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One hell of a ride: 640 to 730

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One hell of a ride: 640 to 730 [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2012, 10:46
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From the time I've joined this forum I've been itching to write here. My desire,however, was completely shattered after my first tryst with GMAT. I did not want to share an unpleasant experience afterall I could only manage 640!

As luck would have it, I'm writing this today with immense satisfaction and relief. This post is not a pre-cursory guide of "How-TOs" or "Do's and Dont's" of GMAT preparation but more of an appreciation and a big thank you to this amazing forum and all the instructors out there who've helped me knowingly/unknowingly. I want to sincerely thank Ron, Stacey and all other instructors out there for their immense contribution to this forum.

Now for what happened during my GMAT attempts. I was, beyond any doubt, completely devastated with how I fared in my first attempt. Apart from one ManhattanGmat test I had never scored anything below 680s in any of mock exams, be it Kaplan, veritas, GmatPrep or ManhattanGmat itself. In my GmatPrep mocks I had scored 750 in both the exams! Although I knew those results were extrapolated but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine scoring what I scored on THE day. To date, I have been unable to fathom what really went wrong during my first attempt. Quant was fine and I sailed thru smoothly for most part of the section. For verbal, I thought I was nailing it and out-performing my own expectations. In retrospect, I think that's where it all began to go haywire. Complicence would have set in as I did not cautiously check my progress; end result: I landed with Q48 V30!

This performance took a huge huge toll on my self confidence. I just wasn't able to pull myself up from wracks for weeks altogether. But finally when I decided to start studying again, I realised that the only representative mock test that resembled my GMAT score was actually the last ManhattanGmat mock test I took 2-3 days before my exam. I bought their series of 6 tests and decided to work harder on my verbal with an attempt to keep Quant steady. I started working with Kaplan 800 series for theirs, I think, has the most challenging verbal content that I have come across. As I progressed, I figured out that I get a very high percentage of incorrect answers in RC. RC immediately took over my attention and I started to follow what all the instructors have emphasised from time to time: writting briefs about each and every paragraph as you read through a passage. That served a couple of purposes: 1) I started to understand the overall picture of a passage much better and 2) Because I was writting down important details I was able to remember the facts and details in the passage more accurately and able to decipher the implied meaning with a greater precision than before.

But as I moved forth, my Quant took a real beating. I was unable to finish my mock sections on time and with dipping quant scores and no remarkable climb in verbal scores, things started to look really really gloomy. Then I came across these wonderful Gmat Club tests. The quant tests, albeit a lot more tougher than actual GMAT, really helped me to think critically and re-focus my energies on quant. But still I was struggling to finish my sections on time. During this time my mock test scores were:

ManhattanGmat CAT4: 580
ManhattanGmat CAT5: 580 (Primarily because I was unable to complete my sections in time)

I tried to balance out verbal and quant from there on in and it was a matter of regaining my lost self confidence. I finished Gmat Club test series and by the end of it I knew the real demons lie in my longetivity, i.e. my powers to concentrate over a period of 3.5 hrs. Perhaps I was not choosing my battles wisely. Out of myth or whatever reasons, I was going hell bent on making sure that I get most of my initial 15 questions correct and in the quest loosing out on a lot of time. I reverted to my strategy that had served well (at least in finishing sections on time) during my first GMAT attempt:

- Trying to finish first 8 questions in first 15 mins ('coz we usually start out at 550 level questions and then go up)
- Trying to finish 18-20 questions with close to 40 mins remaining.

(Please note, this was how I individually tried to tackle my sections' timings and not an advisory)

With this shift in focus and all the background of restudying and mock tests etc. my last 3 mock scores were:

Veritas CAT - 670
ManhattanGmat CAT6 - 730
GmatPrep I - 730

Again, my GMAT score resembles what I got in my final ManhattanGmat CAT, so kudos to them:).As a closing note, I really urge all the guys out there that there can be lots of times where you'll be pushed against the wall but try and stick it out. For me, when I was down and staring down the barrel, one of Steve Job's famous quotes really stood out - "Sometimes, life will hit you with a brick in the head, don't loose faith".

Many thanks to this wonderful forum and all the people who make this tick:). Would be glad to give my two cents in case of any queries.

Last edited by prakhag on 12 Jan 2012, 19:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2012, 16:29
Congrats! for the good score and all the effort you put in.
Could you please elaborate on how you got your timing right and which mock tests you used for self assessment this time round? I have exhausted my Gmat prep and MGMT mocks and can't get over my timing problem (not completing the sections on time, last 7 questions in 5 mins)
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2012, 20:06
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Thanks dentobizz.

I mostly used gmat club tests as my practice material (since there're 25 quant and 6 verbal tests available) and in between these tests, let's say after i'm done with 6-7 quant and 2 verbal tests and doing OK with score and timing, I used to gauge my collective performance by taking a ManhattanGmat test in an all test environment (because there're only 6 of these available).

Even if you've exhausted ur MGMAT mocks, you could still use our own timer and try and solve these tests in review mode. As I had mentioned, I tried to get the initial 7-8 questions correct as quickly as I could (maybe inside 15-16 mins) since tests start at 550 level and then adapt accordingly. This not only gave me cusion for harder level questions but also all required confidence that I can finish the section on time. Also, I would say choose your battles wisely. If you know that you've managed to string in quite a few correct answers together and running short on time then its OK to take a calculated guess on a seemingly difficult question and quickly move on. Personally I used to feel comfortable when I was done with atleast 20 questions with anywhere between 35-40 mins remaining. With calm head, you get ideas much faster buddy :)

Hope this helps. All the best for your preparation.
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 08 Jan 2012, 21:33
congrates..apart from MGMAT which material did you use?
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2012, 10:13
I used a variety of materials: starting from Kaplan, OG, MGMAT, CR and SC bible, 198 GMAT prep tough quant questions. For mock tests I used:

GMAT preps
MGMAT CATs
Kaplan CATs
Veritas Diagnostic test
Princeton Diagnostic test
GMAT club tests
Knewton Diagnostic test
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2012, 18:54
prakhag wrote:
Thanks dentobizz.

I mostly used gmat club tests as my practice material (since there're 25 quant and 6 verbal tests available) and in between these tests, let's say after i'm done with 6-7 quant and 2 verbal tests and doing OK with score and timing, I used to gauge my collective performance by taking a ManhattanGmat test in an all test environment (because there're only 6 of these available).

Even if you've exhausted ur MGMAT mocks, you could still use our own timer and try and solve these tests in review mode. As I had mentioned, I tried to get the initial 7-8 questions correct as quickly as I could (maybe inside 15-16 mins) since tests start at 550 level and then adapt accordingly. This not only gave me cusion for harder level questions but also all required confidence that I can finish the section on time. Also, I would say choose your battles wisely. If you know that you've managed to string in quite a few correct answers together and running short on time then its OK to take a calculated guess on a seemingly difficult question and quickly move on. Personally I used to feel comfortable when I was done with atleast 20 questions with anywhere between 35-40 mins remaining. With calm head, you get ideas much faster buddy :)

Hope this helps. All the best for your preparation.


Hi prakhag, I will try out the timing strategy you mentioned. Thanks for the input.
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2012, 16:57
Your post is amazing ...thanks for your post it will help me...
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Re: One hell of a ride [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2012, 19:42
vaishnavilaguduva wrote:
Your post is amazing ...thanks for your post it will help me...

Thanks vaishnavilaguduva. Glad it helped you in someway. All the best for your preparations.
Re: One hell of a ride   [#permalink] 12 Jan 2012, 19:42
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