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Please advice from where should I start now..

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Please advice from where should I start now.. [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2011, 12:22
Hi, I need your advice. I'm sorry but this post is going to be really long. I thank you in advance for your patience in reading it.

I took GMAT in June-2011 the first time and got a 620. ( Maths - 48, Verbal -27, AWA -4.5 )

I have 6 years of work experience ( 4.5 years in my previous job and close to 1.5 years in my current job ) in the IT field and my current designation is 'software engineer'. Though in my earlier organization I was a business information analyst as well as an application developer, in my current organization my designation is a software engineer. That really sucks....

My academics are pretty ok ( X -ICSE= 90.8, X11 - CBSE - 83.4, and BTech in Comp Science= 79 ).

Following is how I prepared.

Aug 2010 - I decided that I wanted to do an MBA from one of the top 20 B schools in the world. Took a diagnostic test that one of the coaching institutes in bangalore provided for free and scored a ( Maths 44 or so and Verbal 10 ). I had written the essays as well. The test literally gave me the worst headache I got in my life.

Sep 2010 - Joined the same coaching institute in bangalore ( the weekend batch ) and was quite regular and disciplined and did my homework regularly.

Oct 2010 - I realized my job 'kind of' needed my urgent attention or I would lose it. That's when I gave up on my GMAT preparation and started working towards corrective measures at work - concentration, dedication, and all..

Nov 2010 - I had lost touch with my preparation. Rescheduled my GMAT appointment to Feb 2011. I hactice hadn't taken any practice tests till this time.

Dec 2010 - Made a habit of reading the editorial column of 'The Times Of India' everyday and underline words that I didn't know. Checked the meaning later in the dictionary. kept a track of the time I took to read the 6-7 articles. Started doing one session of 'Word Power Made Easy' everyday. This is because my verbal score in the diagnostic
test was really very poor.

Jan 2011 - Feb 2011 - Did nothing. Stopped reading the newspaper and the books. Rescheduled my GMAT appointment to June 2011.

Feb 2011 - Apr 2011 - Nothing on the GMAT front.

May 2011 - June 2011 - Slogged to complete the official guide 12 and the coaching institute's book in one month along with the online material. Was able to do it. But could not take the prep tests.

Following are the scores of the prep tests I took before writing my GMAT exam.

Test 1 - The diagnostic test - Did not take it again.
Test 2 - Just took the maths section and scored 48 and I had close to 3 minutes left. Left verbal incomplete.
Test 3 - June 4th 2011 - Took complete test with AWA section as well - Maths 44, Verbal 31 - 610 - Essay 5
Test 4 - June 18th 2011 - Maths 44, Verbal 40 - 680
Test 5 - June 20th 2011 - Maths 39, verbal 30 - 570

Wrote GMAT next on 23rd June and score is given above. I just went into a state of depression. Though I kind of expected my low score, but still depression found me :)

Now I wanna retake the GMAT test ( if possible in the nest 30 days - earlier the better). I don't know from where I should start. I know I had not taken enough prep tests and I need more practice with prep tests. But I somehow am stuck.. Don't know how to start. Where to start from. Please advice..
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Re: Please advice from where should I start now.. [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2011, 13:00
That's tough dude. You're in the most competitive demographic (Indian IT Male). And you're faced with the need to improve both your quant (to 50 or 51 to make up for your weaker verbal) and your verbal (to mid 30s) in order to hit 700+ and remain competitive with your peers.

While I wouldn't spend too much time on quant right now what you can do is practice with the huge question banks that other clubbers have posted on this forum in the respective subforums. You want to practice the qtns in the areas where you have the most problem (be it algebra, geometry, etc). You should have a good idea what qtns you get wrong from the CATs you have taken. Keep on doing qtns until you're sure you can solve the standard 600-700 level type quickly and efficiently (within a minute preferably). This will give you more time to solve the tougher 700-800 DS qtns. The difference btwn doing 50-100qtns in a row of a specific topic rather than doing a CAT is that it will make sure you focus and master the specific concept.

Your bigger problem is Verbal. I presume you've used SC bibles like Manhattan SC guide or Aristotle SC guide? SC is the biggest component of verbal and the "easiest" to improve. There's a specific way to approach SC questions and GMAT usually focus on modifiers and parallelism.

RC is much more harder to prep for. You have to be able to get the general gist of articles that may involve obscure subject materials or use esoteric language. Only way I find is to practice and continue reading magazines like the Economist, or scientific journals. Try to read three paragraphs of an article quickly and see if you can summarize the main topic discussed within.

CR you might want to turn to MG source material as well, although again, its more about your ability to comprehend what the question is asking you.

Given the time constraints, I'm not sure if you can sign on for a class where there will be professionals to handhold you. Anyway best of luck and hope you get the score you want.
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Re: Please advice from where should I start now.. [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 12:08
You're right. RC and AWA are what I need to work on the most. And yes, I've gone through the Manhattan SC guide and I really liked it. I think it's a nice book. Do you have suggestions to which books I could refer for the RCs? AWA is another thing that scares me.

For the maths part, do you know any book that I can refer for tougher probability, permutation/combination problems? Advanced data sufficiency is also something I'd like to practice more on.

Thanks so much for your suggestions. I was not aware and I'm still not sure that if you're a woman, it becomes 'slightly' easier for you. But, do you think it is true? How's the scene for 'Indian - IT - Female' ?
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Re: Please advice from where should I start now.. [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2011, 19:06
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That's what so great about gmatclub. You want a specific resource, you can find it by just doing a site search in the field box located on the top right of the screen.

You need combination/probability qtns? Here's a great post by a fellow member who has already compiled it for you. There are probably more posts but this is the first one I saw:

combinations-permutations-and-probability-references-56486.html

However, just don't get too hang up on solving difficult qtns like prob/permutation. Some tests don't even include one and in my own gmat experience I only had 1 qtn of this topic (was a mirror of a equiv 700-800 level qtn I encountered in a CAT). Your 48 Quant score suggests that you're making mistakes (prob careless ones as well) on some of the more basic topics. MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE, you can solve all 600 level qtns with a snap of the finger accurately and quickly. That way, even if you do get the "tougher" qtns like prob/perm and DS inequalities (may be just me that finds this insanely tricky) wrong, you can still have a strong chance of getting a 50.

Also, there are data sufficiency banks, but again, focus on a specific topic of DS qtns that you have difficulty with. Don't do DS on algebra, geometry et all in a bunch because it won't help you as much as focusing on your weak areas. Remember, the vast majority of test takers are weak in DS, so don't fret even if you get a lot of tougher ones wrong. Remember, a Quant 50 is achievable with even as many as 7-9 qtns wrong depending on the difficulty level of the test. That's one in 4 to 5qtns. WHATEVER U DO DON'T PANIC!!!

I can't really help you in RCs as I was lucky that I never had problems with that area, but again, try to improve your reading skills. You had the right idea in reading the newspaper until you stopped. RC is all about constant practice and there are other posts about how to best improve. Again, that search field in the top right corner? USE IT. Also, no replacement for constant practice. Eating lunch, read a periodical. Taking the bus/train to work, read the economist. Using the toilet for #2, perfect time to read an english newspaper. :) Don't just read. Scan 3 paragraphs as quickly as you can, then ask yourself if you know what the main points for each paragraph is.

AWA is easy to improve. Memorize templates that are already in this site (again, search field in corner). A great one is written by Chineseburn. He practically gives you the outline to write 50% of the response for the "argument" essay. Its especially helpful given 30 minutes is not alot of time for you to think about content AND worry about formatting. I stuck to it and while I haven't received my AWA scores yet, I am confident that because of them, I can easily get a 5.5 or 6. If you stick to the format, even if you make some errors due to not being a native speaker, a 5.0 is likely attainable. The way you write in your posts does not reveal you to be a non native speaker so 5.5 or 6 is prob within reach.

Oops, apologies, just assumed you were a dude, didn't realize you were a dudette. :) Ah, it helps that you're a woman since less of your fair sex are in the applicant pool. But still, you are in a highly competitive demographic. Remember, you are competing with all your girl friends from the top schools in India who are interested in an MBA. I'm not familiar with the Indian culture to know if many woman do apply to biz school but if they do, think how competitive you are in terms of them and you should have an idea where you stand. Chinese and Korean and other East Asian females face a very competitive environment so I would probably assume that it would be the same for their Indian counterparts (same importance placed on education excellence culturally, more so than the west. Though it may sound a bit racist, but there IS a reason for the stereotype).

Again good luck. If your Quant is strong, and you work hard on verbal (not just spending the hours but studying efficiently), its very possible for you to break 700. Remember to study "correctly." The reason why so many smart people prep for 3 months intensively and still get a 600 or 500 score is because they approached "studying" for the GMAT in an utterly inefficient and unorganized manner.
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Re: Please advice from where should I start now.. [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2011, 05:48
Thanks for your guidance and extremely valuable suggestions. I have started preparing once again and I will see if I can take up a CAT today. If I take a test today, I shall post the scores section-wise.
Re: Please advice from where should I start now..   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2011, 05:48
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