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Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710

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Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  28 Jul 2011, 07:18
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It seems as if a big chapter of my life just got over and man what a climax…(So glad it was not an anti-climax Wink)…

So am writing this with nice oldies (Kishore Da’s) songs playing in the background. I really am going down the memory lane starting from November 2010 when while having a serious chat with my colleagues and boss at Rock Bottom (oh yeah I normally engage in serious discussions in breweries), I had a revelation that I need an MBA if I want to speed up my career progression.

I have been in operations consultancy since last 3 years and I want to move up the consultancy ladder into strategic consultancy. So over the course of the following week, I discussed my plans with my better half and together we chalked out the path towards MBA. Clearly, the first step was GMAT.

I have organized my debrief in the following categories.
1: Chronological account of my gmatprep
2: Best Practices
3: Review of preparation material that I used
4: My regrets

Chronological account of my prep:

1: First phase - Self Study - November

A) Ordered OG12 and the 8-pack MGMAT book series
B) Mock Test Score = 560
C) Went through MGMAT books & OG12 for 2 weeks.
D) Issue = Excessive travel at work was an impediment to my study plan. I could not discipline myself into studying in a structured manner. I realized that I needed a classroom type course with set syllabus.

2: Second phase - Knewton - December - March

A) Got Knewton course through BTG - the discount was fabulous - $325 for a course that currently retails for$900 (Thanks BTG!!!)
B) Went through the course for the next 3 months (No it should not take anyone 3 months to complete the course. But due to excessive workload, I could not be as regular with it as I would have wanted to).
C) Mock test Score = 630

3: Break - April

- I relocated to Netherlands. So I had to take a month’s break from my GMAT study.

4: Third phase - Self Study again - May - June

A) MGMAT SC & Powerscore CR
B) Mock test score = 640
C) Issue = Verbal scores were stagnant. My confidence was going down and believe me its not easy for a guy like me to lose confidence. I was all tied up in the rules of grammar. I was definitely not doing something right.

5: Forth Phase -e-GMAT Course- July

A) E-GMAT SC and CR courses & OG12
B) Only worked on SC for about 2 weeks. Took 1 week off from work (paid vacation). (I wish I had discovered this course sooner than this. It may have saved me the misery and disappointment)
C) Mock test scores = 690, 700, 710, 700, 710

Best Practices for verbal

1. SC

[highlight]Think meaning first, grammar next.[/highlight]

In fact all experts here say this. I remember one of Brian’s posts in which he very nicely articulated this point. Also, Ron in most of his posts, especially on verbs and modifiers, makes this point very explicitly. But for me, this point really drove home when I went through e-GMAT courseand when I could see ALL questions being solved using the method in which first the meaning is analyzed before grammar.

2. CR

a. [highlight]Think logically about the passage[/highlight]. Try to put yourself into that situation. This really works well. After all a CR passage is a scenario only. All you have to do is place yourself in that scene.

b. First understand the scenario presented in the passage and then review the answer choices.

3. RC

i. [highlight]Key point in each paragraph in the passage.
ii. Relationships & transitions among the paragraphs[/highlight]. For example, is 2nd paragraph extending the thought of previous paragraph or is it refuting it, or is it stating a new point all together that is then discussed in the 3rd paragraph along with the point in 1st paragraph.

Review of Preparation Material

1. Knewton

a. Pros

i.[highlight]Flexibility[/highlight] - Offers immense flexibility for professionals such as me who travel and who need to a syllabus/classroom experience to keep them motivated and on track.

ii. [highlight]Entertaining[/highlight]- We as professionals study after a hectic day at work. So if the lessons are entertaining, then we will be more likely to study properly. In fact I do remember that there were days when I would not have any tolerance for books, but Knewton lessons were welcome at that time as well. I especially like the ones with Jen (only recall her name.Wink)

iii.[highlight]Complete Course[/highlight] - The course kept me on track with the coverage of complete syllabus. I really needed that.

b. Cons

i. As many others have said, the questions have stark resemblance to questions in OG

ii. Also, level of detail in video lessons is less. They do have supplementary lessons, but those are not as interesting as Jen’s lessons.

2.

e-GMAT

a. Pros

i. [highlight]Great for SC[/highlight] - It is an excellent resource for preparing for SC, especially for someone like me who was stuck at 33. The process explained in application files really works. The process is reinforced in all these files since all questions are solved using this method.

ii. [highlight]Extremely Detailed[/highlight] - The course is very detailed, almost as detailed as MGMAT SC, but a lot more practical.

iii.[highlight]Great for CR too[/highlight] - Even though I was pretty good with CR, this course help me improve the confidence and brought the next level of clarity. In fact it employs some extremely unique features in paradox and bold face concepts.

iv. [highlight]Flexibility[/highlight]- I could access lessons anywhere and anytime. (But I missed seeing a live person here. Yes I did miss Jen here)

v. [highlight]Easy to get questions answered[/highlight] - It is easy to post doubts in the forum and best thing is that we get responses pretty quick and that too from the course creators.

b. Cons

i. Does not offer complete GMAT course. It only offers SC and CR. It does not even cover complete verbal course since it does not have RC.

ii. Forums are not as convenient as BTG forum. But I did bring this up with them and they understood the shortcomings. Hopefully they will do something about it.

3. Thursdays with Ron

a. Pros

i. [highlight]Covers very niche topics in good detail.[/highlight] These topics are not covered even in the MGMAT SC book. For example usage of including and based on. So this is a great supplement to the book.

ii. [highlight]Taught by Ron, the trusted name in GMAT.[/highlight]

b. Cons

i. It is too cumbersome to navigate and the interface is not great. Again this is a free resource so I should not complain. I would recommend everyone to see these lessons.

4. Grockit

a. Pros

i. [highlight]Good repository of questions for all of GMAT[/highlight]

ii. [highlight]Targeted practice[/highlight] - I loved the fact that I could practice in the specific areas that I wanted to. For example, I wanted to practice inequalities and I could get over 30 DIFFICULT questions on inequality.

iii. [highlight]Great Analytics[/highlight]- The system told me exactly where I needed to focus my attention. I remember that after I did 20 questions in geometry, I knew that I had issues with “inscribed figures”. I then reviewed the material for this topic, came back and practiced again and was glad to see that I had overcome my weakness.

iv.[highlight]Practice with others[/highlight]- I know we can practice with others, but I did not utilize this.

b. Cons

i. I saw repeat questions in the mock tests. So that is a bummer. I wonder why the question bank for mock tests and practice tests be the same.

My Regrets

1.

Quant score

- I did not try hard enough to score 50 on quant. I somehow accepted the fact that I cannot go beyond 49. Now in the hindsight, I feel that I should not have accepted this.

2.

Stretched GMAT Prep

- My preparation lingered for 9 long months. If I were to do it again, I would make sure I complete the preparation in 2-3 months. Overall its better for morale and keeps the momentum going.

3.

Quantity vs. quality

- Initially in my prep, my benchmark was the number of questions that I solve instead of quality of questions. If I were to do this again, I would not hunt the web for more and more questions. Instead I would focus on trusted sources only and do quality reviews of questions.

So here it is…the saga of Aman’s GMAT is over. And now after a break of 2 weeks, I will move to the next step - the essay process.

Last edited by ghumanaman on 31 Jul 2011, 08:41, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  28 Jul 2011, 07:29
coongrats! can't wait for your debrief!
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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  28 Jul 2011, 18:55
Definitely waiting for your debrief! Let us know how long your prep's been and your strength - Verbal or Quant?
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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  28 Jul 2011, 20:09
Congrats man..

Do post the debrief!!
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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  28 Jul 2011, 21:43
Awaiting your debrief,splits and preparation materials.
Great work..by the way did you give your first mock with any preparation or no preparation?

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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  28 Jul 2011, 22:32
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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  31 Jul 2011, 10:20
mourinhogmat1 wrote:
Awaiting your debrief,splits and preparation materials.
Great work..by the way did you give your first mock with any preparation or no preparation?

Thanks Mourinhogmat1, I gave my first mock without any preparation. I have now updated the post with detailed debrief...
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Re: GMAT, Who’s Your Daddy Now -From 560 to 710- Job DONE [#permalink]  31 Jul 2011, 10:22
Mahtab wrote:
Definitely waiting for your debrief! Let us know how long your prep's been and your strength - Verbal or Quant?

Thanks Mahtab, My prep was 9 excruciating month long...one of my regrets as I noted down. My strength was obviously Quant...but again one of my regrets...I did not capitalize on this strength as much as I should have...could not convert that 49 to 50. RC never gave me any issues. SC was my weakest link but I conquered it finally...
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  31 Jul 2011, 18:54
good one...i took cat and score dismally last week end...i can see that both Quant and Verabl were my week links...and i am standing clueless on how to conquer both..looking out for procedures ppl have followed to conquer it and am not willing to forgo my MBA plan
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  31 Jul 2011, 18:57
good one...i took cat and score dismally last week end...i can see that both Quant and Verabl were my week links...and i am standing clueless on how to conquer both..looking out for procedures ppl have followed to conquer it and am not willing to forgo my MBA plan
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  02 Aug 2011, 07:30
Congratulations Aman...Great score...I need to improve SC and RC. Any ideas how I can do that. What do you think about egmat course. do you think it will help me if I have already exhausted MGMAT SC?
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  02 Aug 2011, 10:22
Great job! Are you talking about Rock Bottom in Bethesda?
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  02 Aug 2011, 10:37
Thats a good score , waiting for the debrief
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  02 Aug 2011, 21:24
awesome!
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  08 Aug 2011, 10:38
Congrats! What was your Quant and Verbal scores?
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  09 Aug 2011, 05:36
Congrats Aman bhaaji

Great score. May I know your split also?

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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  18 Aug 2011, 01:13
debrief?
anyway well done!!
wish you all the best!
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  18 Aug 2011, 02:19
Nice debrief!
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  18 Aug 2011, 04:57
Good one dude
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Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710 [#permalink]  18 Aug 2011, 09:24
beatTheVerbal wrote:
Congratulations Aman...Great score...I need to improve SC and RC. Any ideas how I can do that. What do you think about egmat course. do you think it will help me if I have already exhausted MGMAT SC?

Hi beatTheVerbal...Sorry for the delay in responding to your post. Its just that since I took my GMAT, I rarely log back in at GMATclub and BTG. (I know its bad community behavior... )...
I can say that e-GMAT helped me remove cobwebs of grammar rules from my mind. It helped me with a clear approach to solve SC questions. It gave me the confidence to eliminate an incorrect choice and mark the correct choice. It took the scare away from my mind...The only thing I would tell you is that - Its no magic...Its not a quick fix...It takes time to follow and learn the process...But once you do get it, the going gets very easy...
I would take the liberty of posting BTG link of one other e-GMAT customer experience. He posted his experience in my debrief, while answering someone else's question. Do take a look at that - http://www.beatthegmat.com/aman-s-gmat- ... tml#397791

Good luck...
Re: Aman's GMAT Saga - From 560 to 710   [#permalink] 18 Aug 2011, 09:24

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