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My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt

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My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2012, 20:42
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This forum has really helped a lot to know a lot of stuff. Now it's time for me to contribute what i learnt during my GMAT journey. So, here you go: -

With significant travel in my job and lack of good verbal skills, I had very intimidating thoughts on cracking GMAT. First time I saw the questions, I knew I would have to work very hard to get to 700 + level. I started the preparation in January 2012 and took exam date in early May. I managed to take out at least one hour everyday and got Manhattan SC done in January (including Advanced Section and chapter questions). Due to some personal issues, I was not able to prepare and dedicate much time in February towards GMAT. I was able to finish only Power Score CR and OG 12 till end of March. Dedicated first few weeks of April to quant, but internally didn't feel ready to give the GMAT in early May.
Took GMATprep and got 630! Shocked, I decided to postpone my GMAT and give more time to preparation. Thereafter, I revised all the material again and did rest of below.

Study Material


MGMAT Sentence Correction – Excellent stuff to gain confidence in SC. I recommend reading Advanced Section too.

Aristotle SC Grail – Good for revising Manhattan SC concepts.

Thursdays with Ron – All recommended. If you don’t have time, you can go through attached presentations I created from various videos (Categorized, captions indicate one line learning from each slide).

I have listed few things below that you shall try to know in SC –

    • Parallelism between participles (past and present particle – look at Q42 in OG12)

    • Sub-group modifiers – some of them only, some of which were, some only

    • As v/s Like

    • Understanding difference between “Plan to create” and “Plan creating”

    • Prefer Verb over Adjective over Noun (Remember “V>A>N”).

    • Understanding placeholder “IT” – no noun antecedent. (It refers to either “that__” or “to__”)

    • Understanding –ing construction thoroughly. (-ing must make sense with the subject, -ing can either describe how main clause is being done OR describe the direct and immediate consequence of main clause).

    • -ing constructions MUST be personalized (only exception if it’s a process).

    • Trick - Use Past Prefect if you can find another past tense OR a time reference to the past. Use Present Prefect if you find “Since” OR “Ever Before” OR something indicating continuity.

    • Understand Action Nouns, Concrete Nouns, Simple and Complex Gerunds concepts. Very important in parallelism. Briefly, concrete nouns are something you can touch, they MUST be parallel to concrete nouns, not Action nouns. Similarly, Simple Gerund MUST be parallel to Simple Gerund and NEVER to Complex Gerund.

    Example 1 – “Gift” parallel to “Bouquet” – both concrete nouns, you can touch both.
    Example 2 – “eating apples quickly” NEVER parallel with “ the quick drinking of water” – "eating apples quickly" is a SIMPLE gerund, while "the quick eating of apples" is a COMPLEX gerund.

    • Use “Times as as”, never Times with “than” or “as”. Whenever you see MORE, LESS, HIGHER, LOWER in comparison, find “THAN”, otherwise sentence is wrong.

    • As can be followed by a clause or a prep phrase – As is the case with X, Y is …., As with Stacy, Tom ___, etc.

    • Idiom Error - Prefer “Rather than” over “Instead of”, Prefer “TO DO” over “FOR DOING”, NEVER use SO AS TO, NEVER use “ENOUGH” with “THAT” or “AS”. Refer Manhattan Idiom List – “enough” or “so that” for details.

    • When you see “compared to” OR “compared with” in a sentence, you cannot use any other comparison indicators. If you find MORE, LESS etc., eliminate the choice.

    • When you see “,and”, make sure it’s either a list or a complete clause is on both sides of “,and”.

MGMAT Reading Comprehension - I didn't find it very helpful – Ron’s strategy in approaching RC really helped.

Power Score CR – Excellent book, it’s really a bible as it explains everything in a great detail. I had to practice a lot of CRs. I recommend for practice “Whiplash” collection of CR from GMATprep. Excellent practice for Hard CR questions.

MGMAT Number Properties, MGMAT Word Translations, MGMAT Geometry – Good for the basics.

Aristotle RC – Did around 25 passages – some of them are really insane. I had ~50% accuracy.

AWA Essay – google for “chineseburned” template. It’s the best!

IR - GMAT IR 50 question pack (free with OG13). More than sufficient. Actual GMAT IR questions are much easier.

GMATClub Flashcards - Great for Idioms practice

MGMAT Flashcards - Good review of MGMAT books concepts

For quant practice, I just did 50 free PS and DS problems available on GMATclub. I found Manhattan Practice tests questions quite useful for Word problems and inequalities.

Performance Tests

    23-04-2012 - GMATPrep1 - 630 Q47V23 – I literally sweat on my last RC on “anthropology”!
    07-05-2012 - MGMAT1 - 720 Q47V41
    07-07-2012 - MGMAT2 - 740 Q51V40 IR 3.80
    26-07-2012 - MGMAT3 - 750 Q48V45 IR 3.87
    28-07-2012 - MGMAT4 - 700 Q49V36 IR 3.59 – Finished Verbal with 12 mins on the clock. Decided to give each question more time
    29-07-2012 - GMATPrep2 - 760 Q50V42 IR 8/8 – I had seen ~4-5 CR questions before.
    31-07-2012 - GMAT - 720 Q50V38 - Was left with 5 mins on the clock on my last SC question.

On the exam day

I got very nervous a day before the exam and woke up with a heavy head in the morning. Green tea before the exam and Gatorade in between the breaks helped a lot. I knew I had to get over with GMAT in order to feel better. Only thing I always thought on the back of the mind was to fully concentrate on the problem in front of me. I just wish I could have felt better before the exam. :-)

Just received my final score report - AWA 6.0 and IR 7 :-)

Consider giving a Kudo if you like the material/post!
Attachments

File comment: This material is "Manhattan GMAT" Copyright and Ron Purewal is the original author. Detailed videos are available on web (Google for "Thursdays with Ron")
RC Strategies.pdf [2.18 MiB]
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File comment: This material is "Manhattan GMAT" Copyright and Ron Purewal is the original author. Detailed videos are available on web (Google for "Thursdays with Ron")
Sentence Correction Strategies.pdf [3.66 MiB]
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Last edited by av2012 on 20 Aug 2012, 10:51, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2012, 21:15
Congretz for breaking the 700 barrier.
Thanks for sharing the SC strategies.
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2012, 23:19
Great job and thanks for the tips!
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 07:48
Hey congrats,thats a great score!!
Did u refer to earlier OG editions?What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Also,did u refer to the advanced Manhattan quant guide?

Thanks,
Shreeraj
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 09:00
Great score bro, very well done!
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2012, 11:29
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Congratulations on your score. I scored exactly the same yesterday only the split was Q49 V39. Sorry but I ll take the liberty of adding my $ 0.02 in your thread itself.

From my experience of the test and especially of the quant section, I believe that the most difficult sections came from inequalities and the number system (or I felt so).
The lesson I learnt from my experience was more than concepts, the problem I felt in these questions was where to begin. The concepts are limited but in these topics more than in any other topic, the number of ways in which a question can be designed is large. Adding to this problem is the number of ways to begin solving a question.
Finally, I did a lot of quant, including questions posted in this forum by Bunuel, MGMAT etc but did not see one repeat question on my test so be careful choosing a mock. (a mock with even 2 repeated questions fails to serve its purpose IMO. The real test will make you feel much different)
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 06:55
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Thanks a lot! I referred to OG12 questions and 50 PS and DS problems given freely by Bunnel. Questions on final GMAT looked pretty much on the easier side after practicing these problem sets thoroughly.

Almost all the topics were covered by quant questions. I was a bit slow in inequalities questions and was stuck often. I was also weak initially on Number Properties questions. For the basics, I revised Manhattan Number Properties book, followed by Manhattan 25 Questions Bank that I answered all correctly. There were few really good Number Properties questions on the MGMAT CATs. For example, given the Median/Mean and other few relevant parameters, minimize the least number/maximize the greatest number.

For inequalities, you can go through attached problem set only on this topic (with a separate answer list). If you do all these questions, I bet you are not going to face any issue in knowing the strategy to solve any GMAT Inequality problem.

I have marked the good ones if you are short of time.

Good luck for the exam!

shreerajp99 wrote:
Hey congrats,thats a great score!!
Did u refer to earlier OG editions?What kind of questions did u encounter during the exam,especially in quant.Which topics u feel one should stress more on in quant?
Also,did u refer to the advanced Manhattan quant guide?

Thanks,
Shreeraj

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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 06:58
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Thanks ShalabhAr for sharing your views! I am sure Inequalities problem set I shared will help everyone to know various strategies to solve these sort of problems!

ShalabhAr wrote:
Congratulations on your score. I scored exactly the same yesterday only the split was Q49 V39. Sorry but I ll take the liberty of adding my $ 0.02 in your thread itself.

From my experience of the test and especially of the quant section, I believe that the most difficult sections came from inequalities and the number system (or I felt so).
The lesson I learnt from my experience was more than concepts, the problem I felt in these questions was where to begin. The concepts are limited but in these topics more than in any other topic, the number of ways in which a question can be designed is large. Adding to this problem is the number of ways to begin solving a question.
Finally, I did a lot of quant, including questions posted in this forum by Bunuel, MGMAT etc but did not see one repeat question on my test so be careful choosing a mock. (a mock with even 2 repeated questions fails to serve its purpose IMO. The real test will make you feel much different)
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 07:43
Congrats..!!

Thanks alot for files which u have attached..!!...

can u just elaborate RC grill few points..! how to attck rc questions??
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2012, 11:51
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your experiences. What is Thursdays with Ron? Thanks again!
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 20:56
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Ron Purewal is a great instructor from Manhattan GMAT and every other Thursday, he conducts a free of cost 1.5 hours interactive lesson.

You can see all the archived videos on the web. I am not allowed to post the link, however you can just google "Thursdays with Ron".

However, if you find the pace a bit slow and want to get the extract from all the lessons, you can see attached presentations in my original post.

sweepit wrote:
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your experiences. What is Thursdays with Ron? Thanks again!
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 22:38
Congrats on a great score! Job well done!
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2012, 03:23
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Sanjoo,

I tried many strategies and one that worked for me was to constantly remind myself while reading the passage to find out it's main purpose.

For long passages, I read the first para, and first few lines of each body paragraph skimming the rest. I just keep myself attentive enough to see transitory words such as However, Despite, Nevertheless, Besides .. and skip the rest. I try to understand why is the fact/detail mentioned at it's place.

For short passages, one has to read the entire para, understand the main purpose and look out for transitory words. It's essential to skip understanding the details. Most of the time all questions can be answered without understanding every detail given in the passage.

I only formed single line notes of each paragraph - notes mention point/purpose of each para. It's also important to understand abstract words while you practice. for example: - in the main purpose question, you shall understand what a hypothesis ("to claim without proof") is etc.

One more thing is that - in long passages, never include the last paragraph in the main purpose, even if it has a transition involved. For example, see "Ice age" passage in OG12.

Good luck!

sanjoo wrote:
Congrats..!!

Thanks alot for files which u have attached..!!...

can u just elaborate RC grill few points..! how to attck rc questions??
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2012, 04:19
congrats, do you have CR strategy PDF from Ron Videos ( as you have for SC and RC )
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2012, 04:03
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It took some time, but here you go - attached!

vikram4689 wrote:
congrats, do you have CR strategy PDF from Ron Videos ( as you have for SC and RC )

Attachments

File comment: This material is "Manhattan GMAT" Copyright and Ron Purewal is the original author. Detailed videos are available on web (Google for "Thursdays with Ron")
Critical reasoning Strategies.pdf [2.69 MiB]
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Re: My Journey to 720 and Lessons Learnt   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2012, 04:03
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