T-14 to lift off, Target : 750 : Share GMAT Experience
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# T-14 to lift off, Target : 750

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T-14 to lift off, Target : 750 [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 00:49
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Hey guys

My "GMAT experience" began just over 2 weeks ago, when I decided that I had a bit of free time on my hands (break from work), and I should utilize it productively. So I decided to give the GMAT and bought the prep material : Official Guide 12th edition, Official Guide Verbal Review 2nd edition, MGMAT Sentence Correction (I am not a native English speaker, necessitating the latter two). I registered on the 30th of August for a test date on the 11th of September (I need to get back to work soon & I knew unless I put pressure on myself, I wouldn't have studied).

In a previous moment of impulse, a couple of months before this, I had tried to start the OG, and done about 250 or so of the 800 problems. So starting the 30th, I had about 550 problems to go, which I finished in less than a week (studying about two or three hours a day). Then I moved on to the verbal review, sentence correction was the chink in my armor, I didn't have a lot of problems with the quant sections perhaps because I have an engineering background.

At this point what I found very useful is the questions on SC in the forums here ! Its a great question bank, and given I did not want to go down the path of buying more books or looking at question banks such as 1000SC (whose usefulness is much debated). I really think its an excellent platform to practice and to get concepts set in your mind. The MGMAT SC guide is very good, but the way my mind works, I need examples in real questions, otherwise concepts (and idioms in particular !!) do not sink in.

I started giving CATs, as a primary way of practicing, along with the forum questions once my OGs were finished :

CAT 1 : GMAT Prep : 770 [Pleasant surprise ! I was over the moon]
CAT 2 : MGMAT : 770 [Really tough questions, got lots wrong, didnt expect this score]
CAT 3 : MGMAT : 740 [More realistic, but still inflated ? I had 12 Qs wrong on verbal alone]
CAT 4 : Kaplan : 740 [Reaffirms the 740 earlier]
CAT 5 : MGMAT Prep : 740 [I started to see a pattern here ... my 750 target is reachable]
CAT 6 : MGMAT Prep : 770 [After lots of forum practice, I was getting pretty happy with myself]
CAT 7 : MGMAT Prep : 780 [2 days before the paper .... It couldn't get better in my mind .... MGMAT was tough so confidence at this point was sky high]
At this point, despite what most people told me, I gave one more practice test on the day before the real thing
CAT 8 : GMAT Prep : 750 [Lower than what I had gotten earlier, so I wasnt happy ... But it was still a very good score, above my target level]

Clearly, this is not a recommended strategy, but I gave 8 CATs, sometimes giving 2 papers a day .... But then it was the only practice I really thought I wanted to do ... a nice mix of questions under time pressure.
My overall thoughts on this were that of the lot the MGMAT papers are very tough, sometimes seemingly unrealistically tough ... so rather than think of them as a good indicator of the final score, they were good practice for 700+ level Qs

T-1 Prep

1) Take GMAT Prep CAT # 2
2) Read a few more SC questions on gmat club
3) Watch season 7 of entourage rest of the day [Calm down brain, calm down !]

On the day

AWA : Went pretty awful ! I was all over the place ... Took about 28 minutes to complete the essays and didnt get a chance to re read .... Was feeling pretty battered after this
Break 1 : Bar of chocolate + Water + 3 minute rest .... ready for battle
Quant : This was my strength, and didnt have too many issues ... except my bad back (the reason I am on a break from work, started to really hurt ... maybe the 4 hour marathon will take its toll !)
Break 2 : 3 mins rest
Verbal : It didnt begin well ... My back hurt and I was getting nervous ... There were questions where I was really at a loss for answers, all the SC options looked exactly the same !! ... By the time I had done 10 Qs, it was over 20 minutes down, so the time pressure was also taking its toll on my mind .... I was pretty unhappy at this point, I knew I had def messed up a few Qs .... eventually managed to get through the lot with 4 minutes to spare (My back was thanking me ... a lot !!)

And the result : 760 (q51 v41) !

I am thrilled but my tips to people taking the exam would def include that (a) do practice sitting for 4 hours, because you dont want to find out in the middle of the exam that maybe you arent up for it 1 :p and (b) No matter what happens, try to stay calm in the paper (and this is the really hard part .... I never got nervous in my CATs, but I wasnt doing well in the actual thing) finally (c) The obvious : But try to make sure you dont get a string of wrong answers, front loaded or back loaded wrongs dont matter as much as long strings of wrong answers

All's well that ends well I guess
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Last edited by shrouded1 on 11 Sep 2010, 01:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: T-14 to lift off, Target : 750 [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 01:18
kudos on a great score in just 15 days... ur a genius!

thanks for the tips, it may not work for eveyrone...
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Re: T-14 to lift off, Target : 750 [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 01:33
wow !! Excellent score.

I have roughly 1 and half month ,but I feel I m lacking in time. But your story is motivating
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11 Sep 2010, 01:49
Excellent score and thanks for the tips Good luck with your apps!
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11 Sep 2010, 05:19
Excellent score.
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11 Sep 2010, 06:41
thanks folks !

gurpreetsingh wrote:
wow !! Excellent score.

I have roughly 1 and half month ,but I feel I m lacking in time. But your story is motivating

gurpreet - I think with 1 and half months to go, you have a lot of time ! I am just too used to working under pressure (except for the actual bloody exam where I panicked ) and if I had that much, I would find a reason to loiter around and not study

Plus if you have a similar background to mine (most desis do ) then its just the verbal section you need to get under control

Its a conquerable beast

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11 Sep 2010, 07:32
man I really wonder what people like you do to get an excellent score like this in matter of few weeks....:D
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Re: T-14 to lift off, Target : 750 [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2010, 07:52
shrouded1 wrote:
thanks folks !

gurpreetsingh wrote:
wow !! Excellent score.

I have roughly 1 and half month ,but I feel I m lacking in time. But your story is motivating

gurpreet - I think with 1 and half months to go, you have a lot of time ! I am just too used to working under pressure (except for the actual bloody exam where I panicked ) and if I had that much, I would find a reason to loiter around and not study

Plus if you have a similar background to mine (most desis do ) then its just the verbal section you need to get under control

Its a conquerable beast

Yes I m an engineer and quite weak in Verbal. But I m fighting and will keep fighting.
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11 Sep 2010, 10:13
If you get 770 on first shot on gprep,thats something!q51!amazing....any tips for that....all the best ahead for appln
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11 Sep 2010, 10:31
congrats on the amazing score! I am gonna practice sitting for 4 hrs now...I know i cant sit in one place for more than 40 mins
thanks for the tip:) and all the best for yur apps!
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11 Sep 2010, 11:28
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suyashjhawar wrote:
If you get 770 on first shot on gprep,thats something!q51!amazing....any tips for that....all the best ahead for appln

The quant section, I had an advantage in that I knew all the "concepts" from before hand. So I didn't need any new learning in what to do, it was just a question of the practice of getting it right. I had to try hard to spend more time on questions to avoid silly mistakes like misreading it. In the OG, I took on average 45 to 60 seconds per Q in PS and perhaps 60-80 seconds per Q in DS. So my goal, as strange as it sounds was to increase this to be doubly sure I don't lose any points on quant. On the real GMAT I finished with 3 mins to spare, my CATs I used to finish with between 5mins-10mins (MGMAT) and 10mins-20mins(GMAT prep) to spare.

Most of the focus was on verbal for me. And I knew the bogey part for me there was SC. You can get lots of very hard RC and CR questions in books, in the forum, but the most of the actual ones are seldom overly difficult. Practice does help quite a bit, since on D-day the only way in my opinion of getting something right is if you can instinctively tell (hard for non-native speakers in most cases) or do pattern matching on a mental set you have done before. What I would do is when you get any SC wrong, just take a quick note somewhere what stumped you (Eg. "where/when" and "in which" are replacable, "dated at" not "dated to be") ... sure shot way to learn. English has infinite exceptions, so you wont ever get it all correct .... One thing I know now is how important reading books as a child would have been, now THAT would make a lot of these exams so much easier !
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11 Sep 2010, 14:43
great score. keep it up mang.
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11 Sep 2010, 15:04
Amazing score!! Congrats!
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11 Sep 2010, 15:27
you are on track! good luck
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11 Sep 2010, 19:16
excellent
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12 Sep 2010, 08:51
Wow. Congrats man. Really well done. Good luck with the apps.

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16 Sep 2010, 00:44
I just got my official score report, and I have to recommend this guide :
http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html#p470475

I used the template and managed to get the 6.0 !
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Re: T-14 to lift off, Target : 750 [#permalink]

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16 Sep 2010, 01:00
shrouded1 wrote:
I just got my official score report, and I have to recommend this guide :
http://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html#p470475

I used the template and managed to get the 6.0 !

Congrats, you got every perfect now !!
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16 Sep 2010, 03:44
i am speechless...but...congratulations!!!

my exam is due next month...and with a 560(17wrong q,12wrong v) on gmatprep(don't know how to calc raw %,and the test doesn't give one!)..i felt bad.but i'm puzzled..after reading ur debrief.

all the best with ur applications.....

what was ur strategy in quant?...can u gimme some tips as to how i can raise quant score
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16 Sep 2010, 04:04
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hey bhuvana

you still have quite some time to go, and should be able to work to get that quant score up much higher. in my case, i had an advantage that since my undergraduate degree was in engineering, i have taken a lot of high level math courses which meant that conceptually none of the GMAT problems appear hard, for me it was just a matter of getting practice to work off the rustiness.

I guess there is 2 parts to this problem :

a) Knowing the concepts : I'd say you have achieved this if given unlimited time, you would get 90+% correctness in your quant Qs
b) Improving the speed : Once you know how to, trying to get it done in less than 2 minutes per Q

I would really recommend spending time on part (a), because as you get familiar with each concept, you will also realize that most questions just fall into fixed patterns.For instance, almost all the probability questions i have seen in the GMAT prep and on the GMAT can be reduced to maybe 2 or 3 different types. So once you are familiar with the types, you can solve anything

Thankfully, the number of concepts to be learnt is not very high so you should be able to get through them.

I'd recommend practicing DS more than PS ! Those ones are tricky, I always found PS problems easier to tackle than DS ones.

On the timing bit, I think that is not very important because 2 minutes is generally enough once you have the hang of things .. so get the basics right first.

Hope this helps & best of luck !
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Re: T-14 to lift off, Target : 750   [#permalink] 16 Sep 2010, 04:04

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