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Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38)

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Intern
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Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Concentration: International Business, Entrepreneurship
Schools: INSEAD Jan '16
GMAT 1: 660 Q49 V32
GMAT 2: 650 Q45 V35
GMAT 3: 660 Q50 V30
GMAT 4: 730 Q50 V38
GPA: 3.54
WE: Business Development (Non-Profit and Government)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 51 [44] , given: 9

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Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2014, 12:47
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Hi GMATers!

Today I would like to share my story. Why? - Because before today I was in your side of the fence - Studying everyday, trying to make a few gains in math and verbal and at the same time do a demanding full time job. So i know how you are feeling and what you must be going through. HANG IN THERE, DONT GIVE UP and KEEP PERSEVERING till the time you are satisfied with your performance.

FOR THOSE WHO JUST ARE JUST INTERESTED TO READ ABOUT WHAT RESOURCES I USED AND WHAT WORKED, AND TIPS I WOULD RECOMMEND - SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM. THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE HARDWORK AND DISCIPLINE IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO - THEN READ THE ENTIRE POST AS IT WILL GIVE YOU A SENSE OF WHAT EVERY GMATer GOES THROUGH.

GMAT is not an easy journey if your not a genius at birth :-D I am certainly not one, in fact i am just an above average student with ambition and desire to do well in my life. I set upon the MBA journey three years back when my Dad told me that you MUST do your MBA to get ahead in life. Yes he is a typical Indian father who wants to keep pushing his son. At that stage, I shrugged him off and told him that I am already working for a top management consulting firm and I dont need to do an MBA. But, Indian parents being parents kept pushing me so I caved in and said "OK dad I will study for it". However, I wasn't really interested to do it but I downloaded the GMAT PREP software and gave a mock test. In my first attempt, I scored only 590 and asked myself "Is this the best I can do?". So I did the same exam the second time, still not interested, and got 570!!!! So I uninstalled the software, took my scores as proof and told my father that I don't need an MBA as I am earning enough money and I am happy with my job. However, I hate to admit it but I was terribly wrong and my dad was right. I only got to this realisation last year.

My mindset changed in May'13 - rather than being pushed into doing an MBA, I wanted too. Why? Because I realised that after completing a BE and 4 years of management consulting and international business work experience, I need to reinvent myself. I knew that the longer i continued doing the same, I wont get ahead of the game. I needed something different. An MBA perhaps? I started researching on-line and saw the value in the doing an MBA. I finally had the desire to do the GMAT and apply to business schools. So I downloaded the software again and this time i sat the mock GMAT PREP exam with much interest. I knew I would score better and I did, but marginally. I got 600. Disappointed as I thought I was smarter than this but hey this was just the start.

So I got all the practice material that I could afford. I bought the Manhattan GMAT books from a friend who sat his GMAT and scored 700 in his second attempted. I was motivated and had the desire to do well. As i started studying for the GMAT, my mind started wandering and after a month, I hardly opened the text books. Not that the Manhattan books were not good, but I lacked DISCIPLINE. Yes I admit it, the desire started fading away. Also, living in New Zealand, where there are no GMAT courses to attend, I had to study in complete solitude - no one to keep me motivated and no one ask questions when I had a doubt. For me, that was the hardest part as for GMAT you need that motivation and a GMAT community to support your highs and lows. Thats when I stumbled upon the GMATCLUB FORUM. Also I signed up for GMATPILL as I thought maybe an online course will help me sustain that motivation and its best to learn from the best.

So mid June'13, I set a target and registered for my first GMAT exam on 7th August'13. I had 6 weeks to prepare and I religiously read through all the Manhattan books and the GMATPILL online course. I worked hard, revised all formulas, grammar rules and the whole 9 yards! On the day of the exam I was nervous and that showed in my test score - I scored 660 (Q49, V32). I was not happy but not disappointed either. I knew that if i keep the momentum, I will surely get a better score next time. During all this time, I read the GMATCLUB FORUM for mostly motivating stories of people who had achieved the ultimate dream score of 700 or above. I set my second exam date for 12th Sept. I had a month and I had to keep my momentum. However, I had serious personal problems but I kept studying. I did exactly the same as last time, revised the Manhattan books and did the GMATPILL course the second time. My mind was not in it 100% as i had personal problems. I gave the test and scored 650 (Q45, V35). So i improved in verbal by three points but dropped in Math by 4 points. I knew after my math section that i had stuffed it up but I still wanted to do well in Verbal. What did i do wrong? I got stuck on a math problem (around the 10 question) - I said to myself during the math exam "I am an engineer and I can solve this". Stupid mistake. I think i spent like 7-8 minutes on that question and after that I was just trying to make up time and not really think about the question. Bad mistake and PLEASE REFRAIN from this. Timing is KEY and I learned it the hard way.

I had to take time off from GMAT as I needed to sort out my personal problems and yeah I had a full time job that I cant ignore too!!! It was now December and I sorted out my personal problem but another new issue started. I developed TINNITUS (continuous ringing in the ears) in September. I could hardly sleep (2-3hours max) but that didnt stop me from achieving my goals. This ear problem is not an easy thing to live with as its there 24/7. I knew my back was against the wall. I started studying again end December'13 and gave my self a month to study for the GMAT AGAIN!! At this stage, I told myself that this is the last time I will do the GMAT and that I need to start applying as deadlines were coming and going lol :) But I needed to do something different. I signed up for MAGOOSH online course. I did the same drill, I went through all the videos and re-taught myself again. I was more confident in Math and I knew i had to make a point to prove that Math is my strong point. I think this time, I paid more attention to Math than Verbal - again wrong move. I did my exam last week of Jan'14 and scored 660 (Q50,V30) in my third attempt. I was shattered :cry: I left the exam room in a hurry and I didnt want to return there the fourth time - really a fourth time and what guarantee do i have that the next time will be any different?!? My ears were like an echo chamber during the exam. Rather than focusing on the GMAT, I was holding my ears so that the noise wouldn't increase. But I was wrong - Stress makes it worse and I was just beginning to get used to this new way of buzzing life. I came home, talked to my family and friends. My parents told me that we are not quitters and you have what it takes to be among the best. Some friends told me that you should apply as i have a strong overall profile (work and recommendations). I told everyone that I needed a week to think and de-stress a little.

I told myself that in my three GMAT scores, I had achieved decent scores in Math and Verbal scores individually but never managed to nail both the sections at the same time. Why? Was it due to my personal problems? Was it lack of focus? Was it something else? I could not just figure it out. But I told myself during this week off, I had what it takes and I will keep trying or die trying. At the end of that week, i decided to do it the 4th and final time lol! I started sounding like a broken record. I told my self that I cant do the GMAT study alone. I needed more support. So I signed up to my next online course - the E-GMAT course :) Why? I will tell you that later. I started to study again but this time, I didnt set a date in advance. I gave myself time to get back in study mode and time to really drill down on my weak areas. I knew that I had to make a push in Verbal and maintain my Math score. Could I do it? Early Feb, I didnt believe it and why would I - I have done the GMAT thrice and didnt achieve my target score of 700 or above. Tinnitus was becoming worse but that didnt stop me. Nothing did. This time, I only focused only on studies and did it with a bloody mind. This time I ended up with 730 (Q50,V38). Wow i was relieved, happy and satisfied!

GMAT RESOURCES. Note: these are just my personal opinions and its perfectly ok to disagree with me!

1) Manhattan books - Have all the material you need. Helps to get basics strong. Better for Verbal than Math. Not interactive. Good for students who can study alone and who are native speakers. For non-native English speakers, these book are a good reference point but not useful if you struggle with basics and need support. I recommend joining a class or an online course. I used these books only in the first two attempts and occasionally referred to them for the last two attempts.

2) GMATPILL - Again. Good for native speakers than non-native speakers. More interactive. Good GMAT type question bank. Life long membership so I could use it many times! However, I struggled to grasp the concepts explained by Zeke. this is no reflection on him and his teaching methods. It didnt suit me.

3) MAGOOSH - Highly recommended for MATH concepts, and MATH and VERBAL question bank. This really helped me. I did the question bank twice over the course of the last two GMAT exams. No wonder I could increase my score to 50 and maintain it there.

4) E-GMAT - Highly recommended for non native speakers. According to me, their VERBAL section is the best online course i came across during my GMAT journey. Their teaching methods were simple, clear and logical. They have broken the concepts in short modules (with pre and post exam of each concept) that helps to grasp the VERBAL concepts easily. In addition, they have interative online sessions for each concept in VERBAL. Helpful to clear doubts from experts. The only downside for me was that my timezone didnt help. The live online classes started at 3 or 4 am my time and I couldnt sustan waking up that early as most of my day after that was mostly recovering. However, they do have recordings of their sessions, which i went through all of them - definitely helped! I would recommend this course for verbal but to make full ue of this course, I would advise that its best if you can attend the live online sessions.

GMAT TESTS - Definitely do as many as possible BUT do not just do an exam and NOT review it. Spend time after your mock test, understand your mistakes and where you need to improve - Math/Verbal concepts, timing, etc

1) GMAT PREP: Must do. But dont keep repeating the test as it will give you false sense of ability and skill level. Use the tests appropriately. I would recommend, one at the begining of your studies and one a week before the GMAT test - this will give you a week to fine tune your studies.

2) Manhattan: Highly recommended. These are the closest to the "real" GMAT exam. Math is more difficult but good pratice. Verbal is very close the real exam. These exams are harder so you can expect a lower score.

3) Kalpan: Good practice. However, i dont understand their scoring. I used to get many questions wrong but still ended up with reasonblly good scores. If you have run out of GMAT PREP and Manhattan, do these as you are testing yourself against a new question bank.

4) 800 score: I liked its format. The Math and Verbal sections are reasonable. I found them easier to Manhattan but a good comparison to GMAT. I used them because after three attempts I had no new tests remaining! But to their credit, their question bank was good and I would recommed this if you have finished GMAT PREP and Manhattan.

MY STRATEGIES and TIPS

1) Be Disciplined: You can be the smartest guy or gal around, but if you are not disciplined - YOU ARE LESS LIKELY to get a good score. I was disciplined throughout my studies, even with all my personal problems and buzzing ears (still buzzing as i write this post)

2) Have a limited social life: Believe me, this was really really hard for me. I thrive on interacting with people. So too switch myself off from everyone was hard. However i pushed myself and told my closest friends that I am not ignoring them. They supported me throughout and that helped. In the last year, I have not had a weekend where i didnt study. I played sport every week to keep myself physically active. Its important to keep playing sport regulary - dont stop but dont over do it. Every week, I played football and squash. Three hours in total. Kept me happy and kept me mentally fit.

3) Dont give up: If there is one thing I could tell a fellow GMATer, this would be it. You know you have it in you. Even if others dont belive in you, YOU should believe in yourself and your ability. Giving up is for quitters and I know you are not doing GMAT for a joy ride. So please keep studying and keep improving. You will see results.

4) Develop a schedule: I studies 2-3 hours on Weekdays after work. Mostly 1.5 hours before dinner and 1.5 hours after dinner. The only time I watched tele was during dinner. I did this for a very long time and I am glad I did it. It taught me a lot about myself. On weekends, I studied around 6-8 hours. The hours i studied everyday, i kept distractions to the minimum.

5) Do plenty mock tests: A month before the exam, I did a mock test every weekend. I had become a pro at this. I was very comfortable with the exam structure, timing and how to approach the exam. The only way you can master this is by giving as many mock tests as possible. It helps to control your nerves during the main exam.

6) Timing is KEY: You have to learn how to maintain pace in the exam. You cant afford to stay on a question for too long. I used this method and it helped me tremendously. Math: 55 mins left (start Question 11), 35 mins left (start Question 21) and 15 mins left (start question 31). Verbal: 56 mins left (start Question 11), 37 mins left (start Question 21) and 19 mins left (start question 31). I memorised this and it helped me keep pace during the exam.

7) Take each question at a time: Break down the GMAT into each question. Tell yourself, at this point in time - all i am interested is in getting this question right and if I dont understand the question after 1-1.5mins - Move on to the next question and dont worry about the past question. This was the biggest change for me in the last exam. I just focused on the question on the scree and didnt worry about what comes next. For all my previous attempts, I did the mistake to think about the next question - Please refrain from this if you have this habbit. I had to teach myself not to do it.

8) Dont study the day before the exam: I did this for all exams. It helped me to calm me before the exam. In fact before my forth attempt, I went swimming and did Sauna. I had such a good sleep before the exam - something i have strggled with since last Sept as i have tinnitus. Took half a sleeping tablet to ensure i sleep well too lol :)

9) GMATCLUB: I did the daily questions everyday. I only started doing this religiously after my third attempt. Something i regret not doing earlier as I think it would have helped me. I did these 8-9 questions first thing in the morning, before I started work mostly.

10) You cant achieve success without sacrifices. I sacrifised a lot and now i can sit back and tell myself that my effots paid off. Remember this - "THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOAL IS THE BULLSHIT STORY YOU KEEP TELLING YOURSELF AS TO WHY YOU CAN'T ACHIEVE IT".

Anways, I would like to thank

1) GMATCLUB - to keep me motivated throughout my GMAT journey. I learnt from other and I kept pushing myself. I wouldnt have achieved this score if this forum didnt exist. That's why I felt honoured to share my GMAT story.

2) Manhattan - for getting me started on GMAT and giving me a good foundation. Also, awesome mock tests!

3) E-GMAT - For taking my VERBAL concepts to the next level.

4) To anyone who feels inspired with my story. If i could do it, SO CAN YOU! If this can help one person achieve her or her GMAT goals, then I will be happy.

AND FINALLY, to my parents - I am blessed with parents who supported throughout my GMAT journey. Only if i could ever thank them for what they have sacrificed for me. So to them, I am honoured to be your son. Thank you so very much for everything :)

PS: I might have concuqred the GMAT battle, but GMAT was just the first hurdle....now its application time and i must put in the same effort to get into a good business school - afterall thats our aim right?

My Dad's daily motivational quote - "Woods are lonely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep"

Thanks and best of luck

A Proud Kiwi Indian!
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2014, 14:14
Congratulation on a GREAT score! :P Thank you for sharing your GMAT journey.

How many GMAT Club Tests did you do?
Intern
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Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 16
Concentration: International Business, Entrepreneurship
Schools: INSEAD Jan '16
GMAT 1: 660 Q49 V32
GMAT 2: 650 Q45 V35
GMAT 3: 660 Q50 V30
GMAT 4: 730 Q50 V38
GPA: 3.54
WE: Business Development (Non-Profit and Government)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 51 [0], given: 9

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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2014, 16:57
Thanks.

I didnt do the GMAT Club Tests. The others were sufficient and were good.
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2014, 08:09
This post deserves kudos. Thanks for taking the pains to write about your experience buddy. Good luck
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2014, 08:56
pkum036 wrote:
Hi GMATers!

Today I would like to share my story. Why? - Because before today I was in your side of the fence - Studying everyday, trying to make a few gains in math and verbal and at the same time do a demanding full time job. So i know how you are feeling and what you must be going through. HANG IN THERE, DONT GIVE UP and KEEP PERSEVERING till the time you are satisfied with your performance.

FOR THOSE WHO JUST ARE JUST INTERESTED TO READ ABOUT WHAT RESOURCES I USED AND WHAT WORKED, AND TIPS I WOULD RECOMMEND - SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM. THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE HARDWORK AND DISCIPLINE IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO - THEN READ THE ENTIRE POST AS IT WILL GIVE YOU A SENSE OF WHAT EVERY GMATer GOES THROUGH.

GMAT is not an easy journey if your not a genius at birth :-D I am certainly not one, in fact i am just an above average student with ambition and desire to do well in my life. I set upon the MBA journey three years back when my Dad told me that you MUST do your MBA to get ahead in life. Yes he is a typical Indian father who wants to keep pushing his son. At that stage, I shrugged him off and told him that I am already working for a top management consulting firm and I dont need to do an MBA. But, Indian parents being parents kept pushing me so I caved in and said "OK dad I will study for it". However, I wasn't really interested to do it but I downloaded the GMAT PREP software and gave a mock test. In my first attempt, I scored only 590 and asked myself "Is this the best I can do?". So I did the same exam the second time, still not interested, and got 570!!!! So I uninstalled the software, took my scores as proof and told my father that I don't need an MBA as I am earning enough money and I am happy with my job. However, I hate to admit it but I was terribly wrong and my dad was right. I only got to this realisation last year.

My mindset changed in May'13 - rather than being pushed into doing an MBA, I wanted too. Why? Because I realised that after completing a BE and 4 years of management consulting and international business work experience, I need to reinvent myself. I knew that the longer i continued doing the same, I wont get ahead of the game. I needed something different. An MBA perhaps? I started researching on-line and saw the value in the doing an MBA. I finally had the desire to do the GMAT and apply to business schools. So I downloaded the software again and this time i sat the mock GMAT PREP exam with much interest. I knew I would score better and I did, but marginally. I got 600. Disappointed as I thought I was smarter than this but hey this was just the start.

So I got all the practice material that I could afford. I bought the Manhattan GMAT books from a friend who sat his GMAT and scored 700 in his second attempted. I was motivated and had the desire to do well. As i started studying for the GMAT, my mind started wandering and after a month, I hardly opened the text books. Not that the Manhattan books were not good, but I lacked DISCIPLINE. Yes I admit it, the desire started fading away. Also, living in New Zealand, where there are no GMAT courses to attend, I had to study in complete solitude - no one to keep me motivated and no one ask questions when I had a doubt. For me, that was the hardest part as for GMAT you need that motivation and a GMAT community to support your highs and lows. Thats when I stumbled upon the GMATCLUB FORUM. Also I signed up for GMATPILL as I thought maybe an online course will help me sustain that motivation and its best to learn from the best.

So mid June'13, I set a target and registered for my first GMAT exam on 7th August'13. I had 6 weeks to prepare and I religiously read through all the Manhattan books and the GMATPILL online course. I worked hard, revised all formulas, grammar rules and the whole 9 yards! On the day of the exam I was nervous and that showed in my test score - I scored 660 (Q49, V32). I was not happy but not disappointed either. I knew that if i keep the momentum, I will surely get a better score next time. During all this time, I read the GMATCLUB FORUM for mostly motivating stories of people who had achieved the ultimate dream score of 700 or above. I set my second exam date for 12th Sept. I had a month and I had to keep my momentum. However, I had serious personal problems but I kept studying. I did exactly the same as last time, revised the Manhattan books and did the GMATPILL course the second time. My mind was not in it 100% as i had personal problems. I gave the test and scored 650 (Q45, V35). So i improved in verbal by three points but dropped in Math by 4 points. I knew after my math section that i had stuffed it up but I still wanted to do well in Verbal. What did i do wrong? I got stuck on a math problem (around the 10 question) - I said to myself during the math exam "I am an engineer and I can solve this". Stupid mistake. I think i spent like 7-8 minutes on that question and after that I was just trying to make up time and not really think about the question. Bad mistake and PLEASE REFRAIN from this. Timing is KEY and I learned it the hard way.

I had to take time off from GMAT as I needed to sort out my personal problems and yeah I had a full time job that I cant ignore too!!! It was now December and I sorted out my personal problem but another new issue started. I developed TINNITUS (continuous ringing in the ears) in September. I could hardly sleep (2-3hours max) but that didnt stop me from achieving my goals. This ear problem is not an easy thing to live with as its there 24/7. I knew my back was against the wall. I started studying again end December'13 and gave my self a month to study for the GMAT AGAIN!! At this stage, I told myself that this is the last time I will do the GMAT and that I need to start applying as deadlines were coming and going lol :) But I needed to do something different. I signed up for MAGOOSH online course. I did the same drill, I went through all the videos and re-taught myself again. I was more confident in Math and I knew i had to make a point to prove that Math is my strong point. I think this time, I paid more attention to Math than Verbal - again wrong move. I did my exam last week of Jan'14 and scored 660 (Q50,V30) in my third attempt. I was shattered :cry: I left the exam room in a hurry and I didnt want to return there the fourth time - really a fourth time and what guarantee do i have that the next time will be any different?!? My ears were like an echo chamber during the exam. Rather than focusing on the GMAT, I was holding my ears so that the noise wouldn't increase. But I was wrong - Stress makes it worse and I was just beginning to get used to this new way of buzzing life. I came home, talked to my family and friends. My parents told me that we are not quitters and you have what it takes to be among the best. Some friends told me that you should apply as i have a strong overall profile (work and recommendations). I told everyone that I needed a week to think and de-stress a little.

I told myself that in my three GMAT scores, I had achieved decent scores in Math and Verbal scores individually but never managed to nail both the sections at the same time. Why? Was it due to my personal problems? Was it lack of focus? Was it something else? I could not just figure it out. But I told myself during this week off, I had what it takes and I will keep trying or die trying. At the end of that week, i decided to do it the 4th and final time lol! I started sounding like a broken record. I told my self that I cant do the GMAT study alone. I needed more support. So I signed up to my next online course - the E-GMAT course :) Why? I will tell you that later. I started to study again but this time, I didnt set a date in advance. I gave myself time to get back in study mode and time to really drill down on my weak areas. I knew that I had to make a push in Verbal and maintain my Math score. Could I do it? Early Feb, I didnt believe it and why would I - I have done the GMAT thrice and didnt achieve my target score of 700 or above. Tinnitus was becoming worse but that didnt stop me. Nothing did. This time, I only focused only on studies and did it with a bloody mind. This time I ended up with 730 (Q50,V38). Wow i was relieved, happy and satisfied!

GMAT RESOURCES. Note: these are just my personal opinions and its perfectly ok to disagree with me!

1) Manhattan books - Have all the material you need. Helps to get basics strong. Better for Verbal than Math. Not interactive. Good for students who can study alone and who are native speakers. For non-native English speakers, these book are a good reference point but not useful if you struggle with basics and need support. I recommend joining a class or an online course. I used these books only in the first two attempts and occasionally referred to them for the last two attempts.

2) GMATPILL - Again. Good for native speakers than non-native speakers. More interactive. Good GMAT type question bank. Life long membership so I could use it many times! However, I struggled to grasp the concepts explained by Zeke. this is no reflection on him and his teaching methods. It didnt suit me.

3) MAGOOSH - Highly recommended for MATH concepts, and MATH and VERBAL question bank. This really helped me. I did the question bank twice over the course of the last two GMAT exams. No wonder I could increase my score to 50 and maintain it there.

4) E-GMAT - Highly recommended for non native speakers. According to me, their VERBAL section is the best online course i came across during my GMAT journey. Their teaching methods were simple, clear and logical. They have broken the concepts in short modules (with pre and post exam of each concept) that helps to grasp the VERBAL concepts easily. In addition, they have interative online sessions for each concept in VERBAL. Helpful to clear doubts from experts. The only downside for me was that my timezone didnt help. The live online classes started at 3 or 4 am my time and I couldnt sustan waking up that early as most of my day after that was mostly recovering. However, they do have recordings of their sessions, which i went through all of them - definitely helped! I would recommend this course for verbal but to make full ue of this course, I would advise that its best if you can attend the live online sessions.

GMAT TESTS - Definitely do as many as possible BUT do not just do an exam and NOT review it. Spend time after your mock test, understand your mistakes and where you need to improve - Math/Verbal concepts, timing, etc

1) GMAT PREP: Must do. But dont keep repeating the test as it will give you false sense of ability and skill level. Use the tests appropriately. I would recommend, one at the begining of your studies and one a week before the GMAT test - this will give you a week to fine tune your studies.

2) Manhattan: Highly recommended. These are the closest to the "real" GMAT exam. Math is more difficult but good pratice. Verbal is very close the real exam. These exams are harder so you can expect a lower score.

3) Kalpan: Good practice. However, i dont understand their scoring. I used to get many questions wrong but still ended up with reasonblly good scores. If you have run out of GMAT PREP and Manhattan, do these as you are testing yourself against a new question bank.

4) 800 score: I liked its format. The Math and Verbal sections are reasonable. I found them easier to Manhattan but a good comparison to GMAT. I used them because after three attempts I had no new tests remaining! But to their credit, their question bank was good and I would recommed this if you have finished GMAT PREP and Manhattan.

MY STRATEGIES and TIPS

1) Be Disciplined: You can be the smartest guy or gal around, but if you are not disciplined - YOU ARE LESS LIKELY to get a good score. I was disciplined throughout my studies, even with all my personal problems and buzzing ears (still buzzing as i write this post)

2) Have a limited social life: Believe me, this was really really hard for me. I thrive on interacting with people. So too switch myself off from everyone was hard. However i pushed myself and told my closest friends that I am not ignoring them. They supported me throughout and that helped. In the last year, I have not had a weekend where i didnt study. I played sport every week to keep myself physically active. Its important to keep playing sport regulary - dont stop but dont over do it. Every week, I played football and squash. Three hours in total. Kept me happy and kept me mentally fit.

3) Dont give up: If there is one thing I could tell a fellow GMATer, this would be it. You know you have it in you. Even if others dont belive in you, YOU should believe in yourself and your ability. Giving up is for quitters and I know you are not doing GMAT for a joy ride. So please keep studying and keep improving. You will see results.

4) Develop a schedule: I studies 2-3 hours on Weekdays after work. Mostly 1.5 hours before dinner and 1.5 hours after dinner. The only time I watched tele was during dinner. I did this for a very long time and I am glad I did it. It taught me a lot about myself. On weekends, I studied around 6-8 hours. The hours i studied everyday, i kept distractions to the minimum.

5) Do plenty mock tests: A month before the exam, I did a mock test every weekend. I had become a pro at this. I was very comfortable with the exam structure, timing and how to approach the exam. The only way you can master this is by giving as many mock tests as possible. It helps to control your nerves during the main exam.

6) Timing is KEY: You have to learn how to maintain pace in the exam. You cant afford to stay on a question for too long. I used this method and it helped me tremendously. Math: 55 mins left (start Question 11), 35 mins left (start Question 21) and 15 mins left (start question 31). Verbal: 56 mins left (start Question 11), 37 mins left (start Question 21) and 19 mins left (start question 31). I memorised this and it helped me keep pace during the exam.

7) Take each question at a time: Break down the GMAT into each question. Tell yourself, at this point in time - all i am interested is in getting this question right and if I dont understand the question after 1-1.5mins - Move on to the next question and dont worry about the past question. This was the biggest change for me in the last exam. I just focused on the question on the scree and didnt worry about what comes next. For all my previous attempts, I did the mistake to think about the next question - Please refrain from this if you have this habbit. I had to teach myself not to do it.

8) Dont study the day before the exam: I did this for all exams. It helped me to calm me before the exam. In fact before my forth attempt, I went swimming and did Sauna. I had such a good sleep before the exam - something i have strggled with since last Sept as i have tinnitus. Took half a sleeping tablet to ensure i sleep well too lol :)

9) GMATCLUB: I did the daily questions everyday. I only started doing this religiously after my third attempt. Something i regret not doing earlier as I think it would have helped me. I did these 8-9 questions first thing in the morning, before I started work mostly.

10) You cant achieve success without sacrifices. I sacrifised a lot and now i can sit back and tell myself that my effots paid off. Remember this - "THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOAL IS THE BULLSHIT STORY YOU KEEP TELLING YOURSELF AS TO WHY YOU CAN'T ACHIEVE IT".

Anways, I would like to thank

1) GMATCLUB - to keep me motivated throughout my GMAT journey. I learnt from other and I kept pushing myself. I wouldnt have achieved this score if this forum didnt exist. That's why I felt honoured to share my GMAT story.

2) Manhattan - for getting me started on GMAT and giving me a good foundation. Also, awesome mock tests!

3) E-GMAT - For taking my VERBAL concepts to the next level.

4) To anyone who feels inspired with my story. If i could do it, SO CAN YOU! If this can help one person achieve her or her GMAT goals, then I will be happy.

AND FINALLY, to my parents - I am blessed with parents who supported throughout my GMAT journey. Only if i could ever thank them for what they have sacrificed for me. So to them, I am honoured to be your son. Thank you so very much for everything :)

PS: I might have concuqred the GMAT battle, but GMAT was just the first hurdle....now its application time and i must put in the same effort to get into a good business school - afterall thats our aim right?

My Dad's daily motivational quote - "Woods are lonely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep"

Thanks and best of luck

A Proud Kiwi Indian!
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2014, 13:14
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Great quote at the end...I just recently scored a 700 (49Q 36V) and I've been debating a retake. I spent about 3 months of diligent studying (2hrs a night and 4-6 hrs on Saturday and Sunday) and its something I don't want to do again, but I feel as though I can score higher. I ran out of time on the Verbal section, something I hadn't done during any of my practice test. I wasn't decisive on a couple questions and it cost me. This post motivates me to start the journey again.
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2014, 17:10
Great work!! Very motivating..
Good luck with your applications..

pkum036 wrote:
Hi GMATers!

Today I would like to share my story. Why? - Because before today I was in your side of the fence - Studying everyday, trying to make a few gains in math and verbal and at the same time do a demanding full time job. So i know how you are feeling and what you must be going through. HANG IN THERE, DONT GIVE UP and KEEP PERSEVERING till the time you are satisfied with your performance.

FOR THOSE WHO JUST ARE JUST INTERESTED TO READ ABOUT WHAT RESOURCES I USED AND WHAT WORKED, AND TIPS I WOULD RECOMMEND - SCROLL DOWN TO BOTTOM. THOSE WHO WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE HARDWORK AND DISCIPLINE IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO - THEN READ THE ENTIRE POST AS IT WILL GIVE YOU A SENSE OF WHAT EVERY GMATer GOES THROUGH.

GMAT is not an easy journey if your not a genius at birth :-D I am certainly not one, in fact i am just an above average student with ambition and desire to do well in my life. I set upon the MBA journey three years back when my Dad told me that you MUST do your MBA to get ahead in life. Yes he is a typical Indian father who wants to keep pushing his son. At that stage, I shrugged him off and told him that I am already working for a top management consulting firm and I dont need to do an MBA. But, Indian parents being parents kept pushing me so I caved in and said "OK dad I will study for it". However, I wasn't really interested to do it but I downloaded the GMAT PREP software and gave a mock test. In my first attempt, I scored only 590 and asked myself "Is this the best I can do?". So I did the same exam the second time, still not interested, and got 570!!!! So I uninstalled the software, took my scores as proof and told my father that I don't need an MBA as I am earning enough money and I am happy with my job. However, I hate to admit it but I was terribly wrong and my dad was right. I only got to this realisation last year.

My mindset changed in May'13 - rather than being pushed into doing an MBA, I wanted too. Why? Because I realised that after completing a BE and 4 years of management consulting and international business work experience, I need to reinvent myself. I knew that the longer i continued doing the same, I wont get ahead of the game. I needed something different. An MBA perhaps? I started researching on-line and saw the value in the doing an MBA. I finally had the desire to do the GMAT and apply to business schools. So I downloaded the software again and this time i sat the mock GMAT PREP exam with much interest. I knew I would score better and I did, but marginally. I got 600. Disappointed as I thought I was smarter than this but hey this was just the start.

So I got all the practice material that I could afford. I bought the Manhattan GMAT books from a friend who sat his GMAT and scored 700 in his second attempted. I was motivated and had the desire to do well. As i started studying for the GMAT, my mind started wandering and after a month, I hardly opened the text books. Not that the Manhattan books were not good, but I lacked DISCIPLINE. Yes I admit it, the desire started fading away. Also, living in New Zealand, where there are no GMAT courses to attend, I had to study in complete solitude - no one to keep me motivated and no one ask questions when I had a doubt. For me, that was the hardest part as for GMAT you need that motivation and a GMAT community to support your highs and lows. Thats when I stumbled upon the GMATCLUB FORUM. Also I signed up for GMATPILL as I thought maybe an online course will help me sustain that motivation and its best to learn from the best.

So mid June'13, I set a target and registered for my first GMAT exam on 7th August'13. I had 6 weeks to prepare and I religiously read through all the Manhattan books and the GMATPILL online course. I worked hard, revised all formulas, grammar rules and the whole 9 yards! On the day of the exam I was nervous and that showed in my test score - I scored 660 (Q49, V32). I was not happy but not disappointed either. I knew that if i keep the momentum, I will surely get a better score next time. During all this time, I read the GMATCLUB FORUM for mostly motivating stories of people who had achieved the ultimate dream score of 700 or above. I set my second exam date for 12th Sept. I had a month and I had to keep my momentum. However, I had serious personal problems but I kept studying. I did exactly the same as last time, revised the Manhattan books and did the GMATPILL course the second time. My mind was not in it 100% as i had personal problems. I gave the test and scored 650 (Q45, V35). So i improved in verbal by three points but dropped in Math by 4 points. I knew after my math section that i had stuffed it up but I still wanted to do well in Verbal. What did i do wrong? I got stuck on a math problem (around the 10 question) - I said to myself during the math exam "I am an engineer and I can solve this". Stupid mistake. I think i spent like 7-8 minutes on that question and after that I was just trying to make up time and not really think about the question. Bad mistake and PLEASE REFRAIN from this. Timing is KEY and I learned it the hard way.

I had to take time off from GMAT as I needed to sort out my personal problems and yeah I had a full time job that I cant ignore too!!! It was now December and I sorted out my personal problem but another new issue started. I developed TINNITUS (continuous ringing in the ears) in September. I could hardly sleep (2-3hours max) but that didnt stop me from achieving my goals. This ear problem is not an easy thing to live with as its there 24/7. I knew my back was against the wall. I started studying again end December'13 and gave my self a month to study for the GMAT AGAIN!! At this stage, I told myself that this is the last time I will do the GMAT and that I need to start applying as deadlines were coming and going lol :) But I needed to do something different. I signed up for MAGOOSH online course. I did the same drill, I went through all the videos and re-taught myself again. I was more confident in Math and I knew i had to make a point to prove that Math is my strong point. I think this time, I paid more attention to Math than Verbal - again wrong move. I did my exam last week of Jan'14 and scored 660 (Q50,V30) in my third attempt. I was shattered :cry: I left the exam room in a hurry and I didnt want to return there the fourth time - really a fourth time and what guarantee do i have that the next time will be any different?!? My ears were like an echo chamber during the exam. Rather than focusing on the GMAT, I was holding my ears so that the noise wouldn't increase. But I was wrong - Stress makes it worse and I was just beginning to get used to this new way of buzzing life. I came home, talked to my family and friends. My parents told me that we are not quitters and you have what it takes to be among the best. Some friends told me that you should apply as i have a strong overall profile (work and recommendations). I told everyone that I needed a week to think and de-stress a little.

I told myself that in my three GMAT scores, I had achieved decent scores in Math and Verbal scores individually but never managed to nail both the sections at the same time. Why? Was it due to my personal problems? Was it lack of focus? Was it something else? I could not just figure it out. But I told myself during this week off, I had what it takes and I will keep trying or die trying. At the end of that week, i decided to do it the 4th and final time lol! I started sounding like a broken record. I told my self that I cant do the GMAT study alone. I needed more support. So I signed up to my next online course - the E-GMAT course :) Why? I will tell you that later. I started to study again but this time, I didnt set a date in advance. I gave myself time to get back in study mode and time to really drill down on my weak areas. I knew that I had to make a push in Verbal and maintain my Math score. Could I do it? Early Feb, I didnt believe it and why would I - I have done the GMAT thrice and didnt achieve my target score of 700 or above. Tinnitus was becoming worse but that didnt stop me. Nothing did. This time, I only focused only on studies and did it with a bloody mind. This time I ended up with 730 (Q50,V38). Wow i was relieved, happy and satisfied!

GMAT RESOURCES. Note: these are just my personal opinions and its perfectly ok to disagree with me!

1) Manhattan books - Have all the material you need. Helps to get basics strong. Better for Verbal than Math. Not interactive. Good for students who can study alone and who are native speakers. For non-native English speakers, these book are a good reference point but not useful if you struggle with basics and need support. I recommend joining a class or an online course. I used these books only in the first two attempts and occasionally referred to them for the last two attempts.

2) GMATPILL - Again. Good for native speakers than non-native speakers. More interactive. Good GMAT type question bank. Life long membership so I could use it many times! However, I struggled to grasp the concepts explained by Zeke. this is no reflection on him and his teaching methods. It didnt suit me.

3) MAGOOSH - Highly recommended for MATH concepts, and MATH and VERBAL question bank. This really helped me. I did the question bank twice over the course of the last two GMAT exams. No wonder I could increase my score to 50 and maintain it there.

4) E-GMAT - Highly recommended for non native speakers. According to me, their VERBAL section is the best online course i came across during my GMAT journey. Their teaching methods were simple, clear and logical. They have broken the concepts in short modules (with pre and post exam of each concept) that helps to grasp the VERBAL concepts easily. In addition, they have interative online sessions for each concept in VERBAL. Helpful to clear doubts from experts. The only downside for me was that my timezone didnt help. The live online classes started at 3 or 4 am my time and I couldnt sustan waking up that early as most of my day after that was mostly recovering. However, they do have recordings of their sessions, which i went through all of them - definitely helped! I would recommend this course for verbal but to make full ue of this course, I would advise that its best if you can attend the live online sessions.

GMAT TESTS - Definitely do as many as possible BUT do not just do an exam and NOT review it. Spend time after your mock test, understand your mistakes and where you need to improve - Math/Verbal concepts, timing, etc

1) GMAT PREP: Must do. But dont keep repeating the test as it will give you false sense of ability and skill level. Use the tests appropriately. I would recommend, one at the begining of your studies and one a week before the GMAT test - this will give you a week to fine tune your studies.

2) Manhattan: Highly recommended. These are the closest to the "real" GMAT exam. Math is more difficult but good pratice. Verbal is very close the real exam. These exams are harder so you can expect a lower score.

3) Kalpan: Good practice. However, i dont understand their scoring. I used to get many questions wrong but still ended up with reasonblly good scores. If you have run out of GMAT PREP and Manhattan, do these as you are testing yourself against a new question bank.

4) 800 score: I liked its format. The Math and Verbal sections are reasonable. I found them easier to Manhattan but a good comparison to GMAT. I used them because after three attempts I had no new tests remaining! But to their credit, their question bank was good and I would recommed this if you have finished GMAT PREP and Manhattan.

MY STRATEGIES and TIPS

1) Be Disciplined: You can be the smartest guy or gal around, but if you are not disciplined - YOU ARE LESS LIKELY to get a good score. I was disciplined throughout my studies, even with all my personal problems and buzzing ears (still buzzing as i write this post)

2) Have a limited social life: Believe me, this was really really hard for me. I thrive on interacting with people. So too switch myself off from everyone was hard. However i pushed myself and told my closest friends that I am not ignoring them. They supported me throughout and that helped. In the last year, I have not had a weekend where i didnt study. I played sport every week to keep myself physically active. Its important to keep playing sport regulary - dont stop but dont over do it. Every week, I played football and squash. Three hours in total. Kept me happy and kept me mentally fit.

3) Dont give up: If there is one thing I could tell a fellow GMATer, this would be it. You know you have it in you. Even if others dont belive in you, YOU should believe in yourself and your ability. Giving up is for quitters and I know you are not doing GMAT for a joy ride. So please keep studying and keep improving. You will see results.

4) Develop a schedule: I studies 2-3 hours on Weekdays after work. Mostly 1.5 hours before dinner and 1.5 hours after dinner. The only time I watched tele was during dinner. I did this for a very long time and I am glad I did it. It taught me a lot about myself. On weekends, I studied around 6-8 hours. The hours i studied everyday, i kept distractions to the minimum.

5) Do plenty mock tests: A month before the exam, I did a mock test every weekend. I had become a pro at this. I was very comfortable with the exam structure, timing and how to approach the exam. The only way you can master this is by giving as many mock tests as possible. It helps to control your nerves during the main exam.

6) Timing is KEY: You have to learn how to maintain pace in the exam. You cant afford to stay on a question for too long. I used this method and it helped me tremendously. Math: 55 mins left (start Question 11), 35 mins left (start Question 21) and 15 mins left (start question 31). Verbal: 56 mins left (start Question 11), 37 mins left (start Question 21) and 19 mins left (start question 31). I memorised this and it helped me keep pace during the exam.

7) Take each question at a time: Break down the GMAT into each question. Tell yourself, at this point in time - all i am interested is in getting this question right and if I dont understand the question after 1-1.5mins - Move on to the next question and dont worry about the past question. This was the biggest change for me in the last exam. I just focused on the question on the scree and didnt worry about what comes next. For all my previous attempts, I did the mistake to think about the next question - Please refrain from this if you have this habbit. I had to teach myself not to do it.

8) Dont study the day before the exam: I did this for all exams. It helped me to calm me before the exam. In fact before my forth attempt, I went swimming and did Sauna. I had such a good sleep before the exam - something i have strggled with since last Sept as i have tinnitus. Took half a sleeping tablet to ensure i sleep well too lol :)

9) GMATCLUB: I did the daily questions everyday. I only started doing this religiously after my third attempt. Something i regret not doing earlier as I think it would have helped me. I did these 8-9 questions first thing in the morning, before I started work mostly.

10) You cant achieve success without sacrifices. I sacrifised a lot and now i can sit back and tell myself that my effots paid off. Remember this - "THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOAL IS THE BULLSHIT STORY YOU KEEP TELLING YOURSELF AS TO WHY YOU CAN'T ACHIEVE IT".

Anways, I would like to thank

1) GMATCLUB - to keep me motivated throughout my GMAT journey. I learnt from other and I kept pushing myself. I wouldnt have achieved this score if this forum didnt exist. That's why I felt honoured to share my GMAT story.

2) Manhattan - for getting me started on GMAT and giving me a good foundation. Also, awesome mock tests!

3) E-GMAT - For taking my VERBAL concepts to the next level.

4) To anyone who feels inspired with my story. If i could do it, SO CAN YOU! If this can help one person achieve her or her GMAT goals, then I will be happy.

AND FINALLY, to my parents - I am blessed with parents who supported throughout my GMAT journey. Only if i could ever thank them for what they have sacrificed for me. So to them, I am honoured to be your son. Thank you so very much for everything :)

PS: I might have concuqred the GMAT battle, but GMAT was just the first hurdle....now its application time and i must put in the same effort to get into a good business school - afterall thats our aim right?

My Dad's daily motivational quote - "Woods are lonely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep"

Thanks and best of luck

A Proud Kiwi Indian!
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 24 Apr 2014, 22:20
great and very motivating pal
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 00:34
How did you score for AWA?
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 03:27
pretzel wrote:
How did you score for AWA?


i got 6/6 on AWA so I am happy with that too :)
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 03:28
shruti1992 wrote:
great and very motivating pal


thanks :)
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 03:31
usmabama wrote:
Great quote at the end...I just recently scored a 700 (49Q 36V) and I've been debating a retake. I spent about 3 months of diligent studying (2hrs a night and 4-6 hrs on Saturday and Sunday) and its something I don't want to do again, but I feel as though I can score higher. I ran out of time on the Verbal section, something I hadn't done during any of my practice test. I wasn't decisive on a couple questions and it cost me. This post motivates me to start the journey again.


thanks. I think it comes to down where you want to apply. 700 is also a very good score and i am sure it is good enough to apply to top B schools. So if you have a plan and think that your score is not sufficient to achieve your goals, then go for it otherwise i believe your score is sufficient. But you are the best judge for this :)
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 03:32
shruti1992 wrote:
great and very motivating pal


thanks Shurti :)
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 05:13
pkum036 wrote:
pretzel wrote:
How did you score for AWA?


i got 6/6 on AWA so I am happy with that too :)



Wow how did you do that? Can you give us some tips?
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 08:28
Congratulations !!!!!

Hats off to you!!!!!!

I am on the same boat

Thanks for your motivating story!!

Last edited by karant on 25 Apr 2014, 08:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 08:28
So motivating!Thanks :)
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 15:31
I've been lacked of discipline to study so far :( It's difficult to stay 2-3 hours a day to study because I'm already exhausted from my full time job. Every weekday I'm like open the books then sleep on it, weekends are full of nonsense work pop out of nowhere. 2 weeks until my exam and I'm not feeling any better after studying for more than 2 months. I was panicked, but after reading your debrief, I'm feeling much better. I still have time, 2 weeks or even 2 months, 'd better try harder!
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2014, 17:16
thank you for sharing your story. congratulations on a great score!
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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 26 Apr 2014, 11:44
your hard works are really paid off....

Congratulations!!
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kudos me if you like my post.

Attitude determine everything.
all the best and God bless you.

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Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38) [#permalink] New post 28 Apr 2014, 02:57
mhngo wrote:
I've been lacked of discipline to study so far :( It's difficult to stay 2-3 hours a day to study because I'm already exhausted from my full time job. Every weekday I'm like open the books then sleep on it, weekends are full of nonsense work pop out of nowhere. 2 weeks until my exam and I'm not feeling any better after studying for more than 2 months. I was panicked, but after reading your debrief, I'm feeling much better. I still have time, 2 weeks or even 2 months, 'd better try harder!


dont give up mate. Just keep at it. But you have to learn how to manage work and GMAT. I worked really hard during the day but when it was time to study, I put everything away. I recommend you do the same. Soon this will become a habit. I used to break down my study - Come home around 6:30pm and either exercise or freshen up. then sit for 1 or 1.5 hours to study (mostly focused on verbal). Dinner for an hour. Then back to study for 1-1.5 hours (focus on math as i was much more tired so math was easier and refreshing). Sometimes, if i felt tired and my Tinnitus was loud, I stopped, relaxed for a longer duration and then came back to study. I normally slept around midnight every night....hope this helps
Re: Never say Never - GMAT 4th attempt - 730(Q50,V38)   [#permalink] 28 Apr 2014, 02:57
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