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From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!!

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From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2013, 22:43
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Hey All

I took the GMAT for the second time last Friday and am extremely pleased with my score of 760, especially with my Verbal score of 46!! :-D I have gained immensely from the debriefs and posts on gmatclub and feel it is only fitting for me to share my strategies here as well.

The background

As the title states, I had taken the GMAT a month and a half earlier and score a dismal 620. This was after consistently scoring around the 680-700 level in my mock tests. While I was extremely disappointed with my score then, the first thing I did was to analyse in a step by step manner what could have been the problem. I narrowed down to two things – one was test day nerves and second was my performance in the verbal section, especially with regards to timing, as I had ended up having to guess on the last 5-6 questions during my last attempt.

The Retake strategy

For my retake I decided to focus primarily on two things – taking a lot more practice CATs in different settings to replicate the test day pressure and boosting up my verbal score to at least 40 by getting a better hang of timing on the test.

The Prep Content

Since I had already gone through the MGMAT guides for my last attempt, I decided to focus on some new material for my retake. I had heard good reviews about Aristotle Prep books so decided to go with their entire set of Verbal books, along with the Kaplan Advanced and Princeton Verbal Workout books. For Quant I was using the Kaplan Math Workout book and GMATClub tests to practice from.

I found the Aristotle Prep books extremely useful in my prep. The books are written in a very crisp and easy to understand manner and have a lot of practice questions as well. I especially liked the SC Grail 3rd edition book, which I found much easier to understand than the MGMAT SC guide. Their Big Idiom Question Bank too is a killer book that greatly helped me get those tricky idioms right. All in all I strongly recommend Aristotle books to anyone who is looking at getting a 40+ on Verbal.

I also used the Kaplan Advanced and Princeton Review Verbal Workout books and found them to be a good source of practice questions, especially the Kaplan Advanced book, which had some very tough CR questions.

Since I had earlier struggled with RC, in both comprehension and timing, this time I decided to practice 100 passages at the least. I did 40 from the two OGs, 60 from the RC Grail, and another 20 or so from the Manhattan RC book, and I think this made a big difference to my RC performance in the test.

The Practice Tests

I retook the 6 Manhattan CATs and the two GMATPrep’s. While this time my scores were in the range of 720-760, I did make it a point to reduce them by 40-50 points to account for the repeat questions that I was getting. I made it a point to take these tests in different places so I took one in a coffee shop while another couple in the American library. Even at my house I would take tests in different rooms because I was trying to get used to testing under different environments. I also bought the two new GMATPrep tests and took them towards the end of my prep as those were the only tests I was doing with all new questions. I scored a 740 and a 760 on them, so was expecting a score of around 720-730 on the actual test. Must say I was pleasantly surprised at getting a 760!

The Actual Testing Experience

Well I had already been there once so the first time jitters were not there. In fact I was feeling a lot more confident as I had already been there and done that once. I was pretty confident about the AWA and IR sections because even in my last attempt I had done fairly well on them (AWA 5.5 and IR 7).

The Maths section went well I thought; while there was the odd question that I knew I was getting wrong, I thought my performance was mostly on the lines of how it used to be in the practice tests so I was expecting a score of around 48. I also got a couple of Probability/P & C questions and one Inequality and Absolute value question each.

Since I had focussed a lot on verbal during my retake prep, I was feeling a lot more confident before the start of the verbal section. I was also not feeling tired at all and this is where doing those dozen or so full length CATs came in very handy. I thought towards the end I was getting some really difficult SC and CR questions, in some of which I was really confused between two options and ended up blindly going with one. The RCs I didn’t find too difficult and were mostly of the same level as those in the GMATPrep. At the end of the section I thought I might have got 7-8 questions wrong; turns out that number was closer to 3-4, so some of my lucky guesses must’ve worked :lol:

Takeaways/Thoughts

- It’s very important to take a lot of full length tests, at least a dozen. It’s one thing getting questions correct in a book but entirely different getting them correct in an actual test with the clock ticking. Also take these in different places so as to step outside your comfort zone.

- Consistency and discipline will be the key to improving RC. For my retake I did 4 passages everyday for 30 days without fail, and it made an enormous amount of difference to my RC performance on the test.

- Idioms are very much tested on SC. In both my attempts I can recall at least 3 questions testing knowledge of idioms. The Big Idiom Question Bank is a very useful book if you are struggling with idioms.

- It’s much easier to handle nerves while retaking the test so all those who are pondering whether to retake, I suggest you do so but with adequate prep.

Finally, I’m glad that the GMAT hurdle is successfully out of the way. Now it’s time to start working on my apps coz there’s hardly a month left for Round 2 deadlines. Wish everyone luck with their prep and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Edit: Forgot to mention I have some of the material that I used in my prep in soft copy format so if anyone needs it just pm me your email id.
_________________

Here's how I got a 760 on the GMAT


Last edited by Ajax1 on 08 Dec 2013, 23:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2013, 23:17
Congratulations! significant improvement. Obviously, you were just nervous at first time :)
What was your Q/V score in the first test?
Did you use Gmat club tests only?
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2013, 23:51
Congrats man!!

I have my GMAT retake coming up in a couple of days. What did you do the day before and the day of the exam? Did you review questions or just relax?
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2013, 21:30
lMarial wrote:
Congratulations! significant improvement. Obviously, you were just nervous at first time :)
What was your Q/V score in the first test?
Did you use Gmat club tests only?

I think it was 45/30 or thereabouts.

I used GMATClub tests mainly for Maths. For full length CATs I was sticking to Manhattan and the 4 GMATPreps
_________________

Here's how I got a 760 on the GMAT

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Concentration: General Management
GMAT 1: 760 Q49 V46
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2013, 21:33
futurembaapplicant wrote:
Congrats man!!

I have my GMAT retake coming up in a couple of days. What did you do the day before and the day of the exam? Did you review questions or just relax?

Not sure if I'm replying too late, but the day before the test, I did a full GMATprep test. I got a lot of repeat questions with a final score of 770 but it still made me feel good :)

On the test day, since my test was in the afternoon, I just revised all the Quant formulae and the SC rules in the morning, that's it.

Good luck with your test and I hope I see your debrief here as well!
_________________

Here's how I got a 760 on the GMAT

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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2013, 09:10
Ajax1 wrote:
Hey All

I took the GMAT for the second time last Friday and am extremely pleased with my score of 760, especially with my Verbal score of 46!! :-D I have gained immensely from the debriefs and posts on gmatclub and feel it is only fitting for me to share my strategies here as well.

The background

As the title states, I had taken the GMAT a month and a half earlier and score a dismal 620. This was after consistently scoring around the 680-700 level in my mock tests. While I was extremely disappointed with my score then, the first thing I did was to analyse in a step by step manner what could have been the problem. I narrowed down to two things – one was test day nerves and second was my performance in the verbal section, especially with regards to timing, as I had ended up having to guess on the last 5-6 questions during my last attempt.

The Retake strategy

For my retake I decided to focus primarily on two things – taking a lot more practice CATs in different settings to replicate the test day pressure and boosting up my verbal score to at least 40 by getting a better hang of timing on the test.

The Prep Content

Since I had already gone through the MGMAT guides for my last attempt, I decided to focus on some new material for my retake. I had heard good reviews about Aristotle Prep books so decided to go with their entire set of Verbal books, along with the Kaplan Advanced and Princeton Verbal Workout books. For Quant I was using the Kaplan Math Workout book and GMATClub tests to practice from.

I found the Aristotle Prep books extremely useful in my prep. The books are written in a very crisp and easy to understand manner and have a lot of practice questions as well. I especially liked the SC Grail 3rd edition book, which I found much easier to understand than the MGMAT SC guide. Their Big Idiom Question Bank too is a killer book that greatly helped me get those tricky idioms right. All in all I strongly recommend Aristotle books to anyone who is looking at getting a 40+ on Verbal.

I also used the Kaplan Advanced and Princeton Review Verbal Workout books and found them to be a good source of practice questions, especially the Kaplan Advanced book, which had some very tough CR questions.

Since I had earlier struggled with RC, in both comprehension and timing, this time I decided to practice 100 passages at the least. I did 40 from the two OGs, 60 from the RC Grail, and another 20 or so from the Manhattan RC book, and I think this made a big difference to my RC performance in the test.

The Practice Tests

I retook the 6 Manhattan CATs and the two GMATPrep’s. While this time my scores were in the range of 720-760, I did make it a point to reduce them by 40-50 points to account for the repeat questions that I was getting. I made it a point to take these tests in different places so I took one in a coffee shop while another couple in the American library. Even at my house I would take tests in different rooms because I was trying to get used to testing under different environments. I also bought the two new GMATPrep tests and took them towards the end of my prep as those were the only tests I was doing with all new questions. I scored a 740 and a 760 on them, so was expecting a score of around 720-730 on the actual test. Must say I was pleasantly surprised at getting a 760!

The Actual Testing Experience

Well I had already been there once so the first time jitters were not there. In fact I was feeling a lot more confident as I had already been there and done that once. I was pretty confident about the AWA and IR sections because even in my last attempt I had done fairly well on them (AWA 5.5 and IR 7).

The Maths section went well I thought; while there was the odd question that I knew I was getting wrong, I thought my performance was mostly on the lines of how it used to be in the practice tests so I was expecting a score of around 48. I also got a couple of Probability/P & C questions and one Inequality and Absolute value question each.

Since I had focussed a lot on verbal during my retake prep, I was feeling a lot more confident before the start of the verbal section. I was also not feeling tired at all and this is where doing those dozen or so full length CATs came in very handy. I thought towards the end I was getting some really difficult SC and CR questions, in some of which I was really confused between two options and ended up blindly going with one. The RCs I didn’t find too difficult and were mostly of the same level as those in the GMATPrep. At the end of the section I thought I might have got 7-8 questions wrong; turns out that number was closer to 3-4, so some of my lucky guesses must’ve worked :lol:

Takeaways/Thoughts

- It’s very important to take a lot of full length tests, at least a dozen. It’s one thing getting questions correct in a book but entirely different getting them correct in an actual test with the clock ticking. Also take these in different places so as to step outside your comfort zone.

- Consistency and discipline will be the key to improving RC. For my retake I did 4 passages everyday for 30 days without fail, and it made an enormous amount of difference to my RC performance on the test.

- Idioms are very much tested on SC. In both my attempts I can recall at least 3 questions testing knowledge of idioms. The Big Idiom Question Bank is a very useful book if you are struggling with idioms.

- It’s much easier to handle nerves while retaking the test so all those who are pondering whether to retake, I suggest you do so but with adequate prep.

Finally, I’m glad that the GMAT hurdle is successfully out of the way. Now it’s time to start working on my apps coz there’s hardly a month left for Round 2 deadlines. Wish everyone luck with their prep and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Edit: Forgot to mention I have some of the material that I used in my prep in soft copy format so if anyone needs it just pm me your email id.



Hi Ajax... congrats on your score.
I gave GMAT on Dec 9, 2013 and scored 620(Q46, V30). I think I am particularly weak in SC and CR and I have already used MGMAT SC during my preparation. Any advice for improving in SC and CR sections? Did you opt for any strategy this time in verbal section? as verbal score improved significantly in one and a half month.
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2013, 05:42
ankit41 wrote:

Hi Ajax... congrats on your score.
I gave GMAT on Dec 9, 2013 and scored 620(Q46, V30). I think I am particularly weak in SC and CR and I have already used MGMAT SC during my preparation. Any advice for improving in SC and CR sections? Did you opt for any strategy this time in verbal section? as verbal score improved significantly in one and a half month.

Well my Verbal wasn't as bad as my first attempt scores reflect. :oops: I was always around 37-38 in my practice tests.

To answer your question, for SC it depends on whether you have been able to identify your problem areas. If it's one or two particular error types you can work on those from a source other than MGMAT. The SC Grail is an excellent book for SC as it is much easier to understand than MGMAT. If it's the fact that you are unable to spot errors in the sentence or how to go about identifying the errors, then you need to follow a disciplined split approach where you do the splits in a particular order. If you are struggling with idioms you need to get as many idioms wrong quickly as you can because only once you've got them wrong several times will you start to get them right by getting the ear out of the way. Sounds funny but trust me it works. The Big idiom Question Bank is again very useful to practice idioms from.

For CR again try to identify which question types are your problem. For most people it will be assumptions. If you are very weak in CR overall, start from the Powerscore CR book. However if you are reasonably decent at CR (as most people are) and only want to work on a few question types then don't bother with the Powerscore book because it's a little too comprehensive and verbose. Move to CR Grail which is very concise and has a good set of practice questions. Once you are done with this, try the CR question in the Kaplan Advanced book, which are of a slightly higher difficulty level.

Let me know if you have any specific queries.

Good luck!
_________________

Here's how I got a 760 on the GMAT


Last edited by Ajax1 on 16 Dec 2013, 05:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 16 Dec 2013, 05:44
spotcollege1 wrote:
Hi guys i do not have good experience of GMAT i have attempted for the second time. I have scored very less in my first attempt it was like 620. I was frustrated a lot
because i was not expected this much from me.Then i have to decide to retake GMAT and i decided to do something good and in the second attempt i have got 760 in my second attempt thank god now its better than before then i have come across a website spotcollege com they people helped me a lot to get admission in Stanford University (CA) now i am feeling amazing. Good luck with preparing for this test ... nothing is impossible, and impossible is nothing!

I'm not trying to sound arrogant but with such lousy English you aren't even going to get close to getting into Stanford :-D

This guy has been spamming all the posts. Mods please get him out of here.
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Here's how I got a 760 on the GMAT

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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2014, 00:25
@ajax1
Dude how did you find the questions at the back of SC Grail. I want to practice them topicwise but the book doesn't give a topicwise distribution of the questions. How did you go about practicing those questions ?
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2014, 10:22
abhinavarya wrote:
@ajax1
Dude how did you find the questions at the back of SC Grail. I want to practice them topicwise but the book doesn't give a topicwise distribution of the questions. How did you go about practicing those questions ?


I checked with the aristotle support whether they have the topicwise matrix of questions and they did..so used that.
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 25 Mar 2014, 00:12
Ajax1 wrote:
Hey All

I took the GMAT for the second time last Friday and am extremely pleased with my score of 760, especially with my Verbal score of 46!! :-D I have gained immensely from the debriefs and posts on gmatclub and feel it is only fitting for me to share my strategies here as well.


Wow! Awesome story. Really inspirational. Did you get admission anywhere this year ?
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 17 Jul 2014, 13:42
Jollys wrote:
Ajax1 wrote:
Hey All

I took the GMAT for the second time last Friday and am extremely pleased with my score of 760, especially with my Verbal score of 46!! :-D I have gained immensely from the debriefs and posts on gmatclub and feel it is only fitting for me to share my strategies here as well.


Wow! Awesome story. Really inspirational. Did you get admission anywhere this year ?


Hey man,
Yes, i have admits from a couple of schools. Most probably I'll be joining INSEAD. Let me know if you have any questions
_________________

Here's how I got a 760 on the GMAT

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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2014, 09:13
Ajax1
So are you all set for INSEAD ?
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2014, 09:35
Hi Ajax , If you have Big Question Idiom Bank and Aristotle books as pdfs , please mail me those.
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Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!! [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2014, 14:50
You must be from India because Americans know that Math is both plural and singular. It isn't "Maths."
Re: From 620 to 760 (49/46).......Yippee!!   [#permalink] 07 Oct 2014, 14:50
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