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My GMAT experience - 690

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My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 08 May 2009, 19:32
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So I got off the test center yesterday and it didn't even seem like I had sat for 4 hours writing probably, the most important exam of my life. It was a second attempt though. Never the less, I got a decent score and walked out happy. What struck me was how much GMAT had gotten into my life. In other words, the concept, pretty much, had become a part and parcel of my life, the verbal section especially. Every conversation I would have, would slowly turn into a CR passage in my mind. "So after 6 hours of going through this hellish (yeah I know there isn't such a word as hellish) meeting, we couldn't come up with any conclusive remarks. We just wasted our time" - Is this really a well reasoned statement ? What could be the assumption. Sentence correction got to me to a greater extent. Even on IM conversations, I would try to type the perfect sentence and my friends would go berserk watching the 'XXXXX is typing' message on their screens (It's quite annoying, I know). I so thoroughly enjoyed this experience. I have to admit, even some of the RC passages were quite relevant to my day to day life.

Quant never got to me - no wonder I scored a 70th percentile. I was like, who the hell cares if 2 pipes can fill a tank in 10 hours and one pipe takes 2 hours less than the other. I somehow could never relate the math to real world, may be because my job doesn't involve numbers at all. If I were to be a stock broker or an IB analyst of sorts I would have probably thoroughly enjoyed the math experience as well.

What I'm trying to get at is that - GMAT is generally viewed as something that needs to be done with, in order to get to a b-school. Most of the GMAT preparation posts I've read so far indicate how hard it is and how nerve wrecking the whole experience is. For me, personally, after a few initial setbacks the experience just got set into my life. I think, if we can find a means of applying the GMAT learnings into our daily lives, the prep period and the GMAT experience as a whole will not seem that daunting. One will set the right expectations and gain the most of the test.

As I got out of the test hall, I came out with such a big smile on my face. I had scored a 690 - which is nothing great frankly, but I certainly felt happy and satisfied. I may even give the test again and keep taking the test again and again, just for the verbal experience and aim for a V50. Wouldn't that be something.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 08 May 2009, 19:44
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Congratulations!

What materials did you use?

how long did you study?

What were you raw scores and any practice test scores you can share?


Thanks!
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 08 May 2009, 20:56
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Thanks bb

Raw score: V 40: Q 44

Practice scores:

First GMAT PREP - 550 ( :) what a joke that was). Subsequent practice tests - 620, 660 and then finally 680 and 710.
Manhattan GMAT - 600, 670, 660, 540 and finally 690 and 720. Yeah I took a lot of practice tests.

I'll write in detail about the materials used and the strategies employed. I have some time at hand and I feel like writing. But first, I need to take a peek at the origins of wolverine.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 10 May 2009, 11:26
Materials and strategies:

Disclaimer - I had plenty of time at hand and so had the opportunity to experiment a lot. So if people are on a time crunch and are following a 4-6 week study plan, these strategies will definitely not help.

Time - was the biggest luxury I had. I started thinking about the GMAT in October and finally gave it in May - so that should give you an idea. My job was quite hectic at times, but I always found an hour or so in a day to use for GMAT related studying. Neither did I have a set date, nor did I have a score to achieve. From the various statistics I gathered - 650+ seemed like a decent score, That was the score I hoped for. I'll mostly outline the strategies for verbal.

Most of my preparation was done on the web and in reading magazines, newspapers and books. I spent a lot of time on beatthegmat initially and then on gmatclub. I did use the OG a LOT but I was mostly on the forums every freaking day, morning noon and night. I really wish I had come across gmatclub earlier.

SC - Arguably, the most daunting section in verbal. That's how it seems like at least. I guess it's just a matter of knowing the rules of sentence formation - and of course a few jargons aka idioms. I didn't use any materials for SC. People rave about Manhattan GMAT SC - but for some reason, I didn't feel like using it. I have a reading habit and I read quite a lot - mostly useless stuff though. Fiction and the like. So I started reading some relevant stuff - mostly WSJ and started noticing how pathetic my understanding of sentences was. One should read the columns in WSJ and appreciate how clear and concise the writings are. I compared those to the ones in my blog and my blog seemed like a write up of a 2 year old !!!.
In short , I took a holistic approach to SC. The forums had most of the questions from OG and all the tests one can imagine, so I didn't fall short of questions at all.

RC - My RC experience was the best. In the initial days, my success rate with RC was around 50% - it was pathetic. I found some of the passages so hard to even read a few lines. I had almost given up on RC when I came across a book - 'Guns Germs and Steel' . It's a very heavy read and I have even mentioned the book as a good read in one of the threads here. Reading through GGS got me the energy to go through many such RC passages. I think, the biggest problem with me in RC was that of focus. I would read three lines and would lose focus and by the time I reached the end - the first sentence and the last sentence would seem like two different stories from two different eras. . Once I started getting the required focus, RC didn't seem all that hard.

CR - My weakest point in verbal. When I started participating in the beatthegmat forums, I felt so horrible as I was getting almost all the CR questions wrong. It was humiliating. The biggest blunder I made was in following the kaplan strategy of reading the question first. This was just so wrong. It was not until Jan or Feb, until I realized this mistake. I saw some mention about the powerscore LSAT reasoning book and I picked up a copy. The book was a god send as it clearly revealed what to look for in a CR passage. Once I knew how to break the passage, the rest was quite easy. That's the key - to break open the passage to premises and conclusion. Identify the conclusion and then trace the premises - you are done. Any damn question can be answered. Once I got into this mode, I could crack CR passages without difficulty.

So to conclude, my approach to verbal was quite different as in I didn't take up a 'formula based' approach.

Mateirals that I used for learning verbal concepts:

Powerscore LSAT bible (The first few chapters)
WSJ, Economist, Bloomberg and NYTimes.

Materials that I used for practicing verbal:

OG (Orange and Purple)
Forums on beatthegmat and gmatclub.
ManhattanGMAT tests.
GMATPREP
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 10 May 2009, 11:41
typhoidX wrote:
Congrats pleonasm! Which schools are you planning to apply to?

By the way, the new X-Men movie had some nice special effects, storyline is nothing out of the ordinary, but still worth seeing.


The movie was a let down. Liked the concepts though.

Schools - I'm leaning towards Columbia, Duke and Oxford right now. There's this masters program at MIT's SDM that I'm very much interested in. In the coming few days I'll be solidifying my opinion on other schools. I'm very sure about applying in the ED round to both Columbia and Duke.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 10 May 2009, 22:46
pleonasm wrote:
So I started reading some relevant stuff - mostly WSJ and started noticing how pathetic my understanding of sentences was. One should read the columns in WSJ and appreciate how clear and concise the writings are.


Congratulations on an excellent score! You did an excellent job on the Verbal! I wish the best in the rest of your application.

Can you give advice on how often, or amount of time, you spent reading the WSJ as part of your Verbal preparation? I need to strenghten SC & RC and I think that your experience would be helpful. Thanks pleonasm!

P.S. Looking back, knowing what you now know, what would you have done differently in preparing for the Verbal section, and why??
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 11 May 2009, 10:26
BlindVision wrote:
pleonasm wrote:
So I started reading some relevant stuff - mostly WSJ and started noticing how pathetic my understanding of sentences was. One should read the columns in WSJ and appreciate how clear and concise the writings are.


Congratulations on an excellent score! You did an excellent job on the Verbal! I wish the best in the rest of your application.

Can you give advice on how often, or amount of time, you spent reading the WSJ as part of your Verbal preparation? I need to strenghten SC & RC and I think that your experience would be helpful. Thanks pleonasm!

P.S. Looking back, knowing what you now know, what would you have done differently in preparing for the Verbal section, and why??


Thanks BV. I think I just read WSJ columns until my subscription expired sometime in March. The reading was not organized, mostly I read every morning. I think the advantage of reading on the computer is that you get used to the vertical reading style. Not that it would be of a great advantage but I guess for me it mattered.

Looking back - what would I have done differently - I really really wish I had come across gmatclub earlier. Directly or indirectly, I got a lot of inspiration by reading the forums here. I should have purchased the LSAT reasoning book earlier as well and I should have read that book multiple times. You just have to read the first 100 pages of that book to understand how to break CR passages. If I had done a more diligent job, I could've probably scored higher on the verbal.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2009, 09:37
Jerry....love the dead!
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2009, 06:43
Interesting. I got an identical score of 690 and a very similar split. Q44 V41. I actually like math (though I think I hated it at the end, lol). I also did worse on it than my practice tests recently. My verbal was better than the vast majority of my practice tests. The problem with quant was that while I feel like I was getting a large number of them right at the start I spent too much time on them. So I ended up guessing like the last 10. Verbal I finished faster than usual with like 3 minutes to spare. Thank goodness for the easy reading comp. I also find myself using critical reasoning and SC in everyday life. Now every time someone makes a grammar mistake I'm even more annoyed than before, lol. Considering the mistakes are usually more blatant than most incorrect choices on the GMAT, I'm annoyed a lot. lol
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2009, 19:07
GmatNY86 wrote:
Interesting. I got an identical score of 690 and a very similar split. Q44 V41. I actually like math (though I think I hated it at the end, lol). I also did worse on it than my practice tests recently. My verbal was better than the vast majority of my practice tests. The problem with quant was that while I feel like I was getting a large number of them right at the start I spent too much time on them. So I ended up guessing like the last 10. Verbal I finished faster than usual with like 3 minutes to spare. Thank goodness for the easy reading comp. I also find myself using critical reasoning and SC in everyday life. Now every time someone makes a grammar mistake I'm even more annoyed than before, lol. Considering the mistakes are usually more blatant than most incorrect choices on the GMAT, I'm annoyed a lot. lol


Oh yeah tell me about the annoyance. Congratulations anyways.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2009, 21:22
pleonasm wrote:
GmatNY86 wrote:
Interesting. I got an identical score of 690 and a very similar split. Q44 V41. I actually like math (though I think I hated it at the end, lol). I also did worse on it than my practice tests recently. My verbal was better than the vast majority of my practice tests. The problem with quant was that while I feel like I was getting a large number of them right at the start I spent too much time on them. So I ended up guessing like the last 10. Verbal I finished faster than usual with like 3 minutes to spare. Thank goodness for the easy reading comp. I also find myself using critical reasoning and SC in everyday life. Now every time someone makes a grammar mistake I'm even more annoyed than before, lol. Considering the mistakes are usually more blatant than most incorrect choices on the GMAT, I'm annoyed a lot. lol


Oh yeah tell me about the annoyance. Congratulations anyways.


Thanks. Although I think "grammar" mistake, is a mistake on my part, lol. I think it should be grammatical mistake. Now I'm annoyed at myself.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 16 Nov 2009, 08:49
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Congrats on the score! Another LSAT book user, I see.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2009, 07:56
Hi pleonasm,

Congrats on the score! I just have a quick question. In CR, why do you not find the strategy of reading the question first to be useful?

I'd just come across it recently and was wondering whether to adopt it or not.

Cheers.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 17 Nov 2009, 19:10
sriharimurthy wrote:
Hi pleonasm,

Congrats on the score! I just have a quick question. In CR, why do you not find the strategy of reading the question first to be useful?

I'd just come across it recently and was wondering whether to adopt it or not.

Cheers.


May be because I have very poor memory retention. So reading the question first doesn't really help much as I'd have forgotten the question by the time I got to the end of the CR passage. I tried reading the question in the early stages and got very bad results.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 22 Dec 2009, 16:12
So I retook the GMAT and got a 680 Q49 V34.

Pleasantly surprised with my quant score. The questions seemed really easy compared to the earlier attempt. It may be because I spent 2 months doing GC tests. However the Verbal tanked. Awful. I am pretty strong in Verbal and so was left clueless. Wouldn't it have been nice to have the old verbal with the new quant aaah Q49 V44 .. I signed up for the Knewton course and will see how that takes me along.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2009, 09:09
Hi, pleonasm

Great improvement in Q. Could you please explain how you get it ? Materials used ? Time ? Ect...

Otherwise, you can be disappointed with your 680 after receiving 690 on your first attempt. But 680 as 690 is still a very good score.

Thx !
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2009, 18:31
nesta wrote:
Hi, pleonasm

Great improvement in Q. Could you please explain how you get it ? Materials used ? Time ? Ect...

Otherwise, you can be disappointed with your 680 after receiving 690 on your first attempt. But 680 as 690 is still a very good score.

Thx !


Get the GC tests and just do them. Period. Highly recommended. I scored in the 20th or 21st percentile on almost all the tests but nonetheless I did well on the GMAT. Like I said earlier, the questions in the actual exam seemed way easier than my first attempt. I didn't get a single question that made me just sit and think. May be just luck. There are several other options that you can try but GCs worked best for me. Also Bunuel has several great posts - work out his tricky sets of questions and you'll definitely be successful, without a doubt.
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Re: My GMAT experience - 690 [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2010, 03:01
Nice debrief.. u make it sound so simple and do-able :)

Congrats !!
Re: My GMAT experience - 690   [#permalink] 08 Aug 2010, 03:01
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