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Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750

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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2013, 15:41
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would you have a number in mind for instance for quant you said around 27 so could the same be applied for verbal?


Fozzy as I said earlier, in verbal I targeted not to skip more than 4 questions...So that way the number is 37...Once again, I would say that do not apply this timing strategy straight away in the GMAT. Practice enough on mock tests and only if you feel comfortable, implement in the actual test. Such timing strategies was what I perfected in the last one month of my prep.

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How would you rate the grockit passages compared with the actual gmat passages... grockit rating ( easy / medium/difficult)

I frankly did not like Grockit passage quality. They seemed to be very similar to OG passages...So that way since I was familiar with OG passages, I did not feel challenged when I saw Grockit passages...So my rating will be biased...I may end up rating most passages easy or medium difficult due to my familiarity to the official passages and due to their similarity with Official passages..That way e-GMAT RC passages were a leg up...

- Ram
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My 750 debrief

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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2013, 16:48
Congratulations!! for a great score
All the best for your application process.

quesarasara wrote:
• Test date – June 3, 2013
• GMAT Score – 750 = Q49, V42
• Professional Background – Engineer, Indian, 8 years work ex
• Personal Background – Married, Proud father of 10 month old princess
• The GMAT MANTRA – Plan well and Execute
• GMAT Aspirant since Aug 2011 (almost 2 years)

Hello Everyone,
Today with immense happiness I am proud to announce my GMAT score of 750. During these past 2 years I have stumbled a lot, fallen multiple times, gotten disheartened, given up, but ultimately with my proper planning, I am at a stage where I can give a few pieces of advice to my fellow GMAT aspirants. I am truly thankful to the community here and this post is a token of my gratitude towards all of you.

LESSON 1 – PREPARING FOR GMAT IS SERIOUS BUSINESS


Preparation for GMAT is truly some serious business. Make sure when you take this on you are fully committed to it. DO NOT consider it one of several things that you can do. It requires careful planning and should be given its due importance.

HOW I LEARNED IT THE HARD WAY


I thought of preparing for GMAT in August 2011. But frankly, for the next 1 year till August 2012, everything happened except GMAT prep. I had numerous overseas trips for business since I got promoted at work. God blessed me with a baby girl in August 2012. Even though so many beautiful things happened to me in this one year, something kept bugging me – I could not prepare for GMAT, something that I had set as a target.

HOW DID I DO RIGHT?


At this point, I consciously suspended my plans for GMAT since I did not want myself chasing multiple deadlines and not being able to focus on anything properly. I decided to take this on from Jan 2013 onwards.

LESSON 2 – PLAN IT LIKE YOU WOULD PLAN ANY OF YOUR WORK PROJECTS


GMAT prep is a project of its own. I am a program manager by profession and I can say that with confidence that one must plan how to prepare for GMAT before actually starting to study. By planning, I mean serious planning like spending 1-2 days in planning.

HOW I LEARNED IT THE HARD WAY


When I started preparing in Jan this year, I immediately purchased the books and started reading from cover to cover without actually having a goal in mind for all that reading effort. I had goals as “complete MGMAT Number Properties Book in 1 week”, “read Powerscore CR book in 15 days”. While at the time, these seemed like reasonable goals, now I look back and laugh at myself. My goal should have gotten me closer to my target score but these goals served only as checkmarks.

HOW DID I DO RIGHT?


In March 2013, after taking a mock test and scoring a mere 27 in verbal, I realized that I need to take a serious look at my technique of preparation. This is when I attended e-GMAT strategy session. This is when I set up real goals for my GMAT prep. Here is what my milestones were:
• March 15 – Get Quant score of 49. I was at 47 and given my aptitude for quant, I knew I could take it up to 49. I did not set up a lofty goal of 50 or 51 since I realized my limitation.
• March 31 – Get SC accuracy above 80% for OG13 difficult questions.
• April 15 – Get CR accuracy above 80% for OG13 difficult questions.
• April 30 – Get RC accuracy above 80% for OG13 difficult questions.
• May – Fine-tune preparation by taking mocks and working on weak areas.
Now with an aim to accomplish these milestones, I then devised by study plan with the right study resources.

CERTAIN BEST PRACTICES


These two lessons were a key to my success. The manner in which I prepared for GMAT was governed by these two lessons. In the next section of my post here, I will highlight some of the key best practices that I employed.

1. Learn from your mistakes


a. When you attempt questions, do not consider the question done if you answered it correctly. Know exactly why the wrong choices are wrong and why the correct answers are correct. If you do the same, you will be much more confident in the exam. I did not do the same initially and this impacted my performance in the exam. I got in the habit of doing such thorough analysis after I attended the eGMAT live sessions. In these sessions, the instructors Shraddha and Rajat do not reward us just for answering questions correctly. They make sure we answered the question correctly for the right reasons. They discuss every answer choice and pin point the reason why it’s incorrect. Doing so is absolutely vital both during your practice and in mocks. While practicing, ask yourself – why do you think choice A is incorrect etc. It will help boost your accuracy.

2. Spend Dedicated Time every day


a. With a small baby at home and a more than full-time job, I knew I had to take some serious steps if I were to prepare for GMAT the right way. So with complete buy-in from my better half (make sure you have your partner’s buy in; believe me it saves a number of fights and headaches!!), I put aside 2 hours in the morning for my GMAT prep. I did not have to think whether to study or not. It also forced me to sleep on time. I did have to miss out on a few sitcoms. There were days when I could not put my daughter to sleep (because she was not sleepy). But believe me- it was worth it in the end.

3. Test Taking Strategies –


a. No need to do ALL questions
i. I must thank Bunnel for his magnificent analysis. This was a real eye opener for me. I realized that I did not need to attempt ALL questions to get a high score on the test; I could get 49 in quant even with 10+ incorrect questions. When you know that you only need to get ~27 questions correct, you can focus your energy on fewer questions. Believe me – it helps.

b. Recognize Takt Time for common question types
i. The second strategy session from e-GMAT introduced the idea of Takt time for a question type. For example, I take more than 2 minutes for Evaluate questions whereas I take less than 1.5 minutes for an inference or assumption question type. Knowing that I need this time to solve a particular question type otherwise my accuracy will go down was very useful. Thanks to e-GMAT for introducing such a revolutionary idea and to Grockit and MGMAT reports to help me calculate my Takt Time.

c. Before taking test, know which questions to skip
i. So combining the above two strategies, before taking any mock and before taking the GMAT, I knew when to skip certain questions. These were the questions that were from my weak areas. I would take an educated guess instead of wasting more than 2 minutes on each of these questions.
1. Bold Face in CR – If I am running behind time and the argument is reasonably long one. Bold face answer choices are really tricky and these questions were a hit or miss for me.
2. P&C and Probability – If I do not understand the scenario in the question in the first 30 seconds. This section is too broad to study. At the same time, you get very few questions from this section.
3. Inference question in RC – If it is a broad inference; i.e. inference from multiple placed in the passage rather than from one section and if I cannot eliminate 3 choices in first 30 seconds. I had a real difficult time on these ones.
ii. This helped me focus on my strengths and allowed me to spend more time on questions I could confidently handle.

STUDY RESOURCES


Before I end this never ending post, I would like to give my two cents on the various study resources that I used

Sentence Correction

– Do not treat SC as grammar rule set. SC is as logical as it gets. Once you start to focus on the meaning and structure of the sentence, SC truly becomes a joyful experience. Do not try to get rules from each and every question. Instead think of the broad based rule set that GMAT tests you on and see how those apply to the official questions. It’s truly how you approach SC. For me Payal’s Meaning Session was the eye opener. The e-GMAT SC course is what drilled the meaning approach in my mind and this approach with the appropriate analysis approach was further drilled in the live sessions. Thanks Shraddha for your patience in the sessions.

Critical Reasoning

Powerscore CR is a great book. I read it cover to cover. I learned the intricacies of the arguments. I learned that we should pre-think. At the end of the book, I felt great as I had had a great theory lesson but something was lacking. I actually craved for how to apply all that theory. This is where e-GMAT CR course in. It was in this course and the associated live sessions that I learned how to pre-think. After going through the course, I was able to prethink in 70% of the questions. Selecting the correct answer became a cake walk once the prethinking was done. Prethinking really helped boost my confidence and score.

Data Sufficiency

– This was one section that I used to dread primarily because I am not that good with computations. I scored in 45-47 range in MGMAT mocks and was repeatedly disappointed. But when I took GMAT Prep I realized was that DS was more logical than computational. So for all you folks out there - believe me Q47 in MGMAT mocks is a good score because MGMAT tests are a lot more computationally intensive. I was actually demotivated when I got this score but in the end it all worked out fine.

Integrated Reasoning

– Needless to say that e-GMAT IR course is the best that is out there. It provides a very good refresher and a great source of practice. I spent 2 days with the course and did well on GMAT Prep software. I did not prepare using anything else. Lets see what I score.

MOCKS


I know I said that the last section was the last one, but I have to write a note about the mock tests as well. I have touched upon the mocks in the other parts of my posts, but I believe that it is such an important aspect of preparation that it requires its own heading 
As I mentioned earlier, I kept last one month for taking mocks and fine tuning my preparation. In the process I took a total of 8 mocks as after each fine tuning session I wanted to see if I had improved or not. In essence my mock tests went from 590 (Q42, V25) to 730 (Q49, V41). Taking mocks is very important for the following reasons:
1. Timing - you have to nail the timing. This is the single biggest thing that can help or spoil your score. 3 mocks are enough to nail the timing.

2. Stamina - Another biggie. Need 3-4 mocks to make sure that you are not fatigued. Make sure that you try out different snacks and choose what works. Do not change the snack from mocks to the real GMAT. It’s a very small thing but really important. For me an orange worked out very well. I know it was a bit of a hassle since I had to wash my hands after eating it but somehow it gave me that instant pure burst of energy!!

3. Competence - this is clear.

4. Confidence - if you score well in one mock it could be fluke. But if the success repeats, you probably are good to go.
Attempt at least 6 mocks. I used MGMAT for initial mocks and GMAT Prep for later mocks.

CONCLUDING REMARKS


All said and done, I am happy. With my long message, I just wanted to communicate how thankful I am to this community. I used to read the debriefs and I used to silently thing – will I ever be able to write it and today I just finished writing mine.

- Ram
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2013, 19:11
@Que Sara Sara

Hi Awesome score congratulations..... Could you please share with me the B-schools that you are targeting? Also could you pm me your email id so that i can discuss GMAT strategy more at length with you. Thanks
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 07:55
Thanks @srnarayan...I am still in the process of shortlisting the schools. I am still in my planning mode for application PROJECT. :)

-Ram
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 02:17
Congratulations on your great score and all the best for applications! God Bless!
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 07:51
first of all love the name - quesarasara...seems like you are filmy like me...;)
loved your debrief...just started my prep a week back and whatever I did last week I trashed it - literally I threw it out in the garbage since all I was going was do questions after questions without learning much. Glad I saw your writeup. Will try "planning" your way?
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2013, 19:23
Cool write up! Congratulations on your magnificent score. I am looking for some more information about e-GMAT RC and CR course. Can you give me some pointers...
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2013, 11:54
congrats for the great score. Did you had to make any serious efforts in reducing your takt time ? If yes, can you tell me what are the areas you targetted and how ? How did you revise all the stuff such as things to remeber in SC ? This question may sound weird but I'm kind of confused with this. Although I'm still scoring well in SC, but I feel that if I don't remember remember all the stuff that I have read, I might be stumped in actual test. One last question, since you are working, did you take leave from office before the exam ? Sorry if some of my questions sound silly but answers to these questions are quite relevant to me.
Thanks
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2013, 09:38
superb score Ram! and indeed an inspirational piece of writing. I would really like to appreciate your rational and well planned approach through out the prep session. All the very best. :)
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2013, 11:21
wow dude- congrats!! Keep us posted on your college admissions!
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2013, 13:10
very nive post....... good job...kudos
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2013, 06:06
taruntuteja wrote:
congrats for the great score. Did you had to make any serious efforts in reducing your takt time ? If yes, can you tell me what are the areas you targetted and how ? How did you revise all the stuff such as things to remeber in SC ? This question may sound weird but I'm kind of confused with this. Although I'm still scoring well in SC, but I feel that if I don't remember remember all the stuff that I have read, I might be stumped in actual test. One last question, since you are working, did you take leave from office before the exam ? Sorry if some of my questions sound silly but answers to these questions are quite relevant to me.
Thanks
Tarun


Tarun, I am not sure if this answer is very relevant to you but to reduce the Takt time, I followed the 80-20 rule. Upon analysis, I found that 1-2 questions in each section were impacting my Takt time the most. For example, I would take up to 3 minutes answering some CR questions on the test. I would focus just on those questions and figure out ways to get to the answer in a more optimum time. I realized that as I did that, my overall Takt Time improved.

For SC – I did not worry about remembering the rules. I realized that if I followed the meaning based approach, most rules came naturally to me. There were a few I had to remember though. I did take some leave from office, but not a lot.
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2013, 06:09
great debrief, thanks a lot and all the best for your future!
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2013, 00:14
Hi Ram,

Thanks for your wonderful debrief.

I might be a bit late in writing my response but hopefully, you would be still around to clarify certain points for me:

1. Did you adopt any guessing strategy for the first 20 questions?
2. As I understand that guessing is a necessary tool to get back on your total productive time after having spent around 40 min on the first 20 questions. On this can you highlight on the following:
a. Should I straightaway guess a random number of questions to get back on time so that I can spend quality time on other questions?-In that case what is the number of questions I should be guessing(any min or max number of questions)
OR
b. Should I spend some time(20-30 sec) to understand whether the question is doable and then decide the course of action?-In this case, should it be from your weak areas(with poor takt time) or any area for that matter

The reason for my confusion is that you had mentioned that an educated guess instead of wasting more than 2 minutes on each of these questions. However, in your pre selected sections, you are talking of taking some time(30 sec) in making a decision.

If my understanding of the crux of your post goes, then post spending 40 min on the first 20 questions, I should be doing the following(in that order):

1. Look at a question and identify whether its from a weak area
2. Spend about 30 sec in trying to solve and then make an educated guess(if not being able to solve)-Time spent on such a question should be around 30 sec. However, what happens of you think you can solve it after spending 30 sec or so?

I presume the number of questions to be handled in the above way(educated guessing) should depend on the question type and therefore the time I am being able to save. I think I am getting a bit confused with the tactic at this stage.

Accordingly, it would be great if you can clear my confusion.



Regards

Argha



Regards

Argha
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Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750 [#permalink] New post 03 Aug 2014, 19:27
Congrats Ram!!!!

750 is a great score. I'm also a family man and know how difficult it is to study, when you have such a small baby at home. You executed your plan very well.
Your write up helped me in understanding some missing links I had in my preparation. Thanks a lot.
I am spending more time in understanding IR questions and that eats up my 3min/question time and I need to rush in last 4-5 questions. Any suggestions for this section ?
Re: Que Sara Sara – But You Control Your destiny - 750   [#permalink] 03 Aug 2014, 19:27
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