Here is my story, the journey from 670 to 720. (2 briefs together)
I tried to prepare for GMAT in last 2 years many times, but because of some reasons always end up in postponing it.
This year is a kind of do and die for me, so in Jan I gave my first diagnostic test using Kaplan
CD CAT. I ended up with the score of 580(q50, v26). It gave me an idea that I do not stand anywhere for GMAT.
Well! quant is not a problem for me because of engineering background, but verbal became an evil for me, a result of lack of reading habits earlier. Later on I came to know that Kaplan
CATs suppress the scores in general.
So, as I was in US and in the middle of relocating back to India, I postpone the preparation for 2 months to enjoy and relax myself. Finally, when 2 months became 4 months, I realized that I might have to reappear in case of unsuccessful attempt(Exactly what happened in my case). That was a good decision. And started my preparation in mid-may.
As I already had some books from my past attempt to prepare OG10
, and Princeton review
, I ordered for OG 12
, and Kaplan 800
. I also got the old Manhattan SC Book from my friend, who scored 760 in GMAT(3 week prep) and gave the test to just see where he stands as he is not sure of MBA( 5 yr. exp
). I put total focus on verbal and ,frankly, I have never read the quant explanation section of any GMAT book till date. Weaknesses:
accuracy 50-80% (Attempt 10 questions in less than 15 minutes)
accuracy 50-80% (--do --)
accuracy 0-80% (one RC at a time)GMAT Club came into the story
As you can see my results were oscillating like hell. So I ended up at different forums to learn what I am missing. I tried different forums but end up in being an active member of GMAT. Its UI is solid and questions for a beginner like me are welcome, in other forums my questions were totally discarded because I was not at par to understand their normal discussion of essential/non-essential modifiers, which/that stuff. Thanks to GMAT Club and their members.
I became very active in the forum. Though I began with IMOs (
), later I started pitching into the discussions. I really recommend everyone to involve in the discussions as it'll help you out in your reasoning .
Slowly, I started understanding the GMAT Language and the species living in GMATLand (Talking about you
! if you are not the one then you will be).
I read Manhattan SC(2003ed) thrice. Completed SC, CR and RC questions of OG 10
and OG 11
. Then, I started with the Kaplan 800
, I don’t think it really has 700+ level questions, but still they are pretty decent. I mostly used it to improve RC speed and accuracy, and to practice SC. It did some help.
Later on, in one brief I get to come to know about the Powerscore CR
Bible. I got the book ASAP, and it greatly helped me. I read first 60-70 pages and I got the idea of the CRs and moved to the questions instead. I started hitting accuracy of 75-95% accuracy in CRs.RCs
: I tried various questions but nothing worked for me. Variations are still from 20-80% accuracy.
Also, I got some floating SC sets in the forum and attempted some 100-200 question, but surprised to see that most of them had already been discussed in the forums.Now the scores in my CATs:
(**As my machine crashed, I lost the info of scores with it; most breakups are not exact but pretty close)
Diagnostic Test: Kaplan
CD (1/4) : 580 (q50, v25/26) [Jan'09]
GMAT Prep1 : 720 (q50, v40) [15th June'09] (asked for advice GMAT Prep2: 660 (q49, v27/28) [Last week of June]
Advice seek in between need-advice-for-date-79717.html
(2/4) : 640 (q50, v33) [End of June, probably)
GMATPrep2 : 660 (q50, v27/28) [End of June, probably]
GMAT Prep1 (repeat): 730 (q51, v36-38) [First week of July]
Manhattan CAT (Free test) : 660 (don't remember the break up) [--time not sure--]
GMAT Prep2 repeat : 730 (q51, v38) [Week before exam]
GMAT Prep1 repeat : 740 (q51, v38-40) [few days before exam]GMAT experience
I was hoping to touch at least 700, and had already decided to reappear in case of score of less than 700, but I guess I was not ready for it. The center is 30 kms from my place and my appointment was for 5pm. So to be on safer side, I started 2 hrs before in my car. Because of traffic jam and construction, I lost the way and reached the center just 10-15 minutes before totally tired of driving in jam. I relaxed and started as the exam. I took the break after AWA and relax a bit for few mins. Outside the room. Quant was going on fine, but I was taking little longer time to solve some questions than I usually had been. I paced up and end the section with 1-2 mins. left.
In Verbal section, I started getting confused most of the time. Most of these things I discussed below. In the end I had to hurry up and mostly guess for last few questions. Overall, I was not sure how I had done. I was not sure which attempts of SC question are surely correct or incorrect.
GMAT Actual: 670 (q50, v30) -- totally shattered.
Later, got AWA: 5.0
---First GMAT Appearance on 24th July,2009Comparison of Actual GMAT with others:
- RCs: very long, intricate, history based. ( Anyway they were my main weakness, especially the historical ones
; I was not sure of most of the answers. )
- CRs: too long. (sometimes end up with 2 correct choices)
- SCs: couldn't figure out the concepts of some of the SCs. (guessed some of them)
- PS: some geometrical questions were too long to solve. Language problems I found very interesting(I liked it) and dissimilar to other OG or PREP questions.
- DS: always a killer in some hard questions. Especially those one where you need to select one of the combination among the I, II, III
(First time I end up in GMAT CAT quant with just 1 min to spare)Observations I made:
SC: GMAT test not just the basic concepts but more on the complex issues of sentences, for which I was not prepared.
RCs: too long and I was lost in the wordings. Couldn't distinguish between the choices.
CRs: I was facing problem in that too. Mostly ending up with 2 choices.
Time: Lacking in the time management in verbal.
I was totally shattered and haven't seen my result's copy for 3 days.
After that I decided to work in the SC questions. SC:
I started looking into why each options is right or wrong. This really helped me to get rid off the choices. I start using SC Sets to solve question. I solved each question of Brutal SC and with all the errors possible in each incorrect option.CR
: I started solving more of the LSAT Problems and it helped too. The actual GMAT CRs for me seems closer to the LSAT type.
RC: I started solving the RC sets. First, 2 in a row then moved to 4 in a row within the fixed time frame. Initially, my accuracy was very low, so I started to look into the each question and what I have missed to grasp while reading the passage. As I progressed my accuracy improved somewhat and was no longer getting confused with the options.
I gave my GMAT Prep again. I even tried to remove the questions log in the installation directory but was still getting some questions repeat. I gave 2 remaining Kaplan
CD CATs. Then after reading a recommendation of the verbal sets 21-30 in one of the brief. I started solving one set a day. They are pretty good and are good for practice. I strongly recommends that one should use this sets 2 weeks before the scheduled date. RCs were pretty close to GMAT Prep and Actual GMAT. My accuracy improved from 14 wrong answers to 6-7 wrong answers in verbal. I tried Princeton CAT and it was OK; I got 9 wrong in verbal.
In the last few days, I was very frustrated as I was on the leave from the office and was not sure will break the last of 670. I have decided that I will go ahead with 670 score for application but will increase the ration of tier 2 universities in my list. I was prepared for the worst. Last 2 days, I was very much reluctant to solve a single question. I just tried here and there in forum, but end up with the same questions which I have already seen more than 5 times
. (Some of the questions I have seen more than 10 times in this forum.) I was very active in the forum and it helped me a lot. Thanks to GMAT Club members.Practice tests used:
Verbal Sets 21-30: for practice: 14 to 5 wrong in verbal mostlyKaplan
CAT (2 of 4): 630-650 (q50, v30-36)
GMAT Prep (attempt 3 times): 740-760 (q50, v38-42)
Princeton CAT: 690 (q44, v39) - Score was odd (5 wrong quant, 8 wrong verbal)
4 days before my exam, my laptop crashed and lost my c drive in which I had assimilated my SC notes and good explanation links of different forums. So, I picked the Spidey's notes and Manhattan SC to revise the concepts 2 days before the exam. G-DAY:
I was not that much excited and serious about the exam. Don’t know why, but lost the interest as I started believing preparation will not work for me and I have to live with the score of 670. So I was even prepared for the less than 670 without a shock.
So, I picked the same center, but this time I picked the 11:30 am slot instead of 5 pm slot. I reached there 45 minutes before and started around 11 o'clock itself. AWAs went fine. I decided not to take a break and go ahead with the quant section. Quant is really getting more intricate. Questions are no more direct. I find geometry questions full of trap, but I found them ok. PS and DS both sections I found more complex than GMAT Prep and Kaplan
After quant I took the break, as my sheets were getting finished. I raised my hand and get out with totally preparing for the verbal, the real blockage in the GMAT for me. I got my hands scanned and move to the waiting room for water, thinking of how to go about the verbal section. When I came out there was a beautiful girl sitting and she distracted(in a good way) me for a moment. So, I go ahead, had water and freshen myself in the wash room and back to the verbal. This time I was able to get to the points what SCs are trying to test. RCs seems Ok to me, not sure because of the preparation or because of luck. CRs were quite interacting, some like GMAT Prep and some like LSAT. Overall very different from GMAT Prep. I was using the time scale, mentioned below, to attempt the verbal. In the last around 33-34 I was running 1/2 or minute late, so I speed up a little, but in last I left with 1.5 mins.
Actual GMAT : 720 (q50, v36) AWA: awaited
Appeared on 8th Oct, 2009
I am not great at verbal, but still here are my recommendations:
1) Time is the key. If you need to improve the RC, you will need to improve the SC and CR first. Decrease the time in SC and CR and put it in the RC reading. Without it, overall you will be in loss.
a. bigoyal gave the time scale in his brief. I find it very effective for me.
Time 75 60 40 20 10 0
Questions 0 8 19 30 36 41
2) It is important to know why each option in the question is incorrect or correct. It'll greatly help to improve the SC accuracy and time. While practicing look in each options for all the errors. It'll also help to some extent for CR and RC.
3) OG explanation: Read in and out of the explanation, even if you got the question correct in your attempt.
Materials I used:OG10
/11/12: Official Guide. Must to have. Remember for SC, read each explanation ***completely***. OG reasoning is the key and it is undeniable. Understand reason behind each correct answer and more importantly why other options are wrong.
Great book, must to have. Later edition I heard is even better. Really helped me a lot in understanding the concepts. I heard the latest edition is far better, but I can't comment as I didn't use it.Powerscore Critical Reasoning Bible
Helpful for me to some extent. I read about first 60-80 pages and got an idea about what the CR is all about. So didn't go further.Kaplan 800
I used it more of a practice but didn't find the question 700+ level. But not a bad book to have.
In my brief, if you have read whole of it
, you must have seen that there is nothing about quant. Q50 is my consistent score throughout with occasional Q51, so I didn't prepare for a single day on quant. I just used the tests to see where I stand.
Hope that helps who are looking to work on verbal.
Best of luck for your GMAT and Applications!
Consider kudos for the good post ...
My debrief : journey-670-to-720-q50-v36-long-85083.html