at this time and how would you manage them? If you have confidence that you can improve your score by 20+ then maybe, but focusing on application essays, recommendation letters, and selection of right school would be a better idea.
Good luck! whatever you decide to do and I hope whatever you decide would be best for you & for people around you.
Once again, congratsss! & good luck:)
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 11:33
great score..congrats
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 11:55
Hussain15,

Congratulations! Fantastic improvement.

Were there any particular concepts in the exam (quant) that are not covered in the OG/Quant Review questions?
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2010, 13:42
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2010, 02:26
You did it man! Congratulations!

I have a question regarding GMATTER, have you faced any problem regarding "official answers" in this software. I mean, are all the answers air tight (correct)? I'm have problems with some questions credibility!

Anyhow, once again Congratulations!
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2010, 05:23
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Thanks to all!! :)

akaydee wrote:
Hussain15,

Congratulations! Fantastic improvement.

Were there any particular concepts in the exam (quant) that are not covered in the OG/Quant Review questions?


Hi akaydee, OG/QG covers every concept that is tested in GMAT. However, I think that OG/QG has very few questions of 700+ level. GMAT Club tests are a good resource for tough Q problems. Also, some CATs of test prep companies like MGMAT, Veritas, 800 score provide good pool of tough Q problems.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2010, 05:26
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kissthegmat wrote:
You did it man! Congratulations!

I have a question regarding GMATTER, have you faced any problem regarding "official answers" in this software. I mean, are all the answers air tight (correct)? I'm have problems with some questions credibility!

Anyhow, once again Congratulations!


Well there can be an error or two, but as compared to SC 1000 document, I preferred GMATTER.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2010, 21:40
congrats Hussain .. 680 is a good score. Were you able to finish verbal on time? I was looking at your "time plan" in your other thread, and I have a question. What do you do when you are behind on your plan. eg in verbal you are at q 20 at 35 min?

Im struggling with verbal timing. After 20 questions im at 35-37 mins left. I skip the last rc and end up with 30-33 in verbal. I get like 7-10 wrong on the 1st 30 and 7-8 wrong on last 11 questions.

Please do reply. My gmat is on 14th.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2010, 22:41
ankur17 wrote:
congrats Hussain .. 680 is a good score. Were you able to finish verbal on time? I was looking at your "time plan" in your other thread, and I have a question. What do you do when you are behind on your plan. eg in verbal you are at q 20 at 35 min?

Im struggling with verbal timing. After 20 questions im at 35-37 mins left. I skip the last rc and end up with 30-33 in verbal. I get like 7-10 wrong on the 1st 30 and 7-8 wrong on last 11 questions.

Please do reply. My gmat is on 14th.


Yes, I rarely suffer for timing in verbal as I have taken a number of CATs. It doesn't mean that I am always in time with the table, like often I am left with 20 questions with 35 mins left (the same issue as yours), but then I usually speed up. Speeding up is not easy but one has to take risk then. Now the question arises, how can one speed up. Say you are going through a CR or SC, instead of reviewing the answers choices & deciding the best one, you will have to select the one choice which seems best to you & then no comparison with other choices. This was my way of speeding up.

As far as skipping last RC is concerned, I totally oppose this straytegy. Getting 3 or 4 questions wrong badly hit your score.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2010, 23:23
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Congratulations!
I think I would not retake. I know that doubt lingers in many people's mind but you are right there for the schools you are targeting and usually top 10 are not about the score anyway. Yes, do focus on the essays (your story) and build up your profile.

I wish you absolutely the best luck and I have to say it will be sad not to see you in the GMAT section anymore ;)
It's been a great year!
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 06:18
Well Done Hussain. 680 is a very good score. A 85th percentile obviously does mean something.
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2010, 07:30
bb wrote:
Congratulations!
I think I would not retake. I know that doubt lingers in many people's mind but you are right there for the schools you are targeting and usually top 10 are not about the score anyway. Yes, do focus on the essays (your story) and build up your profile.

I wish you absolutely the best luck and I have to say it will be sad not to see you in the GMAT section anymore ;)
It's been a great year!


Thanks bb!!! means a lot!

Well, I am so much used to the gmat section, dont know how to leave it. :)
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2010, 06:44
congratulations and well done!
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 04:20
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 14:09
hi Hussain, it is indeed a good turnaround. I appreared for my gmat on 9th and scored a 560. I am not sure where to start. My Quants was at 42 and verbal at 24.
Thanks,
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Re: From 470 to 680: My Story [#permalink] New post 14 Aug 2010, 21:17
Hey congrats Hussain!
I was following ur post .8-9-10.actually i was thinking that u will be taking GMAT on 8th sep 2010 (8-9-10). ;)
Anyways ATB for ur application Process... :gl :thumbup:

regards
sandy
Re: From 470 to 680: My Story   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2010, 21:17
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